Psalm 98
Keil and Delitzsch OT Commentary
Greeting to Him Who Is Become Known in Righteousness and Salvation

This is the only Psalm which is inscribed מזמור without further addition, whence it is called in B. Aboda Zara, 24b, מזמורא יתומא (the orphan Psalm). The Peshמto Syriac inscribes it De redemtione populi ex Aegypto; the "new song," however, is not the song of Moses, but the counterpart of this, cf. Revelation 15:3. There "the Lord reigneth" resounded for the first time, at the sea; here the completion of the beginning there commenced is sung, viz., the final glory of the divine kingdom, which through judgment breaks through to its full reality. The beginning and end are taken from Psalm 96:1-13. Almost all that lies between is taken from the second part of Isaiah. This book of consolation for the exiles is become as it were a Castalian spring for the religious lyric.

A Psalm. O sing unto the LORD a new song; for he hath done marvellous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory.
Psalm 98:1 we have already read in Psalm 96:1. What follows in Psalm 98:1 is taken from Isaiah 52:10; Isaiah 63:5, cf. Psalm 98:7, Psalm 59:16, cf. Psalm 40:10. The primary passage, Isaiah 52:10, shows that the Athnach of Psalm 98:2 is correctly placed. לעיני is the opposite of hearsay (cf. Arab. l-l-‛yn, from one's own observation, opp. Arab. l-l-chbr, from the narrative of another person). The dative לבית ישראל depends upon ויּזכּר, according to Psalm 106:45, cf. Luke 1:54.

The LORD hath made known his salvation: his righteousness hath he openly shewed in the sight of the heathen.
He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.
The call in Psalm 98:4 demands some joyful manifestation of the mouth, which can be done in many ways; in Psalm 98:5 the union of song and the music of stringed instruments, as of the Levites; and in Psalm 98:6 the sound of wind instruments, as of the priests. On Psalm 98:4 cf. Isaiah 44:23; Isaiah 49:13; Isaiah 52:9, together with Isaiah 14:7 (inasmuch as פּצחוּ ורננוּ is equivalent to פּצחוּ רנּה). קול זמרה is found also in Isaiah 51:3.

Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm.
With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King.
Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
Here, too, it is all an echo of the earlier language of Psalms and prophets: Psalm 98:7 equals Psalm 96:11; Psalm 98:7 like Psalm 24:1; Psalm 98:8 after Isaiah 55:12 (where we find מחא כּף instead of the otherwise customary תּקע כּף, Psalm 47:2; or הכּה כּף, 2 Kings 11:12, is said of the trees of the field); Psalm 98:9 - Psalm 96:13, cf. Psalm 36:10. In the bringing in of nature to participate in the joy of mankind, the clapping rivers (נהרות) are original to this Psalm: the rivers cast up high waves, which flow into one another like clapping hands;

(Note: Luther renders: "the water-floods exult" (frohlocken); and Eychman's Vocabularius predicantium explains plaudere by "to exult (frohlocken) for joy, to smite the hands together prae gaudio;" cf. Luther's version of Ezekiel 21:17.)

cf. Habakkuk 3:10, where the abyss of the sea lifts up its hands on high, i.e., causes its waves to run mountain-high.

Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together
Before the LORD; for he cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity.
Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament, by Carl Friedrich Keil and Franz Delitzsch [1857-78].
Text Courtesy of Internet Sacred Texts Archive.

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