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Psalm 98


A Call to Praise the Lord for His Righteousness
MT Intro
A Psalm
A Song of Praise to the Lord for His Salvation and Judgment Hymn Proclaiming the Future Establishment of God's Kingship on the Earth God the Ruler of the World The Judge of the World
98:1-3 98:1-3 98:1-3 98:1-3 98:1
98:4-6 98:4-6 98:4-6 98:4-6  
98:7-9 98:7-9 98:7-9 98:7-9 98:7-8

READING CYCLE THREE (see "Guide to Good Bible Reading")


This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects (reading cycle #3). Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.



A. The universal element, so prominent in Psalms 96 and 97, continues (i.e., Ps. 98:3b, 4a, 7, 9a,b).

1. "in the sight of the nations," Ps. 98:2

2. "all the ends of the earth have seen," Ps. 98:3

3. "all the earth," Ps. 98:4

4. "the sea. . .all it contains," Ps. 98:7

5. "the world and those who dwell in it," Ps. 98:7

6. "to judge the earth," Ps. 98:9

7. "judge the world," Ps. 98:9

8. "the peoples," Ps. 98:9

Please read the Special Topic: YHWH's Eternal Redemptive Plan. It is the integrating center of my theology!

B. YHWH is coming as King and Judge to the whole world and especially to Israel. He is coming as the One who made promises to the Patriarchs (cf. Ps. 98:3a).

C. The first strophe has six perfects (completed action) which detail what YHWH has done (or will do; the time element in Hebrew verbs is determined by context).

1. has done wonderful things, Ps. 98:1

2. has gained victory, Ps. 98:1

3. has made known His salvation, Ps. 98:2

4. has revealed His righteousness, Ps. 98:2

5. has remembered His lovingkindness and faithfulness, Ps. 98:3

6. all the earth has seen His salvation, Ps. 98:3



 1O sing to the Lord a new song,
 For He has done wonderful things,
 His right hand and His holy arm have gained the victory for Him.
 2The Lord has made known His salvation;
 He has revealed His righteousness in the sight of the nations.
 3He has remembered His lovingkindness and His faithfulness to the house of Israel;
 All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.

98:1 "O sing to the Lord a new song" This is a Qal imperative. One can see why Psalm 95; 96; and 98 were placed close together in the Psalter by the editor(s).

The "new song" was a response from the covenant people to their God's deliverance, forgiveness, and displays of power (cf. Ps. 98:1b, 33:3:40:3; 96:1; 144:9; 149:1; Isa. 42:10; Rev. 5:9; 14:3). YHWH acted on their behalf. He, and He alone, was responsible (Ps. 98:1c). However, Ps. 37:40 shows that YHWH's salvation/deliverance is linked to human faith and faithfulness. The covenant (see SPECIAL TOPIC: COVENANT) combines YHWH's sovereign initiation and mankind's expected obedient, continuing response (see Special Topic: Election/Predestination and the Need for a Theological Balance).

Notice the number of verbs used in this Psalm that refer to making sounds.

1. sing, Ps. 98:1 - BDB 1010, KB 1479

2. make known, Ps. 98:2 - BDB 393, KB 390

3. shout joyfully, Ps. 98:4 - BDB 929, KB 1206

4. break forth, Ps. 98:4 - BDB 822, KB 953

5. sing for joy, Ps. 98:4 - BDB 943, KB 1247

6. sing praises, Ps. 98:4 - BDB 274, KB 273

7. sing praises, Ps. 98:5 - same as #6

8. shout joyfully, Ps. 98:6 - same as #3

9. sea roar, Ps. 98:7 - BDB 947, KB 1266

10. rivers clap, Ps. 98:8 - BDB 561, KB 567

11. mountains sing, Ps. 98:8 - same as #5, but Piel imperfect used in a jussive sense


▣ "wonderful things" See Special Topic: Wonderful Things.

▣ "hand" Theologically this is parallel to Isa. 52:10. The victory is His and His alone! See Special Topic: Hand.

▣ "have gained victory" This verb (BDB 446, KB 448, Hiphil perfect) means "to save," "to bring victory" (cf. Isa. 59:16; 63:5). The victory (depending on the contextual intended timeframe) could refer to

1. initial creation (i.e., victory over watery chaos, i.e., Ps. 65:7; 89:9-10; 93:34)

2. the exodus/conquest (cf. Isa. 51:9-10, i.e., Red Sea and Jordan River)

3. vanquishing the gods (elohim) of the nations (cf. Ps. 2:1; 65:7-8)

4. return from exile (cf. Isaiah 40-45)

5. ultimate victory over evil (i.e., Gen. 3:15; Matt. 1:21; Mark 10:45; 2 Cor. 5:21)



▣ "salvation" See Special Topic: Salvation (OT).

