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Bible Commentaries

Peake's Commentary on the Bible

Psalms 18

Verses 1-50

XVIII. See p. 367 for the reasons which make it impossible to ascribe this Ps. to David. Even scholars who hold traditional views admit that he cannot have written it as it stands, and that additional matter has been interpolated by later scribes. The language, which is Aramaic in its colouring, confirms the view that it is late, and so does the theophany in Psalms 18:3-20 when compared with Deuteronomy 32. Possibly a later writer composed it and put it by a very permissible license in David’ s mouth. If so, he paints David not as he was, but as a later age conceived him to be, a warrior on the one hand, a strict observer of the Law upon the other. The portrait would then agree with that given in Chronicles. It is, however, quite as likely that the Ps. is intended to glorify the success of a hero in the Maccabean age, the first time known in which legal piety was united with leadership in battles. Little is to be said for the view that the writer speaks in the name of the Jewish nation.

We have another recension in 2 Samuel 22. There are numerous divergences which testify to the uncertain state of the text here and by inference elsewhere. The Ps. and the last words of David that follow it are a late insertion in 2 S. They destroy the connexion between 2 Samuel 21:22; 2 Samuel 23:8.

Psalms 18:1-6. Introductory. 1 is absent in 2 S. which, on the other hand, adds at the end of Psalms 18:2, “ And my refuge, my saviour that savest me from violence.”

Psalms 18:2 . the horn of my salvation: i.e. the weapon which secures victory. The metaphor is taken from a bull’ s horn.

Psalms 18:5 . Read with 2 S., “ breakers of death” for “ snares of death.”

Psalms 18:6 . the heavenly palace is meant.

Psalms 18:7-19 . Yahweh appears.

Psalms 18:10 . For the cherubim, who bore the throne of Yahweh from place to place, see Ezekiel 1. The word cherub and the idea it represents were probably borrowed from the Babylonian winged bulls which were the protecting genii of the house ( Genesis 3:24 *, Isaiah 6:2 *). In Judges 5:4 f. Yahweh strides northwards to help His people.

Psalms 18:12 . Translate “ without radiance before him thick clouds passed.”

Psalms 18:20-30 . Yahweh has rewarded the Psalmist for his strict observance of the Law, and this is the general principle of His government.

Psalms 18:26 b. Cf. 1 Kings 22:20, 2 Samuel 24:1, and contrast Laotse, the Chinese sage, in Grill’ s translation. “ I deal well with him who deals well with me: I deal well likewise with him who is not good.” To repay injury with kindness is indeed a principle with Laotse. He was born in 604 B.C.

Psalms 18:28 . In 2 S. “ Thou art my lamp, O Yahweh.”

Psalms 18:29 . “ Leap over a wall,” i.e. of a besieged city.

Psalms 18:31-45 . The Psalmist recurs to a success in battle given by Yahweh.

Psalms 18:35 . “ Thy gentleness hath made me great.” Unparallelled in OT. 2 S. points differently, “ thy answer,” i.e. to my prayer. The LXX also point differently, “ thy discipline has made me great.”

Psalms 18:41 . The Psalmist’ s foes call on Yahweh and must therefore have been at least in part Jews or Samaritans.

Psalms 18:46-50 . Ascription of praise.

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Bibliographical Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Psalms 18". "Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". 1919.