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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Psalms 60:9

 

 

Who will bring me into the besieged city? Who will lead me to Edom?

Adam Clarke Commentary

Who will bring me into the strong city? - If this part of the Psalm, from the sixth to the twelfth verse, refer to the return of the captives from Babylon, as I think probable; then the strong city may mean either Petra, the capital of Idumea; Bozra, in Arabia, near the mountains of Gilead; Rabba, the capital of the Ammonites; or Tyre, according to the Chaldee, the capital of Phoenicia; or Jerusalem itself, which, although dismantled, had long been one of the strongest cities of the east. Or it may imply, Who shall give me the dominion over the countries already mentioned? who will lead me into Edom? who will give me the dominion over that people?


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Psalms 60:9". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/psalms-60.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Who will bring me into the strong city? - The strong city - the fenced, the fortified city - referred to here is doubtless the capital of Idumea. This was the celebrated city Petra, situated in the rocks, and so difficult to be taken by an enemy. For a description of it, see the notes at Isaiah 16:1. It was this city, as the capital of the land of Edom, which David was now so anxious to secure; and he asks, therefore, with interest, who among his captains, his mighty men, would undertake the task of conducting his armies there.

Who will lead me into Edom? - Into the capital, and thence into the whole land to subdue it. This was done under the combined command of Joab and Abishai his brother. See the notes at the title to the psalm.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Psalms 60:9". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-60.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Psalms 60:9

Who will bring me into the strong city?

The Christian warfare

We are all familiar with the idea that the life of the Christian and the progressive advance of the kingdom of heaven involves a conflict, a never-ceasing warfare. We are, however, I think, sometimes unmindful that that warfare must assume very various phases according to the varying conditions and circumstances; and that much watchfulness, skill, determination and patience is needed for the frequent re-organization of forces, the re-adaptation of resources, and the revision of methods. Thus, with the individual, there are often constitutional tendencies which can only be counteracted by, it may be, a lifelong watchfulness and sustained assault; there are often strongholds of confirmed habit which have been allowed to entrench themselves within us, and which nothing short of a tedious system of siege operations can reduce. How true it is, we must all know, that spiritual growth and development of the Christian character are retarded because we have left such-like strongholds unreduced. Our forgetfulness of this aspect of our militant position may arise from a yielding to the temptation that these tedious siege operations can be dispensed with. We hope that if left alone these strongholds of evil tendency and habit will surrender while we make the easier conquests; or we hope that we may enter into possession of our promised land and leave these fortresses standing, content with a resolution to watch them; or we decide that, as we cannot hope to reduce them absolutely, we will make, as we think, safe terms with them, so that they shall not molest us or disturb our peace. Or it may be that we fail to gain permanent possession of them because we are tempted to evade the truth that no stronghold carried by assault is secured unless we are ready at once to occupy the position and to hold it. Evil habits are not eradicated until they are permanently replaced by good habits; it is only the gradual intrusion and establishment of good habits that ousts the evil and at last permanently excludes them. And this securing a permanent footing for habits of acting aright is an exceeding slow process. In order to form a habit, a series of individual actions must be persistently repeated for a considerable time, and before the habit has become irrevocably established we must expect to meet many reverses and engage in many desperate rallies. We live in impatient days; there is a tendency to resort to methods of spiritual warfare which seem to produce speedy results; adventurous raids are made here and there, while the strongholds stand unassailed, and ground gained is not held for want of those less showy operations which are needful if we would make each step secure. To my younger hearers especially I would say, Be not deceived; steady, persevering effort is needed if you would become real masters of yourselves. Depend upon it, as with Israel of old, you cannot advance far towards getting possession of your promised land, possession and control of your passions, your will, without finding a fortress to be subdued. What is true of the individual growth in grace, is true also with the extension of Christ’s kingdom upon earth. There are occasions where the Church finds herself confronted by towering strongholds of formidable strength which have long held captive the minds and hearts of her fellow-men, strongholds which cannot be carried by simple assault, but which must be reduced by the slow and persistent advance of regular approaches. At such times there is a demand made upon the Church’s faith, and the same temptation to shirk the trying duty presents itself. It is also true that in regard to the Church’s advances, much unpretending monotonous labour has to be expended in securing the ground gained. We have need not only of men who will carry on the message, but also of men who will unobtrusively sacrifice themselves to the often unexciting and sometimes very trying, but most important work of slowly building up the new life in the new believers; helping them by slow degrees to assimilate the life, the character, the habits, personal, domestic, and social, of the new man which they have newly put on. “Who will lead us into these strong cities?” We answer, “Christ”; and then, when we further ask, “How can we best bring the power of Christ to bear upon them?” we reply, “First endeavour to secure that the fountain shall be pure, that the stream of life going forth from your English shores shall be living, and strong, and clear; then let us have men devoted, who can explain the nature of the living stream, and direct inquiries to the source of its virtue as a healing power; thirdly, let the consecrated intellect of England help us to express Divine truth more truly and exhaustively; and then such a threefold cord may well be expected to be a mighty instrument for the pulling down of the strongholds.” (Bishop E. R. Johnson.)

