Psalm 18:17
He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me.
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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.He delivered me from my strong enemy - The enemy that had more power than I had, and that was likely to overcome me. It is probable that the allusion here in the mind of the psalmist would be particularly to Saul.

And from them which hated me - From all who hated and persecuted me, in the time of Saul, and ever onward during my life.

For they were too strong for me - I had no power to resist them, and when I was about to sink under their opposition and malice, God interposed and rescued me. David, valiant and bold as he was as a warrior, was not ashamed, in the review of his life, to admit that he owed his preservation not to his own courage and skill in war, but to God; that his enemies were superior to himself in power; and that if God had not interposed he would have been crushed and destroyed. No man dishonors himself by acknowledging that he owes his success in the world to the divine interposition.

16-19. from above—As seated on a throne, directing these terrible scenes, God—

sent—His hand (Ps 144:7), reached down to His humble worshipper, and delivered him.

many waters—calamities (Job 30:14; Ps 124:4, 5).

From them that wanted neither malice nor power.

He delivered me from my strong enemy,.... Which, as it may respect David, may be understood of Goliath the Philistine champion, who was a man of war from his youth; or Saul, king of Israel; and, as it may respect David's antitype, may design either the chief priests, Scribes, and Pharisees, who were men of power and influence; or more especially Satan, the strong man armed, with all his principalities and powers; or, likewise death, the last enemy, from whose pains and cords he was loosed when raised from the dead, and when he was delivered from every other strong enemy;

and from them which hated me; from the old serpent the devil, between whom and him there has been a lasting enmity; and from the world, the people of the Jews, particularly the Pharisees, who bore an implacable hatred to Christ;

for they were too strong for me; as Goliath and Saul were too strong for David of himself, so Christ's enemies were too strong for him; not as God, for he is the mighty God, the Almighty, and stronger than the strong man armed, but as man; for in his human nature he had a sinless weakness, which showed itself in his agonies in the garden; or a natural weakness, through which he was crucified; and this weak nature of Christ Satan attacked, and got an advantage over, and brought it to the dust of death, which is meant by his bruising his heel, though by it he got a broken head. But though Christ's enemies were too strong for him, considered merely as man, they not being, at least many of them, flesh and blood, but principalities and powers; yet being helped by his Father, and supported by his divine nature, he overcame them, and was delivered from them.

He delivered me from my {n} strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were {o} too strong for me.

(n) That is, Saul.

(o) Therefore God sent me help.

17. Figures are dropped, and David refers explicitly to his deliverance from his ‘strong’ or ‘fierce’ enemy Saul, and Saul’s partisans who hated him, from whom but for this Divine intervention he could not have escaped, for they were too mighty for him.

Verse 17. - He delivered me from my strong enemy. This is generally understood of Saul. By the defeat of Gilboa, and its consequences (1 Samuel 31:1-4), God delivered David from the peril of death which hung over him so long as Saul lived. And from them which hated me. David's enemies among the courtiers of Saul were powerless without their master. Many, probably, fell in the battle; the rest sank into obscurity. For they were too strong for me. I must have succumbed to them had not God helped me. Psalm 18:17(Heb.: 18:17-20) Then Jahve stretches out His hand from above into the deep chasm and draws up the sinking one. The verb שׁלח occurs also in prose (2 Samuel 6:6) without יד (Psalm 57:4, cf. on the other hand the borrowed passage, Psalm 144:7) in the signification to reach (after anything). The verb משׁה, however, is only found in one other instance, viz., Exodus 2:10, as the root (transferred from the Egyptian into the Hebrew) of the name of Moses, and even Luther saw in it an historical allusion, "He hath made a Moses of me," He hath drawn me out of great (many) waters, which had well nigh swallowed me up, as He did Moses out of the waters of the Nile, in which he would have perished. This figurative language is followed, in Psalm 18:18, by its interpretation, just as in Psalm 144:7 the "great waters" are explained by מיּד בּני נכר, which, however, is not suitable here, or at least is too limited.

With Psalm 18:17 the hymn has reached the climax of epic description, from which it now descends in a tone that becomes more and more lyrical. In the combination איבי עז, עז is not an adverbial accusative, but an adjective, like רוּחך טובה Psalm 143:10, and ὁ ἀνὴρ ἀγαθός (Hebrerbrief S. 353). כּי introduces the reason for the interposition of the divine omnipotence, viz., the superior strength of the foe and the weakness of the oppressed one. On the day of his איד, i.e., (vid., on Psalm 31:12) his load or calamity, when he was altogether a homeless and almost defenceless fugitive, they came upon him (קדּם Psalm 17:13), cutting off all possible means of delivering himself, but Jahve became the fugitive's staff (Psalm 23:4) upon which he leaned and kept himself erect. By the hand of God, out of straits and difficulties he reached a broad place, out of the dungeon of oppression to freedom, for Jahve had delighted in him, he was His chosen and beloved one. חפץ has the accent on the penult here, and Metheg as a sign of the lengthening (העמדה) beside the ē, that it may not be read ĕ.

(Note: In like manner Metheg is placed beside the ee of the final closed syllable that has lost the tone in חפץ Psalm 22:9, ותּחולל Psalm 90:2, vid., Isaiah S. 594 note.)

The following strophe tells the reason of his pleasing God and of His not allowing him to perish. This כּי חפץ בּי (for He delighted in me) now becomes the primary thought of the song.

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