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Psalm 18

 

STROPHE DIVISIONS OF MODERN TRANSLATIONS

NASB NKJV NRSV TEV NJB
The Lord Praised for Giving Deliverance God the Sovereign Savior A King Gives Thanks for a Victory in Battle
(A Royal Thanksgiving, cf. 2 Sam. 22:1-3)
David's Song of Victory A King's Thanksgiving
MT Intro
"For the choir director. A Psalm of David the servant of the Lord, who spoke to the Lord the words of this song in the day that the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. And he said. . .,
       
18:1-3  18:1-3 18:1-3 18:1 18:1
      18:2-3 18:2
        18:3
18:4-6 18:4-6 18:4-5 18:4-6 18:4-5
    18:6   18:6
18:7-15 18:7-12 18:7-15 18:7-15 18:7-8
        18:9-10
        18:11-12
  18:13-15     18:13-14
        18:15
18:16-19 18:16-19 18:16-19 18:16-19 18:16-17
        19:18-19
18:20-24 18:20-24 18:20-24 18:20-24 18:20-21
        18:22-23
        18:24-25
18:25-29 18:25-27 18:25-30 18:25-27  
        18:26-27
  18:28-30   18:28-29 18:28-29
18:30-36     18:30-34 18:30
  18:31-34 18:31-42   18:31-32
        18:33-34
  18:35-36   18:35-42 18:35-36
18:37-42 18:37-42     18:37-38
        18:39-40
        18:41-42
18:43-45 18:43-45 18:43-45 18:43-45 18:43
        18:44-45
18:46-50 18:46-49 18:46-48 18:46-50 18:46-47
        18:48
    18:49-50   18:49
  18:50     18:50

READING CYCLE THREE (see "Guide to Good Bible Reading")

FOLLOWING THE ORIGINAL AUTHOR'S INTENT AT PARAGRAPH LEVEL

This is a study guide commentary which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

Read the chapter in one sitting. Identify the subjects (reading cycle #3). Compare your subject divisions with the five translations above. Paragraphing is not inspired, but it is the key to following the original author's intent, which is the heart of interpretation. Every paragraph has one and only one subject.

1. First paragraph

2. Second paragraph

3. Third paragraph

4. Etc.

 

WORD AND PHRASE STUDY

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: PSALM 18:1-3
 1"I love You, O Lord, my strength."
 2The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
 My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge;
 My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
 3I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
 And I am saved from my enemies.

18:1-3 The psalmist addresses his God with a series of powerful titles and allusions (same poem in 2 Samuel 22). In the midst of life's stresses he knew the unchanging character of the God of creation and redemption. Notice the personal element in the "my" pronouns.

1. my strength — BDB 305, KB 304, noun only here and 1 Sam. 22:2

2. my rock (twice) — two different Hebrew roots

a. BDB 700 I — cf. Ps. 31:3; 42:10; 71:3

b. BDB 849 — cf. Deut. 32:4,15,30

3. my fortress — BDB 845 II, KB 622, cf. Ps. 31:3; 71:3; 91:2; 144:2

4. my deliverer — BDB 812, KB 930, Piel participle, cf. Ps. 40:17; 70:5; 144:2

5. my God (El) in whom I take refuge — BDB 340, KB 337, Qal imperfect, cf. Ps. 2:12; 5:11; 7:1; 11:1; 16:1; 25:20; 31:1; 37:40; 57:1; 61:5; 64:10; 71:1; 118:8-9; 141:8; 143:9; 144:2; Pro. 30:5

6. my shield — BDB 171, KB 545 I, cf. Ps. 3:3; 7:10; 18:30,35; 28:7; 33:20; 59:11; 84:11; 115:9-11; 119:114; 144:2; Pro. 2:7; 30:5

7. the horn of my salvation

a. "horn" (BDB 901) — an idiom of power or strength, cf. Ps. 75:10

b. "horn" may mean "hill," cf. Isa. 5:1; if so, it is similar imagery to fortress or stronghold (NIDOTTE, vol. 3, p. 991)

8. my stronghold — BDB 960 I, KB 640, cf. Ps. 9:9; 46:7,11; 48:3; 59:9,16,17; 62:2,6; 94:22; 144:2

9. the Lord who is worthy to be praised — BDB 237, KB 248, Pual participle, cf. Ps. 48:1; 96:4; 145:3

The accumulative effect of these words of safety, protection, and security is powerful and emotional. Life in a fallen world is hard, unfair, and unpredictable but then there is our God who is exactly the opposite!

