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Psalm Forty Six

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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To the chief Musician for the sons of Korah, A Song upon Alamoth.

Alamoth. The only other occurrence of alamoth is in 1 Chronicles 15:20, which implies that the term refers to some kind of musical instrument. The word itself apparently means “young maidens with soprano voices.” The psalm itself seems to be inappropriate for a women's choir, so the term may apply to an instrument of high-pitched sound.

Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.

our refuge and strength. The word for refuge in this verse means “shelter.” The word “refuge” in Psalm 46:7, 11, is stronger, meaning an impregnable high fortress. It is said that this psalm was largely the inspiration for Luther's great hymn, “A Mighty Fortress.”

very present help. The modifier “very” in this verse is a strong word, indicating that God is an intensively present helper for His people in times of trouble.

Psalm 46:2 Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;

earth be removed. The word for “removed” here simply means “changed”; and is so translated every other time it occurs. That is, the earth will not actually be removed at this time, but its physical structure will be drastically changed during the coming great tribulation. Note especially Isaiah 40:4.

mountains be carried. This is more than poetic imagery. The mountains were carried into the sea during the great Flood, and this will happen again in the coming tribulation period (Revelation 6:14; 16:20).

Psalm 46:3 Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah

swelling therof. Selah. The first stanza of this psalm, reminding us of the awful judgment of the great Flood in ancient times, during which Noah and those in the ark were safely carried through by the same God who is our refuge and strength, ends with the contemplative pause denoted by “Selah.”

Psalm 46:4 There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.

a river. The river out of Eden, dividing into four streams (Genesis 2:10-14), was a type of the great river flowing from the millennial temple (Ezekiel 47:1-12), and the even greater “pure river of water of life, ... proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Revelation 22:1, 2) in the holy city New Jerusalem.

the city of God. The city of God is not the church, but “the holy city, new Jerusalem” (Revelation 21:2), where will be the eternal dwelling place of God in the midst of His people. The city is not heaven, for it is “coming down from God out of heaven,” and will be established forever on the renewed earth. “The new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the Lord” (Isaiah 66:22).

Psalm 46:5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.

Psalm 46:6 The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted.

the heathen raged. See Psalm 2:1. The words for “rage” are different, but essentially synonymous. The result of this last raging of the nations against God will be the very dissolution of the earth. 2 Peter 3:10 says the earth “will melt.” The Hebrew word for “melt” actually means to be dissolved or to disappear.

Psalm 46:7 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

Psalm 46:8 Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth.

Psalm 46:9 He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.

maketh wars to cease. After the turmoil of the raging nations is put down by the Lord of hosts, then “nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more” (Isaiah 2:4). Although Satan will make one final attempt to gather the nations “together to battle” against God, they will all be devoured by fire “out of heaven” (Revelation 20:8-9).

Psalm 46:10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.

Be still. Compare Exodus 14:13; Isaiah 30:7, 15. It is often best just to leave matters in God's hand, when problems are too great for ours.

Psalm 46:11 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah