Appreciate Mount Zion (Ps 48:11-48:14)

“Let Mount Zion be glad!

Let the towns of Judah rejoice

Because of your judgments!

Walk about Zion!

Go all around it!

Count its towers!

Consider well its ramparts!

Go through its citadels!

Thus you may tell the next generation

That this is God,

Our God forever and ever.

He will be our guide forever.”

The psalm ends with a demand that the people appreciate Mount Zion. The towns of Judah should rejoice because of God’s judgments. The psalmist wanted everyone to walk all around Mount Zion. He wanted them to count the towers, see the ramparts, and walk through the various fortresses. Then they would be able to tell the next generation about God. This seems to imply that there was some kind of special presence of God at this holy mountain. Normally, they would say the presence of the name of Yahweh, but here it is God directly, who was there eternally, forever and ever as a permanent guide.

Love of God (Ps 48:9-48:10)

“O God!

We ponder your steadfast love

In the midst of your temple.

O God!

Your name

Is like your praise.

It reaches to the ends of the earth.

Your right hand is filled with victory.”

They pondered the love of God in the great Temple. In the middle of the Temple, they glorified his name. They praised him so much that this praise reached until the ends of the earth. God’s right hand was filled with victory.

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.

Beautiful Mount Zion (Ps 48:1-48:3)

A song, a psalm of the Korahites

“Great is Yahweh!

Greatly to be praised

In the city of our God!

His holy mountain,

Beautiful in elevation,

Is the joy of all the earth.

Mount Zion is

In the far north,

In the city of the great king.

Within its citadels

God has shown himself

A sure defense.”

Psalm 48 is yet another of the 11 psalms of the sons of the Korah, like the preceding ones. There is a glorification of Mount Zion, the northern mountain in Jerusalem, where the Temple and the palace of David were built. Yahweh was great and thus greatly praised. His holy beautiful mountain was a joy to the whole world. This Mount Zion was in the far northern part of the city of the great king, the city of David. Within its walls, God had shown himself to be a great defender of this mountain.