Psalm 46 The City of God

Psalm 46 The City of God

The Geneva Bible commented in the annotation of Psalm 46:1, “In all manner of troubles God shows his speedy mercy and power in defending his.”[1] This succinct summary gets to the heart of this Psalm, namely, comfort for those who are God’s dwelling. The presence of the God of Jacob is a comforting confidence to Israel.  The great indicative upon which the hope of deliverance was based was that Israel was God’s own people, his dwelling. God rescues his people by way of destroying their enemies. This judgment-redemption is God’s means of protecting his people, and repaying the tumultuous nations for their sins. Thus the city of God rejoices in the presence of the Divine Warrior who protects them.    

Translation

46:1

1 לַמְנַצֵּחַ לִבְנֵי־קֹרַח עַֽל־עֲלָמֹות שִֽׁיר׃

 

For the choir director, by the Sons of Qorah, for high voices,[2] a Song
2

2 אֱלֹהִים לָנוּ מַחֲסֶה וָעֹז עֶזְרָה בְצָרֹות נִמְצָא מְאֹֽד׃

God is our refuge and strength, our helper exceedingly present in perilous times
3

3 עַל־כֵּן לֹא־נִירָא בְּהָמִיר אָרֶץ וּבְמֹוט הָרִים בְּלֵב יַמִּֽים׃

 

Therefore, we shall not fear while[3] the earth quakes[4] while mountains shake, who[5] are in the heart of the sea
4

4 יֶהֱמוּ יֶחְמְרוּ מֵימָיו יִֽרְעֲשֽׁוּ־הָרִים בְּגַאֲוָתֹו סֶֽלָה׃

The seas rage; they fulminate. The mountains quake in upheaval. Selah[6]
5

5 נָהָר פְּלָגָיו יְשַׂמְּחוּ עִיר־אֱלֹהִים קְדֹשׁ מִשְׁכְּנֵי עֶלְיֹֽון׃

As a river[7] whose channels gladden the city of God

The Holy One[8] make glad[9] the Most High’s[10] Tabernacle[11]

6

6 אֱלֹהִים בְּקִרְבָּהּ בַּל־תִּמֹּוט יַעְזְרֶהָ אֱלֹהִים לִפְנֹות בֹּֽקֶר׃

God is drawn near[12] to her, She shall not be moved!

God is her helper as surely as[13] the morning approaches[14]

7

7 הָמוּ גֹויִם מָטוּ מַמְלָכֹות נָתַן בְּקֹולֹו תָּמוּג אָֽרֶץ׃

The nations too rage. They too overthrow. The Kingdoms too[15] melt the land by speaking out!
8

8 יְהוָה צְבָאֹות עִמָּנוּ מִשְׂגָּֽב־לָנוּ אֱלֹהֵי יַעֲקֹב סֶֽלָה׃

The LORD of Armies is with us. Our refuge is Jacob’s God! Selah
9

9 לְֽכוּ־חֲזוּ מִפְעֲלֹות יְהוָה אֲשֶׁר־שָׂם שַׁמֹּות בָּאָֽרֶץ׃

Go! Behold the LORD’s[16] mighty acts! He who institutes[17] desolation in the land.
10

10 מַשְׁבִּית מִלְחָמֹות עַד־קְצֵה הָאָרֶץ קֶשֶׁת יְשַׁבֵּר וְקִצֵּץ חֲנִית עֲגָלֹות יִשְׂרֹף בָּאֵֽשׁ׃

He caused our wars to terminate[18] all the way until the border of the land. He shattered bows![19] He cut spears! He burned chariots[20] with fire!
11

11 הַרְפּוּ וּדְעוּ כִּי־אָנֹכִי אֱלֹהִים אָרוּם בַּגֹּויִם אָרוּם בָּאָֽרֶץ׃

“Stop your rage![21] And know that I am the Yahweh! [22] I shall be exalted among the nations! I shall be exalted in the earth!”
12

יְהוָה צְבָאֹות עִמָּנוּ מִשְׂגָּֽב־לָנוּ אֱלֹהֵי יַעֲקֹב סֶֽלָה׃

The LORD of Armies is with us. Our refuge is Jacob’s God! Selah

 

Commentary

The occasion is difficult to determine, and at least two methodologies have been set forth to answer this question by commentators. First, the exact setting has been sought, possibilities are are Hezekiah’s confrontation of Sennacharib, Josiah’s threat of Scythian invasion since there are similarities to Zachariah, or some other event.[23] The other is Gunkel’s situation in the prophetic eschatological situation since there are allusions to Yahweh’s exaltation day to come (vs 11).[24] They use a hypothetical festival of which these Psalm would be a part.

