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

Trapp's Complete Commentary

Psalms 18

Verse 1

Psalms 18:1 « To the chief Musician, [A Psalm] of David, 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 Saul: And he said, » I will love thee, O LORD, my strength.

To the chief Musician ] Some render it, Ad triumphandum; and well they may; for this is old David’s επινικιον , or triumphant song after so many victories and deliverances; and it is twice recorded in Scripture, with very little variation, see 2Sa 22:1-51 for the great worth and weightiness of the matter; that we may the more observe it, and be the better versed in it. This here recorded seemeth to be the review of it, and hence those small additions and alterations that are found here and there, but not of any great moment.

A Psalm of David ] Who having now gotten some breathing while from his troubles, gave not himself to idleness or worldly pleasures (as the Romans used to do after that they had once ridden in triumph), but, calling to mind God’s great mercies towards him, composed this sweet psalmody to his glory.

The servant of the Lord ] So he styled himself before, Psalms 36:1 , when he first entered upon the kingdom; and now here again, when being to lay it down together with his life, he breatheth out his holy soul to God in this divine ditty.

Sic ubi fata vocant, &c.

This he did after that, as a faithful servant of the Lord, he had done all the wills of God, Acts 13:22 , had served out his full time, Psalms 18:36 , and dwelt in God’s house to length of days, Psalms 23:6 .

Who spake unto the Lord the words of this song ] God lets out his mercies to us for this rent of our praises; and is content we have the benefit of them, so he may have the glory. The Hebrews give this note here; every man for whom there is wrought a miracle of mercy, and he thereupon uttereth a song, hath his sins forgiven him. This is better yet than that of the Papists, who promise pardon of sin to those that shall hear two masses a day. We who have received so many mercies should compass God about with songs of deliverances, and not only servire Deo, sed et adulari, serve God and make obeisance, as Tertullian hath it.

From the hand of all his enemies ] Heb. From the palm of other enemies, as less considerable, but from the hand (or clutched fist) of Saul.

And from the hand of Saul ] His greatest enemy, and of longest continuance. So Christ is said to save his people from their sins, by a specialty, Matthew 1:21 , because they do us the most mischief.

Ver. 1. I will love thee, O Lord my strength ] Heb. I will love thee dearly and entirely, ex intimis visceribus, from the very heart-root, from the bottom of my bowels; with like intention of affection, as a tender hearted mother doth her dearest babe, that is her own bowels; herself of the second edition. Neither did David herein supererogate: For God requireth to be loved with all the heart, mind, soul, strength, as one that is best worthy; good without measure, that hath loved us without measure, and therefore is without measure by us to be beloved. Modus sit sine mode (Bern.). Not that we are bound to love God in quantum est diligibilis so much as he is lovely or love worthy; for so God can only love himself; but, Nihil supra, aeque, aut contra, nothing must we love above God or so much as God, much less against God; we must be able to say affectionately, with David, Psalms 73:25-26 , "Whom have I in heaven but thee? there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee." And as Bernard, Amo te, Domine, plus quam mea, meos, me I love thee, Lord, more than my goods, my friends, myself. A Christian begins with loving God for himself, but he ends in loving himself, and all other, both persons and things, in and for God. His friend he loveth in the Lord, his foes for the Lord; but God he loveth absolutely, and for himself, affecting not only a union with him, but even a unity, his heart being turned, as it were, into a very lump of love, as was Mary’s, Luke 7:47 . Histories tell of a certain woman that came to Vespasian the emperor, professing that she was in love with him; he commanded that a liberal reward should be given her for the same; and when his steward asked him under what item he should put that gift in the book of account, Vespasiano adamato, said the emperor, Item, To her that loved Vespasian. God, saith the apostle, is not unrighteous, to forget your labour of love, &c., Hebrews 6:10 . "I love them that love me," saith Christ, Proverbs 8:17 . And his love is not like the winter sun, which hath light, but no heat; he is the strength of his people, their rock, fortress.

