The call to God for help (Ps 108:10-108:13)

“Who will bring me to the fortified city?

Who will lead me to Edom?

Have you not rejected us?

O God!

You do not go out

With our armies.

O God!

O grant us help

Against the foe!

Human help is worthless.

With God

We shall do valiantly.

It is he who will tread down our foes.”

This psalm ends with an almost word for word repeat of Psalm 60. There is a call to God to continue to help them in their battles. David realized that he could not succeed without God’s help, especially against fortified cities and Edom. If God did not go out with their armies, they would not win because human help was worthless. With God, they would fight valiantly so that they could smash their foes.

Thanksgiving for past victories (Ps 108:7-108:9)

“God has promised in his sanctuary.

‘With exultation

I will divide up Shechem.

I will portion out the Vale of Succoth.

Gilead is mine.

Manasseh is mine.

Ephraim is my helmet.

Judah is my scepter.

Moab is my washbasin.

On Edom

I hurl my shoe.

Over Philistia

I shout in triumph.’”

This section is a repeat almost word for word of the same victories mentioned in Psalm 60. God directly promised or spoke in his sanctuary to David. This is one of the few times that this phraseology is used, assuming that the sanctuary of the Temple was completed. This probably was a prophet speaking in the name of God, but there is no specific indication here. He rattled off a series of Israelite victories. Shechem was a former Canaanite city that was now divided up and part of the territory of Manasseh. Succoth was conquered during the time of the Judges. Gilead was on the eastern side of the Jordan River where the tribes of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh lived. Only 3 Israelite tribes are mentioned here, Manasseh, Ephraim, and Judah. Judah would become the favorite when the split between the north and the south took place as the north became known as Israel. Moab was a mere washbasin on the east side of the Dead Sea. Edom was in the north. The phrase “hurl a shoe” seemed obsolete until some Iraqi journalist hurled his shoe at President George W. Bush to show his contempt. Philistines were on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Thus this is a list of the various victorious Israelite battles.

Thanksgiving for God’s steadfast love (Ps 108:1-108:4)

A song, a psalm of David

“My heart is steadfast!

O God!

My heart is steadfast!

I will sing!

I will make melody!

Awake!

My soul!

Awake!

O harp and lyre!

I will awake the dawn!

I will give thanks to you

Among the peoples!

Yahweh!

I will sing praises to you among the nations.

Your steadfast love is higher than the heavens.

Your faithfulness reaches to the clouds.”

Psalm 108 seems to be compilation of 2 other psalms, Psalm 57 and Psalm 60. The title is simply a song or psalm of David. This first section is almost word for word from Psalm 57. David was steadfast in his love, just as God had shown his steadfast love to him. He was ready to sing and make melody on the harp and lyre. He wanted his soul to wake up. He was going to wake the morning dawn. He was going to give thanks to Yahweh among all the people. He would sing his praises among the nations because God’s love was as high as the heavens. His faithfulness extended beyond the clouds. David loved Yahweh as Yahweh loved David.

The call to God for help (Ps 60:9-60:12)

“Who will bring me to the fortified city?

Who will lead me to Edom?

Have you not rejected us?

O God!

You do not go out

With our armies!

O God!

O grant us help against the foe!

Human help is worthless!

With God

We shall do valiantly.

It is he

Who will tread down our foes.”

This psalm ends with a call to God for help to continue their battles. They realized that they could not succeed without God’s help, especially against fortified cities and Edom. If God does not go out with their armies, they will not win because human help was worthless. With God, they will fight valiantly so that they can smash their foes.

The past victories (Ps 60:6-60:8)

“God promised in his sanctuary.

‘With exultation

I will divide up Shechem.

I will portion out the Vale of Succoth.

Gilead is mine!

Manasseh is mine!

Ephraim is my helmet!

Judah is my scepter!

Moab is my washbasin!

On Edom I hurl my shoe!

Over Philistia I shout in triumph.’”

The prayer was answered. God directly promised or spoke. This is one of the few times that this phraseology is used. It also assumes the sanctuary of the Temple is completed. This probably was a prophet speaking in the name of God, but there is no specific indication here. He listed off the Israelite victories. Shechem was a former Canaanite city that was now divided up and part of the territory of Manasseh. Succoth was conquered during the time of the Judges. Gilead was on the eastern side of the Jordan River where the tribes of Gad and half tribe of Manasseh lived. Only 3 Israelite tribes are mentions, Manasseh, Ephraim, and Judah. Judah would become the favorite with the split between the north and the south, when the north became known as Israel. Moab was a mere washbasin, the east side of the Dead Sea. Edom was in the north. The phrase “hurl a shoe” seemed obsolete until some Iraqis journalist hurled his shoe at President George W. Bush to show his contempt. Philistines were on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Thus this is a victorious Israel, so why are they complaining?

The plea for victory (Ps 60:5-60:5)

“Give victory

With your right hand!

Answer us!

Thus those whom you love

May be rescued.”

This was a simple prayer to God. They wanted to gain a victory with God’s right hand. They wanted an answer to their prayer. God loved them so he should rescue them. There always was the presumption of God’s love and trust in that love, even if it was a little demanding.

The power of God (Ps 60:1-60:4)

To the choirmaster leader, according to Lily of the Covenant, a Miktam of David, for instruction, when he struggled with Aram-naharaim and with Aram-zobah, and when Joab on his return killed twelve thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt.

“O God!

You have rejected us!

You have broken our defenses!

You have been angry!

Restore us!

You have caused the land to quake.

You have torn it open.

Repair the cracks in it!

It is tottering.

You have made your people

Suffer hard things.

You have given us wine to drink

That made us reel.

You have set up a banner

For those who fear you.

You want us to rally

To it from the bow.”

Selah

Psalm 60 has one of the longest titles of any of the psalms. As opposed to the earlier individual complaints of David, this is a group lament. Once again it is a choral song to the tune of “Lily of the Covenant,” which will be the tune of Psalm 80 also. According to 2 Samuel, chapter 8, it was David himself who killed the 18,000 Edomites in the Valley of the Salt. This was on an adventure into southern Syria. He actually had been successful but this psalm is more about failure. Somehow God has rejected them, a theme often heard in the later time of captivity. Their defense had been broken. God was angry with them so he wanted God to restore them. They have had a mini earthquake so that there were cracks in the ground. The people had been suffering. Unfortunately, they had been drinking the wrong kind of wine. They wanted to rally around God’s banner out of the distance of bows and arrows. This section ended with a musical interlude meditative pause, Selah.