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Psalms 60:1 « To the chief Musician upon Shushaneduth, Michtam of David, to teach; when he strove with Aramnaharaim and with Aramzobah, when Joab returned, and smote of Edom in the valley of salt twelve thousand. » O God, thou hast cast us off, thou hast scattered us, thou hast been displeased; O turn thyself to us again.
Upon Shushan-eduth ] An instrument so called, or to the tune of some song so called. The words signify the lily of the testimony; or, of kingly ornament; whereof many make manifold constructions, but they are all conjectural.
Michtam of David, to teach ] The Hebrews have a proverb, Lilmod lelammed, Men must, therefore, learn that they may teach. David here imparteth what he had learned of God’s goodness; and would teach others, especially when they go to war, as Jdg 3:2 2 Samuel 1:18 , to call upon God, and to lean upon his promises; as himself had done with singular success.
When he strove with Aram-naharaim ] Cum rixaretur, contenderet. Mesopotamia, called here Aram-naharaim, lay between those two famous rivers, Euphrates and Tigris; and so seemeth to have been a part of that earthly paradise, Genesis 2:10-14 , whereof since Adam’s fall and Noah’s flood, cecidit rosa, mansit spina, saith one, the rose is gone, the thorn only remaineth. A country fruitful beyond belief, as Herodotus hath it; but inhabited by such as here joined with the Ammonites and other enemies of the Church; and were, therefore, sought by David, and at length vanquished. See 1 Chronicles 19:1-19 .
And with Aram-zobah ] Or, Coelesyria, whereof Damascus was the metropolis.
When Joab returned ] sc. From the slaughter of the Syrians.
And smote of Edom ] That is, of the Edomites, who had set upon Israel in the south, when Joab with the army was fighting against the Syrians in the east. Joab, therefore, at his return took them to do; and slew twelve thousand, after that Abishai had first slain six thousand of them, all which eighteen thousand are said to have been slain by David, as being Rex et Radix victoriae, saith Kimchi, the king and root of the victory, 2 Samuel 8:13 .
In the valley of Salt ] Where Abraham had once fought with the four victorious kings, Genesis 14:9 ; Genesis 14:14-15 , and afterwards Amaziah with the Edomites. likewise slaying ten thousand, 2 Kings 14:7 , In the midst of these conflicts and bustles David is thought to have written this psalm, together with Psalms 44:1-26 Psalms 108:1-13
Ver. 1. O God, thou hast cast us off ] Some gather from this sad complaint that David was sometimes worsted in these wars, though it be not particularly so recorded in the Scriptures (Aben Ezra). Dubia est martis alea, Kοινος ενυαλιος , 2 Samuel 11:25 ; the best cause hath not always the best success, Judges 20:21 ; Judges 20:25 . Others think that the psalmist here complaineth of the sad condition of the Israelites after that Saul was slain in Mount Gilboa, and the Philistines tyrannized at their pleasure, 1 Samuel 21:7 . Whereupon also followed these civil dissensions and seditions, while some of the tribes set up Ishbosheth, and others went after David. These miseries he here mentioneth the rather that God’s goodness in the present settlement of the kingdom might the better appear. Hence most interpreters read the words in the preterpluperfect, Thou hadst cast us off, thou hadst scattered us, &c.; but now it is well with us for the present, and better yet it will be.
Psa 60:2 Thou hast made the earth to tremble; thou hast broken it: heal the breaches thereof; for it shaketh.
Ver. 2. Thou hast made the earth to tremble ] By sundry fearful and dismal fractions and concussions in our state.
Thou hast broken it ] In allusion to earthquakes.
Heal the breaches thereof ] Remedy the disorders, and cure the diseases, like a good physician. The Greeks call a king αναξ αβ ακος , Medela from his healing office; God is Jehovah, the physician, the Sun of righteousness hath healing under his wings.
For it shaketh ] Nutat ac mox ruitura videtur it will surely down if not timely shored up.
Psa 60:3 Thou hast shewed thy people hard things: thou hast made us to drink the wine of astonishment.
Ver. 3. Thou hast showed thy people hard things ] God will be sure to plough his own ground, whatsoever becometh of the waste; and to weed his own garden, though the rest of the world should be let alone to grow wild.
Thou hast made us to drink the wine of astonishment ] Vinum vacillationis, we are intoxicated with our afflictions, according to that, Deuteronomy 28:28 ; Deuteronomy 28:34 , we are drunk with them, or rather mad, and put quite besides all faith and hope in a manner, Fuimus obstupefacti tanquam venefica potione.
Psa 60:4 Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah.
Ver. 4. Thou hast given a banner ] All the forementioned had formerly befallen them, but now it began to be better, the scene to be altered, banners erected, and displayed in token of victory, and for a singular sign of God s favour, in that juncture of time and deplored condition of theirs.
Because of the truth. Selah ] Heb. From the face of the truth, that is, with reference to thy promises, which thou failest not to fulfil.
Psa 60:5 That thy beloved may be delivered; save [with] thy right hand, and hear me.
Ver. 5. That thy beloved may be delivered ] Heb. thy darlings, those that fear thee, Psalms 60:4 , for, for their sakes it is that God doth good to a people; to all others he seemeth to say, as Elisha once did to Jehoram, that wicked king of Israel, What have I to do with thee? &c. Were it not that I regarded such and such people, I would not look toward thee, nor see thee, 2 Kings 3:13-14 .
