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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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8. There went up a smoke by [or out of] his nostrils, etc The Hebrew word אף, aph, properly signifies the nose, or the nostrils. But as it is sometimes taken metaphorically for wrath, some translate it thus, There went up a smoke in his wrath, which, in my opinion, is not at all appropriate. David compares the mists and vapours which darken the air to the thick smoke which a man sends forth from his nostrils when he is angry. And when God, by his very breath, covers the heaven with clouds, and taking away from us the brightness of the sun and of all the stars, overwhelms us in darkness, by this we are very impressively taught how dreadful is his wrath. By the rendering which I have given, the figure here strikingly harmonises with the one in the clause which immediately follows, namely, that fire proceeding from his mouth consumed The Psalmist means, that God, without great labor or effort, as soon as he shall have sent forth a breath or blast from his nostrils, and opened his mouth, will kindle such a fire that its smoke will darken the whole world, and its intense heat devour it. What he adds, Coals were kindled by it, serves to distinguish this dreadful fire from a flame which blazes for a moment, and then is extinguished. The bowing of the heavens, denotes a time when the heavens are covered and obscured with clouds. When dense vapours occupy the middle of the air, the clouds seem to us to come down and to lie upon our heads. And not only so, but the majesty of God then approaching, as it were, nearer us, strikes us with dread dismay, and greatly distresses us, although before, when the sky was fair, agreeable, and tranquil, we took ample scope, and enjoyed ourselves with much gaiety. Again, let us remember, that the Scripture, under these descriptions of a clouded and darkened sky, pourtray to us the anger of God. When the sky is clear and unclouded, it seems as if it were the pleasant and benignant countenance of God beaming upon us, and causing us to rejoice; whereas, on the other hand, when the atmosphere is troubled, we feel a depression of the animal spirits which constrains us to look sad, as if we saw God coming against us with a threatening aspect. At the same time, we are taught that no change takes place either in the atmosphere or in the earth, but what is a witness to us of the presence of God.




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