George Booker
Psalms Studies - Book 1

Psalm 18

1. Structure

1- 3.
Confidence in God
4- 6.
A crisis of trial
Answer in prayer: a Theophany
The integrity of God’s Servant
Triumph over enemies

From v. 25 onward nearly all the verbs are future tenses. See the RV on this.

2. Title

Psalm 18 has an unusually full historical title. This sets the psalm somewhere between 2 Samuel 6 and 11 — for it is inconceivable that vv. 22-24 were written after the time of his great lapse, and the allusions in the second half of the psalm to the northern tribes and Gentile enemies require that David be king in Jerusalem when writing these words.

But, remarkably, even this title is markedly Messianic: A psalm of the Beloved, the Servant of the Lord, who spake unto the Lord the words of this song in the day that the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Sheol. (The manuscripts were originally written without vowel points; thus the words “Saul” and “Sheol” were identical in form.)

It is interesting to note that this psalm title is an unmistakable echo of 2 Samuel 3:18, and is also itself quoted in the inspired song of Zacharias with reference to the Messiah (Luke 1:71); so also “a horn of salvation” and “his servant David” (v. 2 and title) = Luke 1:69.

Psalm 18 occurs also in its historical setting in 2 Samuel 22 (note that chs. 20-24 form a miscellaneous collection of records not in chronological order). Certain small differences in text are discernible between the two versions. Is this due to textual corruption, or is there some other explanation?

Before the date of this psalm “Servant of the Lord” was a title given only to Moses (Deut. 34:5; Josh. 1:1,2) and Joshua (Josh. 24:29) — the deliverer from bondage, and the conqueror of the Land of Promise. Later, in Isaiah, the same title describes Hezekiah and the Messiah whom he foreshadowed. Then, of course, there is Philippians 2:7:

“But [he] made of himself no reputation, and took upon himself the form of a servant.”

3. Dependence upon other passages

A careful consideration of Psalm 18 reveals that it is built upon earlier Scriptures, giving further insight into the faith of David. His confidence in God, and his understanding of the work of the Lord in his life, was founded upon his knowledge of the word of God.

In particular, two special passages suggest themselves: Deuteronomy 32 and 1 Samuel 2: the Song of Moses and the Song of Hannah. Hannah’s Song (which David probably learned from his mentor Samuel) draws figures from the Song of Moses, and is in turn quarried for David’s meditation of faith.

Deuteronomy 32
1 Samuel 2
Psalm 18
“He is the Rock” (vv. 4,15,18,30,31)
“Neither is there any Rock like our God” (v. 2)
“The Lord is my rock” (vv. 2,31,46)
“His work is perfect” (v. 4)

“As for God, his way is perfect” (v. 30)
“A perverse and crooked generation” (v. 5)

“With the froward (s.w.) thou wilt show thyself froward” (v. 26)
“For a fire is kindled in mine anger (lit. nostrils)” (v. 22)

“There went up a smoke out of his nostrils” (v. 8)
“To me belongeth vengeance....their foot shall slide in due time” (v. 35)
“He will keep the feet of his saints” (v. 9)
“He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet did not slip” (vv. 33-36)
“I kill, and I make alive” (v. 39)

“The Lord killeth and maketh alive” (v. 6)

“The bows of the mighty men are broken” (v. 4)
“A bow of steel is broken by mine arms” (v. 34)

“They that stumble are girded with strength” (v. 4)
“For thou hast girded me with strength” (v. 39)

“My horn is exalted in the Lord” (v. 1; cp. v. 8)
“Thy gentleness hath made me great” (v. 35)

As to the dependence of Psalm 18 upon Genesis 49, see Par. 6.

4. Historical background

Rock is Sela, strength or refuge. Hence, there is no further need for “Selah” in Psa. 18!

My strength is really My Rock (Hebrew Tsur), with reference to the altar-rock which had been the threshing floor of Araunah the Jebusite: 2 Sam. 24:18-25. The title Tsur is used of God in vv. 31,46; 28:1; 62:2,7; 78:35; etc.

