Lament After Defeat in Battle
1For the leader; according to “The Lily of.â€¦” 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;
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 60:3–5) and asks for an assurance of victory (Ps 60:6–7). In the oracle God affirms ownership of the land; the invasion of other nations is not permanent and will be reversed ultimately (Ps 60:8–10). 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.
* [60:8] I willâ€¦apportionâ€¦measure out: God lays claim to these places. The valley of Succoth: probably the lower stretch of the Jabbok valley.
* [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.