100:3 Translations of this verse differ (“not we ourselves,” KJV, NASB; “we are his,” RSV, NIV) because of textual emendation by some translators, supported by a marginal note in the MT. The Hebrew text reads literally, “He made us and not we.” However, the negative particle loʾ is usually used with verbs; another form of negation is used for nouns or pronouns. It is likely that the original reading was lo (without the unvoiced final letter aleph), meaning “His,” which sounds the same as the negative particle. An error could have crept in when a copyist misunderstood what was being dictated to him. The psalm refers to the Lord’s covenant loyalty (hesed, “love,” v. 5) so the worshipers are His; the other reading, of course, is also theologically correct since they did not create themselves.
100:3 the sheep of his pasture. See Ps. 23:1 for note on royal overtones of the portrayal of God as a shepherd.
100:3 Yahweh, he is God The psalmist exhorts his audience to know that Yahweh is God (elohim). He may be drawing from Psa 99, which uses the phrase yhwh elohenu (“Yahweh our God”) four times (99:5, 8, 9).
made The psalmist is probably referring to Yahweh’s activity in making Israel into a people for Himself, though the psalmist could also be referring to Yahweh as the creator of humanity. Compare 96:6–7.
we are his. We are his people Israel’s status as God’s people draws strong connections with the exodus and subsequent events (see Exod 6:7; 19:5; Deut 7:6).
the sheep of his pasture The psalms portray God as a shepherd who watches over His people. See Ps 95:7 and note.
100:3 he who made us. This could be a reference to God’s work as Creator of all; but, in view of what follows in the verse, it seems to be more specifically, “made us [Israel] to be his people.” and we are his. Earlier English translations read “not” in place of “his” (see ESV footnote, “and not we ourselves”); the Hebrew for both sounds almost identical (“his,” Hb. lo; “not,” Hb. lo’), but “his” is the better reading. his people, and the sheep of his pasture. For the image of God’s people as his sheep and the Lord as their shepherd, see note on 74:1–3. See also 95:7.
100:3 Know. In the sense of experiencing and being completely assured of the truth. the Lord Himself is God. A confession that Israel’s covenant God, Jehovah, is the only true God. made us. Though God’s actual creation of every human being is understood here, this phrase seems to refer to God’s making and blessing Israel as a nation (cf. Dt 32:6, 15; Ps 95:6; Is 29:22, 23; 44:2). His people … His pasture. The shepherd image is often ascribed to the king of Israel, as well as to the Lord (cf. Ps 78:70–72; Is 44:28; Jer 10:21; Zec 10:3; 11:4–17; also Pss 23:1; 28:9; 74:1; 77:20; 78:52, 53; 80:1; 95:7). The figure suggests intimate care (cf. Lk 15:3–6). According to the NT, the Lord is also the Shepherd of saints in the church age (Jn 10:16).
100:3 — Know that the Lord, He is God; it is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people and the sheep of His pasture.
God is the Shepherd; we are His flock. God is the Creator; we are His creations. God is the Father; we are His children. When we remember these basic truths, life goes a lot smoother for everyone.
100:3 The words the Lord, He is God reflect the great confession of faith in Deut 6:4–9. To know that the Lord is God is very similar to the command to “hear” in Deuteronomy. And not we ourselves is sometimes read “and His we are.” sheep of His pasture: An inversion of these words can be found in 95:7.
100:3. The Lord should be praised and worshiped joyfully because He is sovereign. He is the Creator, and those who trust Him are His possession. They follow Him, for they are the sheep of His pasture (cf. 74:1; 79:13; 95:7; also note 23:1; 80:1).
Thanking God for His Gracious Election (100:3b–c)
100:3b–c. The psalmist continued his exhortation to praise and thanksgiving by declaring, on behalf of Israel, that It is He (the one and only God as affirmed in the previous clause) who has made us. This refers not to God’s creation of humankind in general, but rather to His choice of Israel as His unique people (cf. Dt 32:6, 15; 1Kg 8:51; Pss 28:9; 74:2). Furthermore, the psalmist affirmed that because God had made them, they are His people and the sheep of His pasture (cf. comments on 2–3 and 95:6–7).