The horn of my salvation: 132:17. Those in danger of death at the hand of an avenger fled for mercy to the horns of the altar (1 Kings 1:50; 2:28; Exod. 21:14).
The sorrows (cords: mg.) of death compassed me. Probably another hunting metaphor: a circle of nets (cp. 17:9-13).
His temple implies some time after 2 Sam. 6, when the Tabernacle was set up in mount Zion.
In answer to the desperate prayer God manifested Himself in a marvellous “theophany”: vivid brightness, intense darkness, and a mighty voice, as at Sinai. But identification of the occasion when this happened is virtually impossible.
Speak very clearly of an extraordinary deliverance. But it is difficult to identify with. Perhaps the singular and plural in v. 17 refer to Saul and the later Gentile adversaries described in 2 Sam. 8.
A large place suggests that David is commemorating his deliverance from the dens and caves of the rocks: v. 36; 31:8.
The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me. This verse is apt commentary on such passages as 1 Sam. 24:19. These verses (20-24) describe the righteousness of David relative to his adversaries. But there is that sinister phrase in v. 23: I kept myself from mine iniquity — it was only through the effort of Abigail, in a desperate attempt to avert David’s hostility from her husband Nabal (1 Sam. 25:23), that even the righteous David was spared from such guilt.
In this section of the psalm there are several indirect allusions to certain of the tribes of Israel: see Par. 6. These references are appropriate to the gathering of all twelve tribes in loyalty to David: 2 Sam. 5:1-3.
In this section, Vindication! David’s own personal experiences are traceable somewhat more readily:
The afflicted people makes a possible link with 2 Samuel 8, when David’s new Kingdom was grievously beset by a host of Gentile enemies.
My candle. David is called the “light (or lamp) of Israel” in 2 Sam. 21:17 (cp. 1 Kings 11:36 and 15:4). Psa. 132:17 speaks of “a lamp for mine anointed”, in a psalm which repeats David’s resolve to see a worthy sanctuary of the Lord in Zion.
A vivid description of the shock-tactics, the sudden assaults, used by General David against the Philistines. Compare also the exploits of David’s “mighty men” in 2 Sam. 23.

By thee I have run through a troop links with David’s victory over the marauding Amalekites in 1 Sam. 30:15,17. (As in v. 33, David and his men are seen to be fighting on foot, while from the time of Solomon onward the kings of Israel resorted most often to chariots for war: 1 Kings 22:34; 2 Kings 9:21.)

By my God have I leaped over a wall. Is this the taking of the Jebusite stronghold (2 Sam. 5)?
A rock....our God, alluding to the site of the altar of burnt-offering: 2 Sam. 24:18-25.
The historical background to this section is, on the whole, 2 Samuel 8: when David’s new kingdom was in danger of being overwhelmed by a host of enemies (see Psa. 60 and comments). But here and there David seems to look back to the evil days of Saul’s hostility.
Pursued....overtaken. This is surely 1 Sam. 30:8.
They cried unto the Lord...but he answered them not. This can only refer to David’s enemies among his own people — Saul, for example: 1 Sam. 28:6. Compare: the strivings of the people: LXX: contentions, railings; and here the word for people is the word which normally describes Israel.
It is God that avengeth me, and subdueth the people under me. 1 Sam. 24:12: God as the Avenger of David:

“The Lord judge between me and thee, and the Lord avenge me of thee: but mine hand shall not be upon thee.”

5. Messianic reference

I will love thee. This Hebrew verb links with the word for “womb”. A hint of the Virgin Birth? Compare Psa. 22:10.

My strength echoes the name Hezekiah. The concluding verses of the psalm may be his.
Seven wonderful ascriptions of praise to God. Time after time God was the providential “rock” and “fortress” for Jesus when he was threatened by his enemies (Luke 4:30; John 8:59; 10:39).

