Psalms 48


שִׁיר מִזְמוֹר לִבְנֵי־קֹרַח׃   48:1

Psal. 48:1   A song, a psalm, for the sons of Korach:

גָּדוֹל יְהוָה וּמְהֻלָּל מְאֹד בְּעִיר אֱלֹהֵינוּ הַר־קָדְשׁוֹ׃   48:2

Psal. 48:2   Great is the Lord,

                             and One Who is to be greatly praised,

                     in the city of our God, His holy mountain.

יְפֵה נוֹף מְשׂוֹשׂ כָּל־הָאָרֶץ הַר־צִיּוֹן יַרְכְּתֵי צָפוֹן קִרְיַת מֶלֶךְ רָב׃   48:3

Psal. 48:3   Beautiful height!

                             All the earth is rejoicing.

                    Mount Zion!

                            The farthest parts of the north!

                    City of the greatest King!

There are so many variations in the translation of this verse, it would take dozens of lines to offer them here, so I won’t try.  It is enough to say that in almost all of them the beauty and magnificence of the poetry of this verse are completely lost.  In this translation the exclamation “The farthest parts of the earth!” is an extension of the second line “All the earth is rejoicing.”  In fact, the attention given by the order of the Hebrew words is to Zion, the earth, Zion, the earth, Zion.  As i see it, this is an example of a rather unique poetic style.

אֱלֹהִים בְּאַרְמְנוֹתֶיהָ נוֹדַע לְמִשְׂגָּב׃   48:4

Psal. 48:4   God has revealed Himself as a Refuge in its palaces.

כִּי־הִנֵּה הַמְּלָכִים נוֹעֲדוּ עָבְרוּ יַחְדָּו׃   48:5

Psal. 48:5   For behold, the kings assembled,

                              they passed over together.

הֵמָּה רָאוּ כֵּן תָּמָהוּ נִבְהֲלוּ נֶחְפָּזוּ׃   48:6

Psal. 48:6   They saw, then they were astounded,

                              terrified, they flew.

רְעָדָה אֲחָזָתַם שָׁם חִיל כַּיּוֹלֵדָה׃   48:7

Psal. 48:7   Trembling seized them there,

                              pain, as of a woman in labor.

בְּרוּחַ קָדִים תְּשַׁבֵּר אֳנִיּוֹת תַּרְשִׁישׁ׃   48:8

Psal. 48:8   With the east wind You could shatter the ships of Tarshish.

כַּאֲשֶׁר שָׁמַעְנוּ כֵּן רָאִינוּ בְּעִיר־יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת בְּעִיר אֱלֹהֵינוּ אֱלֹהִים יְכוֹנְנֶהָ עַד־עוֹלָם סֶלָה׃   48:9

Psal. 48:9   As we have heard, so we have seen,

                               in the city of the Lord of hosts, in the city of our God.

                    May God establish it forever.            Selah.

דִּמִּינוּ אֱלֹהִים חַסְדֶּךָ בְּקֶרֶב הֵיכָלֶךָ׃   48:10

Psal. 48:10   We think, God, of Your loving kindness within Your Temple.

If we can take this verse literally, then the Temple had been built already, so the psalmist must have composed this psalm sometime after David’s lifetime, perhaps even after Solomon.

כְּשִׁמְךָ אֱלֹהִים כֵּן תְּהִלָּתְךָ עַל־קַצְוֵי־אֶרֶץ צֶדֶק מָלְאָה יְמִינֶךָ׃   48:11

Psal. 48:11   As is Your name, God,

                                so is Your praise to the ends of the earth.

                       Your right “hand” is full of righteousness.

יִשְׂמַח הַר־צִיּוֹן תָּגֵלְנָה בְּנוֹת יְהוּדָה לְמַעַן מִשְׁפָּטֶיךָ׃   48:12

Psal. 48:12   Let Mount Zion be glad,

                                let the daughters of Judah rejoice,

                       because of Your judgments.

סֹבּוּ צִיּוֹן וְהַקִּיפוּהָ סִפְרוּ מִגְדָּלֶיהָ׃   48:13

Psal. 48:13   Go around Zion and encircle it;

                                count its towers.

שִׁיתוּ לִבְּכֶם לְחֵילָה פַּסְּגוּ אַרְמְנוֹתֶיהָ לְמַעַן תְּסַפְּרוּ לְדוֹר אַחֲרוֹן׃   48:14

Psal. 48:14   Set your heart to its ramparts,

                                pass between its palaces,

                       so that you can tell to the following generation

כִּי זֶה אֱלֹהִים אֱלֹהֵינוּ עוֹלָם וָעֶד הוּא יְנַהֲגֵנוּ עַל־מוּת׃   48:15

Psal. 48:15   that this is God, our God:

                                Ever and ever He will guide us despite death.

Something interesting here....   Traditional translations of the last two Hebrew words in this verse are typically either eternally or always or until death.   The only one of these that comes close to being accurate is the last one, until death.  But while the next-to-last word is often translated as to, I don’t believe it is normally meant to be in this context of time.  My translation, despite death, while also a bit unique, comes closest to what I believe to be the real meaning here.  According to my translation, the Lord even guides us in death.  What can we make of this, I wonder?


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