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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 108

Utley's You Can Understand the BibleUtley Commentary


Psalms 108:0


God Praised and Supplicated to Give VictoryMT IntroA Song, A Psalm of DavidAssurance of God's Victory Over EnemiesA Liturgy of Prayer for Victory Over National EnemiesA Prayer for Help Against EnemiesMorning Hymn and National Prayer
Psalms 108:1-6Psalms 108:1-4Psalms 108:1-4Psalms 108:1-4Psalms 108:1-2
Psalms 108:3-4
Psalms 108:5-6Psalms 108:5-6Psalms 108:5-6Psalms 108:5
Psalms 108:6
Psalms 108:7-9Psalms 108:7-9Psalms 108:7-9Psalms 108:7-9Psalms 108:7
Psalms 108:8
Psalms 108:9
Psalms 108:10-13Psalms 108:10-13Psalms 108:10-13Psalms 108:10-13Psalms 108:10-11
Psalms 108:12-13

READING CYCLE THREE (see “Guide to Good Bible Reading”)


This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects (reading cycle #3). Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Etc.


A. Psalms 108:1-5 is taken from Psalms 57:7-11.

B. Psalms 108:6-13 is taken from Psalms 60:5-12.

C. For the exegetical details see the full notes online at Psalms 57:0 and 60.

Verses 1-6

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 108:1-6 1My heart is steadfast, O God; I will sing, I will sing praises, even with my soul. 2Awake, harp and lyre; I will awaken the dawn! 3I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the peoples, And I will sing praises to You among the nations. 4For Your lovingkindness is great above the heavens, And Your truth reaches to the skies. 5Be exalted, O God, above the heavens, And Your glory above all the earth. 6That Your beloved may be delivered, Save with Your right hand, and answer me!

Psalms 108:1a “steadfast” This verb (BDB 465, KB 464, Niphal participle) denotes a life of faith and faithfulness (cf. Psalms 57:8 [twice]; Psalms 112:7) to God's right path (cf. Psalms 16:11; Psalms 139:24). An example of someone who is not steadfast is given in Psalms 78:37.

The LXX, Peshitta, and Vulgate repeat the phrase, which shows that some assimilation between this Psalm and Psalms 57:7-11 has occurred.


Psalms 108:1-3 The characteristics of a steadfast heart are

1. I will sing - BDB 1010, KB 1479, Qal cohortative

2. I will sing praises - BDB 274, KB 273, Piel cohortative

3. I will awaken the dawn - BDB 734, KB 802, Hiphil cohortative

4. I will give thanks - BDB 392, KB 389, Hiphil imperfect used in a cohortative sense

5. I will sing praises - same as #2

Psalms 108:1b

NASB“even with my soul” NKJV“even with my glory” NRSV“awake my soul” TEV“wake up my soul” NJB“come my glory”

The NKJV is literal but NRSV, TEV, and NJB use the parallel in Psalms 57:8 to add the third use of the verb “awake” (BDB 734, KB 802), which appears twice in the MT.

See SPECIAL TOPIC: GLORY (DOXA). Here the word (BDB 458) is used of the psalmist's being (i.e., nephesh). This use of the term “glory” occurs in Psalms 7:5; Psalms 16:9; Psalms 30:12; Psalms 57:8.

The NET Bible (p. 979) suggests an emendation from כבוד (BDB 458) to “my life,” כבד (lit. “liver”, BDB 458). It makes reference to AB, p. 94, but AB uses the quote by Anath to explain the verb “exalt” used by YHWH and not as a support for the suggested emendation.

Psalms 108:3 Notice the praise of YHWH extends to

1. the peoples

2. the nations

3. all the earth (cf. Psalms 108:5b

The universal element so characteristic of the previous Psalms continues! YHWH is the one true God, the only Creator, the only Savior. See Special Topic: Monotheism.

Psalms 108:4

NASB“lovingkindness” NKJV, LXX“Mercy” NRSV“steadfast love” TEV“covenant love” NJB“faithful love” JPSOA“faithfulness” REB“unfailing love”

This is the special covenant noun (hesed) that described YHWH's faithfulness to His promises. Mankind's ultimate hope is in the merciful and faithful character of God! See SPECIAL TOPIC: LOVINGKINDNESS (HESED).

