Something to do
1. Read Psalm 2. In Psalms 2 and 59 we see that God Rules OK!
2. Can you find 6 different names for God in Psalm 59? What do they all mean? You will find some help after Psalm 25 in this set of psalms.
3. Psalms 54-59 are Psalms of *Imprecation. This means that there are verses in them that ask God to destroy our enemies. Read what is in Psalm 58 about Psalms of *Imprecation. Then think about what *Saint Paul wrote in Romans 12:19. "It is my job to *punish people, says God. I will do it".
God, Give Us Help!
Jesus said, "How can you go into the house of a strong man and take his things? You must first tie him up and then you can take his things". (Matthew 12:29)
(This is) for the music leader.
(He must use) "A *Lily of the *Covenant".
(Psalm 60) is a *miktam of David.
It was to teach how:
· he fought armies in Mesopotamia
· he fought armies in Syria
· he sent Joab to Edom,
where he killed 12 000 people in the Valley of Salt.
v1 (You have said) that you will not be our God any more
and you have broken down our walls.
Though you are angry, come back to us!
v2 You made the earth move and you tore it open.
Mend its broken parts because it is falling to pieces.
v3 You showed hard things to your people.
You made us drink wine that caused us to fall over.
v4 You lifted up a *banner for the people that fear you.
They will fight for what is true. *SELAH
v5 Give us help so that the friends that you love will be safe.
Use your right hand to answer us!
v6 - v8 God did answer us from his *holy place! (He said):
· I will be the master
· I will make a parcel of Shechem
· I will measure the Valley of Succoth
· Gilead is mine
· Manasseh is mine
· Ephraim will cover my head
· Judah will *judge for me
· Moab is my bathroom
· Edom is where I will throw my shoes
· Philistia will be something for me to laugh at.
v9 Who will lead me into the strong city?
Who will take me in to Edom?
v10 (You have said) that you would not be our God any more.
But God, will you really not go with our armies?
v11 Give to us help against the enemy,
because help from men is of no value!
v12 With God we will beat everybody
and walk all over our enemies.
The Story of Psalm 60
Psalm 60 is a *miktam. A *miktam is either something made of gold, or special teaching or something hidden. Bible students think that there is a story hidden in Psalm 60.
David was at war. He was a long way from home, near the River Euphrates. That means that he was in Babylon. The old name was Mesopotamia and the modern name is Iraq. 2 Samuel 8:3 tells us where he was. On the way home he fought the Syrians. While this was happening an old enemy of Israel called Edom attacked Jerusalem. David sent one of his soldiers with part of the army to fight the Edomites. They beat them and killed 12 000 of them. This happened in the Valley of Salt, near the Dead Sea.
David wrote the psalm because he thought that God had left him and his people. That is what David thought that the attack by Edom meant. The Edomites must have broken the walls of some of the towns in Israel. But something else must have happened as well. Verse 2 sounds *like an earthquake. This is when the ground moves, and trees and buildings fall over. There are holes in the ground, and animals and people fall into them. All this was hard for David and his people to understand. Why did God let it happen? They felt as if they were drunk after drinking wine! Wine is a drink with alcohol in it. We still have earthquakes today.
We still do not know why this happened. The psalm does not tell us. But it does tell us that God did answer David and his people and he did give them help.
And what was "the *Lily of the Covenant"? A lily is a very pretty flower. A *covenant is what people have when they agree together. Bible students explain "the *Lily of the Covenant" in two ways. Either it is the name of a piece of music that they could sing the words to. Or it is the name of a *musical instrument that they could use to make music while they sang.
The word *SELAH is another problem. It probably means a place for thinking about the words, or praying, or listening to music. When we say or sing the psalms today we do not stop at *SELAH: maybe we ought to! But when we study the psalms, we must think about the words, and pray about them. Even when we do not understand them well, God can and does still speak to us through them. If he does, then the psalm will be as gold to us, because God’s words are still of very great value.
What Psalm 60 means
The psalm is in three parts. Verses 1 - 5 are the words of David. He asks God for an answer. Verses 6 - 8 are God’s answer. Verses 9 - 12 are again the words of David. Remember that the words before verse 1 are also part of the psalm. When the Jews say Psalm 60 in their *synagogues they always say the words at the top also. A *synagogue is where Jews meet, *like a Christian church. Above explains some of the verses. Here we try to explain some of the other difficult parts.
Verse 1: Though the Edomites broke the walls, the Jews decided that God had sent them to do it. Edom was a country south-east of Jerusalem.
Verse 3: It was hard because they did not know why they were in trouble. When this happens to us, we must still ask God for help, as David did in verses 5 and 11.
Verse 4: A *banner is a large piece of material with words or pictures on it. Soldiers would gather under their *banner so that they would all be together. This verse is difficult for Bible students to understand. We are not sure what it means.
Verse 5: The right hand of God is how the Israelites described God doing something on earth.
Verses 6 – 8: The *holy place is where God is. Perhaps it meant the *temple in Jerusalem, or God’s home in *heaven. The first 6 places are all parts of Israel. They all belong to God. He will decide what to do with them. They will have important jobs, *like Ephraim and Judah. "Cover my head" probably means "be *like a soldier" and "judge" means "decide what to do". Moab, Edom and Philistia were all enemies of Israel. They also belong to God, but they will have dirty jobs to do. God sees himself as a man. He needs somewhere to wash, and someone to pick his clothes up for him. Israel has the good things to do, but her enemies have bad things to do.
Verse 9: David is the speaker again. The strong city was the capital of Edom, Petra. David put Joab as leader of the army that went to fight Edom. David stayed with the other part of the army in Syria.
Verse 10: "Will you really not go with our armies?" means "I do hope that you WILL go with our armies".
Verse 11: David learned a lesson that we must all learn. "Help from men is of no value". It is of value if God sends the men or women to give help, but God must send them. God works through men and women to help his people. In the words of verse 5, he uses his right hand to answer us. His right hand could be anybody!
Verse 12: "Walk all over our enemies" is "trample over our enemies" in Hebrew. "Trample" means putting our feet down hard when we walk.