The Treasury of David

The Treasury of David is one of several C.H. Spurgeon books that are in the public domain. If you propose to study the Psalms, I suggest you download this as a companion for your other references.

Psalm 48

Exposition
Explanatory Notes and Quaint Sayings
Hints to the Village Preacher


TITLE. A Song and Psalm for the Sons of Korah. A song for joyfulness and a Psalm for reverence. Alas! every song is not a Psalm, for poets are not all heaven-born, and every Psalm is not a song, for in coming before God we have to utter mournful confessions as well as exulting praises. The Sons of Korah were happy in having so large a selection of song; the worship where such a variety of music was used could not become monotonous but must have given the widest scope for all the sacred passions of gracious souls.

SUBJECT AND DIVISION. It would be idle dogmatically to attribute this song to anyone event of Jewish history. Its author and date are unknown. It records the withdrawal of certain confederate kings from Jerusalem, their courage failing them before striking a blow. The mention of the ships of Tarshish may allow us to conjecture that the Psalm was written in connection with the overthrow of Ammon, Moab, and Edom in the reign of Jehoshaphat; and if the reader will turn to 2 Chronicles 20, and note especially 2Ch 20:19,25,36, he will probably accept the suggestion. Ps 48:1-3, are in honor of the Lord and the city dedicated to his worship. From Ps 48:4-8 the song records the confusion of Zion’s foes, ascribing all the praise to God; Ps 48:9-11 extolling Zion, and avowing Jehovah to be her God forevermore.

Great is the Lord

Verse 2. When I stood that morning on the brow of Olivet, and looked down on the city, crowning those battlemented heights, encircled by those deep and dark ravines, I involuntarily exclaimed, Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is mount Zion, on the sides of the north, the city of the great King. And as I gazed, the red rays of the rising sun shed a halo round the top of the castle of David; then they tipped with gold each tapering minaret, and gilded each dome of mosque and church, and at length, bathed in one flood of ruddy light the terraced roofs of the city, and the grass and foliage, the cupolas, pavements, and colossal walls of the Haram. No human being could be disappointed who first saw Jerusalem from Olivet. J. L. Porter.

Verse 2. (first clause). Beautiful in climate, that is, Mount Zion is situated in a fair and lovely climate. This is the view taken by Montanus and Ainsworth. Bate and Parkhurst read, “Beautiful in extension, i.e., in the prospect which it extends to the eye.” Editorial Note to Calvin in loc.

Verse 2. Beautiful for situation. This earth is, by sin, covered with deformity, and therefore justly might that spot of ground, which was thus beautified with holiness, be called the joy of the whole earth, i.e., what the whole earth had reason to rejoice in, because God would thus in very deed dwell with man upon the earth. Matthew Henry.

Verse 2. Beautiful for situation.

—Fair Jerusalem
The holy city, lifted high her towers,
And higher yet the glorious temple reared
Her pile, far off appearing like a mount
Of alabaster, topped with golden spires.
—John Milton in “Paradise Regained.”

Verse 2. On the sides of the north. Jerusalem, that is the upper and best part of it, was built on the north side of Mount Zion. Hadrian Reland, 1676-1718.

Verse 2. Jerusalem lay to the north of Sion, and this circumstance is mentioned as a proof of Mount Zion’s greatest security, for it was almost inaccessible on any other side except the north, and there is was defended by Jerusalem, which was very strong. Samuel Burder.

Singing psalms 48

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