Tehillim / Psalms 60, Part 2, The Unworthy Man

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In this week’s study from Tehillim / Psalms 60:1-12, the psalm is described in the following way, א לַמְנַצֵּחַ עַל-שׁוּשַׁן עֵדוּת מִכְתָּם לְדָוִד לְלַמֵּד: ב בְּהַצּוֹתוֹ | אֶת אֲרַם נַהֲרַיִם וְאֶת-אֲרַם צוֹבָה וַיָּשָׁב יוֹאָב וַיַּךְ אֶת-אֱדוֹם בְּגֵיא-מֶלַח שְׁנֵים עָשָֹר אָלֶף: For the choir director; according to Shushan Eduth. A Mikhtam of David, to teach; when he struggled with Aram-naharaim and with Aram-zobah, and Joab returned, and smote twelve thousand of Edom in the Valley of Salt. (NASB) David opens his psalm saying, ג אֱלֹהִים זְנַחְתָּנוּ פְרַצְתָּנוּ אָנַפְתָּ תְּשׁוֹבֵב לָנוּ: ד הִרְעַשְׁתָּה אֶרֶץ פְּצַמְתָּהּ רְפָה שְׁבָרֶיהָ כִי-מָטָה: ה הִרְאִיתָה עַמְּךָ קָשָׁה הִשְׁקִיתָנוּ יַיִן תַּרְעֵלָה: 60:1 O God, You have rejected us. You have broken us; You have been angry; O, restore us. 60:2 You have made the land quake, You have split it open; Heal its breaches, for it totters. 60:3 You have made Your people experience hardship; You have given us wine to drink that makes us stagger. (NASB) What was it that the people did to anger the Lord? Can we anger the Lord today by behaving in a similar manner? The psalmist continues saying, ו נָתַתָּה לִּירֵאֶיךָ נֵּס לְהִתְנוֹסֵס מִפְּנֵי קשֶׁט סֶלָה: 60:4 You have given a banner to those who fear You, That it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah. (NASB) What is the significance of a banner for those who fear the Lord and for truth? The purpose is so, ז לְמַעַן יֵחָלְצוּן יְדִידֶיךָ הוֹשִׁיעָה יְמִינְךָ וַעֲנֵנִו [וַעֲנֵנִי]: 60:5 That Your beloved may be delivered, Save with Your right hand, and answer us! (NASB) David says, ח אֱלֹהִים | דִּבֶּר בְּקָדְשׁוֹ אֶעְלֹזָה אֲחַלְּקָה שְׁכֶם וְעֵמֶק סֻכּוֹת אֲמַדֵּד: ט לִי גִלְעָד | וְלִי מְנַשֶּׁה וְאֶפְרַיִם מָעוֹז רֹאשִׁי יְהוּדָה מְחֹקְקִי: י מוֹאָב | סִיר רַחְצִי עַל-אֱדוֹם אַשְׁלִיךְ נַעֲלִי עָלַי פְּלֶשֶׁת הִתְרֹעָעִי: יא מִי יֹבִלֵנִי עִיר מָצוֹר מִי נָחַנִי עַד-אֱדוֹם: 60:6 God has spoken in His holiness: ‘I will exult, I will portion out Shechem and measure out the valley of Succoth. 60:7 ‘Gilead is Mine, and Manasseh is Mine; Ephraim also is the helmet of My head; Judah is My scepter. 60:8 ‘Moab is My washbowl; Over Edom I shall throw My shoe; Shout loud, O Philistia, because of Me!’ 60:9 Who will bring me into the besieged city? Who will lead me to Edom? (NASB) What does it mean to pour out Shechem and measure out the valley of Succoth? Why does David say Manasseh is his, Ephraim is a helmet, and Judah a scepter? David concludes his psalm saying, יב הֲלֹא-אַתָּה אֱלֹהִים זְנַחְתָּנוּ וְלֹא-תֵצֵא אֱלֹהִים בְּצִבְאוֹתֵינוּ: יג הָבָה-לָּנוּ עֶזְרָת מִצָּר וְשָׁוְא תְּשׁוּעַת אָדָם: יד בֵּאלֹהִים נַעֲשֶֹה-חָיִל וְהוּא יָבוּס צָרֵינוּ: 60:10 Have not You Yourself, O God, rejected us? And will You not go forth with our armies, O God? 60:11 O give us help against the adversary, For deliverance by man is in vain. 60:12 Through God we shall do valiantly, And it is He who will tread down our adversaries. (NASB) The Lord is our Salvation!

עברית Hebrew ארמי Aramaic ελληνικός Greek

ספר תהלים פרק ס

א לַמְנַצֵּחַ עַל-שׁוּשַׁן עֵדוּת מִכְתָּם לְדָוִד לְלַמֵּד: ב בְּהַצּוֹתוֹ | אֶת אֲרַם נַהֲרַיִם וְאֶת-אֲרַם צוֹבָה וַיָּשָׁב יוֹאָב וַיַּךְ אֶת-אֱדוֹם בְּגֵיא-מֶלַח שְׁנֵים עָשָֹר אָלֶף: ג אֱלֹהִים זְנַחְתָּנוּ פְרַצְתָּנוּ אָנַפְתָּ תְּשׁוֹבֵב לָנוּ: ד הִרְעַשְׁתָּה אֶרֶץ פְּצַמְתָּהּ רְפָה שְׁבָרֶיהָ כִי-מָטָה:

סםר טוביה פרק ס

א לשבחא על עתיק סהדותא די ביני יעקב ולבן פרשגן על יד דוד לאלפא׃ ב כד כנש דוד משירין ועבר על אגר סהדותא ואגיח עם ארם די על פרת ועם ארם די עם צובה ומן בתר כן תב יואב ומחא ית אדומאי במישור מילחא ונפלו מן חילהון דדוד ויואב תריסר תרין עשׂר אלפין׃

ΨΑΛΜΟΙ 60

60:1 εἰς τὸ τέλος τοῖς ἀλλοιωθησομένοις ἔτι εἰς στηλογραφίαν τῷ Δαυιδ εἰς διδαχήν ὁπότε ἐνεπύρισεν τὴν Μεσοποταμίαν Συρίας καὶ τὴν Συρίαν Σωβα καὶ ἐπέστρεψεν Ιωαβ καὶ ἐπάταξεν τὴν φάραγγα τῶν ἁλῶν δώδεκα χιλιάδας ὁ θεός ἀπώσω ἡμᾶς καὶ καθεῖλες ἡμᾶς ὠργίσθης καὶ οἰκτίρησας ἡμᾶς 60:2 συνέσεισας τὴν γῆν καὶ συνετάραξας αὐτήν ἴασαι τὰ συντρίμματα αὐτῆς ὅτι ἐσαλεύθη

ה הִרְאִיתָה עַמְּךָ קָשָׁה הִשְׁקִיתָנוּ יַיִן תַּרְעֵלָה: ו נָתַתָּה לִּירֵאֶיךָ נֵּס לְהִתְנוֹסֵס מִפְּנֵי קשֶׁט סֶלָה: ז לְמַעַן יֵחָלְצוּן יְדִידֶיךָ הוֹשִׁיעָה יְמִינְךָ וַעֲנֵנִו [וַעֲנֵנִי]: ח אֱלֹהִים | דִּבֶּר בְּקָדְשׁוֹ אֶעְלֹזָה אֲחַלְּקָה שְׁכֶם וְעֵמֶק סֻכּוֹת אֲמַדֵּד: ט לִי גִלְעָד | וְלִי מְנַשֶּׁה וְאֶפְרַיִם מָעוֹז רֹאשִׁי יְהוּדָה מְחֹקְקִי: י מוֹאָב | סִיר רַחְצִי עַל-אֱדוֹם אַשְׁלִיךְ נַעֲלִי עָלַי פְּלֶשֶׁת הִתְרֹעָעִי: יא מִי יֹבִלֵנִי עִיר מָצוֹר מִי נָחַנִי עַד-אֱדוֹם: יב הֲלֹא-אַתָּה אֱלֹהִים זְנַחְתָּנוּ וְלֹא-תֵצֵא אֱלֹהִים בְּצִבְאוֹתֵינוּ: יג הָבָה-לָּנוּ עֶזְרָת מִצָּר וְשָׁוְא תְּשׁוּעַת אָדָם: יד בֵּאלֹהִים נַעֲשֶֹה-חָיִל וְהוּא יָבוּס צָרֵינוּ:

ג אמר דוד אלהא שבקתנא תקיפתא עלנא תקוף רוגזא תוב ביקרך לנא רגזתא עלנא בתקוף רתחתא תוב ביקרך לוותנא׃ ד ארגישתא ארעא דישראל זעזעתא וסריקתא יתה אסי תברייהא ארום אתמוטטא׃ ה אחמיתא עמך קשיא אשקיתא לנא אשקיתנא חמרא כיס די לוט׃ ו יהבתא לדחליך ניסא לאיתנסאה ביה מן בגלל קושטיה דאברהם לעלמין׃ ז מן בגלל זכותיה דיצחק יתפציין רחימייך פרוק ימינך מטול חסידותא דיעקב וקבל צלותי׃ ח אלהא ממליל בבית מקדשיה אבוע ארום יתגברון דבית ישראל אפליג ביזתא עם בני יוסף דיתבין בשכם ובמישר סוכות אימשח מישחתא ואפליג עדאה׃ ט עמי הוון דבית גלעד ועמי הוון דבית מנשה וגיברין דבית אפרים עושנא דרישי ומדבית יהודה ספרייא דבית אולפני׃ י בעטיית מואבאי איטמשו ריגלי באדום גיבריהון היך דוד שיזוגי על פורקת צוורי קדל גיברי אדום טלקית מסאני עילוי פלישתאי יביבי ואתגברי כנישתא דישראל׃ יא מן הוא דאוביל יתי לקרתא חרובא דצור מן הוא דדברני עד אדום׃ יב הלא את הוא יהוה שבקתנא ולא תיפוק אלהא עם חיילותנא׃ יג הב לן סעדא ממעיקא ומגן הוא פורקנא דבר נשא׃ יד במימרא דיהוה נעבד חילא והוא יכביש מעיקן׃

