my shield, the horn that saves me, 10 my stronghold,
my refuge, my savior. You save me from violence! 11
and I was delivered from my enemies.
22:5 The waves of death engulfed me;
the snares of death trapped me. 19
22:7 In my distress I called to the Lord;
I called to my God. 20
From his heavenly temple 21 he heard my voice;
he listened to my cry for help. 22
They heaved because he was angry.
fire devoured as it came from his mouth; 28
he hurled down fiery coals. 29
a thick cloud was under his feet.
in thick rain clouds. 36
22:13 From the brightness in front of him
came coals of fire. 37
lightning and routed them. 43
the inner regions 45 of the world were uncovered
by the Lord’s battle cry, 46
by the powerful breath from his nose. 47
he pulled me from the surging water. 49
from those who hate me,
for they were too strong for me.
but the Lord helped me. 52
22:20 He brought me out into a wide open place;
he delivered me because he was pleased with me. 53
I have not rebelled against my God. 59
and I do not reject his rules. 61
22:24 I was blameless before him;
I kept myself from sinning. 62
he took notice of my blameless behavior. 64
but you watch the proud and bring them down. 73
the Lord’s promise is reliable; 85
he is a shield to all who take shelter in him.
he enables me to negotiate the rugged terrain. 94
my arms can bend even the strongest bow. 97
your willingness to help enables me to prevail. 100
my feet 102 do not slip.
22:38 I chase my enemies and destroy them;
I do not turn back until I wipe them out.
22:39 I wipe them out and beat them to death;
they cannot get up;
they fall at my feet.
you make my foes kneel before me. 104
I destroy those who hate me.
they cry out to the Lord, 108 but he does not answer them.
22:43 I grind them as fine as the dust of the ground;
I crush them and stomp on them like clay 109 in the streets.
you preserve me as a leader of nations;
people over whom I had no authority are now my subjects. 111
when they hear of my exploits, they submit to me. 113
he makes nations submit to me. 124
you rescue me from violent men.
I will sing praises to you. 129
he is faithful to his chosen ruler, 131
to David and to his descendants forever!”
[22:1] 1 sn In this long song of thanks, David affirms that God is his faithful protector. He recalls in highly poetic fashion how God intervened in awesome power and delivered him from death. His experience demonstrates that God vindicates those who are blameless and remain loyal to him. True to his promises, God gives the king victory on the battlefield and enables him to subdue nations. A parallel version of the song appears in Ps 18.
[22:2] 6 tn Traditionally “is my rock”; CEV “mighty rock”; TEV “is my protector.” This metaphor pictures God as a rocky, relatively inaccessible summit, where one would be able to find protection from enemies. See 1 Sam 23:25, 28.
[22:3] 8 tc The translation (along with many English versions, e.g., NAB, NIV, NRSV, NLT) follows the LXX in reading אֱלֹהִי (’elohi, “my God”) rather than MT’s אֱלֹהֵי (’elohe, “the God of”). See Ps 18:2.
[22:3] sn Though some see “horn” as referring to a horn-shaped peak of a hill, or to the “horns” of an altar where one could find refuge, it is more likely that the horn of an ox underlies the metaphor (see Deut 33:17; 1 Kgs 22:11; Ps 92:10). The horn of the wild ox is frequently a metaphor for military strength; the idiom “exalt the horn” signifies military victory (see 1 Sam 2:10; Pss 89:17, 24; 92:10; Lam 2:17). In the ancient Near East powerful warrior-kings would sometimes compare themselves to a goring bull that uses its horns to kill its enemies. For examples, see P. Miller, “El the Warrior,” HTR 60 (1967): 422-25, and R. B. Chisholm, “An Exegetical and Theological Study of Psalm 18/2 Samuel 22” (Th.D. diss., Dallas Theological Seminary, 1983), 135-36. 2 Sam 22:3 uses the metaphor of the horn in a slightly different manner. Here the Lord himself is compared to a horn. He is to the psalmist what the horn is to the ox, a source of defense and victory.
[22:4] 12 tn In this song of thanksgiving, where David recalls how the Lord delivered him, the prefixed verbal form is best understood as a preterite indicating past tense (cf. CEV “I prayed”), not an imperfect (as in many English versions).
