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Psalm Eighteen

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David, the servant of the LORD, who spake unto 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,

Psalm 18:1 I will love thee, O LORD, my strength.

Psalm 18:2 The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.

my rock. Note the seven-fold metaphor for the power of God in defending His loved ones—rock, fortress, deliverer, strength, buckler, horn, high tower.

Psalm 18:3 I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.

Psalm 18:4 The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid.

Psalm 18:5 The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me.

Psalm 18:6 In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.

Psalm 18:7 Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth.

earth shook and trembled. Psalm 18:7-16 give a graphic description of a tremendous convulsion of nature, involving earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, great winds and lightnings, thick darkness, hail stones and deep waters. According to the superscript, David is believed to have written this psalm after the Lord delivered him from the hands of Saul, but no such upheavals took place on these occasions. Commentators usually assume that David was using very picturesque poetic imagery to express his awe and relief when God providentially saved him from Saul's murderous purposes. The source of this imagery, however, must have been either some real event he had experienced or more likely a vision of some great cataclysm of the past, sent to deliver God's people from their enemies. The most likely model for David's figurative narrative would have been the global flood that convulsed the antediluvian world in the days of Noah.

Psalm 18:8 There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it.

Psalm 18:9 He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was under his feet.

Psalm 18:10 And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind.

Psalm 18:11 He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.

Psalm 18:12 At the brightness that was before him his thick clouds passed, hail stones and coals of fire.

Psalm 18:13 The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave his voice; hail stones and coals of fire.

Psalm 18:14 Yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightnings, and discomfited them.

Psalm 18:15 Then the channels of waters were seen, and the foundations of the world were discovered at thy rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of the breath of thy nostrils.

Psalm 18:16 He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters.

out of many waters. If this colorful remembrance of the past does reflect the great Deluge, as seems likely, then this concluding verse of the section speaks of Noah being saved from the mighty waters of the Flood as an analogous experience to David's deliverance from Saul.

Psalm 18:17 He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me.

Psalm 18:18 They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay.

Psalm 18:19 He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.

Psalm 18:20 The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.

Psalm 18:21 For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God.

Psalm 18:22 For all his judgments were before me, and I did not put away his statutes from me.

Psalm 18:23 I was also upright before him, and I kept myself from mine iniquity.

Psalm 18:24 Therefore hath the LORD recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his eyesight.

Psalm 18:25 With the merciful thou wilt show thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt show thyself upright;

Psalm 18:26 With the pure thou wilt show thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt show thyself froward.

froward. See note on Job 5:13.

Psalm 18:27 For thou wilt save the afflicted people; but wilt bring down high looks.

Psalm 18:28 For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.

Psalm 18:29 For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall.

Psalm 18:30 As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.

Psalm 18:31 For who is God save the LORD? or who is a rock save our God?

Psalm 18:32 It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.

Psalm 18:33 He maketh my feet like hinds' feet, and setteth me upon my high places.

Psalm 18:34 He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms.

Psalm 18:35 Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great.

Psalm 18:36 Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip.

Psalm 18:37 I have pursued mine enemies, and overtaken them: neither did I turn again till they were consumed.

Psalm 18:38 I have wounded them that they were not able to rise: they are fallen under my feet.

Psalm 18:39 For thou hast girded me with strength unto the battle: thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me.

Psalm 18:40 Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies; that I might destroy them that hate me.

Psalm 18:41 They cried, but there was none to save them: even unto the LORD, but he answered them not.

Psalm 18:42 Then did I beat them small as the dust before the wind: I did cast them out as the dirt in the streets.

Psalm 18:43 Thou hast delivered me from the strivings of the people; and thou hast made me the head of the heathen: a people whom I have not known shall serve me.

head of the heathen. The latter part of Psalm 18 can be applied literally only to the Messiah, the “anointed” of Psalm 18:50. Only He will be “head of the nations” (note Psalm 2:8) “for evermore” (Psalm 18:50).

Psalm 18:44 As soon as they hear of me, they shall obey me: the strangers shall submit themselves unto me.

Psalm 18:45 The strangers shall fade away, and be afraid out of their close places.

Psalm 18:46 The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted.

Psalm 18:47 It is God that avengeth me, and subdueth the people under me.

Psalm 18:48 He delivereth me from mine enemies: yea, thou liftest me up above those that rise up against me: thou hast delivered me from the violent man.

Psalm 18:49 Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name.

Psalm 18:50 Great deliverance giveth he to his king; and showeth mercy to his anointed, to David, and to his seed for evermore.

Great deliverance. 2 Samuel 22 is almost identical to Psalm 18, although “great deliverance” in this final verse is “a tower of salvation” in 2 Samuel 22:51. See notes on 2 Samuel 22 for further commentary on the application of Psalm 18:7-16 to the great Flood.