Lament After Defeat in Battle

1For the leader; according to “The Lily of.…” A miktam of David (for teaching), 2when he fought against Aram-Naharaim and Aram-Zobah; and Joab, coming back, killed twelve thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt.a


3O God, you rejected us, broke our defenses;

you were angry but now revive us.

4You rocked the earth, split it open;b

repair the cracks for it totters.

5You made your people go through hardship,

made us stagger from the wine you gave us.c

6Raise up a banner for those who revere you,

a refuge for them out of bow shot.


7*Help with your right hand and answer us

that your loved ones may escape.


8*In the sanctuary God promised:

“I will exult, will apportion Shechem;

the valley of Succoth* I will measure out.

9Gilead is mine, mine is Manasseh;

Ephraim is the helmet for my head,

Judah, my own scepter.*

10*Moab is my washbowl;

upon Edom I cast my sandal.*d

I will triumph over Philistia.”


11Who will bring me to the fortified city?*

Who will lead me into Edom?

12Was it not you who rejected us, God?

Do you no longer march with our armies?e

13Give us aid against the foe;

worthless is human help.

14We will triumph with the help of God,

who will trample down our foes.

* [Psalm 60] The community complains that God has let the enemy win the battle (Ps 60:35) and asks for an assurance of victory (Ps 60:67). In the oracle God affirms ownership of the land; the invasion of other nations is not permanent and will be reversed ultimately (Ps 60:810). With renewed confidence, the community resolves to fight again (Ps 60:11). The opening lament is picked up again (Ps 60:12), but this time with new awareness of God’s power and human limitation.

* [60:712] These verses occur again as the second half of Ps 108.

* [60:8] I will…apportion…measure out: God lays claim to these places. The valley of Succoth: probably the lower stretch of the Jabbok valley.

* [60:9] Judah, my own scepter: an allusion to the Testament of Jacob, Gn 49:10.

* [60:10] Moab is my washbowl: Moab borders the Dead Sea, hence a metaphor for the country. Upon Edom I cast my sandal: an ancient legal gesture of taking possession of land.

* [60:11] The fortified city: perhaps Bozrah, the fortified capital of Edom, cf. Is 34:6; 63:1; Am 1:12.

a. [60:2] 2 Sm 8:2, 3, 13; 1 Chr 18:2, 3, 12.

b. [60:4] Ps 75:4; Is 24:19.

c. [60:5] Ps 75:9; Is 51:17, 2122; Jer 25:15.

d. [60:10] Ru 4:78.

e. [60:12] Ps 44:10.

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