|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
18:1-19 The first words, I will love thee, O Lord, my strength, are the scope and contents of the psalm. Those that truly love God, may triumph in him as their Rock and Refuge, and may with confidence call upon him. It is good for us to observe all the circumstances of a mercy which magnify the power of God and his goodness to us in it. David was a praying man, and God was found a prayer-hearing God. If we pray as he did, we shall speed as he did. God's manifestation of his presence is very fully described, ver. 7-15. Little appeared of man, but much of God, in these deliverances. It is not possible to apply to the history of the son of Jesse those awful, majestic, and stupendous words which are used through this description of the Divine manifestation. Every part of so solemn a scene of terrors tells us, a greater than David is here. God will not only deliver his people out of their troubles in due time, but he will bear them up under their troubles in the mean time. Can we meditate on ver. 18, without directing one thought to Gethsemane and Calvary? Can we forget that it was in the hour of Christ's deepest calamity, when Judas betrayed, when his friends forsook, when the multitude derided him, and the smiles of his Father's love were withheld, that the powers of darkness prevented him? The sorrows of death surrounded him, in his distress he prayed, Heb 5:7. God made the earth to shake and tremble, and the rocks to cleave, and brought him out, in his resurrection, because he delighted in him and in his undertaking.
Verse 11. - He made darkness his secret place; i.e. he hid himself amid clouds and thick darkness. In executing his judgments he did not allow himself to be seen. God's action is always secret and inscrutable. His pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies. The original runs as follows: "He made darkness his secret place - his pavilion round about him - dark waters, thick clouds of the skies." The whole forms one sentence, "his pavilion" being in apposition with "secret place," and the last clause, "dark waters, thick clouds of the skies," being exegetical of the "darkness" in the first clause. God's "pavilion," or "tent" (סבּה), is mentioned again in Psalm 27:5 and Psalm 31:20.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
He made darkness his secret place,.... Which, and the dark waters in the next clause, are the same with the thick clouds in the last, in which Jehovah is represented as wrapping himself, and in which he lies hid as in a secret place; not so as that he cannot see others, as wicked men imagine, Job 22:13; but as that he cannot be beheld by others; the Targum interprets it,
"he caused his Shechinah to dwell in darkness;''
his pavilion round about him were dark waters, and thick clouds of the skies; these were as a tent or tabernacle, in which he dwelt unseen by men; see Job 36:29; all this may design the dark dispensation of the Jews, after their rejection and crucifixion of Christ; when God departed from them, left their house desolate, and them without his presence and protection; when the light of the Gospel was taken away from them, and blindness happened unto them, and they had eyes that they should not see, and were given up to a judicial darkness of mind and hardness of heart; which were some of the dark, deep, and mysterious methods of divine Providence, with respect to which God may be said to be surrounded with darkness, dark waters, and thick clouds; see Romans 11:7.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
11. dark waters—or, clouds heavy with vapor.
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