Ps 48:1-14. This is a spirited Psalm and song (compare Ps 30:1), having probably been suggested by the same occasion as the foregoing. It sets forth the privileges and blessings of God's spiritual dominion as the terror of the wicked and joy of the righteous.
1. to be praised--always: it is an epithet, as in Ps 18:3. mountain of his holiness--His Church (compare Isa 2:2,3 25:6,7,10); the sanctuary was erected first on Mount Zion, then (as the temple) on Moriah; hence the figure.
2, 3. situation--literally, "elevation." joy of, &c.--source of joy. sides of the north--poetically for eminent, lofty, distinguished, as the ancients believed the north to be the highest part of the earth (compare Isa 14:13). 3. palaces--literally, "citadels." refuge--(Ps 9:10 18:3). He was so known in them because they enjoyed His presence. 4-6. For--The reason is given. Though the kings (perhaps of Moab and Ammon, compare Ps 83:3-5) combined, a conviction of God's presence with His people, evinced by the unusual courage with which the prophets (compare 2Ch 20:12-20) had inspired them, seized on their minds, and smitten with sudden and intense alarm, they fled astonished. 7. ships of Tarshish--as engaged in a distant and lucrative trade, the most valuable. The phrase may illustrate God's control over all material agencies, whether their literal destruction be meant or not.
8. This present experience assures of that perpetual care which God extends to His Church.
9. thought of--literally, "compared," or considered, in respect of former dealings. in the . . . temple-- in acts of solemn worship (compare 2Ch 20:28). 10. According . . . praise--that is, As Thy perfections manifested (compare Ps 8:1 20:1-7), demand praise, it shall be given, everywhere. thy right hand, &c.--Thy righteous government is displayed by Thy power. 11. the daughters, &c.--the small towns, or the people, with the chief city, or rulers of the Church. judgments--decisions and acts of right government. 12-14. The call to survey Zion, or the Church, as a fortified city, is designed to suggest "how well our God secures His fold." This security is perpetual, and its pledge is His guidance through this life.