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Psalm 46: Confidence for Zion

For Week 6, OT226 - Psalms, Melbourne School of Theology, 2014.

Andrew Brown

on 28 August 2017

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Transcript of Psalm 46: Confidence for Zion

Psalm 46: Confidence for Zion
Theology of Psalm 46
What does God do for his people?
What does God do for his city?
What was God's 'city' when the psalm was being heard in Israel?
What happened to Jerusalem later in Judah's history?
How does that affect the teaching of this psalm?
What is the city of God now?
What might the psalm teach about that city?
Themes of Psalm 46
What's the major point of each section of the psalm?
Psalm 46 as Literature
Biographical: relates to David, or psalmist, or audience
Historical: relates to original setting and events of time
Literary: relates to the use of language and to genre
Structural: relates to natural order of psalm content
Thematic: relates to broader biblical/psalms themes
Theological: concerns truth about God
Puzzling questions
Points of impact
Common features of Book II psalms found here:
Favours the use of 'Elohim' for God more than Yahweh.
Is one of the psalms of the Sons of Korah
Mentions the Director of Music

Other features:
Is called a song (
Possibly intended to have a girls' part ("according to Alamoth" in title)

other praise psalms celebrating God's care for Zion
book I
book II
book V
book III
book IV
Sea, waters/river, streams
Some Key Terms in Psalm 46
NIV Psalm 46:1 For the director of music. Of the Sons of Korah. According to alamoth. A song.
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging

4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
7 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.

8 Come and see what the LORD has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields with fire.
10 [He says,] "Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."
11 The LORD Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
La Palma, Canary Islands
Source: Wikimedia Commons File: The_top_of_the_Caldera_de_Taburiente_3_(5492205519).jpg
Scene of the next world catastrophe?
Or subject of a conspiracy beat-up?
How is the structure of Psalm 46 like the structure of a modern song?
Kingship psalms like Psalm 2 & 110 share a focus on Zion.
Psalms about Judah's restoration tend to mention Zion.
Psalm 46,
History & Geography
Sounds like a Zion or Jerusalem-based psalm, but...
Never actually mentions either name
Talks about the 'city of God' in vv. 4-6.
Mentions the 'God of Jacob', which could be a northern kingdom (Israel) rather than southern kingdom (Judah) reference.
The city of God here has a 'river' and 'streams' (v. 4).
Jerusalem's most reliable water source was...? Could this qualify as a river?
If not, some suggest that a northern city, perhaps on the Jordan (e.g. Dan) was the 'city of God' originally in mind.
Either way, Jerusalem would have jumped to mind for most hearers of this psalm.
If the psalmist can celebrate the LORD's protection of this city, when might this psalm have been sung?
What are some key words in the psalm?
Psalms of the Korah clan
Outline of Psalm 46
vv. 1-3
vv. 4-7
vv. 8-11
What are the major themes in this psalm?
Importance of Psalm 46 in Christian History
A book called The City of God...
- who wrote it?
A hymn called A Mighty Fortress...
- who wrote it?
Full transcript