Psalms 98:0 ¶ A Psalm.
It is to be noted that there is a repetition of thoughts and ideas throughout the psalms—this one included.
Jewish Study Bible: “The short superscription, A psalm, is unique in Psalms; the LXX introduces all of the kingship psalms with ‘A psalm of David.’”
LXX = Septuagint, defined by Webster: “A Greek version of the Old Testament; — so called because it was believed to be the work of seventy (or rather of seventy-two) translators.”
“kingship psalms” = Psalms 93-99
Psalms 98:1 ¶ O sing unto the LORD a new song; for he hath done marvellous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory.
The psalmist, whom I believe to be David, calls for the people to sing to the LORD a new song, a fresh song (from the Hebrew). I think that is a good admonition for us as we sing songs of worship and praise. It is easy to fall into a process of rote participation. Every time we sing to the LORD, however, it should be with a freshness of spirit to adore, praise and thank our LORD for His many blessings to us.
The purpose of our singing should be to praise Him for the wonderful miraculous things He has done. The right hand is considered the stronger and more dexterous hand (from the Hebrew). His holy arm is a reference to the moral purity of His actions. It is God’s strength and righteous actions that gain the victory over His enemies.
It is our faith in God that allows us to gain the victory over sin in our lives through the ministry of the Holy Spirit within us.
1 John 5:4 “For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”
Psalms 98:2 The LORD hath made known his salvation: his righteousness hath he openly shewed in the sight of the heathen.
Psalms 98:3 He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house of Israel: all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
I think the psalmist is making reference to the many miraculous ways that the LORD had delivered the people of Israel from their enemies in a way that made them realize His greatness, beginning with their deliverance from slavery in Egypt. It was obvious to the nations that the LORD exercised great favor and faithfulness to the people of Israel as they witnessed and/or heard about His miracles on their behalf. For example, Rahab declares this truth to the spies that came to Jericho.
Joshua 2:9–11 “And she said unto the men, I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the LORD your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.”
Psalms 98:4 ¶ Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise.
Psalms 98:5 Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm.
Psalms 98:6 With trumpets and sound of cornet make a joyful noise before the LORD, the King.
The psalmist encourages the people to loudly proclaim their praise to the LORD. He urges them to sing to the LORD, the King, to the accompaniment of musical instruments.
Surgeon makes a good observation: “There is no fear of our being too hearty in magnifying the God of our salvation, only we must take care the song comes from the heart, otherwise the music is nothing but a noise in his ears, whether it be caused by human throats, or organ pipes, or far resounding trumpets….Man's voice is at its best when it sings the best words in the best spirit to the best of Beings.”
Notice that he identifies the LORD as “the” King, not just Israel’s king; He is King over all creation. The Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar declared this very truth.
Daniel 4:34–35 “And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?”
And Jehoshaphat, King of Judah—2 Chronicles 20:5–6 “And Jehoshaphat stood in the congregation of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court, And said, O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?”
And Moses—Deuteronomy 4:39 “Know therefore this day, and consider it in thine heart, that the LORD he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath: there is none else.”
And God Himself—Isaiah 43:13 “Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it?” and Isaiah 45:18 “For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else.”
Psalms 98:7 Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
Psalms 98:8 Let the floods clap their hands: let the hills be joyful together
Psalms 98:9 Before the LORD; for he cometh to judge the earth: with righteousness shall he judge the world, and the people with equity.
The psalmist then turns his address to nature to join with the people in praising the LORD, their Creator. He pictures the sea roaring and all the creatures within it. He pictures the floods clapping hands and the hills rejoicing because the LORD is coming to judge the earth and its inhabitants in righteousness. This is a reference to the time when the LORD Jesus comes to reign as King of kings from the throne of David in Jerusalem when He establishes His earthly kingdom.
Revelation 20:4–6 “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”