Verse 2

Psa 18:2 The LORD [is] my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, [and] my high tower.

Ver. 2. The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, &c. ] i.e. He is all in all for my preservation. Ten words, say the Hebrews, he here heapeth up, in reference to ten signal victories; or rather because his thankful heart was so enlarged, that he could never satisfy himself in saying what God had been to him and done for him; and hence this congeries, or heap of holy expressions; and all to show that God is a rock of refuge, a firm fortress, a receptacle of rest, a sanctuary of safety to all his saints in time of trouble. David had had his share, and had been put to his shifts; glad to hide himself, as he could, in rocks and strong holds that sheltered him from the storm. To these he alludeth when he calls God his rock, fortress, &c.

And my deliverer ] Rocks and strong holds do not always deliver (witness the Shechemites, Jebusites, Arimasphes), but God always doth.

And the horn of my salvation ] Qui veluti cornu petit et conficit hostes meos, saith Vatablus; who goreth and dispatcheth mine enemies. A metaphor either from horned beasts, or else (as some will have it) from the ancient custom of wearing horns of iron upon their helmet, for a crest or military ornament; whereupon the raised horn was a sign of victory, and the horn beaten down a sign of being overcome.

Verse 3

Psa 18:3 I will call upon the LORD, [who is worthy] to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.

Ver. 3. I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised ] Or, is the proper object of praises, because he is good and doth good, Psalms 119:68 . David vows to praise him,

1. By loving him entirely.

2. By trusting in him steadfastly, Psalms 18:1

3. By calling upon him continually, here, and Psalms 116:2-3 , which psalm is very like to this (in the beginning especially) both for matter and method.

So shall I be saved, &c. ] He hath often proved the power of prayer, especially when he came ready prepared to praise God for the return of prayer; and thence he is bold to promise himself all good.

Verse 4

Psa 18:4 The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid.

Ver. 4. The sorrows of death compass me ] Or, the pangs, pains, throes as of a travailing woman, these environed me, or came thick and threefold upon me, perveniebant usque ad אף even to my face (as the Rabbins descant upon the word), or flew upon me; desperate and deadly dangers assailed me. Medrash. Tillin. Aphaphuni pro gnaphaphuni. The worst of an evil escaped is to be thankfully acknowledged, and highest strains of eloquence therein to be used so that pride be avoided, and the praise of God only aimed at.

And the floods of ungodly men ] Heb. of Belial, that is, of Belialists, acted and agitated by the devil; these same tumbling upon him like many and mighty waters, Fluctus fluctum trudit. Torrentes Belial terrebant me.

Verse 5

Psa 18:5 The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me.

Ver. 5. The sorrows ] Or, throes, or cords, such as wherewith they bind malefactors led forth to execution.

The snares of death prevented me ] David knew how to make the most of a mercy; he means, I was almost surprised, and all hope of help seemed to be anticipated; if help should come, it would some too late.

Verse 6

Psa 18:6 In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, [even] into his ears.

Ver. 6. In my distress I called upon the Lord ] This was David’s anchora sacra; sacred anchor, prayer, he knew, could never come too late, nor God want a way to deliver his distressed. The time of affliction is the time of supplication; and man’s extremity is God’s opportunity.

And cried unto my God ] He grew more and more earnest. We must pray and not faint, Luke 18:1 , but rise in our suits.

Out of his temple ] i.e. Heaven, whereof the temple was a type, as being the place of God’s special presence, and of transcendent holiness.

Verse 7

Psa 18:7 Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth.

Ver. 7. Then the earth shook and trembled, &c. ] Upon David’s prayer all this befell; like as, Acts 4:31 , the house shook wherein they were praying; and the thundering legion procured thunder and rain; and so did Samuel by his prayers, 1 Samuel 12:17-18 . But this terrible tempest here described is to be taken rather allegorically than historically. The prophet, in most lofty and lively terms and expressions (far above the strain of the most sublime either poets or orators), describeth God’s powerful presence and concurrence in David’s conquests.

