corner graphic   Hi,    
ver. 2.0.19.10.21
Finding the new version too difficult to understand? Go to classic.studylight.org/

Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Psalms 48

 

 

Verse 1

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

Psalms 48:1-14.-Praise-song after deliverance. Jerusalem's special relation to God, the ground of it (Psalms 48:1-3); the assembled hostile kings smitten by the same omnipotent God who smote the ships of Tarshish; thus God's people saw what they had heard of in past ages, that He establishes His city forever (Psalms 48:4-8); joyful thanks for the deliverance which will bring God praise unto the ends of the earth (Psalms 48:9-11); call to all to survey how unimpaired Zion is, that they may transmit the story to the generation following (Psalms 48:12-14). This psalm was sung "in the midst of God's temple" (Psalms 48:9); cf. 2 Chronicles 20:27, and Psalms 47:1-9. Jehoshaphat is specially alluded to in Psalms 48:7; cf. 1 Kings 22:48-49; 2 Chronicles 20:35-37. The ungodly alliance was as great a danger from within, as the hostile invasion from without. The Psalmist represents both alike averted by the grace of God.

Title. - A Song and Psalm - or, 'a psalm-song.' The mizmor, or psalm, is the general term for a song of high art and graceful speech, accompanied with well-executed music. The Shir, or song of joy, is the particular species.

Great is the Lord ... in the city of our God, in the mountain of his holiness. Zion was "the mountain" whereon God's "holiness" was enthroned, as being the site of the temple, the spiritual center of the city of God.


Verse 2

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

Beautiful for situation - rather, 'in its elevation' [ nowp (Hebrew #5131)]. In so far only as the physical height is a symbol of the spiritual does the Psalmist value it. Compare Psalms 68:16, wherein "the hill which God desireth to dwell in" is preferred to all the "high hills" of pagandom. Compare Isaiah 2:2; Ezekiel 40:2, where the ideal "very high mountain (in the land of Israel), with the frame of a city on the south," is beheld in vision (Revelation 21:10; high mountain (in the land of Israel), with the frame of a city on the south," is beheld in vision (Revelation 21:10; Matthew 5:14).

The joy of the whole earth. Lamentations 2:15 refers to this psalm. In the eyes of the spiritual, such is Jerusalem regarded, because of its precious and sacred associations, in which all the earth is interested (Ezekiel 16:15). Compare as to Jerusalem's future glory and permanency, Isaiah 33:20.

Is mount Zion, on the sides of the north. 'He speaks not as a geographer, but as a divine' (Hengstenberg). "The sides of the north" literally mean the inner and farthest recesses, whereat both "sides" meet; so the farthest hollows on the sides of Mount Moriah, on which the temple was built, north of mount Zion (Isaiah 14:13, note). The city was built, in its greater part, in these hollows and hill sides. The upper city, Zion, was north of Zion strictly so called; the lower city, Acra, was north of this and of Moriah. Thou all the parts "of the city of the great King," south and north alike, are "the joy of the whole earth." The northern parts of the city, though lower in height than Zion, yet were distinguished by their lofty towers and fortifications. But Hengstenberg takes "the sides of the north" in apposition to "Mount Zion" - Zion, the true seat of Deity. The pagan thought 'the extreme north' to be the seat where the gods held their assembly, the mountain of the gods (Isaiah 14:13-14, notes). 'What the pagan dreamed of, that mount Zion was in reality-its foundation on earth, its top in heaven. The farthest north stands in contrast to the mountains of Israel' (Ezekiel 38:6; Ezekiel 38:15; Ezekiel 39:2). The contrast of "the great King" to "the kings" of the earth (Psalms 48:4) favours this similar contrast of His seat at Jerusalem to the imaginary seat of the pagan gods in the extreme north.


Verse 3

God is known in her palaces for a refuge.

God is known in her palaces for a refuge - literally, 'a high place,' as in Psalms 46:7; Psalms 46:11. God is known by experience to be such a high place, or defense, to her palaces (Proverbs 18:10).


Verse 4

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

For, lo, the kings were assembled, they passed by together - `they passed utterly and altogether away.' The object of their assembling is given in the parallel (Psalms 83:3-8; Psalms 83:12), "They have taken crafty counsel against thy people, and consulted against thy hidden ones. They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation etc. ... they are confederate against THEE (O God) ... who said, Let us take to ourselves the houses of

God in possession." The forcible brevity implies how rapidly they vanished away.


Verse 5

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

They saw it, and so they marveled; they were troubled, and hasted away. No sooner had they come within sight of the city than they were panic-stricken. The "so" emphatically sets the thing before one's eyes. "They marveled," or were stupified with the involuntary sense of God's fortress-like protection over His people, which the mere sight of the city-heights inspired. Their hasty flight was like that of the Syrians (2 Kings 7:15).


