Psalm 55:18
He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me: for there were many with me.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(18) He hath delivered.—The Targum rightly makes this the petition just mentioned, “Deliver,” &c

(18) From the battle.—The reading of the LXX. is preferable, “from these drawing near to me.”

For there were many with me.—This is only intelligible if we insert the word fighting. “For there were many fighting with me,” i.e., “against me.” But the text seems corrupt.

Psalm 55:18. He hath delivered my soul — He may be considered, either as referring to former deliverances, and mentioning them as a reason why he should now trust in God; or as speaking of a future deliverance as already effected, because he was confident it would be effected. He adds, in peace, because he was persuaded God would restore him to his former peace and tranquillity. But, perhaps, he speaks of inward peace, peace of soul. By patience and trusting in God, he kept possession of his peace, in the midst of the tumult, clamour, and confusion, yea, and the bloodshed and slaughter attending the rebellion. For there were many with me — David thought, at first, almost all were against him, but now he sees there were many with him, more than he imagined; his interest proved better than he expected, and of this he gives God the glory. For it is he that raiseth us up friends when we need them, and makes them faithful to us. There were many with him; for though his subjects in general deserted him, and went over to Absalom; yet God was with him, and the good angels. With an eye of faith he now sees himself surrounded, as Elisha was, with chariots of fire, and horses of fire, and, therefore, triumphs thus: There are many with me, more with me than against me, 2 Kings 6:16-17.

55:16-23 In every trial let us call upon the Lord, and he will save us. He shall hear us, and not blame us for coming too often; the oftener the more welcome. David had thought all were against him; but now he sees there were many with him, more than he supposed; and the glory of this he gives to God, for it is he that raises us up friends, and makes them faithful to us. There are more true Christians, and believers have more real friends, than in their gloomy hours they suppose. His enemies should be reckoned with, and brought down; they could not ease themselves of their fears, as David could, by faith in God. Mortal men, though ever so high and strong, will easily be crushed by an eternal God. Those who are not reclaimed by the rod of affliction, will certainly be brought down to the pit of destruction. The burden of afflictions is very heavy, especially when attended with the temptations of Satan; there is also the burden of sin and corruption. The only relief under it is, to look to Christ, who bore it. Whatever it is that thou desirest God should give thee, leave it to him to give it in his own way and time. Care is a burden, it makes the heart stoop. We must commit our ways and works to the Lord; let him do as seemeth him good, and let us be satisfied. To cast our burden upon God, is to rest upon his providence and promise. And if we do so, he will carry us in the arms of his power, as a nurse carries a child; and will strengthen our spirits by his Spirit, so that they shall sustain the trial. He will never suffer the righteous to be moved; to be so shaken by any troubles, as to quit their duty to God, or their comfort in him. He will not suffer them to be utterly cast down. He, who bore the burden of our sorrows, desires us to leave to him to bear the burden of our cares, that, as he knows what is best for us, he may provide it accordingly. Why do not we trust Christ to govern the world which he redeemed?He hath delivered my soul in peaee - The Hebrew is, "He has redeemed;" so also the Septuagint and Vulgate. The meaning is, He has "rescued" me, or has saved me from my enemies. Either the psalmist composed the psalm "after" the struggle was over, and in view of it, here speaks of what had actually occurred; or he is so confident of being redeemed and saved that he speaks of it as if it were already done. See Psalm 55:19. There are many instances in the Psalms in which the writer is so certain that what he prays for will be accomplished that he speaks of it as if it had already actually occurred. The words "in peace" mean that God ad given him peace; or that the result of the divine interposition was that he had calmness of mind.

From the battle that was against me - The hostile array; the armies prepared for conflict.

For there were many with me - This language conveys to us the idea that there were many on his side, or many that were associated with him, and that this was the reason why he was delivered. It is doubtful, however, whether this is the meaning of the original. The idea may be that there were many contending with him; that is, that there were many who were arrayed against him. The Hebrew will admit of this construction.

18. many with me—that is, by the context, fighting with me. He hath delivered my soul: either this is an argument whereby he encourageth himself now to trust God, because of former deliverances; or lie speaks of a future deliverance as a thing done, because of the certainty of it.

In peace; or, into peace. He hath restored me from the state of war to my former peace and tranquillity.

For there were many with me; for there were more with me than against me; even the holy angels, whom God employed to defend and deliver me. See 2 Kings 6:16 Psalm 34:7 57:3.

3. Or, for (or rather though, as this particle is oft rendered) there were many with me, or about me, or against me, as this particle is rendered, Psalm 85:3 94:16, and in other places. So he speaks here of his enemies; which seems best to suit with the context; for of them he speaks implicitly in the foregoing words, and expressly in the following.

