Psalms 47 Summary - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
This Psalm is an expansion of the thought of Psa 46:10. Zion’s King is the true ‘great King’ (Psa 48:2), the King of all the earth. All nations are summoned to pay homage to the God who has proclaimed and proved His supremacy by His recent triumph over the heathen. The occasion of the Psalm was probably the same as that of Psalms 46, 48, though the allusions to the circumstances are less definite, and the resemblances to the prophecies of Isaiah are less marked than in those Psalms. But it celebrates a recent victory, after which God, who had ‘come down’ to fight for His people (Isa 31:4), had ‘ascended up’ in triumph to heaven ( Psa 47:5). The discomfiture of Sennacherib was precisely such a triumph; a lesson, as Isaiah repeatedly implies, to the nations not less than to Judah, of Jehovah’s supreme sovereignty.
The similarity of the Psalm to Psalms 93, 96-99, has led many commentators to connect it with the Return from Exile. There seems however to be scarcely sufficient reason for separating it from the Psalms between which it stands, and with both of which it has links of connexion.
It is rightly regarded as a Messianic Psalm, inasmuch as it looks forward to the submission of all the nations of the world to Jehovah as their King; and it has naturally, on account of Psa 47:5, been used from ancient times as a special Psalm for Ascension Day. Not that Psa 47:5 is a prophecy of the Ascension; the context makes it plain that it cannot be so regarded. But the words originally spoken of Jehovah’s return to His throne in heaven (as we speak) after His triumph over the deadly enemies of His people, may be legitimately applied to the return of Christ to heaven after His triumph over sin and death, to take His seat upon His throne of glory at the right hand of God.
It is the New Year’s Day Psalm of the Synagogue, recited seven times previous to the blowing of the Trumpets, which marked that festival (Num 29:1).
The Psalm consists of three stanzas:
i. An universal summons to praise Jehovah, the King of all the earth, who has chosen Israel to be His people (Psa 47:1-4).
ii. A repeated summons to sing His praises, in view of the recent manifestation of His sovereignty (Psa 47:5-7).
iii. The ultimate realisation of that sovereignty in the homage of the princes of the nations (Psa 47:8-9).
Consult other comments:
The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges
The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges is a biblical commentary set published in parts by Cambridge University Press from 1882 onwards. Anglican bishop John Perowne was the general editor. The first section published was written by theologian Thomas Kelly Cheyne and covered the Book of Micah.
Perowne exercised limited editorial control over the writers of individual commentaries: his aim was "to leave each contributor to the unfettered exercise of his own judgment".