In whom I will trust is quoted concerning Messiah in Heb. 2:13. This particular Hebrew word comes 24 times in the Book of Psalms, an indication of the need of Christ to lean in faith on his Father.
It may be difficult to identify the precise crisis of danger or trouble in the early part of David’s reign to which these verses relate; but no such difficulty arises regarding the Lord Jesus.
RV: Cords of death is explained in 118:27 as a figure for sacrifice: especially the sacrifice of Christ (cp. LXX and Acts 2:24: “the pains of death”).

Floods is a different figure of speech, as in the “many waters” of v. 16. Another Messianic psalm applies it very powerfully to the death of Christ: 69:1,2,14,15.

Ungodly: Belial, one meaning of which may be “The Lord of Night” (cp. 2 Sam. 23:6, another Messianic context).
In my distress I called upon the Lord. True of both Gethsemane (Heb. 5:7) and Golgotha, but the context here requires the second of these.

I cried unto my God: “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani” (Psa. 22:1).

He heard my voice out of his temple, hence the rending of the veil of the temple — from top to bottom, that is, by divine and not human or “natural” agency (Matt. 27:51; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45).
Few of the descriptions of a manifestation of God can compare in impressiveness with this. The details show that it belongs to the time of the Crucifixion. Specially important is the paradox of contrasting phrases: there is both (a) darkness, and (b) vivid brightness:

A smoke out of his nostrils: 8.
Darkness under his feet: 9.
Darkness his secret place: 11.
His pavilion: dark waters and thick clouds of the skies: 11.
His thick clouds: 12.

Coals kindled by it: 8.
The brightness that was before him: 12.
Hailstones and coals of fire: 12,13.
He shot out lightnings: 14.

This is reminiscent of Sinai but especially of Israel’s deliverance from Egypt (Exod. 14:20), and also of God’s Covenant with Abraham (Gen. 15:7). The Shekinah Glory of God was darkness to the Egyptians, but brightness and light to the Hebrews. Now, similarly, at the crucifixion there was a like theophany on behalf of the Son of God. “There was darkness over all the land from the sixth to the ninth hour” (Matt. 27:45), expressing God’s anger with His enemies. But there was brightness and light for Jesus. John Thomas (Phanerosis, p. 57) applies this paragraph to the Second Coming. It is true, of course, that then Jesus will come “in the glory of his Father” (Matt. 16:27). But the context here (esp. vv. 4-6) calls for a different reference.
The earth shook and trembled... because he was wroth. Shook and trembled provide a superb assonance in Hebrew: wayyigash/wayyirash. Earthquake is an expression of the wrath of God: Job 9:5,6; Isa. 2:19,21; Ezek. 38:18-20; Hag. 2:6,21; Heb. 12:26; Acts 16:25,26. There was no greater wrath than at the crucifixion of God’s Son: Matt. 27:51.
Smoke is connected with the Shekinah cloud in Gen. 15:17; Isa. 6:4; Joel 2:30.

Fire out of his mouth may have been a further expression of divine anger: Deut. 32:22; cp. also Rev. 19:15. But not so for Jesus, for whom it was the comforting presence of his Father.

Coals of fire kindled a rededication in the crucified malefactor, as with Isaiah the prophet: Isa. 6:6,7 (and perhaps Rom. 12:20).
He bowed the heavens and came down. The thick rolling clouds of the approaching storm would seem literally to bring heaven down to the earth. So this is possibly equivalent to “a door opened in heaven” (Rev. 4:1). Certainly it is the language of “theophany”: a divine manifestation, as in Gen. 11:5; 18:21; Exod. 3:7,8; 19:11,18,20; Isa. 64:1.
He rode in a chariot (Heb.): cp. 1 Chron. 28:18: “the chariot of the cherubim”.

And did fly upon eagles’ wings: Ezek. 1:6-9.

