PSALM 24 - Messiah: The Chief Shepherd, the 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 the King of Creation, v.1-2
  2. He is the King of Righteousness, v.3-6
  3. He is the King of Glory, v.7-10
A. He is the King of Creation, v.1-2
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-"26"-28 (note the NT quote)
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 and 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
B. He is the King of Righteousness, v.3-6
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 refers to, either...
  1. the redeemed, the Israel of God, referred to as "Jacob" in v.6.
    Verses cited to support this view include Psa 15:1-5 and Rom 9:6-13.
    However, all men fall short of the requirements (as presented in v.4,5 [below] and Psalm 15) for entrance into the LORD's Presence. If they were righteous, they would not need salvation. Because they are unrighteous, they cannot approach the LORD, to receive salvation from Him. As the patriarchs trusted in the promises of God (Romans 9), so the redeemed can only be saved by faith in One, who because of His inherent righteousness, is worthy to "ascend into the hill of the LORD," to receive salvation for those whom He represents.
  2. the Redeemer, who is inherently righteousness,
    and who has obtained salvation and righteousness for His people, by which they have access into the Presence of the LORD.
    This view harmonizes Psalm 24 with the biblical teaching that salvation is by Grace through faith. eg., Eph 2:8,9; Titus 3:5,6
    But can the Messiah be called "Jacob"? (This will be discussed at v.6.)
Who has the right to rule the earth? Who can claim its title deed?
Psa 2:6; Dan 7:13,14; 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; cp. Mat 23:25-28
vanity {ie., 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?
Only the Lord Jesus Christ qualifies. 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," by Cecil F. Alexander]
24:5 He shall receive the blessing from the LORD,
and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
He shall receive...- The Lord Jesus Christ, who alone is worthy to approach the Father,
has received these gifts on our behalf.
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
...from the God of his salvation {HB= yesha, deliverance}.-
'His' salvation? Was our Savior in need of salvation?
Psalm 22 records Christ's agonizing death, in our sins.
He "who knew no sin," was forsaken by God, when He was "made sin," so "that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (2Cor 5:21). The first half of Psalm 22 is Christ's desperate prayer for deliverance from the grasp of evil. The last half of that Psalm, is His song of praise, when that deliverance was realized, in His resurrection out of death (Psa 22:20-24).
     Because He died for our sins, and because God has raised Him from the dead, He has "received... righteousness from the God of His salvation." His righteousness is imputed to those who trust in Him, as their only hope of deliverance from sin and its consequences.
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' (at v.3, above), ie., 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: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 Isa 49:1-9) 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 (ie., 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 from acceptance before God.
    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 1:21,22
  2. The man of sin (the Antichrist) - 2Thes 2:4,8; Rev 11:15; 19:20
  3. Satan - Joh 12:31; Rev 20:10,11
For the believer, Christ displaces: (this list is partial)
  • my guilt, with His righteousness. 2Cor 5:21
  • my bondage to death, with His reign of eternal life. Rom 5:21
  • my darkness, with His light. 2Cor 4:3-7
  • my fleshly nature, with His divine nature. 2Pet 1:4
  • my bondage to sin's power, with His Headship & victory. Col 1:13
  • my self-centered life, with His God-centered life. Gal 2:20
Selah- HB "pause", a musical notation, or a suggestion to stop & think about the foregoing.
C. He is the King of Glory, v.7-10
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),
      when the King presented Himself to the nation of Israel, but having been rejected, He offered Himself as the Lamb of God, to redeem such as would believe.
    • His future entrance (Eze 43:2,7; Eze 44:1-3; Rev 20:1-6),
      when He will establish His Millennial Kingdom, to reign from Jerusalem, over all the earth for 1,000 years.
  2. finally, the gates of Heaven (see discussion at v.9, below).
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
the LORD mighty in battle.-
Only the LORD, the ever-living One, could be victorious in the battles of the ages..
Observe that, He is alone in battle.
No one is able to assist Him. He needs no assistance.
The battles 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 Jerusalem (as discussed at v.7), and
    also into Heaven, which...
    1. He entered once, with His own blood, to put away sin (Heb 9:12),
    2. He will enter a second time, without sin unto salvation, with those who look for Him.
      cp. Joh 14:1-3; Heb 9:28; 1The 4:16,17
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 and the Devil (v.8), returns to His glory, bringing a multitude with Him.
Joh 14:3; Rev 19:1-2, 6-8, 11-14
Who is this King of Glory? -
In that day, the answer will be obvious, 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 - Book Notes menu page.

Limited permission is granted to copy & distribute these notes from

Go to The Book opening page.