18:7 The earth heaved and shook; 1
the roots of the mountains 2 trembled; 3
they heaved because he was angry.
18:8 Smoke ascended from 4 his nose; 5
fire devoured as it came from his mouth; 6
he hurled down fiery coals. 7
18:9 He made the sky sink 8 as he descended;
a thick cloud was under his feet.
18:10 He mounted 9 a winged angel 10 and flew;
he glided 11 on the wings of the wind. 12
18:11 He shrouded himself in darkness, 13
in thick rain clouds. 14
18:12 From the brightness in front of him came
hail and fiery coals. 15
18:13 The Lord thundered 16 in 17 the sky;
the sovereign One 18 shouted. 19
18:14 He shot his 20 arrows and scattered them, 21
many lightning bolts 22 and routed them. 23
18:15 The depths 24 of the sea 25 were exposed;
the inner regions 26 of the world were uncovered
by 27 your battle cry, 28 Lord,
by the powerful breath from your nose. 29
68:4 Sing to God! Sing praises to his name!
Exalt the one who rides on the clouds! 30
For the Lord is his name! 31
Rejoice before him!
68:5 He is a father to the fatherless
and an advocate for widows. 32
God rules from his holy palace. 33
68:6 God settles those who have been deserted in their own homes; 34
he frees prisoners and grants them prosperity. 35
But sinful rebels live in the desert. 36
68:7 O God, when you lead your people into battle, 37
when you march through the desert, 38 (Selah)
68:8 the earth shakes,
yes, the heavens pour down rain
before God, the God of Sinai, 39
before God, the God of Israel. 40
68:9 O God, you cause abundant showers to fall 41 on your chosen people. 42
When they 43 are tired, you sustain them, 44
68:10 for you live among them. 45
You sustain the oppressed with your good blessings, O God.
68:32 O kingdoms of the earth, sing to God!
Sing praises to the Lord, (Selah)
68:33 to the one who rides through the sky from ancient times! 46
Look! He thunders loudly. 47
68:34 Acknowledge God’s power, 48
his sovereignty over Israel,
and the power he reveals in the skies! 49
68:35 You are awe-inspiring, O God, as you emerge from your holy temple! 50
It is the God of Israel 51 who gives the people power and strength.
God deserves praise! 52
77:16 The waters 53 saw you, O God,
the waters saw you and trembled. 54
Yes, the depths of the sea 55 shook with fear. 56
77:17 The clouds poured down rain; 57
the skies thundered. 58
Yes, your arrows 59 flashed about.
77:18 Your thunderous voice was heard in the wind;
the lightning bolts lit up the world;
the earth trembled and shook. 60
77:19 You walked through the sea; 61
you passed through the surging waters, 62
but left no footprints. 63
1 sn The earth heaved and shook. The imagery pictures an earthquake in which the earth’s surface rises and falls. The earthquake motif is common in OT theophanies of God as warrior and in ancient Near Eastern literary descriptions of warring gods and kings. See R. B. Chisholm, “An Exegetical and Theological Study of Psalm 18/2 Samuel 22” (Th.D. diss., Dallas Theological Seminary, 1983), 160-62.
2 tn 2 Sam 22:8 has “heavens” which forms a merism with “earth” in the preceding line. The “foundations of the heavens” would be the mountains. However, the reading “foundations of the mountains” has a parallel in Deut 32:22.
3 tn In this poetic narrative context the prefixed verbal form is best understood as a preterite indicating past tense, not an imperfect. Note the three prefixed verbal forms with vav (ו) consecutive in the verse.
4 tn Heb “within”; or “[from] within.” For a discussion of the use of the preposition -בְּ (bÿ) here, see R. B. Chisholm, “An Exegetical and Theological Study of Psalm 18/2 Samuel 22” (Th.D. diss., Dallas Theological Seminary, 1983), 163-64.
5 tn Or “in his anger.” The noun אַף (’af) can carry the abstract meaning “anger,” but the parallelism (note “from his mouth”) suggests the more concrete meaning “nose” here. See also v. 15, “the powerful breath of your nose.”
6 tn Heb “fire from his mouth devoured.” In this poetic narrative context the prefixed verbal form is best understood as a preterite indicating past tense, not an imperfect. Note the two perfect verbal forms in the verse.
sn Fire devoured as it came from his mouth. For other examples of fire as a weapon in OT theophanies and ancient Near Eastern portrayals of warring gods and kings, see R. B. Chisholm, “An Exegetical and Theological Study of Psalm 18/2 Samuel 22” (Th.D. diss., Dallas Theological Seminary, 1983), 165-67.
7 tn Heb “coals burned from him.” Perhaps the psalmist pictures God’s fiery breath igniting coals (cf. Job 41:21), which he then hurls as weapons (cf. Ps 120:4).
