The earth is the LORD's, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The Lord’s.—The majesty of Jehovah as Lord of the universe is a reason to the psalmist for insisting on rectitude and sincerity in those who become His worshippers. St. Paul uses the same truth, referring to this place (1Corinthians 10:26), to show that all things are innocent and pure to the pure; so that a Christian (apart from a charitable regard for the weak) may eat whatever is sold in the shambles, without troubling himself to inquire whether it has been offered to idols or not.Psalm 24:1. The earth is the Lord’s — The psalmist begins with a representation of God’s dominion over this world in general, and his providential presence in every part of it. After which follows a declaration of his special presence in his tabernacle. And the fulness thereof — All the creatures are the Lord’s, and especially the inhabitants wherewith the earth is replenished. God’s general dominion over, and interest in, all persons and places, seem to be here premised and asserted, 1st, To show his right to choose any nation that he pleased to be his peculiar people: 2d, To set forth his singular kindness and mercy to Israel, whom he chose out of all the nations of the world to be near to him, and to have a special acquaintance with him, although, otherwise, he had no other relation to them than what he had to all mankind, namely, that of Creator and Governor: and, 3d, To demonstrate the excellence of the Jewish religion above all others, because the God whom they served was the God and Maker of the world, whereas the gods of the Gentiles were but dumb and deaf idols, and esteemed even by themselves to be but local and confined deities.
And the fulness thereof - All which it contains; everything which goes to "fill up" the world: animals, minerals, vegetables, people. All belong to God, and He has a right to claim them for His service, and to dispose of them as He pleases. This very language, so noble, so true, and so suitable to be made conspicuous in the eyes of human beings, I saw inscribed in a place where it seemed to be most appropriate, and most adapted to arrest and direct the thoughts of men - on the front of the Royal Exchange in London. It was well to remind the great merchants of the largest commercial city in the world of the truth which it contains; it does much to describe the character of the British nation that it should be inscribed in a place so conspicuous, and, as it were, on the wealth of that great capital.
The world - The word used here - תבל têbêl - is a poetic word, referring to the earth considered as fertile and inhabited - the "habitable" globe; the same as the Greek, οἰκουμένη oikoumenē.
And they that dwell therein - All the inhabitants of the earth, embracing men and animals of all kinds. Compare Psalm 50:10-11. God has a claim on people - upon their services, upon their talents, upon all that they can acquire by labor and skill; He has a right to all that fly in the air, or that walk the earth, or that swim in the sea. On the occasion on which it is supposed that this psalm was written, in bringing up the ark of God, and placing it in the tabernacle provided for it in the capital of the nation, no sentiment could be more appropriate than that which would recognize the universal supremacy of God.
Ps 24:1-10. God's supreme sovereignty requires a befitting holiness of life and heart in His worshippers; a sentiment sublimely illustrated by describing His entrance into the sanctuary, by the symbol of His worship—the ark, as requiring the most profound homage to the glory of His Majesty.
world—the habitable globe, with
2 For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.
How very different is this from the ignorant Jewish notion of God which prevailed in our Saviour's day. The Jews said, "The holy land is God's, and the seed of Abraham are his only people;" but their great Monarch had long before instructed them, - "The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof." The whole round world is claimed for Jehovah, "and they that dwell therein" are declared to be his subjects.
Man lives upon "the earth," and parcels out its soil among his mimic kings and autocrats; but the earth is not man's. He is but a tenant at will, a lease-holder upon most precarious tenure, liable to instantaneous ejectment. The great Landowner and true Proprietor holds his court above the clouds and laughs at the title-deeds of worms of the dust. The fee-simple is not with the lord of the manor nor the freeholder, but with the Creator. The "fulness" of the earth may mean its harvests, its wealth, its life, or its worship; in all these senses the Most High God is Possessor of all. The earth is full of God; he made it full and he keeps it full, notwithstanding all the demands which living creatures make upon its stores the sea is full, despite all the clouds which rise from it; the air is full, notwithstanding all the lives which breathe it; the soil is full, though millions of plants derive their nourishment from it. Under man's tutored hand the world is coming to a greater fulness than ever, but it is all the Lord's; the field and the fruit, the earth and all earth's wonders are Jehovah's. We look also for a sublimer fulness when the true ideal of a world for God shall have been reached in millennial glories, and then most clearly the earth will be the Lord's, and the fulness thereof. These words are now upon London's Royal Exchange, they shall one day be written in letters of light across the sky.
The term "worm" indicates the habitable regions, wherein Jehovah is especially to be acknowledged as Sovereign. He who rules the fish of the sea and the fowl of the air should not be disobeyed by man, his noblest creature. Jehovah is the Universal King, all nations are beneath his sway: true Autocrat of all the nations, emperors and czars are but his slaves. Men are not their own, nor may they call their lips, their hearts, or their substance their own; they are Jehovah's rightful servants. This claim especially applies to us who are born from heaven. We do not belong to the world or to Satan, but by creation and redemption we are the peculiar portion of the Lord.
Paul uses this verse twice, to show that no food is unclean, and that nothing is really the property of false gods. All things are God's; no ban is on the face of nature, nothing is common or unclean. The world is all God's world, and the food which is sold in the shambles is sanctified by being my Father's, and I need not scruple to eat thereof.
