Psalms 18

Praise to God for His Deliverance


For the [music] director. Of David, the servant of Yahweh, who spoke to Yahweh the words of this song {when} Yahweh delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul.

1 And he said: "I love you, O Yahweh, my strength."
2 Yahweh [is] my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock in whom I have taken refuge, my shield and the horn of my deliverance, my stronghold.
3 I called upon Yahweh, who is worthy to be praised, and I was saved from my enemies.
4 The ropes of death encircled me, and streams of ruin overwhelmed me.
5 The ropes of Sheol surrounded me; [the] snares of death confronted me.
6 In my trouble I called on Yahweh, and to my God I cried for help. He heard my voice from his temple, and my cry for help came up before his presence into his ears.
7 Then the earth shook and quaked, and [the] foundations of [the] mountains trembled, and they staggered because he was angry.
8 Smoke went forth from his nose, and fire from his mouth consumed. Burning coals blazed from him.
9 So he bowed [the] heavens and came down with a thick cloud under his feet.
10 And he mounted a cherub and flew, and he swooped down on wings of wind.
11 He made darkness his hiding place; all about him his covering [was] a darkness of waters, {thick clouds}.
12 From the brightness before him his clouds passed over [with] hail and coals of fire.
13 And Yahweh thundered from the heavens, and the Most High uttered his voice [with] hail and coals of fire.
14 And he shot his arrows and scattered them, and many lightning bolts and routed them.
15 Then the channels of [the] sea became visible, and [the] foundations of [the] world were uncovered by your rebuke, O Yahweh, by the {blast} of the wind of your nose.
16 He reached from on high; he seized me. He drew me from many waters.
17 He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from [those who] hated me because they were stronger than I.
18 They confronted me on the day of disaster, but Yahweh was my support.
19 So he brought me out to a spacious place. He delivered me because he delighted in me.
20 Yahweh has rewarded me according to my righteousness; According to the cleanness of my hands he has repaid me.
21 Because I have kept the ways of Yahweh, and have not acted wickedly against my God,
22 because all his ordinances [are] before me, and his statutes I have not removed from me,
23 and I was blameless before him, and I kept myself from my guilt.
24 Therefore Yahweh has repaid me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.
25 To [the] loyal you show yourself loyal. To [the] blameless you show yourself blameless.
26 To [the] pure you show yourself pure. but to [the] wicked you show yourself shrewd.
27 For you deliver humble people, but haughty eyes you humiliate.
28 For you light my lamp; Yahweh, my God, lights up my darkness.
29 For with you I can charge a troop, and with my God I can scale a wall.
30 This God--his way [is] blameless. The word of Yahweh [is] flawless. He [is] a shield for all those who take refuge in him.
31 For who [is] God apart from Yahweh, and who [is] a rock except our God?
32 The God who girded me [with] strength, and made safe my way,
33 he made my feet like the deer's, and on my high places he makes me stand.
34 [He] trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35 You also gave me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your humility made me great.
36 You enlarged my step under me, and my ankles did not slip.
37 I chased my enemies and overtook them; I did not turn back until they were finished [off].
38 I struck them and they were not able to stand up; they fell under my feet.
39 And you girded me [with] strength for the battle; [those] rising against me you made to kneel under me.
40 And you {made my enemies turn their backs}, then I destroyed those [who] hated me.
41 They cried out but there was no rescuer, [even] to Yahweh, but he did not answer them.
42 And I ground them like dust {in the wind}, I emptied them out like mud of [the] streets.
43 You rescued me from strife with people; you set me as head (over) nations. People I did not know served me;
44 as soon as {they heard}, they obeyed me. [The] children of a foreign land feigned obedience before me.
45 [The] children of a foreign land {lost heart}, and they came trembling from their strongholds.
46 Yahweh lives, and blessed [be] my rock, and may the God of my salvation be exalted--
47 the God who executed vengeance for me, and subdued peoples under me,
48 who delivered me from my enemies. Indeed, you exalted me higher than [those who] rose against me. You delivered me from the man of violence.
49 Therefore I will give thanks to you among the nations, O Yahweh, and I will sing [the praise] of your name:
50 the one who makes great victories for his king, and [who] shows loyal love for his anointed, to David and to 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.

Footnotes 14

  • [a]. Literally "on the day"
  • [b]. The Hebrew Bible counts the superscription as the first verse of the psalm; the English verse number is reduced by one
  • [c]. Literally "clouds of clouds"
  • [d]. That is, the enemy
  • [e]. Or "breath"
  • [f]. Or "sent"
  • [g]. Hebrew "The"
  • [h]. Or "refined"
  • [i]. Or "blameless"
  • [j]. Literally "turned to me my enemies' neck"
  • [k]. Literally "on [the] face of [the] wind"
  • [l]. Many Hebrew manuscripts, the LXX, Syriac, and 2 Sam 22:43 read "I crushed them"
  • [m]. Literally "hearing of ear"
  • [n]. Literally "sunk down"

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

Scripture quotations marked (LEB) are from the Lexham English Bible. Copyright 2012 Logos Bible Software. Lexham is a registered trademark of Logos Bible Software.