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* His "lightnings enlightened the world: The earth saw and trembled. 5 The “hills melted like wax at the presence of the LORD, At the presence of the LoRD of the whole earth. * The sheavens declare his righteousness, And all the people see his glory. 7 Confounded & be all they that serve graven images, That boast themselves of idols: Worship him, all ye gods! * Zion heard, and was glad; And the daughters of Judah rejoiced Because of thy judgments, O LoRD. * For thou, LoRD, art high above all the earth: Thou art exalted far above all gods. 10 Ye that love the LoRD, *hate evil: He preserveth the souls of his saints; He "delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked. * Light "is sown for the righteous, And gladness for the upright in heart. * Rejoice in the LoRD, ye righteous; And give thanks' at the remembrance of his holiness.
d Exod. 19. 18. & Exod. 20. 4. 1 Psa. 81.23. Prov. 2, 8. e Judg. 5. 5. Mic. 1.4. h Heb. 1. 6. in Dan. 3.28; 6.22, 27. Nah. 1. 5. 1 Exod. 18, 11. n Job. 22.28. Prov. 4, 18.
f Psa. 19. 1. k Amos 5, 15, Rom. 12.9. * Or, to the memorial.
The Psalmistertolleth God's power, righteousness, and faithfulness, 1–3; he exhorteth all people to praise him, 4–6; and also all inanimate nature, 7–9.
* O sing unto the LORD a new song; For "he hath done marvellous things: His "right hand, and his holy arm, Hath gotten him the victory. * The “LORD hath made known his salvation: His "righteousness hath he 'openly showed in the sight of the heathen. * He hath “remembered his mercy and his truth Toward the house of Israel: All f the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. 4 Make a joyful noise unto the LoRD, all the earth: Make a loud noise, and rejoice, and sing praise. * Sing unto the LoRD with the harp; With the harp, and the voice of a psalm. * With trumpets and sound of cornet Make a joyful noise before the LoRD, the King. 7 Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; The world, and they that dwell therein. * Let the floods & clap their hands: 9 Let the hills be joyful together before the LoRD; For "he cometh to judge the earth: With righteousness shall he judge the world, And the people with equity.
a Exod. 15. 11. d Isa. 62. 2. Rom. 8.25, 26. 2.80, 81; 8.6. Acts b Exod. 15. 6. Isa. 59. 16. 1 Or, revealed. 13.47; 28.28. • Isaiah. 52. 10. Luke 2 e Luke 1. 54, 55, 72. & Isa. 55.12.
80, 81. f Isa. 49. 6; 52. 10. Luke h See Gen. 18. 25.
INTRODUCTION TO PSALMS LX AND CWIII.
PSALMS OF DAVID.
The war with Edom, which seems to have been later than the Syrian conquests, was conducted with a severity which makes humanity recoil with horror. The Edomites were a people trained to war, inhabiting the districts south of Palestine, and contiguous to it, and were the most hardy and brave sons of the desert. They were assisted at this time by powerful Syrian allies. The title of Psalm lx says, the “Aram-naharaim and the Aram-Zobah” fought with the Edomites. Aram is the Hebrew name for Syria, and Maharaim means the two rivers, so that Aram-naharaim is Syria between the two rivers; i. e. Mesopotamia, because it lies between the rivers Euphrates and Tigris. Aram-zobah was Syria of Zobah, and Zobah was a kingdom of Syria, lying northeast and north of Damascus. It appears, therefore, that some of the Syrian kingdoms had revolted, and that these, with the Mesopotamians, a people with whom David had not hitherto warred, were allied with the Edomites in this memorable campaign. It was the last struggle of these nations for their independence. The two armies met in the “Walley of Salt,” south of the Dead Sea, where it appears several severe battles were fought; but the Edomites were enabled to make such a stand against the forces of Israel, as to render the final issue of the war for some time doubtful. Though David remained victor, he yet had cause for the deepest distress and anxiety, while he beheld the desperate resistance of the enemy, and the loss of so many of his brave men. The Psalms written on this occasion betray the agitated state of his mind, and speak such a dubious language that it has not been easy to reconcile them with the facts of David's condition as victor.
In the title of Psalm lx it is stated that Joab slew twelve thousand Edomites in the Walley of Salt. Again, it is said in 1 Chronicles xviii, 12, that “Abishai slew of the Edomites in the Valley of Salt eighteen thousand men;” while in 2 Samuel viii, 13, the same is ascribed to David. Now these statements may be reconciled in several ways. First, if we suppose these accounts all relate to one and the same event, the passages may be reconciled by supposing David, who accompanied the expedition, to have committed the battle to his brave and faithful generals, Joab and Abishai, who lost twelve thousand of their own troops, and killed eighteen thousand of the enemy, and that, in relating it afterward by different authors, the victory was ascribed to David or either of his generals, indifferently. Or, secondly, we may suppose with Dr. Lightfoot, that several battles were fought, in which, on one occasion Abishai slew eighteen thousand of the enemy, and on another Joab slew twelve thousand. David being present, though not in the engagements, might with propriety be said to do what was done by his officers under his direction. In this case, we may suppose Psalm lx to follow Joab's victory, as in the title of that Psalm, and Psalm cviii to follow that of Abishai. But we are still met with another difficulty. Neither of the above Psalms denote a victory. They are, on the contrary, in some sort expressive of defeat, or, at least, of disappointment and chagrin. The language is certainly that of lamentation and complaint, at the withdrawal of that Divine protection and presence which had usually attended the Hebrew army. This, however, may be readily accounted for in view of the facts above stated. David had been victorious, but his enemies were still powerful. He had been victorious, but he had purchased victory at a dear price. Every inch of ground had been desperately contested, and each battle, while it had cost a priceless treasure of blood, served rather to dispirit the conqueror by developing the strength, resources, and indomitable valour of the enemy. The arms of our hero were thus for a while held in check, and he who had planted his dominion upon the banks of the Euphrates, who had lifted his spear upon the trembling nations of Syria, and had garrisoned his troops in the proud city of Damascus—the queen of Western Asia—now trembled for the issue of this doubtful contest with the hardy sons of Esau. His position reminds us of King Pyrrhus, in after days, who, when congratulated on his victory over the Romans, exclaimed: “One such victory more would ruin my whole army.”
Panting for conquest, and yet baffled by the difficulties with which it was beset, the Psalmist gives vent to the strong feelings of his heart in verse, breathing successively complaint and hope, and prayer and confidence. His eye is steadily fixed upon the “strong city” Selah, or Petra, the capital of Edom, and he anxiously inquires:
“Who will bring me into the strong city?
Selah in Hebrew, Petros in Greek, and Petrus in Latin, are words of the same import, and signify a rock or stone. The capital city of Edom was called Selah by the Hebrews, (see 2 Kings xiv, 7) and afterward Petra by the Western nations, because it was literally excavated from the rock at the base of the awful desert mountain of Edom, east of the Arabah. It was a powerful city, and deemed impregnable; and was enriched by the channel of overland trade through northern Arabia, from the head of the Persian Gulf, to Egypt and the countries west. It was the pride of the nation, and for ages was the admiration of the world. Extensive ruins of this wonderful city yet remain.
We learn from the sacred narrative, that Joab afterward carried on a desolating war into the heart of Edom, and subdued and garrisoned the country. With singular emphasis is it said, with reference to this hard-earned conquest, that “David gat him a name when he returned from smiting the Syrians in the Walley of Salt.” See 2 Samuel viii, 13, 14; 1 Chronicles xviii, 12, 13.