18:1 "love" This word (BDB 933, KB 1216, Qal imperfect) is the same Hebrew root (רחם) as "womb," but before we read too much into this, the same root also means "vulture"! Be careful of etymology as the only source for meaning. Context determines meaning!

The Qal stem of this verb is found only here and refers to man's love for God. The Piel stem is much more common and is used of God's compassion for covenant humanity (cf. Exod. 33:19; Deut. 13:13; 30:3; Isa. 14:1; 27:11; 30:18; 49:10,13; 54:8,10; 55:7; 60:10).

This verb is not paralleled in 2 Samuel 22 and BDB thinks it may have been added, possibly when the psalm became liturgical for the community.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: PSALM 18:4-6
 4The cords of death encompassed me,
 And the torrents of ungodliness terrified me.
 5The cords of Sheol surrounded me;
 The snares of death confronted me.
 6In my distress I called upon the Lord,
 And cried to my God for help;
 He heard my voice out of His temple,
 And my cry for help before Him came into His ears.

18:4-5 The psalmist describes his distress in vivid, parallel, poetic language.

1. the cords (i.e., snares, cf. Pro. 13:14; 14:27) of death encompassed me — BDB 67, KB 79, Qal perfect, cf. Ps. 116:3; it is possible that "cords," following 2 Samuel 22, should be understood as "waves," which forms a good parallel to the next line of poetry. The NIDOTTE, vol. 1, p. 482, mentions that the DSS (IQH 3:28; 5:39) uses the verb for thanking God for deliverance from

a. "pangs of death"

b. "rivers of Belial"

This also fits the context here.

2. the torrents of Belial (BDB 116, cf. Nah. 1:15; 2 Cor. 6:15) terrified me — BDB 129, KB 147, Piel imperfect; the verb is used often in Job (cf. Job 3:5; 9:34; 13:11,21; 15:24; 18:11; 33:7). In 2 Sam. 22:5 "Belial" is translated "destruction," which shows it can be non-personal

3. the cords of Sheol (see Special Topic at Ps. 1:6) surround me — BDB 685, KB 738, Qal perfect, cf. Ps. 17:11; 22:12,16; 49:5; 88:17; 118:10-12

4. the snares of death confronted me — BDB 869, KB 1068, Piel perfect, cf. Ps. 18:18; Job 30:27

As "my" was prominent in Ps. 18:1-3, now "me" as the object of attack is prominent in verses 4-5. Every human is fearful of death until they have a personal faith encounter with the God of life and love (cf. 1 John 4:7-21)! Satan does not control death but he does magnify the fear of death.

18:6 Verse 6 is the psalmist's response to his sense of impending death (i.e., "distress," BDB 856 II, cf. Job 15:24; 38:23; Ps. 66:14; 119:143).

1. I called upon the Lord — BDB 894, KB 1128, Qal imperfect

2. I cried to my God — BDB 1002, KB 1443, Piel imperfect

His prayers are answered.

1. He heard my voice out of His temple

2. He heard my cry for help before it came into His ears (cf. Ps. 6:8-9; 28:2,6)

Notice the parallelism of lines 1 and 2 then lines 3 and 4. This synonymous parallelism is characteristic of Hebrew poetry (see Introductory Article). The God of protection is also the God who responds to prayer!