The foundations also of the hills ] That is, so vehement was the earthquake, that it shook, as it were, the roots of the mountains, which lie deep within the ground, 2 Samuel 22:8 . These hills are called the foundation of heaven, as Job 26:11 , the pillars of heaven; because the tops of high mountains seem to touch the clouds, and the heavens seem to lean upon them; and because the earth is in the centre of the world, about the which the heavens do continually turn.

Because he was wroth ] Or, burn did his nose. So

Verse 8

Psa 18:8 There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it.

Ver. 8. There went up a smoke out of his nostrils ] As angry men breathe vehemently, and seem to spit fire by their blustering speeches and menaces, so here ανθρωποπαθως omnia, quae tamen θεοπρεπως sunt intelligenda.

Verse 9

Psa 18:9 He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness [was] under his feet.

Ver. 9. He bowed the heavens ] i.e. Velociter venit, saith R. David, he came speedily to destroy mine enemies.

And darkness was under his feet ] He came invisible.

Verse 10

Psa 18:10 And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind.

Ver. 10. And he rode upon a cherub ] Which word hath affinity with rechub, a chariot. Hereby is noted God’s swiftness in coming to succour David. He waits to be gracious, and when it is a fit season he comes leaping and skipping over the mountains of Bether or division, all lets and impediments. Gabriel came to Daniel with weariness of flight, Daniel 9:21 .

He did fly upon the wings of the wind ] For, by the ministry of angels, God raiseth and stilleth the winds (Vatablus).

Verse 11

Psa 18:11 He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him [were] dark waters [and] thick clouds of the skies.

Ver. 11. He made darkness his secret place ] As a king, that, being angry, withdraweth himself from his subjects, and will not be seen of them. Vel quia decreta Dei veniunt invisibiliter, said R. David.

Verse 12

Psa 18:12 At the brightness [that was] before him his thick clouds passed, hail [stones] and coals of fire.

Ver. 12. At the brightness that was before him, &c. ] i.e. At his bright presence, his thick clouds (wherein he was enveloped) passed, or did cleave, as it were, in sunder; whence came hailstones mixed with coals of fire, or lightnings out of the clouds; which God maketh at once airy seas and airy furnaces; fetching fire out of the midst of water, and hard stone out of the midst of thin vapours.

Verse 13

Psa 18:13 The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave his voice; hail [stones] and coals of fire.

Ver. 13. The Lord also thundered in the heavens ] Quasi pro classico, et auspicio proelii ineundi.

Verse 14

Psa 18:14 Yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightnings, and discomfited them.

Ver. 14. Yea, he sent out his arrows, &c. ] Tandem permiscentur omnia grandine flammis et fulminibus tanquam telis et sagittis Dei adversus hostes pugnantis. After the advance guard, Psalms 18:12 , the great ordnance, Psalms 18:13 , the battle begins, and all is on a hurry.

Verse 15

Psa 18:15 Then the channels of waters were seen, and the foundations of the world were discovered at thy rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of the breath of thy nostrils.

Ver. 15. Then the channels of waters were seen ] The force of this terrible tempest is further set forth by the effect of it, a dreadful concussion of the universe; not without an allusion to the drying up of the Red Sea and of Jordan before Israel: which deliverances stood for archetypes, or chief patterns, to all posterity.

Verse 16

Psa 18:16 He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters.

Ver. 16. He sent from above, he took me ] He rescued me as by a hand reached me from heaven. Deus εκ μηχανης , or, he sent his angels to secure me.

He drew me out of many waters ] As he had once done Moses, Exodus 2:10 , who there hence also had his name. Musaeus, for the same cause, calleth him υδχογενης , water spring.

Verse 17

Psa 18:17 He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me.

