Psalm 50:2
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined.
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(2) Perfection of beautyi.e., Zion, because the Temple, the residence of Jehovah, was there. (Comp. Psalm 48:2; Lamentations 2:15; 1 Maccabees 2:12.)

Hath shined.—Comp. Psalm 80:1; Deuteronomy 33:2. A natural figure of the Divine manifestation, whether taken from the dawn or from lighting.

Psalm 50:2. Out of Zion — The place where he was supposed to reside, and where he would now sit in judgment; the perfection of beauty — The most amiable place of the whole world, because of the presence, and worship, and blessing of God; God hath shined — Hath manifested himself in a glorious manner; hath illustriously displayed his infinite and glorious perfections. Some versions read it, Out of Zion, with perfection of beauty, God hath shined, or will shine.

50:1-6 This psalm is a psalm of instruction. It tells of the coming of Christ and the day of judgment, in which God will call men to account; and the Holy Ghost is the Spirit of judgement. All the children of men are concerned to know the right way of worshipping the Lord, in spirit and in truth. In the great day, our God shall come, and make those hear his judgement who would not hearken to his law. Happy are those who come into the covenant of grace, by faith in the Redeemer's atoning sacrifice, and show the sincerity of their love by fruits of righteousness. When God rejects the services of those who rest in outside performances, he will graciously accept those who seek him aright. It is only by sacrifice, by Christ, the great Sacrifice, from whom the sacrifices of the law derived what value they had, that we can be accepted of God. True and righteous are his judgments; even sinners' own consciences will be forced to acknowledge the righteousness of God.Out of Zion - The place where God was worshipped, and where he dwelt. Compare the notes at Isaiah 2:3.

The perfection of beauty - See the notes at Psalm 48:2.

God hath shined - Has shined forth, or has caused light and splendor to appear. Compare Deuteronomy 33:2; Psalm 80:2; Psalm 94:1 (see the margin) The meaning here is, that the great principles which are to determine the destiny of mankind in the final judgment are those which proceed from Zion; or, those which are taught in the religion of Zion; they are those which are inculcated through the church of God. God has there made known his law; he has stated the principles on which he governs, and on which he will judge the world.


Ps 50:1-23. In the grandeur and solemnity of a divine judgment, God is introduced as instructing men in the nature of true worship, exposing hypocrisy, warning the wicked, and encouraging the pious.

1-4. The description of this majestic appearance of God resembles that of His giving the law (compare Ex 19:16; 20:18; De 32:1).

The place where he was supposed to reside, and where he would now sit in judgment; or from whence he would come to a more public and conspicuous place, where all the world might see and hear the transactions.

The perfection of beauty; the most beautiful and amiable place of the whole world, because of the presence, and worship, and blessing of God, which was there, and there only. God hath shined, i.e. hath appeared or manifested himself in a glorious manner, as judges do when they come to the judgment-seat.

Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined. Or "shall shine" (p); the past for the future, as Kimchi observes; or "the perfection of the beauty of God hath shined out of Zion" (q); that is, Christ; he is the perfection of beauty; he is fairer than the children of men; he is more glorious than the angels in heaven: as Mediator, he is full of grace and truth, which makes him very lovely and amiable to his people: he is the express image of his Father's person; and the glory of all the divine perfections is conspicuous in his work of salvation, as well as in himself: now as he was to come out of Zion, Psalm 14:7; that is, not from the fort of Zion, or city of Jerusalem; for he was to be born at Bethlehem; only he was to be of the Jews, and spring from them; so he shone out, or his appearance and manifestation in Israel was like the rising sun; see Malachi 4:2; and the love and kindness of God in the mission and gift of him appeared and shone out in like manner, Titus 3:4; or else the Gospel may be meant, which has a beauty in it: it is a glorious Gospel, and holds forth the beauty and glory of Christ. All truth is lovely and amiable, especially evangelical truth: it has a divine beauty on it; it comes from God, and bears his impress; yea, it is a perfection of beauty: it contains a perfect plan of truth, and is able to make the man of God perfect; and this was to come out of Zion, Isaiah 2:3; and which great light first arose in Judea, and from thence shone out in the Gentile world, like the sun in all its lustre and glory, Titus 2:11; or, according to our version, "God hath shined out of Zion"; which, as Ben Melech on the text observes, is the perfection of beauty; see Lamentations 2:15; by which is meant the church under the Gospel dispensation, Hebrews 12:22; which, as in Gospel order, is exceeding beautiful; and as its members are adorned with the graces of the Spirit, by which they are all glorious within; and especially as they are clothed with the righteousness of Christ, and so are perfectly comely through the comeliness he hath put upon them and here it is that Christ, who is the great God, and our Saviour, shines forth upon his people, grants his gracious presence, and manifests himself in his ordinances, to their great joy and pleasure.

