Verse 11. Kings of the earth, and all people: princes, and all judges of the earth. Now the poet has reached our own race, and very justly he would have rulers and subjects, chieftains and magistrates, unite in worshipping the sovereign Lord of all. Monarchs must not disdain to sing, nor must their people refrain from uniting with them. Those who lead in battle and those who decide in courts must neither of them allow their vocations to keep them from reverently adoring the Chief and Judge of all. All people, and all judges, must praise the Lord of all. What a happy day it will be when it is universally acknowledged that through our Lord Jesus, the incarnate Wisdom, "kings reign and princes decree justice"! Alas, it is not so as yet! kings have been patrons of vice, and princes ringleaders in folly. Let us pray that the song of the Psalmist may be realized in fact.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 11. Kings of the earth, and all people; princes. As kings and princes are blinded by the dazzling influence of their station, so as to think the world was made for them, and to despise God in the pride of their hearts, he particularly calls them to this duty; and, by mentioning them first, he reproves their ingratitude in withholding their tribute of praise when they are under greater obligations than others. As all men originally stand upon a level as to condition, the higher persons have risen, and the nearer they have been brought to God, the more sacredly are they bound to proclaim his goodness. The more intolerable is the wickedness of kings and princes who claim exemption from the common rule, when they ought rather to inculcate it upon others, and lead the way. He could have addressed his exhortation at once summarily to all men, as indeed he mentions people in general terms; but by thrice specifying princes he suggests that they are slow to discharge the duty, and need to be urged to it. --John Calvin.
Verse 11. "Kings of the earth"; "judges of the earth"; these are not proud but humiliating titles; for earthly kings and earthly judges will not be kings and judges long.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- The universal King. Alone in excelling. Supreme in glory.
- The universal summons. Of all nations, ranks, classes and ages. Foreshadowing the Judgment.
- The universal duty: praise, -- constant, emphatic, growing. --W.B.H.