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And David spake unto the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD had delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies, and out of the hand of Saul:
And he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer;
The God of my rock; in him will I trust: he is my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge, my saviour; thou savest me from violence.
I will call on the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.
When the waves of death compassed me, the floods of ungodly men made me afraid;
The sorrows of hell compassed me about; the snares of death prevented me;
In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God: and he did hear my voice out of his temple, and my cry did enter into his ears.
Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations of heaven moved and shook, because he was wroth.
There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it.
He bowed the heavens also, and came down; and darkness was under his feet.
And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: and he was seen upon the wings of the wind.
And he made darkness pavilions round about him, dark waters, and thick clouds of the skies.
Through the brightness before him were coals of fire kindled.
The LORD thundered from heaven, and the most High uttered his voice.
And he sent out arrows, and scattered them; lightning, and discomfited them.
And the channels of the sea appeared, the foundations of the world were discovered, at the rebuking of the LORD, at the blast of the breath of his nostrils.
He sent from above, he took me; he drew me out of many waters;
He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them that hated me: for they were too strong for me.
They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay.
He brought me forth also into a large place: he delivered me, because he delighted in me.
The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness: according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.
For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God.
For all his judgments were before me: and as for his statutes, I did not depart from them.
I was also upright before him, and have kept myself from mine iniquity.
Therefore the LORD hath recompensed me according to my righteousness; according to my cleanness in his eye sight.
With the merciful thou wilt show thyself merciful, and with the upright man thou wilt show thyself upright.
With the pure thou wilt show thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt show thyself unsavoury.
And the afflicted people thou wilt save: but thine eyes are upon the haughty, that thou mayest bring them down.
For thou art my lamp, O LORD: and the LORD will lighten my darkness.
For by thee I have run through a troop: by my God have I leaped over a wall.
As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.
For who is God, save the LORD? and who is a rock, save our God?
God is my strength and power: And he maketh my way perfect.
He maketh my feet like hinds' feet: and setteth me upon my high places.
He teacheth my hands to war; so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms.
Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy gentleness hath made me great.
Thou hast enlarged my steps under me; so that my feet did not slip.
I have pursued mine enemies, and destroyed them; and turned not again until I had consumed them.
And I have consumed them, and wounded them, that they could not arise: yea, they are fallen under my feet.
For thou hast girded me with strength to battle: them that rose up against me hast thou subdued under me.
Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies, that I might destroy them that hate me.
They looked, but there was none to save; even unto the LORD, but he answered them not.
Then did I beat them as small as the dust of the earth, I did stamp them as the mire of the street, and did spread them abroad.
Thou also hast delivered me from the strivings of my people, thou hast kept me to be head of the heathen: a people which I knew not shall serve me.
Strangers shall submit themselves unto me: as soon as they hear, they shall be obedient unto me.
Strangers shall fade away, and they shall be afraid out of their close places.
The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and exalted be the God of the rock of my salvation.
It is God that avengeth ° me, and that bringeth down the people under me,
And that bringeth me forth from mine enemies: thou also hast lifted me up on high above them that rose up against me: thou hast delivered me from the violent man.
Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto thy name.
He is the tower ° of salvation for his king: and showeth mercy to his anointed, unto David, and to his seed for evermore.

New Defender's Study Bible Notes

22:1 words of this song. The remarkable poem in this chapter, inserted here by the unknown author of II Samuel, is (with certain significant exceptions) the same as the 18th psalm. David wrote many wonderful psalms, but this is the only one also inserted in the Bible’s historical books. This choice by the Holy Spirit must indicate its special significance as a testimony of the one who is both Creator and Savior.

22:2 my rock. These two words for “rock” (Hebrew cela and tsur, respectively) are the same as for the two rocks smitten by Moses (Exodus 17:6; Numbers 20:11), except that the order is reversed.

