Bible Commentaries
Psalms 60

Dummelow's Commentary on the BibleDummelow on the Bible

Verses 1-12

Title.—(RV) ’For the Chief Musician; set to Shushan Eduth: Michtam of David, to teach: when he strove with Aram-naharaim and with Aram-zobah, and Joab returned, and smote of Edom in the Valley of Salt twelve thousand.’

Shushan-eduth (’the lily of the testimony’) denotes that this Ps. was set to the same melody as Psalms 45, 69, 80. For ’Michtam’.see Psalms 16. The historical occasion in the title is described in 2 Samuel 8:3-8, 2 Samuel 8:13-14; 1 Chronicles 18:3-8, 1 Chronicles 18:12-13, but in these passages Abishai is mentioned instead of Joab, and the number of the slain is given as 18,000. 1 Chronicles 1 Chronicles 8:12 is probably right in reading ’Edom’ instead of ’the Syrians’ (Aram) of 2 Samuel 8:13. The Ps., however, is plainly written after a lost battle, not after a victory. It has been suggested that while David was engaged with the Syrians in the N. of Palestine, the Edomites may have gained a temporary success in the S. before they were routed by David’s generals, and that the Ps. may have been written under the shadow of this reverse. Others think that Psalms 60:6-8, asserting God’s sovereignty over the whole territory ruled by David, are a Davidic fragment worked into a later poem of national distress. The last six verses form the second part of Psalms 108. Psalms 60:1-4 describe the defeat of Israel. The prayer in Psalms 60:5 leads to a confident expectation of extensive conquests by God’s assistance (Psalms 60:6-12).

1. Turn thyself to us] RV ’restore us,’ not necessarily from captivity.

2. Earth] RV ’land.’ The imagery is that of an earthquake.

3. Wine of astonishment] RV ’wine of staggering,’ or reeling: see Isaiah 51:17, Isaiah 51:22,; where God’s wrath is similarly compared to stupefying wine.

4. That it may be displayed, etc.] Read with LXX ’that they may betake themselves to flight before the bow.’ Israel has raised the standard only to flee.

5. Thy beloved] better, ’thy beloved ones.’

6f. The Psalmist gives the grounds of his confidence in God. All the nations are His, and He deals with them as He sees good.

6. Rejoice] exult as a victor. Mete] measure. Shechem.. Succoth] W. and E. of the Jordan respectively. Both places were connected with Jacob (Genesis 33:17-18).

7. Gilead.. Manasseh] both E. of the Jordan, Gilead being N. of Manasseh. Ephraim.. Judah] both W. of the Jordan and again named from N. to S. They were the two most powerful Hebrew tribes, and became the heads of the separate kingdoms after Solomon’s death. Hence they are distinguished, the one as the helmet (RV ’the defence of mine head’), the other as the ’sceptre’ (RV) of God.

8. Moab.. Edom.. Philistia] Israel’s neighbours on the E., SE., and W. respectively. They are all described as reduced to the lowest subjection. Moab is the vessel in which the conqueror’s feet are washed, Edom the slave who cleans his sandals (reading ’unto Edom’ with RM), or the corner into which the sandals are thrown when soiled (reading ’upon Edom’ with RV). Philistia, etc.] Read, as in Psalms 108:9, ’Over Philistia will I shout in triumph.’

9. The strong city] Petra, the almost impregnable capital of Edom. It is the Psalmist who now speaks, asking how Edom is to be conquered.

10. RV ’Hast not thou, O God, cast us off? And thou goest not forth, O God, with our hosts.’

11. From trouble] RV ’against the adversary.’

Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Psalms 60". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". 1909.