“Yahweh has sworn.
He will not change his mind,
‘You are a priest forever
According to the order of Melchizedek.’”
Yahweh then somehow makes David a priest also. The allusion here is to Melchizedeck, the ancient priest and king at the time of Abraham. This King Melchizedek of Salem, as found in Genesis, chapter 14, offered a sacrifice of bread and wine for Abraham. Here there is an order of Melchizedek, which will become an important Christian emphasis within the Roman Catholic concept of the priesthood. This same phrase was repeated in the New Testament Epistle to the Hebrews, chapter 5.
God is known.
His name is great
His abode has been established
His dwelling place is
There he broke
The flashing arrows,
And the weapons of war.”
Psalm 76 is another in the string of Asaph choral psalms. This one is a song with stringed instruments about the ultimate victory of God in Judah and Jerusalem. God was known in Judah, the southern stronghold. His name was great in northern Israel. His home was in Jerusalem or Salem, the ancient name of Jerusalem. He dwelt in Zion, the Temple on Mount Zion. There he broke all the instruments of war of the people who were attacking Jerusalem. He broke the arrows, shields, and swords. This section ends with the musical interlude meditative pause of Selah.
“The Israelites sent word to every district of Samaria, especially to Kona, Beth-horon, Belmain, Jericho, Choba, Aesora, and the valley of Salem. They immediately seized all the high hilltops. They fortified the villages on them. They stored up food in preparation for war, since their fields had recently been harvested. The high priest Joakim, who was in Jerusalem at the time, wrote to the people of Bethulia and Betomesthaim, which faces Esdraelon opposite the plain near Dothan. He ordered them to seize the mountain passes, since by them Judea could be invaded. It would be easy to stop any who tried to enter, for the approach was narrow, only wide enough for two at a time to pass. So the Israelites did as they had been ordered by the high priest Joakim and the senate of the whole people of Israel, in session at Jerusalem.”
The Israelites were aware that Holofernes was coming. They warned the people of Samaria. However, Judah was always separate from Samaria and Holofernes was already there in northern Israel. There were a series of towns in Benjamin named, some of which are difficult to locate except for Beth-horon and Jericho. The valley of Salem may refer to the area around Jerusalem since that might have been ancient name, Jeru-Salem. They took all the high places and fortified them. They stored up food since the harvest had just taken place. The 2 towns of Bethulia and Betomesthaim are difficult to find. They must have been near Dothan, which as far as any identification is possible, was north of Shechem in Manasseh territory. Their high priest Joakim is also hard to identify, since the only priest with that name was after the exile in Nehemiah, chapter 12. This would put it 200 years after King Nebuchadnezzar. There also was no Senate in Jerusalem until the 2nd century BCE. Thus the story has a lot of problematic areas when it comes to specifics about places, peoples, and events in any sort of timeframe.