“above the heavens” Notice the parallel with the next two lines. YHWH's lovingkindness and truth (see Special Topic: Believe, Trust, Faith and Faithfulness in the OT) reach above the heavens. Yea, YHWH Himself reaches above the physical creation (Psalms 108:5). The “heavens” are the atmosphere above the earth, not YHWH's dwelling place. See SPECIAL TOPIC: HEAVEN and Special Topic: The Third Heaven.

Psalms 108:5 “glory” See note at Psalms 108:1.

Psalms 108:6 “Your beloved” Here, this refers to the covenant people (cf. Psalms 60:5; Psalms 127:2; Jeremiah 11:15). It came to be a title for the Messiah (especially from the Servant Songs of Isaiah, i.e., Isaiah 42:1). YHWH refers to Jesus by this title

1. at His baptism - Matthew 3:17

2. in a quote from Isaiah - Matthew 12:18

3. at His transfiguration - Matthew 17:5

It later becomes a title of family endearment for those who follow Jesus (i.e., Romans 1:7; Colossians 3:12; 1 Thessalonians 1:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:13).

The first strophe has several imperatives.

1. awake, harp and lyre, Psalms 108:2 - BDB 734, KB 802, Qal

2. be exalted, O God, Psalms 108:5 - BDB 926, KB 1202, Qal

3. save, Psalms 108:6 - BDB 446, KB 448, Hiphil

4. answer, Psalms 108:6 - BDB 772, KB 851, Qal

Number 3 and 4 are prayer requests. Numbers 1:0 and 2 are related to praise.

Verses 7-9

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 108:7-9 7God has spoken in His holiness: “I will exult, I will portion out Shechem And measure out the valley of Succoth. 8Gilead is Mine, Manasseh is Mine; Ephraim also is the helmet of My head; Judah is My scepter. 9Moab is My washbowl; Over Edom I shall throw My shoe; Over Philistia I will shout aloud.”

Psalms 108:7-9 YHWH is speaking (several cohortatives) from His temple (lit. “sanctuary”) about His ownership of Canaan. This strophe is from Psalms 60:6-8. Some of the strophes became slogans, catchphrases, or liturgy.

Psalms 108:8 “Judah is My scepter” This is an allusion to Jacob's blessing of his children in Genesis 49:0, especially Genesis 49:10. This is also mentioned in Numbers 24:17 (cf. Psalms 60:7).

Verses 10-13

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: Psalms 108:10-13 10Who will bring me into the besieged city? Who will lead me to Edom? 11Have not You Yourself, O God, rejected us? And will You not go forth with our armies, O God? 12Oh give us help against the adversary, For deliverance by man is in vain. 13Through God we will do valiantly, And it is He who shall tread down our adversaries.

Psalms 108:10-13 Because YHWH is the owner and controller of the Promised Land (i.e., Canaan), surely He will not allow His people to be defeated and displaced!

Psalms 108:10 “the besieged city” The MT has “fortified city” (BDB 747 construct BDB 131). This may refer to the city of Bozrah because Edom is mentioned in the next line of poetry. Bozrah (BDB 131 II) is from the same Hebrew root as “city” or “fortification” (BDB 131, see IVP Bible Background Commentary, p. 551).

Psalms 108:11 The covenant people were defeated in battle (cf. Psalms 44:9) because YHWH did not accompany them. The ark was carried into battle as a symbol of YHWH's personal presence with the soldiers. But if His people had proved unfaithful to the covenant, He would not give them the victory.

Psalms 108:12 This is an acknowledgment that Israel's only hope is YHWH. Their military might and battle strategies cannot bring victory, only YHWH can!


This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought provoking, not definitive.

1. Who are the two speakers in this Psalm?

2. What other Psalms does this one draw from?

3. What is Psalms 108:7-9 trying to communicate?

4. What major truths are expressed in Psalms 108:11-12?

Bibliographical Information
Utley. Dr. Robert. "Commentary on Psalms 108". "Utley's You Can Understand the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ubc/psalms-108.html. 2021.
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