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The Jewish Study Bible Contextualizes the Hebrew Bible with accompanying scholarly text on Jewish traditions and history.

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Commentary on Psalms

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Ps. 47 :

Pss. 47; 93; 96–99 are called kingship psalms because they all explicitly refer to God as king. Ps. 47 , in the Korahite collection, shares many elements with the other kingship psalms; it is uncertain if they all functioned together in a ritual commemorating God's kingship or enthronement. If such a ritual existed in the biblical period, it may have been associated with the new year (postbiblical Rosh Ha‐Shanah, early biblical Sukkot; see Exod. 23.16 n. ), which in the rabbinic period has the kingship of God as one of its major themes. (See also introduction to Ps. 93 .) This understanding of the psalm developed in the early twentieth century, when an attempt was made to understand the ritual background of each psalm; most traditional Jewish interpreters understood the psalm eschatologically (see esp. Radak to v. 9 , who connects the theme of universal acknowledgment of God to Zech. 14.9 ). In the Middle Ages, Ps. 47 began to be recited on Rosh Ha‐Shanah before the blowing of the shofar (ram's horn), most likely under the influence of v. 6 .

2 :

It is unclear how the nations are being invoked; v. 10 seems to suggest that their representatives were actually present. The theme is thus God's universal kingship. This psalm may then be seen as an actualization of the immediately preceding Ps. 46.11 , “Desist! Realize that I am God! I dominate the nations; I dominate the earth.” Such close connections between adjacent psalms are unusual. Great noise and a joyous shout are part of the typical human coronation ritual (e.g., 1 Kings 1.39–40 ), here projected onto God. This suggests that this psalm may be viewed as an enthronement psalm, and that through a set of rituals, God was (re)enthroned annually.

3 :

The epithet great king, a popular epithet of Mesopotamian kings, is used of no Israelite king, perhaps because it was reserved for God as King.

4 :

The pride of Jacob seems to be a nickname of Israel or Jerusalem.

6 :

Ascends (“‘alah”) refers back to God as “Most High” (v. 3 , “‘elyon”; the Heb root is the same). It most likely refers to God ascending the royal throne.

7–8 :

Sing is repeated five times; perhaps the human king had a group of singers who entertained him. Angelic singing, or at least chanting to God as king, is described in Isa. 6.1–5 . The structure of these vv., an imperative followed by for, mirrors vv. 2–3 .

8 :

God is (or “has become”) king mirrors the human enthronement declaration; see, e.g., “Absalom has become king” (2 Sam. 15.10 ). God is seated on His holy throne describes God's re‐enthronement. In contrast to the human throne, only God's is holy. This throne may be in His heavenly or His earthly palace (see Ps. 2.4, 6 n. ).

10 :

Most likely this reflects a wish rather than a reality; it is difficult to believe that at any time the great of the peoples gathered to acknowledge the universal sovereignty of God. The final word, exalted (“na‘aleh”), reflects the theme of the psalm, and picks up on the usage of the root “‘‐l‐h” in vv. 3 and 6 (see v. 6 n. ).

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