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Bible Commentaries
2 Samuel 22

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-7

Second Samuel - Chapter 22

David Calls on God, vs. 1-7

If the words of verse one are to be taken in context within the Book of Second Samuel, the reference to David’s deliverance from all his enemies would be to the cessation of wars near the end of his life. However the reference to being delivered from the hand of Saul suggests it may have been uttered early in David’s reign, and be referring to an earlier period of tranquillity. The early assignment seems preferable. The message is the same for the present day regardless of when it was uttered.

Notice the many things the Lord was to David: 1) rock, 2) fortress, 3) deliverer, 4) God of my rock, 5) horn of salvation, 6) Savior, 7) shield. The rock indicates strength and immovability; the fortress, his shelter and hiding place from the world; his deliverer, out of dangers of the world. As the God of his rock the Lord kept David secure from evil; the horn of salvation means the power by which salvation is secured and maintained; Savior refers to literal salvation, genuine source of redemption; shield refers to his means of turning away temptation.

David acclaimed the Lord for saving him from violence. He vowed to call on Him as worthy of praise, and the one who saved him for his enemies. During his flight from his enemies David had trusted the Lord to save him. In his trouble he felt like a man lost in the sea with the waves about to overwhelm him. His floods were the ungodly men who sought his life, and are represented in such as King Saul and the giant Ishbi-benob who tried to kill him. The "sorrow of hell" means David’s fear of the unknown which comes at death, especially as terrifying to the flesh. Many times it seemed death had him in its snare and would not prevent, or go from, him. In these times of distress, however, he turned to the Lord, whose ear was open, and who heard his cry from His heavenly temple (Cf. 1 Peter 3:12).

Verses 8-21

God’s Deliverance of David, vs. 8-21

David portrays his deliverance by the power of God in pictures nothing short of astounding. They remind one of his own words in Psalms 8:4 (cf. Hebrews 2:6-8). Here is Almighty God, supreme over all things, condescending to intercede in the deliverance of a lone man, and to move the very forces of heaven and earth in His righteous wrath, for this single creature. The wrath of God against those who would harm His children is terrible (Ephesians 5:6).

For David’s deliverance the Lord shook the earth and the foundations of heaven. His anger was as smoke from His nostrils and fire from His mouth, kindling coals against the tormentors of His child. While these things are not necessarily literal in the physical sense, they are in the spiritual sense. Earth’s very course has been altered by the Lord to benefit His people, and spiritual fires have destroyed the wicked who oppose Him. The song has the heavens bursting open as the Lord comes to the darkness of the earth, riding upon a cherub (or on angel wings). It is a preview of the end time (cf. 2 Thessalonians 1:6-9).

The Lord uses the elements to rescue His people who call on Him. The wind blew, the sky was darkened, the lightning flashed forth its arrows, and the voice of God was heard in the thunder. Then the rain poured itself forth like the channels of the sea, washing away hills and mountains, discovering the earth’s foundations in His great tempest. With his own great power the Lord overcame the sea of trouble surrounding David and drew him out. His enemies had stood in David’s way attempting to destroy him, but the Lord saved him from impending calamity. He was David’s stay, who brought him forth and set him in a large place because of His delight in him. David says the Lord rewarded him according to his righteousness. It was imputed righteousness given him when his hands were cleansed by his trust in the reliance on the Lord, not by any goodness David could claim (Psalms 40:1-4; 1 John 1:7).

Verses 22-37

David’s Means of Victory, vs. 22-37

This part of David’s song contains many things relative to his praise for the Lord’s deliverance. Outstanding in interest, however, are the several things he says enabled him to obtain the victory. The first he

mentions is in verse 22; he had kept the ways of the Lord. He had done this by not indulging in wickedness and by keeping the statues and judgments set forth in the law of the Lord. This claim of David is an indication the psalm may belong to the early career of David, since he was guilty of the affair with Bathsheba and Uriah in his later career.

David also predicates his victory on his righteousness and cleanness in God’s sight. As already discussed David did not pretend to righteousness by his good works. He knew what it took to satisfy God, a heart cleansed by the Lord and a broken and contrite heart of repentance to obtain it (see Psalms 51:10; Psalms 51:17, etc.) David found that God responds with the mercy for the merciful, uprightness for the upright, purity for the pure, and with the froward unsavoriness. He saves the afflicted and brings down the haughty.

David overcame by means of the strength the Lord provided him. The Lord was the light to dispel his darkness; He gave him strength to break through the troop who opposed him; He put agility in his feet to leap over the wall of opposition like the hind, or female deer. Because God’s way is perfect, those in His way will always succeed. He is their buckler (a shield for hand-to-hand fighting) and the larger shield of their salvation.

David turns to rhetorical questions and answers them himself. They are to be seriously contemplated by the singer. "Who is God, save the Lord?" "Who is a rock, save our God?" Then he concludes that it is the gentleness of this great God, with terrible wrath and power against His enemies, which has made him great, which has enlarged his way under his feet, so that he cannot slip. David believed the believer is secure in the Lord (cf. 1 Timothy 1:12).

Verses 38-51

Results of victory, vs. 38-51

When the time came for David to assume the kingship of Israel the Lord was with him so that none could stand against him (2 Samuel 5:12; cf. 1 John 5:4). Thereafter David pursued and destroyed his enemies on every hand. They were subdued so they could not arise because he had the strength of the Lord. Nations became subject to Israel, and their necks came under the foot of David. In desperation they even called on God, invoking Him against David unsuccessfully. Those who had been his enemies became the dust of earth and mire of the streets under his conquering feet.

God had delivered David from those of his own people who had striven against him. He had made the king of Israel head over the heathen (or Gentile) nations around him. Foreign nations sought submission to him (2 Samuel 8:9-11; 2 Samuel 5:11; cf.-Psalms 2:8-12).

For these things David blessed the Lord as the rock of his salvation, as the one who avenged him and subjugated his enemies, while rescuing him from them. He praised the Lord for exalting him as king of them. He gave thanks to Him and sang His praises. David exalted the Lord as the tower of salvation to the king, who showed mercy to His anointed and His Seed after him for ever.

Second Samuel, chapter 22, is reiterated in Psalms 18, in practically the same words as it is found here. The student should compare the two passages.

A few of many lessons which could be drawn from chapter 22 are these: 1) God’s people should be able to praise Him for all the goodness He has bestowed upon them; 2) it is well to reminesce on those things of God’s proven deliverance, recognizable in one’s past; 3) it is good to remember that the Lord blesses His children because of His imputed righteousness to the believer (2 Corinthians 5:21); 4) the results of placing one’s faith and trust in the Lord is present deliverance from sin and final victory through the Lord Jesus Christ over all enemies.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 22". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/2-samuel-22.html. 1985.
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