Psalm 60:3
You have showed your people hard things: you have made us to drink the wine of astonishment.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(3) Hard thingsi.e., a hard fate.

Wine of astonishment.—Literally, either wine of reelingi.e., an intoxicating draught—or wine as reelingi.e., bewilderment like wine, or wine, which is not wine, but bewilderment, according as we take the construction.

In any case the figure is the same which meets us often in Hebrew poetry (comp. Psalm 75:8-9; Isaiah 51:17; Isaiah 51:22; Jeremiah 25:15, &c) expressing that infatuation which the heathen proverb so well describes:—

“Quem Deus vult perdere prius dementat.”

60:1-5 David owns God's displeasure to be the cause of all the hardships he had undergone. And when God is turning his hand in our favour, it is good to remember our former troubles. In God's displeasure their troubles began, therefore in his favour their prosperity must begin. Those breaches and divisions which the folly and corruption of man make, nothing but the wisdom and grace of God can repair, by pouring out a spirit of love and peace, by which only a kingdom is saved from ruin. The anger of God against sin, is the only cause of all misery, private or public, that has been, is, or shall be. In all these cases there is no remedy, but by returning to the Lord with repentance, faith, and prayer; beseeching him to return to us. Christ, the Son of David, is given for a banner to those that fear God; in him they are gathered together in one, and take courage. In his name and strength they wage war with the powers of darkness.Thou hast showed thy people hard things - Thou hast caused them to see reverses, disappointments, and trials. This refers, according to the supposition in the Introduction to the psalm, to some calamitous events which had occurred. The probability seems to be that the Edomites may have spread desolation over the land.

Thou hast made us to drink the wine of astonishment - The word rendered "astonishment" - תרעלה tar‛êlâh - occurs only here and in Isaiah 51:17, Isaiah 51:22 - in both of which verses in Isaiah it is rendered trembling. It means properly reeling, drunkenness; and the idea here is, that it was as if he had given them a cup - that is, an intoxicating drink - which had caused them to reel as a drunken man; or, in other words, their efforts had been unsuccessful. Compare Psalm 11:6, note; Isaiah 51:17, note.

3. drink … wine of astonishment—literally, "of staggering"—that is, made us weak (compare Ps 75:8; Isa 51:17, 22). Thou hast showed, Heb. made them to see, i.e. to experience or feel, as seeing is oft put, as Psalm 49:10, and oft elsewhere. Thou hast filled us with no less horror and trembling, than men intoxicated with strong and stupefying drink, which they are forced to drink. Compare Isaiah 51:17,21. Thou hast showed thy people hard things,.... As to have their city and temple burial, multitudes of them slain, and the rest carried captive, and put into the hands of cruel lords and hard masters, and made a proverb, a taunt, and a curse, in all places; and all this done to a people that were the Lord's by profession, who called themselves so, though now a "loammi", Hosea 1:9; and these were hard things to flesh and blood, yet no other than what they deserved;

thou hast made us to drink the wine of astonishment; or "of trembling" (n), Isaiah 51:17; that is, to endure such troubles as made them tremble, and astonished and stupefied them; took away their senses, and made them unfit for anything, being smitten with madness, blindness, and astonishment of heart, as is threatened them, Deuteronomy 28:28; see Romans 11:7.

(n) "tremoris", Musculus, Vatablus, Amama; "trepidationis", Michaelis; "horroris", Gejerus.

Thou hast {e} shewed thy people hard things: thou hast made us to drink the wine of astonishment.

(e) You have handled your people sharply, in asking from them sense and judgment in that they aided Saul the wicked King, and punished him to whom God had given the just title of the realm.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
3. hard] i.e. calamitous.

