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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Psalms 46:4

 

 

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, The holy dwelling places of the Most High.

Adam Clarke Commentary

There is a river, the streams whereof - The Chaldee understands the river, and its streams or divisions, as pointing out various peoples who should be converted to the faith and thus make glad the city of God, Jerusalem by their flowing together to the worship of the true God.

But the river may refer to the vast Medo-Persian army and its divisions: those branches which took Babylon; and, instead of ruining and destroying the poor Jews, preserved them alive, and gave them their liberty; and thus the city of God, and the tabernacle of the Most High, were gladdened.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Psalms 46:4". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/psalms-46.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

There is a river - There is no allusion here to any particular stream or river, but the image is designed to represent a state of peace and calm security in contrast with the rough and troubled ocean. While the ocean rages, and foams, and dashes against the mountains as if it would overturn them, the state of Jerusalem, the city of God, was well represented by a calm and gently-flowing river; a river of full banks, diffusing joy and fertility and beauty wherever it flowed. This image, to represent happiness, abundance, peace, joy, is one that is often employed in the Scriptures. Compare Isaiah 32:2; Isaiah 33:21; Isaiah 41:18; Psalm 1:3; Revelation 22:1; Psalm 36:8. The “idea” here is simply that Jerusalem would be calm and serene amidst all the external agitations in the world - calm as a gently-flowing stream. The streams - the canals - the water-courses of such a river flowing around each dwelling and along each garden, would diffuse happiness and beauty everywhere.

The streams whereof - The allusion here is undoubtedly to the canals, watercourses, or rivulets that were led off from the main stream for the purpose of supplying fountains and watering gardens. Thus the city of Damascus is watered by streams or canals cut from the river Barrady, that flows down from the regions of Anti-Libanus. The greenness - the beauty - the fertility - of Damascus is owing wholly to the waters of the river thus conducted to every house and garden in the city. Compare introduction to Isaiah 17:1-14. So here, the flowing river of divine mercy and goodness is conveyed, as in smaller canals or streams, to each home and heart, producing peace, calmness, joy - while the world around is full of commotion and trouble.

Shall make glad the city of God - Jerusalem, considered as the place where God was worshipped, and where he was supposed especially to dwell: Psalm 48:1.

The holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High - Of the “tent” where the Most High is supposed to abide. The word is applicable to any habitation or dwelling-place; but in the Scriptures it is applied especially to the sacred tent erected by Moses in the wilderness, and ultimately removed to Mount Zion by David, as the divine abode on earth. It is sometimes, also, applied to the temple; and if this psalm was written, as I have supposed, in the time of Hezekiah, it would be applicable to that. Compare Psalm 84:2; Psalm 132:5. The tabernacle and the temple were alike divided into two parts - the holy and the most holy place - and hence the “plural” term is sometimes applied to them. Compare the notes at Hebrews 9:2-3.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Psalms 46:4". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-46.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

GOD'S ASCENDANCY OVER THE ENEMIES OF HIS PEOPLE

"There is a river, the streams whereof make glad the city of God,

The holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High.

God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved:

God will help her, and that right early.

The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved:

He uttered his voice, the earth melted.

Jehovah of hosts is with us;

The God of Jacob is our refuge.

(Selah)"

"There is a river, etc." (Psalms 46:4). The text seems to identify this river as the tabernacles of the Most High, God's dwelling place; but the actual meaning might be, "The river of God's presence and favor,"[12] The tabernacles of the Most High typically represent, "God's favor, like a river, is distributed to all the Church."[13] "It was the river of God's life-giving presence."[14] "This river is the perennial fountain of God's grace."[15]

Yes indeed, these views are acceptable; but there seems also to be a prophecy of that Eternal City of God that cometh down out of heaven, the New Jerusalem, described in the last chapters of Revelation. The River of Life flows out of the throne of God in that City; and the Tree of Life grows on either side of it, the leaves of which are for the healing of the nations.

There is also something else that fits very beautifully into these wonderful verses. From Isaiah 8, we have this:

"Forasmuch as this people have refused the waters of Shiloah that go softly ... now therefore, behold the Lord bringeth upon them the waters of the (Euphrates) River, strong and mighty, even the king of Assyria and all his glory. And it shall come up over all its channels, and go over all its banks; and it shall sweep onward into Judah ... and overflow (Isaiah 8:6-8)."

