These psalms are a trilogy of praise in memory of a great deliverance, most probably that of Jerusalem from the king of Assyria. They should be read in the light of 2 Kgs. 18 and 19.
- Gather out what is said about God in these psalms: his power, his character, his relation to the world, and his relation to his own people.
- What is the leading thought of each of the three psalms? What should be the response of God’s people to such a manifestation of his power and love?
- 46:5. ‘At break of day’: better, ‘When the morning dawns’, i.e., the morning of deliverance See RV mg. and cf. Mark 6:48, 51.
- 47:2 and 48:2. ‘The Great King’: i.e., the true Great King in contrast to the Assyrian monarch, who bore this title. Cf. Is. 36:4.
- 47:9. ‘Kings’ (=’shields’ RSV): meaning ‘rulers’. Cf. Ps. 89:18. The verse is prophetic of Christ’s find victory. Cf. 1Cor. 15:24, 25; Rev. 15:3, 4.
An inspired meditation, addressed to all men, on the vanity of riches. It anticipates our Lord’s teaching in Luke 12; 13-21.
- How do men in general regard wealth? See verses 6, 13, 18. But what are the facts? What can wealth not do (verses 7-9)? And what is the end of the rich man (verses 10-14, 17-20)?
- Why is it better to trust in God than in riches? See verses 14, 15. And what is the psalmist’s counsel to himself and to us? See verses 5 and 16.
Note. Verses 7 and 9 should be read together, verse 8 being parenthetical. With verse 7 cf. Exod. 21:30. There were cases where, in human relationships, life could be redeemed with money; but it is not so when God summons the soul.
A picture of God’s judgment if his people. There are four sections: (a) Introduction (verses 1-6); (b) God speaks to his people (verses 7-15); (c) God speaks to the wicked (verses 16-21); (d) Epilogue (verses 22, 23).
- What can you discover of God’s character in his capacity as Judge in verses 1-6? What further truth about him is emphasized in verses 7-13?
- What does God require of his people if they are to please him, and what benefits does he promise to them? See verses 14, 15, 23. In what ways do the wicked displease God, and what is their end compared with those who fulfil his requirements?