Main point summary
The glorious city of Zion, the New Jerusalem, is founded, established, and loved by God Himself, and her joyful citizens are the unlikeliest of people.
On m the holy mount n stands the city he founded;
His a foundation is in the holy mountains.
Zion is the city God founded on the holy mountains.
His foundation is in the holy mountains.
the Lord o loves the gates of Zion
The Lord a loves the gates of Zion
It is the place YHWH loves the most,
The LORD loveth the gates of Zion
more than all the dwelling places of Jacob.
More than all the other dwelling places of Jacob.
even more than all the other places throughout the Promised Land of Israel.
more than all the dwellings of Jacob.
p Glorious things of you are spoken , O q city of God. Selah
a Glorious things are spoken of you, O b city of God. 1 Selah .
Wonderful, glorious accolades are given to this wonderful city of God. Selah.
Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God. Selah .
Among those who r know me I mention s Rahab and Babylon;
“I shall mention 1 a Rahab and Babylon 2 among those who know Me;
I, God, will include the lands of Egypt Babylon when I speak of those who know me;
I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon to them that know me:
behold , Philistia and Tyre, with t Cush 1 —
Behold , Philistia and b Tyre with 3 c Ethiopia:
As well as the lands of Philistia, Tyre, and Ethiopia:
behold Philistia, and Tyre, with Ethiopia;
“This one was born there ,” they say .
‘This one was born there.’”
Of them it is said, "They were born there."
this man was born there.
And of Zion it shall be said ,
But of Zion it shall be said ,
It will be said of Zion/Jerusalem, God beloved city that
And of Zion it shall be said,
“This one and that one were born in her” ;
“This one and that one were born in her”;
"This one over here and that one over there were born in her."
This and that man was born in her:
for the Most High himself will u establish her.
And the Most High Himself will a establish her.
God Himself, the Most High God, will establish his beloved city forever. (Psa 48:8)
and the highest himself shall establish her.
The Lord records
The Lord will count
YHWH, the Covenant God, counts and records her citizens
The LORD shall count,
as he v registers the peoples,
when He a registers the peoples,
when he registers the people who belong to her.
when he writeth up the people,
“This one was born there. ” Selah
“This one was born there.” Selah .
"This one was born in Zion." Selah
that this man was born there. Selah .
w Singers and x dancers alike say ,
Then those who a sing as well as those who 1 b play the flutes shall say ,
Singers, dancers, and musicians all rejoice and say,
As well the singers as the players on instruments shall be there:
“All my y springs are in you.”
“All my c springs of joy are in you.”
"You are the source of our joy, hope, salvation--everything! All our springs are in you."
all my springs are in thee.
Who is saying the glorious things? God? what are the glorious things? that "its citizens are worldwide, they know the Lord and possess a birthright to the city. Zion is thus the consummation of the purposes of God." (Motyer) Zion’s splendour will be its King and its roll of citizens. (Kidner) Zion is glorious because God is there; and God is there because he loves the place.
"Rahab, a nickname for Egypt (Is. 30:7). Egypt and Babylon, the two great oppressors; Philistia and Tyre, the contrasting warlike and commercial powers of the world; Cush, earth’s remotest bounds." J. A. Motyer, “The Psalms,” in New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition, ed. D. A. Carson et al., 4th ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), 541.
Zion is associated with “the fountain of life” (cf. Jer 2:13), of “salvation” (Isa 12:3), “a river whose streams make glad the city of God” (Ps 46:4; cf. Ezek 47; Rev 22:1–5). Willem A. VanGemeren, “Psalms,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, vol. 5 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1991), 564.
We need to ask why he loves the gates of Zion more than all the rest of Israel. First, he loves Israel and chose them out of all the nations. He gave his people a special land Within that land is Zion/Jerusalem, which God loves the most It is not special because of it own attributes but because God loves it. So, why? It is the city he founded and established It is where God meets with his people. It is where God's people gather to worship. It is where God's king rules and reigns.
See Gal 4:26 (Jerusalem above is our mother...then quotes from Isa 54:1)
"the God who has established Zion in the past (v. 1) will continue to establish her (v. 5)" (VanGemeren) Psa 48:8
this could also be CSV - According to the NASB rendering "but" there is a concession of the natural birth in one of these nations followed by a truth about their birth and citizenship in the holy city
What makes the city of God so special? 1. Its founder: God (1-3) > God's city, Zion, is founded is in/on the holy mountains ( Ps 48:1 ; Isa 28:16 ) - like earth which he founded forever and like the high heavens, God built his sanctuary in Zion where he will dwell with his people ( Ps 78:67-69 ) >He loves it most of all >this is what makes the city so special because God loves it and he is there in it >glorious things are spoken of it >Zion is glorious because God is there; and God is there because he loves the place. (Psa 132:13-14) 2. Its citizens (4-6) >Who they were -former enemies -Rahab/Egypt - the first oppressor of Israel (Rahab a mythological name for Egypt -Isa 30:7) (Exodus) (see Isaiah 19:21-25) -Babylon - a nation who took Israel captive and oppressed them (Daniel and 3 Hebrew boys) -Philistia - a long time enemy of Israel (David and Goliath) -Tyre - a rich nation that contributed materials to building of temple (David and Solomon) -Cush/Ethiopia - a land on the outskirts of civilization; symbolic of remote distant nations >Who they've become -outsiders become insiders; pagans become saints -though their physical heritage belongs to these nations, their spiritual heritage belongs to Zion; not just being in Zion but belonging to her -they aren't 2nd class citizens but first class by birth (See Paul in Acts 22:28) >Why this has happened -b/c they know God (4a) -b/c God is establishing his city himself (5c) (by recording and registering???) -b/c God himself affirms it ( not just their own claim to belong) (6) -- YHWH keeps a record of the people whom he registers as citizens of Zion. He says, "This one was born there." >What they are doing: Singers and dancers/flute players say, "All my springs are in you." (7) Explanation : This "was a psalm first sung when the assembly of the people of God was not visibly glorious" Throughout the NT and until today it is more fully realized though not completely. >See Gal 4:26 - Paul recognizes that for those in Christ "Jerusalem above...is our mother" This city Zion, is the New Jerusalem spoken of in Revelation Application : Where were you born? Have you been born again in Zion? Are you a part of God’s city—his beloved people? J esus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God…Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’” (John 3:3,5-7) 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12-13) Is your identity in this city or in God’s city? Your hope? Joy? Desire? If this world is not our home, then let us with the saints of past ages acknowledge that we are strangers and exiles on the earth. “ 14 For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. 15 If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. 16 But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city.” (Heb 11:13-16) Are all my “springs” in God or somewhere else? 1 Glorious things of thee are spoken, Zion, city of our God; he whose word cannot be broken formed thee for his own abode; on the Rock of Ages founded, what can shake thy sure repose? With salvation's walls surrounded, thou may'st smile at all thy foes. 2 See the streams of living waters, springing from eternal love, well supply thy sons and daughters, and all fear of want remove; who can faint while such a river ever flows their thirst t'assuage? Grace, which like the Lord, the giver, never fails from age to age. 3 Round each habitation hov'ring, see the cloud and fire appear for a glory and a cov'ring, showing that the Lord is near; thus deriving from their banner light by night and shade by day, safe they feed upon the manna which he gives them when they pray. 4 Savior, if of Zion's city I, thro' grace, a member am, let the world deride or pity, I will glory in thy name; fading is the worldling's pleasure, all his boasted pomp and show; solid joys and lasting treasure none but Zion's children know.