Psalm 24#sn Psalm 24. The psalmist affirms the universal kingship of the sovereign creator, reminds his people that only the morally pure are qualified to worship him, and celebrates his splendor as a mighty warrior king.
A psalm of David.
1 The Lord owns the earth and all it contains,
the world and all who live in it.
2 For he set its foundation upon the seas,
and established#tn The prefixed verbal form is understood as a preterite, referring to the creation of the world. it upon the ocean currents.#sn He…established it upon the ocean currents. The description reflects ancient Israelite prescientific cosmology, which is based on outward appearances. The language also suggests that God’s creative work involved the subjugation of chaos, symbolized by the sea.
3 Who is allowed to ascend#tn The imperfects in v. 3 are modal, expressing potential or permission. the mountain of the Lord?#sn In this context the Lord’s mountain probably refers to Zion/Jerusalem (see Isa 2:2-3).
Who may go up to his holy dwelling place?
4 The one whose deeds are blameless
and whose motives are pure,#tn Heb “the innocent of hands and the pure of heart.” The “hands” allude to one’s actions, the “heart” to one’s thought life and motives.
who does not lie,#tn Heb “who does not lift up for emptiness my life.” The first person pronoun on נַפְשִׁי (nafshiy, “my life”) makes little sense here; many medieval Hebrew mss support the ancient versions in reading a third person pronoun “his.” The idiom “lift the life” here means to “long for” or “desire strongly.” In this context (note the reference to an oath in the following line) “emptiness” probably refers to speech (see Ps 12:2).
or make promises with no intention of keeping them.#tn Heb “and does not swear an oath deceitfully.”
5 Such godly people are rewarded by the Lord,#tn Heb “he (the righteous individual described in v. 4) lifts up a blessing from the Lord.” The singular subject is representative here, as v. 6 makes clear. The referent (godly people like the individual in v. 4) has been specified in the translation for clarity. The imperfect verbal form is generalizing; such people are typically rewarded for their deeds.
and vindicated by the God who delivers them.#tn “and vindication from the God of his deliverance.”
6 Such purity characterizes the people who seek his favor,
Jacob’s descendants, who pray to him.#tn Heb “this [is the] generation of the ones seeking him, the ones seeking your face, Jacob.” To “seek the Lord’s face” means to seek his favor through prayer (see 2 Sam 21:1; Pss 27:8; 105:4).sn This verse presents a somewhat idealized view of Jacob’s descendants as devoted worshipers of the Lord. (Selah)
7 Look up,#tn Heb “lift up your heads.” The gates of the Lord’s dwelling place are here personified. The idiom “lift up the head” often means “be confident, bold” (see Judg 8:28; Job 10:15; Ps 83:2; Zech 1:21). you gates!
Rise up,#tn Heb “lift yourselves up.” you eternal doors!
Then the majestic king#tn Or “king of glory.” will enter!#tn Following the imperatives of the preceding lines, the prefixed verbal form with vav (ו) conjunctive indicates purpose or result.
8 Who is this majestic king?#sn Who is this majestic king? Perhaps the personified gates/doors ask this question, in response to the command given in v. 7.
The Lord who is strong and mighty!
The Lord who is mighty in battle!
9 Look up, you gates!
Rise up, you eternal doors!
Then the majestic king will enter!
10 Who is this majestic king?
The Lord who commands armies!#tn Traditionally, “the Lord of hosts,” a title which here pictures the Lord as a mighty warrior-king who leads armies into battle.
He is the majestic king! (Selah)