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the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 108

Whedon's Commentary on the BibleWhedon's Commentary


A Song or Psalm of David.

This psalm is composed of parts of two others. Psalms 108:1-5 are borrowed from Psalms 57:7-11, and Psalms 108:6-13 from Psalms 60:5-12. The variation is so inconsiderable that it is difficult to perceive the motive of such a poet as David in thus borrowing from himself; hence some have supposed the psalm was thus constructed by a later hand, on the return of the Babylonian exiles, or in the time of the Maccabees on some occasion of trouble with Edom and Philistia. But this is wholly improbable; if for no other reason, because the writer everywhere speaks in his own person a purely Davidic trait. The psalm before us speaks a more hopeful language, a calmer trust, than Psalms 60:0, and might have been prepared in its present form by David later in the same general occasion, when his affairs had taken a more hopeful aspect. It would have been but natural for him, in such a case, to prefix to its material and military form the language of his own heart under a former trial not less severe. Thus, after Joab had fought the first battle in the “Valley of Salt” the southern el-Ghor, (see on title of Psalms 60:0,) let us suppose Abishai (see 2 Samuel 8:13; 1 Chronicles 18:12) to have followed with a more decisive victory further south, in the same great valley, (here called el-Arabah,) by which he obtained command of the mountain passes leading to Selah, (Petra,) the capital, from the west; or, finding these impracticable, he might pass up the Ghoeyr, the wide plain which cuts the eastern mountains about thirty miles south of the Dead Sea, between Djebel ( mountains) on the north, and Djebel Shera, the Edomitish mountains, on the south, and march south along the great road from Shobak to Akabah on the summits of the mountains, which, says Robinson, “are without precipices;” “a road,” says Burckhardt, “tolerably good, and might easily be rendered practicable even for artillery.” This would have led them to the vicinity of Petra on the east. Or, diverging eastward before reaching Petra, they would have come to Eljy at Ain Mousa, which commanded the entrance of the famous Sik, or gorge, the only approach to the city for caravans from the east; “the most magnificent,” says Stanley, “beyond all doubt, which I have ever beheld; unquestionably the great glory of Petra.” But whether the army of Abishai could have safely entered into it is doubtful. The Sik is about a mile and a half in length, from twelve to forty-five feet wide, walled in by cliffs from eighty to two hundred and fifty feet high. Dr. James Strong thinks an army “would doubtless attack Petra on the north or south, entering from the Arabah up Wady Abizad, and so coming down the more gentle declivities in the direction of Mount Hor, or else by the extension of the Petra valley north.” The difficulty of approach occasioned the anxious cry of Psalms 108:10. On the city of Selah, see note on Psalms 60:9. For a literal idea of the strength and pride of Edom see Jeremiah 49:6, and Obadiah Psalms 108:3-4. On the hypothesis above given, the fall of the city being now certain, we might properly date Psalms 108:0 at the victory of Abishai, and Psalms 60:0 after the battle of Joab. The reader is referred to the notes on Psalms 57, 60 for the two parts of the present psalm. We shall here notice only a few variations from the originals.

Verse 1

1. Even with my glory Or, Yea, my glory; that is, in my proper rank and renown as king and conqueror. David rouses all his powers of person and office to the delightful duty of praise. In Psalms 57:8, it is joined to the imperative, “Awake up, my glory.” In Genesis 49:6, “glory,” or honour, is used as a synonyme of soul, but generally of rank, honour, as Psalms 4:2; Psalms 7:5

Verse 3

3. Lord Jehovah; in Psalms 57:9, אדני , ( Adonah,) Lord.

Verse 5

5. Above the heavens For unto the heavens. Psalms 57:10

Verse 9

9. Over Philistia will I triumph The declarative, here, instead of the imperative, as Psalms 60:8. Here the psalmist confidently predicts that he will shout as a victor over Philistia; there, he calls upon Philistia to break out in the cry of a captive. See note there.

Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 108". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/whe/psalms-108.html. 1874-1909.
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