The waters of Shiloah here are the same as those of the Pool of Siloam in the New Testament. "The spring of Gihon, whose waters Hezekiah brought into Jerusalem by a tunnel (2 Chronicles 32:30) are here used as a symbol of God's refreshing presence."[16] These waters emptied into Siloam from underneath; hence the statement that "they went softly." Isaiah certainly used this humble little river as a symbol of God's government and protection, as contrasted with the terrible waters of the Euphrates at flood stage; and it is likely that the psalmist does the same thing here. This little stream is certainly a river that made glad the city of God, whether or not it was the river that did so.

Delitzsch combined in one paragraph the multiple spiritual intimations of these verses:

"When the city of God is threatened and encompassed by foes, still she shall not hunger and thirst, nor fear and despair; for the river of grace and of God's ordinances and promises flows with its rippling waves through the holy place, where the dwelling-place, or tabernacle, of the Most High is pitched."[17]

"God will help her, and that quite early" (Psalms 46:5). The marginal reference or the last phrase here is, "At the dawn of morning"; and significantly, Isaiah stated that, "When men arose early in the morning, these (the whole army of Sennacherib) were all dead bodies" (Isaiah 37:36). This is a very strong link in the chain of evidence that binds these words to that great deliverance in 701 B.C.

"The nations raged, etc." (Psalms 46:6). "This means that in the past the thing that has regularly happened is that the "heathen have raged," etc.; but God had only to utter his voice, and as a result, men and nations have collapsed before Him. God controls all the raging of the nations and their tumults."[18]

"Jehovah of hosts is with us" (Psalms 46:7). "If God be for us, who can be against us," is the New Testament echo of this confidence. The great security is in God. Just as the coneys, a little animal often mentioned in the Old Testament, are very weak, but occupy impregnable dwelling places in the rocks; just so men also are weak, vulnerable, insecure apart from God; but "in Him," they are secure, safe, invincible, and unconquerable.

"The God of Jacob is our refuge" (Psalms 46:7). According to Kidner, this refrain probably should also have been inserted at the end of Psalms 46:3, thus marking the three divisions of the psalm as a refrain. He also noted that, "The word `refuge' in this refrain, here and in Psalms 46:11, is distinct from the word so rendered in Psalms 46:1. Here it implies inaccessible height; hence the New English Bible rendition, `Our high stronghold'"[19]


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James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Psalms 46:4". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/psalms-46.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

There is a river,.... The allusion is either to the river Kidron, which ran by Jerusalem; or to the waters of Shiloah, which by different courses and branches, ran through the city of Jerusalem, and supplied the several parts of it with water, to the joy and comfort of its inhabitants: but the words are to be understood in a figurative sense, as applicable to Gospel times; and this river either designs the Gospel, the streams of which are its doctrines, which are living waters that went out from Jerusalem, and which publish glad tidings of great joy to all sensible sinners; or the Spirit and his graces, which are compared to a well, and rivers of living water, in the exercise of which the saints have much joy and peace; or else the Lord himself, who is a place of broad rivers and streams to his people, and is both their refreshment and protection; or rather his everlasting love to them is here intended; see Psalm 36:8; The head of this river is the heart of God, his sovereign goodwill and pleasure; the channel through which it runs is Christ Jesus; the rise of it was in eternity, when, like a river that runs underground, it flowed secretly, as it does before the effectual calling; when it breaks up, and appears in large streams, and flows, and so it proceeds running on to all eternity. It is a river that is unfathomable, and cannot be passed over; it has heights and depths, and lengths and breadths, which cannot be fully comprehended: as for the quality of it, it is a pure river, clear as crystal; free of all dissimulation in the heart of God, and clear of all motives and conditions in the creature. Its water is living water; which quickens dead sinners, revives drooping saints, secures from the second death, and gives eternal life; it makes all fruitful about it, or that are planted by it;

the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God; the "streams" of this river are eternal election; the covenant of grace its blessings and promises; the provision and mission of Christ as a Saviour, and redemption by him; justification, pardon, adoption, regeneration, perseverance in grace, and eternal life; called "streams", because they flow from the fountain of divine love; and because of the rapidity, force, and power of the grace of God, in the application of them in conversion, which carries all before it; and because of the abundance, continuance, and freeness of them, and the gratefulness and acceptableness of them to those who see the worth of them, and their interest in them; see Song of Solomon 4:15; and these, when made known and applied, "make glad" the hearts of God's people under a sense of sin and guilt, under divine desertions, the temptations of Satan, and the various afflictions they meet with; for these are intended by "the city of God", as the church is often called, because of his building, and where he dwells, and where the saints are fellow citizens. And the same are signified by

the holy place; being an holy temple to God, consisting of holy persons, such who are sanctified by the Spirit of God, and live holy lives and conversations: and

of the tabernacles of the most High; being the dwelling places of God, Father, Son, and Spirit. All which is a reason why the saints should not fear in the worst of times.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Psalms 46:4". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/psalms-46.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

[There is] a e river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy [place] of the tabernacles of the most High.