60:3 ἔδειξας τῷ λαῷ σου σκληρά ἐπότισας ἡμᾶς οἶνον κατανύξεως 60:4 ἔδωκας τοῖς φοβουμένοις σε σημείωσιν τοῦ φυγεῖν ἀπὸ προσώπου τόξου διάψαλμα 60:5 ὅπως ἂν ῥυσθῶσιν οἱ ἀγαπητοί σου σῶσον τῇ δεξιᾷ σου καὶ ἐπάκουσόν μου 60:6 ὁ θεὸς ἐλάλησεν ἐν τῷ ἁγίῳ αὐτοῦ ἀγαλλιάσομαι καὶ διαμεριῶ Σικιμα καὶ τὴν κοιλάδα τῶν σκηνῶν διαμετρήσω 60:7 ἐμός ἐστιν Γαλααδ καὶ ἐμός ἐστιν Μανασση καὶ Εφραιμ κραταίωσις τῆς κεφαλῆς μου Ιουδας βασιλεύς μου 60:8 Μωαβ λέβης τῆς ἐλπίδος μου ἐπὶ τὴν Ιδουμαίαν ἐκτενῶ τὸ ὑπόδημά μου ἐμοὶ ἀλλόφυλοι ὑπετάγησαν 60:9 τίς ἀπάξει με εἰς πόλιν περιοχῆς τίς ὁδηγήσει με ἕως τῆς Ιδουμαίας 60:10 οὐχὶ σύ ὁ θεός ὁ ἀπωσάμενος ἡμᾶς καὶ οὐκ ἐξελεύσῃ ὁ θεός ἐν ταῖς δυνάμεσιν ἡμῶν 60:11 δὸς ἡμῖν βοήθειαν ἐκ θλίψεως καὶ ματαία σωτηρία ἀνθρώπου 60:12 ἐν δὲ τῷ θεῷ ποιήσομεν δύναμιν καὶ αὐτὸς ἐξουδενώσει τοὺς θλίβοντας ἡμᾶς

Tehillim / Psalms 60

For the choir director; according to Shushan Eduth. A Mikhtam of David, to teach; when he struggled with Aram-naharaim and with Aram-zobah, and Joab returned, and smote twelve thousand of Edom in the Valley of Salt. 60:1 O God, You have rejected us. You have broken us; You have been angry; O, restore us. 60:2 You have made the land quake, You have split it open; Heal its breaches, for it totters. 60:3 You have made Your people experience hardship; You have given us wine to drink that makes us stagger. 60:4 You have given a banner to those who fear You, That it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah. 60:5 That Your beloved may be delivered, Save with Your right hand, and answer us! 60:6 God has spoken in His holiness: ‘I will exult, I will portion out Shechem and measure out the valley of Succoth. 60:7 ‘Gilead is Mine, and Manasseh is Mine; Ephraim also is the helmet of My head; Judah is My scepter. 60:8 ‘Moab is My washbowl; Over Edom I shall throw My shoe; Shout loud, O Philistia, because of Me!’ 60:9 Who will bring me into the besieged city? Who will lead me to Edom? 60:10 Have not You Yourself, O God, rejected us? And will You not go forth with our armies, O God? 60:11 O give us help against the adversary, For deliverance by man is in vain. 60:12 Through God we shall do valiantly, And it is He who will tread down our adversaries. (NASB)

Toviyah / Psalms 60

60:1 For praise. Concerning the ancient testimony between Jacob and Laban. A copy made by David, for instruction. 60:2 When David had gathered troops and passed by the Heap of Witness and fought with Aram-on-the-Euphrates and Aram Zobah, and afterwards Joab returned and smote the Edomites in the Plain of Salt, and twelve thousand from the army of David and Joab fell. 60:3 David said, “O God, you have abandoned us, you have attacked us in fierce anger; return to us in your glory.” 60:4 You shook the land of Israel, you made it quake and you flayed it; heal its wounds, for it has become unsteady. 60:5 You made your people see hardship, you made us drink the wine of execration. 60:6 You have given those who fear you a sign to be lifted up by, because of the honesty of Abraham forever. 60:7 Because of the merit of Isaac, those who love you will be delivered; redeem with your right hand because of the piety of Jacob, and accept my prayer. 60:8 God speaks in his sanctuary: I will be glad, for those of the house of Israel will prevail; I will divide the spoil with the sons of Joseph who dwell in Shechem, and in the plain of Succoth I will measure the measure and divide the booty. 60:9 My people were of the house of Gilead, and my people were of the house of Manasseh; and the warriors of the house of Ephraim are the strength of my head, and those of the house of Judah are the scribes of my school. 60:10 I trampled on the Moabites, my feet were dipped in the blood of their warriors as in my washing-basin; on the nape of the neck of the warriors of Edom I set my shoe; shout over the Philistines, O congregation of Israel. 60:11 Who is he that led me to the ruined city of Tyre? Who is he that guided me to Edom? 60:12 Is it not you, O Lord? You have abandoned us; and you will not go out, O God, with our forces. 60:13 Give us help against the oppressor, for in vain is the redemption of a son of man. 60:14 By the word of the Lord we will exercise might, and he will subdue our oppressors. (EMC)

Psalmoi / Psalms 60

For the end, for them that shall yet be changed; for an inscription by David for instruction, when he had burned Mesopotamia of Syria, and Syria Sobal, and Joab had returned and smitten in the valley of salt twelve thousand. 60:1 O God, thou hast rejected and destroyed us; thou hast been angry, yet hast pitied us. 60:2 Thou hast shaken the earth, and troubled it; heal its breaches, for it has been shaken. 60:3 Thou hast shewn thy people hard things: thou has made us drink the wine of astonishment. 60:4 Thou hast given a token to them that fear thee, that they might flee from the bow. Pause. 60:5 That thy beloved ones may be delivered; save with thy right hand, and hear me. 60:6 God has spoken in his holiness; I will rejoice, and divide Sicima, and measure out the valley of tents. 60:7 Galaad is mine, and Manasse is mine; and Ephraim is the strength of my head; 60:8 Judas is my king; Moab is the caldron of my hope; over Idumea will I stretch out my shoe; the Philistines have been subjected to me. 60:9 Who will lead me into the fortified city? who will guide me as far a Idumea? 60:10 Wilt not thou, O God, who hast cast us off? and wilt not thou, O God, go forth with our forces? 60:11 Give us help from trouble: for vain is the deliverance of man. 60:12 In God will we do valiantly; and he shall bring to nought them that harass us. (LXX)

In this week’s study from Tehillim / Psalms 60:1-12, the psalm is described in the following way, א לַמְנַצֵּחַ עַל-שׁוּשַׁן עֵדוּת מִכְתָּם לְדָוִד לְלַמֵּד: ב בְּהַצּוֹתוֹ | אֶת אֲרַם נַהֲרַיִם וְאֶת-אֲרַם צוֹבָה וַיָּשָׁב יוֹאָב וַיַּךְ אֶת-אֱדוֹם בְּגֵיא-מֶלַח שְׁנֵים עָשָֹר אָלֶף: For the choir director; according to Shushan Eduth. A Mikhtam of David, to teach; when he struggled with Aram-naharaim and with Aram-zobah, and Joab returned, and smote twelve thousand of Edom in the Valley of Salt. (NASB) The opening verses in the English translation according to the NASB contain a number of transliterated words. The first words עַל-שׁוּשַׁן עֵדוּת (according to Shushan Eduth) which means according to the “Testimony” (עֵדוּת) of “lilies” (שׁוּשַׁן). The point of the transliteration of the English translation, these words are “difficult to translate” and therefore “transliterated” in the typical fashion. Reading the Hebrew text, the testimony of lilies does not provide us with info on why David wrote these words in this particular way. The word “shushan” (שׁוּשַׁן) however is used elsewhere in the Scriptures, therefore, let’s look at how the word shushan is used elsewhere.

According to the book of Esther, Shushan was an ancient city known as the citadel of Shushan.

Esther 2:3

Let the king appoint overseers in all the provinces of his kingdom that they may gather every beautiful young virgin to the citadel of Susa, to the harem, into the custody of Hegai, the king’s eunuch, who is in charge of the women; and let their cosmetics be given them. (NASB)

ג וְיַפְקֵד הַמֶּלֶךְ פְּקִידִים בְּכָל-מְדִינוֹת מַלְכוּתוֹ וְיִקְבְּצוּ אֶת-כָּל-נַעֲרָה-בְתוּלָה טוֹבַת מַרְאֶה אֶל-שׁוּשַׁן הַבִּירָה אֶל-בֵּית הַנָּשִׁים אֶל-יַד הֵגֶא סְרִיס הַמֶּלֶךְ שֹׁמֵר הַנָּשִׁים וְנָתוֹן תַּמְרוּקֵיהֶן:

Easton’s dictionary states, “the Susa of Greek and Roman writers, once the capital of Elam. It lay in the uplands of Susiana, on the east of the Tigris, about 150 miles to the north of the head of the Persian Gulf. It is the modern Shush, on the northwest of Shuster. Once a magnificent city, it is now an immense mass of ruins. Here Daniel saw one of his visions (Daniel 8); and here also Nehemiah (Nehemiah 1) began his public life. Most of the events recorded in the Book of Esther took place here.” The citadel of Shushan is mentioned in Esther 2:3, 2:8, 3:15, and 8:15.

The next set of transliterated words are “Aram-naharaim” (אֲרַם נַהֲרַיִם) and “Aram-zobah” (אֲרַם צוֹבָה). The word “Aram” (אֲרַם) is the name of a place. The word “Naharaim” (נַהֲרַיִם) is the plural form of the root word “nahar” (נהר) meaning “river,” thus, Aram-naharaim means the place of the river. Aram-Naharaim is a region that is mentioned five times in the Hebrew Bible (Bereshit / Genesis 24:10, Devarim / Deuteronomy 23:5, Judges 3:8, Tehillim / Psalms 60, and 1 Chronicles 19:6). The word “Zobah” (צוֹבָה) the BDB lexicon states that this word is “from an unused root meaning to station; a station; Zoba or Zobah, a region of Syria.” This word occurs in 1 Samuel 14:47, 2 Samuel 8:3, 5, and 12, 1 Kings 11:23, 1 Chronicles 18:3, 5, and 9, and 2 Chronicles 8:3. For example, in 1 Samuel 14:47, מז וְשָׁאוּל לָכַד הַמְּלוּכָה עַל-יִשְֹרָאֵל וַיִּלָּחֶם סָבִיב | בְּכָל-אֹיְבָיו בְּמוֹאָב | וּבִבְנֵי-עַמּוֹן וּבֶאֱדוֹם וּבְמַלְכֵי צוֹבָה וּבַפְּלִשְׁתִּים וּבְכֹל אֲשֶׁר-יִפְנֶה יַרְשִׁיעַ: 14:47 Now when Saul had taken the kingdom over Israel, he fought against all his enemies on every side, against Moab, the sons of Ammon, Edom, the kings of Zobah, and the Philistines; and wherever he turned, he inflicted punishment. (NASB) Based upon the usage of the these words, Aram-naharaim and Aram-zobah, appear to be places associated with a place of a river and with Syria.

