Psalm 48:5
They saw it, and so they marveled; they were troubled, and hurried away.
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(5) They saw.—A verse like Psalm 46:6, vivid from the omission of the conjunctions, wrongly supplied by the Authorised Version. It has reminded commentators of Caesar’s Veni, vidi, vici.

They looked, even so were terrified, bewildered, panic-struck.

Hasted away.—Or, sprung up in alarm.

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.They saw it - That is, they looked on it; they contemplated it; they were struck with its beauty and strength, and fled.

And so they marveled - It surpassed their expectations of its strength, and they saw with wonder that any attempt to conquer it was hopeless.

They were troubled - They were filled with anxiety and confusion. They even began to have apprehensions about their own safety. They saw that their preparations had been made in vain, and that all hopes of success must be abandoned.

And hasted away - They fled in confusion. The idea in the whole verse is that of a "panic," leading to a disorderly flight. This "may" have occurred in the time of Jehoshaphat, 2 Chronicles 20, when the kings of Moab, Edom, and others, came up to attack Jerusalem, though the immediate cause of their overthrow was a conflict among themselves 2 Chronicles 20:22-25. It may have been, however, that they approached the city, and were dismayed by its strength, so that they turned away before the internal conflict occurred which ended in their ruin. But it is not "necessary" to adjust these accounts one to another, or even to suppose that this was the event referred to in the psalm, though the general ideas in it accord well with all which occurred on that occasion.

4-6. For—The reason is given. Though the kings (perhaps of Moab and Ammon, compare Ps 83:3-5) combined, a conviction of God's presence with His people, evinced by the unusual courage with which the prophets (compare 2Ch 20:12-20) had inspired them, seized on their minds, and smitten with sudden and intense alarm, they fled astonished. They saw it; they did only look upon it, but not come into it, nor shoot an arrow there, —nor cast a bank against it, as is said upon this or the like occasion, 2 Kings 19:32.

So they marvelled, not so much at the structure or strength of the city, as at the wonderful works wrought by God on their behalf.

They were troubled and hasted away: see 2 Kings 19:35. They saw it,.... Either the city or the power of God, as Aben Ezra; or, as Jarchi, God himself going forth to fight against the nations. This refers to the power Christ will take to himself, and show forth, by reigning in his church, and protecting it, which will not only be visible to the saints, but to the nations of the world; and to the brightness of Christ's coming in his spiritual reign, with the lustre of which antichrist will be destroyed, Revelation 11:17; and to the glorious state of the church, signified by the rising of the witnesses, and their standing on their feet, and ascending to heaven, which will be seen by their enemies, Revelation 11:11; and to the destruction of Rome, the smoke of whose burning, the kings of the earth, that have committed fornication with her, will see and lament, Revelation 18:8;

and so their marvelled: at the glory of the church, the security of it, the power of Christ in it and over it, and at the destruction of mystical Babylon; see Isaiah 52:14;

they were troubled: as Herod and all Jerusalem were, upon hearing of the birth of Christ, Matthew 2:3; so these kings will be, upon seeing the coming and power of Christ in the latter day, the invincibleness of his church, and their own immediate and utter ruin: this will be the time or the howling of the shepherds, both civil and ecclesiastical, when all hands will be faint, and every man's heart will melt, Zechariah 11:2;

and hasted away: fled for fear of the great King at the head of his armies, in the defence of his church and people: and as the kings of the earth also at the destruction of Rome will flee and stand afar off, for fear of her torment, Revelation 18:10.

They saw {f} it, and so they marvelled; they were troubled, and hasted away.

(f) The enemies were afraid at the sight of the city.

5. They saw; forthwith they were amazed:

They were dismayed, they made haste to flee.

Caesar’s boast, Veni, vidi, vici, was reversed. They came to Zion, they saw it, they were smitten with panic terror. Cp. Isaiah 33:3.Verse 5. - They saw it, and so they marvelled; they were troubled, and hasted away. The sight of the city, with its walls and towers (vers. 12, 13), was enough for them - they recognized that the place was too strong to be attacked with any prospect of success; "marvelled," or "were amazed" (Cheyne), at its strength, and, being troubled in mind, hasted away. The unconnected verbs remind the commentators of Caesar's famous despatch, "Vent, vidi, vici." (Heb.: 47:5-9) The ascent of God presupposes a previous descent, whether it be a manifestation of Himself in order to utter some promise (Genesis 17:22; Judges 13:20) or a triumphant execution of judgment (Psalm 7:8; Psalm 68:19). So here: God has come down to fight on behalf of His people. They return to the Holy City and He to His throne, which is above on Zion, and higher still, is above in heaven. On בּתרוּעה and קול שׁופר cf. Psalm 98:6; 1 Chronicles 15:28, but more especially Amos 2:2; for the "shout" is here the people's shout of victory, and "the sound of the horn" the clear sound of the horns announcing the victory, with reference to the celebration of the victory in the Valley of praise and the homeward march amidst the clanging music (2 Chronicles 20:26.). The poet, who has this festival of victory before his mind as having recently taken place, desires that the festive sounds may find an unending and boundless echo unto the glory of God. זמּר is first construed with the accusative as in Psalm 68:33, then with the dative. Concerning משׂכּיל equals ᾠδὴ πενυματική (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16), vid., on Psalm 32:1. That which excites to songs of praise is Jahve's dominion of the world which has just been made manifest. מלך is to be taken in just the same historical sense as ἐβασίλευσας, Revelation 11:15-18. What has taken place is a prelude of the final and visible entering upon the kingdom, the announcement of which the New Testament seer there hears. God has come down to earth, and after having obtained for Himself a recognition of His dominion by the destruction of the enemies of Israel, He has ascended again in visible kingly glory. Imago conscensi a Messia throni gloriae, says Chr. Aug. Crusius, tune erat deportatio arcae faederis in sedem regni.
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