Verse 6

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

Pain as of a woman in travail - at once sudden and violent (1 Thessalonians 5:3).


Verse 7

Thou breakest the ships of Tarshish with an east wind.

Thou breakest the ships of Tarshish with an east wind - implying God's omnipotence; just as with thy blast thou breakest the largest vessels (such as sail to distant Tarshish, or Tartessus, in Spain, Isaiah 2:16), so dost thou, with equal ease and rapidity, scatter to the winds the most mighty foes. On this, see the opening remarks. "The ships of Tarshish" can hardly mean hostile ships of war, since Jerusalem is inland. [Gejer says that '


Verse 8

As 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.

As we have heard, so have we seen in the city of the Lord of hosts ... God will establish it for ever - or 'establisheth it,' etc. That which we have heard from our fathers (Psalms 44:1, etc.) - namely, that thou wilt never fail thy people-we now have seen by experience (Job 42:5) ourselves, in the deliverance by God in His own city. Others explain, 'As we have heard' from Jahaziel's prophecy (2 Chronicles 20:14). Psalms 48:10 (where see note) establishes rather the former view. The declaration, 'God establishes it forever' is not at variance with the fact that God has allowed Jerusalem to be overthrown by Rome; because it is of the faithful Jerusalem that the promise holds good-both the spiritual Jerusalem, the Church, and the literal Jerusalem that is to be, when Israel shall have turned to the Lord (2 Corinthians 3:16; Galatians 4:25-26; Isaiah 2:2; Isaiah 54:10-11; Isaiah 60:14-15; Isaiah 60:19).


Verse 9

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

The second part: separated from the first by the "Selah" (Psalms 48:8).

We have thought of thy loving-kindness, O God, in the midst of thy temple - We revive the remebrance of if in the public congregation. The psalm was sung as a thanksgiving in the temple. "Thy loving-kindness" - namely, this act of thy grace; thy recent deliverance of us from our enemies.


Verse 10

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

According to thy name ... so is thy praise unto the ends of the earth - As thy manifested character (Psalms 20:1) is one of infinite majesty, power, and goodness, so is thy praise incapable of being adequately set forth; but so far as it is known, so far it is praised "unto the ends of the earth;" yea, 'over [ `al (Hebrew #5921)] the ends of the earth' (cf. Psalms 48:14, note). Hengstenberg takes it, 'As thou hast formerly, by thy deeds, obtained for thyself, far and wide, a glorious name, so hast thou NOW AGAIN filled the whole earth with thy praise. So above (Psalms 48:8); cf. 2 Chronicles 20:29 in confirmation.

Thy right hand is full of righteousness - namely, full of that righteousness whereby thou dost vindicate thy people's righteous cause (Psalms 35:28, note).


Verse 11

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

Let mount Zion rejoice, let the daughters of Judah be glad, because of thy judgments - on our foes. "The daughters of Judah" are the other cities of Judah, as distinguished from mother city, Jerusalem and "Zion" (Joshua 15:45).


Verse 12

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

Tell the towers thereof - number them, to see that not one is wanting, and that the enemies' formidable invasion has not in the least impaired them.


Verse 13

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

Mark ye her bulwarks, consider her palaces. The "bulwarks" indicate the outer circuit of the city; the "palaces" the interior. "Consider" - literally, divide; i:e., accurately contemplate, one by one: parallel to "tell."

That ye may tell it to the generation following - in order that they may glorify the God who performed such a deliverance for His people, and regard it as a pledge of future deliverances in times of danger.


Verse 14

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

For this God - who hath performed such a deliverance for us.

He will be our guide even unto death - literally, 'upon (or ABOVE) death' [ `al (Hebrew #5921) muwt (Hebrew #4192)]. So the Syriac. 'He will guide us to the point whereat death shall not overcome us, but we shall OVERCOME it' (Cocceius and L. de Dieu). Pusey, 'He will guide us over death.' The good Shepherd's care will not cease at death; nay, He will be ours forever (cf. Psalms 48:10). I prefer this, as answering to the parallel, "forever and ever." Compare Romans 8:37-38; 1 Corinthians 15:57; Hebrews 2:14-15. In the primary sense Israel shall never be extinguished finally; in the spiritual sense the Church shall be victor over death. The Septuagint, Vulgate, Ethiopic, and Arabic read it, 'to eternity' [ `olaamowt (Hebrew #5769)]. Compare for the present Hebrew text, Psalms 68:20; Psalms 49:15; Habakkuk 1:12. The context is not concerning guidance up to death, but deliverance from it, and from destruction when imminent.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 48:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/psalms-48.html. 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, October 21st, 2019
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
ADVERTISEMENT
Commentary Navigator
Search This Commentary
Enter query in the box below
ADVERTISEMENT
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology