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2 Samuel 22:1-51 - David's Psalm Of Thanksgiving.

( Psalms 18:1-50 .).—( JERUSALEM .)

David's song of praise.

"And David spake unto Jehovah the words of this song," etc. ( 2 Samuel 22:1 ). It is a song of:

1 . The anointed ( messiah ) of the Lord, his king ( 2 Samuel 22:51 ), his servant ( Psalms 18:1-50 ; inscription). Like Moses and Joshua, David held a peculiar and exalted position in the kingdom of God under the Old Testament. He was "a man [unlike Saul] of God's own choosing" ( 1 Samuel 13:14 ; 1 Samuel 16:1-23 :28), to fill the office of theocratic king, and to fulfil his purposes concerning Israel and the world; he was also specially fitted for his vocation, faithfully devoted to it, and greatly blessed in it. And in the consciousness of this he here speaks.

2 . Praise to the Lord, on the ground of his perfections, his relations, his benefits; prompted by the desire to render to him the honour which is his due ( 1 Samuel 2:1-10 ). "To praise God means nothing else than to ascribe to him the glorious perfections which he possesses; for we can only give to him what is his own" (Hengstenberg). And, more especially, of:

3 . Thanksgiving for past deliverance, from imminent perils, to which, as the servant of God, he was exposed through the hatred and opposition of his enemies. Of these Saul was the most formidable; and, after becoming King of Israel, David was attacked by numerous heathen nations, both separately and in combination ( 2 Samuel 5:17 ; 2 Samuel 8:1-18 .; 10.). It was probably when "the Lord had given him rest round about from all his enemies" ( 2 Samuel 7:1 ), and after the promise of an everlasting kingdom ( 2 Samuel 7:12-16 ), that the song was uttered; though by some it is regarded as "a great hallelujah, with which he retired from the theatre of life." "Having obtained many and signal victories, he does not, as irreligious men are accustomed to do, sing a song of triumph in honour of himself, but exalts and magnifies God, the Author of these victories, by a train of striking and appropriate epithets, and in a style of surpassing grandeur and sublimity" (Calvin).

4 . Confidence in future triumph over all the enemies of the kingdom of God; of which the success already attained is an assurance. God is praised, not only for what he is and has been to him, but also for what he will be to "David and his seed forever" (verse 51). Of this song, consider—

I. ITS SUBSTANCE ; or, the reasons for praise.

1 . The personal and intimate relationship of Jehovah to his servant (verses 2-4).

"Jehovah is my Rock, and my Fortress. and my, yea, my Deliverer,

My Rock God, in whom I trust," etc.

(Verses 2, 3.)

"As worthy to be praised, do I call on Jehovah,

And (whenever I call) I am saved from mine enemies."

"Faith knows no past and no future. What God has done and will do is present to it."

2 . His marvellous deliverance. ( Psalms 18:5-20 .) In a single comprehensive picture David describes the many dangers that encompassed him during his persecution by Saul, and the many providential interpositions ( 1 Samuel 23:24-28 ) that were made on his behalf.

"For breakers of death surrounded me,

Streams of Belial terrified me;

Cords of Sheol girt me about,

Snares of death overtook me."

( Psalms 18:5 , Psalms 18:6 .)

"He reached from above, he laid hold of me,

He drew me out of great waters," etc.

( Psalms 18:17-20 .)

"It is true that the deliverance of David was not actually attended by any such extraordinary natural phenomena; but the saving hand of God from heaven was so obviously manifested that the deliverance experienced by him could be poetically described as a miraculous interposition on the part of God" (Keil).

3 . His righteous procedure. ( Psalms 18:21-28 .) "He delivered me because he delighted in me" ( Psalms 18:20 ). He acted toward David in accordance with his gracious choice of him to be his servant, and delivered him because he was "well pleased" with his faithful service; the ground of this deliverance being now stated more fully—

"Jehovah rendered me according to my righteousness,

According to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me," etc.

This language neither implies entire freedom from sin nor indicates a boastful spirit, but is expressive of sincerity, integrity, fidelity; in contrast with the calumnies and wickedness of enemies, in fulfilment of a Divine call, in obedience to the Divine will generally, and in the main course of life, as:

"And oppressed people thou savest;

And thine eyes are against the haughty: them thou humblest."

4. His continued and effectual help. ( Psalms 18:29-46 .) The righteousness and faithfulness of God are further confirmed by the experience of David (after his deliverance from the hand of Saul) in his wars with the external enemies of the kingdom.

II. ITS SPIRIT ; as it appears throughout the song, and particularly in its conclusion—

"Living is Jehovah, and blessed is my Rock;

Exalted is the Rock God of my salvation," etc.

(Verses 47-51.)

1. Personal, appropriating faith. "Faith it is which gives its peculiar grandeur to David's song of triumph; his masterpiece, and it may be the masterpiece of human poetry, inspired or uninspired, What is the element in that ode, which even now makes it stir the heart like a trumpet? What protects such words ( Psalms 18:7-17 ) from the imputation of mere Eastern exaggeration? The firm conviction that God is the Deliverer, not only of David, but of all who trust in him; that the whole majesty of God, and all the powers of nature, are arrayed on the side of the good and the opprest" (C. Kingsley, 'David: Four Sermons').

2 . Heartfelt delight in God.

3 . Fervent gratitude.

4 . Unreserved consecration to his service, his honour, his glory.

"Therefore will I give thanks unto thee,

O Jehovah, among the heathen;

And sing praises unto thy Name."

( Psalms 18:50 , 51.)

(See on this song, Chandler, Maclaren, W.M. Taylor, and commentaries on Psalms 18:1-50 .) "David, King of Judah, a soul inspired by Divine music and much other heroism, was wont to pour himself forth in song; he with a seer's eye and heart discerned the Godlike among the human! struck tones that were an echo of the sphere harmonies, and are still felt to be such. Reader, art thou one of a thousand, able still to read the psalms of David, and catch some echo of it through the old dim centuries; feeling far off in thine own heart what it once was to other hearts made as thine?" (Carlyle, 'Miscellaneous Essays').—D.

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