Psalm 96 (NIV)
After many years — since the ark was lost in battle — the ark is returned to the center of Israel’s national consciousness. The emblem of God’s presence and glory was set at its proper place in Israel. David instituted ongoing service and worship before the ark of the covenant at its new resting place in Jerusalem. David was known as sweet psalmist of Israel (2 Samuel 23:1), and this psalm seems to have been written to include in the worship.
Verses 1-6 compose a call to all nations to sing the praise of the Lord:
1 Sing to the LORD a new song;
sing to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Sing to the LORD, praise his name;
proclaim his salvation day after day.
Triple repetition (“Sing . . . sing . . . Sing”) was a common feature in Old Testament liturgical calls to worship.
–notes from the NIV Study Bible
3 Declare his glory among the nations,
his marvelous deeds among all peoples.
4 For great is the LORD and most worthy of praise;
he is to be feared above all gods.
5 For all the gods of the nations are idols,
but the LORD made the heavens.
6 Splendor and majesty are before him;
strength and glory are in his sanctuary.
Verses 7-13 compose a call to all nations to worship the Lord and to hail throughout the world the glory of his righteous rule:
7 Ascribe to the LORD, all you families of nations,
ascribe to the LORD glory and strength.
8 Ascribe to the LORD the glory due his name;
bring an offering and come into his courts.
9 Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness;
tremble before him, all the earth.
10 Say among the nations, “The LORD reigns.”
The world is firmly established, it cannot be moved;
he will judge the peoples with equity.
He rules the world with truth and grace
and makes the nations prove
the glories of his righteousness
and wonders of his love.
11 Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad;
let the sea resound, and all that is in it.
12 Let the fields be jubilant, and everything in them;
let all the trees of the forest sing for joy.
13 Let all creation rejoice before the LORD, for he comes,
he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
and the peoples in his faithfulness.
HERE. Kairos: A Consort of Singers, a vocal ensemble located in West Park, NY, performs Psalm 96, “Chantez a Dieu, chanson nouvelle” (Sing to the Lord a New Song) by 16th century Dutch composer Jan Pieterszoon Sweelinck. Recorded at Holy Cross Monastery in West Park, NY in June, 2009.