Upon the wings of the wind. But in Hebrew “wind” is also “Spirit”. Compare Deut. 33:26; Psa. 68:33; 104:3; Nah. 1:3.
His secret place. Protection for Joshua/Jesus: 91:1,4.
The brightness that was before him. The Hebrew word nogah always refers to the Shekinah Glory (Isa. 4:5; 60:3,19; Ezek. 1:4,13, 27,28; 10:4; Hab. 3:4,11). LXX has a word for “far-shining, conspicuous from a distance”. The only New Testament occurrence is in Mark 8:25. But here the special force of the word is of sacrifice accepted (Psa. 80:1). What better assurance could Jesus have as he hung on the cross? It should not be supposed that at the crucifixion Jesus was really deserted by his Father. Even the words which seem to point this way (22:1) are immediately set in true perspective in v. 24. Under the Law the evidence of the sacrifice was always to be brought before the Lord — blood poured out at the base of the altar of burnt-offering, blood on the horns of the altar of incense, blood before the veil, blood on the mercy-seat itself. In the death of Jesus, this supreme sacrifice could not be brought into the temple, so instead the veil was rent and the Glory of the Lord came to Jesus!
The Lord thundered. As in John 12:29 the Father spoke reassuringly to His Son on the cross. Note the parallelism: his voice.
How many conceive of violent storm at the crucifixion?

Discomfited: s.w. Exod. 14:24: “The Lord troubled the host of the Egyptians.”
The foundations of the world were discovered. This is the earthquake of Matt. 27:51,52. And by the resurrection of these saints on the third day it was demonstrated that the merits of the Lord’s sacrifice and the power of his resurrection are not only prospective in their force (to apply even to believers today), but also are retrospective, right back to Adam the “foundation” of mankind (Rom. 3:25; Heb. 9:15; consider the symbolism of Josh. 3:14-17).

The blast of thy nostrils. Remarkably, this LXX word comes only in Acts 9:1. What a contrast! But Saul of Tarsus certainly thought himself to be the righteous anger of God at work.

The breath of thy nostrils, as in Isa 40:7.
He sent....took....drew me out of many waters. The key words are the same as in Exod. 2:5,10: deliverance of the Deliverer, that he might then deliver others!
These verses, as describing the deliverance of Christ, require no commentary. In v. 17 the singular and plural are the power of Sin (Heb. 2:14; Rom. 7:17,20) and of Sin’s disciples, the Jewish rulers (John 15:25).
He delivered me because he delighted in me. This is the Divine answer to the derisive statement of Matt. 27:43: “Let [God] deliver him, now, if he will have him.” He did! Compare also Psa. 22:8.
Concerning Jesus, the references to righteousness are strictly and literally true: John 4:34; 6:38; 8:46; 1 Pet. 2:22; Heb. 4:15; 7:26; 2 Cor. 5:21; 1 John 3:5; Isa. 53:9,11. But so also are the words: I kept myself from mine iniquity, for there was in him the legacy of a propensity to sin which is the lot of all who are in Adam. For the strange paradox of righteousness and “sin” in the suffering Messiah, see 25:11,15; 38:1,3,5,20; 40:8,10,12; 41:4,12; 86:2,5,11.
With an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright. And, conversely, God’s ways do not appear right to those who themselves are not upright: cp. Matt. 25:24; 27:5.
With the froward: Lev. 26:23,24,27,28. Also, Prov. 3:34.

Thou wilt shew thyself froward. More correctly, wilt wrestle — an allusion to Gen. 32:24, the only other Old Testament occurrence, to which Eph. 6:12 also refers. Consider Christ’s rebukes of Peter.
The vindication of God’s Messiah leads on to a sustained picture of triumph over his enemies.
For thou wilt light my candle. Compare Mic. 7:8; Rev. 21:23 (contrast Rev. 18:23).

The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness. A Hebrew word which always refers to the Glory of the Lord: v. 12, s.w. nogah.
For by thee I have run through a troop. The angel of God striking down the soldiers assigned to guard the tomb of Jesus, so that he might escape the “prison” of death (Matt. 28:2,4).

