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

Scott's Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms

Psalms 18

Verses 1-50

Psalms 18:1-50.

V. 1. This introductory verse is not found in the parallel passage in the second book of Samuel. The variations, between the two copies, seem to have been principally poetical improvements of the style, as few of them materially alter the sense, and several evidently render the composition more elegant. Indeed, the whole Psalm seems one of the most finished poetical compositions, extant in any language. The word here rendered, " will " love thee" is peculiarly emphatical : ’ I will love thee with my inmost soul, and all its powers, and with the most fervent affections of my heart.’ ’ I will greatly desire and long after thee.’ (Notes,Psalms 63:1-4. Psalms 116:1.) The experience which the aged Psalmist had acquired, of the Lord’s faithfulness, power, and love, no doubt excited the lively exercises of admiring and adoring love, as well as gratitude. Some think that David spake in the person of the risen Redeemer, taking a retrospect of his sufferings and triumphs ; and the words, in that view, convey a most interesting and animating reflection to the mind of the true Christian.

V. 2, 3. (Note, 2 Samuel 22:2-3.) ’ As the Psalm so ’ evidently throughout is a thanksgiving for past deliverance, the verbs in this verse (3) seem to require the same rendering which is given to them below, at ver. 6.’ Bp. Home.

That is, they should be rendered in the past, and not in the future tense. But perhaps the Psalmist meant to give the feelings and purpose of his heart, while struggling with his difficulties and overcoming them by faith, to which the event corresponded : for the words are plainly future ; and a total disregard to the tense should not be supposed without evident necessity.

(Notes, 142 :title. Isaiah 38:9-13. Jonah 2:1-2.)

V. 4, 5. (Note, Sam. Psalms 22:5-6.) The word rendered " sorrows," in these verses, signifies cord*, or pangs, especially those of women in travail ; and it is translated pangs in the Septuagint. And as St. Luke, in recording the apostle Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost, uses the same word concerning Christ, in respect of his resurrection, where it does not seem so apposite as cords or bonds would have been ; it is supposed, that he refers to the Septuagint version of this Psalm. This is an additional proof, that it should be considered chiefly, as prophetical of his conflicts and triumphs. Note, Acts 2:22-24.)

V. 6. This verse also is future in the original. (Note, 2, 3.) It varies from the parallel verse in Samuel, by using two nearly synonymous words, for " called " and " cried," while in the other copy the latter is merely a repetition of the former.

V. 7 The words " foundations of heaven," used in Samuel, is here changed for " foundations of the hillt," or mountains. (Marg. Ref.)

V. 10. Two letters in the original, nearly alike, one used in Samuel, the other here, make the variation between the two copies : probably it was originally a trivial error of a transcriber. In Samuel it is, " He was seen " upon the wings of the wind."

V. 12. The brightness of JEHOVAH’S appearance dispersed the " thick clouds," which preceded it. The clause " his thick clouds passed," is not in Samuel. The words " coals of fire kindled," are here changed for " hailstones " and coals of fire," which are also repeated in the next verse ; and the marginal references shew the propriety of if an allusion contained in them.

V. 15. (Note, 2 Samuel 2:2-16.) As the grand imagery of this passage more aptly suits the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, than any of David’s deliverance ; (Notes, Matthew 27:51-53; Matthew 28:1-8. Acts 1:9-12;) so it naturally leads the pious mind to reflect on the awful descriptions given us, of the Saviour’s last coming to judge the world. (Notes, 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10. 2 Peter 3:10-13. Revelation 20:11-15.)

V. 16-26. Notes, 2 Samuel 22:17-28.

V. 27. The contrast between " afflicted people " and " high looks " shews, that humility rather than suffering was intended; or rather humble sufferers.

(Notes, Isaiah 57:15-16. Luke 1:46-55.)

V. 28, 29. (Note, 2 Samuel 22:29-30.) Some apply the expression, " Thou wilt," or dost, " light my candle," which had been extinguished, to the restoration of the Saviour from death, in which his body had lain as an extinguished taper; and the next verse to his bursting the barriers of the tomb.

V. 30- 48. (Notes, 2 Samuel 22:31-51.) Thus we ’ learn to trust in JEHOVAH without fear, when our enemies are victorious ; and to glorify him without reserve, when we are so.’ Bp. Home.

V. 49. St. Paul quotes this verse to prove, that the gentiles would glorify God for his mercy : (Note, Romans 15:8-13:) and this shews beyond a doubt, that he considered the Psalm as prophetical of Christ, and in some respects as his language. (Notes, Psalms 22:23-31.) Yet it is not advisable to apply every clause to him, so as to overlook his ancestor and type ; who seems to have been led by the Holy Spirit, from speaking of his own conflicts and deliverance, to use language, which could never have its full accomplishment, but in his promised Seed.


In David, the type, we may here behold Jesus our Redeemer, conflicting with enemies, compassed with sorrows, and with " floods of ungodly men,"

(Notes, Psalms 22:11-18. Matthew 27:39-44,) enduring not only the pains of death, but the wrath of God for us : yet calling upon the Father with strong cries and tears ; rescued from the grave with a tremendous earthquake, and various convulsions of nature ; advanced to the mediatorial throne, and made Head of the heathen, as a recompence of his most perfect obedience even unto death ; executing vengeance on I he Jewish nation, beating them as small as the dust before the wind, and casting them out as the mire in the streets ; and proceeding either to reconcile, or to put under his feet, all other enemies, till death the last enemy shall be destroyed.

(Note, 1 Corinthians 15:20-28.) In the full assurance of these truths, and expectation of his appearing and his glory, we should hasten to submit willingly to his authority, and to embrace his salvation ; we should trust in his merits, rejoice in his triumphs, and imitate his example. We also ought most fervently to love the Lord " our Strength and our Salvation ; " we too should call on him in every trouble, and praise him for every deliverance ; we should aim to walk with him in all righteousness and true holiness, approving our hearts unto him, and keeping ourselves from our own iniquities. May he arm us for every conflict, and aid us in all ; may we make no league with sin, nor give quarter to any lust. By his strength may we leap over every interposing wall of difficulty ; by his light may we pass through every dark valley ; till at length we share the Saviour’s resurrection and ascension into heaven : for if we belong unto him, he conquered and reigns for us, and we shall conquer and reign through him ; and partake of the mercy of our anointed King,, which is entailed on all his seed for evermore.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Scott, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 18". Scott's Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms. 1804.