(e) The river of Shiloh, which passed through Jerusalem: meaning, though the defence seems small, yet if God has appointed it, it is sufficient.

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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Psalms 46:4". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/psalms-46.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

God‘s favor is denoted by a river (compare Psalm 36:8; Zechariah 14:8; Revelation 22:1).

city of God, the holy place — His earthly residence, Jerusalem and the temple (compare Psalm 2:6; Psalm 3:4; Psalm 20:2; Psalm 48:2, etc.). God‘s favor, like a river whose waters are conducted in channels, is distributed to all parts of His Church.

most High — denoting His supremacy (Psalm 17:2).


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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 46:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/psalms-46.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.

A river — This may design the gracious presence, and blessing of the Lord, which is frequently described under the name of waters.

Make glad — Shall not barely preserve it from danger, but give great occasion for rejoicing and thanksgiving.

The city — Jerusalem, the place where God's holy tabernacle is settled.


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Psalms 46:4". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/psalms-46.html. 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

The prophet says expressly, that the city of God shall be glad, although it had no raging sea, but only a gently flowing stream, to set for its defense against those waves of which he has made mention. By this mode of expression he alludes to the stream which flowed from Shiloah, and passed through the city of Jerusalem. Further, the prophet, I have no doubt, here indirectly rebukes the vain confidence of those who, fortified by earthly assistance, imagine that they are well protected, and beyond the reach of all danger. Those who anxiously seek to strengthen themselves on all sides with the invincible helps of the world, seem, indeed, to imagine that they are able to prevent their enemies from approaching them, just as if they were environed on all sides with the sea; but it often happens that the very defenses which they had reared turn to their own destruction, even as when a tempest lays waste and destroys an island by overflowing it. But they who commit themselves to the protection of God, although in the estimation of the world they are exposed to every kind of injury, and are not sufficiently able to repel the assaults made upon them, nevertheless repose in security. On this account, Isaiah (Isaiah 8:6) reproves the Jews because they despised the gently flowing waters of Shiloah, and longed for deep and rapid rivers.

In that passage, there is an elegant antithesis between the little brook Shiloah on the one hand, and the Nile and Euphrates on the other; as if he had said, They defraud God of his honor by the unworthy reflection, that when he made choice of the city of Jerusalem, he had not made the necessary provision in respect of strength and fortifications for its defense and preservation. And certainly, if this psalm was written after the slaughter and flight of the army of Sennacherib, it is probable that the inspired writer purposely made use of the same metaphor, to teach the faithful in all ages, that the grace of God alone would be to them a sufficient protection, independent of the assistance of the world. In like manner, the Holy Spirit still exhorts and encourages us to cherish the same confidence, that, despising all the resources of those who proudly magnify themselves against us, we may preserve our tranquillity in the midst of disquietude and trouble, and not be grieved or ashamed on account of our defenseless condition, so long as the hand of God is stretched out to save us. Thus, although the help of God comes to our aid in a secret and gentle manner, like the still flowing streams, yet it imparts to us more tranquillity of mind than if the whole power of the world were gathered together for our help. In speaking of Jerusalem as the sanctuary of the tabernacles of the Most High, the prophet makes a beautiful allusion to the circumstances or condition of that time: for although God exercised authority over all the tribes of the people, yet he made choice of that city as the seat of royalty, from which he might govern the whole nation of Israel. The tabernacles of the Most High were scattered throughout all Judea, but still it was necessary that they should be gathered together and united in one sanctuary, that they might be under the dominion of God.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Psalms 46:4". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/psalms-46.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Psalms 46:4 [There is] a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy [place] of the tabernacles of the most High.

Ver. 4. There is a river, &c.] Interea civitas Dei, amidst all these garboils and hurly-burlies abroad the Church shall be helped with a little help, as Daniel 11:34, that, through weaker means, she may see God’s greater strength. That contemptible brook Kidron (whereof read John 18:1, compassing some part only of the city Jerusalem, or passing through the middle of it, as some write), together with the riverets Siloe and others that run into it, shall be able, through God, to save her from the power and greatness of her enemies. Confer Isaiah 8:6, and this place shall be the better understood.

