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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Psalms 60:4

 

 

You have given a banner to those who fear You, That it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah.

Adam Clarke Commentary

Thou hast given a banner - נס nes, a sign, something that was capable of being fixed on a pole.

That it may be displayed - להתנוסס lehithnoses, that it may be unfurled.

Because of the truth - קשט מפני mippeney koshet, from the face of truth; which has been thus paraphrased: If we have displayed the ensign of Israel, and gone forth against these our enemies, who have now made such a terrible breach among us, ( Psalm 60:1-3;), it was because of thy truth - the promises of victory which we supposed would attend us at all times.

Mr. Mudge, thus: "Thou givest to them that fear thee a signal to be displayed before the truth. That thy favored ones may be delivered, clothe thy right arm with victory, and answer us. God speaketh in his sanctuary, I will exult; I shall portion out Shechem, and measure the valley of Succoth." The fourth verse seems to mean that God had appointed for the consolation of his people a certain signal of favor, with which therefore he prays him to answer them. This, accordingly, he does. God speaketh in his sanctuary, called rybd debir or oracle for that very reason. What he desires then, as he stands imploring the mercy of God before the oracle, is, that he may see the usual signal of favor proceed from it; a voice, perhaps joined with some luminous emanations, whence the phrase of the light of God's countenance. The expression in the sixth verse seems to be proverbial, and means, "I shall divide the spoils of my enemies with as much ease as the sons of Jacob portioned out Shechem, and measured out for their tents the valley of Succoth." Mr. Harmer gives a very ingenious illustration of the giving the banner. "Albertus Aquensis informs us that when Jerusalem was taken in 1099 by the crusaders, about three hundred Saracens got on the roof of a very high building, and earnestly begged for quarter; but could not be induced by any promises of safety to come down, till they had received the banner of Tanered, one of the crusade generals, as a pledge of life. The event showed the faithlessness of these zealots, they put the whole to the sword. But the Saracens surrendering themselves upon the delivering of a standard to them, proves in how strong a light they looked upon the giving a banner, since it induced them to trust it, when they would not trust any promises. Perhaps the delivery of a banner was anciently esteemed in like manner an obligation to protect; and the psalmist might here consider it in this light when he says, Thou hast shown thy people hard things; but thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee. Though thou didst for a time give up thy Israel into the hands of their enemies, thou hast now given them an assurance of thy having received them under thy protection. Thus God gave them a banner or standard that it might be displayed, or lifted up; or rather, that they may lift up a banner to themselves, or encourage themselves with the confident persuasion that they are under the protection of God: because of the truth - the word of promise, which is an assurance of protection - like the giving me and my people a banner, the surest of pledges." - Harmer's Observations. See at the end of the chapter.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Psalms 60:4". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/psalms-60.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee - The word rendered “banner” - נס nês - means properly anything elevated or lifted up, and hence, a standard, a flag, a sign, or a signal. It may refer to a standard reared on lofty mountains or high places during an invasion of a country, to point out to the people a place of rendezvous or a rallying place Isaiah 5:26; Isaiah 11:12; Isaiah 18:3; or it may refer to a standard or ensign borne by an army; or it may refer to the flag of a ship, Ezekiel 27:7; Isaiah 33:23. Here it doubtless refers to the flag, the banner, the standard of an army; and the idea is that God had committed such a standard to his people that they might go forth as soldiers in his cause. They were enlisted in his service, and were fighting his battles.

That it may be displayed because of the truth - In the cause of truth; or, in the defense of justice and right. It was not to be displayed for vain parade or ostentation; it was not to be unfolded in an unrighteous or unjust cause; it was not to be waved for the mere purpose of carrying desolation, or of securing victory; it was that a righteous cause might be vindicated, and that the honor of God might be promoted. This was the reason which the psalmist now urges why (God should interpose and repair their disasters - that it was his cause, and that they were appointed to maintain and defend it. What was true then of the people of God, is true of the church now. God has given to his church a banner or a standard that it may wage a war of justice, righteousness, and truth; that it may be employed in resisting and overcoming his enemies; that it may carry the weapons of truth and right against all injustice, falsehood, error, oppression, and wrong; that it may ever be found on the side of humanity and benevolence - of virtue, temperance, liberty, and equality; and that it may bear the great principles of the true religion to every territory of the enemy, until the whole world shall be subdued to God.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Psalms 60:4". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-60.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Psalms 60:4

Thou hast given a banner to them that fear Thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth.

Our banner

In the Lord Jesus we find the clue to the history and the solution of the prophecy. He is the banner--He is the ensign that is lifted up before the people. He is the Jehovah Nissi, “the Lord my banner,” whom it is our joy to follow, and around whom it is our delight to rally.

I. Wherefore He is so called.

1. As the point of union. In stress of war all gathered round the standard. And so all Christians around Christ. All followed its guidance.

2. And the banner, let it be remembered, is always the object of chief attack. The moment the adversary sees it, his object is to strike there. Did they not of old aim their shots at the flagstaff to cut down the banner? So has the Lord Jesus Christ been ever assailed.

3. And why should the banner be the object of attack but for this very reason, that it is the symbol of defiance As soon as ever the banner IS lifted up, it is, as it were, flapped in the face of the foe. It seems to say to him, “Do your worst--come on! We are not afraid of you--we defy you!” Every time a sermon is preached in the power of the Spirit, it is as though the shrill clarion woke up the fiends of hell, for every sermon seems to say to them, “Christ is come forth again to deliver His lawful captives out of your power; the King of kings has come to take away His subjects.” We have not quite exhausted the metaphor yet.

4. The banner was ever a source of consolation to the wounded. He sees the banner still waving, and with his last breath he cries, “On! on! on!” and falls asleep content, because the banner is safe. It has not been cast down. Though he has fallen, yet the banner is secure. Even so every true soldier of the Cross rejoices in its triumph.

5. The banner is the emblem of victory. When the fight is done, and the soldier cometh home, what bringeth he? His blood-stained flag. And what is borne highest in the procession as it winds through the streets? It is the flag. They hang it in the minster; high up there in the roof, and where the incense smoketh, and where the song of praise ascendeth, there hangs the banner, honoured and esteemed, borne in conflict and in danger. Now, our Lord Jesus Christ shall be our banner in the last day, when all our foes shall be under our feet.

II. Who gave us the banner? Soldiers often esteem the colours for the sake of the person who first bestowed them. You and I ought to esteem the Gospel of our precious Christ for the sake of God who gave Him to us. “Thou hast given a banner.” God gave us the banner in old eternity.

III. To whom is this banner given? Shall the banner be put in the drunkard’s hands? Shall the great truth of Christ be left to those who live in sin? Now, inasmuch as this banner is given to those that fear God, if you fear God it is given to you. I do not know in what capacity you are to bear it, but I do know there is somewhere or other where you have to carry it. Mother, let the banner wave in your household. Merchant, let your banner be fixed upon your house of business. Let it be unfurled and fly at your masthead, O sailor. Bear your banner, O soldier, in your regiment.

IV. Why was this banner given to us? To be “displayed because of the truth.” There let it be displayed. Preach Christ Lift Him up with a clear voice as one that has something to say that He would have men hear. Speak of Him boldly as one who is not ashamed of his message. (C. H. Spurgeon.)

The missionary banner

We may regard the banner as telling of the Divine presence and power of our Lord Jesus Christ. And thus understood, notice--

I. The charge that is given to us. We are to carry this banner in the front of the advancing force, and we are never to neglect or lose it. This banner was so carried by the apostles and the believers of the Pentecostal Church.

II. The obligation that is implied by its possession. God has given this banner to us, and it involves great responsibility. What the Gospel has done for us should urge us to make it known, should make us eager in the work, counting it our high privilege. And it comes associated with Divine promises.

III. The motive by which the responsibility is urged--“because of the truth.” For it is the only truth that can meet the wants of guilty souls and bring light and blessing to men. And this banner has been borne and with results full of blessing, for the results of mission work within the last ninety years are greater than those of the first century of apostolic labour with Pentecostal power. (J. P. Chown.)

The Cross, the banner of the Church

I. In what respects the Gospel is compared to a banner.

1. For the mustering of the troops to battle.

2. To guide the soldier to conflict.

3. To animate the sinking hopes and courage of the soldier. Now, the Gospel does all this in the spiritual warfare.

II. To whom the Lord gives this banner--“to them that feared Thee.”

III. TO whom the Lord gives this banner--“to them that displayed.”

IV. Wherefore it is to be thus displayed. Different motives may animate us herein: party spirit, and the like. But the right motive is “because of the truth,” that it may be more known and welcomed. (J. W. Cunningham, M. A.)

