Psalms 98

PSALM XCVIII

God is celebrated for his wondrous works, 1, 2;

for the exact fulfilment of his gracious promises, 3.

The manner in which he is to be praised, 4-6.

Inanimate creation called to bear a part in this concert, 7, 8.

The justice of his judgments, 9.

NOTES ON PSALM XCVIII

In the Hebrew this is simply termed mizmor, a Psalm. In

the Chaldee, A prophetic Psalm. In the Vulgate, Septuagint,

AEthiopic, A Psalm of David. In the Syriac it is attributed to

David, and stated to be composed concerning the "Restoration of

the Israelites from Egypt; but is to be understood spiritually of

the advent of the Messiah, and the vocation of the Gentiles to the

Christian faith."

The Psalm in its subject is very like the ninety-sixth. It was

probably written to celebrate the deliverance from the Babylonish

captivity; but is to be understood prophetically of the redemption

of the world by Jesus Christ.

Verse 1. A new song] A song of excellence. Give him the highest

praise. See on Ps 96:1.

Hath done marvellous things] niphlaoth, "miracles, "

the same word as in Ps 96:3, where we translate it

wonders.

His holy arm] His Almighty power,-

Hath gotten him the victory.] hoshiah llo, "hath

made salvation to himself."

Verse 2. Made known his salvation] He has delivered his people

in such a way as to show that it was supernatural, and that their

confidence in the unseen God was not in vain.

Verse 3. He hath remembered his mercy] His gracious promises to

their forefathers.

And his truth] Faithfully accomplishing what he had promised.

All this was fulfilled under the Gospel.

Verse 5. With-the voice of a Psalm.] I think zimrah,

which we translate Psalm, means either a musical instrument, or a

species of ode modulated by different voices.

Verse 6. With trumpets] chatsotseroth. Some kind of

tubular instruments, of the form and management of which we know

nothing.

And sound of cornet] shophar, the word commonly used for

what we call trumpet.

Verse 7. Let the sea roar] These are either fine poetic images;

or, if we take them as referring to the promulgation of the

Gospel, by the sea all maritime countries and commercial nations

may be intended.

Verse 8. Let the floods clap their hands] neharoth,

properly the rivers-possibly meaning immense continents, where

only large rivers are found; thus including inland people, as well

as maritime nations, and those on the sea-coasts generally; as in

those early times little more than the coasts of the sea were

known. The Gospel shall be preached in the most secluded nations

of the world.

Let the hills be joyful] All the inhabitants of rocky and

mountainous countries.

Verse 9. For he cometh to judge the earth] He comes to make

known his salvation, and show his merciful designs to all the

children of men.

With righteousness shall he judge the world] His word shall not

be confined; all shall know him, from the least to the greatest:

he shall show that he is loving to every man, and hateth nothing

that he hath made. See the notes on Ps 96:10-13. There is a very

great similarity between this Psalm and the Song or Magnificat of

the Blessed Virgin. I shall note some of the parallels, chiefly

from Bishop Nicholson.

This Psalm is an evident prophecy of Christ's coming to save the

world; and what is here foretold by David is, in the Blessed

Virgin's song, chanted forth as being accomplished. David is the

Voice, and Mary is the Echo.

1. DAVID. "O sing unto the Lord a new song."

(The Voice.)

MARY. "My soul doth magnify the Lord."

(The Echo.)

2. DAVID. "He hath done marvellous things."

(The Voice.)

MARY. "He that is mighty hath done great things."

(The Echo.)

3. DAVID. "With his own right hand and holy arm hath he

gotten himself the victory." (The Voice.)

MARY. "He hath showed strength with his arm and

scattered the proud in the imagination of their

hearts." (The Echo.)

4. DAVID. "The Lord hath made known his salvation; his

righteousness hath he openly showed," &c.

(The Voice.)

MARY. "His mercy is on them that fear him, from

generation to generation." (The Echo.)

5. DAVID. "He hath remembered his mercy and his truth

toward the house of Israel." (The Voice.)

MARY. "He hath holpen his servant Israel in remembrance

of his mercy." (The Echo.)

These parallels are very striking; and it seems as if Mary had

this Psalm in her eye when she composed her song of triumph. And

this is a farther argument that the whole Psalm, whether it record

the deliverance of Israel from Egypt, or the Jews from the

Babylonish captivity, is yet to be ultimately understood of the

redemption of the world by Jesus Christ, and the proclamation of

his Gospel through all the nations of the earth: and taken in this

view, no language can be too strong, nor poetic imagery too high,

to point out the unsearchable riches of Christ.

