108:0Psalm 108 is parts of 2 psalms put together. The first 5 verses come from Psalm 57 and the last 8 verses come from Psalm 60. Why did this happen? Bible students think that Psalm 108 thanks God for the end of the exile. The exile was when many Jews became prisoners-of-war in Babylon. A prisoner-of-war is somebody that is in prison in a war. The prison may be a place, not a building. The Jews were in Babylon for 70 years. Babylon was their prison. At the end of that time the new government in Babylon let the Jews go back to their own country. Many did and built the city of Jerusalem again. They also built the temple again. This was the house of God on the hill of Zion in Jerusalem. It may be the holy place in verse 7.
Instead of writing a new psalm, they put together parts of two psalms that David wrote. In Psalm 57, David thanks God for giving him help to fight his enemies. In Psalm 60, those enemies are Babylon and Edom, the two countries that started the exile. So David really did write Psalm 108!
The End of the Exile
This song is a psalm of David.
1 God, I have decided always to belong to you!
I will sing your praises as well as I can.
108:1In verse 1, David tells God that he will always sing God's praises. Praises are words to tell someone that they are very great. David will start to sing before the dawn (verse 2). The harp and lyre make music. They are musical instruments. In verse 3, LORD is another name for God. It is a special name that only God's people use. It means that they will love and obey him. And he will keep them safe. God's love reaches to the skies, (verse 4). This means that it is very, very big! God's glory, (verse 5), is something that makes him shine very much. He shines brighter than the sun! We see him shining in the good things that he makes and does. In verse 6, the right hand of God is how the Israelites described God doing something on earth.
2 Wake up, harp and lyre.
I will sing before the dawn.
3 LORD, I will thank you in front of all the people.
I will sing your praises everywhere.
4 Your kind love is great. It is higher than the clouds.
Your truth reaches to the skies.
5 God, lift yourself up above the skies.
Lift your glory above all the earth.
6 Give us help. Make the friends that you love safe.
Use your right hand to answer us!
7-9 God did answer us from his holy place!
· I will be the master.
· I will make a parcel of Shechem.
· I will measure the Valley of Succoth.
· Gilead is mine.
· Manasseh is mine.
· Ephraim will cover my head.
· Judah will judge for me.
· Moab is my bathroom.
· Edom is where I will throw my shoes.
· Philistia will be something for me to laugh at.
108:7-9In verse 7, the holy place is where God is. ‘Holy’ means ‘very, very good.’ Only God is really holy. The Jews thought that the places God went to were holy also. Here, the holy place meant either the temple in Jerusalem, or God's home in heaven. The first 6 places in verses 7-8 are all parts of Israel. They all belong to God. He will decide what to do with them. They will have important jobs, like Ephraim and Judah. ‘Cover my head’ probably means ‘be like a soldier’ and ‘judge’ means ‘decide what to do.’ Moab, Edom and Philistia were all enemies of Israel. They also belong to God, but they will have dirty jobs to do. God sees himself as a man. He needs somewhere to wash, and someone to pick his clothes up for him. Israel has the good things to do, but her enemies have bad things to do.
10 Who will lead me into the strong city?
Who will take me into Edom?
108:10In verse 10, David is speaking again. The strong city was the capital of Edom, Petra. David put Joab as leader of the army that went to fight Edom. David stayed with the other part of the army in Syria. In verse 11, ‘Will you really not go with our armies?’ means ‘I do hope that you WILL go with our armies.’ In verse 12, David learned a lesson that we must all learn. ‘Help from men is of no value.’ It is of value if God sends the men or women to give help. But God must send them. God works through men and women to help his people. In the words of verse 6, he uses his right hand to answer us. His right hand could be anybody! In verse 12, ‘walk all over our enemies’ is ‘trample over our enemies’ in Hebrew. ‘Trample’ means putting our feet down hard when we walk. Hebrew is the language that the Jews spoke.
11 You have said that you would not be our God any more.
But God, will you really not go with our armies?
12 Give to us help against the enemy,
because help from men is of no value!
13 With God we will beat everybody
and walk all over our enemies!