Psalm 60:3
Thou hast shewed thy people hard things: thou hast made us to drink the wine of astonishment.
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(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.

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. Psalm 60:3This 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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