Augustine. Exposition on the Book of Psalms. Schaff, Philip (editor). New York: Christian Literature Publishing Col, 1886. Nicene and Post-Nicene Church Fathers: Series 1: Volume VIII. Re-published 2014, Catholic Way Publishing. Kindle electronic edition, ISBN-13: 978-1-78379-372-3.
Augustine initially observes that the Psalms often have David serve as a figure of other people, most often Christ. In the title for Psalm 60, the actions other than the burning of Mesopotamia do clearly belong to David (Augustine Psalms, loc. 327374). Augustine takes the fulfillment of Davie, “the end,” to be Christ. He then assumes, since there is not much evidence of David burning part of Mesopotamia, the Psalm must have a relationship to Jesus bringing fire to mesopotamia for their help and profit (Augustine Psalms, loc. 327384). The reference in the title of “Syria Zobah” Augustine takes to speak of, literally, “empty antiquity.” The burning, then, is a cleansing of a brushy but unproductive place so as to make it habitable. Likewise, Augustine sees David’s smiting of Joab as Christ turning an enemy from his enmity (Augustine Psalms, loc. 327393). Augustine then uses an allegorical numerological argument to show the 12,000 salt pits as a number of perfection (Augustine Psalms, loc. 327403).
In vese one there is a clear confession - not all is well. The enemies of God’s people pour out attacks, causing God’s people to call out to him for help (Augustine Psalms, loc. 327421). Augustine recognizes that we endure many trials. In verses 3-4, the trial contiues to create suffering, including the troubles of persecution. Yet, like working with a bow, the tighter the bow appears, the more forcefully it can be shot (Augustine Psalms, loc. 327441). In verse five, the call is for God’s strong deliverance.
Verse six says God has spoken. Augustine immediately ascribes God’s speaking in the Holy One to be God’s self-revelation in Christ (Augustine Psalms, loc. 327450). God reveals himself, not only in Christ, but also through the action of “dividing.” Augustine considers this to be a division of the Gentiles into those who believe Christ and those who do not (Augustine Psalms, loc. 327460). As Augustine walks through verses seven and following, he continues to pursue a strongly allegorical interpretation based on the meaning of the name of each place mentioned. Gilead is a heap of testimony, the place of martyrs, for example (Augustine Psalms, loc. 327469).
In verse nine David asks who will lead him into a city. Augustine reads it as “standing round” while the NKJV reads a “strong” city (Augustine Psalms, loc. 327507). Augustine sees this as the place where Jews are surrounded by Gentiles. The answer, given in verse 10, is that God will lead us. In conclusion, verse 11 recognizes that human help is useless but divine help is priceless. The valor we show, in verse 12, is done through God alone (Augustine Psalms, loc. 327535).