Psalm 18:35
You have also given me the shield of your salvation: and your right hand has held me up, and your gentleness has made me great.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(35) Thy gentleness.—Or, meekness, as in margin. We cannot afford to sacrifice this striking foreshadowing of His saying of Himself, “I am meek and lowly,” to the scare of a word like anthropomorphism. Why be afraid to speak of the Divine Being as meek any more than as jealous. The LXX. and Vulgate have “discipline,” probably through this timidity.

Psalm 18:35. Thou hast given me the shield of thy salvation — Thy protection, which hath been to me like a shield to defend me. Thy right hand hath holden me up — Kept me from falling into those snares and mischiefs which mine enemies designed, and I feared I should fall into. And thy gentleness hath made me great — Or, meekness, as the word ענוה, gnanvah, is translated, Numbers 12:3; Psalm 45:4; Zechariah 2:3; that is, thy clemency, whereby thou hast pardoned my sins, which otherwise would have undone me, and hast mitigated thy corrections which I have deserved: or, thy grace and benignity, which thou hast manifested to me, and exercised in and for me.18:32, and the following verses, are the gifts of God to the spiritual warrior, whereby he is prepared for the contest, after the example of his victorious Leader. Learn that we must seek release being made through Christ, shall be rejected. In David the type, we behold out of trouble through Christ. The prayer put up, without reconciliation Jesus our Redeemer, conflicting with enemies, compassed with sorrows and with floods of ungodly men, enduring not only the pains of death, but the wrath of God for us; yet calling upon the Father with strong cries and tears; rescued from the grave; proceeding to reconcile, or to put under his feet all other enemies, till death, the last enemy, shall be destroyed. We should love the Lord, our Strength, and our Salvation; we should call on him in every trouble, and praise him for every deliverance; we should aim to walk with him in all righteousness and true holiness, keeping from sin. If we belong to him, he conquers and reigns for us, and we shall conquer and reign through him, and partake of the mercy of our anointed King, which is promised to all his seed for evermore. Amen.Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvations - Thou hast saved me as with a shield; thou hast thrown thy shield before me in times of danger. See the note at Psalm 5:12.

And thy right hand hath holden me up - Thou hast sustained me when in danger of failing, as if thou hadst upheld me with thine own hand.

And thy gentleness hath made me great - Margin, "or, with thy meekness thou hast multiplied me." The word here rendered gentleness, evidently means here favor, goodness, kindness. It commonly means humility, modesty, as applied to men; as applied to God, it means mildness, clemency, favor. The idea is, that God had dealt with him in gentleness, kindness, clemency, and that to this fact alone he owed all his prosperity and success in life. It was not by any claim which he had on God; it was by no worth of his own; it was by no native strength or valor that he had been thus exalted, but it was wholly because God had dealt kindly with him, or had showed him favor. So all our success in life is to be traced to the favor - the kindness - of God.

35. thy gentleness—as applied to God—condescension—or that which He gives, in the sense of humility (compare Pr 22:4). The shield of thy salvation; thy safeguard and protection, which hath been to me like a shield to defend me.

Holden me up; kept me from falling into those snares and mischiefs which mine enemies designed, and I feared.

Thy gentleness, or

meekness, as this word signifies, Numbers 12:3 Psalm 10:17 45:4 Zephaniah 2:3, i.e. thy clemency, whereby thou hast pardoned my sins, which might otherwise have undone me, and mitigated thy corrections which I have deserved; thy grace and benignity, which thou hast freely showed to me and for me. Thou hast given me the shield of thy salvation,.... Meaning either temporal salvation, which was a shield to him when he had no outward one, as when he fought with Goliath; and was what preserved him in all his battles at other times: or spiritual salvation, which is of the Lord, of his contriving, effecting:, and applying, and in which his glory is concerned; interest in which is a free gift of his, as are the knowledge, application, and possession of it; and this is as a shield, which saves from sin, from all sin, and the damning power of it; keeps off the curses of the law, secures from wrath to come, and repels Satan's temptations; the words may be applied to Christ, who, though he was not saved from dying, yet was preserved in the day of salvation, and was not suffered to see corruption in the grave, and was quickly delivered from the power and dominion of it;

and thy right hand hath holden me up; Christ may be said to be the right hand of God, being as dear to him as his right hand; and being exalted at it; and because by him he communicates all good things to his people, and with him upholds and sustains them; or else it designs the mighty power of God, which is often signified by it, Psalm 20:6; and may be understood of the sustentation of David, both in a providential way, with respect to his being, the preservation of it, the supplies of life, and support in times of trouble and distress; and in a spiritual sense, maintaining the principle of grace in him, furnishing him with fresh supplies of grace, and bearing him up under and through every temptation and exercise; so upholding him that he stood firm in the true grace of God, in the exercise of it implanted, and in the doctrine of grace, so as to go forward in the ways of God, and follow hard after him, and so as not to fall and utterly perish; and which is true of all the saints; see Psalm 63:8. The words may be interpreted of Christ, who, as man and Mediator, as God's righteous servant, was upheld by him, so that he failed not, nor was he discouraged; the hand of the Lord was established with him, and his arm also strengthened him, Isaiah 42:1; this clause is not in 2 Samuel 22:36;

