PSALM 24 - Messiah: The Chief Shepherd, King of Glory, rewards His sheep. (1Pet 5:4)
Psalm 24 is the culmination of the three Psalms of the Shepherd:
Psa 22 -The Good Shepherd who gives His life for the sheep. (Joh 10:11)
Psa 23 -The Great Shepherd, alive from the dead, cares for His sheep. (Heb 13:20,21)
Psa 24 -The Chief Shepherd, King of Glory, rewards His sheep. (1Pet 5:4)
Psalm 24 divides naturally into 3 stanzas:
  1. He is King of Creation, v.1-2
  2. He is King of Righteousness, v.3-6
  3. He is King of Glory, v.7-10
24:1 A Psalm of David.
The earth [is] the LORD'S, and the fulness thereof;
As Possessor of heaven & earth, He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, the wealth
of every mine, the fruit of the field, and even the meat offered to idols.
cp. Gen 14:19,22; Psa 50:10; "1Cor 10:25-28"
the world, and they that dwell therein.
the world- ie., the inhabited earth.
they that dwell therein- includes all people: kings, presidents, peasants, paupers...
Prov 16:4; Psa 75:7
24:2 For he hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods.
The Lord has title to the earth because He has created and sustains it.
All others are temporary tenants subject to eviction without notice.
Joh 1:1-3; Col 1:16,17
upon the seas- The wise man builds on rock, the foolish on sand. But who on water?
Considering the space within & between atoms, there is nothing truly solid in the universe.
Who but God could build with such fluid forces? Gen 1:1,2,9; 2Pet 3:5-7
24:3 Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD?
or who shall stand in his holy place?
cp. Rom 10:6
Who is described in vs.3-6?
There are two views-- This passage describes the character of either:
  1. the redeemed, the Israel of God, referred to as "Jacob" in v.6.
    Cp. Psa 15:1-5; Rom 9:6-13
  2. the Redeemer, who supplies righteousness to His people.
    But can Messiah be called "Jacob"? (See discussion at v.6).
    'View B' is primary. The redeemed become like their Redeemer.
Who has the right to rule the earth? Who can claim its title deed?
Psa 2:6; Rev 5:1-5
Who can stand (remain without being consumed) in the presence of God's holiness?
Psa 1:5,6
24:4 He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart;
who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully
{ie., falsely}.
clean hands- do not necessarily indicate right motives. (eg. Pilate Mat 27:24)
and a pure heart- Prov 20:9
vanity- emptiness. The desires, deeds & devotions of the flesh will come to nothing.
Gal 5:19-21; Rev 21:8
These tests alone, exclude me from His Kingdom. Rom 3:10-12
Since no man is qualified even to enter, who can stand in God's presence?
Joh 3:13; Rev 5:1-7
"There was no other good enough, to pay the price of sin.
He only could unlock the gate of heav'n and let us in."
[Hymn: There is a Green Hill Far Away]
24:5 He shall receive the blessing from the LORD,
and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
If v.3-6 are seen as descriptive of the saints [view A], note that their righteousness is
received from the Lord (not intrinsic or merited on their part). Eph 2:8,9; Titus 3:5,6
Yet, lacking intrinsic righteousness, no man can approach God to receive such a gift.
It is the Lord Jesus Christ who has received these gifts on our behalf [view B].
cp. Psa 68:18; Eph 4:7-10; Eph 1:3,7; Rom 4:6-8; 10:5-10
Here is a picture of the High Priestly work of our Lord. Heb 4:14-16
24:6 This [is] the generation of them that seek him,
that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah.
the generation...- ie., the class or group of individuals sharing a common characteristic:
They seek the face of Him who received righteousness for them.
...them {plural} that seek him {singular}- Although an individual ascended the hill,
many are brought into this righteousness received from God. Heb 2:9,10
that seek thy face, O Jacob- This phrase has confounded many translators,
because the literal reading (as in the KJV text, above) applies the name "Jacob" to God and/or to the Messiah. No other passage does this.
For this reason, some translations reword the verse to favor view A (that those who ascend the hill are the redeemed, the Israel of God):
  • "...who seek your face, [O God] of Jacob." [NIV]
  • "[This is] Jacob, the generation of them that seek Him..." [NKJV]
  • "...who seek Thy face, [like] Jacob." [Berkeley]
Here are arguments used against the literal reading (with answers) --
  1. God is called by a man's name ('Jacob').
