Psalm 48

The Word Made Fresh

(A song: a psalm of the sons of Korah.)

1The LORD is great and must be greatly praised
in the city of our God, on God’s sacred mountain.
2It is lofty and beautiful, and the whole world rejoices in it.
It is Mt. Zion, in the northern heights of the great king’s city.
3God is in its towers and has proven to be
a sure defense on whom we can depend.
4The kings joined together and came as one,
5but as soon as they saw it, they were shocked.
In panic, they took to their heels and ran.
6They were trembling with fear,
and in pain like a woman in labor,
7or as if an east wind suddenly arose
and shattered the ships of Tarshish.
8We had heard of this, but now we have seen it
in the city that belongs to the LORD of hosts,
the city of our God, established by God forever.
9We meditate on your dependable love, O God,
within the walls of your temple.
10Your name and your praise, O God,
go out to the very ends of the earth.
Your right hand is victorious.
11So, let Mt. Zion rejoice, joined by the daughters of Judah
because of your judgments on our behalf.
12Walk about Zion, people!
Go all around it and count its towers.
13Take a close look at its ramparts and walk through its fortress
so that you can tell your children all about it.
14Tell them this is God, our God forever and ever
who will guide us in all the days ahead.


Superscription: the 6th of the 11 Korahite psalms.

1-3: Mount Zion, the location of the temple, is elevated poetically to become the most prominent promontory in all the earth.

4-8: Enemy kings are pictured being frightened at the very sight of the temple mount.

9-11: It is obviously a time of victory for Israel, and the psalm celebrates it as God’s victory.

12-14: The beauty of the temple and Mount Zion is offered as evidence that God is with them.


This psalm reminds me of a hymn that lifts up the grandeur of my own country in gratitude to God: “O beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain; for purple mountains’ majesty above the fruited plains. America! America! God shed his grace on thee and crown thy good with brotherhood from sea to shining sea.” Just so were the priests and leaders in Jerusalem convinced that their country was beautiful, their capital most glorious and blessed by God.