Augustine. Exposition on the Book of Psalms. Schaff, Philip (editor). New York: Christian Literature Publishing Co, 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.
Psalm 96, though it speaks in the title of the house being built after the Captivity, does not speak of the particulars of a place of worship. Augustine points out that verse one speaks of all the earth singing to God (Augustine Psalms, loc. 335642, par. 2). The whole earth, then, is the place of God's house. Augustine considers that the way God's house would be built in the whole earth is through Christian love, referencing Paul and John (Augustine Psalms, loc. 335647, par. 2). Further, he sees that Christ builds the house based on the wood of His cross. This calls all nations to look to Him.
The building of God increases, in verse two, as people tell of God's salvation. This is to be the content of all our preaching, for it is God's honor (Augustine Psalms, loc. 335662, par. 3). Speaking of our honor rather than God's is not faithful. Augustine sees this a erecting a wall for our own temple rather than for God's temple. Our walls are destined for ruin. Only God's temple will stand. Verse four sees God as the great one who is to be praised. Again, this sets him apart from us. Augustine sees Jesus as the Man who is set apart, worthy of more praise than we could give (Augustine Psalms, loc. 335677, par. 4). Augustine sees the greatness of Jesus in that he was able to build a home among all nations and redeem them all, giving his life as a priceless ransom. In this he rejects the idea that Christ's death is only sufficient for some (Augustine Psalms, loc. 335693, par. 5). The other gods, those of all the nations, may be so small and weak, but the true God is above all (Augustine Psalms, loc. 335703, par. 6).
Verse six speaks of birth confession and beauty being before God (Augustine Psalms, loc. 335708, par. 7). Augustine applies this to say if we love beauty our covenant action is to confess our sins. This again brings honor to God and makes us clear. The purity shows beauty (Augustine Psalms, loc. 335718, par. 7).
The greatness of God shows through in his people (v. 7). All the praise, therefore, is to go to God. Augustine sees God as the one who accomplishes all good (Augustine Psalms, loc. 335728, par. 8). As a response to God's glory, in verse 8, Augustine considers that we return gifts to God. The appropriate gifts are "a broken and a contrite heart" (Augustine Psalms, loc. 335733, par. 9). Verse 9 speaks of coming into God's court. Augustine takes this to be in the "Catholic church" (Augustine Psalms, loc. 335738, par. 10). All the earth, in verse 10, brings glory to God. The Christian brings the testimony of Scripture to proclaim God's glory.
The glory of God creates gladness. Verses 11-12 speak to a unified testimony of all creation. All the world, reconciled to God, is glad in His presence (Augustine Psalms, loc. 335769, par. 14). God will judge the world in righteousness. Augustine understands this to imply that Jesus has purchased the whole world so he is able to judge it (Augustine Psalms, loc. 335789, par. 15).