World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
The Lord Is My Rock and My Fortress
To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David, the servant of the Lord, who addressed the words of this song to the Lord on the day when the Lord rescued him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. He said:
1I love you, O Lord, my strength.
2The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised,
and I am saved from my enemies.
6In my distress I called upon the Lord;
to my God I cried for help.
From his temple he heard my voice,
and my cry to him reached his ears.
7Then the earth reeled and rocked;
the foundations also of the mountains trembled
and quaked, because he was angry.
8Smoke went up from his nostrils,22Or in his wrath
and devouring fire from his mouth;
glowing coals flamed forth from him.
9He bowed the heavens and came down;
thick darkness was under his feet.
10He rode on a cherub and flew;
he came swiftly on the wings of the wind.
11He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him,
thick clouds dark with water.
12Out of the brightness before him
hailstones and coals of fire broke through his clouds.
13The Lord 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;
he flashed forth lightnings and routed them.
15Then the channels of the sea were seen,
and the foundations of the world were laid bare
at your rebuke, O Lord,
at the blast of the breath of your nostrils.
16He sent from on high, he took me;
he drew me out of many waters.
17He rescued me from my strong enemy
and from those who hated me,
for they were too mighty for me.
18They confronted me in the day of my calamity,
but the Lord was my support.
19He brought me out into a broad place;
he rescued me, because he delighted in me.
20The Lord dealt with me according to my righteousness;
according to the cleanness of my hands he rewarded me.
21For I have kept the ways of the Lord,
and have not wickedly departed from my God.
22For all his rules33Or just decrees were before me,
and his statutes I did not put away from me.
23I was blameless before him,
and I kept myself from my guilt.
24So the Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.
25With the merciful you show yourself merciful;
with the blameless man you show yourself blameless;
26with the purified you show yourself pure;
and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous.
27For you save a humble people,
but the haughty eyes you bring down.
28For it is you who light my lamp;
the Lord my God lightens my darkness.
29For by you I can run against a troop,
and by my God I can leap over a wall.
30This God—his way is perfect;44Or blameless
the word of the Lord proves true;
he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.
31For who is God, but the Lord?
And who is a rock, except our God?—
32the God who equipped me with strength
and made my way blameless.
33He made my feet like the feet of a deer
and set me secure on the heights.
34He trains my hands for war,
so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35You have given me the shield of your salvation,
and your right hand supported me,
and your gentleness made me great.
36You gave a wide place for my steps under me,
and my feet did not slip.
37I pursued my enemies and overtook them,
and did not turn back till they were consumed.
38I thrust them through, so that they were not able to rise;
they fell under my feet.
39For you equipped me with strength for the battle;
you made those who rise against me sink under me.
40You made my enemies turn their backs to me,55Or You gave me my enemies' necks
and those who hated me I destroyed.
41They cried for help, but there was none to save;
they cried to the Lord, but he did not answer them.
42I beat them fine as dust before the wind;
I cast them out like the mire of the streets.
43You delivered me from strife with the people;
you made me the head of the nations;
people whom I had not known served me.
44As soon as they heard of me they obeyed me;
foreigners came cringing to me.
45Foreigners lost heart
and came trembling out of their fortresses.
46The Lord lives, and blessed be my rock,
and exalted be the God of my salvation—
47the God who gave me vengeance
and subdued peoples under me,
48who delivered me from my enemies;
yes, you exalted me above those who rose against me;
you rescued me from the man of violence.
49For this I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations,
and sing to your name.
50Great salvation he brings to his king,
and shows steadfast love to his anointed,
to David and his offspring forever.
The point on which David insists so much is, that of showing from the effect or issue, that all his victories were to be traced to the favor of God; and from this it follows that his cause was good and just. God, no doubt, sometimes grants successes even to the ungodly and wicked; but he at length shows by the issue, that he was all the while opposed to them and their enemy. It is his servants alone who experience such tokens of his favor as he shewed towards David, and he intends by these to testify that they are approved and accepted by him. We are apt to think that David here speaks too much after the manner of a soldier, in declaring that he will not cease from the work of slaughter until he has destroyed all his enemies; or rather that he has forgotten the gentleness and meekness which ought to shine in all true believers, and in which they should resemble their heavenly Father; but as he attempted nothing without the command of God, and as his affections were governed and regulated by the Holy Spirit, we may be assured that these are not the words of a man who was cruel, and who took pleasure in shedding blood, but of a man who faithfully executed the judgment which God had committed to him. And, indeed, we know that he was so distinguished for gentleness of disposition as to abhor the shedding of even a single drop of blood, except in so far as duty and the necessity of his office required. We must, therefore, take into consideration David’s vocation, and also his pure zeal, which was free from all perturbation of the flesh. Moreover, it should be particularly attended to that the Psalmist here calls those his enemies whose indomitable and infatuated obstinacy merited and called forth such vengeance from God. As he represented the person of Christ, he inflicted the punishment of death only on those who were so inflexible that they could not be reduced to order by the exercise of a mild and humane authority; and this of itself shows, that there was nothing in which he more delighted than to pardon those who repented and reformed themselves. He thus resembled Christ, who gently allures all men to repentance, but breaks in pieces, with his iron rod, those who obstinately resist him to the last. The sum of these verses is, that David, as he fought under the authority of God, being chosen king by him, and engaging in no undertaking without his warrant, was assisted by him, and rendered invincible against the assaults of all his enemies, and enabled even to discomfit vast and very powerful armies. Farther, let us remember, that under this type there is shadowed forth the invincible character and condition of the kingdom of Christ, who, trusting to, and sustained by, the power of God, overthrows and destroys his enemies, — who, in every encounter, uniformly comes off victorious, — and who continues king in spite of all the resistance which the world makes to his authority and power. And as the victories secured to him involve a security of similar victories to us, it follows that there is here promised us an impregnable defense against all the efforts of Satan, all the machinations of sin, and all the temptations of the flesh. Although, therefore, Christ can only obtain a tranquil kingdom by fighting, let us not on that account be troubled, but let it be enough to satisfy us, that the hand of God is always ready to be stretched forth for its preservation. David was, for a time, a fugitive, so that it was with difficulty he could save his life, by taking shelter in the dens of wild beasts; but God, at length, made his enemies turn their backs, and not only put them to flight, but also delivered them over to him, that he might pursue and utterly discomfit them. In like manner, our enemies for a time may be, as it were, just ready to put the knife to our throat 431431 “Comme tous prests a nous mettre le cousteau sur la gorge.” — Fr. to destroy us, but God, at length, will make them not only to flee before us, but also to perish in our presence, as they deserve. At the same time, let us remember what kind of warfare it is to which God is calling us, against what kind of persons he will have us to contend, and with what armor he furnishes us, that it may suffice us to have the devil, the flesh, and sin overthrown and placed under our feet by his spiritual power. With respect to those to whom he has given the power of the sword, he will also defend them, and not suffer them to be unrighteously opposed, provided they reign under Christ, and acknowledge him as their head. As to the words, interpreters almost unanimously render the beginning of the 40th verse, My enemies have turned the back, a phrase of the same import as, They have been put to flight; but as the Hebrew word ערף, oreph, properly signifies the head or neck, we may very suitably view the words as meaning that God gave David the neck of his enemies, inasmuch as he delivered them into his hands to be slain.