Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Psalms 46-48

Psa 46.1-11 is another psalm by the sons of Korah. Some scholars believe it was written after the death of their father and they were saved. This psalm is also prophetic of when Israel would be threatened by armies and earthly desolations. The heading reads, “For the Conductor. A Psalm of the sons of Korah, set to Alamot, a song.” The “Alamot” is a musical instrument in the Temple with 22 strings corresponding to the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet (1 Chr 15.20). The word means “virgins” and is related to “almah” (virgin, young maiden-Isa 7.14)). It is believed that this instrument gave high “maiden-like” pleasant tones.

Psa 46.1-3 begins like many other psalms, with a crisis in the life of the author. God protects (is a refuge) and is a very present help (“ezra”) in “distresses” (plural). This is an allusion to the day of the Lord when Israel will be in distress (v1). As a result, that knowledge will cast out all fear even if the earth should change. Isa 51.6 says that there will be a cataclysmic day in the future, similar to 2 Pet 3.10-12. The heavens will “vanish” like smoke and the earth will “wear out like a garment.” The “mountains” (kingdoms) will slide into the heart of the sea of global war (v 2). Its “waters” of unconverted humanity (ISa 57.20) will roar (in defeat) and foam. But the righteous will glory (literally “pride”) when God displays his might as described in verse 2. Again we have ‘Selah” meaning “to pause and think about what was just said, to prostrate (v 3).

Psa 46.4-7 begins by saying that “there is a river” (Torah is a channel of truth-Ezek 47.1-12; Isa 12.3; Rev 22.1-2) whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy dwelling places of the Most High.” This is the opposite of the waters that roar and foam in the world. The Torah coming out of the Temple in Jerusalem shall bring peace to the nations (Isa 2.2-4; Mic 4.1-5). God’s Shekinah is in the midst of her and Jerusalem and the Temple will not be moved, and God will help when morning dawns, when the shadows and the darkness disappear (v 5).

The nations rage (Psa 2) but God gives no regard to their rage (Zech 14.12; Exo 15.15). That’s because the Lord of the Armies (Yehovah Tzava’ot) is with Israel; the God of Jacob is their stronghold. Why is “God of Jacob” used? Because of all the patriarchs (fathers), Jacob had a life full of trials and affliction (v 6-7). Also in a Hebrew parallelism, Israel is the name of Jacob.

Psa 46.8-9 says to leave Jerusalem and behold what God has done to the nations, called “the works of God.” He has destroyed the armies of the earth (v 8) and he has put an end to war and destroys the weapons used to make war. This concept is also seen in Isa 2.4 and Mic 4.3 (v 9).

In Psa 46. 10-11 the Lord speaks with the familiar, “Stop (desist, relax, let go of your assault on the Torah) and know (through repentance and experience) that I am God (so your efforts against me will fail).” Then he speaks in a Hebrew parallelism. God will be exalted among the nations (when he destroys their sovereignty) and he will be exalted in the earth (Zech 14.9). Then Psa 46.7 is repeated in verse 11 to point out that the redemption has come and the Yehovah is blessed. The psalm ends with “Selah” indicating that the reader should pause and think about what was just said, and to prostrate.

Psa 47.1-9 is another psalm of the sons of Korah and a Rosh Ha Shanah psalm and read seven times during the services. It is never done with other psalms. This is a psalm of praise after a victory. It is also a coronation psalm and refers to the “acclamation” portion of the coronation process in verse 1, where it says, “Clap your hands.” Some think this psalm was written when the Ark was brought from the house of Obed-edom. The heading reads, “For the Conductor. A Psalm of the sons of Korah.”

This psalm is very eschatological and describes the defeat of all the nations who stood against Yehovah and the Messiah. Another theme of this psalm is the shofar blast and it alludes to the shofar blast on Rosh Ha Shanah, whose biblical name is Yom Teruah, which means “the awakening blast or literally noise” (Num 29.1).

Psa 47.1 begins with, “Clap your hands (the acclamation of a king) all peoples (amim).” This is not only talking to the redeemed in Israel, but to all the nations who have been defeated in the Birth-pains by the Messiah. It goes on to say, “Shout to God with the voice of joy.” A “shout” is associated with Rosh Ha Shanah and you can see it in 1 Thes 4.16 where it says, “For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout.” 1 Cor 15.52 is another Rosh Ha Shanah passage and tells us what day Yeshua comes for the believer in the Natzal. The term “last rump” is used and it is an idiom for Rosh Ha Shanah.

Psa 47.2 says that the Lord is to be feared (in awe of) and a “great king” over all the earth (his realm). Psa 47.3-4 tells us about his care for the elect of Israel and the believer in general. He subdues the people and puts the nations under the feet of the Messiah when he comes (Isa 49.22-23). He has chosen us for himself (Eph 1.3-6) before the foundation of the world. The believer is the glory of Jacob whom he loves (Gen 28.7; Deut 8.7-9; Ezek 24.21).

Psa 47.5 says, “God has ascended (to help Israel) with a shout.” The word “shout” is “teruah” in Hebrew which is a shofar blast/noise and a name for Rosh Ha Shanah in Num 29.1 called “Yom Teruah.” Then it goes on to say, “The Lord with the sound of a trumpet” (ram’s horn) and that is a parallelism from the previous phrase. We have already said in 1 Thes 4.13-18 that it is Rosh Ha Shanah, and verse 16 says, “and the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout (teruah) with the voice of the archangel and the trumpet of God and the dead in Messiah shall rise first.”