The inspiration of a great leader

The inspiration of a leader’s presence and courage has turned many a defeat into a victory. Marlborough, Henry of Navarre, and Napoleon are instances, with Garibaldi and our own Gordon. But the memory of a great leader is inspiring also. The last words of Hedley Vicars were, “This way, 97th!” and although the captain fell, his men rushed forward and repulsed a force ten times their number. We are to arm ourselves with that panoply of perfect trust and perfect obedience which our Divine Leader put on, and in which He endured and conquered. Many a child has borne pain and contumely with fortitude and patience, upheld by the thought of the Saviour’s sufferings.

Christ the invincible warrior

It has been said of Edward, the Black Prince, that he never fought a battle which he did not win, and of the great Duke of Marlborough, that he never besieged a city that he did not take. Shall that be said of men which we deny concerning the Most High God? Is He less successful than some human generals? Shall these invincibly prevail, and grade be liable to defeat? Impossible.


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Psalms 60:9". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/psalms-60.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

PLEADING WITH GOD TO HELP

"Who will bring me into the strong city?

Who hath led me unto Edom?

Hast not thou, O God, cast us off?.

And thou goest not forth, O God, with our hosts.

Give us help against the adversary;

For vain is the help of man."

"Who will bring me into the strong city" (Psalms 60:9)? The `strong city' here is Petra, the almost impregnable capital of Edom. No city of antiquity was ever any better fortified and protected than was Petra. The city occupied a canyon bounded by solid stone walls on both sides, into which residences, offices, and temples had been constructed by carving them out of the solid stone.

"Hast not thou, O God, cast us off?.

And thou goest not forth, O God, with our hosts."

(Psalms 60:10, ASV)SIZE>

We do not like to find fault with the ASV, but in this verse, we are constrained to believe that the King James Version is superior.

"Wilt not thou, O God, which hadst cast us off?

and thou, O God, which didst not go out with our armies?"

(Psalms 60:10, KJV).SIZE>

The Douay Version of the Old Testament also corresponds with the KJV here; and to us this rendition is far more appropriate than the American Standard Version or the RSV, both of which, it appears to this writer, provide negative elements in the prayer. Psalms 60:10, as it stands either in RSV or American Standard Version is nothing but a complaint.

Through the use of the past tenses (as in KJV), the meaning then becomes, "God, we know that you will take us into the strong city, despite the fact that you allowed us to be defeated."

"Give us help against the adversary" (Psalms 60:11). The psalmist again appeals mightily to God for help against the enemy.

"For vain is the help of man" (Psalms 60:11). "Seldom has the help that man can provide in emergencies been more aptly expressed than it is in this verse - `For vain is the help of man.'"[11]


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James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Psalms 60:9". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/psalms-60.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Who will bring me into the strong city?.... Which some understand of Rabbah of the Ammonites, which Joab besieged, and sent to David to come and take it in person, 2 Samuel 12:26. The Targum interprets it of Tyre, which was a strong fortified city, Ezekiel 26:4. It rather seems to be the same with Edom, or the metropolis of the Edomites; since it follows:

who will lead me into Edom? which was situated in the clefts of the rock, and on the height of the hill, Jeremiah 49:16; but is mystically to be understood of the city of Rome, the great and mighty city, as it is often called in the book of the Revelation, Revelation 11:8; whose destruction is certain, being predicted; and after which there have been desires raised in the hearts of God's people in all ages; and particularly just before the time God will put it into the hearts of the kings of the earth to burn it with fire; who are here represented by David, as desirous of entering into it in triumph to destroy it, Revelation 17:16.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Psalms 60:9". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/psalms-60.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Who will bring me [into] the m strong city? who will lead me into Edom?

(m) He was assured that God would give him the strong cities of his enemies, in which they thought themselves sure.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Psalms 60:9". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/psalms-60.html. 1599-1645.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Who will bring me into the strong city? who will lead me into Edom?

Who — None can do it but God.

City — The cities; the singular number for the plural. Having beaten his enemies out of the field, he desires God's assistance to take their strong-holds, and so secure himself from farther attempts.

Edom — Which was an high and rocky country, Obadiah 1-3, fortified by nature, as well as by art, and therefore not to be subdued without a Divine hand.