And by my God have I leaped over a wall. Eph. 2:14 and context impart a splendid meaning to this enigmatic phrase: the wall of legalistic separation between Jews and Gentiles, and of course the wall of division between God and man.
RV: My arm can bend a bow of bronze. Actual metal bows (most likely, wooden bows strengthened with strips of metal) were often used in Bible times (as in Job 20:24). This is parallel to Gen. 49:24, where it is said of ‘Joseph’ that God makes his arms strong. More specifically, this is a description of Christ, like Joseph the son favored over all his brethren, the son of man whom God made strong for Himself (80:1,15,17).
And thy right hand hath holden me up. Christ is the Son of the right hand of God (Psa. 80 again). After his redemptive work, he is now seated on the right hand of his Father (110:1; Acts 2:33). The right hand is the hand of strength (Psa. 20:6), righteousness (Psa. 48:10), authority (Isa. 62:8), and fellowship (Psa. 16:11; Gal. 2:9).
They are fallen under my feet: Psa. 8:6; Matt. 28:18; 1 Cor. 15:27; Gen. 3:15!
They cried, but there was none to save them: even unto the Lord, but he answered them not. How bitterly this was fulfilled in A.D. 70, and many a time since then. Contrast v. 6.
Thou hast made me the head of the heathen (nations, Gentiles)! Compare Isa.45:22,23; 49:6; 52:15; 55:3-5.
The strangers shall submit themselves is, literally: shall yield feigned obedience, or “come cringing” (NEB) — which is precisely the situation envisaged in Psa. 2:2,3 when Messiah is already king on mount Zion. Compare the figure of speech in 81:15; 66:3; Deut. 33:29, mg.
NIV: They all lose heart; they come trembling from their strong-holds. Mic. 7:17 uses very similar language about Messiah’s day of wrath.
It is God that avengeth me, and subdueth the people under me. Here is an anticipation of the Son’s ultimate subjection to the Father: 1 Cor. 15:28.
Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O Lord, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name. Paul quotes this verse in Rom. 15:9 (along with Deut. 30:43; Psa. 117:1; Isa. 11:10) as proof that Gentiles are to have a share in the gospel. The implicit argument is this: If Gentiles are to take part willingly and gladly in the great Messianic thanksgiving in the Kingdom, must not their thanksgiving look back joyfully to their earlier redemption from ignorance and sin? The theme is continued in 19:4,6. See Par. 4.
Great deliverance is really salvations, an intensive plural anticipating the name Jesus, just as Anointed is the same as Christ. For this same combination see 28:8.

And sheweth mercy to his anointed, to David, and to his seed for evermore. An allusion to the great promise made to David in 2 Sam. 7:13. There can be but one true “Seed” of David (cp. Gal. 3:16).

6. Other details

Omitted in 2 Sam. 22.
Fortress. Metsudah is a mighty fortress from which military campaigns might be launched. It is applied to Zion in 2 Sam. 5:7,9,17 and 1 Chron. 11:5,7,16. Translated “bulwark” (Eccl. 9:14; Deut. 20:20), “munition” (Isa. 29:7; 33:16; Nah. 2:1), “stronghold” (2 Sam. 5:7), and “castle” (1 Chron. 11:5,7). Thus God is both the place of defense (Sela), and the place from which a victorious attack may be launched. In Psalms, metsudah occurs in 31:3; 66:11; 71:3; 91:2; 144:2.

