Particularly in Psalms 46, the geographical images are key to promoting Jerusalem as a sacred city. For instance, the first stanza claims that the people are not fearful of any natural disasters, for God is always present to protect them. The fact that the passage refers to God as the “God of Jacob” twice shows the importance of Jacob’s role in the Bible. In fact, Jacob has a dream in which he “saw a ladder reaching to heaven, with angels ascending and descending on it, and heard the Lord speaking from above it” (Eliade 1959: 26). This event demonstrates sacred space, as it marks a moment in which man is able to transcend and singlehandedly experience the divine. In addition to the ladder as a metaphor as a central point or link between heaven and earth, Jerusalem contains other features that act the same way such as the mountains that surround it. In all three stanzas of Psalms 46, God is claimed to be their refuge no matter what obstacles the people face; similarly, the mountains can be represented as God’s protection. Furthermore, Psalms 48 focuses on the value the followers place on Mount Zion. In terms of axis mundi, Eliade emphasizes that the earth is closest to heaven; many biblical passages such as Psalms 48 metaphorically use a mountain’s elevation or any high landmark to represent this idea. The imagery of the mountain is significant because it “occurs among the images that express the connection between heaven and earth; hence it is believed to be at the center of the world” (Eliade 1959: 38). The kings are astounded by the sight of Mount Zion; the people rejoice because of God’s presence in connection with them. So as long as they walk around Zion and value it, God will eternally be their guide. Clearly, the mountains in Psalms 48 underscore Jerusalem’s high elevation and image as a sacred city.
Please join StudyMode to read the full document