A Song or Psalm of David.
Psalm 108: This psalm is composed of fragments from two other psalms. The first section (verses 1-5 is taken from 57:7-11) the second section (verses 6-13, is taken from 60:5-12), with little change in the wording of either fragment. Though taken from psalms of individual lament (chapter 57), and national lament (chapter 60), the present psalm is composed of the most positive sections of confidence in both. The resulting work is a psalm of victory that only briefly alluded to the nation’s lament, namely, their ever-present enemies (verses 12-13).
Verses 1-13: David combines portions of his own previously written (Psalms 57 and 60), to make up this psalm commemorating God’s victories (verses 1-5 are from 57:7-11; verses 6-13 are from 60:5-12). He deleted the laments that began each psalm (57:1:6 and 60:1-4), while combing his own words of exaltation and confidence in God with only slight word variation. No specific historical occasion behind this psalm is given (see notes on Psalms 57:7-11 and 60:5-12).
- Personal Exaltation of God (108:1-5).
- Personal Confidence in God (108:6-13).
Present distress makes it seem as if God has abandoned His people, but they remain dear to Him.
Verses 1-13: We may usefully select passages from different psalms, as here (Psalms 57; 60), to help our devotions, and enliven our gratitude. When the heart is firm in faith and love, the tongue, being employed in grateful praises, is our glory. Every gift of the Lord honors and profits the possessor, as it is employed in God’s service and to his glory. Believers may pray with assured faith and hope, for all the blessings of salvation. Which are secured to them by the faithful promise and covenant of God. Then let them expect from him help in every trouble, and victory in every conflict. Whatever we do, whatever we gain, God must have all the glory. Lord, visit all our souls with this salvation, with this favor which thou bearest to thy chosen people.
Psalm 108:1 “O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise, even with my glory.”
From here to Psalm 108:6 (the words are taken out of Psalm 57:7), which see:
“Even with my glory”: My tongue (in Psalm 57:8), it is read, “awake up my glory” (see note on Psalm 57:7).
The one thing that set David aside from other sinners, was that his heart was always stayed upon God. Even though he fell to the temptation in the flesh with Bath-sheba, he still desired in his heart to please God. The first few verses of this Psalm are found in an earlier Psalm. I will not even give you the number, because I feel that God would have us look at it again. Perhaps with another view, or He would not have it here. When David says his heart is fixed, it means unmovable. He has determined in his heart to praise and worship God in song, as well as prayer. There are so many distractions in this world today, that if we are ever to pray or praise, we have to determine in our heart that we will do it regardless of the distractions.
Psalm 108:2 “Awake, psaltery and harp: I [myself] will awake early.”
This is copied without change (from Psalm 57:8).
I love this particular verse, because my favorite time to fellowship with God is at three A.M. It seems the fellowship is better, if it is first, before any of the hustle of the day starts. David is saying, before anything else begins he plays and sings praises to God.
Psalm 108:3 “I will praise thee, O LORD, among the people: and I will sing praises unto thee among the nations.”
This is taken from (Psalm 57:9). The only change is the substitution here of the name (יהוה Yahweh for אדני ‘Adonāy). Why that change was made is unknown.
The other verse was speaking of a private time with the LORD, and this verse is speaking of public praise and worship. David is saying, that he is not ashamed to praise God publicly. This seems that David not only praises God there in his place of worship, but tells other nations of the greatness of God as well. He even sings praises in these other nations.
Psalm 108:4 “For thy mercy [is] great above the heavens: and thy truth [reacheth] unto the clouds.”
This is taken from (Psalm 57:10). The only change is in the expression “above the heavens,” instead of “unto the heavens.” The sense is essentially the same. The particular idea here, if it differs at all from the expression in (Psalm 57:1-11), is, that the mercy of God seems to “descend” from heaven upon man, or “comes down” from on high.
Not that he needs to, but David gives the reason for his worship and praise of the LORD here. This is possibly, the subject of his praises as well. David is saying in this, that the truth of God is the same in the heavens as it is on the earth.
Psalm 108:5 “Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: and thy glory above all the earth;”
This is taken from (Psalm 57:11). The only change in the Hebrew is in the insertion of the word “and,” “and thy glory above all the earth.”
David is speaking a desire for all the earth to worship God here. David is expressing again, that there is no greater. He is above all in heaven as well as the earth. Glory to God in the highest. We really do not know just how high up God dwells, but we do know that there is no one above Him.
2 Corinthians 12:2 “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such a one caught up to the third heaven.”
Psalm 108:6 “That thy beloved may be delivered: save [with] thy right hand, and answer me.”
The word rendered “beloved” and the verb rendered “may be delivered” are both in the plural, showing that the reference is not to an individual but all of God’s people.