[22:4] 13 tn Heb “worthy of praise, I cried out [to] the
[22:5] 15 tn The noun בְלִיַּעַל (bÿliyya’al) is used here as an epithet for death. Elsewhere it is a common noun meaning “wickedness, uselessness” (see HALOT 133-34 s.v. בְּלִיַּעַל). It is often associated with rebellion against authority and other crimes that result in societal disorder and anarchy. The phrase “man/son of wickedness” refers to one who opposes God and the order he has established. The term becomes an appropriate title for death, which, through human forces, launches an attack against God’s chosen servant.
[22:5] 16 tn In this poetic narrative context the prefixed verbal form is best understood as a preterite indicating past tense, not an imperfect. (Note the perfect verbal form in the parallel/preceding line.) The verb בָּעַת (ba’at) sometimes by metonymy carries the nuance “frighten,” but the parallelism (note “engulfed” in the preceding line) favors the meaning “overwhelm” here.
[22:7] 20 tn In this poetic narrative the two prefixed verbal forms in v. 7a are best understood as preterites indicating past tense, not imperfects. Note the use of the vav consecutive with the prefixed verbal form that follows in v. 7b.
[22:8] 23 tn The earth heaved and shook. The imagery pictures an earthquake, in which the earth’s surface rises and falls. The earthquake motif is common in Old Testament theophanies of God as warrior and in ancient Near eastern literary descriptions of warring gods and kings. See R. B. Chisholm, “An Exegetical and Theological Study of Psalm 18/2 Samuel 22” (Th.D. diss., Dallas Theological Seminary, 1983), 160-62.
[22:8] 25 tn In this poetic narrative context the prefixed verbal form is best understood as a preterite indicating past tense, not an imperfect. Note the three prefixed verbal forms with vav consecutive in the verse.
[22:9] 26 tn Heb “within” or “[from] within.” For a discussion of the use of the preposition בְּ (bet) here, see R. B. Chisholm, “An Exegetical and Theological Study of Psalm 18/2 Samuel 22” (Th.D. diss., Dallas Theological Seminary, 1983), 163-64.
[22:9] 27 tn Or “in his anger.” The noun אַף (’af) can carry the abstract meaning “anger,” but the parallelism (note “from his mouth”) suggests the more concrete meaning “nose” here (most English versions, “nostrils”). See also v. 16, “the powerful breath of your nose.”
[22:9] 28 tn Heb “fire from his mouth devoured.” In this poetic narrative the prefixed verbal form is best understood as a preterite indicating past tense, not an imperfect. Note the two perfect verbal forms in the verse.
[22:9] sn For other examples of fire as a weapon in Old Testament theophanies and ancient Near Eastern portrayals of warring gods and kings, see R. B. Chisholm, “An Exegetical and Theological Study of Psalm 18/2 Samuel 22” (Th.D. diss., Dallas Theological Seminary, 1983), 165-67.
[22:10] 30 tn The verb נָטָה (natah) can carry the sense “[to cause to] bend; [to cause to] bow down” (see HALOT 693 s.v. נָטָה). For example, Gen 49:15 pictures Issachar as a donkey that “bends” its shoulder or back under a burden (cf. KJV, NASB, NRSV “He bowed the heavens”; NAB “He inclined the heavens”). Here the
[22:11] sn A winged angel. Cherubs, as depicted in the Old Testament, possess both human and animal (lion, ox, and eagle) characteristics (see Ezek 1:10; 10:14, 21; 41:18). They are pictured as winged creatures (Exod 25:20; 37:9; 1 Kgs 6:24-27; Ezek 10:8, 19) and serve as the very throne of God when the ark of the covenant is in view (Pss 80:1; 99:1; see Num 7:89; 1 Sam 4:4; 2 Sam 6:2; 2 Kgs 19:15). The picture of the
[22:11] 33 tc The translation follows very many medieval Hebrew
[22:11] 34 sn The wings of the wind. Verse 10 may depict the
[22:12] 35 tc Heb “he made darkness around him coverings.” The parallel text in Ps 18:11 reads “he made darkness his hiding place around him, his covering.” 2 Sam 22:12 omits “his hiding place” and pluralizes “covering.” Ps 18:11 may include a conflation of synonyms (“his hiding place” and “his covering” ) or 2 Sam 22:12 may be the result of haplography/homoioarcton. Note that three successive words in Ps 18:11 begin with the letter ס (samek): סִתְרוֹ סְבִיבוֹתָיו סֻכָּתוֹ (sitro sÿvyvotav sukkato).
