Psalms 18

1 For the leader. By David the servant of ADONAI, who addressed the words of this song to ADONAI on the day when ADONAI delivered him from the power of all his enemies, including from the power of Sha'ul. He said: "I love you, ADONAI, my strength!
2 "ADONAI is my Rock, my fortress and deliverer, my God, my Rock, in whom I find shelter, my shield, the power that saves me, my stronghold.
3 I call on ADONAI, who is worthy of praise; and I am saved from my enemies.
4 "For the cords of death surrounded me, the floods of B'liya'al terrified me,
5 the ropes of Sh'ol were wrapped around me, the snares of death lay there before me.
6 In my distress I called to ADONAI; I cried out to my God. Out of his temple he heard my voice; my cry reached his ears.
7 "Then the earth quaked and shook, the foundations of the mountains trembled. They were shaken because he was angry.
8 Smoke arose in his nostrils; out of his mouth came devouring fire; sparks blazed forth from him.
9 He lowered heaven and came down with thick darkness under his feet.
10 He rode on a keruv; he flew, swooping down on the wings of the wind.
11 He made darkness his hiding-place, his canopy thick clouds dark with water.
12 From the brightness before him, there broke through his thick clouds hailstones and fiery coals.
13 "ADONAI also thundered in heaven, Ha'Elyon sounded his voice -hailstones and fiery coals.
14 He sent out arrows and scattered them, shot out lightning and routed them.
15 The channels of water appeared, the foundations of the world were exposed at your rebuke, ADONAI, at the blast of breath from your nostrils.
16 "He sent from on high, he took me and pulled me out of deep water;
17 he rescued me from my powerful enemy, from those who hated me, for they were stronger than I.
18 They came against me on my day of disaster, but ADONAI was my support.
19 He brought me out to an open place; he rescued me, because he took pleasure in me.
20 ADONAI rewarded me for my uprightness, he repaid me because my hands were clean.
21 "For I have kept the ways of ADONAI, I have not done evil by leaving my God;
22 for all his rulings were before me, I did not distance his regulations from me.
23 I was pure-hearted with him and kept myself from my sin.
24 "Hence ADONAI repaid me for my uprightness, according to the purity of my hands in his view.
25 With the merciful, you are merciful; with a man who is sincere, you are sincere;
26 with the pure, you are pure; but with the crooked you are cunning.
27 People afflicted, you save; but haughty eyes, you humble.
28 "For you, ADONAI, light my lamp; ADONAI, my God, lights up my darkness.
29 With you I can run through a whole troop of men, with my God I can leap a wall.
30 "As for God, his way is perfect, the word of ADONAI has been tested by fire; he shields all who take refuge in him.
31 "For who is God but ADONAI? Who is a Rock but our God?
32 "It is God who girds me with strength; he makes my way go straight.
33 He makes me swift, sure-footed as a deer, and enables me to stand on my high places.
34 He trains my hands for war until my arms can bend a bow of bronze;
35 "You give me your shield, which is salvation, your right hand holds me up, your humility makes me great.
36 You lengthen the steps I can take, yet my ankles do not turn.
37 "I pursued my enemies and overtook them, without turning back until they were destroyed.
38 I crushed them, so that they can't get up; they have fallen under my feet.
39 "For you braced me with strength for the battle and bent down my adversaries beneath me.
40 You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed those who hated me.
41 "They cried out, but there was no one to help, even to ADONAI, but he didn't answer.
42 I pulverized them like dust in the wind, threw them out like mud in the streets.
43 "You also freed me from the quarrels of my people. You made me head of the nations; a people I did not know now serve me
44 the moment they hear of me, they obey me, foreigners come cringing to me.
45 Foreigners lose heart as they come trembling from their fortresses.
46 "ADONAI is alive! Blessed is my Rock! Exalted be the God of my salvation,
47 the God who avenges me and subdues peoples under me.
48 He delivers me from my enemies. You lift me high above my enemies, you rescue me from violent men.
49 "So I give thanks to you, ADONAI, among the nations; I sing praises to your name.
50 Great salvation he gives to his king; he displays grace to his anointed, to David and his descendants forever."

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Psalms 18 Commentary

Chapter 18

David rejoices in the deliverances God wrought for him. (1-19) He takes the comfort of his integrity, which God had cleared up. (20-28) He gives to God the glory of all his mighty deeds. (29-50)

Verses 1-19 The first words, "I will love thee, O Lord, my strength," are the scope and contents of the psalm. Those that truly love God, may triumph in him as their Rock and Refuge, and may with confidence call upon him. It is good for us to observe all the circumstances of a mercy which magnify the power of God and his goodness to us in it. David was a praying man, and God was found a prayer-hearing God. If we pray as he did, we shall speed as he did. God's manifestation of his presence is very fully described, ver. ( 7-15 ) . Little appeared of man, but much of God, in these deliverances. It is not possible to apply to the history of the son of Jesse those awful, majestic, and stupendous words which are used through this description of the Divine manifestation. Every part of so solemn a scene of terrors tells us, a greater than David is here. God will not only deliver his people out of their troubles in due time, but he will bear them up under their troubles in the mean time. Can we meditate on ver. 18, without directing one thought to Gethsemane and Calvary? Can we forget that it was in the hour of Christ's deepest calamity, when Judas betrayed, when his friends forsook, when the multitude derided him, and the smiles of his Father's love were withheld, that the powers of darkness prevented him? The sorrows of death surrounded him, in his distress he prayed, ( Hebrews 5:7 ) . God made the earth to shake and tremble, and the rocks to cleave, and brought him out, in his resurrection, because he delighted in him and in his undertaking.

