Psalm 60

Psalm 60


To the leader:A according to the Lily of the Covenant.B A MiktamC of David;D

Notes on superscript-a

A “leader” = natsach. Properly, something that glitters from a distance. So, something that stands out, excels, has status/standing (such as a chief musician or superintendent of Temple services). This can also mean to be permanent or enduring.
B “Lily of the Covenant” = Shushan Eduth. 2x in OT. From shushan (lily, Shoshan, or Shoshannah; other flowers that look like lilies, architecture decoration in the shape of a lily, a musical tune, or trumpets due to the similar appearance); {perhaps from sus (to rejoice, be glad; properly, to be bright or cheerful)} + eduth (testimony, ordinance, decree, warning, or witness); {from ed (witness, testimony, recorder); from ud (to admonish, repeat, duplicate, testify, restore, record, relieve)}. This is perhaps “lily of testimony.” It might be the name of a song tune to be used when singing this psalm.
C “Miktam” = miktam. 6x in OT. Perhaps from katham (to carve, mark, stain). This is Miktam, which is some kind of technical term in the Psalms, but its meaning is uncertain. It may mean engraving – a way to refer to a poem.
D “David” = David. From the same as dod (beloved, love, uncle); the root may mean to boil, which is used figuratively to describe love. So, this implies someone you love such as a friend, a lover, or a close family member like an uncle. David’s name likely means something like “beloved one.”

for instruction;E when he struggledF with Aram-naharaimG and with Aram-zobah,H

Notes on superscript-b

E “instruction” = lamad. Properly, this refers to goading (using a pointed stick to guide or prod one’s flock). By implication, it means teaching or instructing.
F “struggled” = natsah. 11x in OT. Properly, this means to go forth so it implies being expelled. This, in turn, implies being desolate or, causatively, to be laid waste. It can mean waste or ruinous. It can also be used figuratively for quarreling or striving together.
G “Aram-naharaim” = Aram Naharayim. 5x in OT. From Aram (Aram, Syria, Mesopotamia – meaning elevated or citadel); {perhaps from ‘armon (any fortified building – castle, citadel, palace) OR from rum (to be high, rise, exalt self, extol, be haughty; to rise literally or figuratively)} + nahar (stream, river, or flood; particularly the Nile or Euphrates; figuratively, prosperity); from nahar (to flow, sparkle, be cheerful)}. This is “Aram of the Two Rivers,” a name for Mesopotamia referring to the Tigris and Euphrates. See
H “Aram-zobah” = Aram Tsobah. Related to “Aram-naharaim” in Superscript. 1x in OT From Aram (see note G above) + Tsoba (Tsoba, Tsobah; an Aramean kingdom; perhaps meaning “a station”). This is Aram-zobah. It may mean “Beautiful Elevation,” “Rise by War,” or “Aram of the Host.” See

and when JoabI on his returnJ killedK twelve thousand EdomitesL in the ValleyM of Salt.N

Notes on superscript-c

I “Joab” = Yoab. From YHVH (proper name of the God of Israel; God, Lord; the self-existent or eternal one); {from havah (to become) or hayah (to be, become, happen)}. + ab (father, ancestor, grandfather; father in a literal or figurative sense). This is Joab or Yoab, meaning “the Lord is father.”
J “return” = shub. To turn back, return, turn away – literally or figuratively. Doesn’t necessarily imply going back to where you started from. This is also the root verb for the Hebrew word for repentance “teshubah.”
K “killed” = nakah. This is to hit whether lightly or severely. It can be used in a literal or figurative sense. So, this could be beat, punish, give wounds, kill, or slaughter.
L “Edomites” = edom. From the same as adom (to be red or flushed). This is Edom or Idumaea. It means red.
M “Valley” = gay. Perhaps from the same as gevah (pride, confidence); from gevah (the back or body); from gey (the back, among); from ga’ah (to grow up, rise, triumph, be majestic). This is valley or gorge that has high walls. It is, perhaps, a narrow valley, but not a winter-torrent.
N “salt” = melach. Perhaps from malach (properly, to pulverize, temper together, dissipate; also to season or salt). This is powder; used for salt or salt pit.

O God,O you have rejectedP us, broken our defenses;Q
    you have been angry;R now restoreS us!

