The Lord shall count, when he writeth of the people that this man was born there.
*my Great Uncle’s little black book didn’t record the verse, which is v6.
To understand why he only included verse 6, let’s look at the the entirety of Psalm 87:
On the holy mount, stands the city he founded; the Lord loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwelling places of Jacob. Glorious things of you are spoken, O city of God.
Among those who know me I mention Rahab and Babylon; behold Philistia and Tyre, with Cush – “This one was born there,” they say. And of Zion it shall be said, “this one and that one were born in her”; for the Most High himself with establish her. The Lord records as he registers the peoples, “This one was born there.”
Singers and dancers alike say, “All my springs are in you.”
My ESV Bible titles Psalm 87 “Glorious things of you are spoken”.
HCSB Study Bible for Women writes:
87:1-2 This psalm praises Jerusalem as the city of God and sets forth Zion as the spiritual center of the world (see Ps 137:5-6). Jerusalem also may symbolize the poet’s longing for God. Jacob is an alternate name for Israel.
87:4-7 God is the God of all nations, not just Israel. His purposes include all peoples who respond to Him in faithfulness and worship, regardless of their nationalities. Rahab refers to Egypt (Isa 30:7). In the latter part of this poem the emphasis shifts from the earthly city of Jerusalem to the heavenly Zion where God’s people will dwell for ever secure.
In the NLT, verse 6 reads: “When the Lord registers the nations, he will say “They have all become citizens of Jerusalem.”
I think for my Great Uncle, this particular verse was so important because it lets us know that we (gentiles, non-jewish) were always part of God’s adoption plan. In this portion of scripture, from the Old Testament, we see that God’s intention is that all… including gentiles… would be part of God’s Kingdom.
I love the wording of Psalm 87 in the NLT:
On the holy mountain stands the city founded by the Lord. He loves the city of Jerusalem more than any other city in Israel. O city of God, what glorious things are said of you. I will count Egypt and Babylon among those who know me – also Philistia and Tyre, and even distant Ethiopia. They have all become citizens of Jerusalem! Regarding Jerusalem it will be said, “Everyone enjoys the rights of citizenship there.” And the Most High will personally bless this city. When the Lord registers the nations, he will say, “They have all become citizens of Jerusalem.” The people will play flutes and sing.
Thank you Lord, for making the way for us to the city of Zion. All we need to do is accept the invitation.