2 Samuel 8 and 2 Samuel 10:6-18 (also 1 Chronicles 18:1-13 and 19:6-19) contain the background to this Psalm
While David was fighting the Arameans (Syrians) in the north, The Edomites attacked from the south. Joab and Abishai (1 Chronicles 18:12) were dispatched to defeat the Edomites in the Valley of Salt (south of the Dead Sea). Commentators think that David wrote the psalm after hearing news of Edom's invasion.
Aram Naharaim = Arameans of Northwest Mesopotamia
Aram Zobah = Arameans of central Syria
We first learned about Shechem and Succoth from our study of Jacob in Genesis 33:17-18. Succoth is where he made booths (and the historical background behind the Feast of Booths/Tabernacles that is celebrated in the fall). Shechem is where he settled in the land of Canaan. God had already defeated the nations in Canaan and divided the land among His people (Psalm 60:6-7, Exodus 15:3, 13-18; Joshua 18:10). Ephraim was a strong tribe ("helmet"). Judah was the royal tribe. ("scepter"). Moab (David related through Ruth), Edom (descendants of Esau), and Philistia were defeatable!
Psalm 60:5-12 is identical to 108:6-13.
David concluded with trust and confidence in the Lord that He would give Israel victory even if attacked from both sides. He did!
REFLECTION (written in 2008)
Warren Wiersbe says that David "was the kind of leader who looked to the future and trusted the Lord" (Be worshipful, p. 208). That hit me tonight as I have been hearing so much apprehension and fear about where our country might be going morally, socially, and economically. It seems we are being hit from all sides! I am not making a political statement one way or the other, but I think we need to look to the future and trust the Lord like David!
Do you have fears and apprehensions about your future? Is life "closing in" on you? Follow David's example and pray, trust, and worship the Lord.
Here are two great messages on fear versus faith that might impact you greatly; they speak to current events in the Middle East too:
This is a hymn of praise. Some commentators believe that it was a result of a victory. So, I put it after David's defeat of the Ammonites.
Lord, help us to know that You are a strong and mighty God. Give us the faith to trust You for our future. We pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.