on Psalms 60 :6
God hath spoken - Judah shall not only be re-established in Jerusalem, but shall possess Samaria, where Shechem is, and the country beyond Jordan, in which is situated the valley of Succoth. Dividing and meting out signify possession.
on Psalms 60 :6
God hath spoken in his holiness - That is, as a holy God; a God who is true; a God whose promises are always fulfilled. The idea is, that the holiness of God was the public pledge or assurance that what he had promised he would certainly perform. God had made promises in regard to the land of Canaan or Palestine, as a country to be put into the possession of Abraham and his posterity. Genesis 12:7; Genesis 13:15; Genesis 17:8; Psalm 105:8-11. The original promise of the gift of that land, made to Abraham under the general name of Canaan Genesis 12:7, embraced the whole territory from the river (that divided the land from Egypt) to the Euphrates: "Unto thy seed, addressed to Abraham, have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates," Genesis 15:18. This would embrace the country of Edom, as well as the other countries which are specified in the psalm. The natural and proper boundary of the land on the east, therefore, according to the promise, was the river Euphrates; on the west, Egypt and the Mediterranean sea; on the south, the outer limit of Edom. It was the object of David to carry out what was implied in this promise, and to secure the possession of all that had been thus granted to the Hebrews as the descendants of Abraham. Hence, he had been engaged in carrying his conquests to the east, with a view to make the Euphrates the eastern border or boundary of the land: "David smote also Hadarezer, the son of Rehob, king of Zobah, as he went to recover his border at the river Euphrates," 2 Samuel 8:3. Compare 1 Chronicles 18:3. In the prosecution of the same purpose he was anxious also to subdue Edom, that the entire territory thus promised to Abraham might be put in possession of the Hebrews, and that he might transmit the kingdom in the fullness of the original grant to his posterity. It is to this promise made to Abraham that he doubtless refers in the passage before us.
I will rejoice - I, David, will exult or rejoice in the prospect of success. I will find my happiness, or my confidence in what I now undertake, in the promise which God has made. The meaning is, that since God had made this promise, he would certainly triumph.
I will divide Shechem - That is, I will divide up the whole land according to the promise. The language here is taken from that which was employed when the country of Canaan was conquered by Joshua, and when it was divided among the tribes: "Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land which I sware unto their fathers to give them," Joshua 1:6. Compare Joshua 13:6-7; Joshua 14:5; Joshua 18:10; Joshua 19:51; Joshua 23:4; Psalm 78:55; Acts 13:19. David here applies the same language to Shechem, "and the valley of Succoth," as portions of the land, meaning that he would accomplish the original purpose in regard to the land by placing it in possession of the people of God. Shechem or Sichem was a city within the limits of the tribe of Ephraim, between Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, called by the Romans Neapolis, and now Nablus. It is about two hours, or eight miles, south of Samaria. It seems to be mentioned here as being the spot where the law of Moses was read to the people of Israel, and especially the blessings and curses recorded in Deuteronomy 27; Deuteronomy 28, which Moses commanded to be read to the different tribes on the above-named mountains, Deuteronomy 27:11-13. This was actually done, Joshua 8:33. Shechem, therefore, as lying between these mountains, and as being the place where the great mass of the people were assembled to hear what was read, became a central place, a representative spot of the whole land, and to say that that was conquered or subdued, was to speak of that which implied a victory over the land. David speaks of having secured this, as significant of the fact that the central point of influence and power had been brought under subjection, and as in fact implying that the land was subdued. The importance of that place, and the allusion to it here, will justify a more extended reference to it, which I copy from "The Land and the Book," by Dr. Thomson, vol. ii. p. 203, 204.
"Nablus is a queer old place. The streets are narrow, and vaulted over; and in the winter time it is difficult to pass along many of them on account of brooks which rush over the pavement with deafening roar. In this respect, I know no city with which to compare it except Brusa; and, like that city, it has mulberry, orange, pomegranate, and other trees, mingled in with the houses, whose odoriferous flowers lead the air with delicious perfume during the months of April and May. Here the billbul delights to sit and sing, and thousands of other birds unite to swell the chorus. The inhabitants maintain that theirs is the most musical vale in Palestine, and my experience does not enable me to contradict them.
"Imagine that the lofty range of mountains running north and south was cleft open to its base by some tremendous convulsion of nature, at right angles to its own line of extension, and the broad fissure thus made is the vale of Nablus, as it appears to one coming up the plain of Mukhna from Jerusalem. Mount Ebal is on the north, Gerizim on the south, and the city between. Near the eastern end, the vale is not more than sixty rods wide; and just there, I suppose, the tribes assembled to hear the 'blessings and the curses' read by the Levites. We have them in extenso in Deuteronomy 27 and Deuteronomy 28; and in Joshua 8 we are informed that it was actually done, and how. Simeon, and Levi, and Judah, and Issachar, and Joseph, and Benjamin, stood on Gerizim; and Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulon, Dan, and Naphtali, on Ebal; while all Israel, and their elders, and officers, and their judges, stood on this side of the ark and on that side before the priests which bare the ark of the covenant of the Lord; the whole nation of Israel, with the women and little ones, were there. And Joshua read all the words of the law, the blessings and the cursings; there was not a word of all that Moses commanded which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel. This was, beyond question or comparison, the most august assembly the sun has ever shone upon; and I never stand in the narrow plain, with Ebal and Gerizim rising on either hand to the sky, without involuntarily recalling and reproducing the scene. I have shouted to hear the echo, and then fancied how it must have been when the loud-voiced Levites proclaimed from the naked cliffs of Ebal, 'Cursed be the man that maketh any graven image, an abomination unto Jehovah.' And then the tremendous amen! tenfold louder, from the mighty congregation, rising, and swelling, and re-echoing from Ebal to Gerizim, and from Gerizim to Ebal. amen! even so let him be accursed. No, there never was an assembly to compare with this."
And mete out the valley of Succoth - Measure out; that is, measure or survey for the purpose of "dividing" it, or assigning it to the conquerors, to the people of God, according to the promise. There is the same allusion here, as in the former clause, to the dividing of the land in the time of Joshua. Succoth, in the division of the land by Joshua, fell to the tribe of Gad; Joshua 13:27. It was on the east side of the river Jordan, and is now called Sakut. It is first mentioned in Genesis 33:17, in the account of the journey which Jacob took on returning from the East to the land of Canaan. At this place he paused in his journey, and made booths for his cattle; and hence, the name Succoth, or booths. Why this place is referred to here by David, as representing his conquests, cannot now be ascertained. It seems most probable that it was because it was a place east of the Jordan, as Shechem was west of the Jordan, and that the two might, therefore, represent the conquest of the whole country. Succoth, too, though not more prominent than many other places, and though in itself of no special importance, was well known as among the places mentioned in history. It is possible, also, though no such fact is mentioned, that there may have been some transaction of special importance there in connection with David's conquests in the East, which was well understood at the time, and which justified this special reference to it.
on Psalms 60 :6
60:6 Rejoice - Therefore I will turn my prayers into praises, for what God has already done. Divide - Which supposeth possession and dominion. Shechem - A place within Jordan, in mount Ephraim. Succoth - A place without Jordan. He mentions Shechem, and Succoth; for all the land of Canaan, within and without Jordan.