Psalm 87


This Psalm is a very short note of praise for Jerusalem, both historically and as the holy place ordained by God to belong to Himself, and thus to the people He chose.

Verses 1-3

  1. (A Psalm or Song for the sons of Korah.) His foundation is in the holy mountains.

  2. The LORD loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.

  3. Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. Selah.

This is one of several psalms written to comfort the ‘sons of Korah’. God founded His holy city, Jerusalem, in the mountains, which are called ‘holy’. Incidentally, this is another reason why Jerusalem should never be handed over to Islam, whose presence in the holy mountain is wicked and blasphemous, for Islam is unholy and it desecrates what God held to be His own.

Jerusalem is called “His foundation”, yĕcuwdah, In this context it means ‘founding of a city’; its root word, yĕcud, meaning ‘a beginning’. This is confirmed by the next verse: “The Lord (Jehovah) loveth the gates of Zion”. Thus, the ‘foundation’ and ‘Zion’ are one and the same... and God longs after it.

The word ‘loveth’, ‘ahab, has a widespread application – God to man, to the people of Israel, to righteousness... Though God loves the “gates”, sha’ar, it includes the city itself, and he loves Zion more than any city or dwelling built by Jacob and his people. It also means that anything said by God is supreme, nullifying any ‘alternatives’ given by men (by definition any such ‘alternatives’ must be erroneous).

The writer adds that “Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God”. Zion is glorious, great and honourable (kabad), and is to be honoured. This was the intention of God in causing David to live in Jerusalem, to show the greatness of God within its walls. (A pause is imposed at this point).

Note: Zion was a hill fortress very close to Jerusalem, once inhabited by the Jebusites, who were beaten by David who then called it ‘the City of David’. The hill then came to be synonymous with Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem and the Jewish idea of ‘the world to come’ (the afterlife). Some try to disassociate Zion and Jerusalem, but it is a false path to take. It seems the writer wishes to extol the virtues of Israel as God’s people, saying that many have been eminent. How different from Islam, which now claims the right to Jerusalem! Islam has nothing significantly good about it, and its men are as nothing, showing no signs of glory or status. God’s Temple is glorious – all else is as nothing, of no value.

Verses 4-7

  1. I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to them that know me: behold Philistia, and Tyre, with Ethiopia; this man was born there.

  2. And of Zion it shall be said, This and that man was born in her: and the highest himself shall establish her.

  3. The LORD shall count, when he writeth up the people, that this man was born there. Selah.

  4. As well the singers as the players on instruments shall be there: all my springs are in thee.

The psalmist says he will talk about Rahab and Babylon to his kinsmen, and he tells the people of Philistia, Tyre and Ethiopia, that ‘perhaps one man’ of distinction was born there. Rahab is a name used for Egypt; by Ethiopia is meant Arabia. One man in each place might be of note – but the people born to God and in His place are numerous and glorious! This can also apply to Christians, who come from many places and yet are one people.

Verse 5: “the highest himself shall establish her”. Jerusalem would produce many men of valour, eminence, and piety, whereas other places, founded on false gods, produce no-one of note or worth. The ‘highest himself’ could be used of Christ, but this is only one possible meaning of many.

Verse 6 appears to support the idea that the “highest” may indeed be Christ, and is regarded as true by God. But, Christ was not “born there” in Jerusalem, so someone else might be the subject of the statement. Whoever it was, he was pre-eminent amongst all people. (Another pause is inserted).

The writer continues, that the singers and instrumentalists of the Temple, set up by David, were also in Jerusalem, their sole important task being the praise of God. They “shall (all) be there”! In fact, everything springs from this divine ownership of Jerusalem, all divine waters flow from the holy city (NOT Rome, but Jerusalem!).


Published on

Bible Theology Ministries - PO Box 415, Swansea, SA5 8YH
United Kingdom