Verse 4-19. See Psalms on "Psalms 18:4" for further information.
Verse 10. There is inimitable grandeur in this verse. Under the Mosaic system the cherubim are frequently represented as the chariot of God; hence Milton, in "Paradise Lost," writes of the Great Father, --
"He on the wings of cherubim Uplifted, in paternal glory rode
Far into chaos."
Without speculating upon the mysterious and much disputed subject of the cherubim, it may be enough to remark that angels are doubtless our guards and ministering friends, and all their powers are enlisted to expedite the rescue of the afflicted.
He rode upon a cherub, and did fly. Nature also yields all her agents to be our helpers, and even the powers of the air are subservient: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind. The Lord comes flying when mercy is his errand, but he lingers long when sinners are being wooed to repent. The flight here pictured is as majestic as it is swift; "flying all abroad" is Sternhold's word, and he is not far from correct. As the eagle soars in easy grandeur with wings outspread, without violent flapping and exertion, so comes the Lord with majesty of omnipotence to aid his own.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
"He also bowed the heavens,
And thence he did descend;
And thickest clouds of darkness did
Under his feet attend."
"And he upon a cherub rode,
And thereon he did fly;
Yea, on the swift wings of the wind,
His flight was from on high."
"He darkness made his secret place;
About him for his tent
Dark waters were, and thickest clouds
Of the airy firmament." Scotch Version, 1649.
"In his descent, bowed heaven with earth did meet,
And gloomy darkness rolled beneath his feet;
A golden winged cherub he bestrid,
And on the swiftly flying tempest rid."
"He darkness made his secret cabinet;
Thick fogs and dropping clouds about him set;
The beams of his bright presence these expel,
Whence showers of burning coals and hailstones fell." George Sandys, 1577-1643.
Verse 10. Cherub. The Hebrew name hath affinity with Rechub, a chariot, used in Psalms 104:3 , almost in like sense as "cherub" is here; and the cherubims are called a chariot, 1 Chronicles 28:18 ; and God's angels are his chariots, Psalms 68:18 , and they seem to be meant in this place; for as angels are said to fly, Daniel 9:21 ; so the cherubims had wings, Exodus 25:20 , and are by the apostle called "cherubims of glory," Hebrews 9:5 . In Psalms 80:2 , God is said "to sit on the cherubims," as here, to ride; and "a cherub" may be put for many, or all the cherubims, as chariot for chariots, Psalms 68:18 . Henry Ainsworth.
Verse 10. Cherubs. The "cherub" with the countenances of man, the lion, the bull, and the eagle (combining in itself, as it were, the intelligence, majesty, strength, and life of nature), was a symbol of the powers of nature. When powerful elements, as in a storm, are serving God, he is said to "ride on a cherub." Augustus F. Tholuck.
Verse 10. Cherub. --
"He on the wings of cherub rode sublime On the crystalline sky."
Verse 10. When God comes to punish his foes and rescue his people, nothing has ever surprised his friends or foes more than the admirable swiftness with which he moves and acts: He flies upon the wings of the wind. William S. Plumer.
Verse 10. Every circumstance that can add to the splendour of Jehovah's descent upon his enemies is thrown into the narrative by the inspired poet. It is not enough that the heavens should bend beneath him, and that clouds of darkness should be seen rolling, in terrible majesty, under his feet; cherubic legions also are the willing supporters of his throne, and swift as air, he flies upon the wings of the wind. Into this amazing scene the awful appendages of the mercyseat are introduced; on the bending heavens, the cloudy chariot rides sublime, and the winds of heaven bear it majestically along. J. Morison.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 10. Celestial and terrestrial agencies subservient to the divine purposes.