The Case of Psalm 108

Psalm 108 is a composite of two portions from other Psalms of David.  Psalm 108:1-5 corresponds to Psalm 57:7-11.  Psalm 108:6-13 corresponds to Psalm 60:5-12. 

Notice that Psalm 57 is about David hiding from Saul in one cave (I Sam 22) or another (I Sam 24).  He is being hunted by his enemy, and is hidden away from sight.  The words chosen to start Ps 108 affirm the greatness and steadfastness of God.  One wonders at a man who sees stars from inside a cave!

Psalm 60 is about trouble during a military campaign.  David was a man of war.  The geography describes encircles Judea.  Here David affirms that for all his arms, God is his strength.

What then is the purpose for Ps 108?  We notice that the anxieties of the previous psalms are not included, but only the affirmations.  Is this Psalm then to be used in times of extreme danger?  Perhaps including personal peril (Ps 57) and national peril (Ps 60).  Or is it that two affirmations are better than one?

One is struck from the New Testament point of view, as to how David could affirm God in such beautiful language (v. 1-5) but that is set against language of war and conquest.

New Testament passages, such as Romans 12, know there are enemies, and that there is a battle.  The tools of conflict differ – “overcome evil with good”  (Rom 12:21).  Ps 108:12 rings true: 

“Give us aid against our enemy,

for the help of man is worthless.”


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