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48. Psalm 48

Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness.

2Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King.

3God is known in her palaces for a refuge.

4For, lo, the kings were assembled, they passed by together.

5They saw it, and so they marvelled; they were troubled, and hasted away.

6Fear took hold upon them there, and pain, as of a woman in travail.

7Thou breakest the ships of Tarshish with an east wind.

8As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the Lord of hosts, in the city of our God: God will establish it for ever. Selah.

9We have thought of thy lovingkindness, O God, in the midst of thy temple.

10According to thy name, O God, so is thy praise unto the ends of the earth: thy right hand is full of righteousness.

11Let mount Zion rejoice, let the daughters of Judah be glad, because of thy judgments.

12Walk about Zion, and go round about her: tell the towers thereof.

13Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces; that ye may tell it to the generation following.

14For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our guide even unto death.

10. As is thy name, O God! so is thy praise Some connect this verse with the preceding sentence, as if it had been said, Lord, it is not in vain that thou hast enjoined upon us the duty of celebrating thy name; for thou furnishest at the same time matter of praise. Thus the sense will be, that the name of God is magnified and extolled with effect, or that along with his promises his power is at the same time manifested. Others give this exposition, which is somewhat more refined, That the works of God correspond with his name; for in Hebrew he is called, אל, El, 197197     “C’est a dire, Fort.” — Fr. marg. “That is to say, Strong.” from his power, and he shows in very deed that this name is not applied to him in vain, but that the praise which is ascribed to him by it is right and what is due to him. The former exposition, as it is less forced, so it comes nearer to the words and mind of the sacred writer, namely, that God bore testimony by his works that it was not in vain that he was acknowledged and worshipped by the Jews as the true and only God. Yet when I come to consider the words which follow immediately after, Unto the ends of the earth, I think that the prophet meant something else, — that he intended to show, that wherever the fame of the name of God may be spread, men will know that he is worthy of the highest praise. The words contain a tacit contrast. At that time, the names of idols, it is well known, were very common, and had sway through the whole world; and yet, whatever fame these counterfeit gods had acquired, we know that praise in no respect belonged to them, since no sign of divinity whatever could be discovered about them. But here the prophet, on the contrary, declares, Lord, in whatever part of the world thy name is heard, it will always be accompanied with solid and rightful praise, or it will ever carry along with it matter of praise, since the whole world will understand how thou hast dealt with thy chosen people. What is added immediately after is to the same purpose, Thy right hand is full of righteousness, teaching us, that God, in succouring his own people, clearly manifests his righteousness, as if he stretched forth his arm to us that we might touch his righteousness with the finger; and that he shows not only one specimen or two of his righteousness, but in every thing and every where exhibits to us a complete proof of it. We ought to bear in mind what we have stated elsewhere, that the righteousness of God is to be understood of his faithfulness which he observes in maintaining and defending his own people. From this there accrues to us the inestimable comfort, that the work in which God especially desires to be acknowledged as righteous consists in providing what belongs to our welfare and to our maintenance in safety. 198198     “Que l’oeuvre en laquelle Dieu vent singulierement estre recognu juste, c’est in procurant les choses qui appartienent a nostre salut, et a nous maintenir en sauvete.” — Fr. We now see that the meaning of the inspired poet is, That the names of false gods prevailed, and were renowned among men, although they had done nothing to furnish matter of true praise; but that it was altogether different with respect to the God of Israel: for wherever the report of him was carried, all would understand that he was the deliverer of his people, and that he did not disappoint their hope and desires, nor forsake them in danger.


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