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Bible Commentaries

Peake's Commentary on the Bible

Psalms 60


Psalms 42-83 are Elohistic, i.e. they use the word God (Elohim) and avoid the proper name Yahweh, probably from motives of reverence. Here and there, however, the name Yahweh has crept into the text by a natural slip of the scribes.

Verses 1-12

LX. This Ps. really consists of two bound together in an abrupt style. In A, i.e. in Psalms 60:1-5; Psalms 60:10 b, Psalms 60:11 f. we have a lament over the desperate condition of Israel, though the Psalmist is driven by his despair to renewed trust in God. In B ( Psalms 60:6-10 a) the tone is quite different. Appeal is made to a Divine oracle and the poet exults in the confidence that Israel will recover its possessions and utterly subdue Moab and Edom. The whole of B recurs in Psalms 108:7-11 a: so also does the conclusion of Ps., viz. in Psalms 60:11-12.

LX. A was written in a time of such depression that the very earth seemed to be shaken by the calamities of the Jews. Beyond this there is no indication of date. With 60 B it is different. According to its most natural interpretation the oracle predicts the complete recovery of territory lost, and now at least partially regained. It is, therefore, not a mere summary of Joshua’ s conquests. Nor can it be Davidic. David did not, so far as we know, fight for the complete recovery of central, southern, and eastern Palestine. It must have been composed after the captivity of N. Israel in 721, and that being granted we must go down to the Maccabean period, since then for the first time after the Exile Judah possessed an army of its own and led it against N. Israel. But we cannot determine the precise point in the Maccabean wars which the poet has in mind.

LX. A.— Psalms 60:3 . Translate with slight emendation, “ Thou hast drenched us with hard things.”— wine of staggering, a common metaphor in Heb. (see, e.g., Isaiah 51:17, Jeremiah 25:15-17). The writer means misfortunes which bewilder, like excess of wine which robs a man of his senses.

Psalms 60:4 . Read mg.

Psalms 60:10 . The continuation of Psalms 60:1-5 in Psalms 60:10 b is, “ Thou hast cast us off and goest not forth, O God, with our armies.”

LX. B. The anthropomorphism is very remarkable if the very words of the oracle are given. But another interpretation is possible: “ God hath spoken in His holy place,” i.e. the Temple. Therefore the Jewish general, or the poet identifying himself with him, breaks forth into a song of triumph and anticipates victory. Ephraim and Shechem were in the centre of Palestine, the latter being the seat of Samaritan worship. So also was a part of Manasseh; Gilead and Succoth are on the E. of Jordan. The victories anticipated are quite unlike those ascribed to Joshua and are wholly unlike those of David.

Psalms 60:7 . sceptre: translate “ marshal’ s staff” ( cf. Genesis 49:10).

Psalms 60:8 . The poet passes to Israel’ s ancient foes. Moab is to be like the slave who presents the bason for the washing of his master’ s feet: Edom a slave who removes the dusty shoes ( cf. Mark 1:7).

Psalms 60:10 . In the first words of Psalms 60:10 and the last of Psalms 60:9 we have the end of Psalms 60 B, “ who leads me into the strong city?” ( i.e. Bozrah, with a play on the meaning of the name, viz. “ stronghold” ) “ Is it not thou, O God” ? But there was, no doubt, a fuller close, now lost.

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Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Psalms 60". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". 1919.