Psalm 24, 15 July 2018

‘Domini est terra, et plenitudo ejus / The earth is the Lord’s, and all that therein is.’ Ps 24 in the Rutland Bible, c.1260 CE. British Library MS 62925

Psalm 24 appears to be a gradual or entrance song, as the people ascend to the ‘hill of God’. It opens by declaring divine ownership of the creation, then asks who then can enter the holy places?

The answer, of course, is “those with clean hands and a pure in heart”, whatever that might imply. Verse 6 brings the additional insight that this might include whose who seek the ‘face’ (presence or influence?) of the God of Jacob.

Ephesus: looks like bits of this gate have already been lifted.

The psalm then goes on to the familiar “Lift up your heads, O ye gates” section, made popular in some old hymns and in Handel’s rousing chorus in The Messiah.


Last time this song arose, which was a full three years ago, we sang the refrain from The Emergent Psalter. This is a nice sing but is similar to the one presented last week for Psalm 48. Hence we turn to a different setting which incidentally has an ascending trajectory, using the same text:

Cantor: Who shall ascend to the hill of God?
Response: Those with clean hands and a pure heart. (vs 3, 4)

Verses are sung to a tone which is drawn directly from the tune and harmonies, without the rhythm. Ps24 music here>

For more musical options, read the earlier post.

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