ANALYSIS OF THE NINETY-EIGHTH PSALM

This Psalm has the two following parts:-

I. An exhortation to sing to the Lord, and the reasons of it,

Ps 98:1-3.

II. A new invitation to praise him, and that it be universal,

Ps 98:4-9.

I. He calls upon them to praise God: 1. Sing-a song or hymn, to

the Lord-and to none other. A new song-a song of excellency.

For this exhortation and command he gives the reasons. His work

was a work of power and holiness.

1. "He hath done marvellous things." He has opened his greatness

and goodness in the work of redemption. What marvels has not

Christ done? 1. He was conceived by the Holy Ghost. 2. Born of a

virgin. 3. Healed all manner of diseases. 4. Fed thousands with a

few loaves and fishes. 5. Raised the dead. 6. And what was more

marvellous, died himself. 7. Rose again by his own power. 8.

Ascended to heaven. 9. Sent down the Holy Ghost. 10. And made his

apostles and their testimony the instruments of enlightening, and

ultimately converting, the world.

2. "His right hand and his holy arm hath got him the victory."

1. It was all his own work, whatever were the instruments; for

without his energy they could do nothing. 2. It was his holy

arm-no bloody sword, but a holy hand, to do a holy work. 3.

"He got himself the victory" over sin, Satan, death, and hell.

3. This salvation was made known:-1. By himself to the Jews.

2. By his apostles to all nations.

4. This salvation has been applied. 1. He hath showed his

righteousness-his method of justifying sinners through his own

blood, and sanctifying them by his own Spirit. 2. This he hath

openly showed, plainly revealing the whole in his Gospel. 3. He

has done this in the sight of the heathen, calling them to be

partakers of the same salvation promised to Abraham and to his

posterity, both Jews and Gentiles.

5. That which moved him to do this; his mercy, and truth: 1. "He

hath remembered his mercy." This mercy was to the house of Israel,

and through them to the Gentiles; for the Gentiles were the first

in the promise and covenant. There was no Jew when the covenant

was made with Abraham: it was made with him while he was yet in

uncircumcision; consequently the Gentiles, the whole human race,

were originally included in that covenant. The descendants of

Jacob were made depositaries of it for a season; but they, not

having benefited by it, were rejected, and the salvation of Christ

was given to the Gentiles, for whom it was originally intended,

and who have kept the faith, and are daily profiting by it. 2. It

is called mercy; for it was the merest mercy that said: "The seed

of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head." 3. He remembered

this, it was never out of the Divine mind; "Jesus was the Lamb

slain from the foundation of the world." 4. As this mercy was

intended for every human soul; so it is here prophectically said:

"All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God."

This Gospel has been preached, is now in the course of being

preached, and shortly will be preached to every people under

heaven.

II. A new invitation to praise God; and to do this in every

possible way.

1. "Make a joyful noise." Jump for joy, because of this most

glorious news.

2. As all are interested in it, so let all do it: "All the

earth."

3. In all possible ways. With harp, psaltery, trumpet, cornet;

with vocal, chordal, and pneumatic music. But it is the joyful

music, the heart music, which the Lord seeks.

4. "Before the Lord." In his immediate presence. Let all be

sincere, pure, and holy. Remember the eye of the Lord is upon you:

do not draw near with your lips, pipes, or stringed instruments,

while your hearts are far from him.

5. And to make the music full, as if the inanimate creation had

ears and hands to give an applause at the relation, and feet

to dance because of it, he says: "Let the sea roar, the floods

clap their hands, and the hills be joyful together."

And for all this he gives a reason, with which he concludes:

"For he cometh to judge the earth;" which may be referred to his

first and second coming.

1. If to the first, then the sense is-Let all creatures rejoice

because he comes to judge, that is, to enlighten, order, and

govern the world. For this purpose he was incarnated, suffered,

died, and rose again for the redemption of mankind; and has sent

his holy Gospel to enlighten the world, and his Spirit to apply

its truths to the hearts of men.

2. If we consider this as referring to his last coming, then let

all men rejoice, as he comes to destroy evil, to root out

incorrigible sinners, and to make a new heaven and a new earth.

3. All this shall be done with that rectitude of judgment, that

there shall be nothing crooked, oblique, or savouring of iniquity

in it: "For he shall judge the world, and the people with equity."

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