Psalms 87:0 ¶ A Psalm or Song for the sons of Korah.
This psalm was written for the sons of Korah to sing in praise of Zion, the city of God.
Psalms 87:1 ¶ His foundation is in the holy mountains.
Psalms 87:2 The Lord loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.
Psalms 87:3 Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. Selah.
The psalmist notes that it is the Lord that established the foundation (the beginning) of the city of Zion in “the holy mountains.” In looking at the Hebrew, this seems to be referencing God’s sanctuary. It was after Solomon’s prayer of dedication at the temple that the LORD declared Jerusalem to be the city He chose as His own over all the other cities in Israel, His chosen possession among all the nations on earth.
1 Kings 9:3 “And the LORD said unto him, I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, that thou hast made before me: I have hallowed this house, which thou hast built, to put my name there for ever; and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually.”
1 Kings 11:36 “And unto his son will I give one tribe, that David my servant may have a light alway before me in Jerusalem, the city which I have chosen me to put my name there.”
2 Chronicles 6:5–6 “Since the day that I brought forth my people out of the land of Egypt I chose no city among all the tribes of Israel to build an house in, that my name might be there; neither chose I any man to be a ruler over my people Israel: But I have chosen Jerusalem, that my name might be there; and have chosen David to be over my people Israel.”
Deuteronomy 7:6 “For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.”
The mountains of Zion are holy only because God designated them for His special purposes. The glorious things spoken of Zion would seem to fit with the reign of Solomon during which the temple was built and the nation more prosperous than at any other time in its history.
I liked Guzik’s list identifying many “glorious things” carried out by God in Jerusalem:
· “Glorious faith was exercised in Jerusalem
· Glorious things happened in Jerusalem
· Glorious things were taught in Jerusalem
· Glorious worship was offered in Jerusalem
· Glorious atonement was made in Jerusalem
· Glorious anointing was poured out in Jerusalem
· God’s glorious presence was evident in Jerusalem
· A glorious future awaits Jerusalem”
“Selah” – a pause, an opportunity for meditation
Psalms 87:4 ¶ I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to them that know me: behold Philistia, and Tyre, with Ethiopia; this man was born there.
The psalmist suddenly begins to make reference to the surrounding nations in which were born other men who “knew” God—Egypt (from Hebrew for “Rahab”), Babylon, Philistia, Tyre, and Ethiopia. The Hebrew for “know” allows for a wide possibility of interpretation, but I think the context is talking about those who had placed their faith in God. It would seem that these people are representative of all those from Gentile nations that would come to place their faith in God. From a spiritual perspective, they, too, can be considered with those born in Zion, the city of God, as His people.
Psalms 87:5 And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her: and the highest himself shall establish her.
Psalms 87:6 The Lord shall count, when he writeth up the people, that this man was born there. Selah.
The psalmist notes that all those born (spiritual birth of faith) in Zion, the city of God, will be recorded as belonging to Him. In the millennium, that will include every person physically born in Zion.
I liked this application from Spurgeon: “What a patent of nobility is it, for a man to have it certified that he was born in Zion; the twice born are a royal priesthood, the true aristocracy, the imperial race of men.”
“Selah” – a pause, an opportunity for meditation
Psalms 87:7 As well the singers as the players on instruments shall be there: all my springs are in thee.
“springs” – a source of satisfaction
In other words, the music of singers and instrumentalists will all recognize Zion as the source of their satisfaction in life. It is in Zion that the LORD Jesus will rule as King of kings in the glorious millennial kingdom.
I loved this quote from Spurgeon: “How truly does all our experience lead us to look to the Lord by faith and say, "all my fresh springs are in thee." The springs of my faith and all my graces; the springs of my life and all my pleasures; the springs of my activity and all its right doings; the springs of my hope, and all its heavenly anticipations, all lie in thee, my Lord. Without thy Spirit I should be as a dry well, a mocking cistern, destitute of power to bless myself or others. O Lord, I am assured that I belong to the regenerate whose life is in thee, for I feel that I cannot live without thee; therefore, with all thy joyful people will I sing thy praises.”