Psalm 47

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Psalm 47
"O clap your hands, all ye people"
Hymn psalm
Psalm 47 (Lutherbibel 1544).jpg
Psalm 47 in a Luther Bible, 1544
Other name
  • Psalm 46
  • "Omnes gentes plaudite manibus"
Textby Korahites
LanguageHebrew (original)

Psalm 47 is the 47th psalm of the Book of Psalms, generally known in English by its first verse, in the King James Version, "O clap your hands". The Book of Psalms is the third section of the Hebrew Bible, and a book of the Christian Old Testament. In the Greek Septuagint version of the bible, and in its Latin translation in the Vulgate, this psalm is Psalm 46 in a slightly different numbering system. In Latin, it is known as "Omnes gentes plaudite manibus".[1] The psalm is a hymn psalm. It is one of twelve psalms attributed to the sons of Korah, and one of fifty-five psalms addressed to the "Chief Musician" or "Conductor".

The psalm is a regular part of Jewish, Catholic, Anglican and Protestant liturgies. It has been set to music often, notably by Heinrich Schütz, Ralph Vaughan Williams, John Rutter and Oskar Gottlieb Blarr.

Background[edit]

In Jewish tradition, Psalm 47 is one of 12 psalms attributed to the sons of Korah. It is also classified as part of the "Elohistic Psalter" (Psalms 42-83), which includes psalms referring to God as Elohim rather than YHWH. Psalm 47 is also grouped with other psalms that declare God's kingship, as stated in verse 7.[2]

In Christian scholarship, Psalm 47 is one of seven "enthronement psalms" which refer to the crowning of God as king at a festive occasion.[3] It has also been suggested that the theme of Psalm 47 is "universal rejoicing for God's universal reign".[4]

According to Christian scholars, verse 6 (verse 5 in the KJV), "God has gone up with a shout", indicates that the psalm was written when King David brought the Ark of the Covenant to Mount Zion. Alternately, it is an allusion to the Ascension of Jesus to the heavenly Zion after completing his mission on earth.[5][6]

Themes[edit]

Psalm 47 includes allusions to Rosh Hashana, the day of judgment in Judaism. Verse 6, which cites the shofar that is blown on Rosh Hashanah, further hints at God ascending his thrones of judgment and mercy, themes that resonate with the day of judgment.[7] The connection is explained in the Midrash:

Yehuda bar Nahmani began in the name of Shimon ben Lakish: "Elohim ascends amidst shouting, YHWH to the blast of the shofar" (Psalms 47:6). When the Holy One ascends to sit on the throne of judgment, it is in order to render strict justice, as it says, "Elohim ascends amidst shouting". When the Jews take up their shofars and sound them, immediately "YHWH to the blast of the shofar". What does the Holy One do? Arises from the throne of judgment, sits on the throne of mercy, is filled with mercy towards them and transforms the attribute of strict justice into the attribute of mercy for their sake. When? On Rosh Hashanah (Leviticus Rabbah 29:3).[2]

The same verse 6 also alludes to the shofar blowing at the conclusion of the holiday of Yom Kippur, when the Divine Presence, which has rested upon the Jewish people throughout the day of atonement, returns back to heaven. This verse can be translated, "God ascends with a teruah", teruah being a reference to the sound of the shofar.[8]

Text[edit]

Hebrew Bible version[edit]

Following is the Hebrew text and an English translation of Psalm 47:[9]

