Prayer for Divine Assistance against Enemies
1 A song. A psalm of David.
2 [b]My heart[c] is steadfast, O God,
my heart is steadfast.
I will sing and chant your praise;
awake, my soul!
3 Awake, lyre and harp!
I will awaken the dawn.[d]
4 [e]I will give thanks to you among the peoples, O Lord;
I will sing your praises among the nations.
5 For your kindness extends above the heavens;
your faithfulness, to the skies.
6 Be exalted, O God, above the heavens,
and let your glory shine over all the earth.
7 [f]With your right hand come to our aid
so that those you love may be delivered.
8 [g]God has promised from his sanctuary,
“In triumph I will apportion Shechem
and measure out the Valley of Succoth.
9 Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine;
Ephraim is my helmet,[h]
Judah is my scepter.
10 Moab is my washbasin;[i]
upon Edom I will plant my sandal;
over Philistia I will shout in triumph.”
11 Who will lead me into the fortified city?[j]
Who will guide me into Edom?
12 [k]Is it not you, O God, who have rejected us
and no longer go forth with our armies?
13 Grant us your help against our enemies,
for any human assistance is worthless.
14 With God’s help we will be victorious,
for he will overwhelm our foes.
- Psalm 108:1 Two fragments of psalms (with very slight modifications) have been used to make up this song of praise (vv. 2-6 in Ps 57:8-12 and vv. 7-14 in Ps 60:7-14), which Israel proclaims as it awaits liberation. We see the Lord already rallying all his children and taking the lead of their combat, as in the past, to enable them to gain redress against their enemies. This song of martial confidence will become a canticle of hope inculcating joy and praise, for the glory of God will fill all humankind.
Christians can make use of this psalm to thank God for the redemption and for the constant victories that he enables us to obtain over our spiritual enemies by the aid of our Redeemer.
- Psalm 108:2 The psalmist offers praise to God’s kindness, which gives him steadfast hope.
- Psalm 108:2 The psalmist is at peace because of his trust in the Lord. Heart: see note on Ps 4:8. O God: after this phrase, some manuscripts lack the words “my heart is steadfast.” Awake, my soul: another possible translation is: “with all my soul.”
- Psalm 108:3 Dawn: personified as in Ps 139:9; Job 3:9; 38:12. The psalmist wishes to awaken the dawn, for that is the usual time when deliverance comes from the Lord (see notes on Pss 17:15; 57:8).
- Psalm 108:4 A vow to offer ritual praise to the Lord for his kindness (see note on Ps 7:18). Kindness: see note on Ps 6:5.
- Psalm 108:7 The psalmist prays for God’s help against his enemies.
- Psalm 108:8 Shechem was west of the Jordan, and the Valley of Succoth east of it; therefore, they indicate dominion over all Palestine. Next are named four Israelite tribes; hence, there are three regions in all that must be reduced to subjection.
- Psalm 108:9 Helmet: a symbol of the strength exhibited by the tribe of Ephraim (see Deut 33:17; Jdg 7:24—8:3). Scepter: a symbol of the King-Messiah who had been promised from Judah (see Gen 49:10).
- Psalm 108:10 Moab is my washbasin: i.e., its people will do menial work for the Israelites (see Gen 18:4). Plant my sandal: an Eastern way of signifying possession.
- Psalm 108:11 Fortified city: doubtless Bozrah in Idumea (see Isa 34:6; 63:1; Am 1:12). It was from this inaccessible refuge that the Edomites sent incursions into Judea.
- Psalm 108:12 The psalmist looks to the Lord rather than other human beings for an answer to the people’s problems. He calls upon him to end his abandonment and lead his people to victory over their enemies. Indeed, he believes the Lord is still with them and will bring them through this trial with strength, joy, and success (see Pss 44:6; 118:15f).