8 tn The Hebrew verb נָטָה (natah) can carry the sense “[cause to] bend, bow down.” For example, Gen 49:15 pictures Issachar as a donkey that “bends” its shoulder or back under a burden. Here the
9 tn Or “rode upon.”
10 tn Heb “a cherub.” Because of the typical associations of the word “cherub” in English with chubby winged babies, the term has been rendered “winged angel” in the translation.
sn Winged angel (Heb “cherub”). Cherubs, as depicted in the OT, possess both human and animal (lion, ox, and eagle) characteristics (see Ezek 1:10; 10:14, 21; 41:18). They are pictured as winged creatures (Exod 25:20; 37:9; 1 Kgs 6:24-27; Ezek 10:8, 19) and serve as the very throne of God when the ark of the covenant is in view (Pss 80:1; 99:1; see Num 7:89; 1 Sam 4:4; 2 Sam 6:2; 2 Kgs 19:15). The picture of the
11 tc 2 Sam 22:11 reads “appeared” (from רָאָה, ra’ah); the relatively rare verb דָאָה (da’ah, “glide”) is more difficult and probably the original reading here in Ps 18.
12 sn The wings of the wind. Verse 10 may depict (1) the Lord riding a cherub, which is in turn propelled by the wind current. Another option (2) is that two different vehicles (a cherub and the wind) are envisioned. Yet another option (3) is that the wind is personified as a cherub. For a discussion of ancient Near Eastern parallels to the imagery in v. 10, see M. Weinfeld, “‘Rider of the Clouds’ and ‘Gatherer of the Clouds’,” JANESCU 5 (1973): 422-24.
13 tc Heb “he made darkness his hiding place around him, his covering.” 2 Sam 22:12 reads, “he made darkness around him coverings,” omitting “his hiding place” and pluralizing “covering.” Ps 18:11 may include a conflation of synonyms (“his hiding place” and “his covering”) or 2 Sam 22:12 may be the result of haplography/homoioarcton. Note that three successive words in Ps 18:11 begin with the Hebrew letter samek: סִתְרוֹ סְבִיבוֹתָיו סֻכָּתוֹ (sitro sÿvivotayv sukkato).
14 tc Heb “darkness of water, clouds of clouds.” The noun “darkness” (חֶשְׁכַת, kheshkhat) is probably a corruption of an original reading חשׁרת, a form that is preserved in 2 Sam 22:12. The latter is a construct form of חַשְׁרָה (khashrah, “sieve”) which occurs only here in the OT. A cognate Ugaritic noun means “sieve,” and a related verb חָשַׁר (khashar, “to sift”) is attested in postbiblical Hebrew and Aramaic. The phrase חַשְׁרַת מַיִם (khashrat mayim) means literally “a sieve of water.” It pictures the rain clouds as a sieve through which the rain falls to the ground (see F. M. Cross and D. N. Freedman, Studies in Ancient Yahwistic Poetry [SBLDS], 146, n. 33).
15 tc Heb “from the brightness in front of him his clouds came, hail and coals of fire.” 2 Sam 22:13 reads, “from the brightness in front of him burned coals of fire.” The Lucianic family of texts within the Greek tradition of 2 Sam 22:13 seems to assume the underlying Hebrew text: מנגה נגדו עברו ברד וגחלי אשׁ, “from the brightness in front of him came hail and coals of fire” (the basis for the present translation). The textual situation is perplexing and the identity of the original text uncertain. The verbs עָבָרוּ (’avaru; Ps 18:12) and בָּעֲרוּ (ba’aru; 2 Sam 22:13) appear to be variants involving a transposition of the first two letters. The noun עָבָיו (’avayv, “his clouds,” Ps 18:12) may be virtually dittographic (note the following עָבְרוּ, ’avru), or it could have accidentally dropped out from the text of 2 Sam 22:13 by virtual haplography (note the preceding בָּעֲרוּ, which might have originally read עָבְרוּ). The noun בָּרָד (barad, “hail,” Ps 18:12) may be virtually dittographic (note the preceding עָבְרוּ), or it could have dropped out from 2 Sam 22:13 by virtual haplography (note the preceding בָּעֲרוּ, which might have originally read עָבְרוּ). For a fuller discussion of the text and its problems, see R. B. Chisholm, “An Exegetical and Theological Study of Psalm 18/2 Samuel 22” (Th.D. diss., Dallas Theological Seminary, 1983), 74-76.
16 sn Thunder is a common motif in OT theophanies and in ancient Near Eastern portrayals of the storm god and warring kings. See R. B. Chisholm, “An Exegetical and Theological Study of Psalm 18/2 Samuel 22” (Th.D. diss., Dallas Theological Seminary, 1983), 179-83.