Critical scholars noted the updating of the text from using the name Yahweh to Elohim. Thus, Krause argued that the Psalm was old, and Yahwistic since it had been updated in this way. How old it is depends on the critical school to which one belongs. Nevertheless, there is a general consensus that it is “old.”[25]   

A better way of getting at this is not to posit a hypothetical pre-Israelite festival in the land, as did Schmidt and others,[26] but to seek a setting from the ideas in the matter of the Psalm itself. What does it teach? The answer to this question will help situate the answer to a more exact occasion. Franz Delitzsch argued from the parallels to 2Chronicles 20, that the context of Psalm 46 was the reign of Jehoshaphat when Maob, Ammon, and Edom were threatening the land.[27] This makes sense of the text for several reasons. The Asaphite, Jehaziel, prophetically predicted deliverance (2Chron 20:14). This deliverance would be God himself delivering the people. They would stand in battle array only to watch God fight for them (2:Chron 20:17). Jehaziel’s pedigree is correct, he was of Asaph, see our Psalm’s superscript title. His admonition to the King and people was substantially the same as the Psalm. He said, “Listen, all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: thus says the LORD to you, ‘Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s” (2Chron 20:15). The unilateral divine deliverance was clearly the point of that occasion in 2Chronicles 20, as it is in the Psalm 46-48. Also, they sung songs before the army, so 46-48 were likely sung on that occasion of the Divine King riding out and fighting for his people (2Chron 20:21). The presence of and integral part of the musicians in this event lends to the close association of the Psalms to the events. At the very least, these songs would serve to remind the people of the occasion of God’s deliverance, and so build the faith of the worshippers in their true deliverer, the Lord of Armies.  For all these reasons, Psalm 46 seems to fit this special occasion.    

Exposition:

Psalm 46 declares the presence and future fullness of God’s presence as the divine warrior among his people in order to banish Israel’s fear of the nations who surrounded them.  

The Psalm banished Israel’s fear. They feared nations out of their borders, who had been expelled from the land, and who sought to control the trade routes to Egypt which ran through Canaan. The Psalm referred to the borders of the land as extended and the nations outside (Psa 46:10), thus the assumption is that they currently are in the land. The tension is over whether they will keep their tenure in the land. The occasion, discussed above, was one of total trust, the people went out and saw the battle won by the Lord in Jehoshaphat’s time. Curiously, God has done this same thing several times for his people. The exodus was marked by God’s judgment upon enemies, and subsequent provision for his people in the wilderness. Sennacharibs armies were struck dead by the Angel of the Lord overnight. Thus this was not a foreign concept to Israel. God’s salvation often came as he rescued by destroying Israel’s enemies. Therefore, when Israel said “God is our refuge” they said it with experimental faith.

The deciding factor in the battle is the presence of God as the divine warrior and protector.  The Divine Warrior is defined in this Psalm by his names, his speech, and the command he gave the nations. His names which are connected with the fight are Yahweh,[28] Yahweh of Armies, and The God of Jacob. The first name was Yahweh, which was associated with the Exodus and the revelation of God’s Covenant name and deliverance from Egypt. The Lord “has been [their] dwelling place” in the past, as Moses sang in his Psalm 90:1. Yahweh of Armies is an attributive genitive. It characterizes Yahweh, not simple as having an army, but as being mighty warrior. The “Chief of the Army of Yahweh” appeared to Joshua, who received worship from him, and stood with a sword drawn (Josh 5:14-15). This can be nothing other than a theophany, because the Chief of the Army of Yahweh told Joshua to remove his sandals, as Moses was told in Exodus 3:5. Yahweh himself is the warrior, clad for battle, and the deciding factor of the victory of His people.

He was also called “the God of Jacob” (v 8, 12). This name carries with it the divine election of Israel as his own prized possession among the nations. He is their god and they are his people. Therefore, this Divine Warrior is a voracious fighter, and he is on the side of Israel. The hope of Israel is tied to the fact that they have the right man on their side. So the Psalmist exclaims the presence of this God as the key to their hope. “God is drawn near to her, She shall not be moved!” (v. 6a). This confidence is so strong that the Psalmist says “God is her helper as surely as[29] the morning approaches” (v 6b). the meaning here is that as surely as the sun will rise the next day, so God will be their trust since he is on their side.  

