Two Samuel Twenty Two

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

2 Samuel 22:1 And David spake unto the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD had delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies, and out of the hand of Saul:

words of this song. The remarkable poem in this chapter, inserted here by the unknown author of 2 Samuel, is (with certain significant exceptions) the same as Psalm 18. David wrote many wonderful psalms, but this is the only one also inserted in the Bible's historical books. This choice by the Holy Spirit must indicate its special significance as a testimony of the one who is both Creator and Savior.

2 Samuel 22:2 And he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer;

my rock. These two words for “rock” (Hebrew cela and tsur, respectively) are the same as for the two rocks smitten by Moses (Exodus 17:6; Numbers 20:11), except that the order is reversed.

2 Samuel 22:3 The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.

in him will I trust. David's statement of faith—“in Him will I trust”—is inserted in the midst of this unique string of nine expressive metaphors applied to God by David. However, it is quoted in Hebrews 2:13 as coming from the lips of Christ in His human incarnation. The same is true of 2 Samuel 22:50, as quoted in Romans 15:9. These statements, taken from the beginning and concluding sections of David's song of testimony, clearly tell us that its context goes far beyond David's own personal experiences, though it applies there also. It is one of the “Messianic psalms,” both rehearsing the past actions and predicting the future experiences of God Himself, especially in His great works of redemption and judgment.

my saviour. This is the last of the nine great ascriptions to God. The word “Saviour” is yasha in the Hebrew, very close to the name “Jesus.” An Israelite might easily have read this climaxing assertion as “Jehovah is ... my Jesus, [who] savest me from violence.”

2 Samuel 22:4 I will call on the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.

2 Samuel 22:5 When the waves of death compassed me, the floods of ungodly men made me afraid;

2 Samuel 22:6 The sorrows of hell compassed me about; the snares of death prevented me;

sorrows of hell. The experience of being surrounded by the sorrows of hell (Hebrew sheol) can only be applied literally to Christ Himself, when He descended into Hades after His death on the cross. Thus David's human sufferings are translated by the Spirit speaking by him (2 Samuel 23:2) into the much greater sufferings of David's greater Son, the Messiah.

2 Samuel 22:7 In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter into his ears.

2 Samuel 22:8 Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations of heaven moved and shook, because he was wroth.

shook and trembled. The terrible scenes described in 2 Samuel 22:8-17 go far beyond even any poetic license that David might properly use to describe his own personal deliverance from his enemies. They do, however, make sense in connection with the great earthquake and mid-day darkness at the scene of Christ's crucifixion. But they seem to go even beyond this, for the physical convulsions experienced around the cross were only a foretaste of those that will soon occur when “He ariseth to shake terribly the earth” (Isaiah 2:19). In that great coming day of judgment, God “will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land” (Haggai 2:6). Similarly, in the distant past, there was a worldwide cataclysm at the time of the great Flood.

David's experiences thus were a retrospective type of those experienced by Noah as he was saved through the trauma of a world first filled with violence, and then covered with the deep waters of judgment. As a result, both Noah and David become types of the incarnate Creator, testifying both to “the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (1 Peter 1:11). We see, therefore, in these verses not only David's deliverances, but also those of Noah in the past, Christ at the cross, and all the saints in the future.

2 Samuel 22:9 There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it.

2 Samuel 22:10 He bowed the heavens also, and came down; and darkness was under his feet.

2 Samuel 22:11 And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: and he was seen upon the wings of the wind.

cherub. The mighty angelic beings called cherubim (Satan himself was originally the highest of all—Ezekiel 28:14) are always associated with the presence of God as sovereign Creator.

wind. In the Hebrew, “wind” is the same as “spirit,” so this phrase could refer to “the wings of the Spirit.” In the Bible's first reference to “the Spirit of God” (Genesis 1:2), He is seen as “moving” in the presence of the primeval waters, with the word the same as that for the fluttering movement of the wings of a great bird. The vibrating motion implies the generating of waves of energy, flowing out from the Spirit to energize the newly created cosmos. Similarly, the divine energy emanates from the Spirit here, but this time in destructive rather than creative power.

2 Samuel 22:12 And he made darkness pavilions round about him, dark waters, and thick clouds of the skies.

dark waters. The reference to “waters” and “darkness” in these verses seems to fit most naturally with David's retrospective vision of the ancient judgment of the Flood. The references to “fire” (2 Samuel 22:9, 13) correlate with the breaking-up of the fountains of the great deep (implying volcanic eruptions) at the time of the Flood, and the reference to “lightning” (2 Samuel 22:15) correlates to the sudden rains from heaven.