22:3 in him will I trust. David’s statement of faith—“in Him will I trust”—is inserted in the midst of this unique string of nine expressive metaphors applied to God by David. However, it is quoted in Hebrews 2:13 as coming from the lips of Christ in His human incarnation. The same is true of II Samuel 22:50, as quoted in Romans 15:9. These statements, taken from the beginning and concluding sections of David’s song of testimony, clearly tell us that its context goes far beyond David’s own personal experiences, though it applies there also. It is one of the “Messianic psalms,” both rehearsing the past actions and predicting the future experiences of God Himself, especially in His great works of redemption and judgment.

22:3 my saviour. This is the last of the nine great ascriptions to God. The word “Saviour” is yasha in the Hebrew, very close to the name “Jesus.” An Israelite might easily have read this climaxing assertion as “Jehovah Jesus, [who] savest me from violence.”

22:6 sorrows of hell. The experience of being surrounded by the sorrows of hell (Hebrew sheol) can only be applied literally to Christ Himself, when He descended into Hades after His death on the cross. Thus David’s human sufferings are translated by the Spirit speaking by him (II Samuel 23:2) into the much greater sufferings of David’s greater Son, the Messiah.

22:8 shook and trembled. The terrible scenes described in II Samuel 22:8-17 go far beyond even any poetic license that David might properly use to describe his own personal deliverance from his enemies. They do, however, make sense in connection with the great earthquake and mid-day darkness at the scene of Christ’s crucifixion. But they seem to go even beyond this, for the physical convulsions experienced around the cross were only a foretaste of those that will soon occur when “He ariseth to shake terribly the earth” (Isaiah 2:19). In that great coming day of judgment, God “will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land” (Haggai 2:6). Similarly, in the distant past, there was a worldwide cataclysm at the time of the great Flood.

David’s experiences thus were a retrospective type of those experienced by Noah as he was saved through the trauma of a world first filled with violence, and then covered with the deep waters of judgment. As a result, both Noah and David become types of the incarnate Creator, testifying both to “the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow” (I Peter 1:11). We see, therefore, in these verses not only David’s deliverances, but also those of Noah in the past, Christ at the cross, and all the saints in the future.

22:11 cherub. The mighty angelic beings called cherubim (Satan himself was originally the highest of all—Ezekiel 28:14) are always associated with the presence of God as sovereign Creator.

22:11 wind. In the Hebrew, “wind” is the same as “spirit,” so this phrase could refer to “the wings of the Spirit.” In the Bible’s first reference to “the Spirit of God” (Genesis 1:2), He is seen as “moving” in the presence of the primeval waters, with the word the same as that for the fluttering movement of the wings of a great bird. The vibrating motion implies the generating of waves of energy, flowing out from the Spirit to energize the newly created cosmos. Similarly, the divine energy emanates from the Spirit here, but this time in destructive rather than creative power.

22:12 dark waters. The reference to “waters” and “darkness” in these verses seems to fit most naturally with David’s retrospective vision of the ancient judgment of the Flood. The references to “fire” (II Samuel 22:9,13) correlate with the breaking-up of the fountains of the great deep (implying volcanic eruptions) at the time of the Flood, and the reference to “lightning” (II Samuel 22:15) correlates to the sudden rains from heaven.

22:16 channels of the sea. The fact that there are “channels in the sea” is a discovery of modern oceanography. Ancient mariners knew much about the surface of the sea and its coasts, but had no means of probing its depths to map the ocean-bottom topography. This is one of many Biblical anticipations of modern science, testifying to the divine inspiration of the Bible.

22:17 out of many waters. Neither David nor Christ were drawn out of “many waters” in any literal sense, though this could be understood figuratively as applicable to either one. Noah, however, and those preserved by God in the ark were indeed really drawn by God out of many waters.

22:19 prevented. An archaic expression meaning “went before.”

22:50 praises unto thy name. A portion of this verse is quoted in Romans 15:9, as coming from the lips of Christ in prophecy. This again confirms the Messianic theme of David’s great song.

22:51 his anointed. The word “anointed” is in the Hebrew Messiah. Referring thus to David’s eternal Seed, this closing verse firmly establishes that David’s promised Seed is none other than the Messiah, or Christ.

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