Ver. 17. He delivered me from my strong enemy ] Saul; this he oft instanceth, rolling it as sugar under his tongue, and turning aside often to look upon it, as Samson did to see his dead lion fetching honey out of it.

For they were too strong for me ] And then God’s help was most seasonable when David found himself outmatched.

Verse 18

Psa 18:18 They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay.

Ver. 18. They prevented me, &c. ] They took me on the sudden, and unprovided. The children of this world are wiser, &c.

But the Lord was my stay ] Or, my staff, whereon I so leaned as that if he had failed me I had been all along.

Verse 19

Psa 18:19 He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.

Ver. 19. He brought me forth also, &c. ] He freed me out of all straits, and stated me in a most happy condition.

He delivered, because he delighted in me ] All was of free grace and favour, not of any merit. And this he purposely premiseth as a caution to the ensuing profession of his inherency.

Verse 20

Psa 18:20 The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.

Ver. 20. The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness ] viz. The righteousness of my cause; and my freedom from such crimes of disloyalty and ambition, wherewith mine enemies charged me, as if pricked on by my pride I sought the kingdom. As also, according to mine honest desire and endeavour in all things else to keep a good conscience, void of offence toward God and men. This, though God’s own work, and a debt most due to him, yet he is pleased graciously to reward.

Verse 21

Psa 18:21 For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God.

Ver. 21. For I have kept the ways of the Lord ] For the main, and for the most part, though not without some particular stumblings and startings aside, against my general resolution and the tendency of mine heart.

And have not wickedly departed from my God ] By an utter defection; I have not been transformed into sin’s image, by projecting sin, by falling into it with full consent, and by lying under the power of it. Non ex superbia sed errore, saith E. David here; not of presumption have I offended, or with a high hand, but of infirmity, and with reluctance; rising up again by repentance, and renewing my covenant.

Verse 22

Psa 18:22 For all his judgments [were] before me, and I did not put away his statutes from me.

Ver. 22. For all his judgments were before me ] Mine obedience (in desire and endeavour at least) was universal, extending to the compass of the whole law; and this is a sure sign of sincerity, Hence in the next words,

Verse 23

Psa 18:23 I was also upright before him, and I kept myself from mine iniquity.

Ver. 23. I was also upright before him ] This he had because he kept God’s commandments, as Psalms 18:22 , had respect to them all, Psalms 119:6 , both to the magnalia and minutula legis, which he kept as the apple of his eye, Proverbs 7:2 , even all God’s wills, Acts 13:22 , and was therefore approved in Christ, as Apelles, Romans 16:10 , and passed for an Israelite indeed, in whom was no guile, as Nathanael, John 1:47 .

And I kept myself from mine iniquity ] i.e. From my peccatum in deliciis, my darling sin, whereto I am either by nature or custom most inclined and addicted; from the iniquity of my heart and secret thoughts, which no man can charge me with, saith Aben Ezra; from that sin of disloyalty, which Saul and his courtiers charge me with, say others.

Verse 24

Psa 18:24 Therefore hath the LORD recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his eyesight.

Ver. 24. Therefore hath the Lord recompensed me ] See on Psalms 18:20 . Reward and mercy are joined together in the second commandment; and, Psalms 62:12 , it is a mercy in God to reward a man according to his work.

According to the cleanness of my hands in his eyesight ] i.e. Which he hath beheld in me; though mine enemies were of another judgment, Qua illo iudice praeditus sum (Vatab.).

Verse 25

Psa 18:25 With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright;

Ver. 25. With the merciful, &c. ] Hypothesin hic ad thesin transfert. It is as if he should say, I and mine enemies are a pattern of thy truth and justice, that thou wilt do good to those that are good, and to them that are upright in their hearts. As for such as turn aside unto their crooked paths, thou, Lord, shalt lead them forth with the workers of iniquity, Psalms 125:4-5 .

Verse 26

Psa 18:26 With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward.

