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
92:10 You exalt my horn like that of a wild ox. 7
I am covered 8 with fresh oil.
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 horn of the wild ox is frequently a metaphor for military strength; the idiom “to exalt/lift up the horn” signifies military victory (see 1 Sam 2:10; Pss 75:10; 89:24; Lam 2:17).
8 tn The Hebrew verb בָּלַל (balal) usually has the nuance “to mix.” Here it seems to mean “to smear” or “to anoint.” Some emend the form to בַּלֹּתַנִי (ballotaniy; a second person form of the verb with a first person suffix) and read, “you anoint me.”