17 tn 2 Sam 22:14 has “from.”
18 tn Heb “the Most High.” This divine title (עֶלְיוֹן, ’elyon) pictures God as the exalted ruler of the universe who vindicates the innocent and judges the wicked. See especially Ps 47:2.
19 tc The text of Ps 18:13 adds at this point, “hail and coals of fire.” These words are probably accidentally added from v. 12b; they do not appear in 2 Sam 22:14.
tn Heb “offered his voice.” In this poetic narrative context the prefixed verbal form is best understood as a preterite indicating past tense, not an imperfect. Note the prefixed verbal form with vav (ו) consecutive in the preceding line.
20 tn 2 Sam 22:15 omits the pronominal suffix (“his”).
21 tn The pronominal suffixes on the verbs “scattered” and “routed” (see the next line) refer to the psalmist’s enemies. Some argue that the suffixes refer to the arrows, in which case one might translate “shot them far and wide” and “made them move noisily,” respectively. They argue that the enemies have not been mentioned since v. 4 and are not again mentioned until v. 17. However, usage of the verbs פוּץ (puts, “scatter”) and הָמַם (hamam, “rout”) elsewhere in Holy War accounts suggests the suffixes refer to enemies. Enemies are frequently pictured in such texts as scattered and/or routed (see Exod 14:24; 23:27; Num 10:35; Josh 10:10; Judg 4:15; 1 Sam 7:10; 11:11; Ps 68:1).
22 sn Lightning is a common motif in in OT theophanies and in ancient Near Eastern portrayals of the storm god and warring kings. See R. B. Chisholm, “An Exegetical and Theological Study of Psalm 18/2 Samuel 22” (Th.D. diss., Dallas Theological Seminary, 1983), 190-92.
23 tn Heb “lightning bolts, many.” 2 Sam 22:15 has simply “lightning” (בָּרָק, baraq). The identity of the word רָב (rav) in Ps 18:14 is problematic. (1) It may be a form of a rare verb רָבַב (ravav, “to shoot”), perhaps attested in Gen 49:23 as well. In this case one might translate, “he shot lightning bolts and routed them.” Other options include (2) understanding רָב (rav) as an adverbial use of the adjective, “lightning bolts in abundance,” or (3) emending the form to רַבּוּ (rabbu), from רָבַב (ravav, “be many”) or to רָבוּ (ravu), from רָבָה (ravah, “be many”) – both a haplography of the vav (ו); note the initial vav on the immediately following form – and translating “lightning bolts were in abundance.”
sn Arrows and lightning bolts are associated in other texts (see Pss 77:17-18; 144:6; Zech 9:14), as well as in ancient Near Eastern art (see R. B. Chisholm, “An Exegetical and Theological Study of Psalm 18/2 Samuel 22” [Th.D. diss., Dallas Theological Seminary, 1983], 187).
24 tn Or “channels.”
25 tc Ps 18:15 reads “water” (cf. Ps 42:1); “sea” is the reading of 2 Sam 22:16.
26 tn Or “foundations.”
27 tn Heb “from.” The preposition has a causal sense here.
28 tn The noun is derived from the verb גָּעַר (ga’ar), which is often understood to mean “rebuke.” In some cases it is apparent that scolding or threatening is in view (see Gen 37:10; Ruth 2:16; Zech 3:2). However, in militaristic contexts this translation is inadequate, for the verb refers in this setting to the warrior’s battle cry, which terrifies and paralyzes the enemy. See A. Caquot, TDOT 3:53, and note the use of the verb in Pss 68:30; 106:9; and Nah 1:4, as well as the related noun in Job 26:11; Pss 9:5; 76:6; 104:7; Isa 50:2; 51:20; 66:15.
29 tn 2 Sam 22:16 reads “by the battle cry of the
30 tn Traditionally the Hebrew term עֲרָבוֹת (’aravot) is taken as “steppe-lands” (often rendered “deserts”), but here the form is probably a homonym meaning “clouds.” Verse 33, which depicts God as the one who “rides on the sky” strongly favors this (see as well Deut 33:26), as does the reference in v. 9 to God as the source of rain. The term עֲרָבָה (’aravah, “cloud”) is cognate with Akkadian urpatu/erpetu and with Ugaritic ’rpt. The phrase rkb ’rpt (“one who rides on the clouds”) appears in Ugaritic mythological texts as an epithet of the storm god Baal. The nonphonemic interchange of the bilabial consonants b and p is attested elsewhere in roots common to Hebrew and Ugaritic, though the phenomenon is relatively rare.
31 tc Heb “in the
32 sn God is depicted here as a just ruler. In the ancient Near Eastern world a king was responsible for promoting justice, including caring for the weak and vulnerable, epitomized by the fatherless and widows.