The Septuagint and the Aramaic Targum Pseudo Jonathan translate these verses from Tehillim / Psalms 60 to say the following:

Septuagint

Psalmoi / Psalms 60

For the end, for them that shall yet be changed; for an inscription by David for instruction, when he had burned Mesopotamia of Syria, and Syria Sobal, and Joab had returned and smitten in the valley of salt twelve thousand. (LXX)

60:1 εἰς τὸ τέλος τοῖς ἀλλοιωθησομένοις ἔτι εἰς στηλογραφίαν τῷ Δαυιδ εἰς διδαχήν ὁπότε ἐνεπύρισεν τὴν Μεσοποταμίαν Συρίας καὶ τὴν Συρίαν Σωβα καὶ ἐπέστρεψεν Ιωαβ καὶ ἐπάταξεν τὴν φάραγγα τῶν ἁλῶν δώδεκα χιλιάδας ὁ θεός ἀπώσω ἡμᾶς καὶ καθεῖλες ἡμᾶς ὠργίσθης καὶ οἰκτίρησας ἡμᾶς

Aramaic Targum

Toviyah / Psalms 60:1-2

60:1 For praise. Concerning the ancient testimony between Jacob and Laban. A copy made by David, for instruction. 60:2 When David had gathered troops and passed by the Heap of Witness and fought with Aram-on-the-Euphrates and Aram Zobah, and afterwards Joab returned and smote the Edomites in the Plain of Salt, and twelve thousand from the army of David and Joab fell. (EMC)

א לשבחא על עתיק סהדותא די ביני יעקב ולבן פרשגן על יד דוד לאלפא׃ ב כד כנש דוד משירין ועבר על אגר סהדותא ואגיח עם ארם די על פרת ועם ארם די עם צובה ומן בתר כן תב יואב ומחא ית אדומאי במישור מילחא ונפלו מן חילהון דדוד ויואב תריסר תרין עשׂר אלפין׃

The place Aram-naharaim is identified with Mesopotamia of Syria in the Septuagint, and Aram-on-the-Euphrates in the Aramaic Targum. In Bereshit / Genesis, it is used somewhat interchangeably with the names Paddan Aram and Haran to denote the place where Abraham stayed briefly with his father Terah’s family after leaving Ur of the Chaldees, while en route to Canaan (see Bereshit / Genesis 11:31), and the location to which later patriarchs obtained wives, rather than marry the daughters of Canaan. In Bereshit / Genesis, Paddan Aram refers to the part of Aram-Naharaim along the upper Euphrates, while Haran is mainly identified with the ancient city of Harran on the Balikh River. According to one rabbinical Jewish tradition, the birthplace of Abraham (Ur) was also situated in Aram-Naharaim (see Ramban on Lech Lecha).

Zobah or Aram-Zobah (ארם צובה) was the capital of an early Aramean state in southern Syria, at one time of considerable importance. In 1 Samuel 14:47, its king is supposed to have fought with Saul, but this is unconfirmed. Its king, Hadadezer son of Rehob, allied with Ammon against David, who defeated Zobah and made the kingdom tributary to Israel (see 2 Samuel 10). The Arameans from across the Euphrates came to Hadadezer’s aid (2 Samuel 10:16). During King Solomon’s reign, Zobah became independent of Israel (see and compare 1 Kings 11:23). Berothai, a city belonging to Hadadezer (2 Samuel 8:8) is identified by many with Berothah (Ezekiel 47:16), which was between Hamath and Damascus; Zobah was probably located near this city. This city is probably located in the far south of Syria and parts of Lebanon. From the 11th century, it was common Rabbinic usage to apply the term “Aram Zobah” to the area of Aleppo, and this is perpetuated by the Syrian Jews to this day.

Tehillim / Psalms 60, based on these opening verses, appear to be related to a testimony of Shushan, of the wisdom of David to teach something about when he struggled with a Syrian city, perhaps in a time of war. The opening verses continue saying וַיָּשָׁב יוֹאָב וַיַּךְ אֶת-אֱדוֹם בְּגֵיא-מֶלַח שְׁנֵים עָשָֹר אָלֶף and Joab returned, and smote twelve thousand of Edom in the Valley of Salt. (NASB) This is thought to be related to 2 Samuel 8:3 David smote also Hadadezer, the son of Rehob, king of Zobah, as he went to recover his border at the river Euphrates. (NASB) Therefore, based upon the opening two verses from Tehillim / Psalms 60, David is describing the psalm by the events of war and his role as king to free a region of Israel from the king of Zobah.

David opens his psalm saying, ג אֱלֹהִים זְנַחְתָּנוּ פְרַצְתָּנוּ אָנַפְתָּ תְּשׁוֹבֵב לָנוּ: ד הִרְעַשְׁתָּה אֶרֶץ פְּצַמְתָּהּ רְפָה שְׁבָרֶיהָ כִי-מָטָה: ה הִרְאִיתָה עַמְּךָ קָשָׁה הִשְׁקִיתָנוּ יַיִן תַּרְעֵלָה: 60:1 O God, You have rejected us. You have broken us; You have been angry; O, restore us. 60:2 You have made the land quake, You have split it open; Heal its breaches, for it totters. 60:3 You have made Your people experience hardship; You have given us wine to drink that makes us stagger. (NASB) In the first three verses, David seeks the Lord to restore (תְּשׁוֹבֵב) the people which is equated to being free from our enemies. He goes on to describe what the Lord has done, he has caused the earth to shake (הִרְעַשְׁתָּה), split open the land (פְּצַמְתָּהּ), and he asks for the Lord to heal (רְפָה) from the Arabic dagger (שְׁבָרֶיהָ) because of the rod or staff (מָטָה). The rod or staff is a symbol of ruling and reigning, and David may be referring to the LORD (יְהוָה) who is our Shepherd, where His rod and staff are present, guiding and directing us; David’s request may be based upon asking the Lord to heal the land and restore the people and the boarders of Israel because He is in control. The word for restoration (תְּשׁוֹבֵב) also has the implication of repentance and turning from sin; David seeks the Lord’s help to cause the restoration of the people in their return to God’s ways, to His Torah. David continues saying that the Lord is the cause of the people’s hardship and that He has given them wine to stumble and stagger.

What was it that the people did to anger the Lord? According to Torah in Parashat Reah (פרשת ראה) we read in Devarim / Deuteronomy 11:28, כח וְהַקְּלָלָה אִם-לֹא תִשְׁמְעוּ אֶל-מִצְוֹת יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֵיכֶם וְסַרְתֶּם מִן-הַדֶּרֶךְ אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוֶּה אֶתְכֶם הַיּוֹם לָלֶכֶת אַחֲרֵי אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים אֲשֶׁר לֹא-יְדַעְתֶּם: 11:28 and the curse, if you do not listen to the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside from the way which I am commanding you today, by following other gods which you have not known. (NASB) Can we anger the Lord today by behaving in a similar manner? When we think about listening and obeying, the motivation should be from a sense of our love for the Lord. The word love” however has been distorted in today’s society where the meaning of love has been diminished. Some view love as simply a feeling, Yeshua taught us that “If you love me, keep my commandments” demonstrating that love requires action. This may be illustrated by the words “sympathy” verses “compassion.” The one who sympathizes, sees and feels a persons sorrow and hardship, but does nothing. The one who has compassion, sees, feels, and then does something about the need. This conclusion is based upon a comparison in the Scriptures, the word sympathy is used very infrequently as compared to the word compassion. Yeshua had compassion upon the crowd of people and he did something about their needs. His compassion for humanity led to his bearing our sins upon the cross. The love of God and His commandments go hand in hand. For example, this is what we read in the Torah in Devarim / Deuteronomy 10:11-16 and 10:18-19.

Devarim / Deuteronomy 10:11-16

10:11 “Go,” the LORD said to me, “and lead the people on their way, so that they may enter and possess the land that I swore to their fathers to give them.” 10:12 And now, O Israel, what does the LORD your God ask of you but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, (יב וְעַתָּה יִשְֹרָאֵל מָה יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ שֹׁאֵל מֵעִמָּךְ כִּי אִם-לְיִרְאָה אֶת-יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לָלֶכֶת בְּכָל-דְּרָכָיו וּלְאַהֲבָה אֹתוֹ וְלַעֲבֹד אֶת-יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בְּכָל-לְבָבְךָ וּבְכָל-נַפְשֶׁךָ:)10:13 and to observe the LORD’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good? 10:14 To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it. 10:15 Yet the LORD set his affection on your forefathers and loved them, and he chose you, their descendants, above all the nations, as it is today. 10:16 Circumcise your hearts, therefore, and do not be stiff-necked any longer (NASB)

Devarim / Deuteronomy 10:18-20

10:18 He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing. 10:19 And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt. 10:20 Fear the LORD your God and serve him. Hold fast to him and take your oaths in his name. (NASB)

Here we find what the Lord requires of us, to fear Him, to walk in His ways, to love Him, and to serve Him with all our heart, mind, and soul. Note that the Hebrew Scriptures state וּלְאַהֲבָה אֹתוֹ וְלַעֲבֹד אֶת-יְהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בְּכָל-לְבָבְךָ וּבְכָל-נַפְשֶׁךָ saying to love the Lord and to serve him with all our hearts and all of our life (nefesh). All of who we are. This kind of love is that which is lived out daily. We are also told how this “life and love” of God is to be lived out. The Torah instructs us to circumcise our hearts, cutting away sin from our lives, and to defend the fatherless and widow, one is to have compassion for (love) the foreigner and give him food and clothing. These things are done out of fear (respect) of the Lord and because we love Him. The blessing that God sends into the life of the one who serves Him because they love Him, the Lord will cause them to increase, and no one will be able to stand against them (see Devarim / Deuteronomy 11:1-25). The Apostle John wrote in His first epistle saying:

1 John 2:1-7

2:1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2:2 and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world. 2:3 By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. 2:4 The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 2:5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: 2:6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked. 2:7 Beloved, I am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning; the old commandment is the word which you have heard. (NASB)

John continues saying in 1 John 5:1-3:

1 John 5:1-3

5:1 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and observe His commandments. 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome. (NASB)

In John’s second epistle he wrote:

2 John 1:1-6

1:1 The elder to the chosen lady and her children, whom I love in truth; and not only I, but also all who know the truth, 1:2 for the sake of the truth which abides in us and will be with us forever: 1:3 Grace, mercy and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love. 1:4 I was very glad to find some of your children walking in truth, just as we have received commandment to do from the Father. 1:5 Now I ask you, lady, not as though I were writing to you a new commandment, but the one which we have had from the beginning, that we love one another. 1:6 And this is love, that we walk according to His commandments. This is the commandment, just as you have heard from the beginning, that you should walk in it. (NASB)

This is exactly what we read in Devarim / Deuteronomy 10, loving the Lord, loving others, and obeying the commands. If we are not doing what the Lord expects of us, the Lord will do things in our lives to move our hearts to repentance and return to His ways. This is a very important concept here. This is about taking our faith seriously. Take for example the Apostle Paul’s words to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 11:23-32.