▣ "righteousness" See Special Topic: Righteousness.

▣ "in the sight of the nations" See Ps. 46:10 and Isa. 52:10. Not just so they can see, but that they might be changed and redeemed!

98:3 "His lovingkindness and His faithfulness to the house of Israel" This refers to YHWH's promises to the Patriarchs, beginning with Abraham (cf. Gen. 12:1-3; 15:1; 17:1-8; Ps. 105:8-15,42; 106:45).


Special Topic: Believe, Trust, Faith and Faithfulness in the OT

▣ "All the ends of the earth" See Contextual Insights, A.

The NIDOTTE, p. 521, has a list of how the phrase, "the ends of the earth," is used.

1. YHWH's name and praise - Ps. 48:10; Isa. 42:10

2. fear of God - Ps. 67:7

3. knowledge of God's rule - Ps. 59:13

4. the salvation of God - Ps. 98:3; Isa. 49:6; 52:10

5. His message of redemption - Isa. 48:20; 62:11

6. Messianic King's reign - Ps. 2:7; Micah 5:4

For me, this international, multi-ethnic, universal emphasis is the focus and fruition of "monotheism" (see SPECIAL TOPIC: MONOTHEISM).

The AB (pp. 365-366) revocalizes the two perfect verbs to make them imperatives.

1. "remember" - BDB 269, KB 269 (this would refer to Israel)

2. "see" - BDB 906, KB 1157 (this would refer to "all the ends of the earth")

Although this makes sense, it does not fit the string of perfects and the parallel between Ps. 98:2 and 3. The imperatives would fit better with the next strophe (Ps. 98:4-6).

 4Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth;
 Break forth and sing for joy and sing praises.
 5Sing praises to the Lord with the lyre,
 With the lyre and the sound of melody.
 6With trumpets and the sound of the horn
 Shout joyfully before the King, the Lord.

98:4-6 This strophe has six imperatives exhorting all humans to praise the God of Israel (cf. Ps. 98:3a). This may reflect a coronation celebration in Israel (cf. Ps. 47:5-9).

1. shout joyfully, Ps. 98:4 - BDB 929, KB 1206, Hiphil imperative

2. break forth, Ps. 98:4 - BDB 822, KB 953, Qal imperative

3. sing for joy, Ps. 98:4 - BDB 943, KB 1247, Piel imperative

4. sing praises, Ps. 98:4 - BDB 274, KB 273, Piel imperative

5. sing praises, Ps. 98:5 - same as #4

6. shout joyfully, Ps. 98:6 - same as #1

Israel and the whole earth rejoiced and proclaimed the faithfulness, fairness, holiness, power, and righteousness of the God of creation and redemption (see SPECIAL TOPIC: CHARACTERISTICS OF ISRAEL'S GOD).

This is not the world God created it to be! This is not the world it one day will be!

98:6 "horn" This is the shofar (BDB 1051). See SPECIAL TOPIC: HORNS USED BY ISRAEL.

 7Let the sea roar and all it contains,
 The world and those who dwell in it.
 8Let the rivers clap their hands,
 Let the mountains sing together for joy
 9Before the Lord, for He is coming to judge the earth;
 He will judge the world with righteousness
 And the peoples with equity.

98:7-9 The last strophe has three jussives expressing the need for personified creation (cf. Ps. 104:19-22) and humans to praise the righteous Judge of creation.

1. let the seas roar - BDB 947, KB 1266, Qal imperfect used in a jussive sense, cf. Ps. 96:11

2. let the world praise (implied in the parallelism but not stated)

3. let the rivers clap - BDB 561, KB 567, Qal imperfect used in a jussive sense

4. let the mountains sing - BDB 943, KB 1247, Piel imperfect used in a jussive sense, cf. Ps. 98:4b, 89:12; Isa. 55:12

Numbers 1 and 2 are parallel and denote humans. Numbers 3 and 4 are parallel and denote physical creation.

98:8 "He is coming" This is a Qal active participle. When thinking of YHWH "coming," several items must be emphasized.

1. He has never left. He is always here!

2. His special coming or presence can be for

a. blessings

b. judgment (as here, cf. Ps. 9:7-8; 96:13)

3. His coming brings the expectation of a new day (i.e., the restoration of the fellowship of Eden)

4. This theological concept has been supplemented by the two comings of the Messiah.

a. the first fulfilled most OT predictions

b. the second will consummate YHWH's reign



This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought provoking, not definitive.

1. What is the content of the "new song"?

2. What victory is Ps. 98:1 addressing?

3. How does Ps. 98:3 relate to Genesis 12?

4. What regular event in Israel's cultic calendar does Ps. 98:4-6 relate to?

5. Explain the different ways YHWH's coming can be understood.

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