Christ a banner to His Church

I. As a point of union. When Christ is preached, when the banner is raised, His people gather around it and follow it. All true Christians are an army gathered under the same banner, to fight against common enemies--the world, the flesh, and the devil.

II. As a source of encouragement. We know the dismay and discouragement which often follow when a standard-bearer fainteth. Whereas the sight of their colours floating in the air gladdens and inspirits the troops. Hence we learn that the believer, in his Christian warfare, is to gather strength and courage, by continually “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,” etc. In all his difficulties and trials, the believer is to “consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself,” etc.

III. As a terror to the enemies of the Lord’s people. This follows, by necessary consequence. For if He ensures victory to His people, He must overthrow their enemies. If He is to cover His people with the garments of salvation, He must also clothe their enemies with shame. (R. W. Dibdin, M. A.)

The standard-bearer

Here we have the believer presented as a standard-bearer.

I. A banner. The republic of God has its flag.

II. The bearer. Every one who “fears” God. In an army every man is a soldier; in God’s army every soldier is also a standard-bearer. He bears both weapons wherewith to fight, and the flag wherewith to witness; and the flag is as important as the sword or shield. God’s army is made “terrible” to the enemy by its banners.

III. The duty. The banner is to “be displayed.” God’s believing people are to confess Him before men; display the flag, openly declare that He is their God and they are His disciples.

IV. The object. “Truth” here stands for everything in doctrine and duty which is Godlike and profitable. In two ways the display of the army’s colours furthers the cause.

1. In the impression made on the foe.

2. In the incentive furnished to heroic endeavour and endurance on the part of fellow-soldiers. (A. T. Pierson, D. D.)

Keep the flag flying

At the relief of Kimberley the garrison could say that through all the siege, “Her Majesty’s flag had been kept flying.” And when Sir George White was relieved at Ladysmith, he exclaimed, “Thank God, our flag has been upheld.” Paul, after the siege of a long life, felt the same triumphant boast about the banner entrusted to him.

The royal flag supreme

Let our party flags be seen by all means, but grouped around Jehovah Nissi, not planted in its place. It is narrated that during the times of the Crusade, when the Lion-hearted Richard

I. of England, the Emperor of Austria, and the King of France were jointly waging war against the heroic heathen Saladin, a jealousy sprang up in the camp between England and Austria, and one morning the British banner was found lying in the dust on St. George’s Mount, and the standard of Austria occupying its place. No sooner did impetuous Richard hear of the insult offered to the Royal ensign than he strode forth alone, and before the assembled hosts hurled Austria’s ensign to the ground, and caused the British lion once more to take pre-eminence, remarking, “Your banners may be planted around mine, but never take its place.” So let it he with us, beloved. Upon the St. George’s Mount of our heart and life let the Lion of Judah, Jehovah Nissi, alone have the place of honour. (A. G. Brown.)


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Psalms 60:4". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/psalms-60.html. 1905-1909. New York.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Thou hast given a banner,.... The word נס is, by Jarchi, taken to signify "temptation" or "trial"F15So Yalkut Simconi in loc. par. 2. fol. 103. 1. ; and he interprets it of many troubles which they had, that they might be tried by them, whether they would stand in the fear of God, and so considers these words as a continuation of the account of the distresses of the people of Israel; but they are rather to be considered as declaring a peculiar blessing and favour bestowed upon some among them, who are here described, when the rest were involved in the greatest calamities, signified by a "banner" or "ensign" given them; by which is meant, not so much David literally, and the victory he obtained over the Syrians and Edomites, of which the banner displayed might be a token; but the Messiah, who is said to be given for a banner, or set up as an ensign for the people, Isaiah 11:10; for the gathering of them to him, to prepare them for war, and animate them to fight the good fight of faith, and oppose every enemy; to direct where they should stand to be on duty, where they should go, and whom they should follow; and is expressive of the victory over sin, Satan, and the world, they have through him: and this is given

to them that fear thee; who have the grace of fear put into their hearts; who fear the Lord and his goodness, and serve him with reverence and godly fear; who worship him both inwardly and outwardly, in spirit and in truth, whether among Jews or Gentiles, though the former may be chiefly intended; such as old Simeon, Anna the prophetess, and others, to whom Christ was made known; and especially the apostles of Christ, and those to whom their ministry became useful; whose business it was to display this banner, set up this ensign, and hold out this flag; as it follows:

that it may be displayed because of the truth; not because of the truth of Abraham, as the Targum; nor because of the truth, sincerity, and uprightness, of those that fear the Lord; but because of his own truth and faithfulness in the performance of his promises made concerning the displaying of this banner; or the sending of his son into the world, and the preaching of his Gospel in it; see Romans 15:8.