The holy place of the tabernacles] This was the beauty and bulwark of Jerusalem, viz. the temple, the continued sincere service of God; this was the tower of the flock, and the stronghold of the daughter of God’s people, Micah 4:8. See Isaiah 26:1-2. And these rivers of the sanctuary, these waters of life, drawn with joy out of the wells of salvation, the precious promises, made glad the city of God, the consciences of believers, and caused them to triumph over all troubles.


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 46:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/psalms-46.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Psalms 46:4. There is a river, the streams whereof, &c.— Or, as some render it, The river by its streams, &c. But the version of the Liturgy is nearer the Hebrew: The rivers of the flood thereof shall make glad the city of our God; the holy place, &c. i.e. "The rivers, which sweep all other fenced cities before them, shall be so far from hurting us, that they shall make glad the city of our God; they shall be the occasion of great joy to us upon our victory over our enemies, &c." The Psalmist appears to have been warmed with a grateful sense of their late deliverance, so that his imagination rises from one thing to another. His trust in God was so steady, that he exhorts his subjects not to fear, though all other nations should be in confusion; though their enemies, like the sea, should rage and swell, and threaten them most violently; nay, though they should destroy all other fortified places at pleasure: for, though the rivers of that flood of ungodly men should set all their forces against Jerusalem, they should be so far from succeeding, that he assures them, the effect of that attempt should only be to furnish matter of joy and triumph for them. The LXX seem to have taken it in this sense, who translate it, the forces, or vehemence of the river; and the Ethiopic version, the river which runs rapidly. Bishop Patrick understands it differently, and paraphrases it thus: "Our hearts shall be quiet and still, like the river which runs through our city:" And Piscator, Hammond, and others, speak much to the same purpose; who mention the brook Gihon, which waters Jerusalem, and the streams of Siloa, which flow softly.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 46:4". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/psalms-46.html. 1801-1803.

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae

DISCOURSE: 579

THE RIVER OF GOD

Psalms 46:4. There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God.

FREQUENTLY, in the Holy Scriptures, is God compared to a fountain: in conformity with which idea, the blessings of salvation which flow from him may well be called “a river.” To the Israelites in the wilderness, there was given a stream which followed them in all their journeys: and to the Church. at this day also, is “a river opened for the refreshment of all who travel Zion-ward.” Innumerable are the necessities of God’s people in this dreary wilderness; and the “troubles” with which they have to contend are often so great as to make it appear as if “the earth itself were removed, and the mountains were carried into the midst of the sea.” But God is with his people; and the river which attends their steps supplies their every want. “The whole city of God is gladdened by it, and especially the holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High:” for the nearer any one’s access to God is, the more abundant are the communications made to him of grace and peace.

The exalted character given of this river will justify a minute inquiry respecting it. Let us notice then,

I. The source from whence it issues—

[Whence can this be, but from God himself? But on this subject we are not left to form conjectures: for David says, “With God is the fountain of life [Note: Psalms 36:9.].” And St. John says, that “there was shewn to him a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God, and of the Lamb [Note: Revelation 22:1.].” From God, as the primary cause of all good, and from the Lamb, who has “purchased the Church with his blood,” and who is constituted “Head over all things to his Church,” and has all fulness treasured up in him for his people’s use; from our adorable Emmanuel, I say, all the blessings of salvation flow. The Father, of his own sovereign will, opened a way for the bestowment of them: the Son, by his atoning blood, procured them for us: and the Holy Spirit imparts them to the souls of men: so that from our Tri-une God does this river altogether proceed. In truth, it was typified by the waters that flowed from the rock in Horeb, and supplied the camp of Israel forty years: “They all drank the same spiritual drink,” says the Apostle; “for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them; and that rock was Christ [Note: 1 Corinthians 10:4.].”]

