The princes of the people have assembled themselves as the people of the God of Abraham, for the shields of the earth belong to God; He is highly exalted. Psalm 47:9 NASB
Princes/ People – Who have assembled themselves? And why have they done so? Those are the two questions David wants us to ask. The first answer takes a little investigation. In Hebrew, the phrase is n’divei amin ne-esafoo. The word, nadiyv (here in the plural) is an adjective meaning willing, generous or noble. When it is used like a noun (as it is here), it implies those of royal birth. Thus, we have the translation “princes.” But remember that the primary meaning is not about a class of royalty. It is about those people who demonstrate attitudes of willingness, whose hearts are directed toward consent, in this case to the word of the sovereign God. Who have assembled themselves? The ones willing to follow the Lord. I’m not sure royal birth is a requirement, but I am quite sure that David’s pun is intended. God seeks those who are willing, and those who are willing are certainly His princes. It is our hope that the princes of this world are also among those who assemble.
The previous verse informs us that God rules over the nations (the goyim), but in this verse things change. The first instance of “people” is the Hebrew plural amim, the Hebrew word for nearly everyone. Why have these willing ones assembled? Because they are now the am (singular) of Abraham. God spoke to Abraham. God gave His promise. All the nations (goyim) of the earth would be blessed in him and his descendents would be greater than the stars in the sky. David clearly recalls that blessing. The amim are being gathered, but in that gathering they become the one people (the am) of the God of Abraham. They are the extended family of Abraham, those who are willing to follow the true King. They don’t assemble as Pentecostals or Presbyterians or Catholics or even as Christians. They assemble as the am of the God of Abraham. Abraham’s God lays claim to all amim, but when they gather in His name, they are no longer separated by clans or races or nations. They are am, one people. That is their only distinction. They serve the same God that Abraham served.
Perhaps this verse, with its odd use of amim, is a poignant reminder that we, the ones who have assembled, are intimately connected to the God of Abraham. If we aren’t part of Abraham’s family, if we aren’t serving Abraham’s God, then I’m afraid we might be in the wrong assembly. It’s worth noting that those who are assembled are the amim, the ones from everywhere. God doesn’t show partiality when it comes to who may assemble. He only expects that they serve Him as Abraham served Him and become am.
And how does David end this insight into true fellowship? With a note of power. All the shields of the earth belong to God. In the end, only His assembly matters.
Topical Index: princes, people, assembly, willing, Psalm 47:9