Psalm 18:9
He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was under his feet.
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(9) Darkness.—Better, black cloud. The dark masses of rain-cloud are now gathered, and bend to the earth under the majestic tread of God. (Comp. Nahum 1:3, “and the clouds are the dust of his feet.” (Comp. Psalm 144:5.)

Psalm 18:9. He bowed the heavens — By producing thick and dark clouds, by which the heavens seemed to come down to the earth; and came down — Not by change of place, but by the manifestation of his presence and power on my behalf. In other words, he, as it were, made the heavens bend under him, when he descended to take vengeance on his and my enemies. And darkness was under his feet — The psalmist seems here to express the appearance of the Divine Majesty in a glorious cloud, descending from heaven, which, underneath, was substantially dark, but above bright, and shining with an amazing lustre; and which, by its gradual descent, would appear as if the heavens themselves were bending down and approaching toward the earth.

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 bowed the heavens also - He seemed to bend down the heavens - to bring them nearer to the earth. "He inclines the canopy of the heavens, as it were, toward the earth; wraps himself in the darkness of night, and shoots forth his arrows; hurls abroad his lightnings, and wings them with speed." Herder, Spirit of Hebrew Poetry (Marsh), ii. 157. The allusion is still to the tempest, when the clouds ran low; when they seem to sweep along the ground; when it appears as if the heavens were brought nearer to the earth - as if, to use a common expression, "the heavens and earth were coming together."

And came down - God himself seemed to descend in the fury of the storm.

And darkness was under his feet - A dark cloud; or, the darkness caused by thick clouds. Compare Nahum 1:3, "The Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet." Deuteronomy 4:11, "the mountain burned ... with thick darkness." Deuteronomy 5:22, "these words the Lord spake out of the thick darkness." Psalm 97:2, "clouds and darkness are round about him." The idea here is that of awful majesty and power, as we are nowhere more forcibly impressed with the idea of majesty and power than in the fury of a storm.

9. darkness—or, a dense cloud (Ex 19:16; De 5:22). He bowed the heavens, by producing thick and dark clouds, by which the heavens seem to come down to the earth.

Came down; not by change of place, but by the manifestation of his presence and power on my behalf.

He bowed the heavens also, and came down,.... To execute wrath and vengeance on wicked men; which is always the sense of these phrases when they go together; see Psalm 144:6; The Targum is, "he bowed the heavens, and his glory appeared"; that is, the glory of his power, and of his mighty hand of vengeance; for not his grace and mercy, but his indignation and wrath, showed themselves; for it follows,

and darkness was under his feet; the Targum is, "a dark cloud", expressive of the awfulness of the dispensation to wicked men; who are not allowed to see the face of God, are debarred his presence, and denied, communion with him, and to whom everything appears awful and terrible, Psalm 97:2.

He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and {f} darkness was under his feet.

(f) Darkness signifies the wrath of God as the clear light signifies God's favour.

9. The dark canopy of storm clouds, which is the pavement under His feet (Nahum 1:3), lowers as He descends to judgment. God is said to come down when He manifests His power in the world (Genesis 11:7; Genesis 18:21; Isaiah 64:1). The darkness, or better as R.V., thick darkness, in which He conceals Himself from human view, symbolises the mystery and awfulness of His Advent (Exodus 19:16; Exodus 20:21, 1 Kings 8:12; Psalm 97:2).

Verse 9. - He bowed the heavens also, and came down (comp. Psalm 145:5). In a storm the clouds do actually descend, and the whole heaven seems to be bowed down to earth. God is said to "come down" to earth whenever he delivers the oppressed, and takes vengeance on their oppressors (see Exodus 3:8; 2 Samuel 22:10; Psalm 144:5; Isaiah 64. I, 3, etc.). And darkness was under his feet. A deep darkness commonly accompanies both earthquake and storm. When God actually descended on Mount Sinai, it was amid thunders and lightnings, and "a thick cloud" (Exodus 19:16), elsewhere called "thick darkness" (Deuteronomy 5:22). Psalm 18:9(Heb.: 18:8-10) As these verses go on to describe, the being heard became manifest in the form of deliverance. All nature stands to man in a sympathetic relationship, sharing his curse and blessing, his destruction and glory, and to God is a (so to speak) synergetic relationship, furnishing the harbingers and instruments of His mighty deeds. Accordingly in this instance Jahve's interposition on behalf of David is accompanied by terrible manifestations in nature. Like the deliverance of Israel out of Egypt, Psalm 68; Psalm 77, and the giving of the Law on Sinai, Exodus 19, and like the final appearing of Jahve and of Jesus Christ according to the words of prophet and apostle (Habakkuk 3; 2 Thessalonians 1:7.), the appearing of Jahve for the help of David has also extraordinary natural phenomena in its train. It is true we find no express record of any incident in David's life of the kind recorded in 1 Samuel 7:10, but it must be come real experience which David here idealises (i.e., seizes at its very roots, and generalises and works up into a grand majestic picture of his miraculous deliverance). Amidst earthquake, a black thunderstorm gathers, the charging of which is heralded by the lightning's flash, and its thick clouds descend nearer and nearer to the earth. The aorists in Psalm 18:8 introduce the event, for the introduction of which, from Psalm 18:4 onwards, the way has been prepared and towards which all is directed. The inward excitement of the Judge, who appears to His servant for his deliverance, sets the earth in violent oscillation. The foundations of the mountains (Isaiah 24:18) are that upon which they are supported beneath and within, as it were, the pillars which support the vast mass. געשׁ (rhyming with רעשׁ) is followed by the Hithpa. of the same verb: the first impulse having been given they, viz., the earth and the pillars of the mountains, continue to shake of themselves. These convulsions occur, because "it is kindled with respect to God;" it is unnecessary to supply אפּו, חרה לו is a synonym of חם לו. When God is wrath, according to Old Testament conception, the power of wrath which is present in Him is kindled and blazes up and breaks forth. The panting of rage may accordingly also be called the smoke of the fire of wrath (Psalm 74:1; Psalm 80:5). The smoking is as the breathing out of the fire, and the vehement hot breath which is inhaled and exhaled through the nose of one who is angry (cf. Job 41:12), is like smoke rising from the internal fire of anger. The fire of anger itself "devours out of the mouth," i.e., flames forth out of the mouth, consuming whatever it lays hold of-in men in the form of angry words, with God in the fiery forces of nature, which are of a like kind with, and subservient to, His anger, and more especially in the lightning's flash. It is the lightning chiefly, that is compared here to the blazing up of burning coals. The power of wrath in God, becoming manifest in action, breaks forth into a glow, and before it entirely discharges its fire, it gives warning of action like the lightning's flash heralding the outburst of the storm. Thus enraged and breathing forth His wrath, Jahve bowed the heavens, i.e., caused them to bend towards the earth, and came down, and darkness of clouds (ערפל similar in meaning to ὄρφνη, cf. ἔρεβος) was under His feet: black, low-hanging clouds announced the coming of Him who in His wrath was already on His way downwards towards the earth.
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