and thy gentleness hath made me great; David was very mean and low by his birth and occupation, and while persecuted by Saul; but God of his grace and goodness, of his sovereign good will and pleasure, raised him to an high estate, set him on the throne of Israel, and gave him honour among and above the kings of the earth; so Kimchi interprets the word for "gentleness" by "goodness" or "merciful" kindness; R. Jonah by "providence"; and R. Isaac explains it "thy help and good will"; and all shows that his greatness was not owing to his merits, but to the providential goodness of God; and his special grace and mercy in Christ Jesus made him still greater, even a child of God, an heir of God, a joint heir with Christ, a King and a Priest unto God; gave him a right unto and a meetness for a crown of glory, an everlasting kingdom, an eternal inheritance, as it does all the saints. The words may be rendered, "thy humility hath made me great" (p); which may be understood either of God's humbling himself to look upon him in his low estate, and to raise him to such honour and dignity as he did, both in a temporal and spiritual sense; see Psalm 113:6; or of the humility which he had in himself from God, as Aben Ezra interprets it; of which grace God is the author; it is a fruit of the Spirit; which he takes great notice of, gives more grace to them that have it, and exalts them, as he did David, who was mean and low in his own eyes. The Septuagint, and those versions which follow that, render it "thy discipline" or "correction": and so may design the gentleness and lenity of God in chastising his people, which is always in measure and in judgment, and for their good; whereby he increases grace in them, and trains them up for, and brings them to his kingdom and glory. The Chaldee paraphrase is, "by thy word thou hast increased me"; it may not be improperly interpreted of Christ, who was very low in his estate of humiliation on earth, but is now highly exalted, and crowned with glory and honour; who first endured great sufferings, and then entered into his glory.

(p) "mansuetudo tua", Pagninus, Montanus, Musculus, Gejerus; "thy meekness", Ainsworth; "sumitur pro humilitate seu mansuetudine", Zeph. ii. 3. Gejerus.

Thou hast also given me the {b} shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy {c} gentleness hath made me great.

(b) To defend me from dangers.

(c) He attributed the beginning, continuance and increase in well doing only to God's favour.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
35. Jehovah’s saving help has been his defence—cp. Psalm 18:2-3; Psalm 18:46, and Ephesians 6:17 :—Jehovah’s right hand supports him that his foot should not slip (Psalm 20:2; Psalm 94:18): Jehovah’s condescension—lit. meekness or lowliness—makes him great. The word is a bold one to apply to God, but its meaning is explained by Psalm 113:5-6; Isaiah 57:15; and the choice of the humble shepherd boy to be the king of Israel was a signal example of this characteristic of the Divine action.

Loving correction (P.B.V.) is a conflate rendering combining παιδεία (discipline) from the LXX, and mansuetudo (gentleness) from Jerome. The second line of the verse is omitted in 2 Sam.; and thine answering (i.e. of prayer) is read in place of thy condescension.

35–38. But it is not to his own valour that his successes are to be ascribed.Verse 35. - Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation; i.e. in battle thou extendest over me the shield of thy protection. Nothing was more common in ancient warfare than for a warrior, while he was engaged in using his offensive weapons, especially the bow, to be protected from the missiles of the enemy by a comrade who held a shield before him. The Assyrian kings were constantly thus defended in battle, and it was even common for an ordinary archer to be similarly guarded (see ' Ancient Monarchies,' vol. 2. pp. 30, 32, 33, for illustrations). And thy right hand hath holden me up. The "right hand" is always spoken of as the arm of greatest strength (comp. Psalm 44:3; Psalm 45:4; Psalm 48:10; Psalm 60:5, etc.). And thy gentleness hath made me great; rather, thy condescension (Kay) - the quality in God which most nearly corresponds to humility in man. The word is not elsewhere used of God. (Heb.: 18:29-31) The confirmation of what has been asserted is continued by David's application of it to himself. Hitzig translates the futures in Psalm 18:29. as imperfects; but the sequence of the tenses, which would bring this rendering with it, is in this instance interrupted, as it has been even in Psalm 18:28, by כּי. The lamp, נר (contracted from nawer), is an image of life, which as it were burns on and on, including the idea of prosperity and high rank; in the form ניר (from niwr, nijr) it is the usual figurative word for the continuance of the house of David, 1 Kings 11:36, and frequently. David's life and dominion, as the covenant king, is the lamp which God's favour has lighted for the well-being of Israel, and His power will not allow this lamp (2 Samuel 21:17) to be quenched. The darkness which breaks in upon David and his house is always lighted up again by Jahve. For His strength is mighty in the weak; in, with, and by Him he can do all things. The fut. ארץ may be all the more surely derived from רצץ ( equals ארץ), inasmuch as this verb has the changeable u in the future also in Isaiah 42:4; Ecclesiastes 12:6. The text of 2 Samuel 22, however, certainly seems to put "rushing upon" in the stead of "breaking down." With Psalm 18:31 the first half of the hymn closes epiphonematically. האל is a nom. absol., like hatsuwr, Deuteronomy 32:4. This old Mosaic utterance is re-echoed here, as in 2 Samuel 7:22, in the mouth of David. The article of האל points to God as being manifest in past history. His way is faultless and blameless. His word is צרוּפה, not slaggy ore, but purified solid gold, Psalm 12:7. Whoever retreats into Him, the God of the promise, is shielded from every danger. Proverbs 30:5 is borrowed from this passage.
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