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Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Psalms 60:9". "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

9Who will bring me into the fortified city? Anticipating an objection which might be alleged, he proceeds to state that he looked to God for the accomplishment of what remained to be done in the capture of the fortified places of his enemies, and the consolidation of his victories. It might be said, that as a considerable number continued to resist his claims, the confident terms which he had used were premature. God, however, had pledged his word that every nation which set itself in opposition to him would be brought under his power, and in the face of remaining difficulties and dangers he advances with certainty of success. By the fortified city, (399) some understand Rabbah, the capital of the Moabites. Others, with more probability, consider that the singular is used for the plural number, and that David alludes in general to the different cities under protection of which his enemies were determined to stand out. He declares, that the same God who had crowned his arms with victory in the open field would lead him on to the siege of these cities. With a view to prove his legitimate call to the government, he amplifies a second time the marks of the divine favor which it had received, by contrasting it with that which preceded. “The God,” he says, “who had formerly cast us off, and abandoned us to unsuccessful warfare, will now lay open before me the gates of hostile cities, and enable me to break through all their fortifications.”


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Psalms 60:9". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/psalms-60.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Psalms 60:9 Who will bring me [into] the strong city? who will lead me into Edom?

Ver. 9. Who will bring me into the strong city?] Into Rabbah of the Ammonites, which at length he got, 2 Samuel 12:29-31, and now wisheth for. Kimchi readeth it in the perfect tense, Who has led me into the strong cities? who has brought me into Edom? Hast not thou, O God? &c.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 60:9". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/psalms-60.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Psalms 60:9. Who will bring me, &c.— Dr. Delaney observes, that David, having promised himself, in a prophetic rapture, the dominion over Moab and Edom, considered himself as that rod which should rise out of Israel, and smite the corners of Moab, and make Edom a possession, Numbers 24:17. And what king but David subdued the haughty Philistines, conquered Moab first, and Edom after? And when could this prophesy be written, but in the beginning of his reign; when the Philistines were triumphant, and before he had made any of these conquests? It appears from this verse, that David expected to be brought by God into a strong city, before he was brought into Edom by him. Jerusalem is the only city so characterised, which David took before his war with Edom. He concludes with imploring the divine aid; with a resolution, that, on this presumption, he and his people would act valiantly; and accordingly they marched directly against Jerusalem, and took it by storm. Some, from the title of this psalm, imagine the strong city here mentioned to be Rabbah of the Ammonites. See 2 Samuel 12:26.

REFLECTIONS.—1st, We have here,

1. The deplorable state of the affairs of the Jewish nation during the ill administration of Saul, and the struggles of Ishbosheth. Probably, this description looked forward also, as prophetical of that state, when, for their rejection of God's anointed, his wrath should be kindled, more terribly convulsions destroy their whole polity and government, and, scattered into all lands, they should bear the marks of God's heavy hand; an astonishment to others, a terror to themselves.

2. In the midst of their distresses, a banner is displayed for the faithful Israelites, in David promised to be their king and captain, and now exalted to the throne; under whom enlisted, union within prepared them for victory without: animated by his presence, and bold under such a leader, they lifted up their hostile banners, defied and vanquished their foes. Christ, the captain of our salvation, may also be here designed; his banner of love spread abroad, invites poor sinners to his standard; under him enlisted, spiritual strength and courage animate their souls, and they go forth conquering and to conquer: and to him shall the dispersed of Israel be gathered at last, and, turning to the Lord, see a period of their miseries. Note; (1.) The deeper our distresses, the more are the power and grace of our God magnified in our deliverance. (2.) We should ever remember the state in which Jesus found us, and the misery from which he drew us, as an engagement to be faithful, and fight manfully under his banners.

3. He prays earnestly for God's help and healing. O turn thyself to us again, cease from thy displeasure, and visit us with thy salvation; heal the breaches, for thou alone canst heal them; and as the danger is imminent, it shaketh, let thy mercy to the land be speedy, that thy beloved may be delivered from the hands of all their enemies; for, having no power of themselves, they look to thee; save with thy right hand and hear me,—their advocate. Note; (1.) Sin has made a deadly breach in our souls, which nothing but the grace of God can repair. (2.) They who turn to God in prayer, may expect his return to them in mercy. (3.) They who fear God are beloved by him, and his right hand will save them.

2nd, David appears triumphing in the divine promises; God hath sworn; he believes, and in consequence rejoices.

1. All foes within and without shall yield to him. Israel, in their several tribes who had joined Ishbosheth, shall return to him. Conquest without would follow union within. Note; (1.) When a believer can say, Christ is mine, then all other blessings necessarily follow. (2.) When God pleases, he can make our bitterest foes our warmest friends. (3.) National union is a great blessing from God.

