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18. Psalm 18
1I love thee, O Jehovah, my strength.
2Jehovah is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer;
My God, my rock, in whom I will take refuge;
My shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower.
3I will call upon Jehovah, who is worthy to be praised:
So shall I be saved from mine enemies.
4The cords of death compassed me,
And the floods of ungodliness made me afraid.
5The cords of Sheol were round about me;
The snares of death came upon me.
6In my distress I called upon Jehovah,
And cried unto my God:
He heard my voice out of his temple,
And my cry before him came into his ears.
7Then the earth shook and trembled;
The foundations also of the mountains quaked
And were shaken, because he was wroth.
8There went up a smoke out of his nostrils,
And fire out of his mouth devoured:
Coals were kindled by it.
9He bowed the heavens also, and came down;
And thick darkness was under his feet.
10And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly;
Yea, he soared upon the wings of the wind.
11He made darkness his hiding-place, his pavilion round about him,
Darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies.
12At the brightness before him his thick clouds passed,
Hailstones and coals of fire.
13Jehovah also thundered in the heavens,
And the Most High uttered his voice,
Hailstones and coals of fire.
14And he sent out his arrows, and scattered them;
Yea, lightnings manifold, and discomfited them.
15Then the channels of waters appeared,
And the foundations of the world were laid bare,
At thy rebuke, O Jehovah,
At the blast of the breath of thy nostrils.
16He sent from on high, he took me;
He drew me out of many waters.
17He delivered me from my strong enemy,
And from them that hated me; for they were too mighty for me.
18They came upon me in the day of my calamity;
But Jehovah was my stay.
19He brought me forth also into a large place;
He delivered me, because he delighted in me.
20Jehovah hath rewarded me according to my righteousness;
According to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.
21For I have kept the ways of Jehovah,
And have not wickedly departed from my God.
22For all his ordinances were before me,
And I put not away his statutes from me.
23I was also perfect with him,
And I kept myself from mine iniquity.
24Therefore hath Jehovah recompensed me according to my righteousness,
According to the cleanness of my hands in his eyesight.
25With the merciful thou wilt show thyself merciful;
With the perfect man thou wilt show thyself perfect;
26With the pure thou wilt show thyself pure;
And with the perverse thou wilt show thyself froward.
27For thou wilt save the afflicted people;
But the haughty eyes thou wilt bring down.
28For thou wilt light my lamp:
Jehovah my God will lighten my darkness.
29For by thee I run upon a troop;
And by my God do I leap over a wall.
30As for God, his way is perfect:
The word of Jehovah is tried;
He is a shield unto all them that take refuge in him.
31For who is God, save Jehovah?
And who is a rock, besides our God,
32The God that girdeth me with strength,
And maketh my way perfect?
33He maketh my feet like hinds' feet:
And setteth me upon my high places.
34He teacheth my hands to war;
So that mine arms do bend a bow of brass.
35Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation;
And thy right hand hath holden me up,
And thy gentleness hath made me great.
36Thou hast enlarged my steps under me,
And my feet have not slipped.
37I will pursue mine enemies, and overtake them;
Neither will I turn again till they are consumed.
38I will smite them through, so that they shall not be able to rise:
They shall fall under my feet.
39For thou hast girded me with strength unto the battle:
Thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me.
40Thou hast also made mine enemies turn their backs unto me,
That I might cut off them that hate me.
41They cried, but there was none to save;
Even unto Jehovah, but he answered them not.
42Then did I beat them small as the dust before the wind;
I did cast them out as the mire of the streets.
43Thou hast delivered me from the strivings of the people;
Thou hast made me the head of the nations:
A people whom I have not known shall serve me.
44As soon as they hear of me they shall obey me;
The foreigners shall submit themselves unto me.
45The foreigners shall fade away,
And shall come trembling out of their close places.
46Jehovah liveth; and blessed be my rock;
And exalted be the God of my salvation,
47Even the God that executeth vengeance for me,
And subdueth peoples under me.
48He rescueth me from mine enemies;
Yea, thou liftest me up above them that rise up against me;
Thou deliverest me from the violent man.
49Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O Jehovah, among the nations,
And will sing praises unto thy name.
50Great deliverance giveth he to his king,
And showeth lovingkindness to his anointed,
To David and to his seed, for evermore.
13. Jehovah thundered. David here repeats the same thing in different words, declaring that God thundered from heaven; and he calls the thunder the yoke of God, that we may not suppose it is produced merely by chance or by natural causes, independent of the appointment and will of God. Philosophers, it is true, are well acquainted with the intermediate or secondary causes, from which the thunder proceeds, namely, that when the cold and humid vapours obstruct the dry and hot exhalations in their course upwards, a collision takes place, and by this, together with the noise of the clouds rushing against each other, is produced the rumbling thunder-peal. 405405 “De ce combat et aussi du bruit des nuees allans l’une contre l’autre, se fait un son.” — Fr. But David, in describing the phenomena of the atmosphere, rises, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, above the mere phenomena themselves, and represents God to us as the supreme governor of the whole, who, at his will, penetrates into the hidden veins of the earth, and thence draws forth exhalations; who then, dividing them into different sorts, disperses them through the air; who again collects the vapours together, and sets them in conflict with the subtile and dry heats, so that the thunder which follows seems to be a loud pealing voice proceeding from his own mouth. The song in 2nd Samuel also contains the repetition to which we have referred in the commencement of our remarks on this verse; but the sense of this and the preceding verse, and of the corresponding verses in Samuel, are entirely similar. We should remember what I have said before, that David, under these figures, describes to us the dreadful power of God, the better to exalt and magnify the divine grace, which was manifested in his deliverance. He declares a little after, that this was his intention; for, when speaking of his enemies, he says, (verse 14,) that they were scattered, or put to flight, by the arrows of God; as if he had said, They have been overthrown, not by the hands or swords of men, but by God, who openly launched his thunderbolts against them. Not that he means to affirm that this happened literally, but he speaks in this metaphorical language, because those who were uninstructed and slow to acknowledge the power of God, 406406 “Et tardifs a reconnaistre la vertu de Dieu.” — Fr. could not otherwise be brought to perceive that God was the author of his deliverance. The import of his words is, Whoever does not acknowledge that I have been preserved by the hand of God, may as well deny that it is God who thunders from heaven, and abolish his power which is manifested in the whole order of nature, and especially in those wonderful changes which we see taking place in the atmosphere. As God shoots lightnings as if they were arrows, the Psalmist has, in the first place, employed this metaphor; and then he has expressed the thing simply by its proper name.