Notes on verse 1

O “God” = Elohim.
P “rejected” = zanach. This is to cast aside, reject, remove, forsake.
Q “broken our defenses” = parats. This is to make a breach, burst out, compel, disperse. It is to break out literally or figuratively.
R “been angry” = anaph. 14x in OT. This is to breathe hard, i.e. to be angry or displeased.
S “restore” = shub. Same as “return” in Superscript. See note J above.

You have caused the landT to quake;U you have torn it open;V
    repairW the cracksX in it, for it is tottering.Y

Notes on verse 2

T “land” = erets. Root may mean to be firm. This is earth, ground, field land, or country.
U “quake” = raash. This is to quake, shake, tremble, shake from fear; leap like a locust.
V “torn…open” = patsam. 1x in OT. This is to break or split as by an earthquake.
W “repair” = rapha. Properly, this is to repair by stitching – figuratively this means to heal or cure. It can also mean to make whole.
X “cracks” = sheber. From shabar (break, collapse, destroy, break in pieces, tear; bursting in a literal or figurative sense). This is a fracture, breach, collapse, brokenness, ruin, affliction, bruise. It can also be an interpretation of a dream or a vexation.
Y “tottering” = mot. This is to shake, slip, falter, stagger, move, fall, give way, waver, be carried.

You have made your peopleZ sufferAA hard things;BB

Notes on verse 3a

Z “people” = am. From amam (to darken, hide, associate; creating shadows by huddling together). This is people or nation. It can be used specifically for a tribe, collectively of troops or armies, or figuratively to refer to a flock of animals.
AA “made…suffer” = raah. This is to see in a literal or figurative sense so stare, advise, think, view.
BB “hard things” = qasheh. From qashah (to be fierce, cruel, dense, tough, severe). This is hard, severe, heavy, obstinate, hard-hearted.

    you have given us wineCC to drinkDD that made us reel.EE

Notes on verse 3b

CC “wine” = yayin. Root may mean to effervesce, referring to the fermentation process. This is wine, grape, or banquet. It can imply intoxication.
DD “given…to drink” = shaqah. This is to give water to, to cause to drink – to irrigate, drown. It can be used for watering plants or giving water to flocks.
EE “that made us reel” = tarelah. 3x in OT. From raal (to shake, reel, quiver; figuratively, to brandish). This is a reeling, trembling, or amazement.

You have set up a bannerFF for those who fearGG you,
    to rallyHH to it out ofII bowshot.JJ SelahKK

Notes on verse 4

FF “banner” = nes. From nasas (to be high, easy to see, sparkling, to gleam, to raise a flag or signal). This is a flag, pole, sail, warning, signal, token.
GG “fear” = yare. From the same as yare (to fear, be afraid, dreadful; also fearful reverence – to fear in a moral sense is to say to revere, respect). This is fearful or morally reverent.
HH “rally” = nus. This is to flee, vanish away, hide, escape, be displayed.
II “out of” = paneh. From panah (to turn, face, appear). This is face in a literal or figurative sense. It could be face, presence, anger, respect. It can also be used of God to indicate divine favor or presence.
JJ “bowshot” = qoshet. May also mean “because of the truth.” 2x in OT. Root may mean to balance. This is truth or a bow. It is reality as being equally weighted.
KK “Selah” = selah. From salal (to lift up, build, pile, extol, exalt; can also be used for opposing as a dam holds back water). This is to lift up or exalt. Also, “selah” in the psalms where its precise meaning is uncertain. It could be a pause in the music, a moment of silence. It could signal a change in the service or mean something akin to amen.

Give victoryLL with your right hand,MM and answerNN us,
    so that those whom you loveOO may be rescued.PP

Notes on verse 5

LL “give victory” = chalats. This is to turn back or away in a literal or figurative sense. So, it could be return, break, build, retreat. It doesn’t necessarily imply going back to the place you started.
MM “right hand” = yamin. May be from yamam (to go or choose the right, use the right hand; to be physically fit or firm). This can mean right hand, right side, or south. Since most people are right-handed, the metaphorical usage of this word presumes that the right hand is stronger and more agile. Thus, it is the instrument of power and action.
NN “answer” = anah. This is answer, respond, announce, sing, shout, or testify. It means to pay attention, which implies responding and, by extension, starting to talk. Used in a specific sense for singing, shouting, testifying, etc.
OO “those whom you love” = yadid. Related to “David” in Superscript. 9x in OT. Perhaps from the same as dod (see note D above). This is lovely, amiable, beloved.
PP “rescued” = yasha. To deliver, defend, help, preserve, rescue, be safe. Properly, to be open, wide or free, which implies being safe. Used causatively, it means to free.