Selah; on this word; see Gill on Psalm 3:2.


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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Psalms 60:4". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/psalms-60.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Thou hast given f a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah.

(f) In making me king, you have performed your promise, which seemed to have lost the force.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Psalms 60:4". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/psalms-60.html. 1599-1645.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. /*Selah*/.

A banner — Which is a sign and instrument, 1. Of union. This people who were lately divided, thou hast united under one banner, under my government: 2. Of battle. Thou hast given us an army, and power to oppose our enemies; which blessing God gave to Israel, for the sake of those few sincere Israelites who were among them.

The truth — Not for any merit of ours, but to shew thy faithfulness in making good thy promises.


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Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Psalms 60:4". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/psalms-60.html. 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

4Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee. Some interpreters would change the past tense, and read the words as if they formed a continuation of the prayers which precede — O that thou wouldst give a banner to them that fear thee! (386) But it is better to suppose that David diverges to the language of congratulation, and, by pointing to the change which had taken place, calls attention to the evident appearances of the divine favor. He returns thanks to God, in the name of all the people, for having raised a standard which might at once cheer their hearts, and unite their divided numbers. (387) It is a poor and meagre interpretation which some have attached to the words, before the truth, that God showed favor to the Jews because he had found them true-hearted, and sound in his cause. Those in the higher ranks had, as is well known, proved eminently disloyal; the common people had, along with their king, broken their divine allegiance: from the highest to the lowest in the kingdom all had conspired to overthrow the gracious purpose of God. It is evident, then, that David refers to the truth of God as having emerged in a signal manner, now that the Church began to be restored. This was an event which had not been expected. Indeed, who did not imagine, in the desperate circumstances, that God’s promises had altogether failed? But when David mounted the throne, his truth, which had been so long obscured, again shone forth. The advantage which ensued extended to the whole nation; but David intimates that God had a special respect to his own people, whose deliverance, however few they might be in number, he particularly contemplated.

He next proceeds to address God again in prayer; although, I may observe in passing, the words which follow, that thy beloved may be delivered, are read by some in connection with the preceding verse. I am myself inclined to adopt that construction; for David would seem to magnify the illustration which had been given of the divine favor, by adverting to the change which had taken place, (388) God having inspirited his people so far as to display a banner; where, formerly, they were reduced to a state of extremity, from which it seemed impossible to escape without a miracle. In the previous verse he calls them fearers of the Lord, and now his beloved; implying that, when God rewards such as fear and worship him, it is always with a respect to his own free love. And prayer is subjoined: for however great may be the favors which God has bestowed upon us, modesty and humility will teach us always to pray that he would perfect what his goodness has begun.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Psalms 60:4". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/psalms-60.html. 1840-57.

Scofield's Reference Notes

fear

(See Scofield "Psalms 19:9").


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Bibliography
Scofield, C. I. "Scofield Reference Notes on Psalms 60:4". "Scofield Reference Notes (1917 Edition)". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/srn/psalms-60.html. 1917.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Psalms 60:4 Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah.

Ver. 4. Thou hast given a banner] All the forementioned had formerly befallen them, but now it began to be better, the scene to be altered, banners erected, and displayed in token of victory, and for a singular sign of God s favour, in that juncture of time and deplored condition of theirs.

