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2 Samuel 22:11-12

Context

22:11 He mounted 1  a winged angel 2  and flew;

he glided 3  on the wings of the wind. 4 

22:12 He shrouded himself in darkness, 5 

in thick rain clouds. 6 

1 tn Or “rode upon.”

2 tn Heb “a cherub” (so KJV, NAB, NRSV); NIV “the cherubim” (plural); TEV “his winged creature”; CEV “flying creatures.”

sn A winged angel. Cherubs, as depicted in the Old Testament, possess both human and animal (lion, ox, and eagle) characteristics (see Ezek 1:10; 10:14, 21; 41:18). They are pictured as winged creatures (Exod 25:20; 37:9; 1 Kgs 6:24-27; Ezek 10:8, 19) and serve as the very throne of God when the ark of the covenant is in view (Pss 80:1; 99:1; see Num 7:89; 1 Sam 4:4; 2 Sam 6:2; 2 Kgs 19:15). The picture of the Lord seated on the cherubs suggests they might be used by him as a vehicle, a function they carry out in Ezek 1:22-28 (the “living creatures” mentioned here are identified as cherubs in Ezek 10:20). In Ps 18:10 the image of a cherub serves to personify the wind (see the next line).

3 tc The translation follows very many medieval Hebrew mss in reading וַיֵּדֶא (vayyÿde’, “and he glided”; cf. NIV “soared”; NCV “raced”) rather than MT וַיֵּרָא (vayyera’, “and he appeared,” so NASB, CEV). See as well the Syriac Peshitta, Targum, Vulgate, and the parallel version in Ps 18:10, which preserves the original reading (see the note there).

4 sn The wings of the wind. Verse 10 may depict the Lord mounting a cherub, which is in turn propelled by the wind current. Another option is that two different vehicles (a cherub and the wind) are envisioned. A third option is that the wind is personified as a cherub. For a discussion of ancient Near Eastern parallels to the imagery in v. 10, see M. Weinfeld, “‘Rider of the Clouds’ and ‘Gatherer of the Clouds’,” JANESCU 5 (1973): 422-24.

5 tc Heb “he made darkness around him coverings.” The parallel text in Ps 18:11 reads “he made darkness his hiding place around him, his covering.” 2 Sam 22:12 omits “his hiding place” and pluralizes “covering.” Ps 18:11 may include a conflation of synonyms (“his hiding place” and “his covering” ) or 2 Sam 22:12 may be the result of haplography/homoioarcton. Note that three successive words in Ps 18:11 begin with the letter ס (samek): סִתְרוֹ סְבִיבוֹתָיו סֻכָּתוֹ (sitro sÿvyvotav sukkato).

6 tc Heb “a sieve of water, clouds of clouds.” The form חַשְׁרַת (khashrat) is a construct of חַשְׁרָה (khashrah, “sieve”), which occurs only here in the OT. A cognate Ugaritic noun means “sieve,” and a related verb חשׁר (“to sift”) is attested in postbiblical Hebrew and Aramaic (see HALOT 363 s.v. *חשׁר). The phrase חַשְׁרַת־מַיִם (khashrat-mayim) means literally “a sieve of water.” It pictures the rain clouds as a sieve through which the rain falls to the ground. (See F. M. Cross and D. N. Freedman, Studies in Ancient Yahwistic Poetry, 146, note 33.)



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