(p) "emicabit", Tigurine version; "vel effulgebit", Vatablus; "illucescet", Amama, Grotius. (q) So De Dieu.

Out of Zion, the {c} perfection of beauty, God hath shined.

(c) Because God had chosen it to have his Name there called on and also his image shines there in the doctrine of the law.

2. Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty] This rendering is certainly preferable to that of P.B.V., ‘Out of Zion hath God appeared in perfect beauty.” Cp. Psalm 48:2; and Lamentations 2:15, which unites phrases taken from both Psalms. In 1Ma 2:12 the Temple is called “our beauty and our glory.” Zion is now the abode of Jehovah, where He sits enthroned upon the cherubim (Psalm 80:1). From thence, as of old from Sinai, He hath shined forth (R.V.): a word specially used of that dazzling blaze of light which is the symbol of God’s Presence. Cp. Deuteronomy 33:2; Psalm 80:1; Psalm 94:1.

Verse 2. - Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty (comp. Psalm 48:2; Lamentations 2:15; 1 Macc. 2:12). God hath shined; i.e. has shown himself in his dazzling radiance. The psalmist, however, does not mean to announce a material, but a spiritual, fact. Psalm 50:2The theophany. The names of God are heaped up in Psalm 50:1 in order to gain a thoroughly full-toned exordium for the description of God as the Judge of the world. Hupfeld considers this heaping up cold and stiff; but it is exactly in accordance with the taste of the Elohimic style. The three names are co-ordinate with one another; for אל אלהים does not mean "God of gods," which would rather be expressed by אלהי האלהים or אל אלים. אל is the name for God as the Almighty; אלהים as the Revered One; יהוה as the Being, absolute in His existence, and who accordingly freely influences and moulds history after His own plan - this His peculiar proper-name is the third in the triad. Perfects alternate in Psalm 50:1 with futures, at one time the idea of that which is actually taking place, and at another of that which is future, predominating. Jahve summons the earth to be a witness of the divine judgment upon the people of the covenant. The addition "from the rising of the sun to its going down," shows that the poet means the earth in respect of its inhabitants. He speaks, and because what He speaks is of universal significance He makes the earth in all its compass His audience. This summons precedes His self-manifestation. It is to be construed, with Aquila, the Syriac, Jerome, Tremellius, and Montanus, "out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, Elohim shineth." Zion, the perfect in beauty (cf. the dependent passage Lamentations 2:15, and 1 Macc. 2:12, where the temple is called ἡ καλλονὴ ἡμῶν), because the place of the presence of God the glorious One, is the bright spot whence the brightness of the divine manifestation spreads forth like the rising sun. In itself certainly it is not inappropriate, with the lxx, Vulgate, and Luther, to take מכלל־יפי as a designation of the manifestation of Elohim in His glory, which is the non pius ultra of beauty, and consequently to be explained according to Ezekiel 28:12, cf. Exodus 33:19, and not according to Lamentations 2:15 (more particularly since Jeremiah so readily gives a new turn to the language of older writers). But, taking the fact into consideration that nowhere in Scripture is beauty (יפי) thus directly predicated of God, to whom peculiarly belongs a glory that transcends all beauty, we must follow the guidance of the accentuation, which marks מכלל־יפי by Mercha as in apposition with ציּון (cf. Psychol. S. 49; tr. p. 60). The poet beholds the appearing of God, an appearing that resembles the rising of the sun (הופיע, as in the Asaph Psalm 80:2, after Deuteronomy 33:2, from יפע, with a transition of the primary notion of rising, Arab. yf‛, wf‛, to that of beaming forth and lighting up far and wide, as in Arab. sṭ‛); for "our God will come and by no means keep silence." It is not to be rendered: Let our God come (Hupfeld) and not keep silence (Olshausen). The former wish comes too late after the preceding הופיע (יבא is consequently veniet, and written as e.g., in Psalm 37:13), and the latter is superfluous. אל, as in Psalm 34:6; Psalm 41:3, Isaiah 2:9, and frequently, implies in the negative a lively interest on the part of the writer: He cannot, He dare not keep silence, His glory will not allow it. He who gave the Law, will enter into judgment with those who have it and do not keep it; He cannot long look on and keep silence. He must punish, and first of all by word in order to warn them against the punishment by deeds. Fire and storm are the harbingers of the Lawgiver of Sinai who now appears as Judge. The fire threatens to consume the sinners, and the storm (viz., a tempest accompanied with lightning and thunder, as in Job 38:1) threatens to drive them away like chaff. The expression in Psalm 50:3 is like Psalm 18:9. The fem. Niph. נשׂערה does not refer to אשׁ, but is used as neuter: it is stormed, i.e., a storm rages (Apollinaris, ἐλαιλαπίσθη σφόδρα). The fire is His wrath; and the storm the power or force of His wrath.
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