Tom Lowe


Psalm 96

(A liturgical psalm, an exhortation to praise God for his greatness and for His goodness)


Title: The King Who Has Come To Judge the World

Theme: A Psalm of praise for when the Lord Jesus shall reign over the whole earth.



Scripture (Psalm 96)


 1 O sing unto the Lord a new song: sing unto the Lord, all the earth.

Sing unto the Lord, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day.

Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people.

For the Lord is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods.

For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the Lord made the heavens.

Honour and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.

Give unto the Lord, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the Lord glory and strength.

Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts.

O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.

10 Say among the heathen that the Lord reigneth: the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously.

11 Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof.

12 Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice

13 Before the Lord: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.



Among the most complete of the psalms created for the annual festival of the enthronement of the Lord is Psalms 96.  It was inevitable that the annual ceremony which year after year exalted the Lord as King would be a stimulus for the creation of new hymns: a new hymn for the New Year, a new hymn for the present-day leaders of worship with regard to the recurring festal days in the church calendar—to make them meaningful, to fill them with significant spiritual teaching, to save them from mere pageantry and ritual.  Among the Temple priests there were poets who put their feeling for the days deeper meaning into hymns that would communicate it to the rank and file of worshippers.





 1 O sing unto the Lord a new song: sing unto the Lord, all the earth.


O SING UNTO THE LORD A NEW SONG―This psalm opens with an appeal to praise, which is directed to ALL THE EARTH. LET ALL THE EARTH blaze a new trail of praise to God.  But what is to be the content of the praise song?  That is revealed in verses two and three.


A NEW SONG denotes either:

  1. a song of peculiar excellence, for this is the sense of how the term new is repeatedly taken in the Scriptures. He has done extraordinary things for us, so we should excel in giving praise and thanksgiving to Him; or
  2. the word new implies that there was some fresh occasion for celebrating the praises of God; or
  3. some truth relating to the divine character had now been made known, which could not well be expressed in any psalm or hymn then in use; or
  4. it is a call on all to celebrate the praises of the Lord in a “new” song―new, for the most part, because it calls on “ALL THE EARTH” to join together in a song of praise; or
  5. possibly this was intended to suggest the idea that while that temple stood, a dispensation would exist, under which the distinction between the Jews and the Gentiles would be broken down, and all mankind would unite in the praise of God.


SING UNTO THE LORD, ALL THE EARTH. ALL THE EARTH is not the whole land of Israel only, which is what some commentators understand, but all the nations of the earth, for now they may partake of those same great blessings and privileges which had been peculiar to Israel. It was there that the Savior first appeared, taught His doctrines, wrought His miracles, suffered, and died for the salvation of His people; there the angels first begun the new song; and there those that believed in Him first expressed that spiritual joy which afterwards spread through the whole world, and who are here called upon to sing; namely, all those that are redeemed from among men, throughout all the earth [believing Gentiles are intended here]. But not one of them could be redeemed till they had heard, believed, and were sealed: “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 1:13). [When you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. There is a contrast here between the Jewish believers, looking on in hope and gladly embracing its fulfillment, and the Gentiles, who had no such hope, and who therefore waited “for the message of truth” (the full truth, not veiled in type or symbol), the glad tidings of a present salvation. The greater emphasis laid on the latter process seems intended to impress on the Gentiles a sense of the simpler and fuller means by which they were led to Christ.] Unbelievers cannot have a true conception of God, except as their enemy; and, therefore, all their verbal praises go unheard.


Sing unto the Lord, bless his name; shew forth his salvation from day to day.


SING UNTO THE LORD, BLESS HIS NAME, which is repeated to show the passion of the speaker and the importance of the work God is doing. Since this is the third time that the word Lord or Jehovah is mentioned, some have been led to think of the trinity of Persons, Father, Son, and Spirit; the one God in three persons, Jehovah, to whom the new song of salvation is to be sung, because of their joyful interest in it―the Father has designed it, the Son has fashioned it, and the Spirit applies it.


SHEW FORTH HIS SALVATION. Other things that praise of God should include are recognition of His intercession on our behalf, confession of salvation which takes in deliverance from external evils, and an appeal for spiritual help.  

He undertook the SALVATION of His people, and that has been completed; publish that as a piece of good news, as glad tidings. Here the word salvation is used to signify even evangelizing, or preaching the Gospel; for this is the Gospel, the sum and substance of it, salvation by Jesus Christ. This may be considered as directed to ministers of the Gospel, whose work it is, more particularly, to show the salvation of Christ to sinful men; to point Him out as a personal Savior; to declare that this salvation is done, is available for sinners, is full and complete; is freely given to one and all, and it is available now to whosoever will place their faith in Jesus Christ.


