Psalm 98 – “Hymnic Call to Worship”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
The psalmist praises God’s victories and calls upon the people to sing to him.

II. Photo
A call to praise: “Sing praise to the Lord with the lyre, with the lyre and melodious song!” (v. 5)

III. Select Verses    
2: The LORD has manifested His victory, has displayed His triumph in the sight of the nations.
4-9: Raise a shout to the LORD, all the earth, break into joyous songs of praise!  Sing praise to the LORD with the lyre, with the lyre and melodious song.  With trumpets and the blast of the horn raise a shout before the LORD, the king. Let the sea and all within it thunder, the world and its inhabitants;  let the rivers clap their hands, the mountains sing joyously together at the presence of the LORD, for He is coming to rule the earth; He will rule the world justly, and its peoples with equity.

IV. Outline
1a. Superscription
1b. Call to worship and rationale
1c-3. Hymnic praise of God’s public victories
4-6. Hymnic call to praise
7-9a. Anticipated praise: nature
9b. Rationale: God has come to judge righteously

V. Comment
Psalm 98, which scholars label a “YHWH Kingship Psalm” (see v. 6), is a hymnic call to worship. As Gerstenberger notes, the psalm is very similar to Psalm 96:
1. The people are encouraged to sing a “new song”:

  • Psa. 98:1 A psalm. Sing to the LORD a new song, for He has worked wonders; His right hand, His holy arm, has won Him victory.
  • Psa. 96:1 Sing to the LORD a new song, sing to the LORD, all the earth.

2. God is praised amongst the nations:

  • Psa. 98:2 The LORD has manifested His victory, has displayed His triumph in the sight of the nations.
  • Psa. 96:3 Tell of His glory among the nations, His wondrous deeds, among all peoples.

3. Nature rejoices:

  • Psa. 98:7-8: Let the sea and all within it thunder, the world and its inhabitants; let the rivers clap their hands, the mountains sing joyously together
  • Psa. 96:11-12: Let the heavens rejoice and the earth exult; let the sea and all within it thunder,  the fields and everything in them exult; then shall all the trees of the forest shout for joy

4. God comes as a righteous judge:

  • Psa. 98:9 at the presence of the LORD, for He is coming to rule the earth; He will rule the world justly, and its peoples with equity.
  • Psa. 96:13 at the presence of the LORD, for He is coming, for He is coming to rule the earth; He will rule the world justly, and its peoples in faithfulness.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Gerstenberger, Erhard. Psalms Part 2 and Lamentations (Forms of Old Testament Literature; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2001).
Photo copied from http://coyc.cochorus.com/images/COYC.jpg

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