Psalm 60:4
Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah.
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(4) Thou hast given.—Amid the uncertainty attaching to this verse, one thing is certain, that the Authorised Version rendering of its second clause must be abandoned. Instead of koshet (truth), we must read with the LXX. and Symmachus kesheth (a bow). It is more than doubtful if the preposition rendered because of can have that meaning. Nor can the rendering of the verb, that it may be displayed, be defended. Render, Thou hast given Thy fearers a banner, that they may rally to it from before the bow, and comp. Isaiah 13:2.

Psalm 60:4-5. Thou hast given a banner, &c. — But now thou hast granted the desires of those that devoutly worship and serve thee, and given an ensign to which all the tribes may repair. David, says Dr. Delaney, was the only centre of union which that people ever had, and God now made him their captain and ruler to manifest the truth of those promises which had been made to him long before. But the banner here is not only to be considered as a sign and instrument of their union, intimating that they, who were lately divided under several banners, should now be gathered together and united under one; but also of battle and war. As if he had said, Thou hast given us an army and power to oppose our enemies: we have our banner to set against theirs. Though the Philistines and other nations have long been too hard for us, by reason of our divisions, yet now thou hast united us under one government, that the people may unanimously fight against their enemies. To them that fear thee — Or, for, or on behalf of, them that fear thee; an emphatical passage, implying that God gave this great blessing to the people of Israel for the sake of those few sincere Israelites, who were among them. That it may be displayed because of the truth — Not for any merit of ours, but to show thy faithfulness in making good thy promises. That thy beloved may be delivered, &c. — That by thy mighty power accompanying my arms, I may be an instrument of delivering thy beloved people from those that have oppressed them; save with thy right hand — With thine own power: and with such instruments as thou art pleased to make use of. Observe, reader, they that fear God are his beloved; they are dear to him as the apple of his eye: they are often in distress, but they shall be delivered, for God’s own right hand shall save them.

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 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.

4, 5. Yet to God's banner they will rally, and pray that, led and sustained by His power (right hand, Ps 17:7; 20:6), they may be safe.4 Thou has given a banner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth, Selah.

5 That thy beloved may be delivered; save with thy right hand, and hear me.

Psalm 60:4

Here the strain takes a turn. The Lord has called back to himself his servants, and commissioned them for his service, presenting them with a standard to be used in his wars. "Thou hast given a banner to them that fear thee." Their afflictions had led them to exhibit holy fear, and then being fitted for the Lord's favour, he gave them an ensign, which would be both a rallying point for their hosts, a proof that he had sent them to fight, and a guarantee of victory. The bravest men are usually intrusted with the banner, and it is certain that those who fear God most have less fear of man than any others. The Lord has given us the standard of the gospel, let us live to uphold it, and if needful die to defend it. Our right to contend for God, and our reason for expecting success, are found in the fact that the faith has been once committed to the saints, and that by the Lord himself. "That it may be displayed because of the truth." Banners are for the breeze, the sun, the battle. Israel might well come forth boldly, for a sacred standard was borne aloft before them. To publish the gospel is a sacred duty, to be ashamed of it a deadly sin. The truth of God was involved in the triumph of David's armies, he had promised them victory; and so in the proclamation of the gospel we need feel no hesitancy, for as surely as God is true he will give success to his own Word. For the truth's sake, and because the true God is on our side, let us in these modern days of warfare emulate the warriors of Israel, and unfurl our banners to the breeze with confident joy. Dark signs of present or coming ill must not dishearten us; if the Lord had meant to destroy us he would not have given us the gospel; the very fact that he has revealed himself in Christ Jesus involves the certainty of victory. Magna est veritas et praevalebit.

"Hard things thou hast upon us laid,

And made us drink most bitter wine;

But still thy banner we've displayed,

And borne aloft thy truth divine.

"Our courage fails not, though the night

No earthly lamp avails to break,

For thou wilt soon arise in might,

And of our captors captives make."

