|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
48:1-7 Jerusalem is the city of our God: none on earth render him due honour except the citizens of the spiritual Jerusalem. Happy the kingdom, the city, the family, the heart, in which God is great, in which he is all. There God is known. The clearer discoveries are made to us of the Lord and his greatness, the more it is expected that we should abound in his praises. The earth is, by sin, covered with deformity, therefore justly might that spot of ground, which was beautified with holiness, be called the joy of the whole earth; that which the whole earth has reason to rejoice in, that God would thus in very deed dwell with man upon the earth. The kings of the earth were afraid of it. Nothing in nature can more fitly represent the overthrow of heathenism by the Spirit of the gospel, than the wreck of a fleet in a storm. Both are by the mighty power of the Lord.
Verse 7. - Thou breakest the ships of Tarshish with an east wind. The literal exposition is wholly out of place, since history does not speak of any co-operation of a fleet with a land army in any attack upon Pales. fine. The expression must be used metaphorically of a great and violent destruction wrought by the arm of God upon Israel's foes. Still, the imagery would scarcely have been used, unless there had been something in the circumstances of the time to suggest it, as there certainly was in Jehoshaphat's time, whose fleet of "ships of Tamhish" was "broken" at Ezion-geber (1 Kings 22:48). The poet may have witnessed the catastrophe.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Thou breakest the ships of Tarshish with east wind. This is either another simile, expressing the greatness of the dread and fear that shall now seize the kings of the earth; which will be, as Kimchi observes, as if they were smitten with a strong east wind, which breaks the ships of Tarshish; and to the same purpose is the note of Aben Ezra; who says, the psalmist compares the pain that shall take hold upon them to an east wind in the sea, which breaks the ships; for by Tarshish is meant, not Tartessus in Spain, nor Tarsus in Cilicia, or the port to which the Prophet Jonah went and took shipping; but the sea in general: or else this phrase denotes the manner in which the antichristian kings, and antichristian states, wilt be destroyed; just as ships upon the ocean are dashed to pieces with a strong east wind: or it may design the loss of all their riches and substance brought to them in ships; hence the lamentations of merchants, and sailors, and ship masters, Revelation 18:15.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
7. ships of Tarshish—as engaged in a distant and lucrative trade, the most valuable. The phrase may illustrate God's control over all material agencies, whether their literal destruction be meant or not.
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