Psalm 47

Psalm 47 is a wonderful song of praise to God. Even without knowing the original tune, we can easily imagine these lyrics being sung in the Temple or a church today (hopefully accounting for the specific references to Israel). The song is divided into two stanzas by the selah at the end of verse four.

The first stanza (Psalm 47:1-4) is a celebration of God’s sovereign choice of Israel as a nation and the land of Israel as her inheritance. The Korahites invited “the nations” to celebrate this with them, which seems self-centered until we remember that the purpose of Israel’s selection and placement was for the benefit of all the nations (Genesis 12:3).

The second stanza (Psalm 47:5-9) is a celebration of God’s sovereign rule over all nations of the earth. Psalm 47:9 looks forward to the time when the leaders of Israel and the leaders of the Gentile nations will stand together before God in the Messianic Kingdom. Since this psalm was written during the kingdom period of Israel and refers to God’s universal rule, the royal language throughout is appropriate.

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Daniel Goepfrich

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