Psalm 60:6-12 [=108:7-13] first recalls Yahweh's "promise" to bless his people and to keep their enemies under subjection (verses 6-8), then continues the prayer for Yahweh's intervention to deliver his people from their enemies begun in verses 4-5 (verses 9-12):
"God has promised in his sanctuary:
'With exultation I will divide up Shechem,
and portion out the Vale of Succoth.
Gilead is mine, and Manasseh is mine;
Ephraim is my helmet;
Judah is my scepter.
Moab is my washbasin;
on Edom I hurl my shoe;
over Philistia I shout in triumph.'
Who will bring me to the fortified city?
Who will lead me to Edom?
Have you not rejected us, O God?
You do not go out, O God, with our armies.
O grant us help against the foe,
for human help is worthless.
With God we shall do valiantly;
it is he who will tread down our foes."
1. Verses 8 and 9 suggest that the primary foe opposing God's people in the setting of this psalm is Edom. Thus the setting could be the attack on Jerusalem in 589-587 B. C. (see Psalm 137:7-9; Obadiah 1-16; Jeremiah 49:7-22; Lamentations 4:21-22; etc.).
2. Yahweh has assured his people that he is in control of all nations (verses 6-8). He divided the land of Canaan among his people because he is its owner (see Joshua 13:1-7; 19:51). Yahweh uses Moab like his personal washbasin; he acquired Edom by "hurling the shoe" (see Ruth 4:7); he defeated Philistia and shouted in triumph because of that victory (2 Samuel 5:17-25; 8:1). Exodus 15:14-18 describes the exodus from Egypt and the conquest of Canaan in similar language, suggesting that the author of Psalm 60 anticipates a "new exodus" from the enemies now oppressing Israel.
3. The identity of "me" in verse 9 is quite uncertain. "Me" is the psalmist speaking in behalf of his people, and thus he or she uses "we," "us," and "our" in verses 10-12. "Me" may be the king at the time this psalm was composed, or the leader of the faith community.
4. It appears that Yahweh is absent (verse 10; see verse 1), and thus has "rejected" his people in a time of distress. But the psalmist pleads with Yahweh to intervene and "help" his people (verse 11; see Psalms 22:19; 38:22; 121:1-2). Then, with the inner assurance that Yahweh will answer his or her prayer, the psalmist concludes by affirming that Yahweh will intervene and tread down his people's foes (verse 12; see Numbers 24:18; Psalm 118:15-16).
It is inevitable that throughout life, enemies are going to attack God's faithful followers. May God give us that deep trust in him to know that he will intervene and deliver us from the most difficult and trying circumstances.