Psalms 97

The Majestic King

1 The Lord reigns! Let the earth rejoice; let the many coasts and islands be glad.
2 Clouds and thick darkness surround Him; righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne.[a]
3 Fire goes before Him and burns up His foes on every side.
4 His lightning lights up the world; the earth sees and trembles.
5 The mountains melt like wax at the presence of the Lord [b]- at the presence of the Lord of all the earth.
6 The heavens proclaim His righteousness; all the peoples see His glory.
7 All who serve carved images, those who boast in idols, will be put to shame. All the gods[c] must worship Him.
8 Zion hears and is glad, and the towns[d] of Judah rejoice because of Your judgments,[e] Lord.
9 For You, Lord, are the Most High over all the earth; You are exalted above all the gods.[f]
10 You who love the Lord, hate evil![g] He protects the lives of His godly ones; He rescues them from the hand of the wicked.
11 Light dawns[h] [i] for the righteous, gladness for the upright in heart.
12 Be glad in the Lord, you righteous ones,[j] and praise His holy name.[k]

Psalms 97 Commentary

Chapter 97

The Lord Jesus reigns in power that cannot be resisted. (1-7) His care of his people, and his provision for them. (8-12)

Verses 1-7 Though many have been made happy in Christ, still there is room. And all have reason to rejoice in Christ's government. There is a depth in his counsels, which we must not pretend to fathom; but still righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne. Christ's government, though it might be matter of joy to all, will yet be matter of terror to some; but it is their own fault that it is so. The most resolute and daring opposition will be baffled at the presence of the Lord. And the Lord Jesus will ere long come, and put an end to idol worship of every kind.

Verses 8-12 The faithful servants of God may well rejoice and be glad, because he is glorified; and whatever tends to his honour, is his people's pleasure. Care is taken for their safety. But something more is meant than their lives. The Lord will preserve the souls of his saints from sin, from apostacy, and despair, under their greatest trials. He will deliver them out of the hands of the wicked one, and preserve them safe to his heavenly kingdom. And those that rejoice in Christ Jesus, and in his exaltation, have fountains of joy prepared for them. Those that sow in tears, shall reap in joy. Gladness is sure to the upright in heart; the joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment. Sinners tremble, but saints rejoice at God's holiness. As he hates sin, yet freely loves the person of the repentant sinner who believes in Christ, he will make a final separation between the person he loves and the sin he hates, and sanctify his people wholly, body, soul, and spirit.

Footnotes 11

  • [a]. Dt 4:11; 2 Sm 22:10
  • [b]. Mc 1:4
  • [c]. LXX, Syr read All His angels; Heb 1:6
  • [d]. Lit daughters
  • [e]. Ps 48:11
  • [f]. Ps 95:3; 96:4; 1 Ch 16:25
  • [g]. Am 5:15; Pr 8:13
  • [h]. One Hb ms, LXX, other versions read rises to shine; Ps 112:4
  • [i]. Lit Light is sown
  • [j]. Ps 32:11; 64:10; Jl 2:23
  • [k]. Lit praise the mention, or memory, of His holiness

Chapter Summary


This psalm is ascribed to David by the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions. It is of the same argument, and upon the same subject, as the preceding, the coming and kingdom of Christ; and that it respects his first coming into the world, when angels were called upon to worship him, appears from Ps 97:7 compared with Heb 1:6 though it is expressed in such language as seems to agree with his second coming; and, perhaps, both are included, with various things between the one and the other; or it respects the kingdom of Christ, from his first to his second coming; to which agrees the inscription of the Syriac version, which is

``a Psalm of David, in which he prophesies concerning the coming of the Messiah, and again he intimates in it his last appearance.''

Psalms 97 Commentaries

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