We may next notice,

II. The channel in which it flows—

[It is in the ordinances of the Gospel that all spiritual blessings are dispensed. For thus saith the prophet: “It shall come to pass in that day, that the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with waters; and a fountain shall come forth of the house of the Lord, and shall water the valley of Shittim [Note: Joel 3:18. with Isaiah 2:3. latter part.].” To the house of God, those who are athirst come, that they may drink of its refreshing streams. “O God, thou art my God,” saith holy David; “early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is; to see thy power and thy glory, so as I hare seen thee in the sanctuary [Note: Psalms 63:1-2.].” Yes; these are “the golden pipes, by which the golden oil is communicated from the olive-trees” to every lamp in the sanctuary [Note: Zechariah 4:11-12.]. See, in the days of old, what blessings attended the ministration of the word, accompanied as it was by an effusion of the Spirit from on high: nothing could withstand its power! So it still “sweeps away from men every refuge of lies, and overflows their hiding places [Note: Isaiah 28:17.];” at the same time that it bears them up, as in the ark, and saves them from the deluge that will destroy the world.]

We may not unprofitably direct your attention yet further to,

III. The depths of “its streams”—

[The Prophet Ezekiel refers so particularly to this, that we must on no account omit the mention of it. He speaks of this river as proceeding “from under the threshold of the sanctuary, and from the side of the altar,” where the sacrifices were offered. Being brought to it by the heavenly messenger who had been sent to instruct him, he was made to pass through its waters, which, in the first instance, rose only “to his ankles.” On being brought to another place, he found the “waters up to his knees;” and, at another place, “up to his loins;” and then, a little further on, it was “out of the depth of any man [Note: Ezekiel 47:1-5.].” Now this gives a most just and beautiful representation of the Gospel; which, in our first approach to it, is so shallow, that the veriest child may walk in it with perfect ease: but, as we advance in it, we find yet deeper truths; till, at last, its mysteries are unfathomable by any created intelligence; “so unsearchable are God’s judgments, and his ways past finding out [Note: Romans 11:33.].” Nothing can be more simple than the great leading truth of salvation by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ: a child that can but just “run, may read,” and “a wayfaring-man, though a fool, may understand, it.” But when we attempt to explore the love of Christ displayed in it, we find “a length and breadth and depth and height that infinitely surpass any finite comprehension [Note: Ephesians 3:18-19.].”

But of its chief excellencies we must especially mark,]

IV. The salubrity of its waters—

[The Prophet Zechariah, especially referring to the Gospel, says, “It shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem [Note: Zechariah 14:8.].” And in the passage before quoted from the Prophet Ezekiel, their efficacy is fully declared: “It shall come to pass, that every thing that liveth, which moveth whithersoever the rivers shall come, shall live: and there shall be a very great multitude of fish, because these waters shall come thither: for they shall be healed, and every thing shall live whither the river cometh [Note: Ezekiel 47:9.].” Here then we see, that they give health to the diseased, and life to the dead. Verily, there is no disease which shall not be removed by the use of them. Naaman thought that “Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, might be as serviceable as the waters of Israel [Note: 2 Kings 5:12.]:” and, in like manner, many vainly hope to heal themselves by the application of carnal remedies to their souls. But it is this river only that can purify us from our sins; and the man that washes in it, how leprous soever he may have been, shall instantly experience its healing efficacy. Nor shall its virtue be confined to a single patient: none shall have cause to complain, like the man at Bethesda’s pool, that one less indigent or more highly-favoured than himself has been beforehand with him, and exhausted all its virtue [Note: John 5:7.]. Not a human being shall fail of obtaining all he needs, if only he apply the remedy in faith: “The fountain is opened for sin, and for uncleanness [Note: Zechariah 13:1.]: and its powers are yet as effectual as on the day that David washed in it [Note: Psalms 51:7.], or the murderers of the Lord of glory sprinkled its waters upon their souls [Note: Acts 2:41.]. It will even give life to the dead. When a dead man was cast into the sepulchre of Elisha, the very instant his body touched the bones of the prophet, he revived, and stood upon his feet [Note: 2 Kings 13:21.]. And shall not these waters, sprinkled on the soul, produce a like effect? Has not our blessed Lord himself affirmed, “I am the Resurrection, and the Life: he that believeth on me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and whosoever liveth, and believeth in me, shall never die [Note: John 11:25-26.]?” Let it not be thought that the Gospel has lost one atom of its power: for though men be in a state so desperate, that, as in Ezekiel’s vision, their bones are reduced to dust, and scattered over the face of the earth, yet shall they “rise a great army,” as soon as ever the Word and Spirit of God shall be applied with power to their souls [Note: Ezekiel 37:1-10.].