Because of the truth. Selah] Heb. From the face of the truth, that is, with reference to thy promises, which thou failest not to fulfil.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 60:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/psalms-60.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Psalms 60:4. Thou hast given a banner to them that feared thee That is, "Though the Philistines and other nations have long been too hard for us, by reason of our divisions; yet now thou hast made me to be king, that under my banner, or ensign, the people may unanimously fight against their enemies." Because of the truth, signifies, "According to thy faithful promise given me, to be king over them." Mudge renders this and the following verses thus, Thou givest to them that fear thee a signal to be displayed before the truth. Psalms 60:5. That thy favoured ones may be delivered, clothe thy right arm with victory, and answer us. Psalms 60:6. God speaketh in his sanctuary. I will exult: I shall portion out Shechem, and measure the valley of Succoth. The fourth verse, he says, seems to mean that God had appointed for the consolation of his people a certain signal of favour, with which therefore he prays him to answer them. This accordingly he does. God speaketh in his sanctuary; called דביר debir, or oracle, for that very reason. What he desires then, as he stands imploring the mercy of God before the oracle, is, that he may see the usual signal of favour proceed from it: a voice perhaps, joined with some luminous emanation; whence the phrase of the light of God's countenance. The expression in the 6th verse seems to be proverbial, and means, "I shall divide the spoils of my enemies with as much ease as the sons of Jacob portioned but Shechem, and measured out for their tents the valley of Succoth." The satisfaction that Benhadad received touching the safety of his life, 1 Kings 20:31-32 appears to have been by words; but it seems that the modern eastern people have looked upon the giving them a banner, as a more sure pledge of protection. Thus Albert Aquensis informs us, that when Jerusalem was taken in 1099, about three hundred Saracens got upon the roof of a very lofty building, and earnestly begged for quarter; but could not be induced by any promises of safety to come down, till they had received the banner of Tancred, one of the chiefs of the Croisade army, as a pledge of life. It did not indeed avail them, as that historian observes; for their behaviour occasioned such indignation that they were, to a man, destroyed. The event shewed the faithlessness of these zealots, whom no solemnities could bind; but the Saracens surrendering themselves upon the delivery of a standard to them, proves in how strong a light they looked upon the giving a banner, since it induced them to trust it when they would not trust any promises. Perhaps the delivery of a banner was anciently esteemed in like manner an obligation to protect, and that the Psalmist might here consider it in this light; when, upon a victory gained over the Syrians and Edomites, after the public affairs of Israel had been in a very low estate, he says, Thou hast shewed thy people hard things, &c.—Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee. "Though thou didst for a time give up thine Israel into the hands of their enemies, thou hast now given them an assurance of thy having received them under thy protection." When the Psalmist is represented as saying, Thou hast given a banner,—that it may be displayed, it may be questioned whether it is rightly translated, since it is most probable that they used anciently only a spear, properly ornamented, to distinguish it from a common one; as the same Albert tells us, that a very long spear covered all over with silver, (to which another writer of those Croisade wars adds, a ball of gold at the top,) was the standard of the Egyptian princes at that time, and carried before their armies. Thou hast given a banner,—an ensign or standard, to them that fear thee, that it may be lifted up, may perhaps be a better version; or rather, that they may lift up a banner to themselves, or encourage themselves with the confident persuasion that they are under the protection of God; because of the truth, thy word of promise, which is an assurance of protection, like the giving me and my people a banner; the surest of pledges. See the Observations, p. 360.


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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 60:4". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/psalms-60.html. 1801-1803.

Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary

Reader, do not hastily pass over this blessed verse. Surely there is to be discerned much of the mind of the Holy Ghost in it. Is not Jesus the banner and ensign which God hath set up to his people? Isaiah 11:10. And doth not the church rejoice when Jesus brings her into his banqueting house, and sets his banner of love over her? Song of Solomon 2:4. Yes! almighty God and Father! thou hast indeed given a banner in Christ to all his people. Oh! for grace so to fear thee, so to love thee, so to live to thee in Jesus, that under his banner I may be safe, and, like Moses, look unto Jesus as my altar, and call him Jehovah-nissi, the Lord is my banner. Exodus 17:15.


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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Psalms 60:4". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pmc/psalms-60.html. 1828.

Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae

DISCOURSE: 597

GOD’S BANNER OVER HIS PEOPLE

Psalms 60:4. Thou hast given a banner to them that feared thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth.

THIS psalm, in the title of it, is called “Michtam,” a golden psalm; and it well deserves the name. It was written by David after he had come to the full possession of the kingdom, which, during the reign of Saul [Note: 1 Samuel 31:7.], and during the seven years’ division of the tribes under Ishbosheth [Note: 2 Samuel 5:4-5.], had been reduced to a very low condition: “God had shewed his people hard things, and made them to drink the wine of astonishment.” But the union of all Israel under David, and the victories they had already gained over their powerful and oppressive adversaries the Philistines, were tokens of God’s returning favour to them, and a pledge to them that all his promised blessings should in due season be poured out upon them. It should seem as if the more pious part of the people had been discouraged by the long continuance of this adversity; and had begun almost to despair of ever seeing their hopes realized, respecting the extension and stability of their national power. But David tells them, that, in his advancement to the kingdom, and in their recent successes, “God had given them a banner,” and had unfurled it, as it were, before their eyes, as a signal of his presence in the midst of them, and as a pledge of victory over all their enemies.