100:3 Acknowledge. This imperative is fourth of seven in the poem, marking it out as the central imperative. While the word yada‘ [3045, 3359] sometimes means “acknowledge,” the clear examples of this sense are in the context of acknowledging sin (51:3 ; Isa 59:12; Jer 3:13; 14:20; DCH 4.99). When followed by the particle ki [3588, 3954] (that), yada‘ regularly means “know/realize/be aware” (DCH 4.100). “Know” is conceptually different from the other six liturgical imperatives, further marking it out as the central imperative (McCann 1996:1078).
and we are his. Some Hebrew mss read welo’ ’anakhnu [3808/587, 4202/636], so the KJV and NASB have “and not we ourselves.” The NLT (so too the NIV) follows other word texts and the Qere that read welo ’anakhnu [3807.1/2050.2/587, 4200/2257/636]; this reading is supported by some ancient versions as well. There are 14 other passages where lo [3807.1/2050.2, 4200/2257] is to be read for lo’ [3808, 4202]; the Masorah indicates 17, but 2 are doubtful (see Delitzsch 1982:105). See Howard 1997:92–94 for a full discussion of the issue.
his people. The word ‘ammo [5971A, 6639] is the central word of the poem, having 20 words before and after it. That we are “his people” is the heart of the psalm (Howard 1997:96).
3. Know ye that the Lord he (is) God—Hebrew, ‘Jehovah is Elohim;’ as contra-distinguished from all whom the heathen called ‘gods’ (cf. Ps. 46:10, based on Deut. 7:9). The destruction of Sennacherib, in Ps. 46, is a type of the coming overthrow of the antichristian faction, the result of which will be the recognition of Jehovah by all nations. (it is) he (that) hath made us, and not we ourselves: (we are) his people, and the sheep of his pasture. These are the two grounds for our recognizing Jehovah as God; first, that ‘He hath made us;’ secondly, that ‘we are His people and His sheep’—viz., by His having redeemed us (Acts 20:28). The same two-fold ground appears in Ps. 95:6, 7. “Not we ourselves” is added to mark how altogether of God’s grace, not of our working even in part, our creation and our redemption alike are (Eph. 2:8–10; Ps. 98:1). Contrast Pharaoh’s vaunt (Ezek. 29:3). “Made us,” as applied to the Israelites, the literal and the spiritual, includes adoption by grace, as well as creation. The result of His making us (in this sense) is, “we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.” Cf. 1 Sam. 12:6, marg.; Deut. 26:18; 32:6; Isa. 29:23; 43:7. The Chaldaic and Jerome substitute the bad Hebrew marginal (Keri) reading [לוֹ for לֹא], ‘And His we are’ for ‘not we ourselves.’ The LXX. and the other old versions, with the English version, support the Hebrew text (Chetib), which suits the sense better.
3. To know is to have firm ground underfoot, the prerequisite of praise (cf. 40:2f.), and this knowledge is ours by gift; indeed by command. In the brief space of this verse we are first reminded who God is (revealed by name, Yahweh [the Lord], a name richly annotated by his words and works); then whence and whose we are; and finally in how favoured a relation we stand to him.
The middle line of the verse, in the written text and the oldest versions, runs ‘… and not we ourselves’. Almost all modern translations, however, supported by Massoretic tradition and some ms(s) and versions, take it in the sense ‘and we are his’. The ambiguity arises from the Hebrew words for ‘not’ and ‘his’ (lōʾ and lô), which sound alike. Either of them would be appropriate here. But the Hebrew sentence continues more smoothly with the second option (his), as the av’s need of two extra words in italics confesses. The rsv could have dispensed with these, letting the sentence run: ‘and we are his; his people, and the sheep …’.
Ver. 3.—Know ye that the Lord he is God; or, be sure—“recognize the fact as a certainty” (see the Prayer-book Version). It is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; or, according to another reading, and his are we. This latter reading is preferred by De Wette, Kay, Cheyne, and the Revised Version. But the other, which was the reading of the LXX., and is supported by the Vulgate and the old commentators generally, should, however, be retained, as yielding a better sense (see the arguments of Hengstenberg, ‘Commentary on the Psalms,’ vol. iii. p. 201, Engl. trans.). We are his people, and the sheep of his pasture (comp. Pss. 74:1; 79:13; 95:7).
3. Observe the motives, and the encouragements, to this cheerful service. Our God, is God; and he is a good God; and he is our God, as our Creator: and we are his, by right of creation, like sheep that have an owner. And, being his property, shall we not be his care? Yes, for he is good. Sweet thought! both by creation, and by redemption, we are his; and therefore he hath an undoubted right to all our services; and well may we give him the tribute of praise.
100:3 Know that the Lord is God. Knowing God is accepting his lordship (1 Chron. 28:9). This verse may have been recited outside the gates of the temple while the worshipers were waiting for entry (cf. Ps. 24). If we consider the psalm a miniature treatise on universal salvation, then this is a call to the nations to recognize that Yahweh is the true God.