the wine of astonishment] Better as R.V., the wine of staggering. The cup of God’s wrath is a common metaphor for His judgements. It is like some drugged potion, which robs the drinker of reason, and makes him reel helplessly along, the mockery of all beholders. Commonly it is administered to the enemies of Israel (Psalm 75:8; Jeremiah 25:15 ff); but also to Israel itself (Isaiah 51:17; Isaiah 51:21 f).Verse 3. - Thou hast showed thy people hard things; literally, a hard thing, or harshness; i.e. severity. Thou hast made us to drink the wine of astonishment; or, of trembling (as in Isaiah 51:17, 22); comp. Psalm 75:8; Jeremiah 25:15-17: 49:12; Ezekiel 23:32-34; Zechariah 12:2. The outpouring of Divine vengeance is represented under the figure of presenting a cup, which the doomed man is forced to drink. In this second half of the Psalm the cry of fear is hushed. Hope reigns, and anger burns more fiercely. The Ker says that Psalm 59:11 is to be read: אלהי חסדּי יקדּמני, my gracious God will anticipate me, - but with what? This question altogether disappears if we retain the Chethb and point אלהי הסדּו: my God will anticipate me with His mercy (cf. Psalm 21:4), i.e., will meet me bringing His mercy without any effort of mine. Even the old translators have felt that chcdw must belong to the verb as a second object. The lxx is perfectly correct in its rendering, ὁ Θεὸς μου τὸ ἔλεος αὐτοῦ προφθάσει με. The Ker has come into existence in looking to v. 18, according to which it seems as though אלהי הסדּי ought to be added to the refrain, Psalm 59:10 (cf. a similar instance in Psalm 42:6-7). But Psalm 59:11 would be stunted by doing this, and it accords with Biblical poetic usage that the refrain in v. 18 should be climactic in comparison with Psalm 59:10 (just as it also does not altogether harmonize in its first half); so that Olshausen's proposal to close Psalm 59:10 with אלהי חסדי and to begin Psalm 59:11 with חסדו (cf. Psalm 79:8) is only just to be put on record. The prayer "slay them not" does not contradict the prayer that follows for their destruction. The poet wishes that those who lie in wait for him, before they are totally swept away, may remain for a season before the eyes of this people as an example of punishment. In accordance with this, הניעמו, by a comparison of the Hiph. in Numbers 32:13, and of the Kal in Psalm 59:16, Psalm 109:10, is to be rendered: cause them to wander about (Targum, cf. Genesis Rabba, ch. 38 init., טלטלמו); and in connection with בחילך one is involuntarily reminded of Psalm 10:10, Psalm 10:14, and is tempted to read בחלך or בחלך: cause them to wander about in adversity or wretchedness, equals Arab. ‛umr ḥâlik, vita caliginosa h. e. misera), and more especially since בחילך occurs nowhere else instead of בּזרעך or בּימינך. But the Jod in בחילך is unfavourable to this supposition; and since the martial apostrophe of God by "our shield" follows, the choice of the word is explained by the consideration that the poet conceives of the power of God as an army (Joel 2:25), and perhaps thinks directly of the heavenly host (Joel 3:11), over which the Lord of Hosts holds command (Hitzig). By means of this He is first of all to cause them to go astray (נע ונד, Genesis 4:12), then utterly to cast them down (Psalm 56:8). The Lord (אדני) is to do this, as truly as He is Israel's shield against all the heathen and all pseudo-Israelites who have become as heathen. The first member of Psalm 59:13 is undoubtedly meant descriptively: "the sin of their mouth (the sin of the tongue) is the word of their lips" (with the dull-toned suffix mo, in the use of which Psalm 59 associates itself with the Psalms of the time of Saul, Psalm 56:1-13, Psalm 11:1-7, Psalm 17:1-15, 22, 35, Psalm 64:1-10). The combination ולילּכדוּ בגאונם, however, more readily suggests parallel passages like Proverbs 11:6 than Proverbs 6:2; and moreover the מן of the expression וּמאלה וּמכּחשׁ, which is without example in connection with ספּר, and, taken as expressing the motive (Hupfeld), ought to be joined with some designations of the disposition of mind, is best explained as an appended statement of the reason for which they are to be ensnared, so that consequently יספּרוּ (cf. Psalm 69:27; Psalm 64:6) is an attributive clause; nor is this contrary to the accentuation, if one admits the Munach to be a transformation of Mugrash. It is therefore to be rendered: "let them, then, be taken in their pride, and on account of the curse and deceit which they wilfully utter." If, by virtue of the righteousness of the Ruler of the world, their sin has thus become their fall, then, after they have been as it were a warning example to Israel, God is utterly to remove them out of the way, in order that they (it is unnecessary to suppose any change of subject), while perishing, may perceive that Elohim is Ruler in Jacob (בּ, used elsewhere of the object, e.g., Micah 5:1, is here used of the place of dominion), and as in Jacob, so from thence unto the ends of the earth (ל like על, Psalm 48:11) wields the sceptre. Just like the first group of the first part, this first group of the second part also closes with Sela.

The second group opens like the second group in the first part, but with this exception, that here we read וישׁבוּ, which loosely connects it with what precedes, whereas there it is ישׁוּבוּ. The poet's gaze is again turned towards his present straitened condition, and again the pack of dogs by which Saul is hunting him present themselves to his mind. המּה points towards an antithesis that follows, and which finds its expression in ואני. ויּלינוּ and לבּקר stand in direct contrast to one another, and in addition to this לערב has preceded. The reading of the lxx (Vulgate, Luther, [and authorized version]), καὶ γογγύσουσιν equals ויּלּינוּ or ויּלּנוּ, is thereby proved to be erroneous. But if ויּלינוּ is the correct reading, then it follows that we have to take Psalm 59:16 not as foretelling what will take place, but as describing that which is present; so that consequently the fut. consec. (as is frequently the case apart from any historical connection) is only a consecutive continuation of ינוּעוּן (for which the Ker has יניעוּן; the form that was required in Psalm 59:12, but is inadmissible here): they wander up and down (נוּע as in Psalm 109:10, cf. נוּד, Job 15:23) to eat (that is to say, seeking after food); and if they are not satisfied, they pass the night, i.e., remain, eager for food and expecting it, over night on the spot. This interpretation is the most natural, the simplest, and the one that harmonizes best not only with the text before us (the punctuation ישׂבּעוּ, not ישׂבּעוּ, gives the member of the clause the impress of being a protasis), but also with the situation. The poet describes the activity of his enemies, and that by completing or retouching the picture of their comparison to dogs: he himself is the food or prey for which they are so eager, and which they would not willingly allow to escape them, and which they nevertheless cannot get within their grasp. Their morbid desire remains unsatisfied: he, however, in the morning, is able to sing of the power of God, which protects him, and exultantly to praise God's loving-kindness, which satiates and satisfies him (Psalm 90:14); for in the day of fear, which to him is now past, God was his inaccessible stronghold, his unapproachable asylum. To this God, then, even further the play of his harp shall be directed (אזמּרה), just as was his waiting or hoping (אשׁמרה, Psalm 59:10).

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