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.

The proclamation about Simon and Jonathan (1 Macc 14:29-14:34)

“Since wars often occurred in the country,

Simon son of Mattathias,

A priest of the sons of Joarib,

And his brothers

Exposed themselves to danger.

They resisted the enemies of their nation,

In order that their sanctuary

And the law might be preserved.

They brought great glory to their nation.

Jonathan rallied the nation.

He became their high priest.

He was gathered to his people.

When their enemies

Decided to invade their country

And lay hands on their sanctuary,

Then Simon rose up and fought for his nation.

He spent great sums of his own money.

He armed the soldiers of his nation.

He paid them wages.

He fortified the towns of Judea,

And Beth-zur on the borders of Judea,

There formerly the arms of the enemy had been stored.

He placed there a garrison of Jews.

He also fortified Joppa, which is by the sea

He fortified Gazara, which is on the borders of Azotus.

There the enemy formerly dwelt.

He settled Jews there.

He provided in those towns

Whatever was necessary for their restoration.”

Ever since there were wars in Judah, Simon and his brothers risked danger to fight the enemies of their nation. They wanted to protect the sanctuary and the law. They brought great glory to their nation. Jonathan was the high priest who rallied the people when the invasions took place. Simon, on the other hand, spent his own money to build up the military. There is no indication where he got this money. He also fortified the towns of Beth-zur and the borders of Judea. He set up Jewish garrisons to protect the arms that they had. He also fortified the sea ports of Joppa and Gaza, where he put Jewish settlers there. Interesting, there is no mention of Judas Maccabeus in this decree.

Mattathias appoints his two sons (1 Macc 2:65-2:68)

“Here is your brother Simeon

Who I know is wise in counsel.

Always listen to him.

He shall be your father.

Judas Maccabeus has been a mighty warrior from his youth.

He shall command the army for you.

He shall fight the battle against the peoples.

You shall rally around you

All those who observe the law

You shall avenge the wrong done to your people.

Pay back the gentiles in full.

Obey the command of the law.”

John, his son, was the oldest, but there is no mention of him here. Here it is the 2nd son Simeon, and the 3rd son Judas, who was called Maccabeus. Simeon was to be like the father to them because of his wise counsel, while Judas was to lead the army. He wanted them to rally around those who follow the law. However, he wanted them to pay back the gentiles just as the law had commanded.