Psalm 48 - Hymn of Praise to Zion, City of God




[New International Version] Psalm 48 belongs to Book II of the Book of Psalms. This is a hymn of praise for the greatness of God’s name and faith in the true God.

The PS 48 belong to Book II of the book of PS composed of a collection of texts 150 arranged by 5 poetry books. The Book of Psalms, for its wisdom and basic principles of human action , is considered the heart of the Old Testament. Book II comprises the PS 42 the 72 . The PS 48 is divided into 15 verses.

The Psalms are poems-prayers addressed to God, being the privileged way to address and speak to Him. These prayers represent human experiences and religious conscience . They portray the common man , with his faults, insecurities, fears and hopes and, even today, we can identify with the Psalmist and draw inspiration from these texts to pray and plead with God when we feel lost and anguished or to express our gratitude for some blessing received.

“There are enemies or friends, there is life or death, health or illness, pain or joy and, most of the time, there are no changes or gradations. Words are like stones and poetry like boulders carved by chisel”; “The Psalms are a bit like mountain paths, simple, especially when walking on snow, but they lead to the peaks; they are paths toward the peaks of meeting the Lord.” - Carlo Maria Martini, Cardinal of Milan

Psalm 48 - Zion, City of God

1  Song. Psalm of the sons of Korah.

2  The Lord is great and worthy of all praise
in the city of our God, his holy mountain.

3  Beautiful elevation, joy of all the earth,
Mount Zion, above Mount Saphon,
is the stronghold of the great king.

4  In the midst of their strongholds,
God is recognized as a stronghold.

5  But behold, the kings gathered together,
and together they decided to go forward.

6  As soon as they saw her, they panicked;
and, terrified, they fled.

7  Anxiety caught them right there,
with pains like those of a woman in childbirth.

8  It was like the east wind,
which breaks the ships of Tarshish.

9  As they told us, so we saw it,
in the city of the LORD of hosts,
in the city of our God,
which God has consolidated for ever.

10  O God, we meditate on your mercy,
inside your sanctuary.

11  As your name, O God,
your praise reaches the ends of the earth.
Your right hand is full of justice.

12  Mount Zion rejoices,
the cities of Judah rejoice,
because of your decrees.

13  Go about Zion, walking around her,
and count her towers.

14  Search its fortresses and palaces,
that you may tell the generation to come

15  that this is God, our God forever and ever.
It is He who eternally leads us.

Meaning and interpretation

The PS 48 is the second PS Zion . Continuing to draw on the traditional symbolic language of Canaan, he proclaims that Zion is to be found on the heights of Mount Saphon. This was a mountain of great religious symbolism located near the city of Ugarit and considered the celestial habitation of the god Baal (reference to several gods of the Levant).

In the most ancient times of the Hebrews in Palestine, the conflict between the religiosity directed to Yahweh and that which is devoted to Baal was not yet noticed . The described attacks against the city protected by God may contain references to real events of war or simply be part of the literary genre used for this type of chant.

Verses 10-11 combine two pairs of important concepts: the greatness of God’s name and the breadth of the praise to him, on the one hand; and the pattern that presides over God’s intervention, which is simultaneously one of mercy , by what it expresses in relation to the believing people, and of justice , by the way in which he restores things to their proper order.

The Psalms of Praise are really hymns addressed, above all, to God. In this sense, the Bible continues the liturgical literature of neighboring and previous religions, where hymns are the most common way for people to address the divinity, especially in contexts of greater solemnity.

These hymns narrate the greatness or improvements and the thanks that flow from it. Examples of this are Psalm 8; 19; 28; 33; 47; 65-66; 93; 96-100; 104-105; 111; 113; 117; 135; 146; 148-150. Hymns can also be addressed to the king, focusing especially on the ceremony of royal enthronement, with every expectation of divine intervention for the well-being of the people and the just ordering of the world .

With the end of the monarchy, these Psalms were accentuating messianic connotations , which they already had implicit. This is the case with Psalm 2; 18; 20-21; 45; 72; 89; 101; 110; 132; 144. The Psalms celebrating Jerusalem, which with the temple have a special connection to God, are also considered hymns. These are Ps 46; 48; 76; 84; 87; 122.

The Book of Psalms

The Joy and Happiness of the Righteous in Communion with God

The Psalms are prayer-poems addressed to God, being the privileged way to address and speak to Him. Depicting the common man , with his failures, insecurities, fears and hopes, we can still identify with the Psalmist and be inspired today in Psalms to make prayers and supplications to God in times of trouble or express our gratitude for some blessing received.

The Psalms, despite being written in Antiquity, still move , sensitize , awaken feelings , inspire and enchant . In them, we can identify anguish and joy , deeply human feelings, praises, supplications, teachings of reflection on spiritual wisdom and prophetic words.

Written for different situations , some Psalms are intimate, revealing the author’s personal relationship with God; others provide guidelines and advice for life, others are compositions for specific liturgical events such as rituals and pilgrimages.

The Book of Psalms is composed of a collection of 150 poetic texts and is divided into five parts, called Psalm Books or Booklets. Each Book closes with short hymns of praise to God . The division into five parts was considered to correspond to the five books of Moses and it is assumed that each passage in the Pentateuch (first five books of the Bible, called Torah by the Jews) was read in parallel with the corresponding Psalm. Its main forms are lamentation , supplication , praise and gratitude .

The Power of Prayer in Dialogue with the Divine

The Psalms elevate our thoughts to the Divine and prayer is the power of the word . Prayer is the language of faith. Any thought, word or image addressed to God is called prayer . It is through it that we come into contact with our God within and, therefore, it is so powerful in transforming life . Prayer can produce miracles , turn dreams into reality, give us hope for change , harmony and peace with ourselves and the world.

Each Psalm has an intention that helps us meditate and walk with our God . For many theologians, the Book of Psalms has a prophetic or messianic tone as its verses refer to the coming of Christ into the world of men to guide them through the uncertainty and doubts of Human existence.

The prayer has the power to call the Spiritual Universe full mode, honest, sincere, conscious, for the purpose of spiritual self-protection, family protection and those who are dear to us, to have peace of mind, spiritual and physical, for prosperity and success, to protect health and relationships, to ward off negative energies and, above all, to connect us to something bigger than ourselves. From this peace , well-being, hope and goodness in front of everyone and everything result.

The faith can change our lives. It gives us tranquility and spiritual strength to face challenges. It helps us to meditate on our mission in life and to create a balanced and healthy environment for ourselves and those we love. When you pray, fill your heart with love and determination . The Psalms will guide you on a path of peace and communion with the higher energy.