1 Corinthians 11:23-32

11:23 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; 11:24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, ‘This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.’ 11:25 In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me.’ 11:26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. 11:27 Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. 11:28 But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 11:29 For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. 11:30 For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep. 11:31 But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. 11:32 But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world. (NASB)

Paul is speaking about discerning the body and the blood during Pesach and he continues saying that there are those who partake of Pesach unworthily. Notice how taking the bread and the wine in an unworthy manner eats and drinks judgment upon one’s self. Partaking in these things in an unworthy manner results in weakness, sickness, and death. In 1 Corinthians 11:31-32 he says, 11:31 But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged. 11:32 But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world. (NASB) Notice that he is drawing into context judging ourselves and the Lord judging us. This is related to taking our faith seriously. Do you take your faith seriously enough to change how you live, what you bring into your body, through the eyes, ears, or mouth? Paul is not talking about the manner in which one takes communion (e.g. Eucharist), he is talking about judging ourselves rightly before God, counting ourselves worthy before God, taking our faith seriously to consider what it is that we are doing when taking the body and the blood in the bread and the wine. Do we take our faith seriously enough that our lives demonstrate that we truly do love God and seek to obey His commands. This is a personal judgment (personal examination) that each of us on an individual basis need to consider before God. I know many people who are sick and ill, I cannot make the judgment call because I do not know one’s heart before God regarding these things, however, is illness related to ones faith? The Apostle Paul seems to suggest that is certainly the case. The point is these words from the Torah regarding the blessing and the curses continue today, they are not done away with in the Messiah Yeshua. Each one of us are held accountable before God in the Messiah, and each one of us needs to consider the consequences of neglecting the Word of God and not taking our faith seriously enough. Being casual about the commandments, is this what Paul was talking about in 1 Corinthians 11 concerning weakness, illness, and death? These Scriptures suggest that the Lord works in our lives in order to turn us from of own sinful ways to God’s ways, and to take our faith seriously. Do you really take your faith and walk before God seriously? Consider your private life, the life you live when you are alone and nobody else sees except God?

David continues saying, ו נָתַתָּה לִּירֵאֶיךָ נֵּס לְהִתְנוֹסֵס מִפְּנֵי קשֶׁט סֶלָה: 60:4 You have given a banner to those who fear You, That it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah. (NASB) What is the significance of a banner for those who fear the Lord and for truth? In Tehillim / Psalms 20, David said 20:5 We will sing for joy over your victory, And in the name of our God we will set up our banners. May the LORD fulfill all your petitions. (NASB) David said previously that we will set up our banners in the name of our God. The banner is set up either as a preparation for war (Jeremiah 51:27 Lift up a banner in the land! Blow the trumpet among the nations! Prepare the nations for battle against her; summon against her these kingdoms: Ararat, Minni and Ashkenaz. Appoint a commander against her; send up horses like a swarm of locusts. NIV) or is related to our putting our trust in the Lord and relying upon His strength. Those who fear the Lord are synonymous to those who love the Lord, and these descriptions of the banners is found within the victory the Lord will bring for His people. We do not need to fear engaging the enemy, and a good soldier will endure suffering and fight his batters under the banner of the Lord of hosts, the idea is that we are representative of whom we serve. Yeshua the Messiah is described in the Apostolic Writings as King and Lord, He is our salvation, He comes with the salvation of God in hand, and He has won complete victory over our enemies and therefore we are able to set up banners in His name because of our triumph over sin, the Evil One, death, and hell. Notice how David continues saying, ז לְמַעַן יֵחָלְצוּן יְדִידֶיךָ הוֹשִׁיעָה יְמִינְךָ וַעֲנֵנִו [וַעֲנֵנִי]: 60:5 That Your beloved may be delivered, Save with Your right hand, and answer us! (NASB) The idea of the banner, our setting up a banner, or the Lord establishing His banner over us is coupled with the idea that He brings with Him salvation in His right hand. The Lord is the One in whom we can place our trust.

David continues saying, ח אֱלֹהִים | דִּבֶּר בְּקָדְשׁוֹ אֶעְלֹזָה אֲחַלְּקָה שְׁכֶם וְעֵמֶק סֻכּוֹת אֲמַדֵּד: ט לִי גִלְעָד | וְלִי מְנַשֶּׁה וְאֶפְרַיִם מָעוֹז רֹאשִׁי יְהוּדָה מְחֹקְקִי: י מוֹאָב | סִיר רַחְצִי עַל-אֱדוֹם אַשְׁלִיךְ נַעֲלִי עָלַי פְּלֶשֶׁת הִתְרֹעָעִי: יא מִי יֹבִלֵנִי עִיר מָצוֹר מִי נָחַנִי עַד-אֱדוֹם: 60:6 God has spoken in His holiness: ‘I will exult, I will portion out Shechem and measure out the valley of Succoth. 60:7 ‘Gilead is Mine, and Manasseh is Mine; Ephraim also is the helmet of My head; Judah is My scepter. 60:8 ‘Moab is My washbowl; Over Edom I shall throw My shoe; Shout loud, O Philistia, because of Me!’ 60:9 Who will bring me into the besieged city? Who will lead me to Edom? (NASB) What does it mean to pour out Shechem and measure out the valley of Succoth? In Tehillim / Psalms 60:8, the word אֲחַלְּקָה is from the root word חלק meaning “part, portion, fraction, share,” and signifies a portion of inheritance. The Lord is exercising dominion over Shechem, a place in Israel, and the Scripture says the Lord will measure out the valley of Succoth, which is a different place. The idea is that these two places, Shechem and the valley of Succoth are used to describe all of the land of Canaan. It is interesting that according to the Aramaic Targum, the dividing Shechem is understood as dividing the spoils of the enemy, specifically, from Egypt, and the spoils being divided among the sons of Joseph who dwell in Shechem.

Aramaic Targum

Toviyah / Psalms 60:8-11

60:8 God speaks in his sanctuary: I will be glad, for those of the house of Israel will prevail; I will divide the spoil with the sons of Joseph who dwell in Shechem, and in the plain of Succoth I will measure the measure and divide the booty. 60:9 My people were of the house of Gilead, and my people were of the house of Manasseh; and the warriors of the house of Ephraim are the strength of my head, and those of the house of Judah are the scribes of my school. 60:10 I trampled on the Moabites, my feet were dipped in the blood of their warriors as in my washing-basin; on the nape of the neck of the warriors of Edom I set my shoe; shout over the Philistines, O congregation of Israel. 60:11 Who is he that led me to the ruined city of Tyre? Who is he that guided me to Edom? (EMC)

ח אלהא ממליל בבית מקדשיה אבוע ארום יתגברון דבית ישראל אפליג ביזתא עם בני יוסף דיתבין בשכם ובמישר סוכות אימשח מישחתא ואפליג עדאה׃ ט עמי הוון דבית גלעד ועמי הוון דבית מנשה וגיברין דבית אפרים עושנא דרישי ומדבית יהודה ספרייא דבית אולפני׃ י בעטיית מואבאי איטמשו ריגלי באדום גיבריהון היך דוד שיזוגי על פורקת צוורי קדל גיברי אדום טלקית מסאני עילוי פלישתאי יביבי ואתגברי כנישתא דישראל׃ יא מן הוא דאוביל יתי לקרתא חרובא דצור מן הוא דדברני עד אדום׃

Septuagint

Psalmoi / Psalms 60:6-9

60:6 God has spoken in his holiness; I will rejoice, and divide Sicima, and measure out the valley of tents. 60:7 Galaad is mine, and Manasse is mine; and Ephraim is the strength of my head; 60:8 Judas is my king; Moab is the caldron of my hope; over Idumea will I stretch out my shoe; the Philistines have been subjected to me. 60:9 Who will lead me into the fortified city? who will guide me as far a Idumea?

60:6 ὁ θεὸς ἐλάλησεν ἐν τῷ ἁγίῳ αὐτοῦ ἀγαλλιάσομαι καὶ διαμεριῶ Σικιμα καὶ τὴν κοιλάδα τῶν σκηνῶν διαμετρήσω 60:7 ἐμός ἐστιν Γαλααδ καὶ ἐμός ἐστιν Μανασση καὶ Εφραιμ κραταίωσις τῆς κεφαλῆς μου Ιουδας βασιλεύς μου 60:8 Μωαβ λέβης τῆς ἐλπίδος μου ἐπὶ τὴν Ιδουμαίαν ἐκτενῶ τὸ ὑπόδημά μου ἐμοὶ ἀλλόφυλοι ὑπετάγησαν 60:9 τίς ἀπάξει με εἰς πόλιν περιοχῆς τίς ὁδηγήσει με ἕως τῆς Ιδουμαίας

David goes on to say Manasseh is his, Ephraim is a helmet, and Judah a scepter. In the Scriptures, Ephraim was the most important of the tribes next to Judah, and held the central position in the western region, forming the main strength of the northern kingdom after the separation under Jeroboam (see 1 Kings 12:25 and compare Isaiah 7:2, 5, 9, 17, Isaiah 9:21, Hosea 4:17, 5:7-14, and 6:4-10) The Tanach describes Ephraim as more numerous and populous than Manasseh, and abounded with mighty men, which are the strength of a prince. This may be why here in the Psalm Ephraim is called the strength of his head. The prophet Zechariah stated the following regarding Ephraim, Zechariah 10:6 ‘I will strengthen the house of Judah, And I will save the house of Joseph, And I will bring them back, Because I have had compassion on them; And they will be as though I had not rejected them, For I am the Lord their God and I will answer them. 10:7 ‘Ephraim will be like a mighty man, And their heart will be glad as if from wine; Indeed, their children will see it and be glad, Their heart will rejoice in the Lord. (NASB) The scepter of Judah is obviously a reference to Bereshit / Genesis 49:10 ‘The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes, And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples. (NASB) The comment about Moab being God’s washbowl, over Edom I will throw My shoe and Philistia, etc, is repeated in Tehillim / Psalms 108:9 “Moab is My washbowl; Over Edom I shall throw My shoe; Over Philistia I will shout aloud.” Jeremiah 48:1-25 speaks of the destruction of Moab an the reasons why. Jeremiah states that Moab is a nation of madmen (48:2), they trust in deeds, in riches, and Chemosh was their god (48:7). Chemosh was the national deity of the Moabites whose name most likely meant “destroyer” or “subduer.” The Scriptures describe Chemosh associated with the Moabites, and Judges 11:24 also indicates that he was the national deity of the Ammonites as well. Chemosh was imported to Jerusalem by King Solomon (1 Kings 11:7). The evil associated with worshiping Chemosh was evident in a curse from the scriptures which says, “the abomination of Moab.” It was King Josiah who destroyed the Israelites who worshiped this god (2 Kings 23). The Talmud quoted by Rashi says that his wives (Solomon) built the temples and he is considered responsible for not stopping them. The throwing of the shoe at Edom is a description of the worst kind of disrespect and conquering the people, placing the foot upon a person shows their having been defeated. We know historically that both Moab and Edom no longer exist, the cities and people were destroyed because of their wicked lives and their contempt for Israel God’s people. Chemosh was a disaster and Moab would be ashamed of him according to Jeremiah 48. Believers in Yeshua the Messiah are not immune from trouble if one is participating in sin or even setting up an idol in one’s heart which may be anything that takes away from Yeshua and our Father in Heaven who rightfully should find the central place in our lives.

