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Bible Commentaries

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

Psalms 96





Verse 1

(1) A new song.—See Note, Psalms 33:3. It appears to have been a kind of national and religious “lyric cry” after the Restoration. (Comp. Isaiah 42:10.)

Verse 5

(5) Idols.—Literally, nothings; Heb., elîlîm, with a play on the word el, God. This plainly shows that by Gods, in Psalms 96:4, the heathen deities, and not angels, are meant. (See Note, Psalms 95:3.) The LXX. sometimes renders the Hebrew word “idols,” sometimes “vanities,” but here “demons.” Symmachus “nonexistences.”

But the Lord made the heavens.—Nothings could not do that, but only Jehovah.

Verse 6

Verses 7-9

(7-9) These verses are a relic of Psalms 29:1-2, where see Notes, but instead of being addressed to the angels it is, in accordance with the world of new ideas and feelings in which Israel lived after the Captivity, addressed to all the people of the world. A truly Messianic character is thus impressed on the psalm.

Verse 8

(8) Offering.—The minchah, or sacrifice of fine flour.

Verse 9

(9) O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.—Better, Bow before Jehovah in holy attire. But the LXX. and Vulgate have as in margin.

Fear before him.—Or literally, let all the earth be moved before his face.

Verse 10

(10) Say among the heathen.—The watchword of the Restoration, “Jehovah has become King” (see Psalms 93:1, note, and comp. Isaiah 52:7), is an Evangel not only for Jerusalem but for the world at large. But to it is added (see the difference of arrangement in 1 Chronicles 16:29-31) the further statement of the stability of the world, emblem of the stability and justice of the Divine Government.

Verses 11-13

(11-13) Magnificent progress of the Divine Judge through His realm. There is only one thought, that of the inauguration of a righteous sway for all nations: at its advent, as in Isaiah’s glorious visions (see Isaiah 35:1-2; Isaiah 42:10; Isaiah 44:23; Isaiah 55:12), all nature seems to join the chorus of gladness.

Verse 12

(12) Then shall all the trees . . .—Comp.—

“His praise, ye winds that from four quarters blow,

Breathe soft or loud, and wave your tops ye pines,

With every plant in sign of worship wave.”—MILTON.

Verse 13

(13) For he cometh, for he cometh.—Notice the striking repetition, the natural expression of gladness.


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Bibliography Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Psalms 96:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". 1905.

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