In whom I will trust = “To whom I will flee for refuge”.
God is the “Rock” (cp. v. 46) upon which man builds his “house” of faith, so as to survive the floods (cp. also v. 15). The source of Christ’s parable in Matt. 7:24-27?
Hell = Sheol.
He heard my voice out of his temple. Heaven is the temple, or dwelling place, of Jehovah; but He dwells also in the most holy place, to which David is turning his attention: Psa. 11:4. In the sanctuary, God is surrounded by the thick darkness (v 11). In Psa. 20:2,6; 2 Chron. 7:1; and Lev. 9:24, “heaven” is parallel to God’s “sanctuary”. The “door in heaven” (Rev. 4:1) is parallel to the “heavenly places” (Eph. 1:3) — i.e. an insight into the fortunes of God’s saints, whom He protects and tries (Psa. 11:4,5).
A great earthquake is also coupled with the cherubim and the salvation of God in 68:7,8; 77:14-20; 114:6,7. This section bears a great resemblance to Hab. 3, in which the Holy One is pictured as coming in clouds. The Psalmist (as Habakkuk also) sees a re-creation of God’s glory in the march of the avenging cherubim. Many other Last Days prophecies mention the cloud, possibly the dark cloud to obscure the Shekinah Glory of Jehovah: Joel 2:2; Zeph. 1:15; Ezek. 30:3; Isa. 19:1; 25:5; Rev. 1:7. The revelation of God in His glory is shown against the background of an awesome storm.
What is the derivation of the Hebrew cherub? Does anyone really know? One possibility: “cherub” = kerab: the conjunction of two Hebrew words: (a) ke: the likeness of; and (b) rab: greatness, or a great number (cp. “Rabbi”). Thus cherubim (the plural) signifies a great and mighty multitude, in whom God is manifested. This might refer to an angelic company or the company of the redeemed. All of the places of worship have cherubim associated with them (Gen. 3:24; Exod. 25:13-22; 26:31,33; 1 Kings 6:23-35) — suggesting that the great cherubic multitude will be finally revealed through their true worship of the Almighty.

The cherubim were associated with chariots (1 Chron. 28:18) — the ancient vehicles of war, suggesting that their manifestation will be accompanied by a great battle. (John Thomas suggests the word cherub is related to rekab, “chariot”.)

Therefore, the cherubim speak of the sureness of God’s purpose, covenants, and provisions, and His promise to fill the earth eventually with His glory, in the persons of many resurrected Spirit-beings. This salvation is the hope of all creation, and the cherubim in Ezek. 1 are pictured with four heads:
  1. The lion: the head of all wild creatures;
  2. The ox: the head of all tame creatures;
  3. The eagle: the head of all birds; and,
  4. Man: the supreme head of all God’s creation (Gen. 1:26,28), who has been promised dominion over the earth.
Pavilion: Hebrew succoth, tabernacle, booth, “canopy” (RSV, NEB, NIV) — from the Feast of Tabernacles: Lev. 23:34,42,43; Deut. 16:13,16; Psa. 31:20,21; Isa. 4:6; Amos 9:11; Zech. 14:16.

Thick clouds, to obscure the Shekinah Glory of the Most Holy: cp. Dan. 7:13; Rev. 1:7; 1 Thes. 4:17; especially Deut. 4:11; Job 22:14; Psa. 27:5; 1 Kings 8:8,12.
RSV: There broke through hail and coals of fire.
In the heavens = “from the heavens”: compare 29:3 and 2 Sam. 22:14.

Highest: Hebrew Elyon: He who is above all things, the “Most High”. God as the possessor of heaven and earth.
Yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them: and he shot out lightnings, and discomfited them. Note the parallelism: arrows with lightnings (cp. Psa. 77:17). Jehovah is the God of war and the God of storm. The same word for lightning occurs in other visions of the Shekinah Glory: Exod. 19:16; Deut. 32:41 (“glittering”); Hab. 3:4.
Channels: Aphikim, watercourses, constrained by rocky channels. Similar to the Hebrewwadis, dry creek beds, which flow only spasmodically, after great rains: Psa. 42:1; Job 6:15; Isa. 8:7. The rage of the great storm spends itself in the flood torrents.