[22:12] 36 tc Heb “a sieve of water, clouds of clouds.” The form חַשְׁרַת (khashrat) is a construct of חַשְׁרָה (khashrah, “sieve”), which occurs only here in the OT. A cognate Ugaritic noun means “sieve,” and a related verb חשׁר (“to sift”) is attested in postbiblical Hebrew and Aramaic (see HALOT 363 s.v. *חשׁר). The phrase חַשְׁרַת־מַיִם (khashrat-mayim) means literally “a sieve of water.” It pictures the rain clouds as a sieve through which the rain falls to the ground. (See F. M. Cross and D. N. Freedman, Studies in Ancient Yahwistic Poetry, 146, note 33.)
[22:13] 37 tc The parallel text in Ps 18:12 reads “from the brightness in front of him his clouds came, hail and coals of fire.” The Lucianic family of texts within the Greek tradition of 2 Sam 22:13 seems to assume the underlying Hebrew text: מִנֹּגַהּ נֶגְדּוֹ עָבְרוּ בָּרָד וְגַחֲלֵי אֵשׁ (minnogah negdo ’avru barad vÿgakhale ’esh, “from the brightness in front of him came hail and coals of fire”) which is the basis for the present translation. The textual situation is perplexing and the identity of the original text uncertain. The verbs עָבְרוּ (’avÿru; Ps 18:12) and בָּעֲרוּ (ba’aru, 2 Sam 22:13) appear to be variants involving a transposition of the first two letters. The noun עָבָיו (’avav, “his clouds”; Ps 18:12) may be virtually dittographic (note the following עָבְרוּ), or it could have accidentally dropped from the text of 2 Sam 22:13 by virtual haplography (note the preceding בָּעֲרוּ [ba’aru], which might have originally read עָבְרוּ). The term בָּרָד (barad, “hail”; Ps 18:12) may be virtually dittographic (note the preceding עָבְרוּ), or it could have dropped from 2 Sam 22:13 by virtual haplography (note the preceding בָּעֲרוּ, which might have originally read עָבְרוּ). For a fuller discussion of the text, see R. B. Chisholm, “An Exegetical and Theological Study of Psalm 18/2 Samuel 22” (Th.D. diss., Dallas Theological Seminary, 1983), 74-76.
[22:14] 40 tn Heb “offered his voice.” In this poetic narrative context the prefixed verbal form is best understood as a preterite indicating past tense, not an imperfect. Note the preterite form in the preceding line. The text of Ps 18:13 adds at this point, “hail and coals of fire.” These words are probably accidentally added from v. 12b; they do not appear in 2 Sam 22:14.
[22:14] sn Thunder is a common motif in Old Testament theophanies and in ancient Near Eastern portrayals of the storm god and warring kings. See R. B. Chisholm, “An Exegetical and Theological Study of Psalm 18/2 Samuel 22” (Th.D. diss., Dallas Theological Seminary, 1983), 179-83.
[22:15] 42 tn The pronominal suffixes on the verbs “scattered” and “routed” (see the next line) refer to David’s enemies. Some argue that the suffixes refer to the arrows, in which case one might translate “shot them far and wide” and “made them move noisily,” respectively. They argue that the enemies have not been mentioned since v. 4 and are not again mentioned until v. 17. However, usage of the verbs פוּץ (puts, “scatter”) and הָמַם (hamam, “rout”) elsewhere in Holy War accounts suggests the suffixes refer to enemies. Enemies are frequently pictured in such texts as scattered and/or routed (see Exod 14:24; 23:27; Num 10:35; Josh 10:10; Judg 4:15; 1 Sam 7:10; 11:11; Ps 68:1).
