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Yahweh is king!

July 15, 2008

As I noted earlier, Psalm 95 was used as part of the liturgy at the feast of Tabernacles and this Psalm, together with Psalms 93, 96-99 are know as the enthronement Psalms. They expound the themes of Yahweh as king hence:
Psalm 93:1, 2

The Lord is king! He is robed in majesty.
Indeed, the Lord is robed in majesty and armed with strength.
The world stands firm
and cannot be shaken.
Your throne, O Lord, has stood from time immemorial.
You yourself are from the everlasting past.

Psalm 95:3

For the Lord is a great God,
a great King above all gods.

Psalm 96:10

Tell all the nations, “The Lord reigns!”
The world stands firm and cannot be shaken.
He will judge all peoples fairly.

Psalm 97:1

The Lord is king!
Let the earth rejoice!
Let the farthest coastlands be glad.

Psalm 98:5, 6

Sing your praise to the Lord with the harp,
with the harp and melodious song,
with trumpets and the sound of the ram’s horn.
Make a joyful symphony before the Lord, the King!

Psalm 99:1

The Lord is king!
Let the nations tremble!
He sits on his throne between the cherubim.
Let the whole earth quake!

Now the feast of Tabernacles celebrated not only the election of Israel by means of Yahweh establishing his covenant with them but also the kingship of Yahweh. The proof can be adduced from two lines of enquiry.

1stly, when Israel had escaped from Egypt we find recorded a song of Moses wherein the kingship of Yahweh is asserted:

With your unfailing love you lead
the people you have redeemed.
In your might, you guide them
to your sacred home.
The peoples hear and tremble;
anguish grips those who live in Philistia.
The leaders of Edom are terrified;
the nobles of Moab tremble.
All who live in Canaan melt away;
terror and dread fall upon them.
The power of your arm
makes them lifeless as stone
until your people pass by, O LORD,
until the people you purchased pass by.
You will bring them in and plant them on your own mountain—
the place, O LORD, reserved for your own dwelling,
the sanctuary, O Lord, that your hands have established.
The LORD will reign forever and ever!

This clearly links the theme of exodus to the theme of kingship. Hence we should not be surprised to find the kingship of Yahweh celebrated at a feast which reminded Israel of their gracious deliverance from Egypt and Yahweh’s protection of them during the journey to the promised land and their wilderness wanderings.

2ndly, as noted previously as part of the covenant renewal ceremony at the feast of Tabernacles Psalm 95 was used to exhort Israel to covenant faithfulness. Now the first half of this Psalm celebrates the kingship of Yahweh:

Come, let us sing to the LORD!
Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come to him with thanksgiving.
Let us sing psalms of praise to him.
For the LORD is a great God,
a great King above all gods.

We are able to conclude that the kingship of Yahweh was celebrated at the feast of Tabernacles.


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