What God did for them as a pledge of temporal advancement, he has done for his people in all ages, to assure them of success in their spiritual warfare.

To illustrate this, I will shew,

I. What banners God has given us—

The Church has a warfare to maintain: and, if, human prowess alone were considered, it is a warfare which would afford not the smallest prospect of success. But God has given to us a banner,

1. In the elevation of his Son—

[David was an eminent type of Christ, and especially in the advancement of his kingdom: for Christ was appointed “to sit upon the throne of David for ever and ever.” Was David’s elevation then a banner? so also is that of Christ, who is now seated at the right hand of God, above all the principalities and powers whether of earth or hell. Believer, survey thy Lord. Remember him in the manger, in the garden, on the cross, and in the grave. From a view of him in those scenes thou wouldst be ready to say, There is no hope. But behold him risen, ascended, glorified, and in full possession of his kingdom: and then say, What a change awaits you after your present conflicts [Note: Ephesians 1:19-20.]. His triumphs are a pledge of yours: “because he liveth, you shall live also:” and “as he has overcome and is set down with his Father upon his throne,” so shall you, in your victories and in your triumphs, resemble him [Note: Luke 22:29-30. Revelation 3:21.].]

2. In the records of his word—

[Behold, what “a cloud of witnesses” present themselves to your view! Read the catalogue of worthies, as recorded by God himself. Are your trials heavier than theirs [Note: Hebrews 11:33-38.]? Or is the power that was sufficient for them withheld from you? Will not faith bring Omnipotence to your support, even as it did for them? They are set before you expressly for your encouragement, that you, seeing how they have succeeded, may be stirred up “to run your race with patience, looking unto Jesus as the author and finisher of your faith,” even as he was of theirs [Note: Hebrews 12:1-2.]. Are you weak? so were they. Are your enemies numerous and mighty? so were theirs, Did they prevail through the grace of Christ? that same “grace shall be sufficient for you:” for He is the same gracious and Almighty Friend as ever: time has made no change in him: “his hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; nor is his ear heavy, that he cannot hear [Note: Isaiah 59:1.]:” as “he was mighty in them, so will he also be in you:” and “his strength shall be perfected in your weakness,” even as it was in theirs [Note: 2 Corinthians 12:9.].]

3. In the experience of his saints—

[You have found a change in your views, desires, pursuits: tell me, Whence has this change proceeded? Must you not say, “He that hath wrought me to the self-same thing is God [Note: 2 Corinthians 5:5.]?” If you will look within, you will find that you have rather resisted the change than helped it forward. “Your carnal mind has been enmity against God:” and it would have been so still, if God, by the light of his word, and the influences of his Spirit, had not subdued it to himself. If, then, the heart of stone has been taken away, and a heart of flesh been given to you, that is itself “a banner” erected in your heart, a token of God’s presence, an earnest of his power, and a pledge of yet richer mercies in reserve: for, “if it have pleased him to make you of the number of his people, he will not forsake you [Note: 1 Samuel 12:22.];” and you may “be confident of this very thing, that he who hath begun a good work within you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ [Note: Philippians 1:6.].”]

Let us consider,

II. For what end they are displayed unto us—

As the banner given to Israel in the time of David was to confirm their faith in his promises, and to assure them of God’s faithfulness, so are the banners which God has given to us bestowed,

1. To confirm our confidence in him—

[We ought to “know in whom we have believed,” and to feel assured that he is both “able and willing to keep that which we have committed to him [Note: 2 Timothy 1:12.].” We should never forget who it is that is engaged for us. We should never forget that in God we have a wisdom that cannot be circumvented, and apower that cannot be withstood. In him, too, we have a faithfulness that is altogether inviolate and incapable of change. What, then, have we to fear? The serpent, no doubt, is subtle, and the devices of Satan are very deep; but can he elude the eye of our heavenly Protector, or by any means defeat His purpose? Our enemies too, both within and without, are mighty: but what have we to fear, who have a Protector that is Almighty? “If God be for us, who can be against us [Note: Romans 8:31.]?” Let our enemies be ever so numerous, we may safely affirm that “they who be with us, are more than they who be with them [Note: 2 Kings 6:16-17.];” and if we have no more than a lamp and a trumpet against an armed host, we shall in Jehovah’s name prevail against them all [Note: Judges 7:15-22.]. A stone out of the brook shall suffice us to destroy our mightiest adversary; yea, his own sword shall serve us for the instrument whereby to complete our triumph [Note: 1 Samuel 17:49-51.].]

