A Psalm of Thanksgiving for Deliverance and Victory.
To the chief musician, for performance in the liturgical service of the Tabernacle and the Temple, a psalm of David, the servant of the Lord, His prophet and minister in making known the Word of the Lord and in doing His will, 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 Saul, in the last part of Saulís reign, 2 Sam. 7, 1; and he said, cp. 2 Sam. 22: -
A RECITAL OF GODíS BLESSINGS. ó V. 1. I will love Thee, with the most tender affection, O Lord, my Strength, in protecting and defending him. V. 2. The Lord is my Rock, his safe place of concealment, and my Fortress, his Stronghold, affording refuge and safety, and my Deliverer; my God, my Strength, his Rock of Ages, firm, immovable, in whom I will trust; my Buckler, the large shield which protected the whole body against injury, and the Horn of my salvation, the horn of the altar being the figure of protective strength and victorious deliverance, and my high Tower, inaccessible to the enemies. Having thus given the reason for his firm trust, the psalmist gives a recital of some of the occasions when his confidence was justified. V. 3. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, for all the favors shown in the past; so shall I be saved from mine enemies; that had been his constant experience. V. 4. The sorrows of death, the bands of death, compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid, the brooks of abysmal evil and perdition terrifying him. V. 5. The sorrows of hell, the bands of the realm of death, compassed me about; the snares of death prevented me, going ahead, anticipating his every move, seizing upon him suddenly. V. 6. In my distress I called upon the Lord, when the persecution of Saul and other troubles came upon him, and cried unto my God. He heard my voice out of His temple, out of the palace of heaven, the throne of His glory, and my cry came before Him, being hindered by nothing on its way, even into His ears, so that God certainly heard it. David now describes, in a highly poetic form, how the Lord worked His deliverance. V. 7. Then the earth shook and trembled, with violent earthquakes; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because He was wroth. V. 8. There went up a smoke out of His nostrils, from His angry snorting, and fire out of His mouth devoured, with a consuming power; coals were kindled by it, glowing coals blazing out from Him, the description being that of a violent thunderstorm. V. 9. He bowed the heavens also, as the dark masses of clouds roll and descend, and came down; and darkness was under His feet, the dark storm-clouds being His footstool. V. 10. And He rode upon a cherub, an angelic minister who represented the entire creation as serving Jehovah, and did fly; yea, He did fly upon the wings of the wind, whose rushing might fitly represent His dignity. V. 11. He made darkness His secret place, to veil and to hide Him; His pavilion round about Him, the tent of His dwelling, were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies, heavy with vapor, ready to shed the rain in streams. V. 12. At the brightness that was before Him, out from the brightness which surrounded His throne, His thick clouds passed hailstones and coals of fire, for Jehovah discharged through the clouds that veiled His brightness the weapons of His wrath, hail and bolts of lightning. V. 13. The Lord also thundered in the heavens, the roll of thunder following the strokes of lightning, and the Highest gave His voice, hailstones and coals of fire. V. 14. Yea, He sent out His arrows, the sharp points of His lightning, and scattered them, the enemies being obliged to flee in all directions; and He shot out lightnings and discomfited them, so that they were utterly at a loss, helpless in their confusion. So great was the force of the storm, moreover, that the very beds of the waters were laid bare. V. 15. Then the channels of waters were seen, the water being forced away by the mighty wind, and the foundations of the world, the very depths of the earth, were discovered at Thy rebuke, O Lord, at the blast of the breath of Thy nostrils, the storm which denoted His anger. V. 16. He sent from above, stretching out His hand, reaching down; He took me, He drew me out of many waters, so that David was not carried away in the great catastrophe which struck the earth. V. 17. He delivered me from my strong enemy, Saul chiefly being meant, and from them which hated me, all those who sought to harm him; for they were too strong for me. V. 18. They prevented me, falling upon him suddenly, in the day of my calamity; but the Lord was my Stay, supporting him so that all their wickedness came to naught. V. 19. He brought me forth also, from all his straits of trouble, into a large place, to full safety and relief; He delivered me because He delighted in me, His regard for David being His motive for acting as He did. V. 20. The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness, the evidence of which came out in his entire conduct and life; according to the cleanness of my hands, in the management of his personal and official affairs, hath He recompensed me. V. 21. For I have kept the ways of the Lord, closely followed the paths pointed out to him by Jehovah, and have not wickedly departed from my God. V. 22. For all His judgments were before me, the obligations which His commandments laid upon all men, and I did not put away His statutes from me, namely, all the precepts of His covenant. V. 23. I was also upright before Him, in the outward observance of the Law, and I kept myself from mine iniquity, from bold transgression and wickedness. V. 24. Therefore hath the Lord recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in His eyesight. It was not arrogant boastfulness which caused David to make these statements, but the simplicity and trust of his heart. V. 25. With the merciful Thou wilt show thyself merciful, showing kindness to him who practised kindness; with an upright man Thou wilt show Thyself upright; v. 26. with the pure Thou wilt show Thyself pure; and with the froward Thou wilt show Thyself froward, Godís dealing with men being the mirror of the relation in which God puts Himself to him, rewarding every man according to his deserts. V. 27. For Thou wilt save the afflicted people, delivering them from the trouble which oppresses them, but wilt bring down high looks, humbling those who exalt themselves. V. 28. For Thou wilt light my candle, making the lamp of his happiness and its light very bright; the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness, bringing him relief after the misfortunes which he endured. V. 29. For by Thee I have run through a troop, rushing upon hostile bands and overthrowing them; and by my God have I leaped over a wall, capturing the fortified towns of the enemies with ease. In the same manner all Christians will experience the gracious help of Jehovah against all the enemies of their souls if they but cling to their trust in the Lord.
