2 Samuel 22:17-20
He sent from above, he took me; he drew me out of many waters;
In vers. 8-16 the psalmist depicts Jehovah as appearing in his glory for the deliverance of his servant. The picture may have been occasioned by a storm which, in one of his battles, had terrified his enemies and aided in their discomfiture (comp. Joshua 10:11; 1 Samuel 7:10). In the text he narrates the deliverance itself.
I. THE ENEMIES. Who were:
1. Malignant. "Hated me." There was not only opposition and contest, but personal hatred. Many of the Christian's foes have this quality in a high degree (John 17:14), notably their great leader and chief, Satan (equivalent to "adversary," 1 Peter 5:8).
2. Powerful. "My strong enemy... too strong for me." In physical strength, or military, or in numbers. David may have had in view such instances as those recorded in 2 Samuel 8:3-5 and 2 Samuel 21:15-17. The Christian's foes also are "powers" (Ephesians 6:12). Wherein consists the power of the enemies of the righteous?
(1) Their inherent vigour;
(2) their adaptation to our lower nature;
(3) their number.
3. Subtle. "They prevented me in the day of my calamity." They rushed upon him unexpectedly, when he was enfeebled by calamity, and poorly prepared for them. David may be thinking of the attack of the Syrians of Damascus, while he and his army were engaged with Hadadezer or exhausted by the contest with him (2 Samuel 8:5); or of the assault of the giant Ishbi-benob, while he was faint from fighting against the Philistines (2 Samuel 21:15, 16). Thus, also, the Christian's foes often surprise him when he is preoccupied or distressed by troubles. The day of calamity is a day of spiritual danger.
4. In a measure successful. So that he became as a man struggling for life in "great waters" (comp. vers. 5, 6). It seemed as if he must be swallowed up. Thus, also, the enemies of the Christian may do him much mischief, temporal and even spiritual; but there is a limit to their power. "For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him" (2 Chronicles 16:9).
II. THE DELIVERER. Jehovah, the Almighty, whose glorious interposition on behalf of his servant, in answer to his cry of distress, is described in the previous verses. They set forth:
1. His awful majesty.
2. His power over all the forces of nature.
3. The intensity of his interest in his troubled servants. How he rouses himself, as it were, for the rescue of those in whom he delights (ver. 20).
4. His anger against their enemies. (Vers. 8, 9.) With such a Friend, who can neither be surprised, evaded, or resisted, the righteous need not dread the might of any adversary, nor despair of deliverance from the direst troubles.
III. THE DELIVERANCE, God:
1. Supported him in his perils. "The Lord was my Stay."
2. He saved him from them. "He stretched forth his hand from on high; he laid hold of me; he drew me out of great waters; he delivered me," etc. God's hand can reach his servants in the lowest depths of trouble, and is strong to rescue them from the strongest of their foes.
3. He brought him into a condition of freedom and safety. "Into a large place," a broad, open space, where no "cords of Sheol," or "snares of death" (Ver. 6, Revised Version), would embarrass or endanger him; where he could move about with perfect freedom, and yet perfect security. Such help from on high is realized by God's people in this world; perfectly when the hand of their God lays hold of them and raises them from earth to heaven.
IV. THE PRAISE. (See homilies on vers. 2 4, 4, and 7.) The perfections and acts of Jehovah are of such a nature that to merely recite them is to praise him. We should acquaint ourselves as fully as possible with his excellences and works, that we may better praise him by declaring them; but our own experience of his power and goodness will give us the liveliest apprehension of them, and stimulate us to the most ardent praise. - G.W.
Parallel VersesKJV: He sent from above, he took me; he drew me out of many waters;
WEB: He sent from on high and he took me. He drew me out of many waters.