Psalms 87:4

4 “I will record Rahab[a] and Babylon among those who acknowledge me— Philistia too, and Tyre, along with Cush[b] — and will say, ‘This one was born in Zion.’ ”[c]

Psalms 87:4 in Other Translations

4 I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to them that know me: behold Philistia, and Tyre, with Ethiopia; this man was born there.
4 Among those who know me I mention Rahab and Babylon; behold, Philistia and Tyre, with Cush-- "This one was born there," they say.
4 I will count Egypt and Babylon among those who know me— also Philistia and Tyre, and even distant Ethiopia. They have all become citizens of Jerusalem!
4 I name them off, those among whom I'm famous: Egypt and Babylon, also Philistia, even Tyre, along with Cush. Word's getting around; they point them out: "This one was born again here!"
4 "I will mention those who know Me: Rahab, Babylon, Philistia, Tyre, and Cush- each one was born there."

Psalms 87:4 Meaning and Commentary

Psalms 87:4

I will make mention of Rahab
Not of Rahab the harlot, as Jerom and others of the ancients F25 interpret it; for the letters of both words are not the same in Hebrew; though mention is made of her in the Gospel, and Gospel times, in the genealogy of Christ, and by two of the apostles, ( Matthew 1:5 ) ( Hebrews 11:31 ) ( James 2:25 ) , but of Egypt; and so the Targum interprets it, which is so called, as it is in ( Psalms 89:10 ) ( Isaiah 51:9 ) either from the pride of its inhabitants, the word having in it the sense of pride and haughtiness, and these being naturally proud and haughty, as Philo F26 the Jew observes; or from some city of this name in it; or rather this respects that part of Egypt called Delta, which was in the form of a pear; which "raab", or "rib", in the Egyptian language, signifies; in the midst of which was the city of Athribis of Ptolemy F1, which has its name from hence, and signifies the heart of a pear; and still this part of the country is called Errifia, as Leo Africanus F2 relates, and is here put for the whole country: the passage respects the conversion of it, and are the words of God foretelling it, and of which mention is made in ( Isaiah 19:18 Isaiah 19:19 Isaiah 19:25 ) and had its accomplishment, at least in part, on the day of Pentecost, ( Acts 2:10 ) and will be further accomplished in the latter day, when the people that now inhabit that country shall be converted, which will be when the kingdoms of this world become Christ's: and Babylon; the country of the Assyrians and Chaldeans, of which Babylon was the metropolis: mention is made of the conversion of these in ( Isaiah 19:24 Isaiah 19:25 ) and which also was fulfilled, in part, on the day of Pentecost, ( Acts 2:9 ) and in Babylon there was a church, in the times of the Apostle Peter, ( 1 Peter 5:13 ) these the Lord promises that he would make mention of:

to them that know me;
says he, that so they might expect their conversion, and take notice of them, and receive them, when converted;

or among them that know me
F3; that is, I will make mention of them, as such that know me, and belong to that number; even such that love the Lord, believe in him, own and confess him, and yield obedience to him, and whom he takes into communion and fellowship with himself, and makes his friends, familiars, and acquaintance:

behold Philistia, and Tyre, with Ethiopia;
where also will be many converts, regenerate persons, and such as know the Lord; of which there has been a partial accomplishment already; of Philistia, see ( Acts 8:40 ) , for Azotus, or Ashdod, was a city of the Philistines; and of Tyre, see ( Psalms 45:12 ) ( Acts 21:3 Acts 21:4 ) and of Ethiopia, and its conversion, mention is made in ( Psalms 68:31 ) , and the Ethiopian eunuch is one instance of it, ( Acts 8:27 ) of all which there will be abundance of instances in the latter day; and thus, as the church is commended from her foundation, from the superlative love the Lord bears to her, and the glorious things spoken of her; so from the number of her converts in different nations, in which her glory in Gospel times would greatly lie; see ( Isaiah 49:18-21 ) ( 54:1-3 ) ( 60:4-8 ) ,

this man was born there;
not any particular man; any single individual, famous for piety, wisdom, wealth, or power; as if it suggested that now and then such a person might be born in the above countries; whereas in Zion there were frequently many such persons born: nor is it to be understood of the Messiah, that should come out of Zion, as if that was the reason why multitudes from the above places should flock thither, because of the birth of this illustrious Person: the Targum understands it of a great personage, a king; and paraphrases it,

``a king is educated there;''

but it designs many persons in each of those countries that should be born again, of water, and of the Spirit, of the incorruptible seed of grace, by the ministry of the word; who, because they should be regenerated by means of the Gospel preached in Zion, therefore are said to be born there; and besides, being born again, they are admitted members of Zion, and to all the privileges of Zion, as true born Israelites; and are brought up there, are nourished with the sincere milk of the word, and nursed with the breasts of Gospel ordinances there administered; and so Zion, or Jerusalem, the Gospel church, is truly the mother of them all, ( Galatians 4:26 ) .


F25 Aug. Euthymius, Theodoret, & alii, in Amama, Antibarbar. Bibl. I. 3. p. 820.
F26 De Agricultura, p. 196.
F1 Geograph. l. 4. c. 5.
F2 Descriptio Africae, l. 8. c. 2.
F3 (yedyl) "inter scientes me", Vatablus, Gejerus, Schmidt; "apud noscentes me", Junius & Tremellius; "apud familiares meos", Piscator; "apud notos meos", Amama.

Psalms 87:4 In-Context

2 The LORD loves the gates of Zion more than all the other dwellings of Jacob.
3 Glorious things are said of you, city of God:
4 “I will record Rahab and Babylon among those who acknowledge me— Philistia too, and Tyre, along with Cush — and will say, ‘This one was born in Zion.’ ”
5 Indeed, of Zion it will be said, “This one and that one were born in her, and the Most High himself will establish her.”
6 The LORD will write in the register of the peoples: “This one was born in Zion.”

Cross References 4

  • 1. S Job 9:13
  • 2. S 2 Samuel 8:1; Psalms 83:7
  • 3. Psalms 45:12; Joel 3:4
  • 4. Isaiah 19:25

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. A poetic name for Egypt
  • [b]. That is, the upper Nile region
  • [c]. Or "“I will record concerning those who acknowledge me:" / "‘This one was born in Zion.’" / "Hear this, Rahab and Babylon," / "and you too, Philistia, Tyre and Cush.”"
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