Augustine. Exposition on the Book of Psalms. Schaff, Philip (editor). New York: Christian Literature Publishing Col, 1886. Nicene and Post-Nicene Church Fathers: Series 1: Volume VIII. Re-published 2014, Catholic Way Publishing. Kindle electronic edition, ISBN-13: 978-1-78379-372-3.
In his introduction to Psalm 47, Augustine reminds his reader of the ascription “for the sons of Korah” and the meaning of the name Korah as “Bridegroom.” He thus ties this psalm’s ascription to the children of Christ, the crucified Bridegroom of the Church (Augustine Psalms, loc. 324316). This, Augustine says, was a place of childish mocking, but also an occasion to remember that Jesus invites children to come to him in faith.
In verse one, all nations are called to clap their hands. Again, Augustine finds this to signify the foolish disobedience of Israel but the recognition on the part of the nations of Christ as Lord (Augustine Psalms, loc. 324334). The “hands” signify the good works with which we rejoice in Christ. A reason for the rejoicing emerges in verse two where, by his resurrection, Jesus shows himself to be the Most High, again, not of the Jews only, but of all the nations, subdued under His feet (v. 3) (Augustine Psalms, loc. 324347). Augustine applies this victory of Christ also to the Church, which holds spiritual and charitable authority over all, placed in a position to succour believer and unbeliever alike (Augustine Psalms, loc. 324359).
According to verse four, the work of the Church can be seen as an inheritance from God. Augustine observes that as Esau became the servant of Jacob, the nations are cared for by the chosen people of God (Augustine Psalms, loc. 324365). This is a jubilant occasion (v. 5). All are to look to the God who has “gone up,” which Augustine very naturally applies to Christ (Augustine Psalms, loc. 324377). Again, verse six calls for praises, sung to God. He is the king of all (v. 7). Augustine consistently focuses on Jesus in his identity as God and King (Augustine Psalms, loc. 324402). According to verse 8, he will reign over the nations, as we see Christ doing, enthroned in heaven, sitting at the right hand of the Father. Augustine also identifies Christ’s throne in the heart of all his people, thus affirming an illocal presence of Jesus (Augustine Psalms, loc. 324414).
In the end of Psalm 47, we see even princes gathered to God (v. 9). Augustine observes these are princes of nations, in the plural, people of honor from many places gathered in faith before the Lord, recognizing God’s authority (Augustine Psalms, loc. 324426). As they recognize the Lord they become His people, like Abraham. They too are able to gather in Christ’s kingdom, grafted in from every nation.