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Mizmor 048 - The City of Glory

(א) שִׁיר מִזְמוֹר לִבְנֵי קֹרַח: (ב) גָּדוֹל ה' וּמְהֻלָּל מְאֹד, בְּעִיר אֱלֹקֵינוּ הַר קָדְשׁוֹ:
(1) [This] song is a mizmor by the sons of Korach. (2) Great is Hashem and [He is] most acclaimed in the city of our G-d, His holy mountain.
NOTE: For a PDF of this mizmor, please click here. This will enable you to print out the entire text of the article. [Rev 6]
Key Concepts of Mizmor 048 - The City of Glory
The mizmor is set in the time of Mashiach after the enemies of the Jewish people have been defeated in a cataclysmic war known as the War of Gog and Magog. The mizmor describes the grandeur of Yerushalayim, the holy city, which has now been rebuilt. At last this glorious city is fulfilling its destiny as an eternal testimony to the presence of Hashem in our world.
Navigating Tehillim. Another aspect of the celebration following the end of the war of Gog and Magog is given in Mizmor 047 (The Shofar is Calling). That mizmor emphasizes the recognition by the nations of the world of their debt of gratitude to the Jewish people for carrying the torch of devotion to the One G-d throughout the centuries.
Exploring the Mizmor
PART 1. THE HOLY CITY. The singer begins the mizmor with praises to Hashem for having established the focal point of His earthly presence in this beautiful and holy city.
(א) שִׁיר מִזְמוֹר לִבְנֵי קֹרַח: (ב) גָּדוֹל ה' וּמְהֻלָּל מְאֹד, בְּעִיר אֱלֹקֵינוּ הַר קָדְשׁוֹ: (ג) יְפֵה נוֹף מְשׂוֹשׂ כָּל הָאָרֶץ, הַר צִיּוֹן יַרְכְּתֵי צָפוֹן קִרְיַת מֶלֶךְ רָב: (ד) אֱלֹקִים בְּאַרְמְנוֹתֶיהָ נוֹדַע לְמִשְׂגָּב:
(1) [This] song is a mizmor by the sons of Korach. (2) Great is Hashem and [He is] most acclaimed in the city of our G-d, His holy mountain, (3) beautiful in its setting, the joy of all the land. Har Tzion [is on] the northern side of the City of [David], the great king. (4) G-d is in its citadels. [He is] known as [their] Stronghold.
PART 2. THE ATTACK. The singer celebrates the defeat of the wicked nations that sought to destroy Yerushalayim in the War of Gog and Magog.
(ה) כִּי הִנֵּה הַמְּלָכִים נוֹעֲדוּ, עָבְרוּ יַחְדָּו: (ו) הֵמָּה רָאוּ כֵּן תָּמָהוּ, נִבְהֲלוּ נֶחְפָּזוּ: (ז) רְעָדָה אֲחָזָתַם שָׁם, חִיל כַּיּוֹלֵדָה: (ח) בְּרוּחַ קָדִים תְּשַׁבֵּר אֳנִיּוֹת תַּרְשִׁישׁ: (ט) כַּאֲשֶׁר שָׁמַעְנוּ כֵּן רָאִינוּ, בְּעִיר ה' צְבָא־וֹת בְּעִיר אֱלֹקֵינוּ אֱלֹקִים, יְכוֹנְנֶהָ עַד עוֹלָם סֶלָה:
(5) For behold, the enemy kings joined forces and advanced together [against Yerushalayim]. (6) [But when] they saw [it], they were overcome by terror; they fled in panic. (7) Trembling gripped them there, convulsions like a woman giving birth. (8) [It was like the] east wind [with which] You smashed the ships of Tarshish. (9) Just as we heard, so did we see in the city of Hashem, Master of Legions, in the city of our G-d. May He, the G-d of all men, preserve it continually and forever, Selah!
PART 3. OUR GRATITUDE. Speaking for the Jewish people the singer turns directly to Hashem, declaring our devotion to Him and our gratitude for having defended Yerushalyim.
(י) דִּמִּינוּ אֱלֹקִים חַסְדֶּךָ בְּקֶרֶב הֵיכָלֶךָ: (יא) כְּשִׁמְךָ אֱלֹקִים כֵּן תְּהִלָּתְךָ עַל קַצְוֵי אֶרֶץ, צֶדֶק מָלְאָה יְמִינֶךָ: (יב) יִשְׂמַח הַר צִיּוֹן, תָּגֵלְנָה בְּנוֹת יְהוּדָה, לְמַעַן מִשְׁפָּטֶיךָ:
(10) We hoped, O G-d, for Your kindness in the midst of Your Sanctuary. (11) Just as Your Name is Elokim, so is Your praise to the ends of the earth. Righteous justice fills Your right hand. (12) Har Tzion rejoices and the ‘daughters’ of Yehudah (surrounding towns), are delighted because of Your judgments.
