Verse 50. "Great deliverance giveth he to his king " - David was a king of God's appointment, and was peculiarly favoured by him. Literally, He is magnifying the salvations of his king. He not only delivers, but follows up those deliverances with innumerable blessings.
"Showeth mercy-to David " - I have no claim upon his bounty. I deserve nothing from him, but he continues to show mercy.
"To his seed " - His posterity. So the words [rz zera and sperma, in the Old and New Testament, should be universally translated. The common translation is totally improper, and now more so than formerly, when anatomy was less understood.
"For evermore. " - µlw[ d[ ad olam, for ever; through all duration of created worlds. And more-the eternity that is beyond time. This shows that another David is meant, with another kind of posterity, and another sort of kingdom. From the family of David came the man Christ Jesus; his posterity are the genuine Christians; his kingdom, in which they are subjects, is spiritual. This government shall last through all time, for Christianity will continue to prevail till the end of the world: and it will be extended through eternity; for that is the kingdom of glory in which Jesus reigns on the throne of his Father, and in which his followers shall reign with him for ever and ever.
It has already been remarked that this whole Psalm has been understood as relating to the passion and victories of CHRIST, and the success of the Gospel in the earth. In this way Bishop Horne has understood and paraphrased it; and in the same way it is considered by the ancient Psalter, so often mentioned. Many of the primitive fathers and modern interpreters have taken the same view of it. Those passages which I judged to have this meaning I have pointed out, and have only to add that, as David was a type of Christ, many things spoken of him primarily, refer to our Lord ultimately; but much judgment and caution are required in their application. To apply the whole Psalmin this way appears to me very injudicious, and often derogatory from the majesty of Christ. Let this be my excuse for not following the same track in which many of my predecessors have gone.
ANALYSIS OF THE EIGHTEENTH PSALM
David's epinikion or song of triumph after his conquest of ail his enemies.
"This Psalm may be divided into four parts: " - I. David shows what God is to his servants, and the effect it wrought upon him, ver. 1-3.
II. The great danger in which he was from the power and multitude of his enemies, ver. 4-28.
III. His glorious victories, and their consequences, ver. 29- 45.
IV. His thanksgiving for those victories, ver. 46-50.
I. What God is to his servants, and to him especially. 1. Strength. 2. Rock.
3. Fortress. 4. Deliverer. 5. Tower. 6. Buckler. 7. Horn of salvation. 8.
High tower, ver. 1, 2. (See the notes. ) The effect it wrought in him. It produced, 1. Love: "I will love the Lord." 2. Confidence: "In him will I trust." 3. The spirit of prayer: "I will call on the Lord." The fruit of all which was his safety: "So shall I be saved from mine enemies," ver. 3.
II. The great dangers in which he was, and of his escape.
1. His danger was great; for, 1. He was encompassed with the sorrows of death. 2. Was terrified with the floods of ungodly men. 3.
Surrounded by the sorrows of hell. And, 4. Prevented by the snares of death, ver. 4, 5.
2. He shows how he behaved in these dangers, and from whom he sought for help:
1. "He called upon the Lord." 2. "He cried unto his God." 3. He shows the goodness of God to him, and his readiness to help him:
1. "He heard me out of his holy temple." 2. "My cry came into his ears." 4. The cause of his escape was the immediate hand of God, who testified his presence by many supernatural signs. 1. EARTHQUAKES: "The earth shook and trembled." 2. HILLS and mountains were moved from their places: "The hills moved," &c., ver. 7. 3. SMOKE came out of his nostrils. 4. A consuming FIRE came out of his mouth; and became permanent, for coals were kindled by it, ver. 8.
5. A THICK DARKNESS announced his presence; and the atmosphere was greatly confused: "He bowed the heavens; darkness was under his feet," ver. 9. 6. There were mighty winds and tempests: "He flew on the wings of the wind," ver. 10. 7. There were violent inundations, with blackness of the atmosphere, dark waters, thick clouds of the sky, ver. 11. 8. Great THUNDERS: "The Lord thundered; the Highest gave his voice." 9. There was great HAIL, and FIERY METEORS: "Hailstones and coals of fire," ver. 12, 13. 10.
Tremendous LIGHTNINGS, and fearful CHASMS opened in the earth: "He sent out," &c., ver. 14, 15.
5. He reckons up his deliverances, with the manner and causes: - 1. "He took, he drew me out of many waters," ver. 16.
2. He did this in a supernatural way: "He sent from above," ib.
6. He describes his enemies from whom God delivered him. 1. They were very numerous, compared to many waters, ver. 16: "He drew me out of many waters." 2. They were very strong. 3. Full of malice.
4. Too strong for him. 5. INSIDIOUS and CRUEL: 'They prevented me in the day of my calamity," ver. 17, 18.
7. But God was his STAY: and the causes which moved God to help him were, 1. His own good will: "Because he delighted in me." 2. David's innocence; which he declares, ver. 20-25.
8. And then, ab hypothesis from his own particular case, he takes occasion to discourse in thesi, that this is not only true in David's person, but shall be verified in all that are upright as he was: which he proves from the nature and usual manner of God's proceedings with good and bad men, ver. 25- 28.
III. David's glorious VICTORIES, and their CONSEQUENCES, ver. 28-46.
1. His victory he expresses and amplifies many ways: - 1. From the opposition which he conquered. Nor troops nor walls hindered, ver. 29.
2. From God's singular protection. He was his Buckler, his Rock.
3. From his armour. He was made fleet; and had military knowledge, strength, and defense, from God, ver. 33.
4. From his safety. He was not wounded in the battle.
5. From his success. He routed his enemies; they fled, and he pursued, ver. 37.
6. From the greatness of the victory. It was a complete conquest; for his enemies were taken, or consumed, or wounded, so as to be unable to rally. They fell under his feet; their necks were brought down, ver. 38-42.
7. From the cause. All was of God; he takes nothing to himself. THOU hast girded me. Thou hast subdued. THOU hast given me, &c.
2. The consequences of these victories were the propagation and enlargement of David's kingdom: ] 1. Before these victories there were murmurings and insurrections among his people: but now, being conqueror, they are all quiet: "Thou hast delivered me from the strivings of the people," ver. 43.
2. He was exalted to be head of the heathen: Moabites, Ammonites, &c., served him, ver. 44.
3. People whom he had not known became tributary to him: "Aliens shall serve me," ver. 44.
4. This, it is true, they did out of fear, not affection. They dissembled in their fidelity; and several fell off: but still they were obliged to submit, ver. 45.
IV. David's THANKSGIVING. This is the main scope of the Psalm; to celebrate and extol the name and mercy of God for his victories. This has two parts:
1. His present thanksgiving. 2. His profession for the future.
1. He magnifies God: "The Lord liveth; and blessed be my Rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted;" ver. 46. And to this end, in the two next verses, he makes mention again of his victories, and attributes the whole success to God, ver. 47, 48.
2. He professes still to do it; he will not cease even among the heathen: "Therefore will I give thanks," ver. 49.
3. And he shows how much reason he had to do so: because, 1. He had great deliverances. 2. He was the man of God's choice; his king-his anointed. 3. This goodness was to survive him, and go to his posterity: "To David, and to his seed." 4. It was to have no end: it was to be for evermore, ver. 50.
Here the true David and the spiritual seed are referred to; and for this the reader is requested to examine the notes, and the remark before this analysis.