Psalm 18:28
For you will light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(28) For thou wilt.—Better, Thou makest bright my lamp. In Samuel, “It is thou Jehovah who art my lamp.” This obvious metaphor is common in Hebrew, as in all literature. Light is an emblem of prosperity, happiness, or life itself. (Comp. Job 18:6; Job 21:17; Proverbs 13:9, &c). It happens to be used very frequently of David and his family (1Kings 11:36; 1Kings 15:4; 2Kings 8:19). Comp. Psalm 132:17.

Psalm 18:28-31. Thou wilt light, or, thou dost light, or, hast lighted, my candle — That is, given me safety, and comfort, and glory, and posterity also: all which particulars are often signified by a candle, or a light. Thou wilt or dost advance me to honour, increase my prosperity, and make me continually joyful by thy favour. Nothing was more usual among the oriental writers than representing any person, or family, by a lamp enlightening the whole house, 1 Kings 11:36; 1 Kings 15:4, and Job 18:5-6. For by thee I have run through a troop — Broken through the armed troops of mine enemies. And by my God have I leaped over a wall — I have scaled the walls of their strongest cities and castles, and so taken them. David, soon after his settlement on the throne, drove the Jebusite garrison out of Jerusalem, and reduced the city to his obedience, making it the future capital of his kingdom. And it is not improbable but he may refer to these actions, or to his two victories over the Philistines, mentioned 2 Samuel 5:17, &c. “David’s habitual piety should be here remarked, as he ascribes all his successes to the assistance of God; and in the next two verses celebrates the unerring rectitude of his providence: As for God, his way is perfect — In every thing just and kind: the truth of his promises; the word of the Lord is tried — Free from deceit, as gold refined by fire, and certainly to be performed: and that powerful protection he affords to good men; he is a buckler — A sure defence, to all those who trust in him. To this he could bear witness from his own experience; and therefore he breaks out in that just acknowledgment, Psalm 18:31, Who is God, save Jehovah? Or, who is a rock — Who can give absolute security from all dangers, save our God? — He then goes on to enumerate the particular favours which God had bestowed upon himself, and the various perils he had been in, under which he had experienced the divine protection.” — Chandler.18:20-28 Those that forsake the ways of the Lord, depart from their God. But though conscious to ourselves of many a false step, let there not be a wicked departure from our God. David kept his eye upon the rule of God's commands. Constant care to keep from that sin, whatever it be, which most easily besets us, proves that we are upright before God. Those who show mercy to others, even they need mercy. Those who are faithful to God, shall find him all that to them which he has promised to be. The words of the Lord are pure words, very sure to be depended on, and very sweet to be delighted in. Those who resist God, and walk contrary to him, shall find that he will walk contrary to them, Le 26:21-24. The gracious recompence of which David spoke, may generally be expected by those who act from right motives. Hence he speaks comfort to the humble, and terror to the proud; Thou wilt bring down high looks. And he speaks encouragement to himself; Thou wilt light my candle: thou wilt revive and comfort my sorrowful spirit; thou wilt guide my way, that I may avoid the snares laid for me. Thou wilt light my candle to work by, and give me an opportunity of serving thee. Let those that walk in darkness, and labour under discouragements, take courage; God himself will be a Light to them.For thou wilt light my candle - Margin, lamp. The word lamp best expresses the idea. In the Scriptures light is an image of prosperity, success, happiness, holiness, as darkness is the image of the opposite. See the notes at Job 29:2-3; compare also Job 18:6; Job 21:17; Proverbs 20:27; Proverbs 24:20; Psalm 119:105; Psalm 132:17; Isaiah 62:1. The meaning here is, that the psalmist felt assured that God would give him prosperity, as if his lamp were kept constantly burning in his dwelling.

The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness - Will shed light on my path, which would otherwise be dark: will impart light to my understanding; will put peace and joy in my heart; will crown me with his favor. Compare the note at Psalm 4:6.

28. To give one light is to make prosperous (Job 18:5, 6; 21:17).

thou—is emphatic, as if to say, I can fully confide in Thee for help.

