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Psalm 48

The Glory and Strength of Zion

A Song. A Psalm of the Korahites.

1

Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised

in the city of our God.

His holy mountain, 2beautiful in elevation,

is the joy of all the earth,

Mount Zion, in the far north,

the city of the great King.

3

Within its citadels God

has shown himself a sure defense.

 

4

Then the kings assembled,

they came on together.

5

As soon as they saw it, they were astounded;

they were in panic, they took to flight;

6

trembling took hold of them there,

pains as of a woman in labor,

7

as when an east wind shatters

the ships of Tarshish.

8

As we have heard, so have we seen

in the city of the Lord of hosts,

in the city of our God,

which God establishes forever.Selah

 

9

We ponder your steadfast love, O God,

in the midst of your temple.

10

Your name, O God, like your praise,

reaches to the ends of the earth.

Your right hand is filled with victory.

11

Let Mount Zion be glad,

let the towns of Judah rejoice

because of your judgments.

 

12

Walk about Zion, go all around it,

count its towers,

13

consider well its ramparts;

go through its citadels,

that you may tell the next generation

14

that this is God,

our God forever and ever.

He will be our guide forever.


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Ps 48:1-14. This is a spirited Psalm and song (compare Ps 30:1), having probably been suggested by the same occasion as the foregoing. It sets forth the privileges and blessings of God's spiritual dominion as the terror of the wicked and joy of the righteous.

1. to be praised—always: it is an epithet, as in Ps 18:3.

mountain of his holiness—His Church (compare Isa 2:2, 3; 25:6, 7, 10); the sanctuary was erected first on Mount Zion, then (as the temple) on Moriah; hence the figure.

2, 3. situation—literally, "elevation."

joy of, &c.—source of joy.

sides of the north—poetically for eminent, lofty, distinguished, as the ancients believed the north to be the highest part of the earth (compare Isa 14:13).

3. palaces—literally, "citadels."

refuge—(Ps 9:10; 18:3). He was so known in them because they enjoyed His presence.

4-6. For—The reason is given. Though the kings (perhaps of Moab and Ammon, compare Ps 83:3-5) combined, a conviction of God's presence with His people, evinced by the unusual courage with which the prophets (compare 2Ch 20:12-20) had inspired them, seized on their minds, and smitten with sudden and intense alarm, they fled astonished.

7. ships of Tarshish—as engaged in a distant and lucrative trade, the most valuable. The phrase may illustrate God's control over all material agencies, whether their literal destruction be meant or not.

8. This present experience assures of that perpetual care which God extends to His Church.

9. thought of—literally, "compared," or considered, in respect of former dealings.

in the … temple—in acts of solemn worship (compare 2Ch 20:28).

10. According … praise—that is, As Thy perfections manifested (compare Ps 8:1; 20:1-7), demand praise, it shall be given, everywhere.

thy right hand, &c.—Thy righteous government is displayed by Thy power.

11. the daughters, &c.—the small towns, or the people, with the chief city, or rulers of the Church.

judgments—decisions and acts of right government.

12-14. The call to survey Zion, or the Church, as a fortified city, is designed to suggest "how well our God secures His fold." This security is perpetual, and its pledge is His guidance through this life.




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