As we have said so many times, Jesus Christ is the Right Hand. The Right Hand of God is the doer part of the Godhead. He is the Deliverer. He is the Savior of the world.
Psalm 108:7 “God hath spoken in his holiness; I will rejoice, I will divide Shechem, and mete out the valley of Succoth.”
From here to the end of the psalm the words are taken out of (Psalm 60:5; see note there).
David was King along with being the servant of the LORD. He had his promises well in hand. Now he promises God that he will do the necessary house cleaning here on the earth. His rejoicing in the promises of God will not curtail him from doing the things that God has requested him to do. At this time, Shechem was a problem. David determines to straighten the problem out to God’s satisfaction.
Psalm 108:8 “Gilead [is] mine; Manasseh [is] mine; Ephraim also [is] the strength of mine head; Judah [is] my lawgiver;”
This is taken from (Psalm 60:7). The only change is the omission of the word and before “Manasseh.”
Ephraim had given David over 20,000 soldiers to help him. This is speaking of the power to control all these tribes that David had. I believe this is also a prophetic Scripture. Ephraim (head), represents the Christians in prophecy of whom Jesus is the head. Judah is lawgiver has to do with the Lord Jesus being from the tribe of Judah. Jesus Christ is the giver of the new law of grace.
Psalm 108:9 “Moab [is] my washpot; over Edom will I cast out my shoe; over Philistia will I triumph.”
Identical with the first two clauses of (Psalm 60:8). Over Philistia will I triumph. In (Psalm 60:8), the expression used is different. There we have, “Philistia, triumph thou over me,” or, “because of me.” Apparently, the compiler has not understood David’s irony, and has therefore changed the form of the verb.
Moab will be conquered and made to serve David. David had a small amount of love for Moab, since Ruth was a Moabite woman. Edom was a country greatly opposed to David and all of God’s people. David will overcome them, and have them under his foot. Edom is never really forgiven of God for the way they treated the Israelites. It seemed that David had subdued the Philistines more than once.
Psalm 108:10 “Who will bring me into the strong city? who will lead me into Edom?”
This is taken, without alteration, from (Psalm 60:9).
David is fully aware of the strength of Edom. He knows that God must be with him, and even fight for him, for this to be a victory. David is well aware that God will be with him, because even as a boy, God had helped him win over Goliath. The strong city mentioned here is Petra.
Psalm 108:11 “[Wilt] not [thou], O God, [who] hast cast us off? and wilt not thou, O God, go forth with our hosts?”
This is taken from (Psalm 60:10), with no change in the Hebrew, except that the word “thou” (in the first member of the verse), is omitted.
David is assured that God will be with him. This perhaps, happens after the Bath-sheba incident, and David reminds God that God for a moment in time had walked away from David. David feels sure, in his heart that God will help him in this battle and that he will be victorious. Edom has been God’s enemy as well.
Psalm 108:12 “Give us help from trouble: for vain [is] the help of man.”
This is copied from (Psalm 60:11).
David knows that even though he has the help of Ephraim, that is not enough. He needs the help of God to come against so powerful a group as Edom. Man cannot help him. His help must come from God.
Psalm 108:13 “Through God we shall do valiantly: for he [it is that] shall tread down our enemies.”
This also is taken from (Psalm 60:12), without change.
Thus the psalm, though made up of parts of two separate psalms, is complete and continuous in itself. There is no break or discrepancy in the current of thought, but the unity is as perfect as though it had been an original composition. It is to be remarked also, that though in the original psalms the parts which are used here have a different connection. And are separately complete there, yet as employed here. They seem to be exactly suited to the new use which is made of the language. And though the original “reasons” for the use of the language do not appear here, yet there is a sufficient reason for that language apparent in the psalm as rearranged. To an Israelite, also, there might be a new interest in the use of the language in the fact that words with which he was familiar, as employed for other purposes.
You can easily see that David wants God’s help. God has always helped in David’s battles. That is what David is depending on here.
Psalm 108 Questions
- What was one thing that set David aside from other sinners?
- There are so many distractions in the world today, what must we do if we are to have any time for God?
- Why does the author particularly love verse 2?
- I will ________ thee among the people.
- What is the difference in the praise in verse 2 and the praise in verse 3?
- How high does the Lord’s truth rise?
- Verse 6 says, save with thy _____ _____.
- Who is the Right Hand?
- In verse 7, he says he will divide ___________.
- How many soldiers did Ephraim send to help him?
- Judah is my _____________.
- ______ is my washpot.
- Over ______ will I cast out my shoe.
- Why did David have a little love for Moab?
- Why is Edom never forgiven?
- Who are the Philistines in verse 9?
- What is the name of the strong city?
- What does David know is the only way he can defeat Edom?
- Give us help from trouble: for _______ is the help of man.