Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New TestamentPSALM 100
ALL PEOPLE THAT ON EARTH DO DWELL;
"THE OLD HUNDREDTH"
This Psalm was reduced to poetry by William Kethe and was included in the Geneva Psalter. The music by Louis Bourgeois is that usually sung in "The Doxology," and it is one of the most popular hymns ever written. Many of the commentators have mentioned this. We believe that Kethe's poetical rendition is an acceptable commentary on the five verses of this psalm, and we are including it here:
ALL PEOPLE THAT ON EARTH DO DWELL
"All people that on earth do dwell,
Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice;
Him serve with fear, His praise forth tell;
Come ye before Him and rejoice.
The Lord, ye know, is God indeed;
Without our aid He did us make;
We are his flock, He doth us feed,
And for His sheep he doth us take.
O enter then His gates with praise,
Approach with joy his courts unto;
Praise, laud, and bless His name always,
For it is seemly so to do.
For why? The Lord our God is good;
His mercy is forever sure;
His truth at all times firmly stood,
And shall from age to age endure!"F1
Make a joyful noise unto Jehovah, all ye lands.
Despite the fact of Leupold's rejection of this rendition, preferring to read it, "Shout aloud unto the Lord, all ye inhabitants of the land,"F2 there can be no doubt of the accuracy of the translation as it stands verbatim in the KJV, the ASV, and the RSV, the three most dependable versions of the Holy Bible. The trouble with Leupold's translation is that it allows the interpreter to restrict the meaning to Israel, "the land" being understood as the land of Israel. Our marginal reference in the American Standard Version assures us that the Hebrew text here reads this passage as "all the earth."
Serve Jehovah with gladness:
Come before his presence with singing.
Know ye that Jehovah, he is God:
It is he that hath made us, and we are his;
We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture."
Verses 2, 3
Serve Jehovah with gladness: Come before his presence with singing. Know ye that Jehovah, he is God: It is he that hath made us, and we are his; We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
(Psalms 100:2), is, and not we ourselves. This meaning is reflected in the second line of the second stanza of Kethe's poem, Without our aid he did us make. The thought is accurate, whether or not it is justified in the text.
Furthermore, Rawlinson defended the reading as given in the KJV, "It is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves," pointing out that the KJV reading is supported by both the Septuagint (LXX) and the Vulgate, and should certainly be retained, for it yields a better sense."F3
The metaphor of God as the Good Shepherd, as presented in the Old Testament, became Jesus Christ the Good Shepherd in the New Testament. When Christ said, "I am the good shepherd," it was a claim of divinity as surely as anything he ever said.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving,
And into his courts with praise:
Give thanks unto him and bless his name."
The mention of "gates" and "courts" here was a reference, no doubt, to those features of the Jewish Temple; but they are equally applicable to the kingdom of God. The Church of Our Lord is the current Temple of God; and the Savior himself admonished us all to "enter in" by the straight gate. He also called himself the "door of the sheep."
Yates has pointed out that a number of the factors of true worship are mentioned in this tiny psalm. "After entering the gates, the further essentials of true worship are: thanksgiving, praise, prayer, and a recognition of God's character in such attributes as His goodness, love, and faithfulness."F4 He further added that, "Such essentials must be observed by worshippers in any period of time."F5
For Jehovah is good; his lovingkindness endureth forever,
And his faithfulness unto all generations."
God's goodness, his lovingkindness, and his faithfulness are among those attributes of God which were singled out by Yates. The praise and worship of God should always make mention of such blessed attributes of the Father in Heaven.
For any who might be concerned about the authorship, nothing certain in the way of an answer is available. The psalm is simply labeled, "A Psalm of Praise," or "Praise for the Sacrifice of Confession in the LXX, Vulgate, and the Ethiopic. Only the Arabic attributed it to David."F6
Footnotes for Psalms 100
1: Great Songs of the Church, No. 332.
2: H. C. Leupold, p. 698.
3: The Pulpit Commentary, Vol. 8-B, p. 352.
4: Wycliffe Old Testament Commentary, Old Testament, p. 532.
6: Adam Clarke's Commentary on the Bible (London: T. Mason and G. Lane, 1837), Vol. III, p. 535.