96:11–13 All creation is invited to join in the festal joy as the Lord (Jehovah, or Yahweh) arrives to rule the world. The heavens will be happy. The earth will be glad. “The sea and all within it will thunder praise” (Gelineau). No field will be silent, and “no tree in the forest but will rejoice to greet its Lord’s coming” (Knox). For He is coming to rule over the world. He will rule in perfect righteousness and in absolute honesty.
“Now therefore, why do you say nothing about bringing back the king?” (2 Sam. 19:10).
96:11, 12 This is what even inanimate creation awaits (cf. Ro 8:19–22).
96:10–13 Let All Nations Know that the Lord Will Judge in Righteousness. The Gentiles addressed throughout this psalm (cf. vv. 1, 7) are to spread the news among all their fellow Gentiles (among the nations, v. 10; cf. v. 3), namely, that the Lord reigns! The universal rule of the one true God (who is above all other gods, who are worthless anyway, vv. 4–5) is good news to those who will acknowledge his kingship. These verses describe a time when God will judge (i.e., rule justly; see note on Psalm 96) the peoples with equity (v. 10; cf. v. 13). When all kinds of people gladly receive God’s rule, worshiping him according to his gracious character, the rest of the creation (the heavens, the earth, the sea, and the field with all their inhabitants, and the trees of the forest) will all celebrate (be glad, rejoice, roar, exult, and sing for joy). The creation suffers from the curse upon mankind, and from God’s discipline of wayward human beings, and from the evil that people do; but when they genuinely come under the rule of the true God, the blessings will spread throughout the world. Cf. note on Rom. 8:20–21.
96:11–13 The psalmist describes personified creation as looking forward to Yahweh’s judgment, which will be right and fair. As Yahweh’s reign is fully established over everything in the way that it should be—with justice and equality (righteousness)—everything on heaven and earth that knows Yahweh will rejoice.
96:11–13 These verses call us to sing to the Lord as the judge of the earth.
96:11 heavens be glad … earth rejoice. This verse and the one that follows personify the whole creation.
96:13 comes to judge. The sense is that He comes to put everything back into proper order, which is why the creation is rejoicing in vv. 11, 12.
 MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 696). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.
 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ps 96:11). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
 Crossway Bibles. (2008). The ESV Study Bible (p. 1060). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
 Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ps 96:11–13). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
 Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2015). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (2015 Edition) (p. 944). Orlando, FL: Reformation Trust.