This may have referred originally to what he had done to save the people in time of danger, but the language also expresses salvation in a higher sense―salvation from sin and death, and as such it may be employed to express what God has done for mankind―for all people, Jews and Gentiles―in providing a way of salvation, and making it possible for them to reach heaven. This is something for which all people can praise our Almighty God.


FROM DAY TO DAY, or rather, continually; always. Salvation is a fitting subject for unceasing praise. Every man should praise God every day when he awakes in the morning, and every evening before he lies down on his bed. He should thank God for the assurance that there is a way of salvation provided for him, and “that he may be happy forever.” If we had the correct feelings, this would be the first thought which would burst upon our mind each morning, glimmering like sunbeams, all around us; and it would be the last thought which would linger in our soul as we lie down at night, and close our eyes in sleep―making us grateful, calm, and happy, as we sink into rest, for whether we wake-up in this world or not, we may be happy forever.


Declare his glory among the heathen, his wonders among all people.

DECLARE HIS GLORY AMONG THE HEATHEN―among the nations; the people who are not Hebrews. The meaning is, ‘Let it be proclaimed in all lands, among all people.’ Let it not be confined to those who profess to be His people, but let it be proclaimed everywhere. This is copied literally from 1 Chronicles 16:24: “Declare his glory among the heathen; his marvelous works among all nations.” Praise of God includes witnessing to the world of His majesty.  The psalmist calls on the people of the earth to bless the nature of God, that is, to adore Him on bended knee.  The main thing which the enthronement always set in new perspective was God as the active being, working on behalf of His people.


[DECLARE] HIS WONDERS AMONG ALL PEOPLE means to declare the wonderful deeds He has accomplished, especially the creation of the world.  Those wonderful deeds, of course, include all His “marvelous works;” those things which are able to produce astonishment in the mind. The reference is to those works and actions of God which lie so far beyond the power of any created being, and which by their vastness, their wisdom, and their kindness, are well-suited to produce a deep impression on the human mind.


For the Lord is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods.


FOR THE LORD [Yahweh] IS GREAT. The psalmist grounds his summons to praise God in the perfections of His nature; in the works of His hands―creation, providence, and redemption; and in the offices He holds and executes. His greatness of character sets Him above all divine beings in the praise of humanity He deserves.


This verse is taken literally from 1 Chronicles 16:25: “For great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised: he also is to be feared above all gods.”


AND GREATLY TO BE PRAISED. The reason everyone should praise the Lord is that He is greater and more glorious than all that are called gods, but are only lifeless idols, and He is the creator of all things. All our most exalted praises fall infinitely short of His greatness.


 HE IS TO BE FEARED ABOVE ALL GODS. He is to be revered and adored above all that are called gods, for even if it were admitted that they were real gods, yet it would still be true that they were local and inferior divinities, that they ruled only over the particular countries where they were worshipped and acknowledged as gods, and that they had no claim to “universal” adoration as Yahweh has. And He is to be revered and adored above the angels by whom He is worshipped, above all civil magistrates and judges over whom he presides, and above all the fictitious deities of the Gentiles, who are not to be named with him, and to whom no fear, reverence, and worship, are due. Higher honor is to be given Him; more lofty praise is to be ascribed to Him. He is Ruler over all the earth, and has a claim to universal praise.


At this time the might of the world-power was at its height, and threatened destruction to the small state of Judea. But faith assured the people of God that their Yahweh is superior to all the vain gods of the world; and prophecy comforted them with the prospect that idolaters will, at last, recognize Yahweh alone


For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the Lord made the heavens.


FOR ALL THE GODS OF THE NATIONS ARE IDOLS: All those reputed or worshipped as gods among the heathen are nothing more than futility, emptiness, uselessness. Instead of being Elohim, they are elilim [insufficiency, worthlessness]; they are not God, they are nothing. "JEHOVAH MADE THE HEAVENS." He who is the creator is alone worthy of praise.


