2 Samuel Chapter 22

2 SAMUEL CHAPTER 22

David’s Psalm of Thanksgiving

        • NLT Illustrated Study Bible writes, “Although this prayer of thanksgiving (also recorded in Ps 18) is placed near the end of David’s story, David probably offered it to God much earlier in his life. This prayer and Hannah’s (1 Sam 2:1-10) together enclose the book of Samuel with an inclusio (literary bookends). Hannah was saved from barrenness; David was saved from his enemies. The placement of this hymn also provides a parallel to Moses. The stories of both Moses and David end with a song or hymn giving lavish praise to God (see also Deut 31:30-32:43). Both highlight God as a “Rock” (Deut 32:4, 15, 18, 30, 31; 2 Sam 22:2, 3, 32, 47). Both are followed by second and shorter poetic pieces- Moses’ final blessing to the Israelite tribes (Deut 33), and David’s last words (2 Sam 23:1-7).”

      • David spoke the words of this song to Yahweh when Yahweh rescued him from the hands of all of his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said:

        • Yahweh is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer.”

        • My God, my mountain where I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation. My stronghold and my refuge, O my Savior, You save me from violence.”

          • NLT Illustrated Study Bible says, “Hannah had said, ‘there is no Rock like our God’ (1 Sam 2:2), while David said, the Lord is my rock, which recalls God’s rescue of David from Saul at the Rock of Escape (1 Sam 23:28). The Hebrew word translated ‘rock’ in 22:3 (different from 22:2) refers in 1 Sam 24:2 to ‘the rocks of the wild goats,’ where Saul suspected David was hiding. Fortress: The same word referred to David’s physical ‘stronghold’ (1 Sam 22:4), where David and his men sought refuge from Saul.”

        • NET Bible adds, “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)…”

        • I called to Yahweh, who is worthy of praise, and I was saved from my enemies. The waves of death engulfed me; the currents of destruction overwhelmed me. The ropes of Sheol coiled around me; the snares of death confronted me.”

        • Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges writes, “The perils to which he had been exposed are described as waves and floods which threatened to engulf him: Sheol and death are represented as laying wait for his life like hunters with nets and snares.”

      • In my distress I called upon Yahweh. I called upon my God. From His temple, He heard my voice, my cry came to His ears.”

          • ESV Study Bible notes, “Having described his situation, David now describes the Lord’s response. Heard (Hb shama‘) does not mean a passive ‘hearing,’; it implies an attentive listening and, usually, a positive response. Temple probably refers to the heavenly temple of God, from which he came down (v. 10; see Ps 11:4; Mic 1:2-3).”

        • Then the earth heaved and shook; the foundations of the heavens trembled and quaked because He was angry. Smoke rose from His nostrils, and consuming fire came from His mouth; burning coals blazed forth from Him. He bowed the heavens and came down, a dark cloud beneath His feet.”

          • NLT Illustrated Study Bible remarks, “David vividly expands on how God heard him…David describes God’s rescue as a theophany (manifestation of God’s presence…) that recalls God’s manifestation at Sinai (Exod 19:16-20; cp Judg 5:4-5).”

        • HCSB writes, “The biblical writer refers to God’s ‘nostrils’ and ‘mouth’ to express, in a colorful and memorable way, God’s terrifying acts of judgment against His enemies. God is spirit (Jn 4:24), but Scripture often employs such anthropomorphisms (descriptions of God’s action using a human analogy) to convey some aspect of His involvement in the human scene…).”

      • Mounted on a cherub, He flew, gliding on the wings of the wind.”

        • NET Bible unpacks the elements of this verse:

          • Cherubim, 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 Lord seated on the cherubim suggests they might be used by him as a vehicle, a function they carry out in Ezek 1:22-28 (the ‘living creatures’ mentioned here are identified as cherubim in Ezek 10:20). In Ps 18:10 the image of a cherub serves to personify the wind (see the next line).”

        • The translation follows very many medieval Hebrew mss in reading (vayyedeʾ, ‘and he glided’; cf. NIV ‘soared’; NCV ‘raced’) rather than MT (vayyeraʾ, ‘and he appeared,’ so NASB, CEV). See as well the Syriac Peshitta, Targum, Vulgate, and the parallel version in Ps 18:10, which preserves the original reading…”

          • The wings of the wind. Verse 10 may depict the Lord mounting a cherub, which is in turn propelled by the wind current. Another option is that two different vehicles (a cherub and the wind) are envisioned. A third option is that the wind is personified as a cherub…”

      • He made darkness a canopy around Him, in thick rain clouds. Out of the brightness of His presence, flaming coals blazed forth.”

        • Yahweh thundered from heaven; the voice of the Most High resounded. He sent out arrows and scattered them, lighting bolts and routed them. Then at Yahweh’s battle cry, by the blast of the breath from His nostrils, the depths of the sea were exposed, and the foundations of the world were uncovered.”

        • He reached down from on high and took hold of me; He pulled me out of mighty waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from those who hated me, for they were too strong for me. They attacked me when I was in distress, but Yahweh was my support. He brought me out to a wide-open place; He rescued me because He delighted in me.”

