Psalm 96:13

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 13. Before the LORD: for he cometh. Even now he is near, his advent should, therefore, be the cause of immediate rejoicing: already are we in his presence, let us worship him with delight.

For he cometh to judge the earth, to rule it with discretion; not to tax it, and control it by force, as kings often do, but to preside as magistrates do whose business it is to see justice carried out between man and man. All the world will be under the jurisdiction of this great Judge, and before his bar all will be summoned to appear. At this moment he is on the road, and the hour of his coming draweth nigh. His great assize is proclaimed. Hear ye not the trumpets? His foot is on the threshold.

He shall judge the world with righteousness. His essential rectitude will determine all causes and cases, there will be no bribery and corruption there, neither can error or failure bc found in his decisions.

And the people with his truth, or rather "the nations in faithfulness." Honesty, veracity, integrity, will rule upon his judgment seat. No nation shall be favoured there, and none be made to suffer through prejudice. The black man shall be tried by the same law as his white master, the aboriginal shall have justice executed for him against his civilised exterminator, the crushed and hunted Bushman shall have space to appeal against the Boer who slaughtered his tribe, and the South Sea Islander shall gain attention to his piteous complaint against the treacherous wretch who kidnapped him from his home. There shall be true judgment given without fear or favour. In all this let the nations be glad, and the universe rejoice.

In closing, let us ourselves join in the song. Since the whole universe is to be clothed with smiles, shall not we be glad? As John Howe observes, "Shall we not partake in this common dutiful joy, and fall into concert with the adoring loyal chorus? Will we cut ourselves off from this happy obsequious throng? And what should put a pleasant face and aspect upon the whole world, shall it only leave our faces covered with clouds, and a mournful sadness?"

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 13. For he cometh, for he cometh. Because the thing was hard to be believed, the Prophet asserts twice that God should come, that he should be Judge and King, and Governor of all. Martinus Bucerus in Expos. Ecclesiast.

Verse 13. He cometh. Not awby, "he shall come;" but jpfl ab, "he cometh;" to show how near the time is. It is almost daybreak, and the court is ready to sit: "The Judge standeth at the door," James 5:9 . Thomas Watson.

Verse 13. To judge. Vatablus remarks that to judge is the word used instead of to reign, judicare pro regere, because judges in the early days of the Holy Land exercised the power both of kings and magistrates. The Lord comes to be to all nations a wiser judge than Samuel, a greater champion than Samson, a mightier deliverer than Gideon. C. H. S.

Verse 13. He cometh to judge the earth. That is, to put earth in order, to be its Gideon and Samson, to be its ruler, to fulfil all that the Book of Judges delineates of a judge's office. It is, as Hengstenberg says, "a gracious judging," not a time of mere adjudication of causes or pronouncing sentences -- it is a day of jubilee. It is the happiest day our world has ever seen. Who would not long for it? Who is there that does not pray for it? It is the day of the Judge's glory, as well as of our world's freedom -- the day when "the judgement of this world" ( John 12:31 16:11), which his cross began and made sure, is completed by the total suppression of Satan's reign, and the removal of the curse. All this is anticipated here; and so we entitle this Psalm, The glory due to him who cometh to judge the earth. Andrew A. Bonar.

Verse 13. He cometh to judge the earth, etc. In this new song they take up the words of Enoch, the seventh from Adam ( Jude 1:14 ), who preached of the Coming of the Lord to judge the world. Chr. Wordsworth.