BUT THE LORD MADE THE HEAVENS. He is the Creator.  HE MADE THE HEAVENS.  This is one of the things which make Him worthy of praise.  And this exalts Him above all idols, which cannot make anything but are themselves made (See Isaiah 44:10-20).  We feel the appropriateness of this theme of the Lord as Creator when we recall that each New Years Day God ascends His throne and brings a renewal of creation.  The psalmist is reflecting the discernment of the great Prophet of the Exile as he thinks of the new things the Creator King is about to do in the new year. The prophet said: “Thus saith the Lord, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel . . . Behold, I will do a new thing . . .” (Isaiah 43:14, 19).


Honour and majesty are before him: strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.


HONOUR AND MAJESTY ARE BEFORE HIM. The Lord Christ having sit down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens [the throne of God the Father], has HONOR AND MAJESTY laid upon Him. He is arrayed in robes of majesty, crowned with glory and honor, and sits on the same throne of glory as His Father. In His hand there is a scepter of righteousness, and all the forms and signs of royalty and majesty are placed about him. Rays of light and glory radiate from Him; as well as those glorious and bright forms before him; the holy angels that are continually praising Him.


Does this refer to the cloud of His glory that preceded the ark in their journeying through the wilderness?


STRENGTH AND BEAUTY ARE IN HIS SANCTUARY. The words STRENGTH AND BEAUTY, and glory and strength (96:7), are those by which the ark is described: “And delivered his strength into captivity, and his glory into the enemy's hand.” (Psalm 78:61).


Christianity alone has combined these two ideals of the world. STRENGTH AND BEAUTY are dissimilar, but not contradictory. Yet we seldom find them united in the national ideals of ancient or modern times. To the Hebrew BEAUTY was a secondary and a minor ideal compared with the strength of moral restraint and attainment. STRENGTH was for men, and BEAUTY perhaps was good enough for women. But the point of our text is that Christianity combines STRENGTH AND BEAUTY into one harmony of character, which both men and women should seek to acquire. But these two qualities are difficult to combine. They are not spoken so much of the architecture of the sanctuary as of the symbolic significance of its structure and furnishings, as “patterns of things in the heavens”―“For there was a tabernacle made; the first, wherein was the candlestick, and the table, and the showbread . . .” (Hebrews 9:2)  . . . “It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these” (Hebrews 9:23)―above all, its worship, and the manifestations of God to His devout worshippers―“To see thy power and thy glory, so as I have seen thee in the sanctuary” (Psalms 63:2)


In the sanctuary, where His worshippers are, is STRENGTH AND BEAUTY. 


Give unto the Lord, O ye kindreds of the people, give unto the Lord glory and strength.


 GIVE UNTO THE LORD [Yahweh]The “GIVE,” or ascribe, is uttered three times, twice in verse seven and once in verse eight, indicating the sincerity and enthusiasm of the speaker. Psalms 29:1-2 is similar: “Ascribe to the LORD, O sons of the mighty, Ascribe to the LORD glory and strength. Ascribe to the LORD the glory due to His name; Worship the LORD in holy array.”


O YE KINDREDS OF THE PEOPLE, by who are meant the Gentiles, the nations of the world, who were to be blessed in the seed of Abraham. Even His people were chosen and redeemed out of every kindred, tongue, people, and nation; and taken out from among them for a people to His name. The prophet Malachi prophesied the acceptance of the Gentile world into fellowship with God, as follows. “From the rising of the sun even to the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the Gentiles” (Malachi 1:11).


GIVE UNTO THE LORD GLORY AND STRENGTH, that is, proclaim that these belong to God; or, worship Him as a God of glory and power. To declare His GLORY AND STRENGTH is the same as declaring the glory of His strength.  By refusing to celebrate God, man irreverently denies Him the honors due Him.  He adds, “Give unto the Lord the glory of His name” (96:8); an expression which implies that God borrows nothing from without, but is aware of all that is worthy of praise in Himself. He calls upon the Gentile nations in so many words to render unto God the same worship which the Jews did; not that we must worship God now according to the outward ritual which was prescribed under the Law, but he signifies that there would be one rule and one form of religion which all nations should adhere to. Now, unless the middle wall of partition had been broken down, the Gentiles could not have entered along with God’s children into the courts of the sanctuary. So that we have here a clear prediction of the calling of the Gentiles, who needed to have their uncleanness taken away before they could be brought into the holy assembly.


Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come into his courts.


