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Psalms 18:2

Context

18:2 The Lord is my high ridge, 1  my stronghold, 2  my deliverer.

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

my shield, the horn that saves me, 5  and my refuge. 6 

Psalms 31:3

Context

31:3 For you are my high ridge 7  and my stronghold;

for the sake of your own reputation 8  you lead me and guide me. 9 

1 sn My high ridge. 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 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 tn Or “in whom.”

4 sn Take shelter. “Taking shelter” in the Lord is an idiom for seeking his protection. Seeking his protection presupposes and even demonstrates the subject’s loyalty to the Lord. In the psalms those who “take shelter” in the Lord are contrasted with the wicked and equated with those who love, fear and serve the Lord (Pss 5:11-12; 31:17-20; 34:21-22).

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 (cf. 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. Ps 18:2 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 Or “my elevated place.” The parallel version of this psalm in 2 Sam 22:3 adds at this point, “my refuge, my savior, [you who] save me from violence.”

7 sn The metaphor of the high ridge pictures God as a rocky, relatively inaccessible summit, where one would be able to find protection from enemies. See 1 Sam 23:25, 28.

8 tn Heb “name.” The Hebrew term שֵׁם (shem, “name”) refers here to the Lord’s reputation. (The English term “name” is often used the same way.)

9 tn The present translation assumes that the imperfect verbal forms are generalizing, “you lead me and guide me.” Other options are to take them as an expression of confidence about the future, “you will lead me and guide me” (cf. NASB), or as expressing a prayer, “lead me and guide me” (cf. NEB, NIV, NRSV).



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