GIVING ALL GLORY TO GOD ALONE. ó V. 30. As for God, His way is perfect, always faultless and unblamable; the Word of the Lord is tried, refined and found, not drossy ore, but pure gold. He is a Buckler, a reliable Protection, to all those that trust in Him. V. 31. For who is God save the Lord? Or who is a rock, a certain refuge and concealment, save our God? Jehovah alone is the true God, who can and will help. V. 32. It is God that girdeth me with strength, enabling him to meet all dangers and all enemies successfully, and maketh my way perfect, giving him success in his rightful undertakings. V. 33. He maketh my feet like hindsí feet, gifted with fleetness to pursue the enemy, and setteth me upon my high places, as the master of the whole country. V. 34. He teacheth my hands to war, his skill in battle being a gift of the Lord, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms, rather, his arms bending the bow of brass or tempered bronze, a feat which took considerable strength. V. 35, Thou hast also given me the shield of Thy salvation, the protection of Jehovah proving his deliverance; and Thy right hand hath holden me up, and Thy gentleness, as the great God of heaven condescended to come to his assistance, hath made me great. V. 36. Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, giving him plenty of room for his feet, that my feet did not slip, being able to walk with a firm step, without limping. V. 37. I have pursued mine enemies and overtaken them, by virtue of the strength of the Lord which he had received; neither did I turn again till they were consumed, utterly overthrown. V. 38. I have wounded them that they were not able to rise, in all internal strife and in all foreign wars; they are fallen under my feet. V. 39. For Thou hast girded me with strength unto the battle; Thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me. V. 40. Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies, so that they turned their backs to David in precipitate flight, that I might destroy them that hate me. V. 41. They cried, calling upon their idols to help them, but there was none to save them; even unto the Lord, turning to the true God in the last emergency, but He answered them not; it was too late, and their motive in seeking His assistance was not the proper one. V. 42. Then did I beat them small as the dust before the wind, driven in hopeless confusion; I did cast them out as the dirt in the streets, the dust that is trodden under foot. V. 43. Thou hast delivered me from the strivings of the people, preserving him in the midst of all internal conflicts; and Thou hast made me the head of the heathen, the ruler over all the nations round about; a people whom I have not known shall serve me, strangers bowing to his sovereignty. V. 44. As soon as they hear of me, they shall obey me; the strangers shall submit themselves unto me. V. 45. The strangers shall fade away, like flowers or grasses withering away before a fiery wind, and be afraid out of their close places, coming out with trembling from their strongholds. The song of David, therefore, ends in a mighty burst of triumphant praise. V. 46. The Lord liveth, in contrast to the dead idols of the heathen; and blessed be my Rock, in whom David trusted; and let the God of my salvation, who has granted him deliverance, be exalted. V. 47. It is God that avengeth me, He had taken Davidís cause in hand as His own, and subdueth the people under me, reducing them to the position of slaves: V. 48. He delivereth me from mine enemies; yea, Thou liftest me up above those that rise up against me, to a position of authority and influence; Thou hast delivered me from the violent man, this being said collectively of all Davidís enemies. V. 49. Therefore will I give thanks unto Thee, O Lord, among the heathen, for the praise of Jehovah would finally be general also among the Gentiles, as the fame of His great deeds would be made known, Rom. 15,9, and sing praises unto Thy name. V. 50. Great deliverance giveth He to His king, making him a partaker of the fulness of His salvation; and showeth mercy to His anointed, to David, and to his Seed forever. The last words connect this psalm with the Messianic promise, 2 Sam. 7, 12-16; for in Christ, the Son of David, the fulness of Godís grace and mercy, not only upon individuals, not only upon the children of Israel, but upon the Gentiles as well, was revealed. He who clings to this assurance in faith may safely trust in God as His Rock and the God of his salvation.