|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 7. - Then the earth shook and trembled; or, quailed and quaked (Kay, who thus expresses the assonance of the Hebrew vat-tig'ash vat-tir ash). The psalmist must not be understood literally. He does not mean that the deliverance came by earthquake, storm, and thunder, but describes the discomfiture and dismay of his opponents by a series of highly poetical images. In these he, no doubt, follows nature closely, and probably describes what he had seen, heard, and felt. The foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken. In violent earthquakes, the earth seems to rock to its foundations; mountain ranges are sometimes actually elevated to a height of several feet; rocks topple down; and occasionally there are earth-slips of enormous dimensions. Because he was wroth. God's anger against the psalmist's enemies produced the entire disturbance which he is describing.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then the earth shook and trembled,.... As it did quickly after Christ called upon the Lord, and cried to his God upon the cross, Matthew 27:50; and so some time after, when his people were praying together, the place where they were assembled was shaken, Acts 4:31; as a token of God's presence being with them: and the shaking and trembling of the earth is often used as a symbol of the presence of God, and of the greatness of his majesty; as when he brought the children of Israel through the Red sea, went before them in the wilderness, and descended on Mount Sinai, which mountain then moved and quaked exceedingly; see Psalm 104:32; and it is easy to observe, that in this, and other parts of this majestic account of the appearance of God on the behalf of the person the subject of this psalm, and against his enemies, there are manifest allusions to the giving of the law on Mount Sinai; though it may be this shaking of the earth, and what follows, are to be understood in a figurative sense;
the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken; and design the shaking of the earth and heavens, prophesied of in Haggai 2:6; and which is explained in Hebrews 12:26; of the removing the ordinances of the ceremonial law, that Gospel ordinances might remain unshaken; for in 2 Samuel 22:8; the words are, "the foundations of heaven moved and shook"; and the shaking and moving of the earth and mountains may denote the abolition and destruction of kingdoms and nations; and first of the civil polity of the Jews, and of their ecclesiastical state, which quickly ensued upon the death of Christ; and next of the ruin of Rome Pagan, and then of Rome Papal; which are both signified by an earthquake, and by the removal of mountains, Revelation 6:12;
because he was wroth; with the people of the Jews, for disbelieving and rejecting the Messiah; for setting themselves, and taking counsel together against him, and putting him to death; for these things God was angry with them, and wrath came upon them to the uttermost, and their nation, city, and temple were destroyed, Psalm 2:1; and with the Pagan empire and antichristian powers, Revelation 6:16.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
7, 8. God's coming described in figures drawn from His appearance on Sinai (compare De 32:22).
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