Psalm 87:1
(1) His foundation.--This abrupt commencement with a clause without a verb has led to the conjecture that a line has dropped away. But this is unnecessary if we neglect the accents, and take gates of Zion in apposition with His foundation:

His foundation on the holy hill

Loveth Jehovah, (even) Zion's gates,

More than all Jacob's dwellings.

Here His foundation is equivalent to that which He hath founded, and the gates are put by metonymy for the city itself. (Comp. Jeremiah 14:2.)

With regard to the plural, mountains, it is probably only poetical, though geographically it is correct to speak of Jerusalem as situated on hills. Dean Stanley speaks of "the multiplicity of the eminences" which the city "shares, though in a smaller compass, with Rome and Constantinople" (Sinai and Palestine, p. 177).

Verses 1-3. - The praises of Zion.

(1) She is built upon the holy mountains;

(2) God loves her pre-eminently; and

(3) a glorious future is assigned to her in the counsels of God. Ver. 1. - His foundation is in the holy mountains. God's foundation - the city which he has founded - is "in the holy mountains;" i.e. in the hill country of Judaea, a congeries of mountains, "holy," since they surround the holy city and belong to the "holy land" (Zechariah 2:12).

87:1-3 Christ himself is the Foundation of the church, which God has laid. Holiness is the strength and firmness of the church. Let us not be ashamed of the church of Christ in its meanest condition, nor of those that belong to it, since such glorious things are spoken of it. Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, even Jesus Christ. The glorious things spoken of Zion by the Spirit, were all typical of Christ, and his work and offices; of the gospel church, its privileges and members; of heaven, its glory and perfect happiness.His foundation is in the holy mountains. The Jewish writers connect these words with the title of the psalm, and make the sense to be this; "the foundation" or argument "of it", the psalm, "is concerning the holy mountains" of Zion and Jerusalem; so Aben Ezra, Jarchi, and Kimchi; and the Targum joins them together thus,

"by the hands of the sons of Korah is said a song, which is founded by the mouth of the fathers that were of old:''

but the words are a part of the song or psalm, which begins in an abrupt manner, just as Sol 1:2 and may be rendered either "its foundation", or "his foundation", and refer either to the church, or to the Lord, and the sense is the same either way; for the church's foundation is also the Lord's foundation, a foundation of his laying; see Isaiah 14:32 and is laid "in the holy mountains"; alluding to the mountains of Zion and Moriah, where the temple stood, a type of the church; or to the mountains about Jerusalem, by which also the church is frequently signified; and by those, in a mystical and spiritual sense, may be meant the purposes and decrees of God, which are as mountains of brass, Zechariah 6:1, they are like the ancient mountains for the antiquity of them, and are high, and not to be reached and searched into, and are firm, solid, and immoveable; and are also holy, particularly the decree of election, that source of all true holiness, which has sanctification for its end and means; and is the foundation of the church, which supports and secures it, and stands sure, 2 Timothy 2:19, also the covenant of grace, which is sure and immoveable, and in which are provisions for holiness, internal and external; and is the foundation and security of the church, and all believers; but especially Jesus Christ, the Rock of ages, is meant, the Holy One of Israel, the sure foundation laid in Zion: some interpret these holy mountains of the holy apostles, who were in an high and eminent station in the church, and were doctrinally foundations, as they ministerially laid Christ, as the only foundation; see Ephesians 2:20, it may be rendered, "among the holy mountains" (w); and so may regard, as Cocceius explains it, the several kingdoms and provinces of the world in which the Gospel shall be preached; and the church shall be established and settled in the latter day even upon the tops of mountains, which shall become holy to the Lord, Isaiah 2:2.

(w) "inter montes sanctitatis", Junius & Tremellius; so Ainsworth.

Psalm 86:17
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