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Bible Commentaries

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

Psalms 60

Verses 1-3

In the battle with the Arameans, Israel’s enemy overcame her temporarily. David viewed this defeat as punishment from the Lord. He called out in prayer for national restoration. Since God had allowed the defeat, He was the One who could reverse it.

Verses 1-5

1. A cry for deliverance in battle 60:1-5

Verses 1-12

Psalms 60

The occasion for this national (communal) lament psalm was Israel’s victory over the Arameans and the Edomites (cf. 2 Samuel 8:13; 1 Kings 11:15-16; 1 Chronicles 18:12). Naharaim (lit. rivers) and Zobah were regions in Aram. In this battle, Joab was responsible for defeating 12,000 Edomites (2 Samuel 8:13). Joab’s brother Abishai was the field commander, and the writer of Chronicles gave him the credit for the victory (1 Chronicles 18:12).

This is a didactic psalm according to the superscription. That is, David wrote it to teach the readers to trust in the Lord when they encountered similar difficulties.

Verse 4

Apparently, David meant that God had led His people into battle (given them a banner) only to let them fall before their enemy-in order to teach Israel a lesson.

Verse 5

David now requested divine deliverance for the chosen people. God’s right hand represents His might. Psalms 60:5-12 are identical to Psalms 108:6-13.

Verse 6

David quoted a prophecy that he had received assuring Israel’s military success. God had said He would give Shechem and the valley of Succoth to Israel. Shechem is the site west of the Jordan where God first promised Canaan to Abraham and his descendants (Genesis 12). It was also where Jacob lived after he returned to Canaan from Paddan-aram and Laban’s oppression (Genesis 33:18-20). Succoth was the place east of the Jordan where Jacob settled after God delivered him from Esau, when Jacob returned from Paddan-aram (Genesis 33:17). Both places had associations with past victories over Arameans and the fulfillment of God’s promises concerning the land. Used together, these places represent victory on both sides of the Jordan.

Verses 6-8

2. A reminder of assured victory 60:6-8

The preceding laments give way to a closing oracle.

Verse 7

Gilead was Israel’s promised territory east of the Jordan River. The tribal territory of Manasseh straddled the Jordan. Ephraim, west of the Jordan, was one of Israel’s strongest and most secure tribes. It lay in central western Canaan and was similar to a helmet in that it provided defense. God had promised Judah the right to rule the other tribes (Genesis 49:10), which the scepter symbolized.

Verse 8

Moab would serve God as a washbasin; namely, it would be reduced to the status of a servant. God’s people would experience purification there as they fought this neighbor. God would throw His shoe toward Edom as a man threw his shoe toward his servant when he came home. Evidently this was commonly done in the ancient Near East. The Edomites, like the Moabites, were God’s servants, not His sons in the same sense that the Israelites were. The NIV’s translation, "Over Philistia I shout in triumph," pictures God announcing David’s victory over the Arameans to this enemy.

Verses 9-10

David was confident in view of God’s promises to subdue Israel’s enemies and give her the Promised Land. He would lead the Israelites to ultimate victory, even though He had allowed them to suffer immediate defeat.

Verses 9-12

3. An expression of confidence in God 60:9-12

Verses 11-12

David acknowledged that victory had to come from God. The Israelites could not obtain it without His help. However, with His aid, they could and would overcome valiantly. [Note: See Allen, Rediscovering Prophecy, pp. 108-28.]

Both victory and defeat come from God. Consequently, believers should look to Him in both situations, and should rely on His supernatural strength and His covenant promises for success against their enemies.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Psalms 60". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". 2012.