David concludes his psalm saying, יב הֲלֹא-אַתָּה אֱלֹהִים זְנַחְתָּנוּ וְלֹא-תֵצֵא אֱלֹהִים בְּצִבְאוֹתֵינוּ: יג הָבָה-לָּנוּ עֶזְרָת מִצָּר וְשָׁוְא תְּשׁוּעַת אָדָם: יד בֵּאלֹהִים נַעֲשֶֹה-חָיִל וְהוּא יָבוּס צָרֵינוּ: 60:10 Have not You Yourself, O God, rejected us? And will You not go forth with our armies, O God? 60:11 O give us help against the adversary, For deliverance by man is in vain. 60:12 Through God we shall do valiantly, And it is He who will tread down our adversaries. (NASB) The Aramaic Targum and the Septuagint say the following:

Aramaic Targum

Toviyah / Psalms Chapter 60:12-14

60:12 Is it not you, O Lord? You have abandoned us; and you will not go out, O God, with our forces. 60:13 Give us help against the oppressor, for in vain is the redemption of a son of man. 60:14 By the word of the Lord we will exercise might, and he will subdue our oppressors. (EMC)

יב הלא את הוא יהוה שבקתנא ולא תיפוק אלהא עם חיילותנא׃ יג הב לן סעדא ממעיקא ומגן הוא פורקנא דבר נשא׃ יד במימרא דיהוה נעבד חילא והוא יכביש מעיקן׃

Septuagint

Psalmoi / Psalms 60:6-9

60:10 Wilt not thou, O God, who hast cast us off? and wilt not thou, O God, go forth with our forces? 60:11 Give us help from trouble: for vain is the deliverance of man. 60:12 In God will we do valiantly; and he shall bring to nought them that harass us. (LXX)

60:10 οὐχὶ σύ ὁ θεός ὁ ἀπωσάμενος ἡμᾶς καὶ οὐκ ἐξελεύσῃ ὁ θεός ἐν ταῖς δυνάμεσιν ἡμῶν 60:11 δὸς ἡμῖν βοήθειαν ἐκ θλίψεως καὶ ματαία σωτηρία ἀνθρώπου 60:12 ἐν δὲ τῷ θεῷ ποιήσομεν δύναμιν καὶ αὐτὸς ἐξουδενώσει τοὺς θλίβοντας ἡμᾶς

David’s concluding words describe his desire for the Lord to deliver rather than for man. He says that deliverance from man is in vain, through God however we will do valiantly because the Lord will tread down our enemies. The Aramaic Targum states that the word of the Lord will exercise might and subdue our enemies. The Word of the Lord giving help from trouble and having the power to subdue is a clear description of God’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt according to the Torah when by the word of the Lord great plagues came down upon Israel’s enemies. No human force is able to deliver us in the way in which the Lord will deliver. Our confidence should be in the Lord God of heaven, so He is glorified and not man. The whole point is that the righteous are to give glory to God in a worthy manner. Do you trust in the works of your hands, in riches, or something else like the people of Moab did? Do you take your faith seriously enough to be counted worthy to stand before the Lord? There are so many ways evil and sin come into our lives today. How important is it to turn from sin in light of what Tehillim / Psalms 60 is saying? This is about judging ourselves and taking action before the Lord judges us. Do you take your faith seriously enough to change how you live, what you bring into your body, through the eyes, ears, or even what goes in and out of your mouth? The Psalm this week speaks of our judging ourselves rightly before God, counting ourselves worthy before Him, and taking our faith seriously enough that our lives demonstrate that we truly do love God and seek to obey His commands. Let’s Pray!

Rabbinic Commentary

The Rabbinic Commentary (Midrash) on Tehillim / Psalms 60 has 3 parts. Reading through the Midrash we will be looking at Part 1, 2, and 3. Let’s begin by outlining Midrash Tehillim Chapter 60, Part 1, 2, and 3.

Outline of Midrash Tehillim / Psalms, Chapter 60, Part 1, 2, and 3.

Part 1

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying “For the leader; upon shushan Eduth; Michtam of David to teach (Tehillim / Psalms 60:1).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “The phrase Shushan Eduth (lily of testimony) is to be read in the light of the verse He is near that justifies me; who will contend with me? (Isaiah 50:8).
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis go on to discuss the opening verse and the testimony to refer to the testimony of the Torah which stands against the nations who walk in darkness.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis expand upon the mashal providing examples from the Sanhedrin, Joab, David, and various other stories that are derived from the biblical text.
  • The Concluding phrase says “And Joab returned and smote Edom (Tehillim / Psalms 60:2). This verse teaches that he came back a second time and breached its walls. The first time he had said, If I destroy Edom now, I will not find food or drink on my return from Aram. But I will let Edom’s people be until I have smitten Aram, and then come back to attack them. So when he returned, he smote the people of Edom, as is said, And Joab returned and smote Edom.”

Part 2

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying “O God, You have cast us off, You have broken us down; You have been angry; O restore us again (Tehillim / Psalms 60:3).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “The Holy One blessed be He, said, I cast you off because you cast Me off.
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis go on to discuss the opening verse and the homiletic introduction saying when the Lord cast off Israel, the ground shook.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis expand upon the mashal providing explanations on the ground shaking and David praying, etc.
  • The Concluding phrase says “Our Masters also speak of a potsherd big enough to place between one split board (pesim) and another. You have made Your people to see hard things; You have made us to drink the wine of astonishment (tar’elah) (Tehillim / Psalms 60:5). How is tar elath read literally? It is read as tar (to tear) and olah (its yoke), and thus intimates that through the drinking of wine the yoke of Torah has been torn from us.”

Part 3

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying “You have given a banner to them that fear You, that it may be displayed (Tehillim / Psalms 60:6).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “ On what account was it given? For the sake of arrow-straight going, that is, for the sake of the truth, forever.
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis go on to discuss the opening verse saying that it is the right hand that provides the answer and that the right hand is a reference to the Torah.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis expand upon the mashal drawing examples and explanations from a discussion on Judah, Ephraim, and Edom.
  • The Concluding phrase says “And when they say Nehemiah, the son of Hushiel, dead before the gates of Jerusalem they will say, For vain is the help of man. Through God we will do valiantly; for He it is that will tread down our adversaries (Tehillim / Psalms 60:13-14).”

Midrash Tehillim 60, Part 1 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying “For the leader; upon shushan Eduth; Michtam of David to teach (Tehillim / Psalms 60:1).” The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “The phrase Shushan Eduth (lily of testimony) is to be read in the light of the verse He is near that justifies me; who will contend with me? (Isaiah 50:8).” The midrash continues saying:

To what time do the words He is near that justifies me refer? To the time after the Holy One blessed be He, gave the Torah to the children of Israel, the Torah where from they could draw testimony against all the nations. When he strove with Aramnaharaim and with Aram-zobah (Tehillim / Psalms 60:2) that is, when Joab went to make war with Aram, the Arameans said to him, Are you not Jacob’s descendant? And therefore, does not a covenant exist between us? For Laban, our forbear, said, Now come, let us make a covenant, I and you, and Jacob took a stone, and set it up for a pillar, and Laban said, This heap is witness between me and you this day (Bereshit / Genesis 31:44-45, 48). (Midrash Tehillim 60, Part 1)

The midrash opens on the transliterated text “Shushan Eduth” which is translated as “lily of testimony.” This is interpreted to refer to the time when the Lord gave the Torah to the children of Israel. Studying the symbolism of the lily, the “white lily” symbolizes chastity and virtue. The Tanach mentions lilies 15 times, eight of which occur in the Song of Solomon. The following are a few examples:

  • Song of Solomon 2:1 I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.
  • Song of Solomon 2:2 As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters.
  • Song of Solomon 6:2 My beloved is gone down into his garden, to the beds of spices, to feed in the gardens, and to gather lilies.
  • Hosea 14:5 I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon.
  • Matthew 6:28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 6:29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

A few things we observe based upon these biblical references, lilies grow in the valleys, in the field, and even amongst thorns. Sometimes, they are cultivated to grow in planted gardens. The Lord’s blessing on Israel, Hosea states that “he shall grow as the lily.” The varying places of growth may illustrate the use of the word for lily (shushan) as a reference to a variety of flowers. Lilies are pleasant to sight, touch, and smell. David says that this psalm is a Shushan Eduth, a testimony of lilies. In the Scriptures, the tablets of stone that Moshe brought down are known as “the tablets of the covenant” (לוחות הברית Luchot HaBrit), they are also known as “the tablets of the testimony” (יח וַיִּתֵּן אֶל-מֹשֶׁה כְּכַלֹּתוֹ לְדַבֵּר אִתּוֹ בְּהַר סִינַי שְׁנֵי לֻחֹת הָעֵדֻת לֻחֹת אֶבֶן כְּתֻבִים בְּאֶצְבַּע אֱלֹהִים:) in Shemot / Exodus 31:18. The rabbis say that the one near that justifies me is the lily of testimony and they quote from Isaiah 50:8.

Isaiah 50:7-10

50:7 For the Lord God helps Me, Therefore, I am not disgraced; Therefore, I have set My face like flint, And I know that I will not be ashamed. 50:8 He who vindicates Me is near; Who will contend with Me? Let us stand up to each other; Who has a case against Me? Let him draw near to Me. 50:9 Behold, the Lord God helps Me; Who is he who condemns Me? Behold, they will all wear out like a garment; The moth will eat them. 50:10 Who is among you that fears the Lord, That obeys the voice of His servant, That walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God. (NASB)

It is interesting how the midrash draws together the meaning of shushan eduth to the giving of the Torah, and to God’s people by the use of Isaiah 50:8. The context in Isaiah 50 causes this comparison to make sense. The Lord God is our help, we will not be ashamed, and who can stand against us if the Lord is on our side. Isaiah 50:10 states 50:10 Who is among you that fears the Lord, That obeys the voice of His servant, That walks in darkness and has no light? Let him trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God. (NASB) Those who fear the Lord and obeys is a direct correlation to obedience to God’s word, to His mitzvot (commands). A comparison of the one who walks in the light verses darkness, one walks in God’s light by obeying his commands. Walking in darkness are those who do not obey His commands. Those who trust in the name of the Lord and rely upon God are justified by God Himself, and by His testimony which is the written Torah, the five books of Moshe. The covenant relationship that we have with the Lord God in Heaven, in Yeshua the Messiah, requires us to live in a manner that brings glory to our Father in heaven. The shushan eduth, the lily of testimony, the tablets of the testimony, the Torah will stand to bear witness. The Torah will stand up at the end of time during the great judgment either for or against us. For example, if one lives his life contrary to God’s commands, the Torah will not stand as a witness but as judge. Can you see parallels to the Apostolic Writing description of Yeshua, the living Word of God, and bearing witness verses being a judge? Did you know that the Scriptures describe Yeshua as both a witness, a savior, and a judge? The Scriptures teache that the Son of Man, the Messiah, Yeshua of Nazareth, will be the final judge of all humanity. According to the Scriptures, (i) God will judge the earth, and (ii) Yeshua of Nazareth will be the final Judge. We know based upon various texts throughout the Tanach and the Apostolic writings that the Lord God will judge the earth one day. Yeshua quoted from the prophet Daniel chapter 7 during his trial before the Sanhedrin, when he says in Mark 14:62,” . . . you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” (NASB) In the Gospel of John, Yeshua uses the Book of Daniel and explicitly lays claim to being the Son of Man who will bring the final Judgment. Additional information regarding Yeshua as judge is found in John chapter 5.

