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2 Samuel 22:18-27


22:18 He rescued me from my strong enemy, 1 

from those who hate me,

for they were too strong for me.

22:19 They confronted 2  me in my day of calamity,

but the Lord helped me. 3 

22:20 He brought me out into a wide open place;

he delivered me because he was pleased with me. 4 

22:21 The Lord repaid 5  me for my godly deeds; 6 

he rewarded 7  my blameless behavior. 8 

22:22 For I have obeyed the Lord’s commands; 9 

I have not rebelled against my God. 10 

22:23 For I am aware of all his regulations, 11 

and I do not reject his rules. 12 

22:24 I was blameless before him;

I kept myself from sinning. 13 

22:25 The Lord rewarded me for my godly deeds; 14 

he took notice of my blameless behavior. 15 

22:26 You prove to be loyal 16  to one who is faithful; 17 

you prove to be trustworthy 18  to one who is innocent. 19 

22:27 You prove to be reliable 20  to one who is blameless,

but you prove to be deceptive 21  to one who is perverse. 22 

1 tn The singular refers either to personified death or collectively to the psalmist’s enemies. The following line, which refers to “those [plural] who hate me,” favors the latter.

2 tn The same verb is translated “trapped” in v. 6. In this poetic narrative context the prefixed verbal form is best understood as a preterite indicating past tense, not imperfect. Cf. NAB, NCV, TEV, NLT “attacked.”

3 tn Heb “became my support.”

4 tn Or “delighted in me” (so KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV).

5 tn In this poetic narrative context the prefixed verbal form is best understood as a preterite indicating past tense, not imperfect.

6 tn Heb “according to my righteousness.” As vv. 22-25 make clear, David refers here to his unwavering obedience to God’s commands. He explains that the Lord was pleased with him and willing to deliver him because he had been loyal to God and obedient to his commandments. Ancient Near Eastern literature contains numerous parallels. A superior (a god or king) would typically reward a subject (a king or the servant of a king, respectively) for loyalty and obedience. See R. B. Chisholm, “An Exegetical and Theological Study of Psalm 18/2 Samuel 22” (Th.D. diss., Dallas Theological Seminary, 1983), 211-13.

7 tn The unreduced Hiphil prefixed verbal form appears to be an imperfect, in which case the psalmist would be generalizing. However, both the preceding and following contexts (see especially v. 25) suggest he is narrating his experience. Despite its unreduced form, the verb is better taken as a preterite. For other examples of unreduced Hiphil preterites, see Pss 55:14a; 68:9a, 10b; 80:8a; 89:43a; 107:38b; 116:6b.

8 tn Heb “according to the purity of my hands he repaid to me.” Hands suggest activity and behavior.

9 tn Heb “for I have kept the ways of the Lord.” The phrase “ways of the Lord” refers here to the “conduct required” by the Lord (see HALOT 232 s.v. דֶרֶךְ). In Ps 25 the Lord’s “ways” are associated with his covenantal demands (see vv. 4, 9-10). See also Ps 119:3 (cf. vv. 1, 4), as well as Deut 8:6; 10:12; 11:22; 19:9; 26:17; 28:9; 30:16.

10 tn Heb “I have not acted wickedly from my God.” The statement is elliptical, the idea being, “I have not acted wickedly and, in so doing, departed from my God.”

11 tn Heb “for all his regulations are before me.” The term מִשְׁפָּטָו (mishpatav, “his regulations”) refers to God’s covenantal requirements, especially those which the king is responsible to follow (cf Deut 17:18-20). See also Pss 19:9 (cf vv. 7-8); 89:30; 147:20 (cf v. 19), as well as the numerous uses of the term in Ps 119.

12 tn Heb “and his rules, I do not turn aside from it.” Ps 18:22 reads, “and his rules I do not turn aside from me.” The prefixed verbal form is probably an imperfect; David here generalizes about his loyalty to God’s commands. The Lord’s “rules” are the stipulations of the covenant which the king was responsible to obey (see Ps 89:31; cf v. 30 and Deut 17:18-20).

13 tn Heb “from my sin,” that is, from making it my own in any way. Leading a “blameless” life meant that the king would be loyal to God’s covenant, purge the government and society of evil and unjust officials, and reward loyalty to the Lord (see Ps 101).

14 tn Heb “according to my righteousness.” See v. 21.

15 tn Heb “according to my purity before his eyes.”

16 tn The imperfect verbal forms in vv. 26-30 draw attention to God’s characteristic actions. Based on his experience, the psalmist generalizes about God’s just dealings with people (vv. 26-28) and about the way in which God typically empowers him on the battlefield (vv. 29-30). The Hitpael stem is used in vv. 26-27 in a reflexive resultative (or causative) sense. God makes himself loyal, etc. in the sense that he conducts or reveals himself as such. On this use of the Hitpael stem, see GKC 149-50 §54.e.

17 tn Or “to a faithful follower.” A חָסִיד (khasid, “faithful follower”) is one who does what is right in God’s eyes and remains faithful to God (see Pss 4:3; 12:1; 16:10; 31:23; 37:28; 86:2; 97:10).

18 tn Or “innocent.”

19 tc Heb “a warrior of innocence.” The parallel text in Ps 18:25 reads, probably correctly, גֶּבֶר (gever, “man”) instead of גִּבּוֹר (gibor, “warrior”).

20 tn Or “blameless.”

21 tc The translation follows two medieval Hebrew mss in reading תִּתְפַּתָּל (titpattal, from the root פתל, “to twist”) rather than the MT תִּתַּפָּל (tittappal, from the root תפל, “to be tasteless,” “behave silly”; cf. KJV “unsavoury”). See as well the parallel passage in Ps 18:26. The verb פָתַל (patal) is used in only three other texts. In Gen 30:8 it means literally “to wrestle,” or “to twist.” In Job 5:13 it refers to devious individuals, and in Prov 8:8 to deceptive words. Cf. NAB, NASB “astute”; NIV “shrewd”; NRSV “perverse”; TEV, NLT “hostile.”

22 tn The adjective עִקֵּשׁ (’iqqesh) has the basic nuance “twisted; crooked,” and by extension refers to someone or something that is morally perverse. It appears frequently in Proverbs, where it is used of evil people (22:5), speech (8:8; 19:1), thoughts (11:20; 17:20) and life styles (2:15; 28:6). A righteous king opposes such people (Ps 101:4). Verses 26-27 affirm God’s justice. He responds to people in accordance with their moral character. His response mirrors their actions. The faithful and blameless find God to be loyal and reliable in his dealings with them. But deceivers discover he is able and willing to use deceit to destroy them. For a more extensive discussion of the theme of divine deception in the OT, see R. B. Chisholm, “Does God Deceive?” BSac 155 (1998): 11-28.

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