Psalm 48:3
God is known in her palaces for a refuge.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(3) Refuge.—See Note, Psalm 46:1. Prominence should be given to the idea of security from height. We might render, “God among her castles is known as a high and secure tower.”

Psalm 48:3. God is known — To his people, by sensible and long experience; in her palaces — In the habitations of the city, and not only in the cottages, or meaner dwellings, but in the palaces: the princes and great men have recourse to God, and seek help from him. Possibly he may point at the king’s palace and the temple, which was the palace of the King of heaven; which two palaces God did in a singular manner protect, and, by protecting them, protected the whole city and people. For a refuge — Under whose shadow his people are more safe and secure than other cities are with their great rivers and impregnable fortifications. “Thus the great Founder of the church is also her protector and defender. The dependance of the new Jerusalem, like that of the old, is not in man, or in the arm of flesh, but in God, who resideth in the midst of her. For, surely, unless he kept the city, the watchmen in the towers would wake but in vain.” — Horne.

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.God is known in her palaces - The word rendered "palaces" here means properly a fortress, castle, or palace, so called from its height, from a verb, ארם 'âram, meaning to elevate, to lift up. It may be applied to any fortified place, and would be particularly applicable to a royal residence, as a castle or stronghold. The word "known" here means that it was well understood, or that the point had been fully tested and determined that God had chosen those abodes as his special residence - as the place where he might be found.

For a refuge - See the notes at Psalm 46:1. That is, there was safety or security in the God who had chosen Jerusalem as his special abode.

3. palaces—literally, "citadels."

refuge—(Ps 9:10; 18:3). He was so known in them because they enjoyed His presence.

God is known to his people by sensible and long experience, and to all neighbouring nations by their own observation.

In her palaces, i. e in the habitations, or to the inhabitants of that city. Possibly he may here point at the king’s palace and the temple, which was the palace of the King of heaven; which two palaces God did in a singular manner protect, and by protecting them he protected the whole city and people.

For a refuge; under whose shadow we are more safe and secure, than other cities are with their great rivers and impregnable fortifications.

God is known in her palaces for a refuge. As there were palaces in Jerusalem; see Psalm 48:13; so there are in the church of Christ; every place in it is a palace fit for a king; and everyone that has truly a name and a place there are kings and priests unto God: and here God is a "refuge" both for saints and sinners to fly unto; See Gill on Psalm 46:1; and is "known" to be so; the ministers of the Gospel being here appointed to direct and encourage souls to flee to Christ for refuge, who is the hope set before them in the everlasting Gospel, preached by them to lay hold upon; and all that do flee to him know, by experience, that he is a refuge for them; and as all the people of God do in every time of distress, and when all refuge fails them elsewhere. God is known in her palaces for a {d} refuge.

(d) Unless God is the defence of it, neither situation nor munition can prevail.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
3. More exactly:

God hath made himself known in her palaces for a high fortress.

This verse is commonly connected with Psalm 48:1-2. But Psalm 48:1-2 describe the relation of Zion to Jehovah generally, while Psalm 48:3 first alludes to the recent deliverance, which is further described in Psalm 48:4 ff.

in her palaces] The stately palaces of Zion which the Assyrians threatened to plunder and destroy. Cp. Psalm 48:13; Micah 5:5. High fortress (A.V. refuge) is the same word as that in Psalm 46:7; Psalm 46:11.

3–8. Jehovah’s revelation of Himself as Zion’s protector in the recent discomfiture of her enemies.

Verse 3. - God is known in her palaces for a Refuge; or, in her castles. The palaces of the king and his chief nobles are, no doubt, intended. Psalm 48:3(Heb.: 48:4) Psalm 48:3, where the pointing is rightly נודע, not נודע, shows that the praise sung by the poet is based upon an event in contemporary history. Elohim has made Himself known by the loftily built parts

(Note: lxx: ἐν ταῖς βάρεσιν αὐτῆς, on which Gregory of Nyssa remarks (Opera, Ed. Paris, t. i. p. 333): βάρεις λέγει τάς τῶν οἰκοδομημάτων περιγραφεὶς ἐν τετραγώνῳ τῷ σχήματι.)

of Jerusalem (Psalm 122:7) למשׂגּב (the ל that is customary with verbs of becoming and making), i.e., as an inaccessible fortress, making them secure against any hostile attack. The fact by which He has thus made Himself known now immediately follows. המּלכים points to a definite number of kings known to the poet; it therefore speaks in favour of the time of peril and war in the reign of Jehoshaphat and against that in the reign of Hezekiah. נועד is reciprocal: to appoint themselves a place of meeting, and meet together there. עבר, as in Judges 11:29; 2 Kings 8:21, of crossing the frontier and invasion (Hitzig), not of perishing and destruction, as in Psalm 37:36, Nahum 1:12 (De Wette); for נועדו requires further progress, and the declaration respecting their sudden downfall does not follow till later on. The allies encamped in the desert to Tekoa, about three hours distant from Jerusalem. The extensive view at that point extends even to Jerusalem: as soon as they saw it they were amazed, i.e., the seeing and astonishment, panic and confused flight, occurred all together; there went forth upon them from the Holy City, because Elohim dwells therein, a חרדּת אלהים (1 Samuel 14:15), or as we should say, a panic or a panic-striking terror. Concerning כּן as expressive of simultaneousness, vid., on Habakkuk 3:10. כּאשׁר in the correlative protasis is omitted, as in Hosea 11:2, and frequently; cf. on Isaiah 55:9. Trembling seized upon them there (שׁם, as in Psalm 14:5), pangs as of a woman in travail. In Psalm 48:8, the description passes over emotionally into the form of address. It moulds itself according to the remembrance of a recent event of the poet's own time, viz., the destruction of the merchant fleet fitted out by Jehoshaphat in conjunction with Ahaziah, king of Israel (1 Kings 22:49; 2 Chronicles 20:36.). The general meaning of Psalm 48:8 is, that God's omnipotence is irresistible. Concerning the "wind of the east quarter," which here, as in Ezekiel 27:26, causes shipwreck, vid., on Job 27:21. The "ships of Tarshish," as is clear from the context both before and after, are not meant literally, but used as a figure of the worldly powers; Isaiah (Isaiah 33) also compares Assyria to a gallant ship. Thus, then, the church can say that in the case of Jerusalem it has, as an eye-witness, experienced that which it has hitherto only heard from the tradition of a past age (ראה and שׁמע as in Job 42:5), viz., that God holds it erect, establishes it, for ever. Hengstenberg observes here, "The Jerusalem that has been laid in ruins is not that which the psalmist means; it is only its outward form which it has put off" [lit. its broken and deserted pupa]. It is true that, according to its inner and spiritual nature, Jerusalem continues its existence in the New Testament church; but it is not less true that its being trodden under foot for a season in the kairoi' ethnoo'n no more annuls the promise of God than Israel's temporary rejection annuls Israel's election. The Holy City does not fall without again rising up.

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