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2 Samuel 22:2-3

22:2 He said:

“The Lord is my high ridge, 1  my stronghold, 2  my deliverer.

22:3 My God 3  is my rocky summit where I take shelter, 4 

my shield, the horn that saves me, 5  my stronghold,

my refuge, my savior. You save me from violence! 6 

2 Samuel 22:40-48


22:40 You give me strength for battle; 7 

you make my foes kneel before me. 8 

22:41 You make my enemies retreat; 9 

I destroy those who hate me.

22:42 They cry out, 10  but there is no one to help them; 11 

they cry out to the Lord, 12  but he does not answer them.

22:43 I grind them as fine as the dust of the ground;

I crush them and stomp on them like clay 13  in the streets.

22:44 You rescue me from a hostile army; 14 

you preserve me as a leader of nations;

people over whom I had no authority are now my subjects. 15 

22:45 Foreigners are powerless before me; 16 

when they hear of my exploits, they submit to me. 17 

22:46 Foreigners lose their courage; 18 

they shake with fear 19  as they leave 20  their strongholds. 21 

22:47 The Lord is alive! 22 

My protector 23  is praiseworthy! 24 

The God who delivers me 25  is exalted as king! 26 

22:48 The one true God completely vindicates me; 27 

he makes nations submit to me. 28 

1 tn Traditionally “is my rock”; CEV “mighty rock”; TEV “is my protector.” This metaphor pictures God as a rocky, relatively inaccessible summit, where one would be able to find protection from enemies. See 1 Sam 23:25, 28.

2 tn Traditionally “my fortress”; TEV “my strong fortress”; NCV “my protection.”

sn My stronghold. David often found safety in such strongholds. See 1 Sam 22:4-5; 24:22; 2 Sam 5:9, 17; 23:14.

3 tc The translation (along with many English versions, e.g., NAB, NIV, NRSV, NLT) follows the LXX in reading אֱלֹהִי (’elohi, “my God”) rather than MT’s אֱלֹהֵי (’elohe, “the God of”). See Ps 18:2.

4 tn Or “in whom.”

5 tn Heb “the horn of my salvation,” or “my saving horn.”

sn Though some see “horn” as referring to a horn-shaped peak of a hill, or to the “horns” of an altar where one could find refuge, it is more likely that the horn of an ox underlies the metaphor (see Deut 33:17; 1 Kgs 22:11; Ps 92:10). The horn of the wild ox is frequently a metaphor for military strength; the idiom “exalt the horn” signifies military victory (see 1 Sam 2:10; Pss 89:17, 24; 92:10; Lam 2:17). In the ancient Near East powerful warrior-kings would sometimes compare themselves to a goring bull that uses its horns to kill its enemies. For examples, see P. Miller, “El the Warrior,” HTR 60 (1967): 422-25, and R. B. Chisholm, “An Exegetical and Theological Study of Psalm 18/2 Samuel 22” (Th.D. diss., Dallas Theological Seminary, 1983), 135-36. 2 Sam 22:3 uses the metaphor of the horn in a slightly different manner. Here the Lord himself is compared to a horn. He is to the psalmist what the horn is to the ox, a source of defense and victory.

6 tn The parallel version of the song in Ps 18 does not include this last line.

7 tn Heb “you clothed me with strength for battle.”

8 tn Heb “you make those who rise against me kneel beneath me.”

9 tn Heb “and [as for] my enemies, you give to me [the] back [or “neck” ].” The idiom “give [the] back” means “to cause [one] to turn the back and run away.” See Exod 23:27 and HALOT 888 s.v. II ערף.

10 tc The translation follows one medieval Hebrew ms and the ancient versions in reading the Piel יְשַׁוְּעוּ (yÿshavvÿu, “they cry for help”) rather than the Qal of the MT יִשְׁעוּ (yishu, “they look about for help”). See Ps 18:41 as well.

11 tn Heb “but there is no deliverer.”

12 tn The words “they cry out” are not in the Hebrew text. This reference to the psalmists’ enemies crying out for help to the Lord suggests that the psalmist refers here to enemies within the covenant community, rather than foreigners. However, the militaristic context suggests foreign enemies are in view. Ancient Near Eastern literature indicates that defeated enemies would sometimes cry out for mercy to the god(s) of their conqueror. See R. B. Chisholm, “An Exegetical and Theological Study of Psalm 18/2 Samuel 22” (Th.D. diss., Dallas Theological Seminary, 1983), 271.

13 tn Or “mud” (so NAB, NIV, CEV). See HALOT 374 s.v. טִיט.

14 tn Heb “from the strivings of my people.” In this context רִיב (riv, “striving”) probably has a militaristic sense (as in Judg 12:2; Isa 41:11), and עַם (’am, “people”) probably refers more specifically to an army (for other examples, see the verses listed in BDB 766 s.v. עַם 2.d). The suffix “my” suggests David is referring to attacks by his own countrymen, the “people” being Israel. However, the parallel text in Ps 18:43 omits the suffix.

15 tn Heb “a people whom I did not know serve me.” In this context the verb “know” (יָדַע, yada’) probably refers to formal recognition by treaty. People who were once not under the psalmist’s authority now willingly submit to his rulership to avoid being conquered militarily (see vv. 45-46). The language may recall the events recorded in 2 Sam 8:9-10 and 10:19.

16 tn For the meaning “to be weak; to be powerless” for the verb כָּחַשׁ (kakhash), see Ps 109:24. Verse 46, which also mentions foreigners, favors this interpretation. Another option is to translate “cower in fear” (see Deut 33:29; Pss 66:3; 81:15).

17 tn Heb “at a report of an ear they submit to me.” The report of David’s exploits is so impressive that those who hear it submit to his rulership without putting up a fight.

18 tn Heb “wither, wear out.”

19 tc The translation assumes a reading וְיַחְרְגוּ (vÿyakhrÿgu, “and they quaked”) rather than the MT וְיַחְגְּרוּ (vÿyakhgÿru, “and they girded themselves”). See the note at Ps 18:45.

20 tn Heb “from.”

21 tn Heb “prisons.” Their besieged cities are compared to prisons.

22 tn Elsewhere the construction חַי־יְהוָה (khay-yÿhvah) as used exclusively as an oath formula, but this is not the case here, for no oath follows. Here the statement is an affirmation of the Lord’s active presence and intervention. In contrast to pagan deities, he demonstrates that he is the living God by rescuing and empowering the psalmist.

23 tn Heb “my rocky cliff,” which is a metaphor for protection.

24 tn Or “blessed [i.e., praised] be.”

25 tn Heb “the God of the rock of my deliverance.” The term צוּר (tsur, “rock”) is probably accidentally repeated from the previous line. The parallel version in Ps 18:46 has simply “the God of my deliverance.”

26 tn The words “as king” are supplied in the translation for clarification. In the Psalms the verb רוּם (rum, “be exalted”) when used of God, refers to his exalted position as king (Pss 99:2; 113:4; 138:6) and/or his self-revelation as king through his mighty deeds of deliverance (Pss 21:13; 46:10; 57:5, 11).

27 tn Heb “The God is the one who grants vengeance to me.” The plural form of the noun “vengeance” indicates degree here, suggesting complete vengeance or vindication. In the ancient Near East military victory was sometimes viewed as a sign that one’s God had judged in favor of the victor, avenging and/or vindicating him. See, for example, Judg 11:27, 32-33, 36.

28 tn Heb “and [is the one who] brings down nations beneath me.”

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