God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early – Psalm 46:5
Meaning of Psalms 46:5
The meaning of the verse, “God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early” is that God will help and stabilize the city of Jerusalem. The verse of often applied to a single woman or person. However, the verse is similar to a battle hymn. It is symbolic of God’s protection and deliverance for His people. It is meant to be an encouraging verse for anyone who considers themselves alone or a failure. The author wants to tell the readers that God is capable of protecting an entire city, stopping wars, etc. Hence, whatever city or place God resides in will become invincible.
Interpretations of Psalm 46:5
The verse of Psalm 46:5 is popular for being taken out of context by anyone who reads it or preaches it. The verse is encouraging and hence, is interpreted in different ways. Here are a few examples.
Interpretation #1 Woman must be an early riser
The interpretation of the verse, “God shall help her, and that right early”, is that God required women to be early risers. The same is stated in the book of Proverbs, “She gets up while it is still dark.” This implies that God wants Christian women to wake up early, pray, and finish their chores and tasks for the day. According to the verse, a woman like that is highly blessed and protected. God will also help a woman like that in her troubles and sorrow. Hence, readers, especially women, try to wake up early in the morning to pray and to start their day. In the early days, it was one of the expected virtue of every woman.
Interpretation #2 God is partial toward women
The reader here interprets that God is biased toward women because the verse is specific to the female gender. The reason might be that women need more protection, care, and security than men. God also might understand that women face more challenges and shortcomings than men and hence has a soft spot for them. Hence, the verse, “God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her”, means that God is protective of women. The readers might also assume that because Eve was weaker by giving into sin, he must try to be watchful over women and help her.
Interpretation #3 With God, a woman can defeat men
Another interpretation of the verse, “God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her” is that God can help women defeat men. Here, the readers who mostly believe this version favor feminism. When the verse says that “she shall not be moved,” he means that a man can have no power over a woman, and God will give her strength to defeat the man. This can be applied in marriages where the husbands are oppressive or job places where the men try to overpower women. Hence, the reader can interpret that God wants to convey that he will stand behind any oppressed woman and help her bring down men and give her victory.
Interpretation #4 God is possessive of the Israel nation
God is known to be possessive of His children, and the verse from Exodus, which goes, “For you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God”, is proof of the same. The reader might interpret the verse as God claiming ownership over the nation of Israel and calling it his own. Hence, the meaning of the verse, “God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved” is that God is saying that Israel is his own and it cannot be defeated, moved, or taken away. In this version, the readers likely believe that as God chooses Israel, He doesn’t care about the rest of the countries in the world.
Interpretation #5 God provides strength to anyone who prays in times of need
The final interpretation of the verse, “God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early” is that God provides courage and strength to anyone who comes to him in times of distress such as personal struggle, illness, and wars. The verse is applicable to anyone, whether he or she is a single person or a community. The reader interprets that God understands how a person’s strength could be failing in difficult times and hence offers his strength to help them overcome. Though the verse is intended to claim protection over the city of Jerusalem, it is supported by several verses in the Bible where God promises to be a person’s strength and fight on their behalf. Hence, this verse is an assurance to anyone who lacks strength and is deep in sorrow, as well as protection for the nation of Israel.
Historical background of Psalm 46:5
The book of Psalms is a collection of hymns and songs largely composed by King David. Most of the psalms have been turned into songs of worship churches sing. Psalm 46 is marked as a Psalm of the sons of Korah for the choir director. It is called a “song of holy confidence.” It is also known as “Luther’s Psalm”, as Martin Luther wrote his well-known hymn “Ein Feste Burg ist Unser Gott.” The fifth verse, in particular, was written for the city of Jerusalem as a proclamation of God’s love and protection towards it.
Literary Devices of Psalm 46:5
Psalm 46:5 is an encouraging verse with a hint of poetic angle. The verse contains some notable literary devices. Here are a few examples.
Metaphor – The words ‘her’ and ‘she’ is referred to the city of Jerusalem and God as a patriarchal figure promising to protect the city.
Alliteration – This verse has a rich use of consonant sounds at the beginning of the verse. For example, the sound of /sh/ and /h/ in ‘She shall not be moved: God shall help her’.
Symbolism – Psalm 46:5 symbolizes God’s protection and early morning prayers which is one of the ways to show devotion to God.