[22:15] 43 sn Lightning is a common motif in OT theophanies and in ancient Near Eastern portrayals of the storm god and warring kings. Arrows and lightning bolts are associated in other texts (see Pss 77:17-18; 144:6; Zech 9:14), as well as in ancient Near Eastern art. See R. B. Chisholm, “An Exegetical and Theological Study of Psalm 18/2 Samuel 22” (Th.D. diss., Dallas Theological Seminary, 1983), 187, 190-92.
[22:16] 46 tn The noun is derived from the verb גָעַר (nag’ar) which is often understood to mean “rebuke.” In some cases it is apparent that scolding or threatening is in view (see Gen 37:10; Ruth 2:16; Zech 3:2). However, in militaristic contexts this translation is inadequate, for the verb refers in this setting to the warrior’s battle cry, which terrifies and paralyzes the enemy. See A. Caquot, TDOT 3:53, and note the use of the verb in Pss 68:30; 106:9; and Nah 1:4, as well as the related noun in Job 26:11; Pss 9:5; 76:6; 104:7; Isa 50:2; 51:20; 66:15.
[22:16] 47 tn Heb “blast of the breath” (literally, “breath of breath”) employs an appositional genitive. Synonyms are joined in a construct relationship to emphasize the single idea. For a detailed discussion of the grammatical point with numerous examples, see Y. Avishur, “Pairs of Synonymous Words in the Construct State (and in Appositional Hendiadys) in Biblical Hebrew,” Semitics 2 (1971): 17-81.
[22:17] 48 tn Heb “stretched.” Perhaps “his hand” should be supplied by ellipsis (see Ps 144:7). In this poetic narrative context the three prefixed verbal forms in this verse are best understood as preterites indicating past tense, not imperfects.
[22:19] 51 tn The same verb is translated “trapped” in v. 6. In this poetic narrative context the prefixed verbal form is best understood as a preterite indicating past tense, not imperfect. Cf. NAB, NCV, TEV, NLT “attacked.”
[22:21] 55 tn Heb “according to my righteousness.” As vv. 22-25 make clear, David refers here to his unwavering obedience to God’s commands. He explains that the Lord was pleased with him and willing to deliver him because he had been loyal to God and obedient to his commandments. Ancient Near Eastern literature contains numerous parallels. A superior (a god or king) would typically reward a subject (a king or the servant of a king, respectively) for loyalty and obedience. See R. B. Chisholm, “An Exegetical and Theological Study of Psalm 18/2 Samuel 22” (Th.D. diss., Dallas Theological Seminary, 1983), 211-13.
[22:21] 56 tn The unreduced Hiphil prefixed verbal form appears to be an imperfect, in which case the psalmist would be generalizing. However, both the preceding and following contexts (see especially v. 25) suggest he is narrating his experience. Despite its unreduced form, the verb is better taken as a preterite. For other examples of unreduced Hiphil preterites, see Pss 55:14a; 68:9a, 10b; 80:8a; 89:43a; 107:38b; 116:6b.
[22:22] 58 tn Heb “for I have kept the ways of the
[22:23] 60 tn Heb “for all his regulations are before me.” The term מִשְׁפָּטָו (mishpatav, “his regulations”) refers to God’s covenantal requirements, especially those which the king is responsible to follow (cf Deut 17:18-20). See also Pss 19:9 (cf vv. 7-8); 89:30; 147:20 (cf v. 19), as well as the numerous uses of the term in Ps 119.
[22:23] 61 tn Heb “and his rules, I do not turn aside from it.” Ps 18:22 reads, “and his rules I do not turn aside from me.” The prefixed verbal form is probably an imperfect; David here generalizes about his loyalty to God’s commands. The
[22:24] 62 tn Heb “from my sin,” that is, from making it my own in any way. Leading a “blameless” life meant that the king would be loyal to God’s covenant, purge the government and society of evil and unjust officials, and reward loyalty to the
[22:26] 65 tn The imperfect verbal forms in vv. 26-30 draw attention to God’s characteristic actions. Based on his experience, the psalmist generalizes about God’s just dealings with people (vv. 26-28) and about the way in which God typically empowers him on the battlefield (vv. 29-30). The Hitpael stem is used in vv. 26-27 in a reflexive resultative (or causative) sense. God makes himself loyal, etc. in the sense that he conducts or reveals himself as such. On this use of the Hitpael stem, see GKC 149-50 §54.e.