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: PSALM 18:7-15
 7Then the earth shook and quaked;
 And the foundations of the mountains were trembling
 And were shaken, because He was angry.
 8Smoke went up out of His nostrils,
 And fire from His mouth devoured;
 Coals were kindled by it.
 9He bowed the heavens also, and came down
 With thick darkness under His feet.
 10He rode upon a cherub and flew;
 And He sped upon the wings of the wind.
 11He made darkness His hiding place, His canopy around Him,
 Darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies.
 12From the brightness before Him passed His thick clouds,
 Hailstones and coals of fire.
 13The Lord also thundered in the heavens,
 And the Most High uttered His voice,
 Hailstones and coals of fire.
 14He sent out His arrows, and scattered them,
 And lightning flashes in abundance, and routed them.
 15Then the channels of water appeared,
 And the foundations of the world were laid bare
 At Your rebuke, O Lord,
 At the blast of the breath of Your nostrils.

18:7-15 This strophe describes God's response to the psalmist's prayer. God arouses Himself for action (i.e., [1] holy war imagery or [2] rises from His throne)!

1. in verse 7 the distress of the faithful follower causes Divine anger (BDB 354, KB 351, Qal perfect, see Special Topic at Ps. 2:4-6). This burning anger (earthquake imagery, cf. Isa. 29:6) is characterized in verse 8 (i.e., thunderstorm imagery, cf. Deut. 33:26; Isa. 29:6). It is possible this imagery reflects Exod. 19:18-19 (i.e., giving of the Mosaic covenant at Mt. Sinai).

2. YHWH's response is characterized in the imagery of a thunderstorm in verses 9-15.

a. bowed the heavens (cf. Isa. 64:1). The REB revocalizes the phrase and has, "He parted the heavens." This same imagery is reflected in Isa. 34:4; Rev. 6:12-14.

b. came down with thick darkness

c. darkness of waters

d. thick clouds of the skies

e. brightness before Him

f. hailstones and coals of fire

g. thundered in the heavens

h. lightning flashes

i. channels of water

In many ways this description alludes to the Shekinah cloud of glory during the wilderness wandering period, both hiding and revealing YHWH (cf. Exod. 13:21-22; 19:19-20,24; 16:10; 19:9,16; 24:15-18; 40:34-38).

18:7 "the earth shook and quaked" The interpretive question is, "Is this literal or figurative?"

1. literal — their imagery of an earthquake as a sign of God's coming presence, Exod. 19:18; Ps. 68:7-8

2. figurative — a personification of "the earth"

a. the earth brought forth — Gen. 1:12,24

b. the earth swallowed them — Exod. 15:12; Num. 16:34

c. the earth spewed out — Lev. 18:25,28; 20:22

d. the earth opened its mouth — Num. 16:32; 26:10; Deut. 11:6; Ps. 106:17

e. the earth as a witness — Deut. 4:26; 30:19; 31:28; 32:1

f. speak to the earth — Job 12:8; 16:18; Ps. 50:4

g. the earth will rise up against him — Job 20:27

h. the earth cries out — Job 31:38

i. the earth praises YHWH — Ps. 69:34

j. the earth rejoices — Ps. 96:11; 97:1

k. the earth trembled — Jdgs. 5:4; 1 Sam.14:15; Isa. 13:13

l. the earth mourns — Isa. 24:4; 33:9; Hos. 4:3

 

18:8 "fire" See Special Topic at Ps. 11:6.

18:9 "He. . .came down" YHWH lives in heaven. His presence dwells between the cherubim on the ark of the covenant, but from time to time the Bible speaks of His coming to humans in special ways (i.e., theophanies, cf. Exodus 3). Exodus 3:7-8 is a specific example of YHWH responding to His people's need and acting on their behalf. In this context the imagery is described as a violent thunderstorm.

18:10-11 This describes YHWH in imagery of a thunderstorm. Rain was important for semi-desert dwellers but storms were frightening. In Israel's history after they entered Canaan the Israelites became influenced by the fertility gods, especially Ba'al, the storm god, the giver of rain and fertility. However, the true "storm god" was YHWH (note the imagery of Exodus 19).

18:10 "cherub" Note parallel imagery in Ps. 104:3. See Special Topic below.

SPECIAL TOPIC: CHERUBIM

18:11 "He made darkness His hiding place" In the OT to see YHWH meant death (cf. Gen. 16:13; 32:30; Exod. 3:6; 33:20; Jdgs. 6:22-23; 13:22; 1 Kgs. 19:13; Isa. 6:5; Acts 7:32). The thick dark cloud was a way of protecting the Israelites (cf. Exod. 19:9; 20:21; Deut. 4:11; 5:23).