God has promisedQQ in his sanctuary:RR
    “With exultationSS I will divide upTT Shechem,UU

Notes on verse 6a

QQ “promised” = dabar. This is generally to speak, answer, declare, or command. It might mean to arrange and so to speak in a figurative sense as arranging words.
RR “sanctuary” = qodesh. This is set apart and so sacred. God is different from us and so God is holy/set apart. Things we dedicate to God’s service are set apart for God and so they, too, are holy, etc.
SS “exultation” = alaz. 16x in OT. This is to jump for joy, rejoice, triumph, or be jubilant.
TT “divide up” = chalaq. This is to be smooth in a figurative sense. So, it can refer to the stones that were part of casting lots – hence, apportion, share, distribute. Figuratively, it can also mean to flatter.
UU “Shechem” = Shekem. From the same as shekem (shoulder, neck, or some other place that bears burdens; figuratively, the spur of a hill, or one’s allotted portion); from shakam (to rise early, begin work early; properly, this is leaning one’s shoulder or back into a load or a burden; also, loading an animal for work). This is Shechem, meaning “ridge.”

    and portion outVV the ValeWW of Succoth.XX

Notes on verse 6b

VV “portion out” = madad. This is to measure, stretch, be extended, continue.
WW “Vale” = emeq. From amoq (to be deep in a literal or figurative sense; profound). This is Vale or valley – frequently part of place names.
XX “Succoth” = Sukkoth. 18x in OT. From sukkah (booth, canopy, shelter, tent, or tabernacle); from sok (lair, thicket, den, or hiding place; a den or pavilion as made of intertwined boughs); from sakak (to interweave, knit). This is Succoth, perhaps meaning “booths” or “weavings.” It is related to the Jewish holiday “Sukkoth,” the Festival of Booths. See

GileadYY is mine, and ManassehZZ is mine;
    EphraimAAA is my helmet;BBB
    JudahCCC is my scepter.DDD

Notes on verse 7

YY “Gilead” = Gilad. Related to “Lily of the Covenant” in Superscript.
ZZ “Manasseh” = Menashsheh. From nashah (to forget, neglect, remove, deprive). This is Manasseh, literally “causing to forget.” It is Manasseh, his tribe, or the lands of the tribe.
AAA “Ephraim” = Ephrayim. From the same as epher (ashes or dust – properly something strewn) OR from parah (to grow, increase, be fruitful in a literal or figurative sense). This is Ephraim, one of Joseph’s sons, his descendants, and their land.
BBB “helmet” = maoz + rosh. Maoz is from uz (to run for refuge, to seek safety, be strong) OR from azaz (to be strong, become fixed, be bold, prevail, be impudent; to be stout literally or figuratively). This is a defense, refuge, safety, fortress, rock, strength, or stronghold. It is somewhere one goes to be safe and protected or something one uses to be safe. Figuratively, it could be a defense or a force. Rosh may come a word that means to shake. It is the head, captain, or chief. It can also be excellent or the forefront. It can be first in position or in statue or in time (i.e. the beginning).
CCC “Judah” = Yehudah. Probably from yadah (to throw one’s hands into the air in a gesture of praise); from yad (hand). This is Judah, meaning “praised.”
DDD “scepter” = chaqaq. 19x in OT. This is to inscribe, carve, or decree. It can be a lawmaker/commander or a staff/scepter. Literally, this is engraving, but it implies enacting a law because laws were carved into stone or metal.