In the second verse we have the reason why the world belongs to God: namely, because he has created it, which is a title beyond all dispute. "For he hath founded it upon the seas." It is God who lifts up the earth from out of the sea, so that the dry land, which otherwise might in a moment be submerged, as in the days of Noah, is kept from the floods. The hungry jaws of ocean would devour the dry land if a constant fiat of Omnipotence did not protect it. "He hath established it upon the floods." The world is Jehovah's, because from generation to generation he preserves and upholds it, having settled its foundations. Providence and Creation are the two legal seals upon the title-deeds of the great Owner of all things. He who built the house and bears up its foundation has surely a first claim upon it. Let it be noted, however, upon what insecure foundations all terrestrial things are founded. Founded on the seas! Established on the floods! Blessed be God the Christian has another world to look forward to, and rests his hopes upon a more stable foundation than this poor world affords. They who trust in worldly things build upon the sea; but we have laid our hopes, by God's grace, upon the Rock of Ages; we are resting upon the promise of an immutable God, we are depending upon the constancy of a faithful Redeemer. Oh! ye worldlings, who have built your castles of confidence, your palaces of wealth, and your bowers of pleasure upon the seas, and established them upon the floods; how soon will your baseless fabrics melt, like foam upon the waters! Sand is treacherous enough, but what shall be said of the yet more unstable seas? THE ARGUMENT
the world, and they that dwell therein; the habitable world, and the dwellers on it, rational and irrational. These words may be interpreted of Christ, who is Lord of all; he made the world, and has a right and claim to all things in it; for the same person is here spoken of as in the preceding psalm, under the character of a shepherd; and this shows him to be very fit and proper for such an office, seeing he cannot fail of feeding and protecting his sheep; nor can they want any good thing, since the fulness both of nature and of grace is with him; and hence it is that all things are theirs, whether the world, or things present, or things to come; and though they seem to have nothing, yet possess all things, they possessing him whose all things are. The apostle makes use of this passage of Scripture, to prove, explain, and direct in the use of Christian liberty, with respect to the free use of creatures, they all being the Lord's; and therefore good, and to be received with thanksgiving: and yet, inasmuch as there is a variety of them, such should be abstained from, when to use them serves to embolden evil men in their wicked ways, or offend and grieve weak Christians, 1 Corinthians 10:25.The earth is the LORD's, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)1. The earth is the Lord’s] Better, Unto Jehovah belongeth the earth. The natural order of the Heb. fixes the reader’s mind first on Him, Whose approach is the theme of the Psalm. For the same thought see Exodus 19:5; Deuteronomy 10:14 (R.V.); Psalm 50:12; Psalm 89:11. The words are quoted (from the LXX) in 1 Corinthians 10:26, to confirm the intrinsic lawfulness of eating whatever is sold in the market.
the world] Properly, the habitable part of the earth (Psalm 9:8); hence naturally supplemented by the mention of its inhabitants. The P.B.V., the compass of the world, was probably suggested by the Vulg., orbis terrarum.
1, 2. The unique Majesty of Him Who comes to take possession of His chosen dwelling-place. His sovereignty is not limited to a single nation or a single country. He is the Lord of all the world, for He is its Creator.Verse 1. - - The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof. God's glory was set forth in Psalm 19. from a consideration of the heavens (vers. 1-6); here it is manifested from the other half of creation - the earth. The whole earth, and all its fnlness, is his. He made it, and he remains its sole Owner and Master. There is no inferior δημιουργός, as some believed, who framed it and governs it. All its marvels, all its beauty, all its richness, proceed from God alone. The world, and they that dwelt therein. "The world" (תֵּבֵל) seems to be here synonymous with" the earth" (הָאָרֶצ). Not only do its material products belong to God, but its inhabitants also. Isaiah 40:11, Ezekiel 34:23, and other passages. If this has taken place, the רעי ה from the mouth of man finds its cordial response in the words ἐγὼ εἰμὶ ὁ ποιμὴν ὁ καλός. He who has Jahve, the possessor of all things, himself has all things, he lacks nothing; viz., כּ־טוב, whatever is good in itself and would be good for him, Psalm 34:11; Psalm 84:12. נאות דּשׁא are the pastures of fresh and tender grass, where one lies at ease, and rest and enjoyment are combined. נאה (נוה), according to its primary meaning, is a resting-or dwelling-place, specifically an oasis, i.e., a verdant spot in the desert. מי מנוּחת are waters, where the weary finds a most pleasant resting-place (according to Hitzig, it is a plural brought in by the plural of the governing word, but it is at any rate a superlative plural), and can at the same time refresh himself. נהל is suited to this as being a pastoral word used of gentle leading, and more especially of guiding the herds to the watering-places, just as הרבּיץ is used of making them to rest, especially at noon-tide, Sol 1:7; cf. ὁδηγεῖν, Revelation 7:17. שׁובב נפשׁ (elsewhere השׁיב) signifies to bring back the soul that is as it were flown away, so that it comes to itself again, therefore to impart new life, recreare. This He does to the soul, by causing it amidst the dryness and heat of temptation and trouble, to taste the very essence of life which refreshes and strengthens it. The Hiph. הנחה (Arabic: to put on one side, as perhaps in Job 12:23) is, as in Psalm 143:10 the intensive of נחה (Psalm 77:21). The poet glories that Jahve leads him carefully and without risk or wandering in מעגּלי־צדק, straight paths and leading to the right goal, and this למען שׁמו (for His Name's sake). He has revealed Himself as the gracious One, and as such He will prove and glorify Himself even in the need of him who submits to His guidance.
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