2. He answers a difficulty which might be suggested from the strength of the enemy's fortresses. Who will bring me into the strong city? who will lead me into Edom? God is the strength of his confidence. Wilt not thou, O God, which hadst cast us off? yes, assuredly: now thou art returned in mercy, we shall be victorious; and thou, O God, which didst not go out with our armies before, shalt make us now more than conquerors. Therefore give us help from trouble, in answer to our fervent prayers; for vain is the help of man, we acknowledge it; and, renouncing every human confidence, desire alone to repose ourselves on thee. And thus we are confident, that through God we shall do valiantly, and put all our enemies under our feet, for he it is who shall tread down our enemies, on whom we depend, and to whom we will ascribe the praise of all our success. Note; (1.) Difficulties will often stand in the believer's way, but faith will overcome them all. (2.) When to sense we seem as cast off, we must not quit our hold of the promise, but trust, and wait to see the salvation of God. (3.) When our dangers are greatest, our prayers and cries should be most earnest. (4.) The less we expect to receive from the creature, the surer we are to avoid disappointment. (5.) If we are enabled to do valiantly against our spiritual enemies, let us remember from whom cometh our strength, and lay at his feet the crown which his own grace has obtained for us.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 60:9". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/psalms-60.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Who will bring me? None can do it but God, as he declareth in the following verses.

Into the strong city, i.e. the cities; the singular number for the plural, which is usual. Having beaten his enemies out of the field, and into their strong cities, from whence they hoped to renew the war, he desires God’s assistance, whereby he may take their strong holds, and so secure himself from further attempts against him.

Into Edom; which was a high and rocky country, Obadiah 1:3, fortified by nature as well as by art, and therefore not to be invaded and subdued without a Divine hand.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 60:9". 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

9. Strong city—That is, Selah, the rock, afterwards called Petra, the capital of Edom. It was situated in the eastern mountains of the Arabah, about fifty miles south, bearing east, from the Dead Sea, and about seventy miles from the head of the Gulf of Akaba. It was captured by David and by Amaziah. In 2 Kings 14:7, and Isaiah 16:1, it is translated “Selah” in our English Bible, and in 2 Chronicles 25:12, “the Rock.” Three hundred years before Christ it became the great transit point of commerce between the East and the West across the Arabian Desert, and was renowned for its wealth and strength.

Who will bring me into the strong city—Selah was situated in a hollow of the mountains, two thousand feet above the Arabah valley, surrounded east and west by high cliffs, with no military roads on the west, and approached on the east by caravans only through a narrow, though famous, ravine, the Sik. It was deemed impregnable.

Who will lead me—Who has led me unto Edom? The change of tense, in the Hebrew, would more naturally explain itself by remembering God had directed the army of Israel to the border of Edom by an oracle from the priest; and the interrogatory form, on which the prayer and faith of David are founded, is suitable to an unfinished act. They now stood in the border of Edom, checked and baffled, but hopeful. The strong city, the key to the whole kingdom, lies beyond them, and the argument of the prayer is, that as God had already led them into Edom, so he would bring them into the capital or strong city. See more in introductory note to Psalms 108.


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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 60:9". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/psalms-60.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Day. A Levite speaks, having dedicated himself by vow to serve God continually in his temple, after his return from Babylon, (Calmet) or David expresses his resolution to testify his gratitude, by sacrifice. (Haydock) --- I will sing psalms, &c., in this life, and for ever. (Worthington)


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Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Psalms 60:9". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/psalms-60.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

the strong city. Probably Sela or Petra, corresponding with Edom (compare 2 Kings 14:7). David claims the promise of Numbers 24:18.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Psalms 60:9". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/psalms-60.html. 1909-1922.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(9) Who will . . .—i.e., how can this ancient Divine oracle be fulfilled now in present circumstances? This is the poet’s question. He may be a king himself eager for triumph, or more probably Israel personified. (See the plural in Psalms 60:10-12.) Edom is the particular foe in view, and as the difficulties of the undertaking present themselves, misgivings arise and the assurance gained from the triumphs of olden time turns into prayer, half plaintive, half confident, that the Divine favour and power may be once more on the side of the chosen people.

The strong city.—As in the Hebrew the article is wanting, any strongly fortified city might be intended, were it not for the parallelism. Here it must stand for Selah or Petra, the capital of Edom. For its impregnable position (see Note Obadiah 1:3). The question, “Who will lead me into Petra?” is explained by the fact that there are only two possible approaches to the city, each a long narrow tortuous defile, and that the place itself is so buried in its ravines that it cannot be seen from any spot in its neighbourhood far or near.


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Psalms 60:9". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/psalms-60.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Who will bring me into the strong city? who will lead me into Edom?
Who
Judges 1:12,24,25; 1 Chronicles 11:6,17-19
strong city
Heb. city of strength.
2 Samuel 11:1; 12:26-31

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Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Psalms 60:9". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/psalms-60.html.

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