As a result, there is a call to praise God in Psa 47.6-7. We should “make music” like David (2 Sam 6.5, 15) because he is the “King of all the earth” (Zech 14.9). To “sing praises” means to “make music” in Hebrew and in verse 7 is says, “make music, O enlightened (Hebrew “maskil” or instructed) one.”

Psa 47.8 says that God reigns over the nations (not just Israel now) and he sits on his “throne of holiness.” Rebellion against God cannot be found because he is welcomed throughout the world, especially at the beginning of his reign on earth after the birth-pains when all the survivors of the birth-pains are believers and they go into the remainder of the Day of the Lord rejoicing that the False Messiah and the evil nations have been destroyed.

Psa 47.9 tells us that we have another Rosh Ha Shanah verse. “The princes (nobles of Isa 13.1-3) of the people have assembled themselves (Psa 27.5); the people of the God of Abraham. For the shields of the earth (strong ones, princes, rulers) belong to God (are under his control); he is highly exalted.” These “shields” were there to protect the people, but now God will shield them through his power.

Again, if you are interested in the concept of the Natzal and how this psalm (and other scriptures apply to the coming of Yeshua on Rosh Ha Shanah, please go to the teaching in “Tanak Foundations-Concepts on the Natzal (Rapture)” on this site

Psa 48.1-14 speaks of the future glory of Jerusalem when the Messiah rules and reigns from the city. It is the song of the day for the second day of the week and sung by the Levitical choir in the Temple, sung right before the Tamid service. It also alludes to the second day of the week of creation when there was a division between the heavenly and the earthly parts of creation, and Yehovah ruled over them both. This separation between the heaven and the earth is a picture of the separation between the spiritual and the physical. It is interesting to note that this psalm was a song to be sung and written by the sons of Korah, whose father instigated the great mutiny, or separation, against Moses.

Psa 48.1-3 tells us about the greatness of God and the writer connects this phrase with the city of Jerusalem, “his holy mountain.” The concept that Jerusalem is a “holy mountain” (mountain of kedusha) is a concept alluding to Mount Tzion. There are three mountains in Scripture with a kedusha. They are Mount Sinai, Mount Moriah and Mount Tzion (v 1).

Psa 48.2 says, “Beautiful in elevation, the joy of the whole earth.” The word “elevation” is “nof” and it means that Jerusalem is perfectly situated on Mount Tzion (elevation) and will be a joy to the nations (Isa 60.15, Matt 5.14). It located in “the sides of the north” and the word “north” is “tzaphon.” North is seen as a position of power, intelligence and wisdom. This also alludes to the Temple which sits north of the city of David. On the north side of the Temple courts there was a place called the “Beit Hamit’bchaim” which means “The House of/to Life.” It was where the korbanot (animal sacrifices) of atonement were killed (Lev 1.11; Ezek 8.5) and you can see they saw that this was “to/of life.” Isa 14.13 uses the “north” to refer to heaven where God is enthroned. So this verse portrays a connection between the earthly Mount Tzion and the heavenly one.

The word “Tzion” means “marker” or “monument.” This site is a memorial or a “marker” of God’s mercy, truth, kedusha and his name Yehovah. What makes the city, Temple and Mount Tzion great is that the Messiah will be sitting on his throne and the Torah, which has never been done away with, will go forth (Isa 2.2-4, Mic 4.1-8). Because it is the city of the Great King (David-Isa 29.1) and Messiah. God will be in her palaces (Temple) and he is known as the “stronghold” and Jerusalem’s defense (v 2-3).

Psa 48.4-8 tells us that king’s assembled themselves to attack Jerusalem and they saw and understood that Yehovah defended the city. They were in pain like a woman in childbirth. The names of those kings have been forgotten, but Jerusalem remains. With the “east wind” (a term for the Messiah and God’s judgment-Exo 14.21; Ezek 27.26) he broke the “ships of Tarshish” (Spain, known for the port called Tartessos, symbolic of sea-going nations and islands of the sea), meaning he destroyed their ships like in a hurricane. They have heard and seen the prophecies come true, and God will establish Jerusalem forever (v 7-8).

Psa 48.9-14 says that besides his power, the people also know he is a God of mercy and lovingkindness, and they thought about it “in the midst of the Temple.” It was the Temple that showed God’s lovingkindness to the people. It was where his doctrines were taught and where he “dwelt” (v 9). God’s deeds do match the name of Yehovah and this name will fill the whole earth with his praises. His “right hand” (power and a term for the Messiah) is full of righteousness (as defined by the Torah) and blessings for the people. The “daughters of Judah” (surrounding cities) will rejoice at his judgments (v 11).

The city of Jerusalem also represents God’s faithfulness, and the people, especially the nations, are invited to walk around the city and count the towers, denoting power and strength (v 12). Then it says in v 13, “Consider her ramparts on the small walls that run along the larger wall, and go through her palaces so that it can be told to the next generation.”

Psa 48.14 closes and says that this same God who made the beautiful city of Jerusalem will be our guide forever and ever (L’Olam Vaed), and he will guide us “until death” meaning in this world (Olam Ha Zeh) and the next (Olam Haba).

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Festivals of the Lord, The Tanak, Tying into the New Testament

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