        • Yahweh rewarded me according to my righteousness; He repaid me according to the cleanness of my hands. For I have kept the ways of Yahweh; I have not turned from my God to wickedness. All His ordinances were before me; I did not turn aside from His statutes. I was blameless before Him; I kept myself from sinning. Yahweh has rewarded me for my righteousness, according to my cleanliness in His sight.”

            • NLT Illustrated Study Bible writes, “David composed these words much earlier…, before his sin with Bathsheba. Still, his claim to being blameless should not be construed as a claim to perfection. David was simply noting that he had kept the covenant and followed its law…David’s divine rescue and success were related to his own obedient walk with God. God honors those who live their lives in a way that pleases him (see also Lev 26:1-13; Deut 28:1-14; Ps 1).”

          • Guzik remarks, “Some think this is arrogance or pride on David’s part. Spurgeon quotes one commentator who wrote, ‘Kept himself! Who made man his own keeper?’ Yet we know there is certainly a sense in which we must keep ourselves from sin, even as Paul spoke of a man cleansing himself for God’s glory and for greater service (2 Timothy 2:21).”

      • I can certainly understand why the commentator Spurgeon references feels the way he does! David’s words in this passage come across as a little shocking and a lot arrogant. However, perhaps David’s words should be viewed through the lens of the Old Covenant (Mosaic Covenant). Bob Deffinbaugh discusses this in his article on this song of David. The first statement is a citation in Deffinabugh’s footnotes. The quotes following the first are from Deffinabugh’s article:

            • Deffinbaugh offers the following citation from Robert D. Bergen in his 1, 2 Samuel, “. . . this psalm can be seen as a restatement of a central thesis of the Torah — obedience to the Lord results in life and blessing. The message of the psalm may thus be summarized as follows: Because David scrupulously obeyed the Lord, the Lord rewarded him by responding to his pleas, delivering him during times of trouble and exalting him. For this the Lord is to be praised.”

            • When God gave Israel the Law of Moses, He made it clear that obedience to His law would bring blessing (Deuteronomy 28:1-14), while disobedience would bring cursing and disaster (28:15-68). David was a man after God’s heart. With few exceptions (see 1 Kings 15:5), David loved and lived by the law. He understood that those who would draw near to God are those who keep His law… (Psalm 15).”

          • David believed, as did all faithful Israelites, that God would punish the wicked and save the righteous who take refuge in Him…(Psalm 37:35-40)…”

          • In the Law of Moses, God made it clear to His people that He would bless them as they trusted in Him and kept His law (see Deuteronomy 7:12-16). On the other hand, it was also clear that their righteousness attained by their works was not the basis for God’s grace…(Deut 9:4-6)…”

      • To the loyal, You show Yourself loyal. To the blameless man, You show Yourself blameless. With the pure, You show Yourself pure. But to the perverse, You show Yourself deceptive.”

          • ESV Study Bible says, “In Hebrew these are four lines, all of the form ‘With the X [person] you show yourself [X].’…”

          • Guzik mentions the trouble translators have with this passage, “Translators have trouble with this sentence because it communicates a difficult concept. It’s easy to say that if a man is pure towards God then God will be pure to him. But you can’t say that if a man is wicked towards God then God will be wicked towards him, because God can’t do anything wicked.”

            • He then cites Boice, “David expresses the second half of the parallel by a somewhat ambiguous word, the root meaning of which is ‘twisted.’ The verse actually says, ‘To the twisted (or crooked) you will show yourself twisted (or crooked)’… The idea seems to be that if a person insists in going devious ways in his dealings with God, God will outwit him, as that man deserves.”

          • In alignment with Boice, NET Bible’s text critical notes write, “The adjective (ʿiqqesh) 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.”

        • You rescue the humble, but Your eyes are upon the proud to bring them down. O Yahweh, You are my lamp; Yahweh illuminates my darkness. With You, I can charge against an army; with My God I can leap over a wall. This God- His way is perfect. Yahweh’s promises prove true. He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him.”

        • For who is God besides Yahweh? Who is the Rock except our God? This God arms me with strength, and He has made my path smooth. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, and sets me securely on the heights. He trains my hands for battle, so that my arms can bend a bronze bow. You have given me Your shield of victory; Your help has made me great. You have made a wide path for my feet; and my feet do not slip.”

        • I pursued my enemies and destroyed them. I did not turn around until they were wiped out. I wipe them out and crushed them. They did not get up; they fell beneath my feet. You armed me with strength for battle; You caused those who rose up against me to sink under me. You made my enemies turn their backs in flight, and I destroyed those who hated me. They cried out, but there was no one to save them; they cried out to Yahweh, but He did not answer them. I pulverized them as fine as the dust of the earth; I crushed them and trampled them like mud in the streets.”

        • You rescued me from hostile peoples; You preserved me as the head of nations. A people I do not know now serve me. Foreigners come cowering before me; as soon as they hear of me they obey me. Foreigners lose their courage and come trembling from their strongholds.”

        • Yahweh lives! May my rock be blessed! May God, the rock of my salvation, be exalted! The God who gave me vengeance and makes nations submit to me. He rescues me from my enemies. You exalted me above my adversaries and rescued me from violent men.”

        • Therefore I will praise You among the nations, O Yahweh. I will sing praises to Your Name. He gives His king great victories. He shows loyalty to His anointed, to David and his descendants forever.”

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