Psalm 87:6

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 6. The Lord shall count, when he writeth up the people, that this man was born there. At the great census which the Lord himself shall take, he will number the nations without exception and make an exact registry of them, whether they were by their natural descent Babylonians or Tyrians, or other far off heathen. May it be our happy lot to be numbered with the Lord's chosen both in life and death, in the church roll below, and in the church roll above. Jehovah's census of his chosen will differ much from ours; he will count many whom we should have disowned, and he will leave out many whom we should have reckoned. His registration is infallible. Let us pray then for that adoption and regeneration which will secure us a place among the heaven born. It was thought to be a great honour to have one's name written in the golden book of the Republic of Venice, kings and princes paid dearly for the honour, but the book of life confers far rarer dignity upon all whose names are recorded therein.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 6. -- The Lord will count (rpsy) record it in a book, when he writes up the people (~ym[ bwtkb) registers the several nations of the earth; that "this man, was born in" Sion. The Psalmist here describes the peculiar regard of God to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and figuratively represents him, as keeping a register of all the nations of the earth, and marking, as it were, in that register every one that was a citizen of Jerusalem, as thereby entitled to his distinguishing favour and protection. --Samuel Chandler.

Verse 6. -- This man was born there. When events shall be traced to their principles at the last day, many a scene will come forth into prominence, which now is of little regard. Humble churches will then prove to have been the birthplace, and stately palaces the graves of many an immortal soul, while every saved soul will ascribe its springs of glory to its Redeemer, through the instrumentality of that church, which he has ordained. -- Edward Garrard Marsh.

Verse 6. -- Selah. The Hebrew text addeth "Selah", which St. Jerome translates semper (always). For the Church, as a bride glorious in her husband, shall evermore be preached of; glorious things shall be spoken of her, and in her shall be continually sung the ineffable glory of the everlasting grace of God in Christ our Lord. And so the Jews for the most part interpret the word "Selah" by "everlasting". This is evident in their epitaphs, even as the Jewish epitaph is in Hebrew at Basle -- "His soul continues in Paradise, Amen, Amen, Amen, forever and ever." --Urbanus Regius (Le Roi) (1541) in "The Solace of Sion."

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 6. --

  1. "The Lord" will make the Census.
  2. He will "count" whether a man be rightly there or no.
  3. Every man truly born in Zion shall be admitted on the register.

Verse 6.

  1. The time referred to. "When he writeth up", & c.; when all the true Israel is saved.
  2. The account to be taken: "When he writeth up", & c., i.e. revises and reenters the names in the Lamb's Book of Life. Compares the called with the chosen.
  3. The test to be applied.

    1. Their being in Zion, or having the means of grace.

(b) Their being born there.

  1. The completion of their number: "The Lord shall count." An exact number of stones in a perfect building and of members in a perfect body. So in Christ's Church. All make one bride.
  2. The notice taken of each one: "This man was born there." Men fell as a whole; they are saved individually.

--G.R.