2. To assure us of victory over all our enemies—

[Amongst men, a banner is only a signal to enlist them for the combat: but with God it is a pledge of victory. See how David regarded it: “In the Lord put I my trust: how say ye then to my soul, Flee as a bird to your mountain? for, lo, the wicked bend their bow, they make ready their arrow upon the string, that they may privily shoot at him that is perfect; and, if the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do? The Lord is in his holy temple: the Lord’s throne is in heaven [Note: Psalms 11:1-4.]:” and, whilst he is there, you need not attempt to alarm me: I know my security, and defy the efforts of all my enemies. It was this consideration that enabled Paul also to hurl defiance at his enemies, and to assure himself of victory, as much as if it had been already gained [Note: Romans 8:33-39.] — — — And we also, in dependence on our God, may dismiss every fear, and anticipate, as already ours, the glory and felicity that await us [Note: 2 Corinthians 5:1-4. 2 Timothy 4:8.].]

Application—

What now can I say more but this?

1. Fear God—

[You will observe, that this is the description of the persons to whom his banner was given: and for them is the same privilege reserved in every age. Let not any undervalue this grace; for, in truth, it is that which as assuredly interests us in the divine favour as love itself. Of course, it is a filial fear of which we speak: and he who possesses that, may divest himself of every other fear; “Who art thou, that thou shouldst be afraid of a man that shall die, or of the son of man, that shall be as grass, and forgettest the Lord thy Maker [Note: Isaiah 51:12-13.]?” Beloved Brethren, “sanctify the Lord of Hosts himself in your hearts, and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread [Note: Isaiah 8:12-13.].”]

2. Trust in God—

[Excellent was that resolution of the Psalmist, “In the name of our God we will set up our banners [Note: Psalms 20:5.].” It is not possible for our confidence to be too strong, provided only it be humble. There are, I confess, two different kinds of confidence, which yet I consider as dangerous in the extreme: one of them is founded upon systematic notions of divine truth, without any mixture of holy fear; and the other arises from some dream or vision, or enthusiastic conceit, about the word coming to their mind in a peculiar way. Against both of these I would guard you with all my might. The only confidence that is pleasing to God is that which is softened with fear, and tempered with contrition. Let that be in exercise to the utmost possible extent, and then you may adopt the entire language of this psalm: “I will rejoice; I will divide Shechem, and mete out the valley of Succoth. Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine; Ephraim also is the strength of mine head; Judah is my lawgiver: Moab is my wash-pot; over Edom will I cast out my shoe: Philistia, triumph thou because of me.” The plain import of all which is concentrated in the concluding verse, “Through God I shall do valiantly: for He it is that shall tread down my enemies.” Only trust in God; and then, in every place where you go, you may behold an altar with this inscription: “Jehovah-Nissi, The Lord is my banner [Note: Exodus 17:15.].” Yea, the very graces which you exercise shall be in you a pledge, that God will fulfil and perfect in you the good work he has begun.]


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Bibliography
Simeon, Charles. "Commentary on Psalms 60:4". Charles Simeon's Horae Homileticae. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/shh/psalms-60.html. 1832.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Thou hast given; either,

1. Formerly. As thou hast sometimes afflicted thy people, so at other times thou hast delivered them. Or rather,

2. Now lately by and under me.

A banner; which is a sign and instrument,

1. Of union. This people, who were lately divided and under several banners, thou hast now gathered together and united under one banner, to wit, under my government.

2. Of battle. Thou hast given us an army and power to oppose our enemies. We had our banner to set against theirs.

3. Of triumph. We have not lost our banner, but gained theirs, and brought it away in triumph: compare Psalms 20:5.

To them that feared thee; or, for or on the behalf of them that feared thee. An emphatical passage, implying that God gave so great a blessing to the people of Israel, for the sake of those few sincere Israelites which were among them.

