The flight from Egypt (Ps 78:12-78:16)

“In the sight of their ancestors,

He worked marvels.

In the land of Egypt,

In the fields of Zoan,

He divided the sea.

He let them pass through it.

He made the waters stand like a heap.

In the daytime,

He led them with a cloud.

All night long

He led them with a fiery light.

He split rocks open in the wilderness.

He gave them drink abundantly.

As from the deep,

He made streams come out of a rock.

He caused waters to flow down like rivers.”

Asaph, this psalmist, then laid out the history of God’s activity as the Israelites left Egypt by passing through the Red Sea. The city of Zoan was another name for the Egyptian city of Ramses. God made the waters into a big heap so that the Israelites could pass through the waters. He led then during the day with a cloud and at night, he led them with a fiery light. He gave them water in the desert by making water come from the rocks like streams or rivers. Most of this is based on the stories in Exodus, chapters 14-17.

The city of God (Ps 46:4-46:7)

“There is a river whose streams

Make glad the city of God.

This is the holy habitation of the Most High.

God is in the midst of the city.

It shall not be moved.

God will help it

When the morning dawns.

The nations are in an uproar.

The kingdoms totter.

He utters his voice.

The earth melts.

Yahweh of hosts is with us.

The God of Jacob is our refuge.”

Selah

The symbolic river around the holy city of Jerusalem called streams only leads to the enchantment of this city of God. Those who live there are holy because God is in the midst of them. The city will not be moved since God is with them from early morning on. Even when the nations are in an uproar, or kingdoms are falling, God’s voice would be there to melt the earth. This section ends with the refrain of Yahweh, the God of Jacob, as his refuge. Perhaps this should have been in the first section also, before the Selah, musical interlude pause, as it is here.