The Psalms of David

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Psalm 47

        (This is) for the (music) leader.
   (It is) for the *sons of Korah.
   (It is) a psalm.

v1      Peoples from every (country), *clap your hands (together).
     Shout aloud to God with the sound of happy singing.

v2      Because the *LORD *Most High is wonderful.
     (He is) the Great King of all the earth.

v3      He won the fight against peoples (that were our enemies).
     He put their soldiers under our feet.

v4      He chose for us the place where we live.
     Jacob, that he loved, is very happy with it.   *SELAH

v5      God has gone up with a great noise.
     The *LORD (has gone up) with the sound of a *shofar.

v6      Sing *praises to God, sing *praises!
     Sing *praises to our king, sing *praises!

v7      Because God is the King of the whole earth.
     Sing (to him) a *maskil.

v8      God is ruling over the *nations.
     God is sitting on his *holy *throne.

v9      People that want to be his servants
       have joined the people that belong to Abraham’s God.
     The people that rule the earth belong to God.
     (They lifted God up) very high.


The Hebrew word for this is zamar, from which we get our word "psalm". Remember, we pronounce "psalm" as "sarm". We pronounce "zamar" as "sarmar". So, psalm means *praise!

What Psalm 47 means

Korah is after Psalm 43 in this set of psalms and *SELAH is in What Psalm 46 means, verses 1-3. The other two Hebrew words in this translation are "*shofar" and "*maskil". A *shofar was something that made music. We would call it a "*musical instrument". It made a loud noise that told soldiers that it was time to fight. In verse 5 servants of God, called *priests, blew the *shofars. It was a way of giving God *praises. The Jews called some of the psalms "*maskils". Psalms 42 and 44 are examples. We are not sure what the word means. We think that it means that it teaches us something important.

The important verse in this psalm is verse 5. It says, "God has gone up". Where has he gone to? Where did he go up from? To understand, we must go back to Psalm 46. There, we said that God saved Jerusalem from an enemy, perhaps Assyria. To do this, the Jews believed that God came down from *heaven, to Jerusalem. *Heaven is where God lives. We do not know where it is. After God had beaten the enemy, he went back up to *heaven. So, "God has gone up" means that he has gone up from Jerusalem, back into *heaven. It was the people who made the great noise. They were so happy that God had saved them that they shouted and sang. They also made a noise by *clapping their hands together. Today we call this "applause".

Verse 9 is interesting. It tells us that people who are not Jews have joined with the Jews. Together, they *praise and *worship God. *Worship means that they love God, and so they want to obey him. It also means that they are a bit afraid of God. Some people show this by getting down on their knees in front of God. We call this "kneeling". It does not matter who we are, we can all *worship God. We only have to "want to be his servants".

For centuries, Christians have sung this psalm on Ascension Day. That is the day when Christians remember Jesus going up to *heaven. Jesus did what God did in the psalm. He came down to the earth, he saved us from our enemy, and he went back up after he had finished his work. Our enemy is not Assyria, but death. If we believe in Jesus, we will live with Jesus *for ever when we leave this earth. That is why Christians love Psalm 47:6.

Psalm 48

        (This is) a song.
   (It is) a psalm for the (music) leader.

v1      The *LORD is great. He really is worth our *praise.
     His *holy mountain is in the city of our God.

v2      Mount Zion is in a beautiful place,
       and it makes the whole world very happy.
     It is the city of the Great King.
     (It is also called) the High Place of Zaphon.

v3      God was in its *defences and he made them very safe.

v4      (This was) when we saw the kings meeting each other.
     They crossed (into our country) together.

v5      (Then) they saw (something) that really surprised them.
     It made them very frightened (so that) they hurried away!

v6      They were so afraid that they felt pain
       *like a woman having a baby.

v7      It was *like the east wind that destroys great ships,
       (*like those from) Tarshish.

v8      We have seen in the city of the *LORD of Everything
       that it was just as people told us.
     (They told us that) God would keep the city of our God
       safe *for ever!     *SELAH

v9      When we are inside your *temple, God, we think of your kind love.

v10    Your name reaches to the ends of the world
       so that (people) give you *praise.
     Your right hand is full of the good things that you do.

v11    Because of the things that you decide to do:
        · Mount Zion will be very happy
        · the daughters of Judah will *praise you.

v12    Walk all round Zion, go to every side of it.
     Count the *towers,

v13    think about its strong buildings and make a note of its *defences.
     Then you may describe it to your children.

v14    For this God is our God *for ever and ever.
     He will be our guide until we die.

 What Psalm 48 means

Verses 1 – 2: The *holy mountain is Mount Zion, where they built the *temple. But, in this psalm, the *holy mountain is all the city of Jerusalem. They had built it on the edge of high land, so when you came to it, it looked beautiful. The High Place of Zaphar was where all old religions thought that their god came to the earth. The *psalmist is saying that there is only one Zaphar, and only one God: Jerusalem is the real Zaphar, and the *LORD is the real God.

Verses 3 – 8: The kings in verse 4 were the leaders of the Assyrian army. (Look at The Story of Psalms 46, 47 and 48 again.) They attacked Jerusalem, but God kept his city safe, and the people that were in it. The kings saw something that frightened them away. We do not know what it was. Perhaps it was the 185 000 dead bodies! God did this just as easily as he could send a wind to destroy a ship! Tarshish was a place in Spain that had the biggest ships in the world at that time. The people living in Jerusalem saw that what they had heard was true: God will keep his people safe! But they must believe in him, obey him and love him. Later, when the Jews did not do these things, God did not keep their city safe.

Verses 9 – 13: After the war was over, the *psalmist tells the people to remember what happened. They were to look at all the places that God had made safe. Then they could tell their children what had happened, and the places where it had happened. This would help their children to believe, obey and love God also. The Bible teaches us that it is important to tell our children what God has done for us.

Verse 14: "God will be our guide until we die" means that he will lead if we will follow him. "*for ever and ever" means "always". After we die, we will be with God if we believe, obey and love him.

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