Yahweh was both the present assurance and the future hope of God’s exaltation among the nations. Thus their present tenure was a type of the future eternal tenure in the land, and God among his people, in the midst of the nations (an implication which we shall draw out below). The present hope of the people was that God was like a “strong tower” for them (v. 2). This metaphor assumes the need for protection from enemies, thus it assumes the existence of enemies. There is a tension, as there is paradisiacal picture which the Psalm paints, yet there is a enemy present in the world. God’s protection is not mechanistic. There are foes who rage against God’s people, and therefore against God himself (Ps 2). Therefore they renew their courage and take heart because of God presence.    

The result of this presence is the protection of God’s people, along with the simultaneous destruction of the enemies of God. Verses 9-10 describe the Divine Warriors’ conquest, “Go behold the LORD’s mighty acts, He who institutes desolation in the land. He causes wars to terminate all the way to the border of the land. He shattered bows! He cut spears! He burned shields!” (vv. 9-10). The rescue which God brings about is by way of destroying his enemies.

The future hope of Israel was in the paradise which God would bring to his people. This paradise would come about by God’s own motion. Krause argued that there is an allusion to the Garden of Eden which was watered by streams. Thus this is a picture of Paradise restored.[30] The presence of the Divine warrior is likened to “A river whose channels gladden the city of God. The Holy One makes glad the Most High’s Tabernacle.” The first cola is the metaphore, in the same way a channel from the Hezekian stream from the Gihon fed the City of God, so the Holy one, i.e. God himself, does so to the Tabernacle.[31] The Tabernacle is the place where God was present with his people. It was his means of communing. So, as the life force for human existence came into the city by way of water in Hezekiah’s spring, so the LORD’s presence means life for the people. The exit of God’s glory from the temple in Ezekiel and his dwelling with the people in Chebar demonstrates the presence of God as the protector had left the physical Jerusalem, yet he was still present with his people in Exile (Ezk 10:18).

Further, their present hope was not only the presence of God forever, but the future without struggle against the nations of the world. Yahweh predicted the future hope of Israel, which is peace because god has destroyed his enemies. The imperatives “Stop” their rage because of the following imperative, “Know.” The knowledge stops their rage. The knowledge is “That I am Yahweh I shall be exalted among the nations! I shall be exalted in the earth” (v. 11). God predicts his own exaltation among the nations and the earth. This eschatology is a prediction of a final day when the Divine Warrior vanquishes all of His enemies. This is their hope.

Form: Song of Trust or Song of Zion?

There are two ways the form of Psalm 46 has been treated. Either it is a song of trust or confidence, or it is a Psalm of Zion. The former usually is marked by recounting the mighty works of God followed by a vow of trust. There is no call to trust in Psalm 46, which has led some commentators to take this as a song of Zion. Rather, there is a resolution to not fear. Though logically and elliptically related to trust God, this resolution to fear not does not fit the form which one would like to see in a classic Psalm of trust.

The songs of Zion are somewhat specialized, but they fit the context here better. Psalms 46-48 form a unit, which have similar content, structure, and syntax. Therefore they have been treated as eschatological songs of Zion. This basically means that they pick up the prophetic prediction of the kingdom of God. God pronounced that “I shall be exalted among the nations! I shall be exalted in the earth!” (Psa 46:11, my translation). This prediction, coupled with the imperative, “stop and behold” is similar to the form in Psalm 48:13-15. The form communicates God and the “inhabitant and protector of Zion.”[32]

Krause argued for something like a hybrid song of trust, since there is the confession in verse 3. He agrees that it is a Psalm of Zion, but also argues that the presence of the confession leads to a sort of “community song of confidence.”[33] This is not necessary, since the song of Zion does not forbid statements of confidence.

Structure:

There is wide consensus that there are three sections of this Psalm. These are marked off by the selah. The variant use of  “יְהוָה צְבָאֹות עִמָּנוּ מִשְׂגָּֽב־לָנוּ אֱלֹהֵי יַעֲקֹב סֶֽלָה׃” as an inclusio in verse 4 leads to even more confidence that this is the case since this phrase was likely used as a refrain (see the repetition in verses 8, 12). Thus the structure goes:

1 superscript

2-4 The Lord Prevails over the Elements

5-8 The Lord Protects His Habitation

9-12 The Lord Predicts His Exaltation

The inclusio leads to the conclusion that this is the structure of the Psalm.

These 3 strophes relate by first introducing God as refuge, second the obstacle overcome, and third the confidence in God as the result. The first strophe lacks the comment of trust, but it is implied, and the variant retain it, since this is the natural movement of the Psalm.

Verse 2 plainly states that God is the confidence of Israel without any particularity. Verse 3 introduced the temptation to fear brought up by the obstacle, which is then set forth. The obstacle in verse 2-3 is the elements of the natural world. The “earth in tumult” is the obstacle to trust (2a). Then the Psalm moves into the conquering of the earth by Yahweh.

Critical scholars point out the mythical categories used here. They impute the meaning of mythical “insurrection of the uncreated powers” to the Psalmist.[34] There is no need to impute mythical meaning to these categories, e.g. that the earth is uncreated and in primordial battle with Yahweh. Though the Psalmist used mythical categories, it does not mean that he did not pour into them his own meaning. Here the active agent of Yahweh who speaks and the whole of nature is subdued. Further, we believe this to be a metaphor for those created beings, the nations, who rise up against Yahweh. Often nations are described in the Bible as mountains and from the sea. These are rebellious, and, here, the point is that Yahweh will overcome his enemies.

The metaphorical interpretation is corroborated by both intratextual, and intertextual evidence. The intratextual evidence is in verse 7a where the voices of the kingdoms go out and melts the earth, “The nations too rage. They too overthrow. The Kingdoms too melt the land by speaking out!” The earth itself is the object of this conquest. The latter strophes deal not with elements of nature, but with the nations in rebellion against God. They have replaced God’s voice with their own in order to conquer the elements of the world. These nations are the thing described in the metaphor. They are the rebellious creation which is in tumult, and they are the thing in rebellion which Yahweh will conquer.  

Psalm 2 corroborates this as intertextual evidence. Psalm 2 begins with the question, “why do the nations rage?” In Psalm 2 a similar rebellion rises against Yahweh. The nations speak in independence. “The kings of the earth stand up, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against His anointed: ‘Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us’” (Psa 2:2-3). Yahweh then speaks in response and admonishes them to refrain from their rage and instead do pure homage to Him. The rage of the nations against God, and his exaltation also comes up in Isaiah 33:3-6

“At the sound of the tumult peoples flee; At the lifting up of Yourself nations disperse. Your spoil is gathered as the caterpillar gathers; As locusts rushing about men rush about on it. The LORD is exalted, for He dwells on high; He has filled Zion with justice and righteousness. And He will be the stability of your times, A wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge; The fear of the LORD is his treasure.” (Isa 33:3-6)

There are phraseological similarities and thematic parallels here to Psalm 46. The phrases “tumult” comes up in Psalm 46:4 with regard to the natural elements. They are tumultuous and cause for alarm. The tumult here is God himself rising up and exalting himself. This theme certainly parallels the Psalm in verse 11.

Therefore there are three strophes which build one upon the other. Further the allusions between the themes reveal that there is one main obstacle, the nations in tumult. Furthermore there is one main resolution to that obstacle, namely, the divine warrior riding out and destroying his enemies.

Theological Exposition:

This section will pursue a canonical context in which this Psalm fits. That great day when the Divine Warrior would ride out and conquer his enemies is both present and future for the Christian church. The New Testament retains the motif of God redeeming his people by judgment of enemies. There are three places where we see this dynamic in the canonical context.

First, the wrath of the Father poured out on the son on the cross was on account of sin imputed to the son. Thus the Son of God became sin for the church, and retribution was paid to him. The refuge is Christ. Christ is the strong tower who protects the church. God himself dwells with the people of God and protects them. They are his people and the sheep of the pasture. The Tabernacle was the place of the presence of God in verse 5. This is the place from whence the help in times of assistance came. In the New Testament, there is not a physical Tabernacle, but a man who is the true Tabernacle (Heb 8:2; 9:11-15). Jesus Christ is the Tabernacle, thus it could be applied to him that he is the “river whose channels gladden the city of God ” (Ps 46:5). He brings paradise to his people, and brings judgment on the world. He accomplished and will bring both to consummation upon his return.

Second, the wrath of God is now inaugurated in this age. The divine warrior rides out constantly in this semi-eschatological state. Revelation 1:15 described the Lord, Jesus Christ as, “His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been made to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters.” Verse 16 described a sword in his mouth. He is described as Prophet who speaks, Priest who wears the robe and sash, and King who wears the brazen footwear, and the sword in his mouth. Those are footwear for fighting, and the sword is a cavalry sword. The vision referred to the Warrior nature of the risen Lord. He was already ruling and wearing the clothes of a conqueror.