John 5:25-30

5:25 ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live. 5:26 ‘For just as the Father has life in Himself, even so He gave to the Son also to have life in Himself; 5:27 and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is the Son of Man. 5:28 ‘Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, 5:29 and will come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment. 5:30 ‘I can do nothing on My own initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is just, because I do not seek My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. (NASB)

Yeshua describes himself as the One who will be coming on the clouds to judge the earth. The Apostle Paul picks up on this in the book of Acts saying, “For he has set a Day when he will judge the inhabited world, and do it justly, by means of a man whom he has designated. And he has given public proof of it by resurrecting this man from the dead” (Acts 17:31). Look at Revelation 20 for additional information. There is a day of reckoning coming and it is highly advisable to do your best to obey God’s word and seek our Father in heaven, in the name of His Son, asking for help to be obedient to His word for His glory.

The midrash continues saying the following:

The Sanhedrin declared, Our fathers made two covenants. Abraham made one of the two, as is said, And it came to pass at that time, that Abimelech spoke unto Abraham, now therefore swear to me here by God that you will not deal falsely with me, so they made a covenant (Bereshit / Genesis 21:22-23, 32). Now, when the children of Israel were about to enter the land of the Philistines, it was said to them, are you not sons of Abraham? And will you not keep the obligations of the covenant which Abraham made with Abimelech? The children of Israel replied, indeed we would keep the covenant. But you are not Philistines, for the Philistines have long since departed. The testimony of Scripture in the verse The avvim dwelt in villages as far as Gaza, but the Caphtorim, that came forth out of Caphtor, destroyed them (Devarim / Deuteronomy 2:23), proves that you invalidated the oath. Thereupon, the children of Israel entered the land of the Philistines, and possessed it. So too, when Arameans say to Joab, Are you not of the sons of Jacob? And did not Aram make a covenant with Jacob when Laban said, This heap be witness, and the pillar be witness, that I will not pass over this heap to you, and that you will not pass over this heap and this pillar unto me for harm (Bereshit / Genesis 31:52)? Joab is to reply, but were not the Arameans first to pass over this pillar with intent to harm? Indeed, on his way to curse Israel, Balaam admitted, Balak, the king of Moab, brings me from Aram (Bamidbar / Numbers 23:7). And this was not the only time that the Arameans passed over this pillar with intent to harm, from Scriptures testimony of the days of Cushan-rishathaim is that The children of Israel served Cushan-rishathaim, king of Aram-neharaim (Judges 3:8). Thus, Aram condemns itself by two iniquities; one of the time of Balaam, and one of the time of Cushan-rishthaim. After they of the Sanhedrin taught him this, David said, Two the Eternal; in praise of the Lily of Testimony (Shushan Eduth); Michtam of David for the teaching of the sages (Tehillim / Psalms 60:1).

The midrash speaks of Abraham, Abimelech, the Arameans, Joab, Jacob, Laban, and Balaam, in this section of the midrash. Looking at the Peshat of the midrash, the rabbis are discussing Israel and the sons of Israel who are entering the land of Canaan, they are under an obligation of the covenant. What does it mean “the obligation of the covenant?” The midrash speaks of those who entered the land and “invalidating the oath.” The midrash parallels the covenant made between Jacob and Laban to the Arameans who disregarded the pillar that bore testimony that one will never cross over to the other to make war, the Arameans tried to make war against Israel. The idea contained within the midrash regarding the shushan eduth, the Torah, the testimony of God, the one who bears witness, and the covenant are all in relation to the people or children of God. The Lord saved the people, delivered and redeemed them, entered into a covenant with them, and then gave stipulations regarding the covenant, that being a saved and redeemed people, if you love Me, this is how you are to live. You are to live in righteousness, holiness, and truth. However there were some who violated the stipulations of the covenant and lived as the nations lived, and served the Lord God in heaven in the same manner in which the nations served their gods. They did not walk in God’s ways, they sought to walk in a manner that was according to what was right in their own eyes. What is the final state of those who live this way? Midrash Tehillim 60, Part 1 concludes saying, “Behassoto Aram-naharaim and Aram-zobah (Tehillim / Psalms 60:2). What is meant by the word behassoto? It means that Joab set Aram on fire. Or it may mean that he riddled it with arrows. Again, it may mean that he took up the people of Aram-naharaim set them in Aram-zobah, and that he set the people of Aram-zobah in Aram-naharim. And Joab returned and smote Edom (Tehillim / Psalms 60:2). This verse teaches that he came back a second time and breached its walls. The first time he had said, If I destroy Edom now, I will not find food or drink on my return from Aram. But I will let Edom’s people be until I have smitten Aram, and then come back to attack them. So when he returned, he smote the people of Edom, as is said, And Joab returned and smote Edom.” The idea here might be paralleled to Matthew 13:27-30 which states, 13:27 ‘The slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ 13:28 ‘And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ The slaves said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’ 13:29 ‘But he said, ‘No; for while you are gathering up the tares, you may uproot the wheat with them. 13:30 ‘Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and in the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, ‘First gather up the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them up; but gather the wheat into my barn.’’‘ (NASB) The Lord allows the unrighteous to flourish, to grow, and to continue in their ways. The unrighteous do not recognize that they are walking in unrighteousness. At the end however the unrighteous will realize their ways were not God’s ways and will be punished. The midrash on the testimony of the lilies suggests that we are to seek the Lord God in heaven, to walk in His ways, to seek His Son Yeshua the Messiah, to abide in Him, and in doing so, the Scriptures will bear record of our lives as the righteous who love God! This is why it is important to obey God’s word and to walk in the way He wants us to walk. The Scriptures will bear witness of our lives, either for (lives lived in faithfulness) or against (lives lived in unfaithfulness).

Midrash Tehillim 60, Part 2 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying “O God, You have cast us off, You have broken us down; You have been angry; O restore us again (Tehillim / Psalms 60:3).” The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “The Holy One blessed be He, said, I cast you off because you cast Me off.” The idea is that the Lord will cast us off if we have cast Him off. What does it mean to cast God off? How would one cast God off? Would our Father in heaven cause us off today? What about Yeshua, would Yeshua cast us off today? The entire midrash states the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק ס סימן ב

ב אלהים זנחתנו פרצתנו אנפת תשובב לנו. [אמר הקב״ה אני זנחתי אתכם ואתם זנחתם אותי, וכן הוא אומר זנח ישראל טוב אויב ירדפו (הושע ח ג), ואף על פי שאנפת בי, חזור ושוב אלי], כמה שנאמר אודך ה׳ כי אנפת בי ישוב אפך ותנחמני (ישעיה יב א). [הרעשתה ארץ]. בשעה שאמר לו יואב הדברים האלו רעשה הארץ, נתפלצה עליהם ונתקפלה תחתיו, ונמצא עומד דוד להכותו, מיד עמד ואמר רפה שבריה כי מטה. מהו פצמתה, דלתיה כמה שנאמר ויהי כקרוא יהודי שלש דלתות (ירמיה לו כג), ומתרגמינן פצימין, ואמרו רבותינו חרס כדי ליתן בין פצים לחבירו. הראית עמך קשה [השקיתנו יין תרעלה]. מהו השקיתנו יין תרעלה, יין שהוא מתער את העולם, שיתיר עולה של תורה.

Midrash Tehillim 60, Part 2

2. O God, You have cast us off, You have broken us down; You have been angry; O restore us again (Tehillim / Psalms 60:3). The Holy One blessed be He, said, I cast you off because you cast Me off. As Scripture says, Israel has cast off that which is Good; the enemy shall pursue him (Hosea 8:3). But though You have been angry with me, turn and come back to me, as is said, Though You was angry with me, let Your anger be turned away, and do You comfort me (Isaiah 12:1). You have made the land to shake; You have cleft it (Tehillim / Psalms 60:4). When Joab said, O God, You have cast us off, etc, the earth shook. Because it was cleft and rolling under his feet, Joab found himself unable to continue fighting. Thereupon, David stood up and prayed, Heal the breaches therefore, for it totters. What is the literal meaning of pesamtah (You have cleft it)? It means that You have split apart the doors of the earth. Thus in Aramaic the word for sections in the verse When Jehudi had read three or four sections (Jeremiah 36:23), is pesimin (splitting). Our Masters also speak of a potsherd big enough to place between one split board (pesim) and another. You have made Your people to see hard things; You have made us to drink the wine of astonishment (tar’elah) (Tehillim / Psalms 60:5). How is tar elath read literally? It is read as tar (to tear) and olah (its yoke), and thus intimates that through the drinking of wine the yoke of Torah has been torn from us.

The midrash continues saying that the Lord was angry with Israel. Does the Lord get angry today with regard to how we live our lives? Previously we asked, “What does it mean to cast God off? How would one cast God off? Would our Father in heaven cause us off today? And, what about Yeshua, would Yeshua cast us off today?” According to 1 John 4:16 we read, “4:16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. (ESV) The Apostle John says that God is love and that whoever abides in love the Lord God abides in him. The Lord created mankind for the purpose of bringing glory to His name and for relationship. The Apostolic Writings describe the Lord as a loving God. There are instances however in the Scriptures that describe the Lord as being Angry. (See Tehillim / Psalm 7:11, Isaiah 1:3-4, and Revelation 6:17 to name a few verses.) One way of thinking about these questions and the topic in the midrash is that anger might be an expression of God’s love for us. His correction is designed to help us to overcome the error of our ways, to recognize that sin and disobedience cannot be coupled with a loving relationship. Walking in God’s ways produces love, joy, and peace. The Scriptures always describe the benefit of living and walking in God’s ways, the Torah was given for our good. Both the Scriptures (Devarim / Deuteronomy 10:13) and the rabbis comment on this aspect of the Law. For example, the Torah describes that obeying the mitzvot (commands) will produce tremendous blessings (Devarim / Deuteronomy 28:1-14), whereas, being abstinent, ignoring, and breaking the commands would cause automatic penalties and curses (Devarim / Deuteronomy 28:15-68). These statements from the Torah are relevant and true for us today which is evident by Paul’s words to the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 11 that we mentioned previously. The Lord knows what is best for us, what works and what does not work, what causes us to fall into sin and bondage (habitual), and as a loving parent, He instructs us to walk in His ways for the purpose of freedom. His commands are designed to set us on the right path, and that path is to consist of a life that continually seeks Him for help. In addition to this, the Torah sets us upon the path of seeking the Messiah, the salvation and redemption the Lord has provided that is found within the rites and ritual of the sacrificial system. The commands also help us prepare to live in joyous, productive harmony with the Lord God forever. In living out the commands, we are given a future expectation of spending eternity with the Lord God in heaven where He will be our God and we will be His people forever.

