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Psalms: Chapter 98

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A psalm.

1Sing to the LORD a new song, for He has worked wonders; His right hand, His holy arm, has won Him victory. 2The LORD has manifested His victory, has displayed His triumph in the sight of the nations. 3He was mindful of His steadfast love and faithfulness toward the house of Israel; all the ends of the earth beheld the victory of our God. 4Raise a shout to the LORD, all the earth, break into joyous songs of praise! 5Sing praise to the LORD with the lyre, with the lyre and melodious song. 6With trumpets and the blast of the horn raise a shout before the LORD, the King. 7Let the sea and all within it thunder, the world and its inhabitants; 8let the rivers clap their hands, the mountains sing joyously together 9at the presence of the LORD, for He is coming to rule the earth; He will rule the world justly, and its peoples with equity.

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Ps. 98 :

This kingship psalm highlights the military victory of God. It is closely related to Ps. 96 : Both open with the same formula, Sing to the Lord a new song, and the conclusion of this psalm is a variant of the conclusion of 96. Both emphasize the role of nature in praising God, and both mention God's kingship in the middle rather than at the beginning. In fact, Ps. 98 can be seen as an actualized version of Ps. 96. Ps. 96.3 commands: “Tell of His glory among the nations, His wondrous deeds, among all peoples,” and 98.3 claims (in the past): “all the ends of the earth beheld the victory of our God.”

1 :

The short superscription, A psalm, is unique in Psalms; the LXX introduces all of the kingship psalms with “A psalm of David.” This psalm collapses the typically longer summons to worship and motivation (introduced by “ki,” for) into a single v.; see introductory note to Ps. 95 . Like many of the other kingship psalms, this too shows affinities to Deutero‐Isaiah; compare vv. 1–2 with Isa. 52.10 : “The LORD will bare His holy arm / In the sight of all the nations, / And the very ends of earth shall see / The victory of our God.”

3 :

Steadfast love and faithfulness are often connected to covenant obligations.

4–8 :

These mirror the noisy acclaim of the new king (see 47.2 n. ), a common motif in the kingship psalms.

6 :

The mention of the horn (“shofar”) is especially significant given 1 Kings 1.39 , concerning the coronation of Solomon: “They sounded the horn (“shofar”) and all the people shouted, ‘Long live King Solomon!‘‐” This and other affinities to the coronation ritual may suggest that these psalms celebrate the (re)enthronement of God, perhaps during an annual ritual. The central significance of the shofar or ram's horn in the Rosh Ha‐Shanah (New Year) celebration may be a remnant of this biblical ritual.

7–8 :

See 96.11–12 . These vv. possibly allude to the myth concerning the rebellion of the waters (see Ps. 93 ), in which case they suggest that the sea and rivers have been totally subdued, and are now paying homage to God. Thus, this v. may not merely be a personification of the sea (so Rashi, Radak), but may contain a recollection of the Sea as a deity.

8 :

Another strong connection to Deutero‐Isaiah; see Isa. 55.12 : “Yea, you shall leave in joy and be led home secure. / Before you, mount and hill shall shout aloud, / And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.”

9 :

A variant of 96.13 .

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