GIVE UNTO THE LORD THE GLORY DUE UNTO HIS NAME or “GIVE UNTO THE LORD the glory of his name,” for His name is glorious and excellent, because of His nature and accomplishments, because of His marvelous works, and because of the benefits and blessings He has bestowed on His creatures. It is therefore, right and proper to give Him His due, and their duty, to give Him glory. Psalm 66:2 states, “Sing forth the honor of His name: make His praise glorious.” The idea expressed in our translation is this: Bring to God what is due to Him; or, render such an acknowledgment as He deserves and claims. Acknowledge Him as God, and acknowledge Him to be a great God and the true God, and the only God; which He is. Let the honor due to God be given Him; and let the honor due to Him, for the character which He actually has, be ascribed to Him.


The word “Jehovah,” or “LORD,” is mentioned three times; once in this verse and twice in the preceding verse. When we give glory to God our thoughts may be led to the trinity of Persons, Father [Jehovah], Son, and Spirit, to whom glory is to be equally given.


BRING AN OFFERING. This is language taken from the temple-worship, and means that God is to be worshipped in the manner which He has prescribed, which is a suitable expression of His majesty. The word rendered “OFFERING” is commonly used to denote a “bloodless” offering; a thank-offering. Isaiah said, “Stop bringing me your meaningless gifts; the incense of your offerings disgusts me! As for your celebrations of the new moon and the Sabbath and your special days for fasting--they are all sinful and false. I want no more of your pious meetings” (Isaiah 1:13).


Judea was desolate, and their cities burned. This awakened them to bring sacrifices and offerings, as if they would bribe God to remove the punishment, and give them leave to go on in their sin. Many, who will readily part with their sacrifices, will not be persuaded to part with their sins. They relied on the mere form of religion as a service deserving a reward. The most costly devotions of wicked people, without thorough reformation of heart and life, cannot be acceptable to God. He not only did not accept them, but he abhorred them. All this shows that sin is very hateful to God. If we allow ourselves secret sin, or forbidden cravings; if we reject the salvation of Christ, our very prayers will become an abomination.


AND COME INTO HIS COURTS, that is, the courts or areas around the tabernacle and the temple, where animals and birds for sacrifices were sold, and where the people worshipped. Jesus reacted violently to conducting business in “HIS COURTS”―“Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out all the people buying and selling animals for sacrifice. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves” (Matthew 21:12). Christ found some of the courts of the temple turned into a market for cattle and things used in the sacrifices, and partly occupied by the money-changers. Our Lord drove them from the place, as he had done at the beginning of His ministry, John 2:13-17. If Christ came now into many parts of His visible church, how many secret evils would He discover and cleanse! And how many things practiced daily under the cloak of religion, would He find to be more suitable to a den of thieves than to a house of prayer!


O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.


O WORSHIP THE LORD IN THE BEAUTY OF HOLINESS. In this and the three preceding verses there is a noticeable allusion to the form of addresses made to kings in the ancient Middle-Eastern nations. Kings were arrayed, and seated in a majestic manner, with all the marks of royal honor and dignity about them. Their subjects must approach them with acclamations of praise for their generosity, greatness, and achievements; bringing presents in their hands, and bowing down to the ground before them, and expressing the utmost awe and reverence of them, as in the next clause.


By “THE LORD, both Jews and Christians generally agree that the Messiah is meant.


IN THE BEAUTY OF HOLINESS [The reference is to the place where the Lord was to be worshipped when the tabernacle and temple existed.] has been given several meanings, such as O WORSHIP THE LORD IN― 

  • the temple, the obvious residence of Jehovah, which was remarkable for its beauty and elegance.
  • the courts of the temple.
  • the holy place which He appointed for that purpose. The holy place that is clothed with all those holy ornaments, those gifts and graces, which are necessary and required in God’s worship.


FEAR BEFORE HIM, ALL THE EARTH; or, “all the inhabitants of the earth.” It is the duty of all men to fear [worship] the Lord; but none can fear [worship] him correctly without His grace, or a heart given to them that will fear [respect] Him; this has to do with the last days, when the Jews shall seek the Lord, and fear [respect] Him and His goodness; when all nations shall fear [Tremble]  and worship Him; when, from the rising of the sun to its going down, the name of the Lord shall be great and tremendous among the Gentiles―“Afterward the Israelites will return and seek the LORD their God and David their king. They will come trembling to the LORD and to his blessings in the last days” (Hosea 3:5).


10 Say among the heathen that the Lord reigneth: the world also shall be

established that it shall not be moved: he shall judge the people righteously.


