The Bible – Old Testament
1 A psalm of David. The earth is the LORD’S and all it holds, the world and those who live there.
For God founded it on the seas, established it over the rivers.
Who may go up the mountain of the LORD? Who can stand in his holy place?
2 “The clean of hand and pure of heart, who are not devoted to idols, who have not sworn falsely.
They will receive blessings from the LORD, and justice from their saving God.
Such are the people that love the LORD, that seek the face of the God of Jacob.” Selah
3 Lift up your heads, O gates; rise up, you ancient portals, that the king of glory may enter.
Who is this king of glory? The LORD, a mighty warrior, the LORD, mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O gates; rise up, you ancient portals, that the king of glory may enter.
Who is this king of glory? The LORD of hosts is the king of glory. Selah
1 [Psalm 24] The psalm apparently accompanied a ceremony of the entry of God (invisibly enthroned upon the ark), followed by the people, into the temple. The temple commemorated the creation of the world (⇒ Psalm 24:1-2). The people had to affirm their fidelity before being admitted into the sanctuary (⇒ Psalm 24:3-6; cf Psalm 15). A choir identifies the approaching God and invites the very temple gates to bow down in obeisance (⇒ Psalm 24:7-10).
2 [4-5] Literally, “the one whose hands are clean.” The singular is used for the entire class of worshipers, hence the plural translation.
3 [7, 9] Lift up your heads, O gates . . . you ancient portals: the literal meaning is impossible since the portcullis (a gate that moves up and down) was unknown in the ancient world. Extra-biblical parallels suggest a full personification of the circle of gate towers: they are like a council of elders, bowed down and anxious, awaiting the return of the army and the Great Warrior gone to battle.