Verse Hebrew English
1 לַמְנַצֵּ֬חַ | לִבְנֵי־קֹ֬רַח מִזְמֽוֹר For the conductor; of the sons of Korah, a song.
2 כָּל־הָ֖עַמִּים תִּקְעוּ־כָ֑ף הָרִ֥יעוּ לֵֽ֜אלֹהִ֗ים בְּק֣וֹל רִנָּֽה All peoples, clap hands; shout to God with a voice of praise.
3 כִּי־יְ֖הֹוָה עֶלְי֣וֹן נוֹרָ֑א מֶ֥לֶךְ גָּ֜ד֗וֹל עַל־כָּל־הָאָֽרֶץ For the Lord is Most High; yea, feared; a great King over all the earth.
4 יַדְבֵּ֣ר עַמִּ֣ים תַּחְתֵּ֑ינוּ וּ֜לְאֻמִּ֗ים תַּ֣חַת רַגְלֵֽינוּ He shall plague peoples in our stead and kingdoms under our feet.
5 יִבְחַר־לָ֥נוּ אֶת־נַֽחֲלָתֵ֑נוּ אֶ֥ת גְּא֨וֹן יַֽעֲקֹ֖ב אֲשֶׁר־אָהֵ֣ב סֶֽלָה He shall choose our inheritance for us, the pride of Jacob, which He loves forever.
6 עָלָ֣ה אֱ֖לֹהִים בִּתְרוּעָ֑ה יְ֜הֹוָ֗ה בְּק֣וֹל שׁוֹפָֽר God shall be exalted with the trumpet blast; the Lord, with the sound of the shofar.
7 זַמְּר֣וּ אֱלֹהִ֣ים זַמֵּ֑רוּ זַמְּר֖וּ לְמַלְכֵּ֣נוּ זַמֵּֽרוּ Sing to God, sing; sing to our King, sing.
8 כִּ֚י מֶ֣לֶךְ כָּל־הָאָ֣רֶץ אֱלֹהִ֑ים זַמְּר֥וּ מַשְׂכִּֽיל For God is the King of all the earth; sing a song composed with wisdom.
9 מָלַ֣ךְ אֱ֖לֹהִים עַל־גּוֹיִ֑ם אֱ֜לֹהִ֗ים יָשַׁ֚ב | עַל־כִּסֵּ֬א קָדְשֽׁוֹ God has reigned over nations; God has sat upon His holy throne.
10 נְדִ֘יבֵ֚י עַמִּ֨ים | נֶֽאֱסָ֗פוּ עַם֘ אֱלֹהֵ֪י אַבְרָ֫הָ֥ם כִּ֥י לֵ֖אלֹהִֽים מָֽגִנֵּי־אֶ֗רֶץ מְאֹ֣ד נַֽעֲלָֽה The volunteers of the peoples have assembled, the people of the God of Abraham, for God has the shields of the earth; He is exceedingly exalted.

King James Version[edit]

  1. O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.
  2. For the LORD most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth.
  3. He shall subdue the people under us, and the nations under our feet.
  4. He shall choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom he loved. Selah.
  5. God is gone up with a shout, the LORD with the sound of a trumpet.
  6. Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises.
  7. For God is the King of all the earth: sing ye praises with understanding.
  8. God reigneth over the heathen: God sitteth upon the throne of his holiness.
  9. The princes of the people are gathered together, even the people of the God of Abraham: for the shields of the earth belong unto God: he is greatly exalted.

Uses[edit]

Judaism[edit]

Psalm 47 is recited seven times prior to the shofar blowing on Rosh Hashanah. These seven repetitions correspond to the seven mentions of Elohim (God) in this psalm,[2] as well as allude to the seven heavens which God created.[7]

Verse 6 is one of the ten verses included in the grouping known as Shofrot (verses related to shofar-blowing), recited during the Mussaf prayer on both days of Rosh Hashanah.[10]

According to the Siddur Avodas Yisrael, Psalm 47 is recited as the Song of the Day on the second day of Rosh Hashanah.[11]

Christianity[edit]

Since the line "God is gone up with a shout" has been related to the Ascension of Jesus, the psalm was used in liturgies on the feast day.[6]

Anglican Church[edit]

In the Anglican Church, Psalm 47 is part of the Evening Prayer on Day 9, along with Psalm 48 and Psalm 49.[12]

Musical settings[edit]