"Selah." There is so much in the fact of a banner being given to the hosts of Israel, so much of hope, of duty, of comfort, that a pause is fitly introduced. The sense justifies it, and the more joyful strain of the music necessitates it.

Psalm 60:5


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 Psalm 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.

Thou hast given a banner,.... The word is, by Jarchi, taken to signify "temptation" or "trial" (o); 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.

(o) So Yalkut Simconi in loc. par. 2. fol. 103. 1.

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.

4. That it may be displayed because of the truth] With this rendering, which has been retained in the text of the R.V., the verse becomes the preface to the following prayer. Israel is charged with the maintenance of God’s cause, therefore let Him help them against the heathen. But it is decidedly preferable (cp. R.V. marg.) to follow the LXX, Vulg., Symm., and Jer. in rendering, That they may betake themselves to flight from before the bow (cp. Isaiah 31:8). The verse then forms the conclusion of the first stanza of the Psalm. By ‘them that fear thee’ Israel is meant; and the word implies that Israel is loyal to Jehovah (cp. Psalm 44:17 ff). He has ‘given them a banner’ (cp. Isaiah 5:26; Isaiah 13:1; Jeremiah 4:6), raised a standard to summon them to fight for His cause (for the cause of the nation was the cause of its God), in order that they should be put to flight before the enemy’s archers. The words are reproachfully sarcastic, and there is no need to weaken the sarcasm by inserting only before that they may betake themselves to flight. God has deliberately mustered His people and led them forth to defeat. They recall (though their spirit is wholly different) the complaint of the Israelites in the wilderness, “Because the Lord hated us, he hath brought us forth out of the land of Egypt, to deliver us into the hand of the Amorites, to destroy us” (Deuteronomy 1:27).

The view that Psalm 60:1-4 form the first stanza of the Psalm is confirmed by the position of Selah, by the commencement of the extract in Psalms 108 with Psalm 60:5, and by the symmetry of structure which is given by a division at this point.

Verse 4. - Thou hast given a tanner to them that fear thee, that it may be displayed because of the truth. So most commentators. But the ancient rendering, recently revived by Professor Cheyne, is perhaps preferable. According to this, the meaning is, "Thou hast indeed given a banner to them that fear thee (see Exodus 17:15), but only that they may flee before the bow" (τοῦ φυγεῖν ἀπὸ προωσ´που τόξων, LXX.). On the last occasion that the banner had been lifted, it had seemed to be, not so much a rallying point, as a signal for dispersion. Psalm 60:4This first strophe contains complaint and prayer; and establishes the prayer by the greatness of the need and Israel's relationship to God. The sense in which פּרצתּנוּ is intended becomes clear from 2 Samuel 5:20, where David uses this word of the defeat of the Philistines, and explains it figuratively. The word signifies to break through what has hitherto been a compact mass, to burst, blast, scatter, disperse. The prayer is first of all timidly uttered in תּשׁובב לנוּ in the form of a wish; then in רפה (Psalm 60:4) and הושׁיעה (Psalm 60:7) it waxes more and more eloquent. שׁובב ל here signifies to grant restoration (like הניח ל, to give rest; Psalm 23:3; Isaiah 58:12). The word also signifies to make a turn, to turn one's self away, in which sense, however, it cannot be construed with ל. On פּצמתּהּ Dunash has already compared Arab. fṣm, rumpere, scindere, and Mose ha-Darshan the Targumic פּצּם equals פרע, Jeremiah 22:14. The deep wounds which the Edomites had inflicted upon the country, are after all a wrathful visitation of God Himself - reeling or intoxicating wine, or as יין תּרעלה (not יין), properly conceived of, is: wine which is sheer intoxication (an apposition instead of the genitive attraction, vid., on Isaiah 30:20), is reached out by Him to His people. The figure of the intoxicating cup has passed over from the Psalms of David and of Asaph to the prophets (e.g., Isaiah 51:17, Isaiah 51:21). A kindred thought is expressed in the proverb: Quem Deus perdere vult, eum dementat. All the preterites as far as השׁקיתנוּ (Psalm 60:5) glance back plaintively at that which has been suffered.