18:15 "the foundations of the world" This imagery is expressed as

1. the pillars of the earth — 1 Sam. 2:8; Job 9:6; 38:4-6; Ps. 75:3; 104:5

2. the roots of the mountains — Deut. 32:22; Job 28:9; Jonah 2:6

It is possible that verse 15 is alluding to YHWH's great act of deliverance in

a. prose — Exod. 14:21-22,29

b. poetry — Exod. 15:8; Ps. 106:9

 

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: PSALM 18:16-19
 16He sent from on high, He took me;
 He drew me out of many waters.
 17He delivered me from my strong enemy,
 And from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me.
 18They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
 But the Lord was my stay.
 19He brought me forth also into a broad place;
 He rescued me, because He delighted in me.

18:16-19 This strophe describes YHWH's deliverance of the psalmist. Also note the "distress" of verse 6 is now clarified as "those who hate me, for they were too mighty for me. They confronted me in the day of my calamity" (cf. Ps. 59:16-17)!

1. He sent from on high, He took me, cf. Ps. 144:7

2. He drew me out of many waters, cf. Ps. 32:6

3. He delivered me from my strong enemy

4. He delivered me from those who hate me

5. He brought me forth into a broad place, an idiom for freedom, cf. Ps. 4:1; 31:8; 118:5

6. He secured me, because He delighted in me, cf. 2 Sam. 22:20; Ps. 37:23; 41:11; 147:11

 

18:16 "He drew me out of many waters" This root, משׁה (BDB 602, KB 642) is found only (1) here [and the parallel in 2 Sam. 22:17] and (2) in the account of Moses' rescue in Exod. 2:10. It became the popular etymology of the name "Moses."

The "many waters" can be understood in two ways.

1. a contextual metaphor of trouble/problems/attacks (cf. Ps. 32:6; 46:1-3; 69:1-2; 124:1-5; 144:5-8; Isa. 43:2

2. an allusion to the Genesis account of YHWH defeating the waters of chaos (cf. Ps. 74:13-14; 89:9-10; 104:6-7; Isa. 51:9-10, see the Jerome Biblical Commentary, p. 578, and my note at Gen. 1:2, "the deep" at www.freebiblecommentary.org in Genesis 1-11)

 

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: PSALM 18:20-24
 20The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness;
 According to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me.
 21For I have kept the ways of the Lord,
 And have not wickedly departed from my God.
 22For all His ordinances were before me,
 And I did not put away His statutes from me.
 23I was also blameless with Him,
 And I kept myself from my iniquity.
 24Therefore the Lord has recompensed me according to my righteousness,
 According to the cleanness of my hands in His eyes.

18:20-24 Notice the inclusio of Ps. 18:20 compared to Ps. 18:24. This strophe should not be understood as the psalmist claiming sinlessness or perfection. Theologically he is asserting his "blamelessness" (see Special Topic below).

Notice the parallelism of each pair.

1. according to my righteousness

2. according to the cleanness of my hands

3. I have kept the ways of the Lord

4. I have not wickedly departed from my God

5. all His ordinances were before me (for #5 and #6 see Special Topic at Ps. 1:2)

6. I did not put away His statutes from me

7. I was blameless with Him

8. I kept myself from my iniquity

 

SPECIAL TOPIC: BLAMELESS, INNOCENT, GUILTLESS, WITHOUT REPROACH

18:20 "He has recompensed me" This verb (BDB 996, KB 1427) is repeated at the close of the strophe (cf. Ps. 18:24). There are consequences for unbelief, but, thank God, there are benefits for a faithful follower! These are spelled out in the next strophe (Ps. 18:25-29).

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: PSALM 18:25-29
 25With the kind You show Yourself kind;
 With the blameless You show Yourself blameless;
 26With the pure You show Yourself pure,
 And with the crooked You show Yourself astute.
 27For You save an afflicted people,
 But haughty eyes You abase.
 28For You light my lamp;
 The Lord my God illumines my darkness.
 29For by You I can run upon a troop;
 And by my God I can leap over a wall.

