Psalms 50:2 KJV

2 Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined.

To whom or what does perfection of beauty refer: God or Zion?

1 Answer 1


The reference is to Zion. Calling something beautiful is more in line with descriptions of cities (as in Tyre, Ezekiel 27) than of God. But beauty of the Jerusalem especially, and its Mount Zion, appears elsewhere in Biblical poetry:

Lamentations 2:15 (NRSV) also calls Jerusalem "the perfection of beauty"

All who pass along the way
clap their hands at you;
they hiss and wag their heads
at daughter Jerusalem;
“Is this the city that was called
the perfection of beauty,
the joy of all the earth?”

Referring in turn to Psalm 48:2-3 (1-2 English):

His holy mountain, beautiful in elevation,
is the joy of all the earth,
Mount Zion, in the far north,
the city of the great King.

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