PART 4. THE CITY OF GRANDEUR. The singer concludes the mizmor by calling upon the Jewish people to admire the grandeur of Yerushalayim and to draw from it an affirmation of their eternal bond with Hashem.
(יג) סֹבּוּ צִיּוֹן וְהַקִּיפוּהָ, סִפְרוּ מִגְדָּלֶיהָ: (יד) שִׁיתוּ לִבְּכֶם לְחֵילָה, פַּסְּגוּ אַרְמְנוֹתֶיהָ לְמַעַן תְּסַפְּרוּ לְדוֹר אַחֲרוֹן: (טו) כִּי זֶה אֱלֹקִים אֱלֹקֵינוּ עוֹלָם וָעֶד, הוּא יְנַהֲגֵנוּ עַל מוּת:
(13) Walk around Tzion and encircle her. Count her towers. (14) Mark well in your hearts her ramparts. Admire the tops of her towers, that you may recount [her grandeur] to the very last generation. (15) This is G-d, our G-d, forever and ever, He will guide us beyond death.
Learning the Mizmor
PART 1. THE HOLY CITY.
(א) שִׁיר מִזְמוֹר לִבְנֵי קֹרַח:
This song is a mizmor — שִׁיר מִזְמוֹר , which was originally composed by the sons of Korach  לִבְנֵי קֹרַח  through the power of nevuah (prophecy) and subsequently incorporated by David into the Book of Tehillim.
(ב) גָּדוֹל ה‘ וּמְהֻלָּל מְאֹד 
בְּעִיר אֱלֹקֵינוּ הַר קָדְשׁוֹ:
Yerushalayim is the place where the greatness of Hashem as Master of the universe is most clearly perceived. It is there that the intensity of His presence is most felt and so it is there that Hashem is seen as truly great — גָּדוֹל ה‘ . Indeed, He is most acclaimed  וּמְהֻלָּל מְאֹד  in the city of our G-d  בְּעִיר אֱלֹקֵינוּ , the location of His holy mountain  הַר קָדְשׁוֹ , where the Bais Hamikdash stands and where the Shechinah resides.
(ג) יְפֵה נוֹף מְשׂוֹשׂ כָּל הָאָרֶץ
Yerushalayim is perfectly beautiful in its setting — יְפֵה נוֹף , surrounded by scenic mountains. It is the joy of all the land  מְשׂוֹשׂ כָּל הָאָרֶץ  of Eretz Yisrael because it is the location of the Beis Hamikdash, which is the focal point for joyful pilgrimages on the major festivals three times a year.
הַר צִיּוֹן יַרְכְּתֵי צָפוֹן
קִרְיַת מֶלֶךְ רָב:
Yerushalayim is the city known by the name of the holy mountain, Har Tzion  הַר צִיּוֹן  on its northern side  יַרְכְּתֵי צָפוֹן , which is where David was anointed as king over the city and the people. Thus, Yerushalayim is also known as the City of David, the Great King  קִרְיַת מֶלֶךְ רָב .
(ד) אֱלֹקִים בְּאַרְמְנוֹתֶיהָ 
נוֹדַע לְמִשְׂגָּב:
Yerushalayim is protected by the presence of G-d in its citadels — אֱלֹקִים בְּאַרְמְנוֹתֶיהָ  of Torah and government. Hashem is known  נוֹדַע  to all its inhabitants as their Stronghold — לְמִשְׂגָּב .
PART 2. THE ATTACK.
(ה) כִּי הִנֵּה הַמְּלָכִים נוֹעֲדוּ 
עָבְרוּ יַחְדָּו:
For behold — כִּי הִנֵּה  in the war of Gog and Magog the enemy kings joined forces — הַמְּלָכִים נוֹעֲדוּ  and advanced together — עָבְרוּ יַחְדָּו  against Yerushalayim.
(ו) הֵמָּה רָאוּ כֵּן תָּמָהוּ 
נִבְהֲלוּ נֶחְפָּזוּ:
But when they saw  הֵמָּה רָאוּ  the holy city they were suddenly startled — כֵּן תָּמָהוּ , they were overcome by terror — נִבְהֲלוּ  and they fled in panic — נֶחְפָּזוּ .
(ז) רְעָדָה אֲחָזָתַם שָׁם 
חִיל כַּיּוֹלֵדָה:
But they were unable to escape because trembling gripped them there — רְעָדָה אֲחָזָתַם שָׁם ; those mighty warriors lost all their strength and were seized with convulsions like a woman giving birth  חִיל כַּיּוֹלֵדָה .