Third, as there was predicted a cataclysmic day of God’s exaltation in Psalm 46:11, so there will be a day when God is exalted by destroying all of his enemies. Revelation 19 further described the coming day of cataclysmic judgment.

“And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty. And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, ‘KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.’” (Rev 19:11-16, NAS)

The images of cavalry, swords, diadems from the slain eastern enemies, robe dipped in blood and epithet, “KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS” lead to a clear interpretation of the final judgment and the victorious day of the LORD’s exaltation.

John Goldingay points out that there is a certain distaste for this sort of image as outdated. No doubt, everyone involved in pastoral care and teaching has heard some incarnation of this question: “Why is the Old Testament-God so mean, but the New Testament-God so loving?” Perhaps this is more a matter of not reading the entire New Testament (see Rev 19:11ff). Nevertheless, the “popular view” which Goldingay brings up is that God is more like a non-violent resister, like Ghandi, who would say, “Violence solves nothing,” rather than a Divine Warrior who repays his enemies.  

The Psalm confronts this misunderstanding. Goldingay argued that this Psalm points out a reality about God and this world, “Violence can stop violence.”[35] The principle of retribution is at work here as God will pay back the nations for their sins and tumult against Him. Thus the God will one day be exalted among the nations. It is not the churches prerogative to bring about this violence, but it is God, himself, who will bring the retribution upon His enemies, and rescue his people from the world, flesh, and devil on the last day.

Bibliography

Briggs, Charles A. The Psalms. Vol. I of A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of the Psalms. International Critical Commentary on the Old Testament. Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1976.

Delitzsch, Franz. The Psalms. Translated by Francis Bolton. Vol. II of Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishers, 1949.

Goldingay, John. Psalms 42-89. Vol. II of Psalms. The Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007.

Knight, George A.F. Psalms. Vol. 1 of Psalms. The Daily Bible Study Series. Philadelphia, PA: Westminster Press, 1982.

Krause, Hans-Joachim. Psalm 1-59 A Commentary. Translated by Hilton C. Oswald. Vol. I of Psalm 1-59. Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House, 2000.

Pratico, Gary D. and Miles V. Van Pelt. The Basics of Biblical Hebrew Grammar. 1. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2001.

Rosenberg, A.J. Psalms: A New English Translation. Vol. II of Psalms. New York, NY: Judaica Press Inc, 1991.

Scott, William R. A Simplified Guide to BHS. 4th. North Richland Hills, TX: D&F Scott Publishing, 2007.

Waltke, Bruce and Michael O’Conner. An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax. USA: Eisenbrauns, 1990.


[1] Geneva Bible,

[2] It could be re-pointed to eternity. left as is it means “young girls,” or some hypothetical instrument intonation. The rendering “girl (i.e. high) voices” has the best inter-textual evidence. This is because of its connection to the Son’s of Qorah. Delitzsch pointed to the 1Chron 15:20 which referred to the tuning of instruments to the high range. Thus it refers to the tuning range for the sake of singers performing it. This is further supported by the “young girls” in Psalm 68 and the presence of the youths in the service of the Temple in 1Chron 25:5-6.     

[3] JPS, and NAS translates as concessive, “though the earth do change, and though the mountains be moved into the heart of the seas.” This does not preserve the contemporaneous temporal prefixed “בְּ” on the infinitive constructs. It would be more accurate to take these as contemporaneous, since this brings up not a hypothetical thing in the future that may happen, but it is a statement of fearlessness in the midst of the event. The temporal use with the finite verb “ירא” should be rendered as contemporary. SeeBruce Waltke and Michael O’Conner, An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax (USA: Eisenbrauns, 1990), 602.

[4] Pratico & VanPelt, Basics of Biblical Hebrew, 346

[5] The sea and the hills here personify the rebellious nations. Man commentators have argued for these songs of Zion as parallels to the Ugaritic myths of gods fighting against gods. Baal will fight with Tiamot, the sea God. There may be similarities, but thought the categories used here by the Psalmist are drawn from surrounding pagan myth, it does not follow that he intended the meaning of those. In fact, here the physical nations who rise up against Israel as her foe are metaphorically presented as the sea and the hills in the heart of the sea. It is no cosmogony, but it is God, the rightful King of all the Earth, who is quelling the rebellion of the nations. It is not a good god against an equal evil counterpart, but the God of heaven who is the helper of his people, and fighting against the comparatively impotent forces of human warfare.  See also footnote 15. See Krause, Psalm 1-59, 462.   