Or, thou dost light, or hast lighted, my candle, i.e. given me safety, and comfort, and prosperity, and glory, and posterity also; all which are oft signified by a candle or a light, as Esther 8:16 Job 21:17 29:3 Psalm 97:11 132:17, &c. For thou wilt light my candle,.... Or lamp (d): in 2 Samuel 22:29, it is, "Thou art my lamp, O Lord"; which may either design outward prosperity, and the flourishing condition of David's kingdom; or internal spiritual light, and an increase of it, by giving fresh supplies of the oil of grace, to cause the lamp to burn more clearly; or rather the prosperous estate of Christ's kingdom; and may be the same with the lamp ordained for the Messiah, Psalm 132:17;

the Lord my God will enlighten my darkness; or "cause light to shine in my darkness" (e); that is, bring me out of darkness into light; either out of adversity to prosperity, or from walking in darkness to the enjoyment of the light of his countenance; and is true of Christ, not only of the prosperity of his kingdom and interest, but of him personally; who though, when on the cross, was in darkness of soul, being forsaken by his God; yet, when raised from the dead, he was received up to heaven, and set down at the right hand of God, and was made full of joy with his countenance, Acts 2:28.

(d) "lucernam meam", Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, &c. (e) So Gussetius, Comment. Ebr. p. 495.

For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
28. For thou dost light my lamp,

Jehovah my God maketh my darkness bright.

The burning lamp is a natural metaphor for the continuance of life and prosperity, derived, it is said, from the Oriental practice of keeping a light constantly burning in the tent or house, which symbolised the maintenance of the life and prosperity of the family. Cp. Job 18:6; Proverbs 13:9. The second line of the verse indicates that the figure here refers to the preservation of David’s own life, rather than to the permanence of his dynasty, as in Psalm 132:17; 1 Kings 11:36; 1 Kings 15:4.

The text of 2 Sam. has “For thou art my lamp, O Lord.” Cp. Psalm 27:1.

28–30. These general principles of God’s dealing with men are confirmed by David’s own experience.Verses 28-45. - As in the former narrative section (vers. 4-24) David seems to have had his earlier troubles in mind, so, in the present one, his troubles since he entered upon the kingdom seem especially to engage his thoughts. These consisted chiefly of wars with foreign enemies, in which, while he incurred many dangers, he was, upon the whole, eminently successful. Verse 28. - For thou wilt light my candle; rather, my lamp - the word generally used of the lamps supported by the seven-branched candelabrum of the tabernacle (see Exodus 25:37; Exodus 37:22, 23; Exodus 40:25). David himself is called "the lamp of Israel" in 2 Samuel 21:17. The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness. The true lamp of David, which "enlightened his darkness," was "the light of God's countenance." While this shone upon him, his whole path was bright, and he himself, reflecting the Divine rays, was a lamp to others. (Heb.: 18:21-24) On גּמל (like שׁלּם with the accusative not merely of the thing, but also of the person, e.g., 1 Samuel 24:18), εὐ or κακῶς πράττειν τινά, vid., on Psalm 7:5. שׁמר, to observe equals to keep, is used in the same way in Job 22:15. רשׁע מן is a pregnant expression of the malitiosa desertio. "From God's side," i.e., in His judgment, would be contrary to the general usage of the language (for the מן in Job 4:17 has a different meaning) and would be but a chilling addition. On the poetical form מנּי, in pause מנּי, vid., Ew. 263, b. The fut. in Psalm 18:23, close after the substantival clause Psalm 18:23, is not intended of the habit in the past, but at the present time: he has not wickedly forsaken God, but (כּי equals imo, sed) always has God's commandments present before him as his rule of conduct, and has not put them far away out of his sight, in order to be able to sin with less compunction; and thus then (fut. consec.) in relation (עם, as in Deuteronomy 18:13, cf. 2 Samuel 23:5) to God he was תמים, with his whole soul undividedly devoted to Him, and he guarded himself against his iniquity (עון, from עוה, Arab. 'wâ, to twist, pervert, cf. Arab. gwâ, of error, delusion, self-enlightenment), i.e., not: against acquiescence in his in-dwelling sin, but: against iniquity becoming in any way his own; מעוני equivalent to מעותי (Daniel 9:5), cf. מחיּי equals than that I should live, Jonah 4:8. In this strophe, this Psalm strikes a cord that harmonises with Psalm 17:1-15, after which it is therefore placed. We may compare David's own testimony concerning himself in 1 Samuel 26:23., the testimony of God in 1 Kings 14:8, and the testimony of history in 1 Kings 15:5; 1 Kings 11:4.
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