Psalm 96:13
Before the LORD: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.
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(13) For he cometh, for he cometh.—Notice the striking repetition, the natural expression of gladness.

Psalm 96:13. Before the Lord — At the presence and approach of their Lord and Maker. For he cometh to judge the earth — To take to himself that power and authority which belong to him, and to set up his throne and dominion above all the nations of the earth. He shall judge the world with righteousness — He shall reform the earth, and govern mankind by righteous and merciful laws; and the people with his truth — Or, in his faithfulness; that is, so as he has promised to do. He will certainly and abundantly fulfil all his promises made to his people, and faithfully keep his word with all those that observe his commandments. “The coming of Christ,” says the last-mentioned author, “is two-fold; first, he came to sanctify the creature, and he will come again to glorify it. Either of his kingdoms, that of grace or that of glory, may be signified by his judging the world in righteousness and truth. If creation be represented as rejoicing at the establishment of the former, how much greater will be the joy at the approach of the latter, seeing that notwithstanding Christ be long since come in the flesh, though he be ascended into heaven, and have sent the Spirit from thence, yet the whole creation, as the apostle speaks, Romans 8:22, groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now, expecting to be delivered from the bondage of corruption, &c., yea, we ourselves also, who have the first-fruits of the Spirit, groan within ourselves, waiting for the redemption of the body; when, at the renovation of all things, man, new made, shall return to the days of his youth, to begin an immortal spring, and be for ever young.”

96:10-13 We are to hope and pray for that time, when Christ shall reign in righteousness over all nations. He shall rule in the hearts of men, by the power of truth, and the Spirit of righteousness. His coming draws nigh; this King, this Judge standeth before the door, but he is not yet come. The Lord will accept the praises of all who seek to promote the kingdom of Christ. The sea can but roar, and how the trees of the wood can show that they rejoice we know not; but He that searches the heart knows what is the mind of the Spirit, and understands the words, the broken language of the weakest. Christ will come to judge the earth, to execute just vengeance on his enemies, and to fulfil his largest promises to his people. What then are we? Would that day be welcome to us? If this be not our case, let us now begin to prepare to meet our God, by seeking the pardon of our sins, and the renewal of our souls to holiness.Before the Lord - This is altered from 1 Chronicles 16. The language there is simply, "Then shall the trees of the wood sing out at the presence of the Lord, because he cometh to judge the earth." The meaning here is, that all these things have occasion to praise the Lord whenever he appears; to rejoice in the presence of Him who has made them what they are.

For he cometh - That is, he will come. He will manifest himself as a righteous judge. He will come to reign over the world, and there will be in his reign universal occasion for joy. The allusion would seem to be to some future time when God would come to reign among people; to dispense justice; to vindicate his people, and to establish truth. The "language" is such as would properly refer to the anticipated reign of the Messiah, as a reign of righteousness, and is such language as is frequently employed in the Old Testament to denote the character of his reign. There is no reason to doubt that this psalm may be "designed" to describe the reign of the Messiah, and that the psalmist in this language may have looked forward to that future kingdom of righteousness and peace.

For he cometh to judge the earth ... - See this language explained in the notes at Psalm 72:2-4; and the notes at Isaiah 11:2-5. What is here stated occurs now, wherever the gospel reigns in the hearts of people; it will be fully accomplished when the Lord Jesus shall come again and judge the world.

11-13. For which reason the universe is invoked to unite in joy, and even inanimate nature (Ro 8:14-22) is poetically represented as capable of joining in the anthem of praise. Before the Lord; at the presence and approach of their Lord and Maker.

To judge the earth; to take to himself that power and authority which belongs to him, to set up his throne and dominion among all the nations of the earth.

With his truth; or, in his faithfulness, i.e. so as he hath promised to do. He will certainly and abundantly fulfil all God’s promises made to his people.

Before the Lord,.... At the face of him, in his presence; meeting him as he comes, and rejoicing at his coming: this clause is to be joined to everyone in the two preceding verses:

for he cometh, for he cometh; which is repeated to show the certainty of Christ's coming, and the importance of it, and the just reason there was for the above joy and gladness on account of it; and it may be also, as Jerom and others have observed, to point out both the first and second coming of Christ, which are both matter of joy to the saints: his first coming, which was from heaven into this world, in a very mean and abject manner, to save the chief of sinners, to procure peace, pardon, righteousness, and eternal life for them, and therefore must be matter of joy: his second coming, which will be also from heaven, but in an extremely glorious manner, without sin, or the likeness of it, unto the salvation of is people: it will be as follows,

to judge the earth; the inhabitants of it, small and great, high and low, rich and poor, bond and free, quick and dead, righteous and wicked; when all works, words, and thoughts, good and bad, will be brought to account; and every man will be judged, as those shall be, with or without the grace of God:

he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth; according to the rules of justice and equity; he will truly discern and rightly judge; his judgment will be according to his truth; he will approve himself to be the righteous Judge, and his judgment will appear to be a righteous judgment; for which he is abundantly qualified, as being the Lord God omniscient and omnipotent, holy, just, and true; see Acts 17:31.

Before the LORD: for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.
13. Jehovah comes to establish His righteous rule on earth. The predominant aspect of judgement here is not punishment but government, although no doubt government must include punishment (Isaiah 11:3-4). The verse recurs in Psalm 98:9; and it is an echo of Psalm 9:8.

and the people with his truth] Rather, and the peoples in his faithfulness. Cp. Psalm 92:2.

The last two lines are omitted in Chron.

Verse 13. - For he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth (see above, ver. 10). This is given as the reason for the burst of joy. God's coming to judgment is the establishment of moral order in the place of moral disorder upon the earth, and the inauguration of a reign of love, peace, and happiness (comp. Isaiah 65:18-25). He shall judge the world with righteousness (see above, ver. 10, and comp. Psalm 9:8). The judgment which the psalmist has specially in view is, "not a retributive, but a gracious judging, by which controversies are adjusted and prevented, and the law of love introduced into the life of the people" (Hengstenberg). And the people with his truth; rather, the peoples; i.e. all the nations on the face of the earth.

Psalm 96:13The chronicler changes שׂדי into the prosaic השּׂדה, and כל־עצי־יעל with the omission of the כל into עצי היּער. The psalmist on his part follows the model of Isaiah, who makes the trees of the wood exult and clap their hands, Psalm 55:12; Psalm 44:23. The אז, which points into this festive time of all creatures which begins with Jahve's coming, is as in Isaiah 35:5. Instead of לפני, "before," the chronicler has the מלּפני so familiar to him, by which the joy is denoted as being occasioned by Jahve's appearing. The lines Psalm 96:13 sound very much like Psalm 9:9. The chronicler has abridged Psalm 96:13, by hurrying on to the mosaic-work portion taken from Psalm 105. The poet at the close glances from the ideal past into the future. The twofold בּא is a participle, Ew. 200. Being come to judgment, after He has judged and sifted, executing punishment, Jahve will govern in the righteousness of mercy and in faithfulness to the promises.
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