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Bible Commentaries

Hamilton Smith's Writings

Psalms 60

Verses 1-12

PSALM 60

The remnant of the Jews own that God, though He has cast them off for their iniquities, is their only hope - the One who alone can restore and heal the breaches.

(vv. 1-3) Looking beyond all second causes, the remnant acknowledge that God has cast off, and scattered the nation because of His displeasure. They further realize that the One who has scattered is the only One who can restore.

They own that God has made the land to tremble. Now they look to the One that has “broken,” to “heal the breaches.” God has showed His people “hard things.” and made them “drink the wine of bewilderment” (JND). They do not rebel against God's dealings with them; they do not seek to justify themselves; they do not look to themselves or to others to retrieve their position. They look only to God.

(vv. 4-5) The remnant have thus reached a condition of soul in which God can bless them. Therefore they are able to say, “Thou hast given a banner to them that fear Thee.” The banner is that which rallies and unites the peoples of God. This rallying centre is found amongst those that fear God. The banner becomes the display of truth, and thus a means of deliverance for God's beloved people.

(vv. 6-8) The psalmist now turns to the promises of God's Word, on which all their hopes rest. “God hath spoken.” And what God has said has all the certainty of God's own nature; He has spoken in His holiness. God asserts His title to the whole land, whether on the west side of Jordan, as represented by Shechem; or on the east side, as represented by Succoth. He claims the tribes of Israel as His. Gilead and Manasseh represent His people east of Jordan; Ephraim and Judah represent them on the west side. One is the most important tribe in the north as the other is the leading tribe in the south. Thus every quarter of the land is claimed by God. Politically these two tribes have a leading place; Ephraim being the warrior tribe ( Deut. 33: 17 ), and Judah the leading tribe in government ( Gen. 49: 10 ).

Finally God will utterly subjugate the ancient enemies of His people. Moab will be reduced to a state of ignominious bondage, likened to a slave who washes the feet of his owner. Edom is likened to a slave to whom the master cast a worn-out shoe. Philistia, who so often had triumphed over God's people, is now called to “shout” or “cry” out because of the triumph of God (JND).

(vv. 9-12) The soul, strengthened by the promises of God, looks to God to lead to victory. The question is raised, “Who will bring me into the strong city?” of which the rock city of Edom was a formidable example. His confidence in God at once supplies the answer. The very God who had cast them off because of their transgressions is the One alone through whom their help will come; for vain is the help of man. Through God will they do valiantly, for they say, “He it is that shall tread down our enemies.”

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Bibliographical Information
Smith, Hamilton. "Commentary on Psalms 60". "Hamilton Smith's Writings". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hsw/psalms-60.html. 1832.