[22:26] 66 tn Or “to a faithful follower.” A חָסִיד (khasid, “faithful follower”) is one who does what is right in God’s eyes and remains faithful to God (see Pss 4:3; 12:1; 16:10; 31:23; 37:28; 86:2; 97:10).
[22:27] 70 tc The translation follows two medieval Hebrew
[22:27] 71 tn The adjective עִקֵּשׁ (’iqqesh) has the basic nuance “twisted; crooked,” and by extension refers to someone or something that is morally perverse. It appears frequently in Proverbs, where it is used of evil people (22:5), speech (8:8; 19:1), thoughts (11:20; 17:20) and life styles (2:15; 28:6). A righteous king opposes such people (Ps 101:4). Verses 26-27 affirm God’s justice. He responds to people in accordance with their moral character. His response mirrors their actions. The faithful and blameless find God to be loyal and reliable in his dealings with them. But deceivers discover he is able and willing to use deceit to destroy them. For a more extensive discussion of the theme of divine deception in the OT, see R. B. Chisholm, “Does God Deceive?” BSac 155 (1998): 11-28.
[22:29] 75 tc Many medieval Hebrew
[22:29] 76 tc The Lucianic Greek recension and Vulgate understand this verb to be second person rather than third person as in the MT. But this is probably the result of reading the preceding word “
[22:30] 80 tn Heb “I will run.” The imperfect verbal forms in v. 30 indicate the subject’s potential or capacity to perform an action. Though one might expect a preposition to follow the verb here, this need not be the case with the verb רוּץ (ruts; see 1 Sam 17:22). Some emend the Qal to a Hiphil form of the verb and translate, “I put to flight [literally, “cause to run”] an army.”
[22:30] 81 tn More specifically, the noun refers to a raiding party or to a contingent of troops (see HALOT 177 s.v. II גְדוּד). The picture of a divinely empowered warrior charging against an army in almost superhuman fashion appears elsewhere in ancient Near Eastern literature. See R. B. Chisholm, “An Exegetical and Theological Study of Psalm 18/2 Samuel 22” (Th.D. diss., Dallas Theological Seminary, 1983), 228.
[22:31] 84 tn Heb “[As for] the God, his way is blameless.” The term הָאֵל (ha’el, “the God”) stands as a nominative (or genitive) absolute in apposition to the resumptive pronominal suffix on “way.” The prefixed article emphasizes his distinctiveness as the one true God (see BDB 42 s.v. II אֵל 6; Deut 33:26). God’s “way” in this context refers to his protective and salvific acts in fulfillment of his promise (see also Deut 32:4; Pss 67:2; 77:13 [note vv. 11-12, 14]; 103:7; 138:5; 145:17).
[22:31] 85 tn Heb “the word of the
[22:32] 88 tn The rhetorical questions anticipate the answer, “No one.” In this way the psalmist indicates that the
[22:33] 92 tn Heb “and he sets free (from the verb נָתַר, natar) [the] blameless, his [Kethib; “my” (Qere)] way.” The translation follows Ps 18:32 in reading “he made my path smooth.” The term תָּמִים (tamim, “smooth”) usually carries a moral or ethical connotation, “blameless, innocent.” However, in Ps 18:33 it refers to a pathway free of obstacles. The reality underlying the metaphor is the psalmist’s ability to charge into battle without tripping (see vv. 33, 36).
[22:34] 93 tc Heb “[the one who] makes his feet like [those of] a deer.” The translation follows the Qere and many medieval Hebrew
[22:34] 94 tn Heb “and on my high places he makes me walk.” The imperfect verbal form emphasizes God’s characteristic provision. The psalmist compares his agility in battle to the ability of a deer to negotiate rugged, high terrain without falling or being injured. Habakkuk uses similar language to describe his faith during difficult times. See Hab 3:19.
[22:35] 97 tn Heb “and a bow of bronze is bent by my arms.” The verb נָחֵת (nakhet) apparently means “to pull back; to bend” here (see HALOT 692 s.v. נחת). The bronze bow referred to here was probably laminated with bronze strips, or a purely ceremonial or decorative bow made entirely from bronze. In the latter case the language is hyperbolic, for such a weapon would not be functional in battle.
