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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.

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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.




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