That, however, of which our text more particularly speaks, is,]

V. Its efficacy to “gladden the whole city of God”—

[In two respects does it contribute to the happiness of every citizen of Zion; namely, by the defence it affords, and by the refreshment it administers. Common rivers, if they afford protection against those who have no means of crossing them, give, in many instances, a greater facility of assault, either by means of large fleets, which transport an enemy with ease to any point he may choose to attack; or by smaller vessels, whereby he may come suddenly and unperceived, and disembark upon its very banks. But this river admits not of access by any such means. Hear the account given of it by the Prophet Isaiah: “Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities; (the city spoken of in our text:) thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down; not one of the stakes thereof shall ever be removed, neither shall any of the cords thereof be broken: for there the glorious Lord will be unto us a place of broad rivers and streams, wherein shall go no galley with oars, neither shall gallant ship pass thereby [Note: Isaiah 33:20-21.].” We may conceive of a river which, by its shoals and cataracts, bids defiance to vessels of any kind; and such is that which encompasses our Zion, and keeps it from every assault. At the same time it supplies the wants of the besieged in rich abundance. From the moment that any one tastes its refreshing streams, “he thirsts no more:” he has within himself, as it were, “a well of water springing up unto everlasting life [Note: John 4:13-14; John 7:37-38.].” Such perfect satisfaction both to soul and body will these waters give, that all who drink of them will have a foretaste of heaven itself: “they draw water out of this fountain with inexpressible joy [Note: Isaiah 12:3.]:” “and they are abundantly satisfied with the fatness of God’s house; and he makes them drink of the river of his pleasures [Note: Psalms 36:8.].” It is doubtless a strong-expression to say that this is a foretaste of heaven: but look into heaven, and you will find the very same river running there, and the blest inhabitants partaking of it: for “the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne is feeding them, and leads them to living fountains of water; and God wipes away all tears from their eyes [Note: Revelation 7:17.].”]

Let me on this sublime subject found an address,

1. To those who are in circumstances of difficulty or danger—

[It was after a deliverance from some impending calamity that this psalm was written: and from that deliverance the Psalmist inferred, that they who trust in God have nothing to fear. “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea: though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.” To every inhabitant of Zion this sweet assurance belongs: “God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early [Note: ver. 1–5.].” Know then your privilege, Brethren: and amidst all the storms and dangers to which you are exposed, see your God as an impassable river around you; or, varying the metaphor, as “a wall of fire round about you, and the glory in the midst of you [Note: Zechariah 2:5.].” With such a protector, “can any weapon that is formed against you prosper?” You may bid defiance to every enemy; and say, with confidence, “If God be for me, who can be against me?”]

2. To those who are seeking their happiness in the things of time and sense—

[Infatuated people, who are “forsaking the fountain of living waters, and hewing out cisterns for yourselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water [Note: Jeremiah 2:13.]!” when will you see your folly? when will you suffer your continued disappointments to instruct you? If you will not believe the word of God, methinks you might learn from your own experience. Did you, from such services, ever receive one single draught that satisfied you? Have you not, even in the moments of your highest enjoyment, found that you were “labouring for that which could not profit,” and that “in the midst of laughter your heart was in heaviness?” Listen, then, to the invitation of the prophet: “Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk, without money and without price! Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread, and your labour for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good; and let your soul delight itself in fatness [Note: Isaiah 55:1-2.].” Verily, if ye will come to the Lord Jesus Christ, and “receive out of his fulness” the blessings he has purchased for you, you shall “see the good of his chosen, and rejoice in the gladness of his nation, and shall glory with his inheritance [Note: Psalms 106:4-5.].”]


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Bibliography
Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Psalms 46:4". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/shh/psalms-46.html. 1832.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

He either speaks of, or at least alludes to, the river of Kidron, 2 Samuel 15:23 John 18:1, and its two streams or rivulets flowing from it, Gihon and Shiloah, 2 Chronicles 32:30 Isaiah 8:6, which being small and contemptible, or still or gentle waters, are not unfitly opposed to the vast and unruly waters of the sea. He insinuates the weak condition of God’s church as to outward advantages, that they had not one sea to oppose to another, but only a small river; which though in itself despicable, yet was sufficient to refresh and defend them in spite of all their enemies. And as the sea and waters thereof, Psalms 46:2,3, are to be understood metaphorically, as all agree, so also in all probability are this river and streams; which therefore may design the gracious presence, and assistance, and blessing of be Lord, (which is very frequently described under the name of waters, as Isaiah 11:9 12:3 Zechariah 14:8, &c.,) or the Lord himself, who is expressly said to be unto the city of Zion, for its defence, a place of broad rivers and streams, Isaiah 33:20,21, which probably alludes to this text, or at least explains it.