33 tn Heb “God [is] in his holy dwelling place.” He occupies his throne and carries out his royal responsibilities.
34 tn Heb “God causes the solitary ones to dwell in a house.” The participle suggests this is what God typically does.
35 tn Heb “he brings out prisoners into prosperity.” Another option is to translate, “he brings out prisoners with singing” (cf. NIV). The participle suggests this is what God typically does.
36 tn Or “in a parched [land].”
sn God delivers the downtrodden and oppressed, but sinful rebels who oppose his reign are treated appropriately.
37 tn Heb “when you go out before your people.” The Hebrew idiom “go out before” is used here in a militaristic sense of leading troops into battle (see Judg 4:14; 9:39; 2 Sam 5:24).
38 sn When you march through the desert. Some interpreters think that v. 7 alludes to Israel’s exodus from Egypt and its subsequent travels in the desert. Another option is that v. 7, like v. 8, echoes Judg 5:4, which describes how the God of Sinai marched across the desert regions to do battle with Sisera and his Canaanite army.
39 tn Heb “this one of Sinai.” The phrase is a divine title, perhaps indicating that the
40 sn The language of vv. 7-8 is reminiscent of Judg 5:4-5, which tells how the God of Sinai came in the storm and annihilated the Canaanite forces led by Sisera. The presence of allusion does not mean, however, that this is a purely historical reference. The psalmist is describing God’s typical appearance as a warrior in terms of his prior self-revelation as ancient events are reactualized in the psalmist’s experience. (For a similar literary technique, see Hab 3.)
41 tn The verb נוּף (nuf, “cause rain to fall”) is a homonym of the more common נוּף (“brandish”).
42 tn Heb “[on] your inheritance.” This refers to Israel as God’s specially chosen people (see Pss 28:9; 33:12; 74:2; 78:62, 71; 79:1; 94:5, 14; 106:40). Some take “your inheritance” with what follows, but the vav (ו) prefixed to the following word (note וְנִלְאָה, vÿnil’ah) makes this syntactically unlikely.
43 tn Heb “it [is],” referring to God’s “inheritance.”
44 tn Heb “it,” referring to God’s “inheritance.”
45 tn The meaning of the Hebrew text is unclear; it appears to read, “your animals, they live in it,” but this makes little, if any, sense in this context. Some suggest that חָיָּה (khayah) is a rare homonym here, meaning “community” (BDB 312 s.v.) or “dwelling place” (HALOT 310 s.v. III *הַיָּה). In this case one may take “your community/dwelling place” as appositional to the third feminine singular pronominal suffix at the end of v. 9, the antecedent of which is “your inheritance.” The phrase יָשְׁבוּ־בָהּ (yashvu-vah, “they live in it”) may then be understood as an asyndetic relative clause modifying “your community/dwelling place.” A literal translation of vv. 9b-10a would be, “when it [your inheritance] is tired, you sustain it, your community/dwelling place in [which] they live.”
46 tc Heb “to the one who rides through the skies of skies of ancient times.” If the MT is retained, one might translate, “to the one who rides through the ancient skies.” (שְׁמֵי [shÿmey, “skies of”] may be accidentally repeated.) The present translation assumes an emendation to בַּשָּׁמַיִם מִקֶּדֶם (bashamayim miqqedem, “[to the one who rides] through the sky from ancient times”), that is, God has been revealing his power through the storm since ancient times.
47 tn Heb “he gives his voice a strong voice.” In this context God’s “voice” is the thunder that accompanies the rain (see vv. 8-9, as well as Deut 33:26).
48 tn Heb “give strength to God.”
49 sn The language of v. 34 echoes that of Deut 33:26.
50 tn Heb “awesome [is] God from his holy places.” The plural of מִקְדָּשׁ (miqdash, “holy places”) perhaps refers to the temple precincts (see Ps 73:17; Jer 51:51).
51 tn Heb “the God of Israel, he.”
52 tn Heb “blessed [be] God.”
53 tn The waters of the Red Sea are here personified; they are portrayed as seeing God and fearing him.
54 tn The prefixed verbal form may be taken as a preterite or as an imperfect with past progressive force.
55 tn The words “of the sea” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
56 tn The prefixed verbal form may be taken as a preterite or as an imperfect with past progressive force.
57 tn Heb “water.”
58 tn Heb “a sound the clouds gave.”
59 tn The lightning accompanying the storm is portrayed as the
60 tn The prefixed verbal form may be taken as a preterite or as an imperfect with past progressive force.
sn Verses 16-18 depict the
61 tn Heb “in the sea [was] your way.”
62 tn Heb “and your paths [were] in the mighty waters.”
63 tn Heb “and your footprints were not known.”