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Psalm 47:2

ESV For the LORD, the Most High, is to be feared, a great king over all the earth.
NIV For the LORD Most High is awesome, the great King over all the earth.
NASB For the LORD Most High is to be feared, A great King over all the earth.
CSB For the Lord, the Most High, is awe-inspiring, a great King over the whole earth.
NLT For the LORD Most High is awesome. He is the great King of all the earth.
KJV For the LORD most high is terrible; he is a great King over all the earth.

What does Psalm 47:2 mean?

In this verse the psalmist gives the reason for clapping hands and singing joyfully (Psalm 47:1). The immediate context of this psalm might have been a military victory, such as when God defeated armies coming against Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 20:22–26). Or, it may apply to the incident when Sennacherib was defeated during the era of Hezekiah (2 Kings 19:35–37). Further meaning can be found in prophecy, depicting the rule of Jesus Christ over the entire earth (Revelation 5:11–14; 19:6–8).

The description of God as "the LORD, the Most High" comes from the Hebrew phrase YHWH 'Elyon. When predicting the birth of Jesus Christ, the angel indicated He would be called "the Son of the Most High" (Luke 1:32). God is the absolute sovereign ruler of the entire world—above and beyond all other powers or nations. The proper response to His power is to "fear" Him. In this context, the word does not refer to the emotion of panic or terror. Yet it is much more than simple respect. To properly honor God, one must understand the extent of His authority and power.

In the end times, when ungodly nations assemble to overthrow God, He will laugh and destroy them (Psalm 2; Revelation 19:11—20:15). Israel's history is full of accounts of the Most High's almighty power on her behalf. He delivered her from the Egyptians and subdued the warlike Canaanites. When barren Hannah prayed for a son, she addressed the Lord as "LORD of hosts" (1 Samuel 1:11). Zillions of angels attend His throne and rush to obey His commands (Psalm 103:20; Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 7:11). He reigns supreme over all creation. Psalm 93:1 says, "The LORD reigns; he is robed in majesty."
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