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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 46

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

Verse 1

« To the chief Musician for the sons of Korah, A Song upon Alamoth. » God [is] our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

Upon Alamothi.e. Upon the Virginals. Virgins with their shrill treble tune, 1 Chronicles 15:20 , used (belike) to sing this triumphant psalm, and to play it on the instrument; and their hearts were somewhat suitable to it. The penman some think to have been David, upon occasion of those notable victories, 2 Samuel 8:1-14 ; others, Solomon, for the virgins to sing and play at his wedding, Psalms 45:8-9 Song of Solomon 1:2 ; others, Isaiah, either upon the overthrow of those two kings, Rezin and Pekah, 2 Kings 16:5 Isaiah 7:8 , confer Judges 5:11 , or else after the slaughter of Sennacherib’s army by an angel; then the virgin daughter of Zion (much more than before) despised him, and laughed him to scorn; the daughter of Jerusalem shook her head at him, Isaiah 37:22 , and sang as followeth:

God is our refuge and strengthDeus nobis est receptus, et robur (Tremel.). All creatures, when in distress, run to their refuges, Proverbs 30:26 Psalms 104:18 Proverbs 18:11 Daniel 4:10-11 Judges 9:50-51 . So do the saints to God Almighty, for the safe-guarding of their persons, as here, and Isaiah 25:4 . Luther, when in greatest distress, was wont to call for this psalm, saying, Let us sing the forty-sixth psalm in concert; and then let the devil do his worst.

A very present help in trouble — Or, we have abundantly found him a help in tribulation (Joh. Manlii loc. com.). God, as he is not far off his people at such a time, so he needeth not much entreaty; but when we are nearest danger he is nearest to deliver, as in the gunpowder plot prevented eight or nine hours before it should have been acted; masses were sung in Rome for the prospering of it; but no prayers particularly made in England for the preventing, nor could be. Here God was, if ever, auxilium praesentissimum.

Verse 2

Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;

Therefore will we not fear, though the earth, … — No, not in the greatest concussions of states and revolutions in nature. Earthquakes are very dreadful, and lay whole cities on heaps sometimes, as Antioch often, which was therehence called Yεοπολις (Lege Plin. lib. 2, cap. 83, 88); but though not some part only, but the whole earth should be turned topsy-turvy, as a man wipeth a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down, 2 Kings 21:13 ; yea, though heaven and earth should be mingled, Hebrews 12:26 , in this also the believer would be confident, because God is with him, Psalms 23:4 ; Psalms 27:1 , whose praise and promise is to see to his servants’ safety in the greatest dangers, and to set them out of the gunshot.

And though the mountains be carried inlo the midst of the sea — Though all the world should be reduced again into that first chaos of confusion (Horat. Obadiah 1:3 , lib. 3).

Impavidum ferient ruinae.

Verse 3

[Though] the waters thereof roar [and] be troubled, [though] the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.

Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled — Heb. Be mudded; yet we will not fear, viz. with base distrustful fear, Ut omnes procellae horribili cum boatu circumsonent. Tauti est experientiam sensumque auxilii divini habere. The tempestuous rising and roaring of the sea is so terrible, that Aristotle saith, whosoever feareth it not is either mad or senseless (Ethic. 3. 7). Fear not, saith the angel to St Paul himself in that dreadful storm, Acts 27:24 , which implieth that be was afraid with a natural fear; and he might be so without sin. An awful fear of God is consistent with faith; neither is any believer guilty of a stoic apathy. The very devils believe and tremble, James 2:19 . The apostle’s word there implieth that they roar as the sea roareth, and shriek horribly.

Though the mountains shake, … — As sometimes promontories fall with the force and impetuous beating of the sea upon them. Admit all this and more (whether in a sense literal or alle. gorical; set forth it is in a strain high and hyperbolic), yet we will bear up, and be bold to believe that all shall go well with us. Id quod Propheta miris verborum figuris additis iilustrat (Beza).

Verse 4

[There is] a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy [place] of the tabernacles of the most High.

There is a river, …Interea civitas Dei, amidst all these garboils and hurly-burlies abroad the Church shall be helped with a little help, as Daniel 11:34 , that, through weaker means, she may see God’s greater strength. That contemptible brook Kidron (whereof read John 18:1 , compassing some part only of the city Jerusalem, or passing through the middle of it, as some write), together with the riverets Siloe and others that run into it, shall be able, through God, to save her from the power and greatness of her enemies. Confer Isaiah 8:6 , and this place shall be the better understood.