18:25-29 These are the wonderful, divine consequences which follow a faithful believer.

1. "With the kind (BDB 339), You show Yourself kind" (BDB 338, KB 336, Hithpael imperfect; this verse and the parallel in 2 Sam. 22:26 are the only places in the OT that the verb form of this special covenant noun, hesed, occurs; see Special Topic at Ps. 5:7). Notice that "with" (עם) introduces Ps. 18:25-26, while "for" (כי) introduces Ps. 18:27-29.

2. "With the blameless (BDB 1071, cf. Ps. 18:23) You show Yourself blameless" (BDB 1070, KB 1752, Hithpael imperfect).

3. "With the pure (BDB 140, KB 162, Niphal participle, cf. Isa. 52:11) You show Yourself pure" (BDB 140, KB 162, Hithpael imperfect). Notice the antithetical parallelism of Ps. 18:26 and 27.

4. "With the crooked (BDB 786 I) You show Yourself twisted (BDB 836, KB 990, Hithpael imperfect). "Crooked" is the opposite of righteous, which denoted that which was straight, see Special Topic at Ps. 1:5.

5. "For You save (BDB 446, KB 448, Hiphil imperfect) an afflicted people." Poor or afflicted people are contrasted with wicked people.

6. "But haughty eyes (BDB 926, KB 1202, Qal participle, cf. Isa. 2:11; 5:15) You abase" (BDB 1050, KB 1631, Hiphil imperfect). Notice the antithetical parallelism of Ps. 18:27 (2 Samuel 22 parallel is slightly different).

The strophe affirms the basic biblical truth that one reaps what he/she sows (cf. Job 34:11; Ps. 28:4; 62:12; Pro. 24:12; Eccl. 12:14; Jer. 17:10; 32:19; Matt. 16:27; 25:31-46; Rom. 2:6; 14:12; 1 Cor. 3:8; 2 Cor. 5:10; Gal. 6:7-10; 2 Tim. 4:14; 1 Pet. 1:17; Rev. 2:23; 20:12; 22:12).

18:28-29 The form of Ps. 18:25-27 is altered in Ps. 18:28-29. The psalmist makes several assertions about YHWH's actions.

1. For You light (BDB 21, KB 24, Hiphil imperfect) my lamp (BDB 632, 2 Sam. 22:29 has "You are my Lamp."

2. YHWH my God illumines (BDB 618, KB 667, Hiphil imperfect, synonymous parallelism for verbs) my darkness (objects are antithetical parallelism, i.e., lamp vs. darkness).

3. For by You I can run (i.e., defeat) upon a troop (BDB 151 I, i.e., military unit). Some English translations take גדוד (BDB 151) in the sense of "bank" and translate a phrase which parallels "leap over a wall" (cf. REB, NIB). The LXX (i.e., A New English Translation of the Septuagint, 2007) has a totally different phrase, "because in you I shall be rescued from a pirate's nest." The 1970 translation of the LXX has the traditional translation. The UBS Text Project gives the word "troop" an "A" rating. The parallel in 2 Samuel 22 also has it.

The AB thinks "troop," which is found only here, should be "sinew," גד, which would also parallel the next line (p. 114).

4. By my God I can leap over a wall. Numbers 3 and 4 are not synonymous but are two different ways to show the power of God's empowering.

 

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: PSALM 18:30-36
 30As for God, His way is blameless;
 The word of the Lord is tried;
 He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.
 31For who is God, but the Lord?
 And who is a rock, except our God,
 32The God who girds me with strength
 And makes my way blameless?
 33He makes my feet like hinds' feet,
 And sets me upon my high places.
 34He trains my hands for battle,
 So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
 35You have also given me the shield of Your salvation,
 And Your right hand upholds me;
 And Your gentleness makes me great.
 36You enlarge my steps under me,
 And my feet have not slipped.

18:30-36 This strophe explains why the psalmist gives YHWH the titles of Ps. 18:2. His actions bring the titles!