Because of the truth; not for any merit of ours, but to show thy faithfulness in making good thy promises which thou hast made, both to me, concerning the establishing of this kingdom to me and to my seed for ever, and to thy people in general, whom thou hast frequently promised to hear and help when they call upon thee in times of trouble.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 60:4". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/psalms-60.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

4. Banner—The Hebrew word נס, (nes,) which occurs only here in the psalms, denotes the military signal which was attached to a long pole and set upon conspicuous places, as city walls or high hills, as a war-signal to rally the people to arms; see Isaiah 5:26; Isaiah 18:3; Jeremiah 4:6; Jeremiah 4:21; Jeremiah 51:12; Jeremiah 51:27. It differs from דגל, (degel,) the military standard for each of the four divisions of the twelve tribes, Numbers 2; and from אות, (oth,) the ensign for a single tribe. Numbers 2:2. Isaiah repeatedly uses it as a signal for assembling the exiles for their return to Jerusalem. Isaiah 11:10; Isaiah 11:12; Isaiah 69:22; Isaiah 62:10-11. In the text it may mean a military signal for a war muster, as the root verb dagal is used, Psalms 20:5; or a token of victory and protection, which would be exactly the oriental proverbial sense, as, Song of Solomon 2:4, “his banner, (degel,) over me was love.”

Displayed—It is better to follow our English version, and take התנוסס, (hithnoses,) as a peculiar conjugation (Hithpoel) of נסס, (nasas,) to elevate, lift up. It cannot be derived from נוס, (noos,) to flee, and make sense or agree with the context, for this second strophe, Psalms 60:4-8, opening with the triumphal strain, “Thou hast given a banner,” etc., is one of hope, victory, and exultation, not of retreat and dismay. There is here a total change in the tone and spirit of the psalm from the complaint, Psalms 60:1-3.

Because of the truth—The Septuagint (followed by the Vulgate and Syriac, with some modern critics) reads: “Thou hast given a token to them that fear thee, to flee from before the bow.” But this takes קשׁת, (kohshet,) truth, the same as קשׁת, (kehsheth,) bow, which requires an exchange of the final radicals, with a new vowel pointing. This, however, is not necessary. The word, as it stands in the text, has its ground form in Proverbs 22:21, where it means truth, as also its corresponding Chaldee, ( קשׁושׂ,) Daniel 2:47; Daniel 4:27, with the same meaning. This also requires that מפני, (mipnee,) literally from the face of, before, be understood as indicating the reason or motive in the sense of because of, in consideration of, as in Deuteronomy 28:20; Nehemiah 4:9; Nehemiah 5:15, and in twelve other places. This makes Zechariah 9:16, a parallel passage. It also makes sense, which the other does not; for the idea of giving a banner that they might fly before the archers is absurd. By this interpretation, which is simply that of the English text, the spirit of the context is preserved, as already noticed; by the other, it is completely destroyed. “Truth,” here, must be understood in the sense of fidelity to the purpose and covenant of God to David touching his kingdom, which the allied nations had conspired to overthrow.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 60:4". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/psalms-60.html. 1874-1909.

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable

Apparently, David meant that God had led His people into battle (given them a banner) only to let them fall before their enemy-in order to teach Israel a lesson.


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Bibliography
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Psalms 60:4". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/psalms-60.html. 2012.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

the truth: or [Thy] faithfulness. Hebrew. koshet. Occurs only here in Psalms. Compare Proverbs 22:21 = certainty, or exact, precise truth. (No Art.)

Selah. Connecting the gift, with the great and important object of it. (App-66.)


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Psalms 60:4". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/psalms-60.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah.

Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth - (Psalms 20:5.) Thou hast given us by the recent victory, after our prostrate condition, a banner of triumph to lift up (so the Hebrew), because of thy faithfulness to thy promise. "The truth" here answers to God's "holiness" (Psalms 60:6). Compare Romans 15:8. So long as soldiers see their banner uplifted, they flock round it with confidence. But when it is prostrate, their spirits and hopes fall. The "banner" is a pledge of safety, and a rallying point to those who fight under it.


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 60:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/psalms-60.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Psalms 60:4". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/psalms-60.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah.
a banner
20:5; Exodus 17:15; Song of Solomon 2:4; Isaiah 11:12; 49:22; 59:19
because
12:1,2; 45:4; Isaiah 59:14,15; Jeremiah 5:1-3

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Psalms 60:4". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/psalms-60.html.

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