[6] The copyist inserted the refrain here from verse 8 and 12. This perhaps shows the way the text was understood as with this refrain and in three parts.

[7] This seems to be a metaphor, as a river (possibly Hezekiah’s channel) gladdens the physical city, the Holy one (i.e . God himself) rejoices the dwelling of the Most High.

[8] The LXX has “ἡγίασεν” which would require re-pointing only, and leave the consonantal text intact. However, the verb gapping has more explanatory power for the Holy gladdening the dwelling of the Most High.

[9] Argument for verb gapping: The colas have parallel objects, the dwelling of the Most High and the city of God. The subjects are also parallel. The “holy one” is the “river” whose streams gladden the city. There is a parallel figure of speech in Isaiah 33:20-21. There the Prophet pointed to Zion as the place of refuge (v. 21), and then characterized Yahweh as the “majestic one” and “a place of rivers and channels.” The action of “gladdening” is taken by both the river and the LORD. 

[10] The LXX adds the 3rd person genitive of possession pronoun. It would be rendered domus habactili, “he dwells in his house (genitive of possession).” Verb gapping makes sense here, “the holy one helps the dwellings of the most high” Thus the text should be left as is.  

[11] See Psa 43:3, and Lxx. The Tabernacle itself was the means by which God was among his people, but it was the presence of the LORD which made the tabernacle such. The metaphor then is that God himself gladdens the city like a river which flows into the city.

[12] The prefix does not change the meaning to “in near” but simply clarifies the sense. God is “drawn near” to her.

[13] This is a metaphor for God’s closeness, and so the translation reflects the comparison.

[14] “לִפְנות” should be taken as the “approaching morning.” This is analogous to Isaac peering at the horizon “approaching evening.” See Gen 24:63, first, it precedes the time of day, and it is in the plural.

[15] The elements of nature which formerly terrified God’s people with potential overthrow, rage, and tumult are now replaced by the nations. They even speak and effect the elements of the earth, as God has in verse 2. They “too” rage should not be understood as additional to the opposition of the natural elements, but should be understood as the elements of nature are a metaphor for the nations.

[16] Multiple manuscripts, the LXX and Syriac all have אלהים, which is likely due to the updating of the text for superstitious convention of blasphemy. 

[17] Set should be taken here as in God setting in motion, commencing the desolation in the land. This is his mighty work as Lord of Armies

[18] The Hiphil participle “He caused to cease” gives the picture of a the gain of territory of the camp of the people to grow until they filled the whole world, not just from river to river, as in Joshua 23:14

[19] Krause re-pointed to the Piel imperfect, 3ms. This fits well with the other Piel imperfect 3ms “שׁבר” and does not change the consonantal text. Hans-Joachim Krause, Psalm 1-59 A Commentary (vol. I of Psalm 1-59; trans. Hilton C. Oswald; CC; Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House, 2000), 459

[20] The Targums and the LXX have shield, not wagon. Either way the   

[21] The raging nations is the object of this rebuke.

[22] Krause argued that the Elohistically updated Psalm would have originally had the name “יהוה” since there is evidence for this in the translations and manuscripts, see BHS text apparatus on 46:9a. This also fits the conquest motif which is present in the Psalm.   

[23] A.J. Rosenberg, Psalms: A New English Translation (vol. II of Psalms; New York, NY: Judaica Press Inc, 1991), 172, Charles A. Briggs, The Psalms (vol. I of A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of the Psalms; ICC; Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1976), 394

[24] Krause, Psalm 1-59, 460

[25] Krause, Psalms 1-59, 461

[26] Krause, Psalms 1-59, 460

[27] Franz Delitzsch, The Psalms (vol. II of Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament; trans. Francis Bolton; COT; Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishers, 1949), 91

[28] See the above note on Elohim and updating of the text from Yahweh.

[29] This is a metaphor for God’s closeness, and so the translation reflects the comparison.

[30] Krause, Psalm 1-59, 462

[31] George A.F. Knight, Psalms (vol. 1 of Psalms; The Daily Bible Study Series; Philadelphia, PA: Westminster Press, 1982), 221

[32] Krause, Psalm 1-59, 459

[33] Krause, Psalm 1-59, 460

[34] Krause, Psalm 1-59, 462, here he is citing G. Von Rad, Old Testament Theology 1:152

[35] John Goldingay, Psalms 42-89 (vol. II of Psalms; BECOT; Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2007), 73

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