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Wednesday, December 6th, 2023
the First Week of Advent
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 108

The Expositor's Bible CommentaryThe Expositor's Bible Commentary

Verses 1-13

Two fragments of Davidic psalms are here tacked together with slight variations. Psalms 108:1-5 are from Psalms 57:7-11; Psalms 108:6-13 from Psalms 60:5-12. The return from Babylon would be an appropriate occasion for thus revivifying ancient words. We have seen in preceding psalms that Israel’s past drew the thoughts of the singers of that period, and the conjecture may be hazarded that the recent deliverance suggested to some devout man, whose mind was steeped in the songs of former days, the closeness with which old strains suited new joys. If so, there is pathetic meaning in the summons to the "psaltery and harp," which had hung silent on the willows of Babylon so long, to wake their ancient minstrelsy once more, as well as exultant Confidence that the God who had led David to victory still leads His people. The hopes of conquest in the second part, the consciousness that while much has been achieved by God’s help, much still remains to be won before Israel can sit secure, the bar or two in the minor key in Psalms 108:11, which heighten the exultation of the rest of the song, and the cry for help against adversaries too strong for Israel’s unassisted might, are all appropriate to the early stages of the return.

The variations from the original psalms are of slight moment. In Psalms 108:1 the reduplication of the clause "Steadfast is my heart" is omitted, and "my glory" is detached from Psalms 108:2, where it stands in Psalms 57:1-11, and is made a second subject, equivalent to "I". In Psalms 108:3 a Jehovah is substituted for Lord, and the copula "and" prefixed to b. Psalms 108:4 is not improved by the change of "unto the heavens" to "above the heavens," for an anticlimax is produced by following "above the heavens" with "unto the clouds."

In the second part, the only change affecting the sense is in Psalms 108:9, where the summons to Philistia to "shout aloud because of me," which is probably meant in sarcasm, is transformed into the plain expression of triumph, "Over Philistia will I shout aloud." The other changes are "me" for "us" in Psalms 108:6, the omission of "and" before "mine Manasseh" in Psalms 108:8, the substitution of a more usual synonym for "fenced" in Psalms 108:10, and the omission of the pronoun "Thou" in Psalms 108:11.

Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Psalms 108". "The Expositor's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/teb/psalms-108.html.
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