By Levi Clancy for לוי on
Like Psalms 46 and 137, Psalm 48 is a Song of Zion. It unites images of destruction with praise for Jerusalem, though in its own unique way; Psalm 46 describes the earth as seeming to collapse into itself (likely the latter days), while Psalm 48 tells of attacking kings being repelled from Jerusalem by its awe-inspiring sacredness (another nod to the latter days).
1 Great is the Lord and greatly to be praised
in the city of our God.
His holy mountain, 2 beautiful in elevation,
is the joy of all the earth,
Mount Zion, in the far north, the city of the great KIng.
3 Within its citadels God
has shown himself a sure defense.
Jerusalem is the city of our God, the city of the great King, where God is praised and revered. This closeness to God correlates to Jerusalem as the holy mountain, beautiful in elevation, a sacred mountain, with its heavens-reaching Mount Zion (equivalent to the Eastern Hill), that is closer to the divine realm than any other city. The city is protected from chaos and attack because God is a sure defense.
4 Then the kings assembled, they came together.
5As soon as they saw it, they were astounded;
they were in panic, they took to flight;
6trembling took hold of them there,
pains as of a woman in labor
Jerusalem is protected by God due to its closeness with God, as the city where God is adored. Attackers are repulsed, stricken with great pain, and thus flee.