DIVISION OF PSALM 47
The scope of this psalm is to stir us up to praise God, to stir up all people to do so; and,
I. We are directed in what manner to do it, publicly, cheerfully, and intelligently (v. 1, 6, 7).
II. We are furnished with matter for praise.
1. God's majesty (v. 2).
2. His sovereign and universal dominion (v. 2, 7-9).
3. The great things he had done, and will do, for his people (v. 3-5).
Many suppose that this psalm was penned upon occasion of the bringing up of the ark to Mount Zion which v. 5 seems to refer to ("God has gone up with a shout"); but it looks further, to the ascension of Christ into the heavenly Zion, after he had finished his undertaking on earth, and to the setting up of his kingdom in the world, to which the heathen should become willing subjects.3
In the superscription of 11 psalms the phrase "for the sons of Korah" appears (Ps.
88). The Hebrew word translated "for" is le, the preposition translated "of" in the phrase "a Psalm of David".
Korah's children escaped the punishment inflicted because of their father's rebellion against the authority of Moses (see
Numbers 16:1-35), and their descendants became leaders in the Temple worship (1 Chron. 6:22;
We cannot agree with those who think that the sons of Korah were the authors of these Psalms; they have all the indications of David's authorship that one could expect to see.
Every expert would detect here the autography of the Son of Jesse, or we are greatly mistaken. The Sons of Korah sang these Psalms, but we believe they did not write them.
Psalm 47 is a festal anthem of purest praise to Jehovah, who is exalted as God not only of Israel but of all nations on the earth. It may be considered a development of the theme of
Ps. 46:10. Psalms
46, 47 and
48 are closely related.
As an anthem for public worship Ps. 47 was probably sung antiphonally by two choruses, one singing vs. 1,2, and 5,6, alternating with the other singing v. 9.4
This triumphant psalm is read in the modern synagogue service on the New Year, before the sounding of the shophar (ram's horn); on that day the universal rulership of Jehovah is emphasized in the ritual.4