Shall make glad, i.e. shall not barely defend it from utter ruin, but preserve it from danger, and give great occasion for rejoicing and thanksgiving.

The city of God, i.e. Zion or Jerusalem, so called also @Psalms 48:1 Isaiah 60:14.

Of the tabernacles, i.e. of the tabernacle, the plural number for the singular, as Psalms 43:3; the place where God’s holy tabernacle is settled.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 46:4". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/psalms-46.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

4. A river—The word denotes a perennial river, as distinguished from a winter torrent.

The streams whereof—That is, its divisions, or channels. The idea is, that of a copious, living stream distributed by pipes and aqueducts.

Make glad the city of God—Its abundant supply, even during the close siege from which they had been delivered, should refresh and enliven the city. The water supplies of ancient Jerusalem were the admiration of the world. If Assyria boasted of her Tigris, Babylon of her Euphrates, Damascus of her Abana and Pharpar, and Egypt of her Nile, so could Zion, in her nest among the mountains, glory in her peaceful and living Shiloah, especially as the emblem of the unfailing grace of Israel’s God. The holy place, etc.Hebrew, The holy, the dwelling places of the Most High. The reference to the temple and its outer buildings is clear. “Holy place” is not a synonymous parallel to “city of God,” but is an intensive carrying forward of the description, as if it read “the city of God, even the holy place” [temple.] The “river” here alluded to is, doubtless, the same as Shiloah, (Isaiah 8:6,) known in later times as Siloam, (John 9:7,) where it applies only to a pool supplied as we shall see by this river.

The psalmist alludes to this stream, not because it was the only supply, but an important one, which had just then, by Hezekiah’s energetic war preparations, gained unprecedented celebrity by having been diverted and brought through the city. Of this river it is said, 2 Chronicles 32:3, that it “ran through the midst of the land,” which the Septuagint reads: “flowed [literally, made a division] through the city.” That Hezekiah caused it to flow through the city none will doubt. But in what direction, and where the “Upper Gihon” was located, are not so clear. Future discovery must finally determine this. Robinson supposed that the source of the stream was “the ancient Fountain of Gihon, on the higher ground west of the city,” northwesterly from the Jaffa Gate. This would bring its waters to the so-called Pool of Hezekiah, within the modern walls, and, eastward between Acra and Zion, to the temple area. But Ritter says: “It seems much more probable, much more conformable to all the conditions of the case, that they were connected with the north side of Jerusalem;” and with Krafft he locates the “Old Pool” of Isaiah (Isaiah 22:11) and “Upper Pool” of Isaiah (Isaiah 36:2, the source of Shiloah) near the modern Damascus gate. To the same effect Barclay argues. (City of the Great King, p. 304, et seq.) The entire evidence on this subject, which seems quite conclusive, would determine the source of Shiloah to be some copious spring or fountainthe chief, if not the only one of the city situated north, not far from the source of Kidron, supplied with tanks or reservoirs, probably the same as are still found there. This fountain was closed up by Hezekiah, and the overflow of its waters, brought down southward by an underground conduit, (2 Chronicles 32:4; Sirach 48:17,) through the natural valley between Bezetha and Moriah on the east and Acra and Zion on the west, till, coming opposite the modern mosque Haram-es-Sherif, about midway of the temple area, it was turned eastward to the great reservoir under the temple, (under modern es-Sukrah, or the Rock;) thence, as it appears, southward to supply other subterranean tanks and cisterns known to exist within and around the mosque el-Aksa, on the southern limit of the ancient temple enclosure; thence southeasterly to the Fountain of the Virgin; thence southward to the Pool of Siloam; and thence to the Kidron and the Dead Sea. The waters of the fountain-head are known to resemble in taste those under the mosque, (the old temple site,) and those of the pools of the Virgin and of Siloam, showing that they have a common origin. It is already known that these pools are fed by the same stream whose rock-cut channel has been traced from Siloam to the southern wall of the old temple enclosure; while on the north, travellers, by putting their ears close to the ground, near the Damascus gate, “hear the noise of running water, which may be traced through the middle of the city (as above described) as far as opposite to es-Sukrah,” already mentioned. This is well attested, and this stream would seem to have been the main artery of the city and temple water works. Certainly the diversion of its waters through the city was one of the great acts of Hezekiah’s reign. Vast subterranean reservoirs, protected by heavy arched stone and mason work, and connected by pipes, still exist under the temple area and the city, which were filled partly by rain, but mostly by running water from abroad. These were reached through mouths, shafts, or wells in the temple enclosure, (Isaiah 12:3; John 7:37-38,) and elsewhere. This mysterious river, whose “streams,” or divisions, gladdened “the city of God and the holy place,” has a further symbolic significance of gospel grace and eternal life. See the figure expanded, in Ezekiel 47:1-12; Zechariah 14:8, and “the river of life” proceeding “out of the throne of God and the Lamb,”

