Psalm 96

1 Oh, sing to the Lord a new song!
Sing to the Lord, all the earth.

2 Sing to the Lord, bless His name;
Proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day.

3 Declare His glory among the nations,
His wonders among all peoples.

For the Lord is great and greatly to be praised;
He is to be feared above all gods.

5 For all the gods of the peoples are idols,
But the Lord made the heavens.

6 Honor and majesty are before Him;
Strength and beauty are in His sanctuary.

Give to the Lord, O families of the peoples,
Give to the Lord glory and strength.

8 Give to the Lord the glory due His name;
Bring an offering, and come into His courts.

9 Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness!
Tremble before Him, all the earth.

10 Say among the nations, “The Lord reigns;
The world also is firmly established,
It shall not be moved;
He shall judge the peoples righteously.”

11 Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad;
Let the sea roar, and all its fullness;

12 Let the field be joyful, and all that is in it.
Then all the trees of the woods will rejoice

13  before the Lord.
For He is coming, for He is coming to judge the earth.
He shall judge the world with righteousness,
And the peoples with His truth.

Though the Hebrew text of this psalm has no heading, it is almost certainly to be attributed to David seeing that (1) the entirety of the psalm is given, with minor variations, in 1 Chronicles 16:23-33 as part of a psalm of thanksgiving ascribed to David, and (2) early Jewish tradition (i.e., the Septuagint) attributes it to David. — Wechsler, page 231.


Beginning with this psalm and running through the 100th psalm is a great celebration when the Messiah comes to the earth to claim His possession and to set up His Kingdom. … These psalms look forward to the day when the Messiah will appear in His Kingdom as it was revealed to David in Psalm 72. At that time, righteousness and peace will be enthroned through Him, who is both King of righteousness and King of peace. — Phillips, pages 213-214.


Israel having sung the previous psalm (“us” v.1 and “we” v.7) now invites the nations to join her in “a new song.” The next psalm [Psalm 97] is the song. … The doctrine of the psalm is that the advent of the Messiah into the world will make it a Paradise, and that His rule alone can banish dissension, war, misery, and injustice, and establish society in an enduring brotherhood. — Williams, page 374.


It is Jesus, specifically, who is ultimately in view in this psalm as is indicated by the reference (in v.3) to His wonderful deeds, which term refers to His acts of redemption as expressed within history—and any manifestation or revelation of God’s presence or work within history is, per John 1:18, the work of the Son (whose “role” has always been to do that which the Father wills). These past deeds, together with His work of creating the heavens (i.e., “sky,” referring to Genesis 1:7-8, which was also the specific work of the Son; cf. John 1:3; Colossians 1:16), amply attest His majesty (v.6) and worldwide sovereignty in past history. — Wechsler, page 232.


The psalmist challenges to families of the people not simply to submit in fear to the divine King (as a defeated people might grudgingly submit to a royal conqueror), but rather, reflecting God’s own desire in the matter, that they come into His courts (implying conversion, since Gentiles could go no further than the single Court of the Gentiles) and worship the Lord in holy attire (unquestionably implying full status, via conversion, among God’s people, to whom the expression “holy attire” [or “splendor of holiness,” “holy array] is elsewhere exclusively applied; cf. 1 Chronicles 16:29;  Psalm 29:2; 110:3. This point is further emphasized by the universal challenge to say (i.e., affirm) that the Lord reigns (corresponding … to the English present perfect continuous tense, “has been reigning”—i.e., ever since the beginning of Creation until now). — Wechsler, page 233.


The psalmist concludes his challenge by focusing on the Lord’s future coming to judge the earth (v.13), which refers specifically to the future coming of the Son of God, to whom the Father “has given all judgment” (John 5:22). At that time He will remove “the prince of this world” (i.e., Satan; cf, Ephesians 2:2; 1 John 5:19) and, as a manifestation of the universal rule that has always been His (yet which, in His forbearance, He has so far withheld from imposing), He will judge the world in righteousness and … faithfulness. — Wechsler, page 233.

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