2 Samuel 22:13 Through the brightness before him were coals of fire kindled.

2 Samuel 22:14 The LORD thundered from heaven, and the most High uttered his voice.

2 Samuel 22:15 And he sent out arrows, and scattered them; lightning, and discomfited them.

2 Samuel 22:16 And the channels of the sea appeared, the foundations of the world were discovered, at the rebuking of the LORD, at the blast of the breath of his nostrils.

channels of the sea. The fact that there are “channels in the sea” is a discovery of modern oceanography. Ancient mariners knew much about the surface of the sea and its coasts, but had no means of probing its depths to map the ocean-bottom topography. This is one of many Biblical anticipations of modern science, testifying to the divine inspiration of the Bible.

2 Samuel 22:17 He sent from above, he took me; he drew me out of many waters;

out of many waters. Neither David nor Christ were drawn out of “many waters” in any literal sense, though this could be understood figuratively as applicable to either one. Noah, however, and those preserved by God in the ark were indeed really drawn by God out of many waters.

2 Samuel 22:18 He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them that hated me: for they were too strong for me.

2 Samuel 22:19 They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay.

prevented. An archaic expression meaning “went before.”

2 Samuel 22:20 He brought me forth also into a large place: he delivered me, because he delighted in me.

2 Samuel 22:21 The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness: according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.

2 Samuel 22:22 For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God.

2 Samuel 22:23 For all his judgments were before me: and as for his statutes, I did not depart from them.

2 Samuel 22:24 I was also upright before him, and have kept myself from mine iniquity.

2 Samuel 22:25 Therefore the LORD hath recompensed me according to my righteousness; according to my cleanness in his eye sight.

2 Samuel 22:26 With the merciful thou wilt show thyself merciful, and with the upright man thou wilt show thyself upright.

2 Samuel 22:27 With the pure thou wilt show thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt show thyself unsavoury.

2 Samuel 22:28 And the afflicted people thou wilt save: but thine eyes are upon the haughty, that thou mayest bring them down.

2 Samuel 22:29 For thou art my lamp, O LORD: and the LORD will lighten my darkness.

2 Samuel 22:30 For by thee I have run through a troop: by my God have I leaped over a wall.

2 Samuel 22:31 As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.

2 Samuel 22:32 For who is God, save the LORD? and who is a rock, save our God?

2 Samuel 22:33 God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect.

2 Samuel 22:34 He maketh my feet like hinds' feet: and setteth me upon my high places.

2 Samuel 22:35 He teacheth my hands to war; so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms.

2 Samuel 22:36 Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy gentleness hath made me great.

2 Samuel 22:37 Thou hast enlarged my steps under me; so that my feet did not slip.

2 Samuel 22:38 I have pursued mine enemies, and destroyed them; and turned not again until I had consumed them.

2 Samuel 22:39 And I have consumed them, and wounded them, that they could not arise: yea, they are fallen under my feet.

2 Samuel 22:40 For thou hast girded me with strength to battle: them that rose up against me hast thou subdued under me.

2 Samuel 22:41 Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies, that I might destroy them that hate me.

2 Samuel 22:42 They looked, but there was none to save; even unto the LORD, but he answered them not.

2 Samuel 22:43 Then did I beat them as small as the dust of the earth, I did stamp them as the mire of the street, and did spread them abroad.

2 Samuel 22:44 Thou also hast delivered me from the strivings of my people, thou hast kept me to be head of the heathen: a people which I knew not shall serve me.

2 Samuel 22:45 Strangers shall submit themselves unto me: as soon as they hear, they shall be obedient unto me.

2 Samuel 22:46 Strangers shall fade away, and they shall be afraid out of their close places.

2 Samuel 22:47 The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and exalted be the God of the rock of my salvation.

2 Samuel 22:48 It is God that avengeth me, and that bringeth down the people under me,

2 Samuel 22:49 And that bringeth me forth from mine enemies: thou also hast lifted me up on high above them that rose up against me: thou hast delivered me from the violent man.

2 Samuel 22:50 Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto thy name.

praises unto thy name. A portion of this verse is quoted in Romans 15:9, as coming from the lips of Christ in prophecy. This again confirms the Messianic theme of David's great song.

2 Samuel 22:51 He is the tower of salvation for his king: and showeth mercy to his anointed, unto David, and to his seed for evermore.

his anointed. The word “anointed” is in the Hebrew Messiah. Referring thus to David's eternal Seed, this closing verse firmly establishes that David's promised Seed is none other than the Messiah, or Christ.