Psalm 60

Psalm 60
Israel Possessing Their Full Inheritance
Psalm 60. This is another Psalm of David, and it was intended to be played to Shushan (lily) of testimony. Like the preceding three, Psalm 60 is another Michtam Psalm, and also something that was to be taught to Israel. The historical context of the Psalm is given as, concerning David after he was made king “when he strove with the Syrians of Mesopotamia, and the Syrians of Zobah, and Joab returned, and smote the Edomites in the valley of salt, twelve thousand”. These events are recorded in 2 Samuel 8; 10 (c.p. 1 Kings 11:15; 1 Chron. 18:12). It was an occasion where David won a great victory over the nations that surround the land of Israel; Ammon, Syria, and Edom, etc. This forms an appropriate backdrop for the Psalm, which prophetically looks forward to the time when Israel will be led in a victorious conquest of their neighbors, and will take the full inheritance promises to Abraham. The prophecy that aligns with this Psalm perfectly is this: “But they shall fly upon the shoulder of the Philistines towards the west; together shall they spoil the sons of the east; they shall lay their hand upon Edom and Moab, and the children of Ammon shall obey them” (Isaiah 11:14). See Deuteronomy 11:24; Genesis 15:8. Notice again, like Psalm 59, that this Psalm anticipates the victory, but does not view it as accomplished yet. Note that vv.5-12 are repeated in Psalm 108. Perhaps in Psa. 60 these expressions are more anticipatory.
To the chief Musician. On Shushan. Testimony. Michtam of David; to teach: when he strove with the Syrians of Mesopotamia, and the Syrians of Zobah, and Joab returned, and smote the Edomites in the valley of salt, twelve thousand.
1 O God, thou hast cast us off, thou hast scattered us, thou hast been displeased: restore us again.
2 Thou hast made the earth to tremble, thou hast rent it: heal the breaches thereof; for it shaketh.
3 Thou hast shewn thy people hard things; thou hast made us to drink the wine of bewilderment.
vv.1-3 The Temporary Separation Acknowledged. Israel acknowledges that God has temporarily cast them off, scattering them through the persecution that they were facing in the great tribulation. They call on God to restore them again to their land. They survey their land, the land of Israel, which has been torn apart through the ravages of war. They ask God to heal their land. Then they reflect on the “hard things” that God has shown His people. They have been made to drink the “wine of bewilderment”, which expresses the consternation the remnant experienced at suffering such a great persecution, while at the same time drawing closer to Jehovah.
4 Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth, (Selah,)
5 That thy beloved ones may be delivered. Save with thy right hand, and answer me.
vv.4-5 Rallying the Assistance of God. The remnant feel confident in the deliverance from their enemies, God’s banner over them that will be displayed like an ensign by a victorious army. He will be Jehovah-Nissi – “The Lord my Banner” (Ex. 17:15). They view themselves as God’s “beloved ones” here on the earth, and they rally His strength, His “right hand”, to deliver them. The “me” here may be Christ personally.
6 God hath spoken in his holiness: I will exult, I will divide Shechem, and mete out the valley of Succoth.
7 Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine, and Ephraim is the strength of my head; Judah is my law-giver;
8 Moab is my wash-pot; upon Edom will I cast my sandal; Philistia, shout aloud because of me.
vv.6-8 Victory Over Surrounding Nations. Here we have the voice of Messiah Himself, as a captain over the remnant, leading them in triumph!1 God has already spoken (past tense), which may be an indication that Christ has appeared at this time. The land according to the original borders promised to Abraham will now be possessed by Israel. Shechem is west of Jordan, Succoth is east of Jordan. Gilead and Manasseh are to the east, Ephraim and Judah are to the west. Moab is to the east, Edom is to the southeast, and Philistia is to the southwest. Moab is to be Israel’s washpot, which means that they would be reduced to Israel’s menial servants. The expression “I will cast my sandal (or shoe)” is not only a derogatory expression upon Edom, but the statement of Israel possessing their land. God had told Israel “Every place whereon the sole of your foot shall tread shall be yours” (Deut. 11:24; Joshua 1:3). By throwing their shoe over Edom, they are acknowledging that God has given it to them as a possession.2 Israel will finally put down the Philistines; i.e. those who inhabit the Gaza strip.
9 Who will bring me into the strong city? who will lead me unto Edom?
10 Wilt not thou, O God, who didst cast us off? and didst not go forth, O God, with our armies?
11 Give us help from trouble; for vain is man’s deliverance.
12 Through God we shall do valiantly; and he it is that will tread down our adversaries. 
vv.9-12 Special Campaign Against Edom. There appears to be a special campaign against Edom, that old enemy whose bitterness and treachery comes up often through the prophets (see Obadiah). Edom dwells in Mount Seir, a fortress-mountain. The questions is, “who will lead me unto Edom?” God will, the same One who had previously cast them off, and did not go forth with Israel’s armies. Now He is with them! It will not be by their own strength, for “vain is man’s deliverance”.  But through God they shall “do valiantly”, and God will be victorious over their adversaries.
  1. The ‘me’ of vv. 5 and 9 seems Christ’s personal intercession on behalf of His people identifying Himself with them. – W. T. Whybrow. The Psalms.
  2. Anstey, B. Prophetic Outline of the Psalms. Christian Truth Publishing. Canada, 1988