Ver. 26. With the pure, &c. ] Cum candido candide agere soles. The pure shall have all that heart can wish.

And with the froward thou wilt show thyself froward ] Or, thou wilt wrestle, viz. with such cross pieces, as proudly and perversely err from thy precepts, as it were, on purpose to thwart thee, or to try masteries with thee. Against such stubborn persons God threateneth not eight degrees (which are the highest notes in music and degrees in qualities, as the philosopher distinguisheth them), but twenty and eight degrees of wrath, Leviticus 26:18 ; Leviticus 26:21 ; Leviticus 26:24 ; Leviticus 26:28 . Exiget ab iis rationem minutissimorum, saith R. Obad. Gaon upon this text; he will reckon with them for their least offences, and not bate them an ace of their due punishment. He will pay them home in their own coin, over shoot them in their own bow, fill them with their own ways, be as cross as they are, for the hearts of them; yet still in a way of justice, though he break the necks of them in wrestling, and send them packing to their place in hell. Ainsworth rendereth it, With the froward thou wilt show thyself wry. It is a similitude taken from wrestlers, and noteth a writhing of one’s self against an adversary. Compare herewith Deuteronomy 32:5 . They are a perverse and crooked generation (the same two words that are here in this text); the latter importeth, that they wriggled and writhed after the manner of wrestlers that wave up and down, and wind the other way, when one thinks to have them here or there. But all will not serve their turn to save them from punishment. God will be sure to meet with them, his word will lay hold on them, and their sin shall find them out.

Verse 27

Psa 18:27 For thou wilt save the afflicted people; but wilt bring down high looks.

Ver. 27. For thou wilt save the afflicted people ] Even the same whom before he had called merciful, or godly, upright, pure, here are the afflicted, and seem by God to be neglected; but he will save them assuredly, though he bear long with them, Luke 18:7 .

But wilt bring down high looks ] In Samuel it is, "Thine eyes are upon the haughty, that thou mayest bring them down," 2 Samuel 22:28 , q.d. God’s eyes are upon them all the while that he spareth them, to watch for a fit season to ruin them.

Verse 28

Psa 18:28 For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.

Ver. 28. For thou wilt light my candle ] Or, Thou hast lighted my candle, that is, thou hast bettered my condition, which seemed to be put out in obscurity. The wicked man’s is, Job 18:6 ; Job 21:17 Proverbs 13:9 .

The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness ] He hath, and yet still will turn my grief into joy, as Esther 8:17 , and meanwhile direct and comfort me in mine afflictions; as a candle is a great comfort in the dark, though it doth not make day where it comes, as the sun doth,

Verse 29

Psa 18:29 For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall.

Ver. 29. For by thee have I run through a troop ] Though but a little man, yet by God’s help he achieved great matters, did great exploits. Homo tricubitalis, saith a Father concerning Paul; Et coelum ascendit: so here. Some render it, Currebam accinctus: I ran well appointed (Bucholcer); and they interpret it of his victory over Goliath, whom he ran upon and cut off his head, after that he had hurled at him with as good a force; Perinde ac si fundae suae tunicis non lapillum, sed Deum ipsum induisset ae implicuisset, saith one; as if he had got not a stone, but God himself, into the bought of his sling.

And by my God have I leapt over a wall ] That is, I have stormed a walled town, or fort, with very little ado; being no less valiant and venturous than Alexander the Great was among the Indians; but upon far better grounds, because in the strength of God, as at the fort of Zion.

Verse 30

Psalms 18:30 [As for] God, his way [is] perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he [is] a buckler to all those that trust in him.

Ver. 30. As for God, his way is perfect ] All his dispensations toward his children, his actions and directions, his providences and promises, are most trusty and true; having neither vice, vanity, insincerity, nor deceit in them, 2 Samuel 22:31 .

The word of the Lord is tried ] This is a famous sentence, and was much in the mouths of God’s people. See Proverbs 30:5 , See Trapp on " Pro 30:5 "

Verse 31

Psa 18:31 For who [is] God save the LORD? or who [is] a rock save our God?