(ח) בְּרוּחַ קָדִים 
תְּשַׁבֵּר אֳנִיּוֹת תַּרְשִׁישׁ:
They were stopped as though they had been struck by a catastrophic east wind  בְּרוּחַ קָדִים , such as the one with which You, Hashem, smashed the merchant ships from the great shipping port of Tarshish — תְּשַׁבֵּר אֳנִיּוֹת תַּרְשִׁישׁ .
Tarshish was an African seaport associated with Tzur (Lebanon). A fleet of Tarshish was destroyed in the time of Yehoshafat. (See I Melachim 22:49.)”
(ט) כַּאֲשֶׁר שָׁמַעְנוּ 
כֵּן רָאִינוּ בְּעִיר ה‘ צְבָא־וֹת
Just as we heard — כַּאֲשֶׁר שָׁמַעְנוּ  from our nevi’im that the enemy would be destroyed in the war of Gog and Magog, so did we see — כֵּן רָאִינוּ  it actually happen in the city of Hashem, Who is the Master of all Legions — בְּעִיר ה‘ צְבָא־וֹת . He is not only the Master of the Heavenly legions of angels; He is also the master of all earthly armies. He brought the legions of the enemy to Yerushalayim and vanquished them there.
בְּעִיר אֱלֹקֵינוּ 
אֱלֹקִים יְכוֹנְנֶהָ עַד עוֹלָם סֶלָה:
We saw His might displayed as the great Judge, in the city of our G-d — בְּעִיר אֱלֹקֵינוּ , may He, Who is the G-d of all men, preserve it continually and forever, Selah  אֱלֹקִים יְכוֹנְנֶהָ עַד עוֹלָם סֶלָה !
PART 3. OUR GRATITUDE.
(י) דִּמִּינוּ אֱלֹקִים חַסְדֶּךָ 
בְּקֶרֶב הֵיכָלֶךָ:
Hashem, when the nations warred against us we did not abandon our trust in You. We hoped and trusted, O G-d — דִּמִּינוּ אֱלֹקִים  that Your kindness — חַסְדֶּךָ would save us. We continued to hope for the glory that has now appeared in the midst of Your Sanctuary — בְּקֶרֶב הֵיכָלֶךָ .
(יא) כְּשִׁמְךָ אֱלֹקִים כֵּן תְּהִלָּתְךָ 
עַל קַצְוֵי אֶרֶץ צֶדֶק מָלְאָה יְמִינֶךָ:
Just as Your Name, Elokim — כְּשִׁמְךָ אֱלֹקִים , describes the stern justice that you meted out to the enemies of Yerushalayim, so is Your praise — כֵּן תְּהִלָּתְךָ  on everyone’s lips to the ends of the earth — עַל קַצְוֵי אֶרֶץ , now that the world recognizes that righteous justice fills Your right hand — צֶדֶק מָלְאָה יְמִינֶךָ .
(יב) יִשְׂמַח הַר צִיּוֹן 
תָּגֵלְנָה בְּנוֹת יְהוּדָה לְמַעַן מִשְׁפָּטֶיךָ:
The people of Har Tzion are rejoicing — יִשְׂמַח הַר צִיּוֹן  and the people of the surrounding towns, which are known as the ‘daughters’ of Yehudah, are delighted  תָּגֵלְנָה בְּנוֹת יְהוּדָה , because of Your judgments — לְמַעַן מִשְׁפָּטֶיךָ that You executed against the wicked.
PART 4. THE CITY OF GRANDEUR.
(יג) סֹבּוּ צִיּוֹן וְהַקִּיפוּהָ 
סִפְרוּ מִגְדָּלֶיהָ:
Walk around the city of Tzion — סֹבּוּ צִיּוֹן  and circle her  וְהַקִּיפוּהָ . See the beauty of her structures and count her towers — סִפְרוּ מִגְדָּלֶיהָ  to be impressed by their glory.
(יד) שִׁיתוּ לִבְּכֶם לְחֵילָה 
פַּסְּגוּ אַרְמְנוֹתֶיהָ 
לְמַעַן תְּסַפְּרוּ לְדוֹר אַחֲרוֹן:
Mark well in your hearts the impressive architecture of her ramparts — שִׁיתוּ לִבְּכֶם לְחֵילָה . Admire the view from the tops of her towers — פַּסְּגוּ אַרְמְנוֹתֶיהָ , that you may recount — לְמַעַן תְּסַפְּרוּ  her grandeur and her beauty from generation to generation, down to the very last generation — לְדוֹר אַחֲרוֹן . This will inspire future generations to recognize the glory of Hashem and to keep coming back to be inspired by the fabled city of Yerushalayim.