SAY AMONG THE HEATHEN, that is, among the nations; all nations. Make this proclamation everywhere. This is a directive to those who were converted to Christ from among the Jews, or were first called out from among the Gentiles; or to the ministers of the word, the apostles and the first preachers of the Gospel, especially those who were sent into all the world to preach the Gospel to every creature, in order that a people from among them might be taken for the Lord.


THAT THE LORD REIGNETH―This passage expresses the Messianic hope (Psalms 96:13), but here, as in Malachi 4:6 [“And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”], there is no thought of any personal Messiah. Yahweh Himself is the deliverer. Once more, we have an example of scholarly blindness apparently due to lack of knowledge of the New Testament. Jesus Christ the Messiah, is indeed a `Personal Messiah, and God Himself in the person of His only begotten Son, who in the New Testament is declared to be "God" in no less than a dozen passages (John 1:1; 1:18; 20:28; Acts 20:38; Romans 9:5…)


The REIGN of Jehovah was announced by John the Baptist as, “The Kingdom of God” and declared to be at hand in the year 26 A.D. That reign began on the first Pentecost after the resurrection of Christ and is in progress at the present time.


The Gospel of the LORD should be received and obeyed, and His ordinances submitted to. At the present time, He reigns in heaven at his Father's right hand, and must reign until all His enemies are put under His feet. He reigns in the hearts of His people by His Spirit and grace, and He will reign more gloriously in His churches as we approach the End-Times, and with his saints for a thousand years in the New Jerusalem church state; and, after that, throughout all eternity in heaven―this is one part of the Gospel, or good tidings to be published among the Gentiles, “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns!” (Isaiah 52:7).


THE WORLD ALSO SHALL BE ESTABLISHED THAT IT SHALL NOT BE MOVED. THE WORLD ALSO SHALL BE ESTABLISHED under the reign of God; not the natural material world, for that shall pass away, and no longer exist. It shall burn up, and everything on it, including man, but that will not happen till all the elect of God are gathered in. Christ will maintain it by His power, so THAT IT SHALL NOT BE MOVED till the work is completed. Moreover, the church, in however fluctuating and unsettled a condition it may be in now, will be established on the top of the mountains, SO THAT IT SHALL NOT BE MOVED. The Gospel dispensation is what will remain unto the end of time; and the Gospel is an everlasting one that will continue on to the second coming of Christ; and He will be with His churches to the end of the world. During the spiritual reign of Christ, the world will be in such a stable and tranquil state that there will be no disorder in it, nor will there be wars, and rumors of wars; and the new heavens and new earth shall never pass away.


The meaning, in a nut shell, is that the government of God is fixed and stable. It is not temporary, changing, vacillating, like the governments of the earth, but is steadfast and abiding, and is well represented by the earth―so fixed and firm that nothing can move it from its place.


HE SHALL JUDGE THE PEOPLE RIGHTEOUSLY; the people of all lands; the nations of the earth. He reigns over His people in a righteous manner, with a scepter of righteousness, according to the rules of righteousness, by righteous laws and ordinances; He justifies His people with His own righteousness; He forms the new man in them, which is created in righteousness, and sets up a kingdom within them, which consists of righteousness; and he protects and defends them, and keeps them safe from all their enemies.


 His judgment is going on continually, as typified in Revelation 6:2 under the image of the Conquering Savior on the White Horse. This judgment is being accomplished by the sacred inspired words of the Holy Apostles of Christ, in a spiritual sense, “Sitting upon twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of the children of Israel” (the New Israel, which is the Church) (Matthew 19:28). That this interpretation is correct appears in the fact that this judgment of mankind through the word of the Apostles of Christ will take place “in the times of the regeneration,” that is, in the times when men are being saved, which is, without any doubt whatsoever, the present age.


11 Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad; let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof.


LET THE HEAVENS REJOICE, AND LET THE EARTH BE GLAD―Let all worlds be full of joy, for the reason that they are all interested in the fact stated here. The universe is one. It has been made by the same hands; it is under the control of the same intellect; it is governed by the same laws. The God who reigns on earth reigns in heaven; and what affects one part of the universe affects all. Hence, in all the manifestation of the character of God, whether made in heaven or in the earth, it is proper to call on all the universe to partake in the general joy.