Ver. 31. For who is God save the Lord? ] Fictitios Deos et vanas spes prosternit, saith Vatablus. Here he striketh down to the ground all false gods and all vain hopes. Contemno minutulos istos Deos mode Iovem mihi propitium habeam, said a heathen. David might much better say, I care not for those petty deities, so I may have Jehovah to favour me.

Verse 32

Psalms 18:32 [It is] God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.

Ver. 32. It is God that girdeth me with strength ] It is a metaphor, saith Vatablus, either from a soldier’s belt, which buckleth his armour close to him, and maketh him more steady; or else from the reins themselves, in which the Scripture sometimes placeth strength and vigour. God did all for David; and hath here the glory of all his valour and victories.

And maketh my way perfect ] i.e. Completeth and prospereth all my designs and enterprises. For want hereof many attempt much, but effect little or nothing. Antiochus, king of Syria, was called Magnus for undertaking much and performing little. Guicciardin saith of Charles VIII, in his expedition to Naples, that he came into the field like thunder and lightning, but went out like a snuff; more than a man at first, and less than a woman at last.

Verse 33

Psa 18:33 He maketh my feet like hinds’ [feet], and setteth me upon my high places.

Ver. 33. He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet] Heb. He matcheth my feet, like hinds’ feet; that is, not only swift, if I have occasion by flight to provide for myself, or to pursue mine enemies flying before me; but also steady, if I come into any dangerous places. Asahel was swift of foot as a wild roe, 2 Samuel 2:18 . Josephus saith of him, that he contended with horses in running. Saul and Jonathan are said to be swifter than eagles, 2 Samuel 1:23 . Achilles was ποδας ωκυς , saith Homer. The hind, when pursued by the wolf, runs most swiftly; witness the poet (Horat. lib. 1, Obadiah 1:15 , 23):

Quem tu, cervus uti vallis in altera

Visum parte lupum, graminis immemor,

Sublimi fugies mollis anhelitu.

And again,

Vitas hinnuleo me similis, Chloe, &c.

But they that wait upon the Lord have a promise that they shall not only run as hinds, but mount up as eagles; they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint, Isaiah 40:31 .

He setteth me upon my high places ] Where, having by flight or fight escaped, I am secured; yea, he hath advanced me, and brought me to this high honour, Securus postquam evasi ab illis (R. David).

Verse 34

Psa 18:34 He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms.

Ver. 34. He teacheth mine hands to war ] David ascribeth all his military skill and success to God; so did not other great warriors, Alexander, Scipio, Fabius, &c., but sacrificed to their own nets, and were ready to say, as Sesostris, king of Egypt, did when he had conquered any country, he was wont to set up pillars with these words engraven upon them, This country I got by mine own strength and valour, ταυτην την χωρην ωμοισι τοις εμοισιν εκτησαμην (Herodot. l. 2).

So that a bow of steel, &c. ] Which is more flexible and stronger than a bow of iron; whence is that, Job 20:24 .

Verse 35

Psa 18:35 Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great.

Ver. 35. Thou hast also given me, &c. ] i.e. Thou hast preserved and settled me. See Trapp on " Psa 5:12 "

And thy gentleness hath made me great ] Or, Thy meekness hath multiplied me, i.e. Thou hast so far stooped to my meanness as to advance me to this height of honour. Or, by thy humbling me thou hast magnified me, according to 1Pe 5:6 Proverbs 15:33 .

Verse 36

Psa 18:36 Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip.

Ver. 36. Thou hast enlarged my steps under me ] Or, Thou hast widened my passage, and made room for me; when the wicked man’s strong passages are straitened, Job 18:7 , his pace impeded.

And my feet did not slip ] Heb. mine ankles, or my heels; Sept. my footsteps.