At the blast (neshama) of the breath (ruach) of thy nostrils. Compare Exod. 15:8, the song of Moses, where God with the blast of His nostrils parted the Red Sea.
He drew me out of many waters. Compare vv. 4,15; 69:1,2,14. The word here is mashah, from which Moses is derived: Exod. 2:10.
Prevented: “Confronted” (Roth.).
With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright; with the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward. A principle enunciated in the Lord’s prayer: “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matt. 6:14,15; cp. also Matt. 18:33-35; James 2:13).
For thou wilt light my candle: the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness. Light/darkness symbolize prosperity/affliction or death. See the usage in Job 21:17; 29:3; Prov. 13:9; 20:20. The judgment of the wicked is pictured as being cast into “outer darkness” (Matt. 8:12; 22:13).
Note the numerous comparisons in this section with the prophecy of Jacob:

Psalm 18

Genesis 49

By thee I have run through a troop (Hebrew gad).
Gad, a troop shall overcome him; cp. 30:11.

By my God have I leaped over a wall.
Joseph...whose branches run over the wall.

Who is a rock save our God?
The mighty God of Jacob.

He maketh my feet like hind’s feet.
Naphtali is a hind let loose.

He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms.
His bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong.

Thou has also given me the necks of mine enemies.
Judah...thy hand shall be in the neck of thine enemies.
along with Isaiah’s words (59:16,17), appear to be the Old Testament origin of Paul’s exposition of the “armour of righteousness” (Eph. 6:13-17).
He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet, to tread down the wicked: Rev. 1:15; Psa. 58:10,11; Mic. 4:1-3,11-13; Ezek. 1:7; Song 2:8; Eureka, vol. 1, pp. 175,176.

The hind is the deer, a beautiful wild creature. Its sureness of foot and speed form the basis of this oft-used Scriptural figure. Moses, in Deut. 32:13, speaks of God as “He (that) made him (Israel) to ride on the high places of the earth.” “Naphtali is a hind let loose” (Gen. 49:21), or sent forth, to preach the gospel (Rom. 10:15; Isa. 52:7). “How beautiful are his feet!”
Thy gentleness hath made me strong. Jacob, made lame by the angel, then made spiritually strong again through prayer, lifted up to go forth with “enlarged” steps to meet Esau: Gen. 32.

Psalm 18 is majestic and warlike throughout; its theme is vengeance and victory. All the destructive elements of nature are marshalled on the side of Omnipotence, but right in the midst of it we read of the “gentleness”, the “meekness”, the “condescension” of the Almighty. What better way to remind us that the awesome destructive power is but the outer fringe of the garments of the Lord. The Lord is not really in the wind, the earthquake, nor the fire (1 Kings 19:11,12). They are but the passing manifestations of His fury — they endure only for the moment, but the still small voice of gentle strength remains forever. Whirlwind and earthquake and flame — those great evidences of His might — can pull down and purify and consume, but His gentleness alone can build up and make great (see also 113:4-6).
Note the progression of the battle (or better, the rout!): pursue... overtake....consume... But in the antitype again, David’s 30 mighty men of war (2 Sam. 23) are destined to give way to Christ’s “double portion” of 60 mighty men (Song 3:7,8), the symbolic Cherubim.
For thou has girded me with strength. Rev. 1:13; 15:6. First we must be girded with righteousness, as was Christ (Isa. 11:5; Psa. 132:9; Job 29:14; 1 Pet. 5:5; Eph. 6 — the whole armor of God). Then we may expect to be girded with the strength of eternal life and Spirit.
As the dust before the wind, or ruach.
He delivereth me from mine enemies, or, “from evil”, as in the Lord’s prayer (Matt. 6:13; cp. 8:26; 24:20).
Jerusalem the holy city, under both David and Christ, is lifted up above all surrounding nations and cities (Isa. 2:2,3; Zech. 14:4,5,10,16). The holy city is exalted above the man of violence, or the “man of sin” (2 Thes. 2).
And sing praises unto thy name. Literally, “To thy name will I sweep the strings.”

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