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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 18

Dummelow's Commentary on the BibleDummelow on the Bible

Verses 1-50

Of all the Pss. this is the one which can be ascribed with greatest confidence to David. It is found, with some variations, in 2 Samuel 22, and the title is largely taken from 2 Samuel 22:1. It consists of a series of triumphant thanksgivings to God, with which the writer connects a highly figurative account of his deliverance from danger (Psalms 18:4-19), an assertion of his own uprightness (Psalms 18:20-24), and a description of the victories he has won by God’s assistance (Psalms 18:29-48).

1. I will love thee] RV ’I love thee.’ This v. is omitted in 2 S. It was perhaps inserted when the Ps. was adapted for use by the congregation in the Temple.

2. Notice the succession of figures drawn from the experiences of a warrior’s life in a country where natural strongholds as well as artificial fortresses were common. Strength] RV ’strong rock.’ Buckler] RV ’shield.’ So in Psalms 18:30. Horn] a symbol of irresistible strength.

4. Sorrows] RV ’cords.’ So in Psalms 18:5.

5. Hell] RV ’Sheol,’ the state of the dead. Prevented] RV ’came upon.’ So in Psalms 18:18. Psalms 18:4-5 mean that David felt himself in peril of death.

6. His temple] in heaven.

7-16. In these vv. the manifestation of God’s power to deliver is poetically described as the physical appearance of God Himself, accompanied by the most impressive natural phenomena, such as earthquake and thunderstorm. He is conceived as dwelling in the heart of the thunderstorm, surrounded by fires which break forth as lightning through -the cloud.

10. A cherub] Cherubim are most familiar to readers of Scripture as symbolic figures appearing in the furniture and decoration of the tabernacle and the Temple. They also appear in Ezekiel’s vision of the mystic chariot as the bearers of God’s throne (Ezekiel 1, 10). Here the cherub seems to be a personification of the storm cloud, as the parallel idea in the next clause shows.

12. Read, ’From the brightness before him there passed through his thick cloud hailstones and coals of fire.’ Coals of fire] lightning.

13. His voice] the thunder.

14. His arrows] another figure for lightning.

15. The drying up of the Red Sea is woven into the imagery of the storm.

16. Many waters] the emblem of David’s troubles. The whole sublime manifestation of God was on his behalf.

19. A large place] the opposite of ’straits.’

24-26. David finds in his own case an illustration of the truth that God deals with all men according to their works, opposing those who oppose Him, as well as showing His perfections to those who are like Him.

27. High looks] RV ’the haughty eyes.’

28. My candle] RV ’my lamp,’ the symbol of David’s prosperity: see Job 18:6.

29. This v. may refer to the pursuit of the Amalekites (1 Samuel 30) and the capture of Jerusalem (2 Samuel 5:6-8).

33. Hinds’ feet] agile, swift, and sure. My high places] The figure of the hind, climbing precipitous hills, is continued.

34. A bow of steel, etc.] RV ’mine arms do bend a bow of brass’ (i.e. copper or bronze), a harder task than to bend a wooden bow.

35. Gentleness] RM ’condescension.’ For the thought cp. Psalms 113:6; Isaiah 57:15: see also Psalms 23.

36. Enlarged my steps] given me freedom to move without obstruction.

40. Given me the necks of mine enemies] RV ’made mine enemies turn their backs unto me.’

43. Heathen] RV ’nations.’ So in Psalms 18:49. David subdued all the countries around Palestine (2 Samuel 8). Shall serve] This and the following future tenses to the end of Psalms 18:45 are better rendered as past.

45. Be afraid] RV ’come trembling.’

47. People] RY ’peoples.’

Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Psalms 18". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/psalms-18.html. 1909.
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