Verses 20-28 Those that forsake the ways of the Lord, depart from their God. But though conscious to ourselves of many a false step, let there not be a wicked departure from our God. David kept his eye upon the rule of God's commands. Constant care to keep from that sin, whatever it be, which most easily besets us, proves that we are upright before God. Those who show mercy to others, even they need mercy. Those who are faithful to God, shall find him all that to them which he has promised to be. The words of the Lord are pure words, very sure to be depended on, and very sweet to be delighted in. Those who resist God, and walk contrary to him, shall find that he will walk contrary to them, ( Leviticus 26:21-24 ) . The gracious recompence of which David spoke, may generally be expected by those who act from right motives. Hence he speaks comfort to the humble, and terror to the proud; "Thou wilt bring down high looks." And he speaks encouragement to himself; "Thou wilt light my candle:" thou wilt revive and comfort my sorrowful spirit; thou wilt guide my way, that I may avoid the snares laid for me. Thou wilt light my candle to work by, and give me an opportunity of serving thee. Let those that walk in darkness, and labour under discouragements, take courage; God himself will be a Light to them.

Verses 29-50 When we praise for one mercy, we must observe the many more, with which we have been compassed all our days. Many things had contributed to David's advancement, and he owns the hand of God in them all, to teach us to do likewise. In verse Verse 32 , and the following verses, are the gifts of God to the spiritual warrior, whereby he is prepared for the contest, after the example of his victorious Leader. Learn that we must seek release being made through Christ, shall be rejected. In David the type, we behold out of trouble through Christ. The prayer put up, without reconciliation Jesus our Redeemer, conflicting with enemies, compassed with sorrows and with floods of ungodly men, enduring not only the pains of death, but the wrath of God for us; yet calling upon the Father with strong cries and tears; rescued from the grave; proceeding to reconcile, or to put under his feet all other enemies, till death, the last enemy, shall be destroyed. We should love the Lord, our Strength, and our Salvation; we should call on him in every trouble, and praise him for every deliverance; we should aim to walk with him in all righteousness and true holiness, keeping from sin. If we belong to him, he conquers and reigns for us, and we shall conquer and reign through him, and partake of the mercy of our anointed King, which is promised to all his seed for evermore. Amen.

Chapter Summary

To the chief Musician, [a Psalm] of David. This is the same with that in 2 Samuel 22:1, with some variations, omissions, and alterations:

the servant of the Lord; not only by creation, nor merely by regeneration, but by office, as king of Israel, being put into it by the Lord, and acting in it in submission and obedience to him; just as the apostles under the New Testament, on account of their office, so style themselves in their epistles:

who spake unto the Lord the words of this song; that is, who delivered and sung this song in so many express words, in public, before all the congregation of Israel, to the honour and glory of God:

in the day [that] the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul, Not that this psalm was composed and sung the selfsame day that David was delivered from Saul, and set upon the throne; for it seems to have been written in his old age, at the close of his days; for immediately after it, in the second book of Samuel, it follows, "now these be the last words of David," 2 Samuel 23:1: but the sense is, that whereas David had many enemies, and particularly Saul, who was his greatest enemy, the Lord delivered him from them all, and especially from him, from him first, and then from all the rest; which when he reflected upon in his last days, he sat down and wrote this psalm, and then sung it in public, having delivered it into the hands of the chief musician for that purpose. There are two passages cited out of it in the New Testament, and applied to Christ; Psalm 18:2, in Hebrews 2:13, and Psalm 18:49 in Romans 15:9; and there are many things in it that very well agree with him; he is eminently the "servant" of the Lord as Mediator; he was encompassed with the snares and sorrows of death and hell, and with the floods of ungodly men, when in the garden and on the cross God was his helper and deliverer, as man; and he was victorious over all enemies, sin, Satan, the world, death and hell; as the subject of this psalm is all along represented: and to Christ it does most properly belong to be the head of the Heathen, whose voluntary subjects the Gentiles are said to be, Psalm 18:43; and which is expressed in much the same language as the like things are in Isaiah 55:4; which is a clear and undoubted prophecy of the Messiah; to which may be added, that the Lord's Anointed, the King Messiah, and who is also called David, is expressly mentioned in Psalm 18:50; and which is applied to the Messiah by the Jews {q} as Psalm 18:32 is paraphrased of him by the Targum on it;

and he said; the following words:

{q} Echa Rabbati, fol. 50. 2. & Midrash Tillim in Tzeror Hammor, fol. 47. 3.

Psalms 18 Commentaries

Complete Jewish Bible Copyright 1998 by David H. Stern. Published by Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.