Psalms 48

A song. A psalm of the Sons of Korah.

1 [a]Great is the LORD, and most worthy of praise, in the city of our God, his holy mountain.
2 Beautiful in its loftiness, the joy of the whole earth, like the heights of Zaphon[b] is Mount Zion, the city of the Great King.
3 God is in her citadels; he has shown himself to be her fortress.
4 When the kings joined forces, when they advanced together,
5 they saw her and were astounded; they fled in terror.
6 Trembling seized them there, pain like that of a woman in labor.
7 You destroyed them like ships of Tarshish shattered by an east wind.
8 As we have heard, so we have seen in the city of the LORD Almighty, in the city of our God: God makes her secure forever.[c]
9 Within your temple, O God, we meditate on your unfailing love.
10 Like your name, O God, your praise reaches to the ends of the earth; your right hand is filled with righteousness.
11 Mount Zion rejoices, the villages of Judah are glad because of your judgments.
12 Walk about Zion, go around her, count her towers,
13 consider well her ramparts, view her citadels, that you may tell of them to the next generation.
14 For this God is our God for ever and ever; he will be our guide even to the end.

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Psalms 48 Commentary

Chapter 48

The glories of the church of Christ.

Verses 1-7 Jerusalem is the city of our God: none on earth render him due honour except the citizens of the spiritual Jerusalem. Happy the kingdom, the city, the family, the heart, in which God is great, in which he is all. There God is known. The clearer discoveries are made to us of the Lord and his greatness, the more it is expected that we should abound in his praises. The earth is, by sin, covered with deformity, therefore justly might that spot of ground, which was beautified with holiness, be called the joy of the whole earth; that which the whole earth has reason to rejoice in, that God would thus in very deed dwell with man upon the earth. The kings of the earth were afraid of it. Nothing in nature can more fitly represent the overthrow of heathenism by the Spirit of the gospel, than the wreck of a fleet in a storm. Both are by the mighty power of the Lord.

Verses 8-14 We have here the improvement which the people of God are to make of his glorious and gracious appearances for them. Let our faith in the word of God be hereby confirmed. Let our hope of the stability of the church be encouraged. Let our minds be filled with good thoughts of God. All the streams of mercy that flow down to us, must be traced to the fountain of His loving-kindness. Let us give to God the glory of the great things he has done for us. Let all the members of the church take comfort from what the Lord does for his church. Let us observe the beauty, strength, and safety of the church. Consider its strength; see it founded on Christ the Rock, fortified by the Divine power, guarded by Him who neither slumbers nor sleeps. See what precious ordinances are its palaces, what precious promises are its bulwarks, that you may be encouraged to join yourselves to it: and tell this to others. This God, who has now done such great things for us, is unchangeable in his love to us, and his care for us. If he is our God, he will lead and keep us even to the last. He will so guide us, as to set us above the reach of death, so that it shall not do us any real hurt. He will lead us to a life in which there shall be no more death.

Cross References 27

  • 1. Psalms 86:10; Psalms 96:4; Psalms 99:2; Psalms 135:5; Psalms 147:5; Jeremiah 10:6
  • 2. S 2 Samuel 22:4; S 1 Chronicles 16:25; Psalms 18:3
  • 3. S Psalms 46:4
  • 4. S Deuteronomy 33:19; Psalms 2:6; Psalms 87:1; Isaiah 11:9; Isaiah 32:16; Jeremiah 31:23; Daniel 9:16; Isaiah 2:2-3; Micah 4:1; Zechariah 8:3
  • 5. Psalms 50:2; Lamentations 2:15; Ezekiel 16:14
  • 6. S Joshua 13:27
  • 7. S Psalms 2:6
  • 8. Matthew 5:35
  • 9. ver 13; Psalms 122:7
  • 10. Psalms 18:2; Psalms 46:7
  • 11. 2 Samuel 10:1-19
  • 12. Exodus 15:16; Isaiah 13:8; Jeremiah 46:5; Daniel 5:9
  • 13. S Job 4:14
  • 14. S Genesis 3:16
  • 15. S Genesis 10:4; S 1 Kings 10:22; 1 Kings 22:48
  • 16. S Genesis 41:6; Jeremiah 18:17; Ezekiel 27:26
  • 17. Jeremiah 23:6; Zechariah 8:13; Zechariah 14:11; Psalms 87:5
  • 18. S Psalms 39:3
  • 19. Psalms 6:4; Psalms 26:3
  • 20. S Exodus 6:3; Deuteronomy 28:58; S Joshua 7:9
  • 21. 1 Samuel 2:10; Psalms 22:27; Psalms 65:5; Psalms 98:3; Psalms 100:1; Isaiah 11:12; Isaiah 24:16; Isaiah 42:10; Isaiah 49:6; Isaiah 41:10
  • 22. Psalms 97:8
  • 23. S Nehemiah 3:1
  • 24. 2 Samuel 20:15; Isaiah 26:1; Lamentations 2:8; Habakkuk 2:1
  • 25. S ver 3; Psalms 122:7
  • 26. Psalms 71:18; Psalms 78:6; Psalms 109:13
  • 27. Psalms 25:5; Psalms 73:24; Proverbs 6:22; Isaiah 49:10; Isaiah 57:18; Isaiah 58:11; Psalms 23:4

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. In Hebrew texts 48:1-14 is numbered 48:2-15.
  • [b]. "Zaphon" was the most sacred mountain of the Canaanites.
  • [c]. The Hebrew has "Selah" (a word of uncertain meaning) here.

Chapter Summary


\\<>\\. This psalm is entitled a "song psalm", a psalm to be sung vocally; or "a song and psalm" to be sung both vocally and instrumentally; and is one of the spiritual songs the apostle speaks of, Eph 5:19; It was occasioned, as some think, by David's spoiling the Philistines, 2Sa 5:17-21; or, as others, by the deliverance of the people from the Moabites and Ammonites in the times of Jehoshaphat, 2Ch 20:27,28; or, as others, by the deliverance of the inhabitants of Jerusalem from Sennacherib in the times of Hezekiah, 2Ki 19:34,35; though as Kimchi, a celebrated Jewish commentator, owns, it belongs to the times of the Messiah, as the other preceding psalms; and treats of his greatness, and of the praise and glory due to him, and gives large encomiums of his church.

Psalms 48 Commentaries

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