The holy place of the tabernacles — This was the beauty and bulwark of Jerusalem, viz. the temple, the continued sincere service of God; this was the tower of the flock, and the stronghold of the daughter of God’s people, Micah 4:8 . See Isaiah 26:1-2 . And these rivers of the sanctuary, these waters of life, drawn with joy out of the wells of salvation, the precious promises, made glad the city of God, the consciences of believers, and caused them to triumph over all troubles.

Verse 5

God [is] in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, [and that] right early.

God is in the midst of her — Hence the Church is called Jehovah Shammah, the Lord is there, Ezekiel 48:35 , there he hath set him up a mercy seat, a throne of grace, and paved his people a new and living way thereunto with the blood of his Son, so that they may come boldly, obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need, Hebrews 4:14 .

She shall not be moved — Or, not greatly moved, Psalms 62:2 , in those great commotions abroad the world, Psalms 46:2-3 . This bush may burn, but shall not be consumed; and that by the blessing of him that dwelt in the bush, Deuteronomy 33:16 Built she is upon a rock, Matthew 16:18 , and so is every particular believer, Matthew 7:25 . And if at any time they be in distress,

God shall help her, and that right early — Heb. when the morning appeareth; that is, in the nick of time, when help shall be most seasonable and best welcome, Exodus 14:23 , Begneth haveshugnah (Kimchi). Mourning lasteth but till morning, Psalms 30:5 ; the Church is invincible, ακινητος και ανικητος ).

Verse 6

The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.

The heathen raged — Among themselves, and against the Church (Christ mystical, as Psalms 2:1-2 ) with great three and fury: Quia ab ascensore suo Daemone perurgentur, as Bernard giveth the reason, because the devil rideth them, and spurreth them on.

The kingdoms were moved — To remove and root out the Church, but that will not be; because in the thing wherein they deal proudly God is above them. See those three sweet similitudes, Zechariah 12:2-3 ; Zechariah 12:6 .

He ultered his voice — Thunder struck the enemies, and saved his people by a miracle of him mercy, Psalms 18:6-7 .

The earth meltedContra naturam suam, quia est arida, saith Aben Ezra; against the nature thereof, for it is dry. By the earth some understand the enemies, who had almost filled the whole land with their multitudes.

Verse 7

The LORD of hosts [is] with us; the God of Jacob [is] our refuge. Selah.

The Lord of hosts is with us — Even the Lord, who commandeth far other hosts and armies than the enemy hath any; and this they shall see by our spiritual security.

The God of Jacob is our refuge — Heb. our high tower, such as our enemies cannot come at. When he calleth him the God of Jacob he hath respect to the promises, saith Vatablus; God’s power and goodness are the Church’s Jachin and Boaz.

Verse 8

Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth.

Come, behold the works of the LordVenite, videte. Come, see. God looks that his works should lie well observed, and especially when he hath wrought any great deliverance for his people. Of all things, he cannot abide to be forgotten.

What desolations he hath made in the earth — How he hath dunged his vineyard with the dead carcasses of those wild boars out of the forest, that had infested it. Those four mighty monarchies had their times and their turns, their rise and their ruin; but the Church remains for ever.

Verse 9

He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.

He maketh wars to cease — As the Lord putteth the sword in commission, bathing it in heaven; so he can quiet it, and command it up at his pleasure. He did so when Sisera was slain, and when Sennacherib. The Church hath her halcyons.

He breaketh the bow, … — "No weapon formed against thee shall prosper," Isaiah 54:17 . The Spanish Armada was set forth with infinite labour and expense; but soon dispersed and defeated.

He burneth the chariotsIn quibus instrumenta bellica vel victualia pro militibus circumgestant, saith Aben Ezra, i.e. their carriages for ammunition and provisions.

Verse 10

Be still, and know that I [am] God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

Be still, and know, …q.d. As you must come and see, Psalms 46:8 , so come and hear what the Lord saith to those enemies of yours, Cessate, et scite, Be still, sit, and know, Ex vestris saltem malis discite, learn, by what ye have felt, that there is no contending with omnipotence. I will be exalted, asking you no leave, …

Verse 11

The LORD of hosts [is] with us; the God of Jacob [is] our refuge. Selah.

The Lord of hosts, … — See Psalms 46:7 Psalms 47:1

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 46". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/psalms-46.html. 1865-1868.
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