Bible Commentary

Psalm 48

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

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(Read all of Psalm 48)

Verse 1

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

The city — In Jerusalem.

Mountain — In his holy mountain.

Verse 2

[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.

The joy — This is spoken prophetically, because the joyful doctrine of the gospel was to go from thence to all nations.

The city — Of God, who justly calls himself a great king.

Verse 3

[3] God is known in her palaces for a refuge.

Known — By long experience.

Palaces — Possibly he may point at the king's palace and the temple, which was the palace of the king of heaven; which two palaces God did in a singular manner protect, and by protecting them, protected the whole city and people.

Verse 4

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

The kings — Either those kings confederate against Jehoshaphat, 2 Chronicles 20:1, or the Assyrian princes; whom they vain-gloriously called kings, Isaiah 10:8.

Passed — In their march towards Jerusalem.

Verse 5

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

Saw it — They did only look upon it, but not come into it, nor shoot an arrow there - nor cast a bank against it, 2 Kings 19:32.

Marvelled — At the wonderful works wrought by God.

Verse 6

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

Fear — At the tidings of Tirhakah's coming against them, 2 Kings 19:9, and at that terrible slaughter of their army, verse 2 Kings 19:35.

Verse 7

[7] Thou breakest the ships of Tarshish with an east wind.

Breakest — Thou didst no less violently and suddenly destroy these raging enemies of Jerusalem, than sometimes thou destroyest the ships at sea with a fierce and vehement wind, such as the eastern winds were in those parts.

Verse 8

[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*/.

Heard — The predictions of the prophets have been verified by the events.

Establish — God will defend her in all succeeding ages. And so God would have done, if Jerusalem had not forsaken him, and forfeited his protection.

Verse 9

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

Thought — It hath been the matter of our serious and deep meditation, when we have been worshipping in thy temple.

Verse 10

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

So — Thou art acknowledged to be such an one as thou hast affirmed thyself to be in thy Word, God Almighty, or All-sufficient, the Lord of hosts, and a strong tower to all that trust in thee.

Righteousness — Of righteous actions; by which thou discoverest thy holiness.

Verse 11

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

Judgments — Upon thine and their enemies.

Verse 12

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

Tell — He bids them mark well her towers, bulwarks, and palaces, with thankfulness to God, when they should find upon enquiry, that not one of them were demolished.

Verse 13

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

Tell it — That they may continue their praises to God for this mercy, by which they hold and enjoy all their blessings.

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