AND LET THE EARTH BE GLAD; the righteous of the earth at the coming kingdom of Christ; at what is said and done in the Gentile world. Let the hosts of heaven be glad, for as they rejoice at the conversion of a single sinner, they must be supposed to rejoice much more at the conversion of multitudes in the Gentile world, and at the increase of the Redeemer's kingdom there; and will be called upon to do it, when the fullness of the Gentiles is brought in, and Babylon is fallen: “Rejoice over her, you heavens! Rejoice, you people of God! Rejoice apostles and prophets! For God has judged her with the judgment she imposed on you” (Revelation 18:20).  This is said by the voice from heaven (Revelation 18:4), which having called upon the saints to come out of Babylon, and to take vengeance on her, now calls upon all good men to rejoice at her ruin.


LET THE SEA ROAR, AND THE FULNESS THEREOF; the roaring of the waves is the voice of the sea, which sometimes speaks terror, and here expresses joy: LET THE SEA ROAR in praise to God. It is not uncommon in the Scriptures to call on inanimate things to praise God (Psalm 148:7-9). The same thing is common in all poetry.


Its FULLNESS is not merely the abundance of its waves or the multitude of its fishes; but that which fills it, all that it contains. That is, let everything that dwells in the seas praise God. His reign is an occasion for universal gladness. All in the inanimate world; all among the irrational tribes (the heathen) of beings; all in the air, in the waters, or on the earth, have reasons to praise, and would render praise if they could appreciate the wisdom and goodness shown in their creation. Though unconscious, the lower creatures seem to celebrate His praise; but only man can give intelligent praise and thanksgiving.


12 Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein: then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice


LET THE FIELD BE JOYFUL, AND ALL THAT IS THEREIN.  This is a call on the fields―the cultivated portions of the earth―to rejoice in the reign of God. As if conscious of the beauty with which He clothes them, and of the happiness which they confer on man in their beauty and in the abundance of fruits and flowers produced, of a wilderness becoming a fruitful field, and for that reason should rejoice, even with joy and singing: “The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus” (Isaiah 35:1). They are called on to praise God.


THEN SHALL ALL THE TREES OF THE WOOD REJOICE. The forests [THE WOOD] ―the oaks, the cedars, the pines that wave with so much majesty SHALL REJOICE. If they were conscious of their own magnificence and beauty―if they could see how much wisdom and goodness God has lavished on them, in their forms, their branches, their leaves, their flowers, their fruit―if they could know how much they are made to accomplish in making the world beautiful, and in contributing to the happiness of man―if they understood what a bare, bleak, cold, desert world this would be if it wasn’t for them, they, too, would have abundant occasions for praise and joy.


13 Before the Lord: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.


BEFORE THE LORD; meaning in the presence and at the approach of their Lord and Maker―facing Him, in His presence; meeting Him as He comes, and rejoicing at His coming: this clause is to be joined to everyone in the two preceding verses.


FOR HE COMETH, FOR HE COMETH; which is repeated to show the certainty of Christ's coming, and the importance of it, and the just reason there was for the joy and gladness on account of it, as noted above. And it may also be as others have observed, to call attention to both the first and second coming of Christ, which are both a matter of joy for the saints. His first coming, which was from heaven into this world, in a very lowly and gloomy manner, to save the chief of sinners, to procure peace, pardon, righteousness, and eternal life for them, and therefore, it was for them a matter of joy. His second coming, will also originate in heaven, but in an extremely glorious manner, without sin; and He will set up His throne among all the nations of the earth. It will happen as follows.


TO JUDGE THE EARTH; meaning the inhabitants of it, small and great, high and low, rich and poor, bond and free, quick and dead, righteous and wicked; when all works, words, and thoughts, good and bad, will be brought to account; and every man will be judged, based on whether they are with or without the grace of God.


HE SHALL JUDGE THE WORLD WITH RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND THE PEOPLE WITH HIS TRUTH; according to the rules of justice and fairness. He will correctly discern their spiritual condition and judge fairly; his judgment will be according to His truth; He will prove Himself to be the righteous Judge, and His judgment will appear to be a righteous judgment; for which he is abundantly qualified, for He is the Lord God omniscient and omnipotent, holy, just, and true: “For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead” (Acts 17:31).


The judgment day is fixed by God in His eternal purposes, and is sure and certain, and will come, though the time is not known by men or angels. This is a reason why God will have the doctrine of repentance published everywhere, both to Jews and Gentiles, since all must come to judgment. On that day, He will judge the world in righteousness; the whole world will be judged, and every individual in it, good and bad, righteous and wicked; and this judgment will be a righteous one; it will proceed according to the strict rules of justice and equity, and upon the foot of the righteousness of Christ, which is either received or rejected by men, and men are clothed in His righteous or their own filthy rags.