(טו) כִּי זֶה אֱלֹקִים אֱלֹקֵינוּ עוֹלָם וָעֶד 
הוּא יְנַהֲגֵנוּ עַל־מוּת:
For it is especially in this city that we perceive the presence of Hashem. It is here that we feel this is G-d, our G-d — כִּי זֶה אֱלֹקִים אֱלֹקֵינוּ , forever and ever — עוֹלָם וָעֶד , He will guide us  הוּא יְנַהֲגֵנוּ  eternally beyond death — עַל־מוּת .
Living the Mizmor
Listed below are some of the lessons that you can draw from this mizmor, as well as some of the thoughts you might have in mind when you say the words of the mizmor as a tefillah, expressing your devotion to Hashem.
Tehillos for Life - Contemplation of Hashem.
[48:2] PRAISED. – גָּדוֹל ה' וּמְהֻלָּל מְאֹד, בְּעִיר אֱלֹקֵינוּ הַר קָדְשׁוֹ – “Great is Hashem and [He is] most acclaimed in the city of our G-d, His holy mountain.” Yerushalayim is the place where the greatness of Hashem as Master of the universe is most clearly perceived. It is there that the intensity of His presence is most felt and so it is there that Hashem is seen as truly great.
[48:3] – יְפֵה נוֹף מְשׂוֹשׂ כָּל הָאָרֶץ – “[Yerushalayim is] beautiful in its setting, the joy of all the land.
[48:8] DISPLAY OF POWER. – בְּרוּחַ קָדִים תְּשַׁבֵּר אֳנִיּוֹת תַּרְשִׁישׁ – “[It was like the] east wind [with which] You smashed the ships of Tarshish.” Hashem will stop the attackers of Yerushalayim as though they had been struck by a catastrophic east wind.
[48:9] – כַּאֲשֶׁר שָׁמַעְנוּ כֵּן רָאִינוּ, בְּעִיר ה' צְבָא־וֹת בְּעִיר אֱלֹקֵינוּ אֱלֹקִים – “Just as we heard, so did we see in the city of Hashem, Master of Legions, in the city of our G-d.
[48:10] KINDNESS. – דִּמִּינוּ אֱלֹקִים חַסְדֶּךָ בְּקֶרֶב הֵיכָלֶךָ – “We hoped, O G-d, for Your kindness in the midst of Your Sanctuary.” We continue to have bitachon that in Hashem’s kindness He will protect us.
[48:11] STERN JUSTICE. – כְּשִׁמְךָ אֱלֹקִים כֵּן תְּהִלָּתְךָ עַל קַצְוֵי אֶרֶץ – “Just as Your Name is Elokim, so is Your praise to the ends of the earth.” He metes out stern justice to the enemies of Yerushalayim.
[48:11] RIGHTEOUS JUSTICE. – צֶדֶק מָלְאָה יְמִינֶךָ – “Righteous justice fills Your right hand.” He defends and protects Yerushalayim.
Tehillos for Life - Public Acclaim.
[48:12] JOY. – יִשְׂמַח הַר צִיּוֹן, תָּגֵלְנָה בְּנוֹת יְהוּדָה, לְמַעַן מִשְׁפָּטֶיךָ – “Har Tzion rejoices and the ‘daughters’ of Yehudah (surrounding towns), are delighted because of Your judgments.” The people of Yerushalayim express their gratitude.
[48:15] DEVOTION. – כִּי זֶה אֱלֹקִים אֱלֹקֵינוּ עוֹלָם וָעֶד, הוּא יְנַהֲגֵנוּ עַל מוּת – “This is G-d, our G-d, forever and ever, He will guide us beyond death.” Our devotion to Hashem is felt most intensely in Yerushalayim.
Sources
The primary sources used in the interpretation of the verses of this mizmor are listed below.
א - רד"ק, בן־רמוך, המאירי, ספורנו, אבן יחייא, רשר"ה
ב - רש"י, בן־רמוך, אבן יחייא,
ג - אבן עזרא, רד"ק, בן־רמוך, רשר"ה, נר לרגלי
ד - רש"י, אבן עזרא, בן־רמוך, ספורנו
ה - רד"ק, מצודות, רשר"ה
ו - אבן עזרא, רשר"ה
ז - רד"ק, אבן יחייא, נר לרגלי
ח - רש"י, אבן עזרא, רד"ק
ט - רש"י, רד"ק, בן־רמוך
י - המאירי, אבן יחייא, נר לרגלי, מאיר טוב
יא - רד"ק, מצודות, מלבי"ם,
יב - רש"י, רד"ק
יג - אבן עזרא, מצודות,
יד - רש"י, רד"ק, המאירי, בן־רמוך
טו - רש"י, רד"ק, המאירי, בן־רמוך, רשר"ה