MoabEEE is my washbasin;FFF
    on Edom I hurlGGG my shoe;HHH
    over PhilistiaIII I shout in triumph.”JJJ

Notes on verse 8

EEE “Moab” = Moab. Related to “Joab” in Superscript. Perhaps from m- + ab (see note I above). This is Moab or Moabite. Name could mean “from her father” in reference to the incestuous relationship between Lot and his daughters. The name could also mean, more pleasantly, “seed of a father” or “desirable land.” See
FFF “washbasin” = siyr + rachats. Siyr is from a root that may mean to boil. So it is a pot or pan. It can also be a thorn because it grows quickly or a hook. Rachats is 2x in OT. From rachats (to wash, wash away – it can be complete or partial). This is a washing or wash pot.
GGG “hurl” = shalak. This is to throw, fling, or hurl. It can also be to throw away in a literal or figurative sense.
HHH “shoe” = naal. From naal (properly to secure with a bar or cord; to lock, bolt, enclose; to secure with a cord i.e. to put on a sandal). This is the tongue of a sandal and, by extension, a sandal or shoe itself. Figuratively, this can refer to occupancy, unwillingness to marry, or something without value.
III “Philistia” = Pelesheth. 8x in OT. From palash (to mourn, wallow, maybe roll in). This is Philistia, which may mean “griever” or “burrower” or “weakener.” See
JJJ “shout in triumph” = rua. To break or destroy something so figuratively, an ear splitting sound such as a call of alarm or a joyful sound.

Who will bringKKK me to the fortifiedLLL city?MMM
    Who will leadNNN me to Edom?
10 Have you not rejected us, O God?
    You do not go out, O God, with our armies.OOO

Notes on verses 9-10

KKK “bring” = yabal. 18x in OT. This is to lead, bring, carry, conduct. Properly, it means to flow. It can mean to bring or lead with fanfare.
LLL “fortified” = matsor. From tsur (to confine, besiege, to cramp). This is besieged or fortified place, bulwark, entrenchment, tower. It is something hemmed in as a siege or distress or fastness.
MMM “city” = iyr. From uwr (to awaken or wake oneself up). This can mean excitement in the sense of wakefulness or city. Properly, this is a place that is guarded. Guards kept schedules according to watches. This sense of the word would include cities as well as encampments or posts that were guarded.
NNN “lead” = nachah. This is lead, guide, or bring. It can be used for transporting into exile or coming in as colonists. This is the word used in Psalm 23 “he leads me in the paths of righteousness.”
OOO “armies” = tsaba. From tsaba (to wage war, serve, assemble, fight, perform, muster, wait on). This is a large group of persons (used figuratively for a group of things). It implies a campaign literally as with army, war, warfare, battle, company, soldiers. Can also be used figuratively for hardship or for worship.

11 O grantPPP us helpQQQ against the foe,RRR

Notes on verse 11a

PPP “grant” = yahab. This is give, put, bring, take. It is to give in a literal or figurative sense.
QQQ “help” = ezrah. From ezer (help, aid, helper); from azar (to help, protect, support, ally; properly, to surround so as to provide aid). This is help, helper, support.
RRR “foe” = tsar. From tsarar (to bind, restrict, narrow, be cramped, an adversary). Properly, this is a narrow or constricted place. Figuratively, it can be trouble, a pebble, an enemy, anguish, or distress.

    for humanSSS helpTTT is worthless.UUU

Notes on verse 11b

SSS “human” = adam. Perhaps from adam (to be red, make ruddy); related to adamah (ground, dirt, earth). This is man, humankind, also Adam’s name. It refers to a human individual or humanity.
TTT “help” = teshuah. Related to “rescued” in v5. From yasha (see note PP above). This is deliverance or salvation.
UUU “worthless” = shav. Perhaps from the same as sho (ruin, desolation, storm; from a root that means rushing over – hence a storm and hence devastation). This is emptiness, false, worthless, deceit. It can also refer to evil, guile, idolatry, or something being in vain.

12 With God we shall doVVV valiantly;WWW
    it is he who will tread downXXX our foes.

Notes on verse 12

VVV “do” = asah. This is to make, do, act, appoint, become in many senses.
WWW “valiantly” = chayil. From chul (to be firm, strong, prosperous; to endure). This is strength, wealth, ability, activity. It can refer to soldier or a company of soldiers as well as goods. It is a force of people, means, or goods. It can speak of valor, virtue, or strength.
XXX “tread down” = bus. 12x in OT. This is to trample, tread down, squirm, loathe, spurn, be polluted. It can be literal or figurative.

Image credit: “David Battles with the Ammonites” by Sweet Publishing.

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