That your beloved may be delivered; save with your right hand, and hear me.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Psalm 108:6-13.
(6, 7, 8) These three verses, forming the centre of the poem, are, plainly by their style, of different age and authorship from the beginning. Possibly, indeed, they formed an original poem by themselves, an ancient oracular saying descriptive of the relations of Israel to the tribes bordering on her territory, and were then employed by the compilers of this psalm and Psalms 108, to rouse the drooping spirits of the race in some less fortunate time. (See Introduction.) The speaker is God Himself, who, according to a familiar prophetic figure, appears in the character of a warrior, the captain of Israel, proclaiming the triumphs won through His might by their arms. (Comp. Isaiah 63:1-6.) Here, however, the picture is rather playful than terrible—rather ironic than majestic. The conqueror is returning, as in the passage of Isaiah referred to above, from the battle, but he is not painted “glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength.” The fury of the fight, the carnage, the bloodstained garments are all implied, not described. Instead of answering a challenge, as in Isaiah, by a description of the fight, here the champion simply proclaims the result of his victory as he proceeds to disarm and prepare for the bath—figures expressing the utmost contempt for the foe so easily subdued.
Save with thy right hand - The right hand is that by which the sword is handled, the spear hurled, the arrow drawn on the bow. The prayer is, that God would put forth his power and deliver his people.
And hear me - literally, Answer me. The answer which he desired was that God would lead his armies successfully into Edom, Psalm 60:8-9.Psalm 60:4, which makes so full a stop; rather they are to be considered in construction with the following clause. By the Lord's "beloved" ones are meant, not so much the people of Israel, who were loved and chosen by the Lord above all people on the face of the earth, as the elect of God, both among Jews and Gentiles, who are the chosen of God, and precious, and are loved of him with a free, sovereign, everlasting, and unchangeable love: these are the beloved of Father, Son, and Spirit; who, falling into a state of condemnation and death in Adam, and being under the power of sin, and involved in the guilt and faith of it; and being fallen into the hands of many enemies, sin, Satan, and the world; stood in need of deliverance out of all this, which they could not work out of themselves, nor any creature for them; wherefore, that they might be delivered, the following request is made;
save with thy right hand; from sin, the cause of damnation; from the law, which threatens with condemnation and death; from Satan, that would devour and destroy; and from all their enemies; from wrath to come, from hell and the second death; or from going down to the pit of corruption. The persons for whom this petition is put up are not only David himself, but all the beloved ones; and these God has appointed unto salvation; Christ is the Saviour of them, and to them salvation is applied in due time by the Spirit, and in a little while they will be in the full possession of it: and this is wrought out by the "right hand" of the Lord; either by his mighty power, the saving strength of his right hand, who is mighty to save; or by his Son, the man of his right hand, made strong for himself, who able to save to the uttermost; and by whom God has determined to save, and does save all his people; or the words may be rendered, "save thy right hand, thy Benjamins" (p) who are as near and dear to thee as thy right hand, being his mystical self, to whom salvation is brought by him, Isaiah 63:1;
and hear me; in so doing, he suggests he would hear and answer him his prayers would be ended and accomplished; this being the sum of them, his own salvation, and the salvation of the Lord's beloved ones. The "Cetib", or writing of this clause, is, "hear us"; the "Keri", or reading of it, "hear me".That thy beloved may be delivered; save with thy right hand, and hear me.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)5. thy beloved] Thy beloved ones (plur.) are Israel. Cp. Deuteronomy 33:12; Jeremiah 11:15. God’s love for Israel is the counterpart to Israel’s fear of God.
save] i.e. give victory. Cp. Psalm 60:11.
hear me] Answer me. The Kthîbh has us, which R.V. adopts; but the Qrç is me. This has the support of the Ancient Versions and is preferable. David is the speaker. Cp. Psalm 60:9.