1. His way is blameless (lit. "complete" or "perfect," BDB 1071, cf. Ps. 18:23,30,32).

2. His word/promise (BDB 57, used 19 times in Psalm 119) is tried or tested (BDB 864, KB 1057, Qal passive participles, cf. 2 Samuel 22:31; Psalm 119:140; Proverbs 30:5). See videos on "The Trustworthiness of God's Word" on www.freebiblecommentary.org, sermons from Lakeside Baptist Church, Dallas, TX.

3. He is a shield (BDB 171, cf. Ps. 18:2)

4. He is a rock (BDB 849, cf. Ps. 18:2)

5. He girds (BDB 25, KB 28, Piel participle, cf. Ps. 18:39) me with strength (BDB 298, synonym of BDB 305 in Ps. 18:2)

6. He makes my way blameless (BDB 1071, cf. Ps. 18:23,30,32)

7. He makes my feet secure (BDB 763, KB 840, Hiphil imperfect) like hinds' feet (i.e., sure-footed deer who can walk safely in rugged, rocky places, cf. Hab. 3:19)

8. He trains/equips/teaches me for battle, cf. Ps. 144:1

9. He has given me the shield of His salvation, cf. Ps. 18:2

10. His right hand upholds me, cf. Ps. 63:8; 119:117 (the right hand is an idiom of powerful action, see SPECIAL TOPIC: HAND at Ps. 7:3-4)

11. His gentleness/humility (KB 855 II, cf. 2 Sam. 22:36; also note Pro. 15:33; 18:12; 22:4) makes me great

12. He enlarges (BDB 931, KB 1210, Hiphil imperfect) my steps (i.e., parallels 18:19a; Ps. 4:1; 12:5; 31:8; 118:5). NIDOTTE, vol. 1, p. 317 has a good insight, "What is certain is that whereas spaciousness signifies salvation, narrowness symbolizes trouble and danger."

13. He enables the psalmist's feet to not slip (BDB 588, KB 609, Qal perfect, i.e., stayed on the path, cf. Ps. 18:20-24; see note at Ps. 1:1 for path/way)

 

18:30 "For who is God, but the Lord" This is an allusion to monotheism. See Special Topic at Ps. 2:7.

18:35

NASB, NKJV"gentleness"
NRSV"help"
JPSOA"care"
NASB, JPSOA
footnotes"condescension"
REB, NAB"stoop down"
LXX"instruction"

The Hebrew root is "condescension" (BDB 776, ענה) or "humility" (BDB 776, ענוה). BDB supports the second option (NASB), but UBS Text Project gives the first option a "B" rating (some doubt, NRSV).

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: PSALM 18:37-42
 37I pursued my enemies and overtook them,
 And I did not turn back until they were consumed.
 38I shattered them, so that they were not able to rise;
 They fell under my feet.
 39For You have girded me with strength for battle;
 You have subdued under me those who rose up against me.
 40You have also made my enemies turn their backs to me,
 And I destroyed those who hated me.
 41They cried for help, but there was none to save,
 Even to the Lord, but He did not answer them.
 42Then I beat them fine as the dust before the wind;
 I emptied them out as the mire of the streets.

18:37-42 This strophe is the psalmist's description of how, by YHWH's help/empowerment, he defeated his enemies. Again, it is uncertain who these enemies are, but Ps. 18:41 implies they were fellow Israelites (i.e., Saul's army, Absalom, or other rebels).

1. I pursued my enemies

2. I overtook them

3. I did not turn back (but the enemies will, cf. Ps. 18:40)

4. I shattered them

a. they were unable to rise

b. they fell under my feet

5. You have girded (i.e., prepared for action) me with strength for battle

6. You have subdued (i.e., caused to bow) them

7.  You have made them turn their backs

8. I destroyed those who hated me

9. I beat them fine as the dust

10. I emptied them out as the mire of the streets (cf. 2 Sam. 22:43; Micah 7:10)

Notice some describe David's actions and some YHWH's enabling actions.

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: PSALM 18:43-45
 43You have delivered me from the contentions of the people;
 You have placed me as head of the nations;
 A people whom I have not known serve me.
 44As soon as they hear, they obey me;
 Foreigners submit to me.
 45Foreigners fade away,
 And come trembling out of their fortresses.

