Lectionary Calendar
Friday, July 19th, 2024
the Week of Proper 10 / Ordinary 15
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Bible Commentaries
2 Samuel 22

Layman's Bible CommentaryLayman's Bible Commentary

Verses 1-51

David’s Psalm of Victory (22:1-51)

This psalm is almost identical with Psalms 18, and in its present form can hardly be ascribed to David. It may be divided into five sections.

Verses 2-4: Faith and confidence are expressed in the Lord as the warrior God who supports, sustains, protects, and delivers those who call on him. The figures used to describe God’s activity are culled from military vocabulary.

Verses 5-20: We have a representation of God as delivering men from encompassing disaster. The picture of a violent flood, as the deeps are unleashed, is paralleled by the suggestion that the subterranean cavern of Sheol, where the shades of the dead go, had set out to entangle the psalmist. Behind this lies the identification in Hebrew thought of "the deep," the chaotic elements out of which the universe came at the creative word (Genesis 1:2), and of Sheol, the place of shadowy existence and meaninglessness where the dead dwelt.

The wrath of the Lord is manifested in an upheaval of nature in the midst of which he shows his glory. The general setting for this description (vss. 8-16) seems to be a thunderstorm with its thunder, lightning, and black clouds. The thunder is the sound of the Lord’s mighty voice. The lightning is the blazing forth of his glorious presence as he rides on the wings of the wind and covers himself with the cloud canopy; it can also be described as his arrows. The sense that God discloses himself in blazing light at the same time that he hides himself in clouds and thick darkness is a reminder that the Lord remains mysterious even as he reveals himself. The storm sweeps over the sea and lays bare its channels and the foundations of the world. This phrase is understandable when we remember the primitive cosmology of the time. The earth was thought of as a flat disc floating in the all-embracing and chaotic deep. This deep was also piled up above the heavenly firmament which rested on its mountain pillars or foundations at the earth’s edge. God reached down and delivered his suppliant, bringing him into a broad place.

Verses 21-31: The theme now changes from deliverance to reward. For the Hebrews, the emphasis is upon personal righteousness, which in some sense puts a claim on God. There is not the New Testament emphasis on moral righteousness as the work of God’s Spirit in a man’s life. "Righteousness" is essentially a legal term, as we have seen, meaning conformance to the required norm of conduct-God’s statutes and ordinances. God fixes this norm or standard. He is righteous in himself, and this standard is the expression of his own character and he abides true to himself.

Verses 32-46: Once more the theme changes and God is now praised as the One who empowers his servant. Strength, cunning, and skill in war are his gifts. He makes victory possible over Israel’s enemies, and the psalmist celebrates triumph in war in savage terms hardly consonant with the spirit of the New Testament. Once more we have to remember the time in which the words were written. At least the emphasis falls on reliance on God, who exalts his servant so that aliens may turn to him. Verses 47-51: The psalm closes with a cry of blessing and thanksgiving, a doxology of praise. The Lord is the living God, an expression that embraces the thought of God as an active, dynamic presence, intervening in the affairs of his people and acting in history. He is the rock of salvation, a recurring thought which emphasizes the security that he gives. The last verse celebrates once more God’s steadfast covenant love toward David and his house.

Bibliographical Information
"Commentary on 2 Samuel 22". "Layman's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lbc/2-samuel-22.html.
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