Verse 37

Psa 18:37 I have pursued mine enemies, and overtaken them: neither did I turn again till they were consumed.

Ver. 37. I have pursued mine enemies, and overtaken them, &c. ] Of David we may say, as one did of Julius Caesar, you may perceive him to have been an excellent soldier by his very language; for he wrote with the same spirit he fought. In eo tanta vis, id acumen, ea concitatio, saith Quintilian concerning Caesar’s Commentaries, ut illum eodem animo dixisse appareat quo bellavit.

Verse 38

Psa 18:38 I have wounded them that they were not able to rise: they are fallen under my feet.

Ver. 38. I have wounded them that they were not able to rise ] Much less to resist. And herein he was a type of Christ; all whose foes shall be his footstool, Psalms 110:1 .

Verse 39

Psa 18:39 For thou hast girded me with strength unto the battle: thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me.

Ver. 39. Thou hast girded me with strength, &c. ] See Psalms 18:32 . It is God that weakeneth or strengtheneth either part, Ezekiel 30:24 , and rendereth their weapons vain or prosperous, Isa 54:17 Jeremiah 50:9 .

Thou hast subdued under me, &c. ] David ascribeth all to God, and useth wonderful variety of expressions in setting forth his benefts.

Verse 40

Psa 18:40 Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies; that I might destroy them that hate me.

Ver. 40. Thou hast given me the necks of mine enemies ] sc. To chop them off at my pleasure; or to cut the throats.

Verse 41

Psa 18:41 They cried, but [there was] none to save [them: even] unto the LORD, but he answered them not.

Ver. 41. They cried ] Through grief and impatience, clamore incondito, as beasts when in durance fill the air with loud outcries.

Even unto the Lord ] As nature prompteth men in an extremity to look up for help; but because it is but the prayer of the flesh for ease, and not of the spirit for grace, and a good use of calamities, and not but in extreme despair of help elsewhere, therefore God hears them not. In Samuel it is, They looked, but there was none to save them; q.d. If they could have made any other shift God should never have heard of them. Therefore Sero, inquit Nero.

Verse 42

Psa 18:42 Then did I beat them small as the dust before the wind: I did cast them out as the dirt in the streets.

Ver. 42. Then did I beat them as small as the dust ] When God once withdraws his protection and help from a people it is an easy matter to tread them down and beat them in pieces. Lay hold upon him, therefore, as the Church did, and hang on. Say, as Jeremiah 14:21 , Do not abhor us for thy name’s sake; for as Bodin said well of obtaining, so for retaining, religion and civil rights, Non disputationibus, sed rogationibus agendum, prayer is most prevalent. If once our shadow depart, &c., woe be unto them when I depart from them.

I did cast them out, &c. ] Evacuabam eos, I dealt by them as men do by the sweepings of the house, or noisome excrements. God sometimes dungeth his vineyard with the dead bodies of his enemies.

Verse 43

Psa 18:43 Thou hast delivered me from the strivings of the people; [and] thou hast made me the head of the heathen: a people [whom] I have not known shall serve me.

Ver. 43. Thou hast delivered me from the strivings of the people ] viz. In the rebellions under Absalom, and Sheba, the son of Bichri. These, like bubbles which children blow up into the air, were soon blown out; and fell into the eyes of those who with the blasts of disloyalty and ambition held up the same.

Thou hast made me head of the heathen ] Philistines, Syrians, Ammonites, &c. This is most true of Christ, head of his Church, which consisteth of all nations, and most of these were unknown unto him as man; and, by hearing of him, they were brought to submit unto him, when the apostles came and preached him among them. Hence it followeth,

Verse 44

Psa 18:44 As soon as they hear of me, they shall obey me: the strangers shall submit themselves unto me.

Ver. 44. As soon as they hear of me ] Heb. At the hearing of the ear; that is, by the preaching of the gospel they shall be brought to yield the obedience of faith.