He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me,.... That is, God had preserved his life, and delivered him safe and sound from many a battle which was fought against him, and might seem at first to go against him; and had given him peace and rest from all his enemies before the present trouble came upon him, 2 Samuel 7:1; wherefore he believed, that he who had delivered him in time past would deliver him again; this is the reasoning of faith, 2 Corinthians 1:9. The Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions, render the last clause, "from them that draw nigh unto thee"; and the Syriac version renders it, by way of petition, "deliver my soul from them that know me"; and the Targum,

"lest evil should come unto me;''

for there were many with me; either enemies fighting with him; and so this is mentioned to set forth the more the power of God in his deliverance: or friends, who were on his side; all Israel and Judah, who loved David and prayed for him, as Jarchi interprets it: or the angels of God, as Aben Ezra; who being for the Lord's people, are more than they that are against them, 2 Kings 6:16; or God, Father, Son, and Spirit; and if he is for us, who shall be against us? Romans 8:31. The Targum is,

"for in many afflictions his Word was for my help.''

He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me: for there were {n} many with me.

(n) Even the angels of God fought on my side against my enemies, 2Ki 6:16.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 18. - He hath delivered my soul in peace from the battle that was against me. Once mere "the preterite of prophetic certainty." David sees his deliverance effected. He beholds the coming battle (2 Samuel 17:11; 2 Samuel 18:6-8). He sees that there are many with him; i.e. "many that contend with him;" but his courage does not fail - he is assured of being "delivered" and re-established in his kingdom "in peace." Psalm 55:18In the third group confidence prevails, the tone that is struck up in Psalm 55:17 being carried forward. Evening morning, and noon, as the beginning, middle, and close of the day, denote the day in its whole compass or extent: David thus gives expression to the incessancy with which he is determined to lay before God, both in the quiet of his spirit and in louder utterances, whatsoever moves him. The fut. consec. ויּשׁמע connects the hearing (answer) with the prayer as its inevitable result. Also in the praet. פּדה expression is given to the certainty of faith; and בּשׁלום side by side with it denotes, with the same pregnancy of meaning as in Psalm 118:5, the state of undisturbed outward and inward safety and prosperity, into which God removes his soul when He rescues him. If we read mi-kerob, then קרב is, as the ancient versions regard it, the infinitive: ne appropinquent mihi; whereas since the time of J. H. Michaelis the preference has been given to the pronunciation mi-kerāb: a conflictu mihi sc. parato, in which case it would be pointed מקּרב־ (with Metheg), whilst the MSS, in order to guard against the reading with ā, point it מקּרב־. Hitzig is right when he observes, that after the negative מן the infinitive is indicated beforehand, and that לי equals עלי, Psalm 27:2, is better suited to this. Moreover, the confirmatory clause Psalm 55:19 is connected with what precedes in a manner less liable to be misunderstood if מקרב is taken as infinitive: that they may not be able to gain any advantage over me, cannot come near me to harm me (Psalm 91:10). For it is not until now less precarious to take the enemies as the subject of היוּ, and to take עמּדי in a hostile sense, as in Job 10:17; Job 13:19; Job 23:6; Job 31:13, cf. עם Psalm 94:16, and this is only possible where the connection suggests this sense. Heidenheim's interpretation: among the magnates were those who succoured me (viz., Hushai, Zadok, and Abiathar, by whom the counsel of Athithopel was frustrated), does not give a thought characteristic of the Psalms. And with Aben-Ezra, who follows Numeri Rabba 294a, to think of the assistance of angels in connection with בּרבּים, certainly strongly commends itself in view of 2 Kings 6:16 (with which Hitzig also compares 2 Chronicles 32:7); here, however, it has no connection, whereas the thought, "as many (consisting of many) are they with me, i.e., do they come forward and fight with me," is very loosely attached to what has gone before. The Beth essentiae serves here, as it does frequently, e.g., Psalm 39:7, to denote the qualification of the subject. The preterite of confidence is followed in Psalm 55:20 by the future of hope. Although side by side with שׁמע, ענה presumptively has the signification to answer, i.e., to be assured of the prayer being heard, yet this meaning is in this instance excluded by the fact that the enemies are the object, as is required by Psalm 55:20 (even if Psalm 55:19 is understood of those who are on the side of the poet). The rendering of the lxx: εἰσακούσεται ὁ Θεὸς καὶ ταπεινώσει αὐτοὺς ὁ ὑπάρχων πρὸ τῶν αἰώνων, is appropriate, but requires the pronunciation to be ויעשנּם, since the signification to bow down, to humble, cannot be proved to belong either to Kal or Hiphil. But even granted that יענם might, according to 1 Kings 8:35 (vid., Keil), signify ταπεινώσει αὐτοὺς, it is nevertheless difficult to believe that ויענם is not intended to have a meaning correlative with ישׁמע, of which it is the continuation. Saadia has explained יענם in a manner worthy of attention, as being for יענה בם, he will testify against them; an interpretation which Aben-Ezra endorses. Hengstenberg's is better: "God will hear (the tumult of the enemies) and answer them (judicially)." The original text may have been ויענמו ישׁב קדם. But as it now stands, וישׁב קדם represents a subordinate clause, with the omission of the הוּא, pledging that judicial response: since He it is who sitteth enthroned from earliest times (vid., on Psalm 7:10). The bold expression ישׁב קדם is an abbreviation of the view of God expressed in Psalm 74:12, Habakkuk 1:12, cf. Deuteronomy 33:27, as of Him who from primeval days down to the present sits enthroned as King and Judge, who therefore will be able even at the present time to maintain His majesty, which is assailed in the person of His anointed one.
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