The defeat of the kings (Ps 48:4-48:8)

“Then the kings assembled.

They came on together.

As soon as they saw it,

They were astounded.

They were in panic.

They took to flight.

Trembling took hold of them there.

They had pains like a woman in labor.

They were like

When the east wind shatters

The ships of Tarshish.

As we have heard,

So have we seen.

In the city of Yahweh of hosts,

In the city of our God,

God is established forever.”

Selah

Many kings assembled to attack Jerusalem. However, they were astonished and fled in panic when they saw the Temple and the palace on Mount Zion. They began to tremble with pain as if they were women in labor. This might be a reference to the defeat of foreign kings attacking Jerusalem. The reference to the ships of Tarshish can be found in 1 Kings, chapter 10, where this fleet, with the silver, gold, ivory, apes, and peacocks, came every 4 years.   Not only did they hear about these things, but they actually saw them in the city of David, the city of Yahweh, the city of God, that was established forever. Then there is the usually musical interlude pause, the Selah.

The fleet of King Solomon’s ships (2 Chr 9:21-9:21)

“The king’s ships went to Tarshish with the servants of Huram. Once every three years the ships of Tarshish used to come bringing gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks.”

Once again, this is almost word for word from 1 Kings, chapter 10. Solomon had a fleet of ships that he shared with the Phoenicians, particularly Huram of Tyre. Tarshish was either in southern Spain, India or Africa. The Phoenicians were great sailors and would have helped King Solomon. Once every 3 years they would come in with a great haul of gold, silver, and ivory. For some reason they also brought back either live or dead animals, apes and peacocks.