I think as Larry says, this in its original context, is the voice of a minor tribal chieftain. I’m not entirely comfy with the label barbarian as its is a label created by the Roman Empire to describe conquered peoples — the bearded ones. Both anachronistic and ethnocentric. Besides — I wear a beard!
Israel of this period struggled to keep its identity. It was surrounded by other Semitic peoples governed by their own tribal chieftains. They wanted to keep their territory, maintain their identity as the sons of Abraham, and somehow be faithful to this God of theirs. This kind of nationalism is far from dead — it is far from being relegated to and ancient and primitive past. We may believe there is a better way — but that has far from been proven by either history or international/interfaith consensus.
What wisdom or spiritual nourishment can I draw from this text despite this?
The power of politics is relative. God alone is king and those who claim the title for themselves will eventually fall.
The other powers and principalities and rulers of the dark air — the things that rule my life and oppress me — they too rule at the sufferance of God Almighty. They too will either serve spiritual ends, my liberation and the liberation of others, or they too will fall.
What originally was likely a hymn in honour of a king’s coronation in Jerusalem, is taken up allegorically, typologically, spiritually, to point towards a day when God and God’s ways will rule in my heart and life instead of all the petty potentates that direct my life now.
That is gospel. That is good news. Marana tha.