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Psalm 48 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Psalm 48[a]

The Splendor of the Invincible City

A psalm of the Korahites.[b] A song.


Great is the Lord and highly praised
    in the city of our God:
His holy mountain,
    fairest of heights,
    the joy of all the earth,
    Mount Zion, the heights of Zaphon,[c]
    the city of the great king.


God is in its citadel,
    renowned as a stronghold.
See! The kings assembled,
    together they advanced.
[d]When they looked they were astounded;
    terrified, they were put to flight!
Trembling seized them there,
    anguish, like a woman’s labor,
As when the east wind wrecks
    the ships of Tarshish![e]


[f]What we had heard we have now seen
    in the city of the Lord of hosts,
In the city of our God,
    which God establishes forever.
10 We ponder, O God, your mercy
    within your temple
11 Like your name, O God,
    so is your praise to the ends of the earth.
Your right hand is fully victorious.
12     Mount Zion is glad!
The daughters of Judah rejoice
    because of your judgments!


13 Go about Zion, walk all around it,
    note the number of its towers.
14 Consider the ramparts, examine its citadels,
    that you may tell future generations:
15 That this is God,
    our God for ever and ever.[g]
    He will lead us until death.


  1. Psalm 48 A Zion hymn, praising the holy city as the invincible dwelling place of God. Unconquerable, it is an apt symbol of God who has defeated all enemies. After seven epithets describing the city (Ps 48:2–3), the Psalm describes the victory by the Divine Warrior over hostile kings (Ps 48:4–8). The second half proclaims the dominion of the God of Zion over all the earth (Ps 48:9–12) and invites pilgrims to announce that God is eternally invincible like Zion itself (Ps 48:13–14).
  2. 48:1 Korahites: see note on Ps 42:1.
  3. 48:3 The heights of Zaphon: the mountain abode of the Canaanite storm-god Baal in comparable texts. To speak of Zion as if it were Zaphon was to claim for Israel’s God what Canaanites claimed for Baal. Though topographically speaking Zion is only a hill, viewed religiously it towers over other mountains as the home of the supreme God (cf. Ps 68:16–17).
  4. 48:6 When they looked: the kings are stunned by the sight of Zion, touched by divine splendor. The language is that of holy war, in which the enemy panics and flees at the sight of divine glory.
  5. 48:8 The ships of Tarshish: large ships, named after the distant land or port of Tarshish, probably ancient Tartessus in southern Spain, although other identifications have been proposed, cf. Is 2:16; 60:9; Jon 1:3.
  6. 48:9 What we had heard we have now seen: the glorious things that new pilgrims had heard about the holy city—its beauty and awesomeness—they now see with their own eyes. The seeing here contrasts with the seeing of the hostile kings in Ps 48:6.
  7. 48:15 Our God for ever and ever: Israel’s God is like Zion in being eternal and invincible. The holy city is therefore a kind of “sacrament” of God.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Psalm 48 New International Version (NIV)

Psalm 48[a]

A song. A psalm of the Sons of Korah.

Great is the Lord, and most worthy of praise,
    in the city of our God, his holy mountain.

Beautiful in its loftiness,
    the joy of the whole earth,
like the heights of Zaphon[b] is Mount Zion,
    the city of the Great King.
God is in her citadels;
    he has shown himself to be her fortress.

When the kings joined forces,
    when they advanced together,
they saw her and were astounded;
    they fled in terror.
Trembling seized them there,
    pain like that of a woman in labor.
You destroyed them like ships of Tarshish
    shattered by an east wind.

As we have heard,
    so we have seen
in the city of the Lord Almighty,
    in the city of our God:
God makes her secure

Within your temple, O God,
    we meditate on your unfailing love.
10 Like your name, O God,
    your praise reaches to the ends of the earth;
    your right hand is filled with righteousness.
11 Mount Zion rejoices,
    the villages of Judah are glad
    because of your judgments.

12 Walk about Zion, go around her,
    count her towers,
13 consider well her ramparts,
    view her citadels,
that you may tell of them
    to the next generation.

14 For this God is our God for ever and ever;
    he will be our guide even to the end.


  1. Psalm 48:1 In Hebrew texts 48:1-14 is numbered 48:2-15.
  2. Psalm 48:2 Zaphon was the most sacred mountain of the Canaanites.
  3. Psalm 48:8 The Hebrew has Selah (a word of uncertain meaning) here.
New International Version (NIV)

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