The midrash continues and speaks of the Lord being angry and casting off the people. The anger of the Lord caused the land to shake and to be cleft. Cleft is a noun meaning “fissure, crevice, crack, gap” and as an adverb “divided, split.” The midrashic example is, “it (the land) was cleft and rolling under his feet, Joab found himself unable to continue fighting.” For this reason David sought the Lord in prayer, to heal the breaches so they could have victory. The key word here in the midrash is Pesamtah (פצמתה) meaning “you have cleft it.” The rabbis ask the question, What is the literal meaning of pesamtah (You have cleft it)? It means that You have split apart the doors of the earth. Thus in Aramaic the word for sections in the verse When Jehudi had read three or four sections (Jeremiah 36:23), is pesimin (splitting). Midrash Tehillim 60, Part 2 concludes saying, “Our Masters also speak of a potsherd big enough to place between one split board (pesim) and another. You have made Your people to see hard things; You have made us to drink the wine of astonishment (tar’elah) (Tehillim / Psalms 60:5). How is tar elath read literally? It is read as tar (to tear) and olah (its yoke), and thus intimates that through the drinking of wine the yoke of Torah has been torn from us.” The idea is that the Torah is a yoke of rest, peace, joy, and freedom. Walking in God’s ways according to the Torah will lead us in straight paths, of righteousness, holiness, and truth. Today, in the Messiah Yeshua, the Lord enables us to walk in His ways with victory and glory to His name. When Israel turned from the way of the Lord, they were shown what it means to drink the wine of sin and sins consequences. Remember that drinking the wine of something (like wisdom in Mishley / Proverbs 9, or the wine of the Torah mentioned here in the midrash, etc) is incorporating that thing into our lives to become a part of us. When we drink wisdom’s wine, we make wisdom a part of our lives. When we drink the wine of the Torah, we make the Torah a part of our lives. The wine of the Torah does not make us stumble like normal wine does in drunkenness. The wine of the wisdom of God does not make us stumble. However, if we choose to ignore His word, ignore the commandments, and ignore the Messiah Yeshua, the Lord will send trials, testing, and even the casting off, until one repents, turns, and returns to seeking Him in all things. What does it mean to cast God off? This means that one disregards God’s word and way for living. Would Yeshua cast us off? The feeling that comes on the meaning of the midrash regarding the casting off is for the purpose of drawing us near again. Based upon the Apostolic Writings such as 1 Corinthians 11, Yeshua would allow bad things to happen, sickness, and even death if we are choosing to live in sin and in an unrepentant state. Seek the Lord’s help to turn from sin, to seek the Lord in the name of Yeshua, and to have eyes that see and ears to hear that are not dull to the truth.

Midrash Tehillim 60, Part 3 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying “You have given a banner to them that fear You, that it may be displayed (Tehillim / Psalms 60:6).” The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “ On what account was it given? For the sake of arrow-straight going, that is, for the sake of the truth, forever.” As discussed earlier, the significance of the banner is in the sense of setting up a banner in the name of the Lord, preparing for war, and signifies our trust in the name of the Lord, relying upon His strength. According to Shemot / Exodus 17:8-16, Moshe set up a banner after a victory against Amalek.

Shemot / Exodus 17:8-16

17:8 Then Amalek came and fought against Israel at Rephidim. 17:9 So Moses said to Joshua, ‘Choose men for us and go out, fight against Amalek. Tomorrow I will station myself on the top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand.’ 17:10 Joshua did as Moses told him, and fought against Amalek; and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill. 17:11 So it came about when Moses held his hand up, that Israel prevailed, and when he let his hand down, Amalek prevailed. 17:12 But Moses’ hands were heavy. Then they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it; and Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other. Thus his hands were steady until the sun set. 17:13 So Joshua overwhelmed Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword. 17:14 Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Write this in a book as a memorial and recite it to Joshua, that I will utterly blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven.’ 17:15 Moses built an altar and named it The Lord is My Banner; (ט וַיִּבֶן מֹשֶׁה מִזְבֵּחַ וַיִּקְרָא שְׁמוֹ יְהוָֹה | נִסִּי:) 17:16 and he said, ‘The Lord has sworn; the Lord will have war against Amalek from generation to generation.’ (NASB)

The MT states in Tehillim / Psalms 60:6, ו נָתַתָּה לִּירֵאֶיךָ נֵּס לְהִתְנוֹסֵס מִפְּנֵי קשֶׁט סֶלָה: 60:4 You have given a banner to those who fear You, That it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah. (NASB) The Torah states in Shemot / Exodus 17:15 Moses built an altar and named it The Lord is My Banner; (ט וַיִּבֶן מֹשֶׁה מִזְבֵּחַ וַיִּקְרָא שְׁמוֹ יְהוָֹה | נִסִּי:) Both texts use the same word נֵּס from the root word נסס meaning “something lifted up, a token to be seen far off.” (Gesenius Hebrew-Chaldee Lexicon) According to the Torah, Moshe set up an altar and named it “the Lord is my banner.” The altar stood as a sign of the Lord being His strength. Those who fear the Lord are synonymous to those who love God and His ways, and the description of the banner corresponds to the victory the Lord will bring for His people. We do not need to fear engaging the enemy, and a good soldier will endure suffering and fight his batters under the banner of the Lord of hosts, the idea is that we are representative of whom we serve. Yeshua the Messiah is described in the Apostolic Writings as King and Lord, He is our salvation, He comes with the salvation of God in hand, and He has won complete victory over our enemies and therefore we are able to set up banners in His name because of our triumph over sin, the Evil One, death, and hell. What kind of banner should one set up? The example that Moshe gave was setting up an altar of stone. The Apostle Paul said to offer your bodies as living sacrifices (Romans 12), therefore, the appropriate “banner” based on these texts is to set up our lives to be a banner, a light to the nations walking in righteousness and truth. This is not about being arrogant and proud, this is about living in a way that shows all of those who live around us that we are Children of the Most High God.

The midrash explains the meaning of the banner in the following way saying:

That Your beloved may be delivered, save with Your right hand, and answer me (Tehillim / Psalms 60:7). The phrase With Your right hand alludes to the Torah which was given with God’s right hand, as is said From His right hand went a fiery law for them (Devarim / Deuteronomy 33:2). The Holy One blessed be He, said Do you seek this hand? I will give it you again, as Scripture says, And it will come to pass in that day that the Lord will set His hand again the second time to recover the remnant of His people (Isaiah 11:11). (Midrash Tehillim 60, Part 3)

The Scriptures describe the right hand of God as the position of power. The rabbis say that the right hand alludes to the Torah which was given by God’s right hand, the same hand that delivered Israel from bondage so many years ago, and delivers us today from sin. The idea here in the midrash is that the Lord went forth in the past to deliver Israel, and He will go again to deliver the remnant of His people.

The midrash continues saying the following:

Gilead is Mine (Tehillim / Psalms 60:9). God said, I am He who wrought a miracle for Jephthah the Gileadite, and I am also He who wrought a miracle for Gideon on the son of Joash of the tribe of Manasseh. His deliverance was deliverance for only an hour, but in the everlasting time to come I will deliver you through the Messiah son of Ephraim, and through the Messiah the son of David of the tribe of Judah. Ephraim also is the strength of My beginning, The Messiah, the son of Ephraim, will be the first to take upon himself the Yoke of kingship; but Judah is My scepter, that is, the Messiah, the son of David will finally rule. Moab is my washpot (Tehillim / Psalms 60:10), as it is said, And they will fly down upon the shoulder of the Philistines on the west; together they will spoil the children of the east; they will put forth their hand upon Edom and Moab (Isaiah 11:14). (Midrash Tehillim 60, Part 3)

It is interesting here in the midrash how the power of God’s right hand, the banner that is lifted up, the Torah, and the deliverance of God are all intertwined. The midrash states that the deliverance of God is fleeting, but in the everlasting time to come, God’s deliverance will be brought by the hand of the Messiah, son of Ephraim, and the Messiah son of David, of the tribe of Judah. Ephraim is described as the strength of God’s beginning, and Judah as the ruling scepter and the Messiah will have a part of both. These are connected to Tehillim / Psalms 60:9 and David’s words on Gilead.

In Midrash Rabbah on Parashat Bo, we find something very similar, the rabbis spend a good amount of time discussing the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחי) on the Scripture which says, “This month will be unto you the beginning of months (Shemot / Exodus 12:1).” Midrash Rabbah Shemot, Parashat 15, Part 1 (מדרש רבה שמות פרשה טו סימן א) has the following to say concerning the opening verse to Shemot / Exodus 12 and the last plague, the death of the first born in Egypt.

Midrash Rabbah Shemot, Parashat 15, Part 1

And the Lord spoke unto Moshe … This month will be unto you the beginning of months (Shemot / Exodus 12:1).

• • •

Here is another explanation of, This month will be unto you the beginning of months. God is in a way called “first,” as it says, I am the first, and I am the last (Isaiah 44:6); Zion is called “First,” as it says, You throne of glory, on high from the first (the beginning), You place of our sanctuary (Jeremiah 7:12). Esau was called “first,” for it says, And the first came forth ruddy (Bereshit / Genesis 25:25), and Messiah is called “first,” for it says, The first (harbinger) unto Zion will I give, Behold, behold them (Isaiah 41:27). God who is called “the first,” will come and build the Temple which is called “first,” and will exact retribution from Esau, also called “first.” Then will Messiah who is called “first” come in the first month, as it is said, This month will be unto You the beginning of months.

מדרש רבה שמות פרשה טו סימן א

א ויאמר ה׳ אל משה החדש הזה לכם ראש חדשים

• • •

מזה לפיכך נקרא ראשון שנאמר ראש חדשים, ד״א ראשון הוא לכם כביכול הקב״ה שנקרא ראשון שנאמר (ישעיה מד) אני ראשון ואני אחרון, וציון נקרא ראשון שנאמר (ירמיה יז) כסא כבוד מרום מראשון מקום מקדשנו, ועשו נקרא ראשון שנאמר (בראשית כה) ויצא הראשון וגו׳ ומשיח נקרא ראשון שנאמר (ישעיה מא) ראשון לציון הנה הנם, יבא הקב״ה שנקרא ראשון ויבנה בהמ״ק בית המקדש שנקרא ראשון ויפרע מן עשו שנקרא ראשון ויבא משיח שנקרא ראשון בחדש הראשון, שנאמר החדש הזה לכם ראש חדשים וגו׳.

