Psalm 48:6
Fear took hold on them there, and pain, as of a woman in travail.
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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.Fear took hold upon them there - Trembling seized them; they were filled with sudden consternation. That is, as soon as they saw the city, or had a distinct view of it, they became alarmed.

And pain - Distress; anguish. The distress arising from disappointed hopes, and perhaps from the apprehension of their own safety. They were filled with dismay.

As of a woman in travail - This comparison is often used in the Scriptures to denote the severest kind of pain. Compare Jeremiah 4:31; Jeremiah 6:24; Jeremiah 13:21; Jeremiah 22:23; Jeremiah 30:6; Jeremiah 49:24; Micah 4:9-10; Isaiah 53:11.

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. Partly at the tidings of Tirhakah’s coming against them, 2 Kings 19:9, and partly for that terrible slaughter of their army there, 2 Kings 19:35. Fear took hold upon them there,.... That is, either when they came up to the city, and passed by it, and saw what they did; or, as Kimchi observes, in the place where they thought to have made a great slaughter; that is, in Armageddon, Revelation 16:16; so upon the slaughter of the seven thousand names of men, or men of name and renown, such as the kings here assembled, the remnant will be frightened, Revelation 11:13;

and pain, as of a woman in travail; this figure is made use of elsewhere, when the destruction of Babylon and the coming of Christ are spoken of; see Isaiah 13:8.

Fear took hold upon them there, and pain, as of a woman in travail.
6. Trembling took hold of them there:

Pangs, as of a woman in travail.

Cp. Exodus 15:14-15; and for the phrase though in a different connexion, Isaiah 33:14, “Trembling hath taken hold of the godless.”Verse 6. - Fear took hold upon them there, and pain, as of a woman in travail. This description is wholly inapplicable to the destruction of Sennacherib's host, unperceived until it was accomplished (2 Kings 19:35), but is sufficiently in agreement with the narrative of 2 Chronicles 20:1-23. (Heb.: 47:10) In the mirror of the present event, the poet reads the great fact of the conversion of all peoples to Jahve which closes the history of the world. The nobles of the peoples (נדיבי with the twofold meaning of generosi), the "shields (i.e., the lords who are the defenders of their people) of the earth" (Hosea 4:18), enter into the society of the people of the God of Abraham; πέρας αἱ πρὸς τὸν πατριάρχην Ἀβραὰμ ἔλαβον ὑποσχέσεις, as Theodoret observes. The promise concerning the blessing of the tribes of the nations in the seed of the patriarch is being fulfilled; for the nobles draw the peoples who are protected by them after themselves. It is unnecessary to read עם instead of עם with Ewald, and following the lxx and Syriac; and it is also inadmissible, since one does not say נאסף עם, but ל or אל. Even Eusebius has rightly praised Symmachus and Theodotion, because they have translated the ambiguous ἀμ by λαὸς (τοῦ Θεοῦ Ἀβραάμ), viz., as being a nominative of the effect or result, as it is also understood by the Targum, Jerome, Luther, and most of the Jewish expositors, and among modern expositors by Crusius, Hupfeld, and Hitzig: They gather and band themselves together as a people or into a people of the God of Abraham, they submit themselves with Israel to the one God who is proved to be so glorious.

(Note: It is also accented accordingly, viz., נאספו with Rebia magnum, which (and in this respect it is distinguished from Mugrash) makes a pause; and this is then followed by the supplementing clause with Zinnor, Galgal, and Olewejored.)

The conclusion (v. 11) reminds one of the song of Hannah, 1 Samuel 2:8. Thus universal homage is rendered to Him: He is gone up in triumph, and is in consequence thereof highly exalted (נעלה, 3rd praet., the result of consequence of the עלה in Psalm 47:6).

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