What does Psalm 60:3 mean?
ESV: You have made your people see hard things; you have given us wine to drink that made us stagger.
NIV: You have shown your people desperate times; you have given us wine that makes us stagger.
NASB: You have made Your people experience hardship; You have given us wine to drink that makes us stagger.
CSB: You have made your people suffer hardship; you have given us wine to drink that made us stagger.
NLT: You have been very hard on us, making us drink wine that sent us reeling.
KJV: Thou hast shewed thy people hard things: thou hast made us to drink the wine of astonishment.
NKJV: You have shown Your people hard things; You have made us drink the wine of confusion.
Verse Commentary:
When this psalm was composed, David's military was engaged in the north against the Arameans and Ammonites. At the same time, Israel was suddenly invaded, from the south, by the Edomites. This created a desperate situation (Psalm 60:1–2): Israel was being decimated in one area while unable to spare many soldiers from another. Eventually—after this psalm was written—David's forces crushed the Edomite invaders and secured the nation (2 Samuel 8:13–14; 1 Chronicles 18:12–13).

Though dismayed by news of the attack, David still speaks with the understanding that the Lord God is in control. Here, the effect is compared to being drunk. As can happen in battle, the forces of Israel experience confusion, weakness, and chaos (Isaiah 19:14; Job 12:25). In the initial moments of the assault from Edom, they are stunned into a nearly helpless state. David sees this as a form of the Lord's judgment. Long after David's life, God would prophecy using foreign nations to punish the nation of Israel (Isaiah 7:17; 9:12).

Other Old Testament passages mingle the concepts of God's judgment and intoxication (Psalm 75:8). Isaiah 51:17 mentions "the bowl, the cup of staggering," and verse 22 links it to the Lord's wrath. Jeremiah 25:16 says the nations that drink the wine of the Lord's wrath will "stagger and be crazed." Revelation 16:19 describes both an earthquake and wine in connection with the seventh bowl judgment of the great tribulation. John the apostle writes, "The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell, and God remembered Babylon the great, to make her drain the cup of the wine of the fury of his wrath."
Verse Context:
Psalm 60:1–5 expresses David's combination of dismay and faith. He is occupied with war in the north, so news of a southern invasion is a dangerous catastrophe. Yet he speaks only of God's power and work, including confidence that the Lord will provide a means of rescue. Events occurring after this psalm was written are recorded in 2 Samuel 8 and 1 Chronicles 18.
Chapter Summary:
David addresses God with great dismay. He describes the territory of Israel as abandoned by God, broken, and shattered by an enemy invasion. Yet David speaks in terms of God's actions and God's ultimate control. The Lord responds with His intent to save Israel and crush the enemy. David wonders how this will happen but expresses trust that God will keep His word. This psalm corresponds to the military actions of David recorded in 2 Samuel 8 and 1 Chronicles 18.
Chapter Context:
This psalm appears to have been written when David was battling the Arameans and Ammonites (2 Samuel 8:3; 1 Chronicles 18:3). While the army was engaged in the north, Edomites attacked Israel from the south and inflicted heavy damage. The psalm entreats God to cause Israel to triumph over the Edomites. Scripture records that the prayer was successful. David sent Abishai, accompanied by Joab and a contingent of soldiers, who routed the enemy (1 Chronicles 18:12; 2 Samuel 8:13).
Book Summary:
The book of Psalms is composed of individual songs, hymns, or poems, each of which is a ''Psalm'' in and of itself. These works contain a wide variety of themes. Some Psalms focus on praising and worshipping God. Others cry out in anguish over the pain of life. Still other Psalms look forward to the coming of the Messiah. While some Psalms are related, each has its own historical and biblical context.
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