Partner with as God uses us to make a difference for those displaced by Russia's war on Ukraine.
Click to donate today!

Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Psalms 18

Verses 1-50

David prays here in his own person, this being a psalm of memorial, when the Lord had delivered him out of the hands of Saul and of all his enemies. But as he ever worshipped with the promise at his consecration and with the Messiah in his view, he rises to the sublime of song, and joins his sorrows and his joys to those of Christ. The title is taken from 2 Samuel 22:1.

Psalms 18:1-2 . I will love thee, oh Lord, possessed of all perfections, moral and divine, the infinite, unchangeable Jehovah. Thou art my rock, for thy love and thy truth are firm. Thou hast inspired me with confidence and courage, and covered my head in the day of battle, Thou art my horn of elevation, of strength and glory. Job 15:15. My high tower, of defence and safety.

Psalms 18:4-5 . The sorrows of death compassed me about, and the snares of death were spread to take my feet. Yea, suddenly was my sun turned to darkness, when in a giddy moment I had said, my mountain is strong: I shall never be moved. Saul sought my life, and his fawning courtiers thirsted for my blood, as dogs in pursuit of game. The sons of Belial loaded me with execrations. Oh what horrors, what darkness, what anguish of hell suddenly took hold upon me. David now drank of the Saviour’s cup, in the hour and power of darkness, when his soul was exceedingly sorrowful, even unto death.

Psalms 18:6 . In my distress, I called upon the Lord; yea, out of the depths I cried, what profit is there in my blood? What will become of thy promises at my consecration? I wept bitterly for one whole night, looking towards his holy habitation. Psalms 30:5. Then the Lord heard me out of his holy temple. He shed sweet influences abroad in my heart, pledges of future elevation, accompanied with every cheering token of his love.

Psalms 18:7 . Then the earth shook and trembled. The God who arose for the salvation of his people in Egypt, arose for the salvation of his anointed. He shook my foes with terror, as when Sinai trembled, and the earth was afraid. The Highest gave his voice in thunders which terrified the earth.

Psalms 18:10 . He rode upon a cherub, and did fly upon the wings of the wind, when his glory shone out on mount Sinai with lustre insupportable to eyes of flesh, even to mount Seir. Deuteronomy 33:2; Deuteronomy 33:26. Judges 5:4. Ezekiel 1:4. 10.

Psalms 18:11 . He made darkness his secret place, Though he dwells in light, yet he veiled himself to mortal eyes in the thickest clouds of heaven, while his lightnings ignited the coals on the altar, and shook the earth with peals of thunder. So when the true David was persecuted, the sun was enshrouded, the rocks were rent, and the dead arose. Exodus 19:18. Joshua 10:10.

Psalms 18:12 . Hailstones and coals of fire; ignited iron ores, vulgarly called thunderbolts. In addition to the note on Joshua 10:11, an intelligent farmer was heard to say that during a thunder storm in Hampshire, small stones like iron ores had dropped from the clouds on the footpath in an open field. They were no doubt ignited when they fell.

Psalms 18:14 . He sent out his arrows; his flashes of lightning, as is mostly explained; to scatter his foes, and drown the Egyptians, when he laid open the channels of the Red sea. This was the age of marvels, to revive a religion almost extinguished by oppression.

Psalms 18:16 . He sent from above; by his Angel of the covenant, or his Word; and drew me out of many waters, troubles, dangers and death, and delivered me from Saul, my strong enemy.

Psalms 18:20 ; Psalms 18:24 . The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness; that is, according to the equity of my cause, having neither sought the crown, nor in any thing been disloyal to the king. And though a sinful man, I have been preserved from idolatry, and have adhered to the law of the Lord.

Psalms 18:29 . By my God have I leaped over a wall, in storming the cities of hostile nations; and no weapon has been suffered to wound me. To him I owe my life a thousand times; to him be all the praise.

Psalms 18:40 . Thou hast given me the necks of mine enemies. Of Ammon, of Moab, and all the nine nations who conspired against him, as in Psalms 83:0., when they heard that he was made king. He threw his yoke successively on all their necks.


Many, when their troubles are over, forget the God that brought them through. It is otherwise with the truly regenerate. It is a strong censure which the sacred text has left on Hezekiah, when the Lord had delivered him from the countless armies of Assyria, and given him all their arms and plundered gold, “that he rendered not again to the Lord.” Alas, alas, the vows and promises of multitudes made in the time of trouble, lie in ruins like desecrated temples, profaned and exposed to the desolating hand of future years.

But David, as soon as his conflicts were over, hasted to the sanctuary to publish the high praises of his God in all the ardour of sacred song. His grateful heart was more fragrant than incense, and the oblation of his vows more acceptable than burnt-offerings. He loved and adored the Lord under every name which hallows his being, and under every figure which inspires confidence: he was his rock and refuge, his shield and strong tower. He regarded him for the future as he had found him in the past; a God who would be his shelter in every storm, and deliver him, because he delighted in him. We have but to learn of this illustrious prince and prophet, called to serve his God in stormy life, to keep clean hands, and trust in him, a Saviour in all succeeding years.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 18". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. 1835.