The LORD reigneth, he is clothed with majesty; the LORD is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself: the world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved.
Verse 1. - The Lord reigneth; rather, is become King (ἐβασίλευσεν, LXX.); comp. Psalm 10:16; Psalm 47:6; Psalm 96:10; Psalm 97:1, etc. God is regarded as having for a time laid aside, or hidden, his sovereignty, but as now at length coming forward and inaugurating the theocracy. The writer may have in his mind some recent manifestation of Divine power, or he may be anticipating the final establishment of the reign of Messiah. He is clothed with majesty; or, "he hath robed himself in majesty" (Cheyne). The Lord is clothed with strength, wherewith he hath girded himself; literally, the Lord is clothed, he hath girded himself, with strength (comp. "Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the Lord," Isaiah 51:9). The world also is stablished, that it cannot be moved. When God "takes his kingdom," he firmly establishes his sway over the earth, with its inhabitants, in such sort that "it cannot be moved" - it can suffer no violent agitation or disturbance.
Thy throne is established of old: thou art from everlasting.
Verse 2. - Thy throne is established of old. Though God from time to time comes forward, as it were, and asserts his sovereignty, yet it is no new rule that he sets up. He has always been the King both of heaven and earth. Thou art from everlasting. Not merely from "of old," but from all eternity (comp. Psalm 90:2; Proverbs 8:23; Isaiah 63:15; Micah 5:2; Habakkuk 1:12).
The floods have lifted up, O LORD, the floods have lifted up their voice; the floods lift up their waves.
Verse 3. - The floods have lifted up, O Lord, the floods have lifted up their voice. By "the floods" seem to be meant the world powers, God's enemies; perhaps especially Egypt, Assyria, and Babylon. Invading hosts are constantly compared to "floods" or "rivers" in Scripture (see Isaiah 8:7, 8; Isaiah 28:2; Isaiah 17:12, 13; Isaiah 59:19; Jeremiah 46:8, etc.). The floods lift up their waves; or, "their din," "their roaring" (comp. Psalm 65:7, "Which stilleth the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves, and the tumult of the people").
The LORD on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, yea, than the mighty waves of the sea.
Verse 4. - The Lord on high (comp. Psalm 92:8) is mightier than the noise of many waters; literally, than the voices of many waters (comp. ver. 3). As the waters represent angry nations, the poet speaks not only of their "noise," but of their "voices." Yea, than the mighty waves of the sea; or, "the glorious breakers of ocean" (so Kay; and comp. Exodus 15:10).
Thy testimonies are very sure: holiness becometh thine house, O LORD, for ever.
Verse 5. - Thy testimonies are very sure. God's "testimonies" are his commandments, considered as witnesses to man of his nature and his will respecting them. They are "very sure," i.e. firm and unalterable, partaking of his unchangeability (James 1:17). Holiness becometh thine house, O Lord, forever. "Holiness" here seems to mean "sanctity," "inviolability" (Kay, Cheyne; comp. 1 Samuel 6:20; Isaiah 6:13). This is a tacit appeal to God to keep his temple free from all profanation and pollution in the future. The psalmist does not really ask that it shall continue inviolate "forever," but "to length of days," i.e. for an ample period.