5–8. A prayer for deliverance and victory, based upon God’s promise to give Israel the possession of Canaan, and supremacy over the neighbouring nations.Verse 5. - That thy beloved may be delivered; save with thy right hand, and hear me; rather, hear us. From complaint (vers. 1-4) the psalmist abruptly turns to prayer, thus closing the first strophe with a gleam of hope. Psalm 59:11 is to be read: אלהי חסדּי יקדּמני, my gracious God will anticipate me, - but with what? This question altogether disappears if we retain the Chethb and point אלהי הסדּו: my God will anticipate me with His mercy (cf. Psalm 21:4), i.e., will meet me bringing His mercy without any effort of mine. Even the old translators have felt that chcdw must belong to the verb as a second object. The lxx is perfectly correct in its rendering, ὁ Θεὸς μου τὸ ἔλεος αὐτοῦ προφθάσει με. The Ker has come into existence in looking to v. 18, according to which it seems as though אלהי הסדּי ought to be added to the refrain, Psalm 59:10 (cf. a similar instance in Psalm 42:6-7). But Psalm 59:11 would be stunted by doing this, and it accords with Biblical poetic usage that the refrain in v. 18 should be climactic in comparison with Psalm 59:10 (just as it also does not altogether harmonize in its first half); so that Olshausen's proposal to close Psalm 59:10 with אלהי חסדי and to begin Psalm 59:11 with חסדו (cf. Psalm 79:8) is only just to be put on record. The prayer "slay them not" does not contradict the prayer that follows for their destruction. The poet wishes that those who lie in wait for him, before they are totally swept away, may remain for a season before the eyes of this people as an example of punishment. In accordance with this, הניעמו, by a comparison of the Hiph. in Numbers 32:13, and of the Kal in Psalm 59:16, Psalm 109:10, is to be rendered: cause them to wander about (Targum, cf. Genesis Rabba, ch. 38 init., טלטלמו); and in connection with בחילך one is involuntarily reminded of Psalm 10:10, Psalm 10:14, and is tempted to read בחלך or בחלך: cause them to wander about in adversity or wretchedness, equals Arab. ‛umr ḥâlik, vita caliginosa h. e. misera), and more especially since בחילך occurs nowhere else instead of בּזרעך or בּימינך. But the Jod in בחילך is unfavourable to this supposition; and since the martial apostrophe of God by "our shield" follows, the choice of the word is explained by the consideration that the poet conceives of the power of God as an army (Joel 2:25), and perhaps thinks directly of the heavenly host (Joel 3:11), over which the Lord of Hosts holds command (Hitzig). By means of this He is first of all to cause them to go astray (נע ונד, Genesis 4:12), then utterly to cast them down (Psalm 56:8). The Lord (אדני) is to do this, as truly as He is Israel's shield against all the heathen and all pseudo-Israelites who have become as heathen. The first member of Psalm 59:13 is undoubtedly meant descriptively: "the sin of their mouth (the sin of the tongue) is the word of their lips" (with the dull-toned suffix mo, in the use of which Psalm 59 associates itself with the Psalms of the time of Saul, Psalm 56:1-13, Psalm 11:1-7, Psalm 17:1-15, 22, 35, Psalm 64:1-10). The combination ולילּכדוּ בגאונם, however, more readily suggests parallel passages like Proverbs 11:6 than Proverbs 6:2; and moreover the מן of the expression וּמאלה וּמכּחשׁ, which is without example in connection with ספּר, and, taken as expressing the motive (Hupfeld), ought to be joined with some designations of the disposition of mind, is best explained as an appended statement of the reason for which they are to be ensnared, so that consequently יספּרוּ (cf. Psalm 69:27; Psalm 64:6) is an attributive clause; nor is this contrary to the accentuation, if one admits the Munach to be a transformation of Mugrash. It is therefore to be rendered: "let them, then, be taken in their pride, and on account of the curse and deceit which they wilfully utter." If, by virtue of the righteousness of the Ruler of the world, their sin has thus become their fall, then, after they have been as it were a warning example to Israel, God is utterly to remove them out of the way, in order that they (it is unnecessary to suppose any change of subject), while perishing, may perceive that Elohim is Ruler in Jacob (בּ, used elsewhere of the object, e.g., Micah 5:1, is here used of the place of dominion), and as in Jacob, so from thence unto the ends of the earth (ל like על, Psalm 48:11) wields the sceptre. Just like the first group of the first part, this first group of the second part also closes with Sela.
The second group opens like the second group in the first part, but with this exception, that here we read וישׁבוּ, which loosely connects it with what precedes, whereas there it is ישׁוּבוּ. The poet's gaze is again turned towards his present straitened condition, and again the pack of dogs by which Saul is hunting him present themselves to his mind. המּה points towards an antithesis that follows, and which finds its expression in ואני. ויּלינוּ and לבּקר stand in direct contrast to one another, and in addition to this לערב has preceded. The reading of the lxx (Vulgate, Luther, [and authorized version]), καὶ γογγύσουσιν equals ויּלּינוּ or ויּלּנוּ, is thereby proved to be erroneous. But if ויּלינוּ is the correct reading, then it follows that we have to take Psalm 59:16 not as foretelling what will take place, but as describing that which is present; so that consequently the fut. consec. (as is frequently the case apart from any historical connection) is only a consecutive continuation of ינוּעוּן (for which the Ker has יניעוּן; the form that was required in Psalm 59:12, but is inadmissible here): they wander up and down (נוּע as in Psalm 109:10, cf. נוּד, Job 15:23) to eat (that is to say, seeking after food); and if they are not satisfied, they pass the night, i.e., remain, eager for food and expecting it, over night on the spot. This interpretation is the most natural, the simplest, and the one that harmonizes best not only with the text before us (the punctuation ישׂבּעוּ, not ישׂבּעוּ, gives the member of the clause the impress of being a protasis), but also with the situation. The poet describes the activity of his enemies, and that by completing or retouching the picture of their comparison to dogs: he himself is the food or prey for which they are so eager, and which they would not willingly allow to escape them, and which they nevertheless cannot get within their grasp. Their morbid desire remains unsatisfied: he, however, in the morning, is able to sing of the power of God, which protects him, and exultantly to praise God's loving-kindness, which satiates and satisfies him (Psalm 90:14); for in the day of fear, which to him is now past, God was his inaccessible stronghold, his unapproachable asylum. To this God, then, even further the play of his harp shall be directed (אזמּרה), just as was his waiting or hoping (אשׁמרה, Psalm 59:10).
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