18:43-45 This strophe deals with the King of Israel's exalted place in YHWH's plans for the nations. Israel ("the people" of Ps. 18:43a) was meant to inform the nations and draw them to faith in YHWH (see Special Topic at Intro. to Psalm 2). But notice that Israel was "contentious" (cf. Ps. 35:1).

Notice the different phrases that refer to non-Israelites (i.e., Gentiles).

1. the King of Israel (cf. Ps. 18:50) was made the head of the nations

2. the nations are a people who the King had not known but now they serve (BDB 712, KB 773, Qal imperfect) him

3. as soon as these nations hear the King they

a. obey (BDB 1033, KB 1570, Niphal imperfect)

b. submit (lit. "lying" or "deceive," but used in the sense of "cringe"; possibly "leanness" or their reduced number and influence. The Hebrew verb has both senses) — BDB 471, KB 469, Piel imperfect

c. fade away — BDB 615, KB 663, Qal imperfect

d. come trembling — BDB 353, KB 350, Qal imperfect; only here in the OT out of their fortresses — (possibly "fatness," BDB 689, or KB 604, "prison," cf. Micah 7:17)

Notice all the imperfects (nine) which denote ongoing action (i.e., continual defeat).

NASB (UPDATED) TEXT: PSALM 18:46-50
 46The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock;
 And exalted be the God of my salvation,
 47The God who executes vengeance for me,
 And subdues peoples under me.
 48He delivers me from my enemies;
 Surely You lift me above those who rise up against me;
 You rescue me from the violent man.
 49Therefore I will give thanks to You among the nations, O Lord,
 And I will sing praises to Your name.
 50He gives great deliverance to His king,
 And shows lovingkindness to His anointed,
 To David and his descendants forever.

18:46-50 This strophe is the psalmist's thanksgiving to YHWH for His character and actions!

Notice the titles and characterizations of YHWH.

1. lives — this is the adjective (BDB 311) which comes from the verb "to be" (BDB 217), which is the meaning of YHWH (see Special Topic at Ps. 1:1). He is the ever-living, only-living One! The phrase "as YHWH lives" is usually an introduction to an oath, but here it introduces a doxology.

2. my rock — denotes power and stability (cf. Ps. 18:2,31)

3. the God (אלה) of my salvation

4. His acts on the King's behalf

a. executes vengeance (BDB 668)

b. subdues peoples

c. delivers (cf. Ps. 18:50)

d. lifts him above his enemies

e. rescues him from the violent man

Notice in light of this what the King of Israel will do.

1. give thanks among the nations

2. sing praises to His Name

The King does this because of

1. YHWH's deliverance

2. YHWH's lovingkindness to the King and his descendants forever (cf. 2 Samuel 7)

 

18:49 This verse (or 2 Sam. 22:50) is used by Paul in Rom. 15:9 to show that YHWH's plan of redemption from the very beginning included the Gentiles (note Gen. 1:26-27; 12:3; Exod. 19:5-6).

Paul also used Deut. 32:43; Ps. 117:1 and Isa. 11:10. There has always been an eternal redemptive plan for all humans (see Special Topic: YHWH's Eternal Redemptive Plan at Intro. to Psalm 2).

18:50 "His anointed" See Special Topic at Psalm 2:2.

▣ "lovingkindness" See Special Topic at Psalm 5:7.

▣ "forever" See Special Topic at Psalm 9:5.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

This is a study guide commentary, which means that you are responsible for your own interpretation of the Bible. Each of us must walk in the light we have. You, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit are priority in interpretation. You must not relinquish this to a commentator.

These discussion questions are provided to help you think through the major issues of this section of the book. They are meant to be thought-provoking, not definitive.

1. List the titles of God in verse 2.

2. God is described as what in verses 7-15?

3. How would you entitle verses 16-19?

4. Does verse 20 teach a "works righteousness"?

5. Where does the title of "rock" as used of God come from? (Ps. 18:2,31,46 and Deut. 32:4,31)

6. What do verses 43-45 imply?