Revelation 22:1. Tacitus (Hist., book 5, § 12,) mentions the “fountain of living water” under the temple at Jerusalem, which Milton calls

“Siloa’s brook, that flowed

Fast by the oracle of God.”

Isaiah (Isaiah 8:6) refers to the gentle flow of its waters, imparting life and cheer to the city.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 46:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/psalms-46.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Feet. The Chanaanites were subdued by Josue, and others by David, &c. The army of Cambyses became a prey to the Jews, Ezechiel xxxix. 10. (Calmet) --- All who embrace the true faith, even kings, become subjects, and not heads of the Church. (Worthington)


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Psalms 46:4". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/psalms-46.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

river. Hebrew. nahar. a constantly flowing river (not nahal, a summer wady). It flows beneath Zion, filling En Rogel and supplying Siloam. See App-68.

streams = channels. Hebrew. palag. See note on Genesis 10:25. Genesis 1:3, i.e. the rock-cut channels beneath Zion. See App-68. All other water-supplies cut off. Compare 2 Chronicles 32:30. 2 Kings 20:20. See App-68, and Ecclesiastes 48:17.

The holy place of the tabernacles of the MOST HIGH. Septuagint and Vulg, render this "The Most High hath hallowed His habitation". See note on Exodus 3:5.

tabernacles = the great habitation. Plural of majesty, implying greatness of glory, not of size. Hebrew. mishkan. App-40.

MOST HIGH. Hebrew. Elyon. App-4.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Psalms 46:4". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/psalms-46.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.

There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God. Jerusalem possessed no literal "river," but had spiritually the river of God's grace. The "waters of Shiloah (the Brook Siloah), that go softly," suggested the image (Isaiah 8:6). The "river" in Paradise parting and becoming "four heads" (Genesis 2:10) is the original ground of the imagery. The "river" is first mentioned as a whole; then follow its particular "streams," representing God's manifold ways of grace to His Church. Compare Psalms 36:8; Ezekiel 47:1; Zechariah 14:8; John 4:14; Revelation 22:1. "The city of God" is represented by Jerusalem, which had been threatened by the pagan world-power under Sennacherib.

The holy place of the tabernacles of the Most High. The city is here described as "the holy place" where are "the tabernacles of the Most, High," the temple (Psalms 65:4), the symbol of "the high and holy place" where God dwells above (Isaiah 57:15). 'Happy those who have passed out of the territory of the sea into that of the river' (Hengstenberg).


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 46:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/psalms-46.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(4) A river . . .—Heb., nâhar, i.e., a perennial stream, as distinguished from nâchal, a torrent bed dry except in the rainy season. Plainly, then, the “Cedron” is not here alluded to. But many commentators think “Siloam” is intended. (See Stanley, Sinai and Palestine, p. 180, and comp. Isaiah 12:3; Ezekiel 47:1-5; John 7:37.)

There may not, however, be any such local allusion. The river, flowing calmly and smoothly along, may be only a symbol of the peace and blessing of the Divine presence, as the tumult and tempest of the sea in the last verse are of the world’s noisy troubles. Indeed, the LXX. (comp. Prayer Book version) seems to connect the river of this verse with the waters of the preceding.

Streams.—See Note on Psalms 1:3, where the same word occurs.


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Psalms 46:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/psalms-46.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.
a river
23:2; 36:8,9; Isaiah 8:6,7; 48:18; Ezekiel 47:1-12; Revelation 22:1-3
city
48:1,8; 87:3; 2 Chronicles 6:6; Isaiah 37:35,36; 60:14; Hebrews 12:22; Revelation 21:2,3,10
holy
Deuteronomy 12:11,12
most
91:1; 92:1,8; Ecclesiastes 5:8; Micah 6:6

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Psalms 46:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/psalms-46.html.

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