NETBible KJV GRK-HEB XRef Arts Hymns
  Discovery Box

Psalms 18:1-6

Context
Psalm 18 1 

For the music director; by the Lord’s servant David, who sang 2  to the Lord the words of this song when 3  the Lord rescued him from the power 4  of all his enemies, including Saul. 5 

18:1 He said: 6 

“I love 7  you, Lord, my source of strength! 8 

18:2 The Lord is my high ridge, 9  my stronghold, 10  my deliverer.

My God is my rocky summit where 11  I take shelter, 12 

my shield, the horn that saves me, 13  and my refuge. 14 

18:3 I called 15  to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, 16 

and I was delivered from my enemies.

18:4 The waves 17  of death engulfed me,

the currents 18  of chaos 19  overwhelmed me. 20 

18:5 The ropes of Sheol tightened around me, 21 

the snares of death trapped me. 22 

18:6 In my distress I called to the Lord;

I cried out to my God. 23 

From his heavenly temple 24  he heard my voice;

he listened to my cry for help. 25 

1 sn Psalm 18. In this long song of thanks, the psalmist (a Davidic king, traditionally understood as David himself) affirms that God is his faithful protector. He recalls in highly poetic fashion how God intervened in awesome power and delivered him from death. The psalmist’s experience demonstrates that God vindicates those who are blameless and remain loyal to him. True to his promises, God gives the king victory on the battlefield and enables him to subdue nations. A parallel version of the psalm appears in 2 Sam 22:1-51.

2 tn Heb “spoke.”

3 tn Heb “in the day,” or “at the time.”

4 tn Heb “hand.”

5 tn Heb “and from the hand of Saul.”

6 tn A number of translations (e.g., NASB, NIV, NRSV) assign the words “he said” to the superscription, in which case the entire psalm is in first person. Other translations (e.g., NAB) include the introductory “he said” at the beginning of v. 1.

7 tn The verb רָחַם (rakham) elsewhere appears in the Piel (or Pual) verbal stem with the basic meaning, “have compassion.” The verb occurs only here in the basic (Qal) stem. The basic stem of the verbal root also occurs in Aramaic with the meaning “love” (see DNWSI 2:1068-69; Jastrow 1467 s.v. רָחַם; G. Schmuttermayr, “rhm: eine lexikalische Studie,” Bib 51 [1970]: 515-21). Since this introductory statement does not appear in the parallel version in 2 Sam 22:1-51, it is possible that it is a later addition to the psalm, made when the poem was revised for use in worship.

8 tn Heb “my strength.” “Strength” is metonymic here, referring to the Lord as the one who bestows strength to the psalmist; thus the translation “my source of strength.”

9 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.

10 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.

11 tn Or “in whom.”

12 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).

13 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.

14 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.”

15 tn In this song of thanksgiving, where the psalmist recalls how the Lord delivered him, the prefixed verbal form is best understood as a preterite indicating past tense, not an imperfect.

16 tn Heb “worthy of praise, I cried out [to] the Lord.” Some take מְהֻלָּל (mÿhullal, “worthy of praise”) with what precedes and translate, “the praiseworthy one,” or “praiseworthy.” However, the various epithets in vv. 1-2 have the first person pronominal suffix, unlike מְהֻלָּל. If one follows the traditional verse division and takes מְהֻלָּל with what follows, it is best understood as substantival and as appositional to יְהוָה (yÿhvah): “[to the] praiseworthy one I cried out, [to the] Lord.”

17 tc Ps 18:4 reads “ropes,” while 2 Sam 22:5 reads “waves.” The reading of the psalm has been influenced by the next verse (note “ropes of Sheol”) and perhaps also by Ps 116:3 (where “ropes of death” appears, as here, with the verb אָפַף, ’afaf). However, the parallelism of v. 4 (note “currents” in the next line) favors the reading “waves.” While the verb אָפַף is used with “ropes” as subject in Ps 116:3, it can also be used with engulfing “waters” as subject (see Jonah 2:5). Death is compared to surging waters in v. 4 and to a hunter in v. 5.

18 tn The Hebrew noun נַחַל (nakhal) usually refers to a river or stream, but in this context the plural form likely refers to the currents of the sea (see vv. 15-16).

19 tn The noun בְלִיַּעַל (vÿliyyaal) is used here as an epithet for death. Elsewhere it is a common noun meaning “wickedness, uselessness.” It is often associated with rebellion against authority and other crimes that result in societal disorder and anarchy. The phrase “man/son of wickedness” refers to one who opposes God and the order he has established. The term becomes an appropriate title for death, which, through human forces, launches an attack against God’s chosen servant.

20 tn In this poetic narrative context the prefixed verbal form is best understood as a preterite indicating past tense, not an imperfect. (Note the perfect verbal form in the parallel/preceding line.) The verb בָּעַת (baat) sometimes by metonymy carries the nuance “frighten,” but the parallelism (see “engulfed”) favors the meaning “overwhelm” here.

21 tn Heb “surrounded me.”

22 tn Heb “confronted me.”

23 tn In this poetic narrative context the four prefixed verbal forms in v. 6 are best understood as preterites indicating past tense, not imperfects.

24 tn Heb “from his temple.” Verse 10, which pictures God descending from the sky, indicates that the heavenly temple is in view, not the earthly one.

25 tc Heb “and my cry for help before him came into his ears.” 2 Sam 22:7 has a shorter reading, “my cry for help, in his ears.” It is likely that Ps 18:6 MT as it now stands represents a conflation of two readings: (1) “my cry for help came before him,” (2) “my cry for help came into his ears.” See F. M. Cross and D. N. Freedman, Studies in Ancient Yahwistic Poetry (SBLDS), 144, n. 13.



TIP #25: What tip would you like to see included here? Click "To report a problem/suggestion" on the bottom of page and tell us. [ALL]
created in 0.07 seconds
powered by bible.org