The Meaning of Psalms 68:4 Explained

Psalms 68:4

KJV: Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him.

YLT: Sing ye to God -- praise His name, Raise up a highway for Him who is riding in deserts, In Jah is His name, and exult before Him.

Darby: Sing unto God, sing forth his name; cast up a way for him that rideth in the deserts: his name is Jah; and rejoice before him.

ASV: Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: Cast up a highway for him that rideth through the deserts; His name is Jehovah; and exult ye before him.

What does Psalms 68:4 Mean?

Context Summary

Psalm 68:1-11 - The Leader Of His People
This is one of the grandest odes in literature. It was probably composed when the Ark was brought in triumph from the house of Obed-edom to the newly acquired hill of the Lord, 2 Samuel 6:1-23. It is evidently a processional hymn, intended to be sung by bands of white-robed priests and Levites. In this paragraph the Ark was lifted to the shoulders of its bearers, while a measured strain was chanted, Psalms 68:1-6. Then, as the procession moved forward, the march through the wilderness was recited, Psalms 68:7-11.
Let God arise! These opening words are borrowed from the formula used by Moses, Numbers 10:35. Through the smoke of many a battlefield have they rung out! Cromwell's "Ironsides" charged to their music. In Psalms 68:5-6 we learn that God has a special care for lonely people and prisoners. The former He introduces to families, John 19:26-27. The latter are brought out into prosperity. Psalms 68:11, r.v. seems to have a modern fulfillment in the exodus of noble women from happy homes in Christian lands to publish the gospel of Christ to the heathen. [source]

Chapter Summary: Psalm 68

1  A prayer at the removing of the ark
4  An exhortation to praise God for his mercies
7  for his care of the church
19  for his great works

What do the individual words in Psalms 68:4 mean?

Sing to God sing praises to His name Extol Him who rides on the clouds by YAH His name and rejoice before Him
שִׁ֤ירוּ ׀ לֵֽאלֹהִים֮ זַמְּר֪וּ שְׁ֫מ֥וֹ סֹ֡לּוּ לָרֹכֵ֣ב בָּ֭עֲרָבוֹת בְּיָ֥הּ שְׁמ֗וֹ וְעִלְז֥וּ לְפָנָֽיו

שִׁ֤ירוּ ׀  Sing 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Imperative, masculine plural
Root: שִׁיר  
Sense: to sing.
לֵֽאלֹהִים֮  to  God 
Parse: Preposition-l, Noun, masculine plural
Root: אֱלֹהִים  
Sense: (plural).
זַמְּר֪וּ  sing  praises 
Parse: Verb, Piel, Imperative, masculine plural
Root: זָמַר  
Sense: to sing, sing praise, make music.
שְׁ֫מ֥וֹ  to  His  name 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular construct, third person masculine singular
Root: שֵׁם  
Sense: name.
סֹ֡לּוּ  Extol 
Parse: Verb, Qal, Imperative, masculine plural
Root: סָלַל 
Sense: to lift up, cast up, exalt.
לָרֹכֵ֣ב  Him  who  rides 
Parse: Preposition-l, Article, Verb, Qal, Participle, masculine singular
Root: רָכַב  
Sense: to mount and ride, ride.
בָּ֭עֲרָבוֹת  on  the  clouds 
Parse: Preposition-b, Article, Noun, feminine plural
Root: עֲרָבָה  
Sense: desert plain, steppe, desert, wilderness.
בְּיָ֥הּ  by  YAH 
Parse: Preposition-b, Proper Noun, masculine singular
Root: יָהּ  
Sense: Jah (Jehovah in the shortened form).
שְׁמ֗וֹ  His  name 
Parse: Noun, masculine singular construct, third person masculine singular
Root: שֵׁם  
Sense: name.
וְעִלְז֥וּ  and  rejoice 
Parse: Conjunctive waw, Verb, Qal, Imperative, masculine plural
Root: עָלַז  
Sense: (Qal) to exult, rejoice, triumph.
לְפָנָֽיו  before  Him 
Parse: Preposition-l, Noun, common plural construct, third person masculine singular
Root: לִפְנֵי 
Sense: face.