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60. Psalm 60

O God, thou hast cast us off, thou hast scattered us, thou hast been displeased; O turn thyself to us again.

2Thou hast made the earth to tremble; thou hast broken it: heal the breaches thereof; for it shaketh.

3Thou hast shewed thy people hard things: thou hast made us to drink the wine of astonishment.

4Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah.

5That thy beloved may be delivered; save with thy right hand, and hear me.

6God hath spoken in his holiness; I will rejoice, I will divide Shechem, and mete out the valley of Succoth.

7Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine; Ephraim also is the strength of mine head; Judah is my lawgiver;

8Moab is my washpot; over Edom will I cast out my shoe: Philistia, triumph thou because of me.

9Who will bring me into the strong city? who will lead me into Edom?

10 Wilt not thou, O God, which hadst cast us off? and thou, O God, which didst not go out with our armies?

11Give us help from trouble: for vain is the help of man.

12Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies.

6. God hath spoken in his holiness; I will rejoice. Hitherto he has adverted to the proofs which had come under their own observation, and from which they might easily see that God had manifested his favor in a manner new, and for many years unprecedented. He had raised the nation from a state of deep distress to prosperity, and had changed the aspect of affairs so far, that one victory was following another in rapid succession. But now he calls their attention to a point of still greater importance, the divine promise — the fact that God had previously declared all this with his own mouth. However numerous and striking may be the practical demonstrations we receive of the favor of God, we can never recognize them, except in connection with his previously revealed promise. What follows, although spoken by David as of himself individually, may be considered as the language adopted by the people generally, of whom he was the political head. Accordingly, he enjoins them, provided they were not satisfied with the sensible proofs of divine favor, to reflect upon the oracle by which he had been made king in terms the most distinct and remarkable. 389389     “Cum praeclaris elogiis.” — Lat. Amplified in the French version as follows: — “l’ornant de titres excellens, et lui faisant des promesses authentiques.” He says that God had spoken in his holiness, not by his Holy Spirit, as some, with an over-refinement of interpretation, have rendered it, nor by his holy place, the sanctuary; 390390     This is the reading of Mudge, Street, Archbishop Secker, and Morrison. “Should not the word be read, in his sanctuary? whence the divine oracles were issued forth. David, having received a favorable answer, perhaps by Urim and Thummim, delivers himself in a strain of the fullest confidence of victory over his enemies.” — Dimock. for we read of no response having been given from it to the prophet Samuel. It is best to retain the term holiness, as he adverts to the fact of the truth of the oracle having been confirmed, and the constancy and efficacy of the promise having been placed beyond all doubt by numerous proof, of a practical kind. As no room had been left for question upon the point, he employs this epithet to put honor upon the words which had been spoken by Samuel. He immediately adds, that this word of God was the chief ground upon which he placed his trust. It might be true that he had gained many victories, and that these had tended to encourage his heart; but he intimates, that no testimony which he had received of this kind gave him so much satisfaction as the word. This accords with the general experience of the Lord’s people. Cheered, as they unquestionably are, by every expression of the divine goodness, still faith must ever be considered as holding the highest place — as being that which dissipates their worst sorrows, and quickens them even when dead to a happiness which is not of this world. Nor does David mean that he merely rejoiced himself. He includes, in general, all who feared the Lord in that Kingdom. And now he proceeds to give the sum of the oracle, which it is observable that he does in such a way as to show, in the very narration of it, how firmly he believed in its truth: for he speaks of it as something which admitted of no doubt whatsoever, and boasts that he would do what God had promised. I will divide Shechem, he says, and mete out the valley of Succoth 391391     Shechem lay in Samaria, and, therefore, by it the whole of Samaria may be intended. The valley of Succoth, or booths, received its name from Jacob’s making booths, and feeding his cattle there. (See Genesis 33:17, 18.) It lay beyond the Jordan, and it may be employed to designate the whole of that district of country. Though Samaria, and the country beyond the Jordan, were now in the hands of the enemy, yet David anticipates the time when he would gain complete and absolute possession of them, which he expresses by dividing, and meting them out. The allusion is to the dividing and measuring out of land; and it was a part of the power of a king to distribute his kingdom into cities and provinces, and to place judges and magistrates over them. The parts which he names are those that were more late of coming into his possession, and which would appear to have been yet in the hands of Saul’s son, when this psalm was written. A severe struggle being necessary for their acquisition, he asserts that, though late of being subdued, they would certainly be brought under his subjection in due time, as God had condescended to engage this by his word. So with Gilead and Manasseh 392392     Gilead and Manasseh were beyond the Jordan. The tribe of Gad, which was in Gilead, was distinguished for its warlike valor. As Ephraim was the most populous of all the tribes, he appropriately terms it the strength of his head, that is, of his dominions. 393393     This tribe was also distinguished for its valor. (Deuteronomy 33:17; Psalm 78:9; see also Genesis 48:19.) To procure the greater credit to the oracle, by showing that it derived a sanction from antiquity, he adds, that Judah would be his lawgiver, or chief; which was equivalent to saying, that the posterity of Abraham could never prosper unless, in agreeableness to the prediction of the patriarch Jacob, they were brought under the government of Judah, or of one who was sprung from that tribe. He evidently alludes to what is narrated by Moses, (Genesis 49:10,) “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come.” The same word is there used, מחוקק, Mechokek, or legislator. It followed, that no government could stand which was not resident in the tribe of Judah, this being the decree and the good pleasure of God. The words are more appropriate in the mouth of the people than of David; and, as already remarked, he does not speak in his own name, but in that of the Church at large.


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