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Ps 18:1-50. "The servant of the LORD," which in the Hebrew precedes "David," is a significant part of the title (and not a mere epithet of David), denoting the inspired character of the song, as the production of one entrusted with the execution of God's will. He was not favored by God because he served Him, but served Him because selected and appointed by God in His sovereign mercy. After a general expression of praise and confidence in God for the future, David gives a sublimely poetical description of God's deliverance, which he characterizes as an illustration of God's justice to the innocent and His righteous government. His own prowess and success are celebrated as the results of divine aid, and, confident of its continuance, he closes in terms of triumphant praise. 2Sa 22:1-51 is a copy of this Psalm, with a few unimportant variations recorded there as a part of the history, and repeated here as part of a collection designed for permanent use.
1. I will love thee--with most tender affection.
2, 3. The various terms used describe God as an object of the most
implicit and reliable trust.
3. to be praised--for past favors, and worthy of confidence.
4. sorrows--literally, "bands as of a net"
5. death--and hell (compare
are personified as man's great enemies (compare
Re 20:13, 14).
6. He relates his methods to procure relief when distressed, and his
10. cherub--angelic agents (compare
the figures of which were placed over the ark
representing God's dwelling; used here to enhance the majesty of the
divine advent. Angels and winds may represent all
rational and irrational agencies of God's providence (compare
Ps 104:3, 4).
14. The fiery brightness of lightning, in shape like burning arrows rapidly shot through the air, well represents the most terrible part of an awful storm. Before the terrors of such a scene the enemies are confounded and overthrown in dismay.
15. The tempest of the air is attended by appropriate results on earth. The language, though not expressive of any special physical changes, represents the utter subversion of the order of nature. Before such a God none can stand.
16-19. from above--As seated on a throne, directing these terrible
18. prevented-- (Ps 18:3).
19. a large place--denotes safety or relief, as contrasted with the straits of distress (Ps 4:1). All his deliverance is ascribed to God, and this sublime poetical representation is given to inspire the pious with confidence and the wicked with dread.
20-24. The statements of innocence, righteousness, &c., refer, doubtless, to his personal and official conduct and his purposes, during all the trials to which he was subjected in Saul's persecutions and Absalom's rebellions, as well as the various wars in which he had been engaged as the head and defender of God's Church and people.
23. upright before him--In my relation to God I have been perfect
as to all parts of His law. The perfection does not relate to degree.
26. froward--contrary to.
30-32. God's perfection is the source of his own, which has resulted
from his trust on the one hand, and God's promised help on the other.
35. thy gentleness--as applied to God--condescension--or that which He gives, in the sense of humility (compare Pr 22:4).
39. that rose up against me--literally, "insurgents" (Ps 3:1; 44:5).
40. given me the necks--literally, "backs of the necks"; made them retreat (Ex 23:27; Jos 7:8).
42. This conquest was complete.
43-45. Not only does He conquer civil foes, but foreigners, who are driven from their places of refuge.
44. submit, &c.--(compare Margin)--that is, show a forced subjection.
46. The Lord liveth--contrasts Him with idols (1Co 8:4).
48. liftest me up--to safety and honors.
49, 50. Paul (Ro 15:9) quotes from this doxology to show that under the Old Testament economy, others than the Jews were regarded as subjects of that spiritual government of which David was head, and in which character his deliverances and victories were typical of the more illustrious triumphs of David's greater Son. The language of Ps 18:50 justifies this view in its distinct allusion to the great promise (compare 2Sa 7:12). In all David's successes he saw the pledges of a fulfilment of that promise, and he mourned in all his adversities, not only in view of his personal suffering, but because he saw in them evidences of danger to the great interests which were committed to his keeping. It is in these aspects of his character that we are led properly to appreciate the importance attached to his sorrows and sufferings, his joys and successes.