[22:36] 98 tn Another option is to translate the prefixed verb with vav consecutive with a past tense, “you gave me.” Several prefixed verbal forms with vav consecutive also appear in vv. 38-44. The present translation understands this section as a description of what generally happened when the author charged into battle, but another option is to understand the section as narrative and translate accordingly.
[22:36] tn Heb “and you give me the shield of your deliverance”; KJV, ASV “the shield of thy (your NRSV, NLT) salvation”; NIV “your shield of victory.” Ancient Near Eastern literature often refers to a god giving a king special weapons. See R. B. Chisholm, “An Exegetical and Theological Study of Psalm 18/2 Samuel 22” (Th.D. diss., Dallas Theological Seminary, 1983), 260-61.
[22:37] 101 tn Heb “step.” “Step” probably refers metonymically to the path upon which the psalmist walks. Another option is to translate, “you widen my stride.” This would suggest that God gives him the capacity to run quickly.
[22:41] 105 tn Heb “and [as for] my enemies, you give to me [the] back [or “neck” ].” The idiom “give [the] back” means “to cause [one] to turn the back and run away.” See Exod 23:27 and HALOT 888 s.v. II ערף.
[22:42] 106 tc The translation follows one medieval Hebrew
[22:42] 108 tn The words “they cry out” are not in the Hebrew text. This reference to the psalmists’ enemies crying out for help to the
[22:44] 110 tn Heb “from the strivings of my people.” In this context רִיב (riv, “striving”) probably has a militaristic sense (as in Judg 12:2; Isa 41:11), and עַם (’am, “people”) probably refers more specifically to an army (for other examples, see the verses listed in BDB 766 s.v. עַם 2.d). The suffix “my” suggests David is referring to attacks by his own countrymen, the “people” being Israel. However, the parallel text in Ps 18:43 omits the suffix.
[22:44] 111 tn Heb “a people whom I did not know serve me.” In this context the verb “know” (יָדַע, yada’) probably refers to formal recognition by treaty. People who were once not under the psalmist’s authority now willingly submit to his rulership to avoid being conquered militarily (see vv. 45-46). The language may recall the events recorded in 2 Sam 8:9-10 and 10:19.
[22:45] 112 tn For the meaning “to be weak; to be powerless” for the verb כָּחַשׁ (kakhash), see Ps 109:24. Verse 46, which also mentions foreigners, favors this interpretation. Another option is to translate “cower in fear” (see Deut 33:29; Pss 66:3; 81:15).
[22:47] 118 tn Elsewhere the construction חַי־יְהוָה (khay-yÿhvah) as used exclusively as an oath formula, but this is not the case here, for no oath follows. Here the statement is an affirmation of the
[22:47] 121 tn Heb “the God of the rock of my deliverance.” The term צוּר (tsur, “rock”) is probably accidentally repeated from the previous line. The parallel version in Ps 18:46 has simply “the God of my deliverance.”
[22:47] 122 tn The words “as king” are supplied in the translation for clarification. In the Psalms the verb רוּם (rum, “be exalted”) when used of God, refers to his exalted position as king (Pss 99:2; 113:4; 138:6) and/or his self-revelation as king through his mighty deeds of deliverance (Pss 21:13; 46:10; 57:5, 11).
[22:48] 123 tn Heb “The God is the one who grants vengeance to me.” The plural form of the noun “vengeance” indicates degree here, suggesting complete vengeance or vindication. In the ancient Near East military victory was sometimes viewed as a sign that one’s God had judged in favor of the victor, avenging and/or vindicating him. See, for example, Judg 11:27, 32-33, 36.
[22:49] 126 tn Heb “you lift me up.” In light of the preceding and following references to deliverance, the verb רוּם (rum) probably here refers to being rescued from danger (see Ps 9:13). However, it could mean “exalt; elevate” here, indicating that the
[22:50] 128 sn This probably alludes to the fact that David will praise the
[22:50] 129 tn Heb “to your name.” God’s “name” refers metonymically to his divine characteristics as suggested by his name, in this case “
[22:51] 130 tc The translation follows the Kethib and the ancient versions in reading מַגְדִּיל (magdil, “he magnifies”) rather than the Qere and many medieval Hebrew