on Psalms 24 :1
The earth is the Lord's - He is the Creator and Governor of it; it is his own property. Men may claim districts and kingdoms of it as their property, but God is Lord of the soil.
The fullness thereof - "All its creatures." - Targum. Every tree, plant, and shrub; the silver and the gold, and the cattle on a thousand hills.
They that dwell therein - All human beings.
on Psalms 24 :1
The earth is the Lord's - The whole world belongs to God. He is the Creator of the earth, and therefore, its Proprietor; or, in other words, "the property vests in him." It belongs to Him in a sense somewhat similar to our right of property in anything that is the production of our hands, or of our labor or skill. We claim that as our own. We feel that we have a right to use it, or to dispose of it, as we choose. No other person has a right to take it from us, or to dictate to us how we shall employ it. Thus, God, in the highest possible sense, has a right to the earth, and to all which it produces, as being all of it the creation of His hands, and the fruit of His culture and skill. He has a right to dispose of it as He pleases; by fire, or flood, or tempest; and He has an equal right to direct man in what way He shall employ that portion of the productions of the earth which may be entrusted to Him. All the right which any person has to any portion of the earth's surface, or to what is treasured up in the earth, or to what it is made to produce, is subordinate to the claims of God, and all should be yielded up at His bidding, whether He comes and claims it to be employed in His service, or whether He comes and sweeps it away by fire or flood; by the locust, or by the palmer-worm.
And the fulness thereof - All which it contains; everything which goes to "fill up" the world: animals, minerals, vegetables, people. All belong to God, and He has a right to claim them for His service, and to dispose of them as He pleases. This very language, so noble, so true, and so suitable to be made conspicuous in the eyes of human beings, I saw inscribed in a place where it seemed to be most appropriate, and most adapted to arrest and direct the thoughts of men - on the front of the Royal Exchange in London. It was well to remind the great merchants of the largest commercial city in the world of the truth which it contains; it does much to describe the character of the British nation that it should be inscribed in a place so conspicuous, and, as it were, on the wealth of that great capital.
The world - The word used here - תבל têbêl - is a poetic word, referring to the earth considered as fertile and inhabited - the "habitable" globe; the same as the Greek, οἰκουμένη oikoumenē.
And they that dwell therein - All the inhabitants of the earth, embracing men and animals of all kinds. Compare Psalm 50:10-11. God has a claim on people - upon their services, upon their talents, upon all that they can acquire by labor and skill; He has a right to all that fly in the air, or that walk the earth, or that swim in the sea. On the occasion on which it is supposed that this psalm was written, in bringing up the ark of God, and placing it in the tabernacle provided for it in the capital of the nation, no sentiment could be more appropriate than that which would recognize the universal supremacy of God.
on Psalms 24 :1