New European Commentary


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Deeper Commentary

Psa 108:1 A Song. A Psalm by David- Psalm 108 is very similar to Psalm 60, which is a prayer at the time of the war with Edom. There were some reverses in that campaign, lamented in Ps. 44,60. But here we have the song of final praise for the victory, although remembering the reverses suffered.

My heart is steadfast, God. I will sing and I will make music with my soul-
Literally, 'made steadfast'. David had earlier understood that for the humble and righteous, God can "prepare their heart" (Ps. 10:17). This is evidence enough that God works directly upon the human heart and psychology, which He does today through the work of His Spirit upon the human spirit. For it is men who must prepare their heart in prayer and relationship toward God (s.w. 2 Chron.  12:14; Job 11:13; Ps. 7:9). But God can also do this for the humble. Hence David later asks God to create in him a 'prepared' heart (s.w. Ps. 51:10). And God heard; for the same phrase is used of how God 'prepared' or (AV) "fixed" / NEV 'made steadfast' his heart (Ps. 57:7; 108:1; 112:7). In allusion to this, Solomon was to later reflect that God can direct or 'prepare' (s.w.) the heart of man, even if he is thinking to direct his steps elsewhere (Prov.  16:9).

Psa 108:2 Wake up, harp and lyre! I will wake up the dawn-
Or as AV "I myself will awake early". The Psalms continually stress the importance of starting each day with the Lord; David gives the impression his heart was bursting with praise as he awoke, and he instinctively wanted to grab his harp and play and sing praise.

Psa 108:3 I will give thanks to You, Yahweh, among the nations, I will sing praises to You among the peoples-
How did David achieve his aim of praising Yahweh to the surrounding nations, as a means of witness to them of the God of Israel? Surely through his Psalms being distributed as popular music to them.

Psa 108:4 For Your grace is great above the heavens, Your faithfulness reaches to the skies-
The Psalm is praising God for the victorious campaign against Edom. But as noted on :1 and on the related Ps. 60:9, there had at times been reverses in the campaign, because Israel hadn't been obedient to the covenant. And so David recognizes that the overall victory had been by Divine grace. Grace / mercy and truth / faithfulness often refer to the Abrahamic covenant. He recognizes that victory over enemies was because of God's covenant faithfulness; even though at times they had broken that covenant.

Psa 108:5 Be exalted, God, above the heavens! Let Your glory be over all the earth-
The earth / eretz promised to Abraham was still largely in the hand of non-Israelites who were not in covenant with Yahweh. David's desire was that through his music ministry (see on :3), all the eretz would lift up Israel's God as exalted. There is surely nobody else recorded in the Old Testament who had such passion to witness to the Gentiles and convert them.

Psa 108:6 That Your beloved may be delivered, save with Your right hand, and answer us-
The parallel is in Ps. 60:5, which has the same words, but concludes "and answer us".  "The beloved of Yahweh" was Israel nationally (s.w. Dt. 33:12; Jer. 11:15; 12:7). But it was also David personally; a Psalm about David's personal deliverance is extended to all Israel. David saw himself as representative of God's people. It could be that Solomon is in view also; for his original name was Jedidiah (2 Sam. 12:25), 'the beloved of Yahweh', referred to in that way by David in Ps. 45:1. Perhaps Solomon was involved in the battle against the Edomites and David is asking for his son to be preserved.

Psa 108:7 God has spoken from His sanctuary: In triumph I will divide Shechem, and measure out the valley of Succoth-
Presumably there was a direct Divine communication from the sanctuary, perhaps through the mouth of Nathan, encouraging Israel to continue in the Edom campaign despite the reverses experienced (see on Ps. 44, 60). The idea of 'division' and 'measuring' is 'possession' and inheritance (as Josh. 18:10). The idea therefore is that Israel is God's, and He had given it to Israel for inheritance; therefore those seeking to take it from them would be defeated. Perhaps Succoth and Shechem are mentioned because of their connections with Jacob, mentioned together in Gen. 33:17,18. As He had been with Jacob, despite allowing him to experience many setbacks and near defeats, so He would be with the later seed of Israel.

Psa 108:8 Gilead is mine. Manasseh is mine. Ephraim also is my helmet. Judah is my sceptre-
The emphasis is that the land belongs to God, it "is Mine"; therefore those seeking to take it from God's people. would be defeated. Gilead and Manasseh represent the territory east of the Jordan; and Ephraim and Judah refer to the tribes west of the Jordan. The territories east of the Jordan just as much were God's as those to the west of it; for the Edomites were seeking to take firstly the Israelite territory east of the Jordan.

Psa 108:9 Moab is my wash pot, I will toss my sandal on Edom, I will shout over Philistia-
They were to become subservient to Yahweh. And that could imply that the hope was that they would accept Him as their God. For that was what conquered peoples usually did. David had earlier shouted in triumph over the Philistines when he slew Goliath; and that was to prepare him for this later victory. Circumstances repeat in our lives because they are under God's control.

Psa 108:10 Who will bring me into the fortified city? Who has led me to Edom?-
"Strong city" can mean the fortified, strengthened city under siege (2 Kings 25:2 s.w.). The reference may be to Sela or Petra, Edom's capital, which claimed to be fortified against any invader (Obadiah 3).

Psa 108:11 Haven’t You rejected us, God? You don’t go forth, God, with our armies-
The Psalm is clearly related to Ps. 44, which appears to be a comment upon a temporary set back and defeat during this campaign against Edom. But despite this, the Psalm glorifies how God had come through for His people, despite the temporary reverses. So this comment that God has rejected them would be looking back to how they once felt; for this Psalm is a victory song over Edom after defeating them as it is so similar to Ps. 60 (see on Ps. 60:1).

Psa 108:12 Give us help against the enemy, for the help of man is vain-
Perhaps a reference to some attempt to hire mercenaries to help them in the campaign against Edom.

Psa 108:13 Through God we will do valiantly, for it is He who will tread down our enemies
- David sees in the victory against Edom a guarantee that God will give them victory against future adversaries. This could be argued to be over interpretation; because as noted on Ps. 60:9, Divine blessing was related to whether Israel kept the covenant or not. And David seems to fail to emphasize this conditional element in God's help, just as he downplayed it in his enthusiasm to see Solomon as the fulfilment of the promised Messianic seed. And this led to Solomon's arrogance and spiritual collapse.