To the Chief Musician. Set to “Lily of the Testimony.” A Michtam of David. For teaching. When he fought against Mesopotamia and Syria of Zobah, and Joab returned and killed twelve thousand Edomites in the Valley of Salt.
1 O God, You have cast us off; You have broken us down; You have been displeased; Oh, restore us again!
2 You have made the earth tremble; You have broken it; heal its breaches, for it is shaking.
3 You have shown Your people hard things; You have made us drink the wine of confusion.
4 You have given a banner to those who fear You, that it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah
5 That Your beloved may be delivered, Save with Your right hand, and hear me.
6 God has spoken in His holiness: “I will rejoice; I will divide Shechem and measure out the Valley of Succoth.
7 Gilead is Mine, and Manasseh is Mine; Ephraim also is the helmet for My head; Judah is My lawgiver.
8 Moab is My washpot; over Edom I will cast My shoe; Philistia, shout in triumph because of Me.”
9 Who will bring me to the strong city? Who will lead me to Edom?
10 Is it not You, O God, who cast us off? And You, O God, who did not go out with our armies?
11 Give us help from trouble, for the help of man is useless.
12 Through God we will do valiantly, for it is He who shall tread down our enemies.
This is an interesting psalm, it starts off in the context notes referencing what seems like a victory over the Edomites, followed by saying God has cast them off, then it gives a promise of blessing, then back to being cast off, and finishing with God treading down enemies. It’s quite a roller coaster. It reminds me of a story about David from I Samuel 30. It was before he was king and he and his men were living in the town of Ziklag. The men had returned to find that their homes had been raided and their families carried away. They were all very upset. They wept until they were too exhausted to weep anymore, there was even talk among the men of stoning David, but it says “David strengthened himself in the Lord his God”. I think that is what is going on here.
The context notes say Joab had just returned from a victory over Edom, but it says David was fighting Mesopotamia and Syria. Now, keep in mind that there is a lot of speculation here, but I think it was the fighting against Mesopotamia and Syria that was going poorly. I think the mention of the 12,000 Edomites was about remembering it was not as bad everywhere and they didn’t always loose. Then the promise of blessing sandwiched between two slices of “cast off” is David strengthening himself in the Lord his God. It’s David’s way of saying, “What we have is not what was promised, but since it was God that promised it, it WILL happen. Through God we WILL do valiantly, because it is HE (not us) who shall tread down our enemies. When you have a promise from God, write it down and put it where you can see it regularly. Keep it handy like a first-aid kit. Hold it tight, because you can draw strength from it just the way David did. By the way, that Ziklag story, ends with the safe recovery of everything that had been stolen, plus the increase of whatever the raiders had stolen from their other targets, and shortly thereafter David receiving the news that Saul and Jonathan had been slain and Israel was in the market for a new king.