Explication of Psalm 46

The name of Psalm 46 is known as “To the Chief Musician, for the Sons of Korah, and a Song Upon Almoth.” It has also been referred to as Luther’s Psalm. The author of this Psalm doesn’t associate all of its credit to David or that it is referring his time period. However, the majority of the psalms associated with the “Sons of Korah” were written after his time.

Towards the end of the eighth century the Assyrians began to take over the Kingdom of Judah. This caused a majority of the Judean people to be sent out to Assyria, but the Lord delivered Jerusalem form the Assyrian army. Psalms 46-48 is considered a trilogy of composed songs of praise for the Lord after he delivered Jerusalem from being under the control of the Assyrians.

1God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.

2 Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea”

In any sense of trouble, the people of God will look to him as a symbol of “refuge” known as a safe place to turn in times of danger. The use of the word “strength” is used to indicate that should they be weak that the strength of God should be enough assurance to make them feel safe and that through him they are strong.


In verse two, “though the earth is removed” is a literal sense that if the earth should change either in place or structure that God would continue to watch over them. “And though the mountains are carried into the middle of the sea” it is understood that through any change or threat to the world they would place their faith in God.

3 Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling.

4 There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.

Verse three gives a metaphoric example of the waters of the sea. The violent ocean during a storm illustrates the excitement that occurs in the world. The “river” in verse four contrasts with the ocean to present a sense of calmness. If the earth was to turn into commotion, they would stay calm. Of course the “city of God” is referring to Jerusalem, which was where God was worshipped.

jeremiah morelli ocean storm

5 God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.

6 The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved; 
He uttered His voice, the earth melted.

7 The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge.

In verse 5, word “her” is going back talking about the city of Jerusalem. The presence of God is in the city there to help them. “God shall help her” – In the sign of danger he will intervene, in this instance Jerusalem was being taken over by the Assyrian army. This expresses how much confidence the people had for the city during this time.“Just at the break of dawn”-, as we already understand, the word dawn is known as the early morning. This is a possible allusion of the angel of death that came to smite the Assyrian camp overnight and when they woke up in the morning they were all dead. In verse 6, the raging of the heathens is referring to the war declared on Jerusalem by the Assyrians. The uttering of God’s voice that melted the earth shows God’s power. The Earth had become calm again and the control of the Assyrians had stopped.


8 Come, behold the works of the Lord,
Who has made desolations in the earth.

9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
 He burns the chariot in the fire.

The word “desolates” means to ruin, in verse 8 it possibly refers to the power God has when he sent the angel to smite Sennacherib’s camp.

“He makes wars cease to the end of the earth” – At this time, the Assyrian army had the most power, invading and conquering kingdoms on their journey. Therefore, the overthrow of their army before it could takeover the control of India and Egypt would keep nations from fighting and there could be peace.


10 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 of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge.

Verses 10 and 11 are probably the most famous verses of this psalm. The phrase to “be still” is used in the sense that they leave their matters with God because he is able to protect his people from all things.


The line “I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth” recognize nations that maybe did not believe in him will recognize his works but the world will know that it was he that rescued the Hebrews. In conclusion, “the lord of hosts is with us”, makes it clear that in the invasion of Sennacherib, God was with them. He had saved the city and overthrew the most powerful army during that time.

Even though it isn’t certain what was occurring when this psalm was written, it is apparent that there was a sense of trouble going on around this time. Therefore, it is credited to wars throughout the city of Israel.

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