    Answer: Why not? God took upon Himself a human body ('Jesus').
  2. The character of the man Jacob, and the meaning of his name:
    "Jacob" means "supplanter" or "displacer".
    Jacob was a schemer. By trickery he acquired his brother's birthright & blessing.
    How can this be a picture of God or of the Messiah?
    Answer: Look beyond Jacob's scheming to God's purposes.
    • When Jacob came to the end of his fleshly resources, and sought God to intervene on his behalf, the Lord changed his name to Israel ("he who wrestles with God and prevails"). (Gen 32:24-30; Gen 35:10-12)
      After that, when something required displacing to make room for Israel, God Himself did that work. For example:
      - - Esau's hatred of his brother (Gen 32:6-11; 33:4),
      - - Esau's occupancy of the land (Gen 36:6-8),
      - - The gentile occupants of the land (Josh 24:12,13).
      All of this foreshadows the work of a greater ''supplanter''--
    • Jacob's new name ''Israel'' is applied to the Messiah, in Isa 49:3, where the context (see v.1-9) cannot refer to the nation of Israel, since it addresses an individual who would become salvation for people from all nations, including the nation of Israel.
Christ supplants/displaces all other claimants to authority over the earth. For example:
  1. Adam- God gave Adam dominion over the earth. He had no need to "ascend the hill".
    But he failed the test of v.3,4 and fell. Adam was displaced by Christ who is the head of the redeemed race, and the One to whom all dominion has been given. Rom 5:18,19; 1Cor 15:21-22,45-47; Eph 1:21
  2. The man of sin (the antichrist). 2Thes 2:4,8; Rev 19:20
  3. Satan. Joh 12:31; Rev 20:10,11
For the believer, Christ displaces: (this list is partial)
  • my death with His life. Rom 5:21
  • my darkness with His light. 2Cor 4:3-7
  • my guilt with His righteousness. 2Cor 5:21
  • my fleshly nature with His divine nature. 2Pet 1:4
  • my bondage to sin's power with His Headship & victory. Col 1:13
  • my life with His life. Gal 2:20
Selah- HB "pause", a musical notation, or a suggestion to stop & think about the foregoing.
24:7 Lift up your heads, O ye gates;
and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors;
and the King of glory shall come in.
lift up your heads (or 'tops')- As though, with all their glory,
the gates of Heaven are not great enough for the all glorious King. [CHS]
everlasting- HB= olam, ancient, everlasting. The 'everlasting doors', seen here, are...
  1. first, the gates of Jerusalem through which Messiah entered once & will enter again.
    - - His historic entrance: Psa 118:19-28; Mat 21:9,10;
    - - His future entrance: Eze 43:2,7; Eze 44:1-3
  2. finally, the gates of Heaven (see v.9).
24:8 Who is this king of glory?
A good question, which men, by worldly wisdom, fail to answer. 1Cor 2:7,8
The LORD strong and mighty,
the LORD mighty in battle.
the LORD... the LORD...- The Messiah, the King of Glory, is the LORD (ie., Jehovah).
The Man who ascended into the hill of the LORD, is revealed to be the LORD from Heaven.
1Cor 15:45,47; Eph 4:8-10
mighty in battle- Only the LORD, the ever-living One, is adequate for this task.
Observe that, He is alone in battle. No one is able to assist Him.
Pictured here are:
24:9 Lift up your heads, O ye gates;
even lift [them] up, ye everlasting doors;
and the King of glory shall come in.
This final stanza repeats much of the previous stanza, and also adds something new.
The repetition may have two purposes:
- - to emphasize the King's glory, which cannot be overstated.
- - to depict Christ's repeated entrances into both Jerusalem & Heaven:
  1. once, with His own blood, to put away sin (Heb 9:12), and
  2. a second time, without sin unto salvation, to receive those who look for Him.
    cp. Heb 2:8-13; Heb 9:24-28
24:10 Who is this King of glory?
The LORD of hosts
{ie., Jehovah Sabaoth}, he [is] the King of glory. Selah.
hosts- HB= tsabaw, armies, multitudes. Here is a new thing...
The Lord, who fought alone to destroy sin (v.8), now brings a multitude into His glory.
Joh 14:3; Rev 19:1-2,6-8,11-14
Who is this King of Glory?- In that day, the question will be answered, for His identity will be revealed to all. Rev 5:6-14

This Concludes the study in Psalm 24.
Click here to begin the study in Psalm 40
Return to Psalms of Messiah - MENU page.

Limited permission is granted to copy & distribute these notes from

Go to The Book opening page.