Psalm 100:3 seems to express a covenant formula, denoting a relationship between God as his particular people. Similar to the formula elsewhere of, "I will be your God, you shall be my people." (e.g. Exodus 6:7, Jeremiah 30:22), Psalm 100 begins (NIV emphasis mine):

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
    Worship the Lord with gladness;
    come before him with joyful songs.
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.

Yet, who is the "we" of verse 3 there?

2 Answers 2


In Psa. 100:1, the psalmist commands, "All the earth, shout to Yahveh!" Hence, the subject is "all the earth" (כָּל הָאָרֶץ) (cp. Psa. 33:8, 66:4, 96:1, 96:9, etc.).

To the same subject, "all the earth," the psalmist commands (Psa. 100:2), "Serve Yahveh with gladness!" (עִבְדוּ אֶת יַהְוֶה בְּשִׂמְחָה) and "Come in His presence with exultation!" (בֹּאוּ לְפָנָיו בִּרְנָנָה).

Then, to the same subject, "all the earth," the psalmist commands (Psa. 110:3), "Know that Yahveh is God! He made us, and we are His, His people, even the sheep of His pasture" (דְּעוּ כִּי יַהְוֶה הוּא אֱלֹהִים הוּא עָשָׂנוּ וְלוֹ אֲנַחְנוּ עַמּוֹ וְצֹאן מַרְעִיתוֹ).

Note: There is a Ktiv reading of ולא ("and not"), and Kri reading of ולו (perhaps, "and [we are] his").

Hence, Yahveh's people, even the sheep of his pasture (עַמּוֹ וְצֹאן מַרְעִיתוֹ), must be all the earth, whom the psalmist addresses in v. 1.

Keil and Delitzsch wrote,1

כּל־הארץ are all lands, or rather all men belonging to the earth's population.

The Targum of Psalms 100:1 interprets the Hebrew "כָּל הָאָרֶץ" into Aramaic as "כל יתבי ארעא," that is, "all the inhabitants of the earth."


1 Delitzsch, Frank; Keil, Karl Fredreich. Commentary on the Old Testament.


In Exodus 6:7, along with Jeremiah 30:22, the Lord is the one addressing others (via "I"). He is speaking to his chosen people.

Exodus 6:7 And I will take you to me for a people, and I will be to you a God: and ye shall know that I am the LORD your God, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. Jeremiah 30:22 And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.

However, in Psalm 100:3, it’s that very people who are doing the addressing (via "we"). Here they are talking to everyone else on earth.

The smaller group (the chosen) knows they are definitely going to worship and thank the Lord. They're wanting and asking everyone else that exists to join them as they do so.

Thus, the "people of God" are the smaller group, the chosen ones.

  • That's certainly one way of reading the text. On the other hand, the person commanding (addressing) others may simply be including himself as one of the inhabitants of the earth.
    – user862
    Dec 20, 2013 at 22:51

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