The psalm and selected verses were set to music often, focusing on the call to clap and sing, and related to the line "God is gone up with a shout" which has been related to the Ascension of Jesus. Heinrich Schütz set the psalm in German as part with the text from of the Becker Psalter, Frohlockt mit Freud, ihr Völker all, for choir as his SWV 144. Johann Sebastian Bach began a cantata for Ascension with three verses from the psalm, Gott fähret auf mit Jauchzen, BWV 43, first performed in 1726.[6] Carl Martin Reinthaler set the complete psalm in German for choir, Frohlocket mit Händen, alle Völker. In 1904, Florent Schmitt composed a setting for soprano solo, choir, organ and orchestra, called Psaume XLVII.[13]

Ralph Vaughan Williams set the psalm in English in 1920 as O clap your hands, a motet for chorus and orchestra.[14] John Rutter set verses 1 to 7, O clap your hands, for choir and organ or orchestra in 1973.[15] Oskar Gottlieb Blarr composed a setting for soprano, tenor, choir (ad lib.), trumpet, trombone, percussion (steel drums), violin, harp and double bass in 1998. Rory Cooney set Psalm 47 for Ascension, subtitled God Mounts His Throne in 2003, scored for soloist, three-part choir, the assembly, and brass. It can also be performed in a reduced version with guitar accompaniment.[16]

Many hymns are modelled after Psalm 47.[17] They include the English The Universal Sovereignty of Christ with the incipit "Rejoice, ye people, homage give", published in 1902,[17] and the German "Völker aller Land", written by Georg Thurmair in 1964 and revised 1971, when it was selected to appear in the German Catholic hymnal Gotteslob of 1975.[18] Even more hymns pick up topics from Psalm 47, including "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty", which paraphrases verses 6–9.[17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Parallel Latin/English Psalter / Psalmus 46 (47) Archived May 7, 2017, at the Wayback Machine medievalist.net
  2. ^ a b c Cooper, Professor Alan (2017). "The Psalm of the Shofar: Its Use in Liturgy and its Meaning in the Bible". thetorah.com. Retrieved August 12, 2018.
  3. ^ Limburg, James (2000). Psalms. Westminster John Knox Press. p. 156. ISBN 0664255574.
  4. ^ "Psalm 47 commentary", Explaining the Book
  5. ^ Henry, Matthew. "Psalms 47". Bible Study Tools. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  6. ^ a b c Dürr, Alfred; Jones, Richard D. P. (2006). The Cantatas of J. S. Bach: With Their Librettos in German-English Parallel Text. Oxford University Press. pp. 331–334. ISBN 978-0-19-929776-4.
  7. ^ a b Nulman, Macy (1996). The Encyclopedia of Jewish Prayer: The Ashkenazic and Sephardic Rites (Reprint ed.). Jason Aronson. p. 209. ISBN 1461631246.
  8. ^ Shurpin, Yehuda (2018). "Why Do We Blow Shofar at the End of Neilah After Yom Kippur?". Chabad.org. Retrieved August 13, 2018.
  9. ^ "Tehillim – Psalms – Chapter 47". Chabad.org. 2018. Retrieved August 12, 2018.
  10. ^ Nulman (1996), p. 308.
  11. ^ Brauner, Reuven (2013). "Shimush Pesukim: Comprehensive Index to Liturgical and Ceremonial Uses of Biblical Verses and Passages" (PDF) (2nd ed.). p. 38.
  12. ^ Psalms 47–49 Church of England
  13. ^ Psaume XLVII, Op.38 (Schmitt, Florent): Scores at the International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP)
  14. ^ O Clap Your Hands (Vaughan Williams, Ralph): Scores at the International Music Score Library Project (IMSLP)
  15. ^ O clap your hands John Rutter
  16. ^ Psalm 47 for Ascension giamusic.com
  17. ^ a b c Hymns for Psalm 47. hymnary.org. Retrieved August 20, 2018.
  18. ^ GL 556 Völker aller Land, Gotteslob, 1975

External links[edit]