Save with thy right hand ] Heb. Save thy right hand, which seemeth to be afflicted together with us; because the enemies say, he cannot save us; thus Kimchi expoundeth it.
Psa 60:6 God hath spoken in his holiness; I will rejoice, I will divide Shechem, and mete out the valley of Succoth.
Ver. 6. God hath spoken in his holiness ] He hath assured me all these following places; therefore I looked upon them long since as already mine, and now I am master of them.
I will rejoice ] As having peaceable possession of all; though I have come hardly by it. Now I see that whatsoever God by his servant Samuel assured me of, was true, and to be trusted; albeit I sometimes doubted of it, Psalms 116:11 1 Samuel 27:1 .
I will divide Shechem, and mete out the valley of Succoth ] Which places, though they longest held out against me under Ishbosheth, yet now that they are come in, they shall have civil usage under me, and be better dealt with than those outland enemies, Moab, Edom, &c., now brought under my subjection.
Psa 60:7 Gilead [is] mine, and Manasseh [is] mine; Ephraim also [is] the strength of mine head; Judah [is] my lawgiver;
Ver. 7. Gilead is mine and Manasseh ] These countries on the other side of Jordan the Syrians haply had gotten, and now David had recovered them.
Ephraim also is the strength of my head ] Because a populous and potent tribe. Junius thinks David here alludeth to that of Moses in his blessing of this tribe, Deuteronomy 33:17 ; as in the next words to that of Jacob, Genesis 49:10 .
Judah is my lawgiver ] There, viz. at Jerusalem, sitteth the Synedrion, Numbers 11:16 , and there is my sovereign court of justice, Psalms 122:5 , and of that tribe, Christ, the great lawgiver of his Church, shall spring.
Psa 60:8 Moab [is] my washpot; over Edom will I cast out my shoe: Philistia, triumph thou because of me.
Ver. 8. Moab is my wash pot ] A pot wherein to wash my feet, a vessel of dishonour, such as at my pleasure I will break in pieces, Psalms 2:9 ; and such as I reserve of them alive, shall be my scullions and underlings, glad to do my drudgery. Non vas coquendi carnes, sed lavandi pedes (Kimchi).
Over Edom I will cast out my shoe ] i.e. Walk through their country as a conqueror; or, I will tread them under my feet; or, I will throw my shoe at the heads of them, and make them to take it up; or, I will make no more of subduing them, than of casting my shoe over them. Exutos mihi calceos et in ipsorum caput proiectos attollere iubebo (Beza).
Philistia, triumph thou because of me ] i.e. Cry me up for thy king; Si velis, et videas quid in extremum eveniet, saith Kimchi. Or, triumph thou over me (by an irony) as thou lately didst over Saul and his sons in Mount Gilboa; and as since that time thou camest forth to seek me, but wentest home again by weeping cross.
Psa 60:9 Who will bring me [into] the strong city? who will lead me into Edom?
Ver. 9. Who will bring me into the strong city? ] Into Rabbah of the Ammonites, which at length he got, 2 Samuel 12:29-31 , and now wisheth for. Kimchi readeth it in the perfect tense, Who has led me into the strong cities? who has brought me into Edom? Hast not thou, O God? &c.
Psalms 60:10 [Wilt] not thou, O God, [which] hadst cast us off? and [thou], O God, [which] didst not go out with our armies?
Ver. 10. Wilt not thou, O God? ] Or, hast not thou, &c. The glory of all victories is to be given to God in solidum. Strong cities are nothing, when he will have them subdued, and sacked.
Which hadst cast us off ] See Psalms 44:9 . The Church’s prosperity, like checker work, is intermingled with adversity.
Psa 60:11 Give us help from trouble: for vain [is] the help of man.
Ver. 11. Give us help from trouble ] Give it us whensoever we need it; as hitherto thou very graciously hast done.
For vain is the help of man ] As they had lately experimented in Saul, a king of their own choosing, but not able to save them from those proud Philistines. No more could the Romans the Britons, oppressed by their northern enemies. They sent Aetius, the Roman praefect of Gaul, and thus complained to him: The barbarous enemy beateth us to the sea, the sea beateth us back to the enemy; between these two kinds of deaths we are either murdered or drowned (Dan. Chron.). But their implorations prevailed not; for Aetius at that time had enough to do to keep his own head, and Valentinian, the empire. The saint’s comfort is, that where human help faileth Divine beginneth, as Philo told his countrymen, when rejected by Caius the emperor.
Psa 60:12 Through God we shall do valiantly: for he [it is that] shall tread down our enemies.
Ver. 12. Through God we shall do valiantly ] Faciemus militiam, some render it, and it is true of the spiritual warfare also; we shall be more than conquerors, even triumphers, 2 Corinthians 2:14 . Meminisse oportet ista nunc esse ad spirituales Ecclesiae hastes potius quam adversus armatas terra capias referenda, saith Beza, in his argument and use of this psalm.
He it is that shall tread down our enemies ] Corporal and spiritual; this is a part of Christ’s kingly office, to the which he will not be wanting. Psalmus hic est de Messia imperante, sicut David, saith Kimchi, out of Derash Rabboth. This psalm is concerning Messiah reigning, as David did.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 60". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 13 / Ordinary 18