In Midrash Rabbah Shemot, Parashat 15, Part 1, the rabbis draw a parallel to the first month as the beginning of months, to the Lord God in heaven, to Zion, to the Sanctuary, to Esau, and to the Messiah who is called first. It is interesting how the rabbis call both God and His Messiah first, very similar to what is found in Midrash Tehillim 60, Part 3. This is related to the idea that the Lord God will raise up the Messiah and the Messiah will bring with him the salvation of God, by the power of His right hand. The Lord will establish the Messiah as a banner of victory, as the altar of stone, a sign for all time. Note how the altar and the sacrifice are connected to the Messiah and specifically to Yeshua the Messiah. The Aggadic tradition taken from the Midrashim reveals the rabbinic understanding on the Messiah, His connection to the Lord and these events, and how He would come (his appointed time) would be at this time of the year, in the beginning of months. Why do the rabbis consider this month so significant that warrants this type of an interpretation? Midrash Rabbah Shemot, Parashat 15, Part 11 sheds some light on that question.

Midrash Rabbah Shemot, Parashat 15, Part 11

Another explanation of This month will be unto you. It is written, Happy is the nation whose God is the Lord (Tehillim / Psalms 32:12). When God chose His world, He appointed New Moons (months) and years therein, and when He chose Jacob and his sons, He appointed for them a New Moon of redemption in which Israel were redeemed from Egypt and in which they are destined to be redeemed again, as it says, As in the days of your coming forth out of the land of Egypt will I show unto him marvelous things (Micah 7:15). In this month was Isaac born, and in this month he was bound as a sacrifice. In this month, also, Jacob received the blessings, and in this month did He hint unto Israel that it would be to them the beginning of salvation, for it says, It will be the first month of the year to you. It can be compared to a king who brought his son out of prison and commanded, celebrate for all time as a day of rejoicing the day on which my son went forth from darkness to light, from an iron yoke to life, from servitude to freedom, from bondage to redemption. Similarly, God brought Israel out of captivity, for it says, He brings out the prisoners into prosperity (Tehillim / Psalms 48:7). From darkness and the shadow of death, as it says, He brought them out of the darkness and the shadow of death (Tehillim / Psalms 55:14). From a yoke of iron to the yoke of the Torah. From slavery to freedom, as it says, You are the children of the Lord your God (Devarim / Deuteronomy 14:1). From servitude to redemption, as it says, Their redeemer is strong, the Lord of hosts is His name (Jeremiah 50:34); hence did He fix this month as a season of rejoicing for them that He had avenged them of their enemies, as it is said, Therefore will I give men for you (Isaiah 43:4).

מדרש רבה שמות פרשה טו סימן יא

יא ד״א החדש הזה לכם הה״ד (שם תהלים לג) אשרי הגוי אשר ה׳ אלהיו, משבחר הקב״ה בעולמו קבע בו ראשי חדשים ושנים, וכשבחר ביעקב ובניו קבע בו ר״ח של גאולה שבו נגאלו ישראל ממצרים ובו עתידין ליגאל שנאמר (מיכה ז) כימי צאתך מארץ מצרים אראנו נפלאות, ובו נולד יצחק ובו נעקד, ובו קבל יעקב את הברכות ובו רמז להם לישראל שהוא ראש להם לתשועה שנאמר ראשון הוא לכם לחדשי השנה, משל למלך שהוציא את בנו מבית האסורין אמר עשו אותו יום טוב כל הימים שבו יצא בני מחשך לאור מעול ברזל לחיים מעבדות לחירות ומשעבוד לגאולה, כך הוציא הקב״ה לישראל מבית האסורין שנאמר (תהלים סח) מוציא אסירי׳ בכושרות, מחשך וצלמות, שנא׳ (שם תהלים קז) ויוציאם מחשך וצלמות, מעול ברזל לעול תורה, מעבדות לחירות שנא׳ (דברים יד) בנים אתם לה׳ אלהיכם, משעבוד לגאולה שנא׳ (ירמיה נ) גואלם חזק ה׳ צבאות שמו לכך קבע להם שמחה שהוא נפרע מאויביהם עליה׳ שנא׳ (ישעיה נג) ואתן אדם תחתיך.

According to Midrash Rabbah Shemot, Parashat 15, Part 11, the Lord God chose new moons to mark the festivals of Israel and these New Moons were chosen for the purpose of redemption. The rabbis call this month the New Moon of redemption, the proof texts given are that Isaac was born and he was also bound by Abraham as a sacrifice in this month. The midrash continues saying that Jacob received the blessings in this month, and that it was hinted at that this month would be the beginning of the salvation for Israel. A parable of a king who released his son is used to illustrate these points saying: “ It can be compared to a king who brought his son out of prison and commanded, celebrate for all time as a day of rejoicing the day on which my son went forth from darkness to light, from an iron yoke to life, from servitude to freedom, from bondage to redemption. Similarly, God brought Israel out of captivity, for it says, He brings out the prisoners into prosperity (Tehillim / Psalms 48:7). From darkness and the shadow of death, as it says, He brought them out of the darkness and the shadow of death (Tehillim / Psalms 55:14). From a yoke of iron to the yoke of the Torah. From slavery to freedom, as it says, You are the children of the Lord your God (Devarim / Deuteronomy 14:1).” Based upon these two Midrashim on Shemot / Exodus 12:1, the beginning of months, and the Passover festival, is it surprising why Yeshua laid down his life during the Passover according to the Apostolic Writings? Interestingly enough, according to the Apostolic Writings, Yeshua’s death occurred just prior to the Passover. In His death He brought the Salvation of God which is marked by this particular festival in a very significant way. Note also the Lord raised (resurrected) Yeshua, raising him up from the dead to eternal life. The parallel to building an altar, raising up a banner, and Yeshua being raised up from the grave is strikingly amazing. Based upon the rabbinic commentary, Yeshua’s sacrifice is connected to the Passover for these very things, the beginning of months is the time when the Messiah would come to save Israel bringing the redemption of God with Him. Yeshua laid down His life freely in order that the Scriptures would be fulfilled and based upon both the Bible and the Rabbis this is exactly what has happened. Yeshua chose to die, as our Passover Lamb, which is something to be remembered for all time. In Parashat Bo, the Lord brought great miracles to deliver Israel with a mighty hand, and in a similar manner, the Lord Our Father in heaven performed a miracle of biblical proportions by raising Yeshua from the grave showing Him to be victorious over death. As a result, we can celebrate for all time this great day of rejoicing, the day on which the son of God went forth, freeing us from an iron yoke of sin and death, to life, from servitude to freedom, and from bondage to redemption. What a wonderful and awesome God we serve!

Midrash Tehillim 60, Part 3 concludes saying, “Hence, the words Moab is My washpot mean, Moab is like a pot which a man pushes away after he has washed his feet in it. Upon Edom do I cast My shoe (Tehillim / Psalms 60:10) to trample it under foot, as is said The foot will trample it down (Isaiah 26:6), that is, the king Messiah, poor, and riding upon an ass (Zechariah 9:9), will trample Edom down, and so, too, will The steps of the needy (Isaiah 26:6), that is, the steps of Israel of whom it is said And Israel was greatly impoverished (Judges 6:6). Philistia, hitro’a’i because of Me (Tehillim / Psalms 60:10). Some take hitro’a’i to mean BE BROKEN, as in the verse The earth is broken, broken down (Isaiah 24:19); but others take hitro’a’i to be a war cry. The words, Who will bring me into the fortified city? (Tehillim / Psalms 60:11) allude to the war against Rome. The words Who will lead me unto Edom? Allude to the war against Constantinople; at the time the children of Israel will find themselves in great trouble, and will pray, Will not You, O God, which had cast us off, and You, O God, which did not go out with our armies, give us help from trouble? (Tehillim / Psalms 60:12-13). And when they say Nehemiah, the son of Hushiel, dead before the gates of Jerusalem they will say, For vain is the help of man. Through God we will do valiantly; for He it is that will tread down our adversaries (Tehillim / Psalms 60:13-14).” In the midrash we can see how the rabbis are drawing a parallel to Moab and Edom in the Scriptures to Rome and Rome’s destruction. The king Messiah, poor, and riding upon an ass (Zechariah 9:9) is described as the one who will trample Edom down. The point is that the Lord God is the One who brings both His salvation, His Messiah, and the power of His right hand to deliver. Ultimately, we trust in the Lord God in heaven and not in man. We are also able to trust in God’s Messiah Yeshua, because He comes in the name of the Lord, in the power of God, and with salvation in His right hand. All of these things are true based upon the peshat of the Scriptures and from the rabbinic perspectives. Based upon this study, is there any reason why one should deny faith in Yeshua the Messiah as the Messiah of God who saves us from our sins? Place your faith in Him (Yeshua) as the Savior of God who was sent to save us from our sins. Receive the blessing of fellowship, peace, and joy that is received in the Spirit as a result of believing in the Lord and His Messiah, and living in a way that brings glory to His Name! Let’s Pray!

Tehillim 60-Part1-and-2

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Duane D. Miller received his Ph.D., M.S., and B.S. Degree in Chemical Engineering from The University of Akron Ohio. He is currently a Chemical Engineering Researcher. Duane’s research expertise has focused upon functional materials development for the control, conversion, and release of process gases in Energy production technologies. His R&D interests include computational chemistry, developing novel technologies for converting biomass to fuels and studying their fundamental interactions during the chemical conversion process. His past experience includes sorbent development for pre- and post-combustion CO2 and SO2 capture, selective absorption of H2S from methane streams, O2 capture for oxy-fuel combustion, photocatalytic reduction of alcohols, NOx reduction catalysis, the development of oxygen carriers to combust fossil fuels (CH4 and coal) for the chemical looping combustion processes, and the extraction of rare earth elements using patent pending sorbents. His research expertise has focused on operando-characterization using Infrared, Raman, and UV-Vis spectroscopy to observe the nature of the catalytic active sites and reaction intermediates under realistic reaction conditions, allowing direct correlation of molecular/electronic structures with catalyst performance during Gas-Solid / Liquid-Solid Adsorption and Photocatalytic Processes with real time online analysis of reaction products using ICP-MS and mass spectrometry. His current work involves a multi-disciplinary approach to developing, understanding, and improving the catalytic gasification of coal and methane, high temperature chemical looping combustion, and the catalytic decomposition and gasification of biomass and coal using novel microwave reactor.​ He has been studying the Hebrew Scriptures and the Torah for 20+ years and sharing what he has learned. The studies developed for MATSATI.COM are freely to be used by everyone, to God be the Glory!