Psalm 87, a psalm by the sons of Korah the Levites, is joyful song celebrating Jerusalem, the City of God, called Zion on holy Mount Moriah. The Lord has set deep his foundations on Mount Moriah and surrounded the city of Jerusalem with walls and gates. This is the city God loves. This is the city where God dwells. (Psalm 43:3; Psalm 48:1; Psalm 99:9)
Not only is Jerusalem honored by Israel and the Lord, but other great cities and lands proclaimed Jerusalem’s greatness. The great cities that honored Jerusalem included:
- Babylon, the great city to the east
- Egypt (Rahab), the great land to the south
- Philistia, the neighbors to the west
- Tyre, the great commercial center to the north
- Cush, the powerful land far to the south of Egypt
Citizenship of a city could be attained by being born in that city. Then, the patron deity of the city would provide protection for the citizens and exemption from taxes and forced labor. So, likewise, in Psalms 87:4b-6 the focus is on Jerusalem being the city of birth of these favored ones who can claim to have citizenship in Jerusalem.
But, also, in this song of the Great City, the Most High who established Jerusalem will also register the peoples from Babylon, Egypt, Philistia, Tyre and Cush as citizens! These new citizens will make music and sing gladly because they know that all God’s fountains (or, his sources of blessings) are found in this great city. These foreigners have been welcomed as citizens into the Lord’s great and eternal city.