The strangers shall submit ] Heb. falsely, deny or dissemble with me; their submission is forced and feigned, they dare do no less; they receive my yoke, but their hearts I have not, Subiectio fucosa et hypocritica. Christ hath many such false hearted subjects, fawning and feigning profligate professors, carnal gospellers, &c.

Verse 45

Psa 18:45 The strangers shall fade away, and be afraid out of their close places.

Ver. 45. The strangers shall fade away ] As do the dry leaves of trees; their vigour and confidence shall perish in a moment.

And be afraid out of their close places ] Whence they shall come creeping to me, their conqueror, to seek favour. And this may very fitly also be applied to Christ and his subjects, who must be driven unto him out of their close places, or starting holes of self confidences, self conceitedness, &c., by the spirit of bondage, before they will unfeignedly submit to Christ’s government.

Verse 46

Psa 18:46 The LORD liveth; and blessed [be] my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted.

Ver. 46. The Lord liveth ] Or, Vivat Dominus, Let the Lord live. It is spoken, saith Calvin, after the manner of men, who use such kinds of acclamations to the kings whom they love and honour. The wicked could wish God extinct, that so they might never come to an account before him; but the saints cry out, Let the Lord live, let Christ reign, &c. Blessed be God that he is God, was a learned man’s motto. Luther’s was, Vivit, sc. Christus. Si non viveret, vellem me non unam horam vivere, de., Christ is alive, otherwise I would not wish to live an hour. Another good man saith, Christ liveth and reigneth, alioque totus totus desperassem, otherwise I should be utterly out of hope (Miconius).

Let the God of my salvation be exalted ] Triumphali elogio ab omnibus celebretur, let him be set up in all hearts and houses.

Verse 47

Psalms 18:47 [It is] God that avengeth me, and subdueth the people under me.

Ver. 47. It is God that avengeth me ] Heb. that giveth vengeances for me; whence also he is called the God of vengeances, Psalms 94:1 , and the God of recompenses, Jeremiah 51:56 .

And subdueth the people under me ] It is the great work of God to persuade the hearts of so many millions to obey one man.

Verse 48

Psa 18:48 He delivereth me from mine enemies: yea, thou liftest me up above those that rise up against me: thou hast delivered me from the violent man.

Ver. 48. He delivereth me from mine enemies ] This David hath never done with, but goeth over it again and again, as desirous to do the Lord all the right that might be.

From the violent man ] That is, from Saul, saith R. David, and him he mentioneth last, quia erat principium omnis Davidicae gloriae, because the fall of his house was the rise of all David’s glory. The Chaldee hath it, From Gog and his armies.

Verse 49

Psa 18:49 Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name.

Ver. 49. Therefore I will give thanks, &c. ] See how the psalmist in these three last verses endeth as he began.

Among the heathen ] This the apostle applieth to Christ and his people, as a prophecy of his kingdom, and of the calling of the Gentiles, Romans 15:9 . I, that is, Christ (but yet in the person of his faithful, and especially his ministers), will praise thee, or confess unto thee, &c.

And sing praises unto thy name ] Which to have done absurdum fuisset apud surdos, would have been absurd, had not those heathens had their ears opened.

Verse 50

Psa 18:50 Great deliverance giveth he to his king; and sheweth mercy to his anointed, to David, and to his seed for evermore.

Ver. 50. Great deliverance giveth he to his king ] In Samuel it is, He is the tower of salvation for his king. This tower is Messias, say the Jewish doctors, Qui est turris salutis. Oh that those poor creatures would once run to that strong tower and be safe.

To David and to his seed for evermore ] That is, to Christ (who was made of the seed of David, according to the flesh, Romans 1:3 Act 13:23 ), and to all faithful Christians, who are called Christ’s seed, Isaiah 53:10 Psalms 72:17 . Filiabitur nomine eius, the name of Christ shall endure for ever, it shall be begotten as one generation is begotten of another; there shall be a succession of it to the world’s end.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 18". Trapp's Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.