1. Clap your hands, all ye peoples. As the Psalmist requires the nations, in token of their joy and of their thanksgiving to God, to clap their hands, or rather exhorts them to a more than ordinary joy, the vehemence of which breaks forth and manifests itself by external expressions, it is certain that he is here speaking of the deliverance which God had wrought for them. Had God erected among the Gentiles some formidable kingdom, this would rather have deprived all of their courage, and overwhelmed them with despair, than given them matter to sing and leap for joy. Besides, the inspired writer does not here treat of some common or ordinary blessings of God; but of such blessings as will fill the whole world with incredible joy, and stir up the minds of all men to celebrate the praises of God. What he adds a little after, that all nations were brought into subjection to Israel, must, therefore, necessarily be understood not of slavish subjection, but of a subjection which is more excellent, and more to be desired, than all the kingdoms of the world. It would be unnatural for those who are subdued and brought to submit by force and fear to leap for joy. Many nations were tributary to David, and to his son Solomon; but while they were so, they ceased not, at the same time, to murmur, and bore impatiently the yoke which was imposed upon them, so far were they from giving thanks to God with joyful and cheerful hearts.
1 In anticipation of God’s kingship, the nations must joyfully acclaim Yahweh as the Great King by clapping their hands (cf. 2 Ki 11:12; for nature, cf. Isa 55:12). The heavenly beings already sing praises to him (cf. 29:1; Isa 6:3). The kingdom of God will only be established when the “nations” on earth join with the heavenly choirs in celebration of his universal and everlasting kingship. While clapping, the people joyously “shout” a cheer of victory (20:5).
Ver. 1.—O clap your hands, all ye people; rather, all ye peoples. The nations of the earth generally—not Israel only—are addressed. The events which have taken place—the great extension of God’s kingdom, by David’s conquests, are for the advantage of all, and all ought to be thankful for them. Shout unto God with the voice of triumph; or, with a voice of joy. Professor Cheyne renders, “in ringing tones.”
CLAP your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.
1. “O clap your hands.” The most natural and most enthusiastic tokens of exultation are to be used in view of the victories of the Lord, and his universal reign. Our joy in God may be demonstrative, and yet he will not censure it. “All ye people.” The joy is to extend to all nations; Israel may lead the van, but all the Gentiles are to follow in the march of triumph, for they have an equal share in that Kingdom where there is neither Greek nor Jew, but Christ is all and in all. Even now if they did but know it, it is the best hope of all nations that Jehovah ruleth over them. If they cannot all speak the same tongue, the symbolic language of the hands they can all use. All people will be ruled by the Lord in the latter days, and will exult in that rule; were they wise they would submit to it now, and rejoice to do so; yea, they would clap their hands in rapture at the thought. “Shout,” let your voices keep tune with your hands. “Unto God,” let him have all the honours of the day, and let them be loud, joyous, universal, and undivided. “With the voice of triumph,” with gladsome sounds, consonant with such splendid victories, so great a King, so excellent a rule, and such gladsome subjects. Many are human languages, and yet the nations may triumph as with one voice. Faith’s view of God’s government is full of transport. The prospect of the universal reign of the Prince of Peace is enough to make the tongue of the dumb sing; what will the reality be? Well might the poet of the seasons bid mountains and valleys raise their joyous hymn—
“For the Great Shepherd reigns.
47:1 All you peoples, clap your hands Reflects a king’s coronation (2 Kgs 11:12). The psalmist encourages all people to applaud the divine King.
47:1 all peoples. Since God is King of all the earth, and not just Israel, all the nations are called to join in the praise.
 Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 777). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.