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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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
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. (Heb.: 18:11-13) The storm, announcing the approaching outburst of the thunderstorm, was also the forerunner of the Avenger and Deliverer. If we compare Psalm 18:11 with Psalm 104:3, it is natural to regard כּרוּב as a transposition of רכוּב (a chariot, Ew. 153, a). But assuming a relationship between the biblical Cherub and (according to Ctesias) the Indo-Persian griffin, the word (from the Zend grab, garew, garefsh, to seize) signifies a creature seizing and holding irrecoverably fast whatever it seizes upon; perhaps in Semitic language the strong creature, from כּרב equals Arab. krb, torquere, constringere, whence mukrab, tight, strong). It is a passive form like גּבוּל, יסד, לבוּשׁ. The cherubim are mentioned in Genesis 3:24 as the guards of Paradise (this alone is enough to refute the interpretation recently revived in the Evang. Kirchen-Zeit., 1866, No. 46, that they are a symbol of the unity of the living One, כרוב equals כּרוב "like a multitude!"), and elsewhere, as it were, as the living mighty rampart and vehicle of the approach of the inaccessible majesty of God; and they are not merely in general the medium of God's personal presence in the world, but more especially of the present of God as turning the fiery side of His doxa towards the world. As in the Prometheus of Aeschylus, Oceanus comes flying τὸν πτερυγωκῆ τόνδ ̓ οἰωνόν γνώμῃ στομίων ἄτερ εὐθύνων, so in the present passage Jahve rides upon the cherub, of which the heathenish griffin is a distortion; or, if by a comparison of passages like Psalm 104:3; Isaiah 66:15, we understand David according to Ezekiel, He rides upon the cherub as upon His living throne-chariot (מרכּבה). The throne floats upon the cherubim, and this cherub-throne flies upon the wings of the wind; or, as we can also say: the cherub is the celestial spirit working in this vehicle formed of the spirit-like elements. The Manager of the chariot is Himself hidden behind the thick thunder-clouds. ישׁת is an aorist without the consecutive ו (cf. יך Hosea 6:1). חשׁך is the accusative of the object to it; and the accusative of the predicate is doubled: His covering, His pavilion round about Him. In Job 36:29 also the thunder-clouds are called God's סכּה, and also in Psalm 97:2 they are סביביו, concealing Him on all sides and announcing only His presence when He is wroth. In Psalm 18:12 the accusative of the object, חשׁך, is expanded into "darkness of waters," i.e., swelling with waters

(Note: Rab Dimi, B. Taanth 10a, for the elucidation of the passage quotes a Palestine proverb: נהור ענני זעירין מוהי חשׁוך ענני סגיין מוהי i.e., if the clouds are transparent they will yield but little water, if they are dark they will yield a quantity.)

and billows of thick vapour, thick, and therefore dark, masses (עב in its primary meaning of denseness, or a thicket, Exodus 19:9, cf. Jeremiah 4:29) of שׁחקים, which is here a poetical name for fleecy clouds. The dispersion and discharge, according to Psalm 18:13, proceeded from נגהּ גגדּו. Such is the expression for the doxa of God as being a mirroring forth of His nature, as it were, over against Him, as being therefore His brightness, or the reflection of His glory. The doxa is fire and light. On this occasion the forces of wrath issue from it, and therefore it is the fiery forces: heavy and destructive hail (cf. Exodus 9:23., Isaiah 30:30) and fiery glowing coals, i.e., flashing and kindling lightning. The object עביו stands first, because the idea of clouds, behind which, according to Psalm 18:11, the doxa in concealed, is prominently connected with the doxa. It might be rendered: before His brightness His clouds turn into hail..., a rendering which would be more in accordance with the structure of the stichs, and is possible according to Ges. 138, rem. 2. Nevertheless, in connection with the combination of עבר with clouds, the idea of breaking through (Lamentations 3:44) is very natural. If עביו is removed, then עברו signifies "thence came forth hail..." But the mention of the clouds as the medium, is both natural and appropriate.

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