There is here celebrated the grace and truth of God in having, according to his promise that he would be the protector of the city of Jerusalem, defended it by his wonderful power against enemies, who were renowned for their warlike valor, and well equipped with everything requisite for war.1
To the chief musician upon Neginoth. A Psalm of Asaph. A Song.
This psalm, it is probable, was composed after the death of David; and, accordingly, some think that what is here described is that deliverance of the Jews from the Ammonites which took place in the reign of king Jehoshaphat. But I am rather inclined to adopt a different opinion, and to refer the psalm to that deliverance which they obtained from the Assyrians, recorded in 2 Kings 19. The Assyrians, under the conduct of Sennacherib, not only invaded Judea, but also made a violent assault upon the city of Jerusalem, the capital of the kingdom. The result of this is well known. They were compelled to raise the siege by the miraculous interference of God, who in one night destroyed that army with dreadful slaughter by the hand of his angel, (2 Kings 19:35.)2 Hence the prophet, not inappropriately, affirms that God broke the arrows, the swords, and the shields. The point, however, which is chiefly necessary to be known and attended to is, that the continual care of God in defending the Church, which he has chosen, is here celebrated to encourage the faithful without any doubt or hesitation to glory in his protection.
1 The inscription prefixed to the psalm in the Septuagint expressly mentions this as the occasion of its composition, Wdh< pro<v to<n Assu>rion; "An ode against the Assyrian." If in this the version of the LXX. is correct, and if Asaph, to whom the psalm is ascribed, was the person of that name who lived in the time of David, one of his compositions must have been adopted as suitably descriptive of this remarkable deliverance. He may, however, have been a different person of the same name, and was probably one of his descendants, as has been before observed, (page 159,) who lived in the time of Hezekiah. Bishop Patrick and Calmet are of this last opinion. Those who adopt the former suppose that the original reference of the psalm was to the victory obtained by David over the Philistines in the valley of Rephaim.
2 "N'ont peu trouver leurs mains." -- Fr. "Have not been able to find their hands."