But Psalm 60:6 cannot be thus intended; for to explain with Ewald and Hitzig, following the lxx, "Thou hast set up a banner for those who reverence Thee, not for victory, but for flight," is inadmissible, notwithstanding the fact that מפּני קשׁת nuwc is a customary phrase and the inscribed ללמּד is favourable to the mention of the bow. For (1) The words, beginning with נתתּ, do not sound like an utterance of something worthy of complaint - in this case it ought at least to have been expressed by עך להתנוסס (only for flight, not for victory); (2) it is more than improbable that the bow, instead of being called קשׁת (feminine of the Arabic masculine kaus), is here, according to an incorrect Aramaic form of writing, called קשׁט, whereas this word in its primary form קשׁט (Proverbs 22:21) corresponds to the Aramaic קוּשׁטא not in the signification "a bow," but (as it is also intended in the Targum of our passage) in the signification "truth" (Arabic ḳisṭ of strict unswerving justice, root קש, to be hard, strong, firm; just as, vice versa, the word ṣidḳ, coming from a synonymous root, is equivalent to "truth"). We therefore take the perfect predication, like Psalm 60:4, as the foundation of the prayer which follows: Thou hast given those who fear Thee a banner to muster themselves (sich aufpanieren), i.e., to raise themselves as around a standard or like a standard, on account of the truth - help then, in order that Thy beloved ones may be delivered, with Thy right hand, and answer me. This rendering, in accordance with which Psalm 60:6 expresses the good cause of Israel in opposition to its enemies, is also favoured by the heightened effect of the music, which comes in here, as Sela prescribes. The reflexive התנוסס here therefore signifies not, as Hithpal. of נוּס, "to betake one's self to flight," but "to raise one's self" - a signification on behalf of which we cannot appeal to Zechariah 9:16, where מתנוססות is apparently equivalent to מתנוצצות "sparkling," but which here results from the juxtaposition with נס (cf. נסה, Psalm 4:7), inasmuch as נס itself, like Arab. naṣṣun, is so called from נסס, Arab. naṣṣ, to set up, raise, whether it be that the Hithpo. falls back upon the Kal of the verb or that it is intended as a denominative (to raise one's self as a banner, sich aufpanieren).

(Note: This expression wel illustrates the power of the German language in coining words, so that the language critically dealt with may be exactly reproduced to the German mind. The meaning will at once be clear when we inform our readers that Panier is a banner of standard; the reflexive denominative, therefore, in imitation of the Hebrew, sich aufpanieren signifies to "up-standard one's self," to raise one's self up after the manner of a standard, which being "done into English" may mean to rally (as around a standard). We have done our best above faithfully to convey the meaning of the German text, and we leave our readers to infer from this illustration the difficulties with which translators have not unfrequently to contend. - Tr.])

It is undeniable that not merely in later (e.g., Nehemiah 5:15), but also even in older Hebrew, מפּני denotes the reason and motive (e.g., Deuteronomy 28:20). Moreover Psalm 44 is like a commentary on this מפּני קשׁט, in which the consciousness of the people of the covenant revelation briefly and comprehensively expresses itself concerning their vocation in the world. Israel looks upon its battle against the heathen, as now against Edom, as a rising for the truth in accordance with its mission. By reason of the fact and of the consciousness which are expressed in Psalm 60:6, arises the prayer in Psalm 60:7, that Jahve would interpose to help and to rescue His own people from the power of the enemy. ימינך is instrumental (vid., on Psalm 3:5). It is to be read ענני according to the Ker, as in Psalm 108:7, instead of עננוּ; so that here the king of Israel is speaking, who, as he prays, stands in the place of his people.

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