It is he who made us, and we are his. The first-person plural object and subject (“us” and “we”) put this statement on the lips of the earth’s inhabitants or kings. Significantly, this is the abbreviated covenant formula on the lips of the inhabitants of the earth, acknowledging the Lord as God and confessing themselves to belong to him. We hear the covenant formula on Israel’s lips in 79:13 and 95:7, and elsewhere, but here on the lips of the inhabitants of the earth or their kings it is both shocking and hopeful. The nations have come to confess Yahweh as God!
The clause “we are his” is written in Hebrew as “and not [lo’] we ourselves” (see the NIV footnote; this reading is supported also by the LXX and the Targum). But the Jewish scribes of the Middle Ages (Masoretes) provided a correction in the margin (lo; lit., “to him”), giving the meaning, “and we belong to him” (i.e., “we are his”). The parallel text of Psalm 95:6–7 supports the corrected reading (“we are his”), but either meaning is theologically within bounds.
100:3 / In the context of public worship, the Hebrew verb for know (Hb. ydʿ) denotes both internal recognition and external acknowledgment. Knowledge was a key component in Yahwistic faith. The congregation is commanded both to understand its rationale and to make it known. The primary datum is that the Lord, as opposed to other claimants to deity, is God. The rest of the verse unpacks the significance of this. The claim, it is he who made us, can refer to God’s roles as creator of humankind and as creator of a covenant people (cf. Isa. 43:1, 15; 44:2). The designations, his people and the sheep of his pasture (cf. 23:1), point particularly to the latter role. These phrases, among others, are closely paralleled in Psalm 95, where both divine roles are in view: he is both cosmic Creator and “our God” in particular (vv. 3–7). Thus, in Psalm 100 Yahweh has a right to this confession of him as God because he is our maker, possessor, and provider. Our dependence on him is clearly implied in the sheep-shepherd image—we belong to him and we need him.
To assume this psalm teaches that all the earth (v. 1) are his people, the sheep of his pasture (v. 3) would be to misread the psalm. While the psalm summons “all the earth” in the opening imperative, only the worshiping congregation that actually makes the acknowledgment of verse 3 and brings the offerings of verse 4 can lay claim to being his people.
Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture (v. 3). Following the call to worship comes a declaration regarding Israel’s covenantal status. To ‘know’ God is to confess him, making open acknowledgment that he, the Lord, is the only God. An alternative rendering would be, ‘Acknowledge that the Lord alone is God.’ The nations should know that it is the Lord who formed the Israelites into a nation for himself, and that nation belongs to him. For ‘and we are his’, there is an alternative translation, ‘and not we ourselves’. It comes from an ambiguity in the Hebrew text because two Hebrew words share the same pronunciation but differ in both their written form and meaning (Heb. lô; it can mean either ‘not’ [loʾ], or ‘belonging to him’, ‘his’ [lô]). The thought of Israel as the Lord’s flock has already been presented in Psalm 95:7. This concept is developed further in the New Testament with the teaching concerning Jesus as the shepherd (John 10:2; Heb. 13:20; 1 Pet. 2:25), with a special people (Titus 2:14) whom he has purchased as his servants (1 Cor. 6:20; 7:21–23).
Celebration of the Covenant (100:3)
3 This verse shares the language of 95:7. The imperative “know” (from ydʿ) signifies acknowledgment or confession (cf. Dt 4:39; Isa 43:10). They confess him as covenantal Lord (“the Lord”), their only true God (cf. 1 Ki 18:39). In addition they confess their accountability to him (“It is he who has made us”; cf. Dt 32:6, 15; Isa 43:1, 21; 60:21) and their privileged position (“his people, the sheep of his pasture”; cf. 74:1; 79:13; Isa 40:11; Eze 34:31). The lordship of God connotes benefits, also clearly brought out by the shepherd imagery of “sheep” and “pasture” (cf. Ps 23; Lk 15:3–6; Jn 10:1–18).
 Cabal, T., Brand, C. O., Clendenen, E. R., Copan, P., Moreland, J. P., & Powell, D. (2007). The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight Answers, Stronger Faith (p. 873). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
 Sproul, R. C. (Ed.). (2005). The Reformation Study Bible: English Standard Version (p. 824). Orlando, FL; Lake Mary, FL: Ligonier Ministries.
 MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ps 100:3). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
 Stanley, C. F. (2005). The Charles F. Stanley life principles Bible: New King James Version (Ps 100:3). Nashville, TN: Nelson Bibles.
 Fausset, A. R. (n.d.). A Commentary, Critical, Experimental, and Practical, on the Old and New Testaments: Job–Isaiah (Vol. III, pp. 315–316). London; Glasgow: William Collins, Sons, & Company, Limited.