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Deeper Commentary

2Sa 22:1 David spoke to Yahweh the words of this song in the day that Yahweh delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies, and out of the hand of Saul-
We naturally want to know when this time was, when David was delivered from Saul and all his enemies. Abner's words in 2 Sam. 3:18 seem relevant. He tries to persuade the elders of Israel to have David as king by arguing that "For the Lord promised David, ‘By my servant David I will rescue my people Israel from the hand of the Philistines and from the hand of all their enemies’". This may then be the moment at which David sung this. We note how Nathan quotes these words back to David at the time of the Bathsheba failure: "I anointed you king over Israel, and delivered you from the hand of Saul". This would again associate these words of David with his becoming king. However there seems no reason to me to consider 2 Samuel 21-24 as anything but chronological. The day of David's deliverance from his enemies is only logically at the end of his life. 

As Abner recalled, God had promised David that He would use him to deliver Israel from their enemies: "For the Lord promised David, ‘By my servant David I will rescue my people Israel from the hand of the Philistines and from the hand of all their enemies'" (2 Sam. 3:18). But David adapts this, even twists it, to apply to his personal enemies. Possibly there is here a reflection of David's narcissism, and lack of appreciation that it was not all about him, but about the good he could do for others.

David doesn't see his deliverance from Saul as God saw it. Nathan has used the very words "saved / rescued out of the hand of Saul" in condemning David: "You are the man! Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: I anointed you king over Israel, and I rescued you from the hand of Saul”. God saw this fact as making David's sin with Bathsheba all the more shameful. David sees this fact as demonstration that he is of pure hands and was delivered because of his own righteousness.

Perhaps in this song David is alluding to things which had not been recorded or perhaps were generally unknown- like a great theophany to him, and Divine rescue of him from certain death at the hands of his enemies. Coming out in older age with such testimonial tributes to God's grace in earlier life is psychologically credible, and what many have done. This would be similar to how the previous chapter talks about a major sin of Saul's, and its consequences, which was unknown to the Biblical record.

We note the similarity between the Hebrew words for Saul and sheol, the grave, and indeed David now goes on to thank God for saving him from death on various occasions. And yet the greatest salvation from death he experienced was that from the death penalty for his sins with Uriah and Bathsheba.  But he makes no specific reference to this, unless we take his talk of being dramatically saved from some great death by a theophany, God coming down, as referring to that. And even then we wonder why he had to reference it in such an oblique and disguised manner. After all, he had vowed in Psalm 32 to publically tell the world of his salvation from the death penalty for those sins, and this song at the end of his life would seem the obvious place to do so. But he doesn't, at least not specifically.

This song quite rightly [on one level] celebrates how God had saved David from certain death in various military confrontations, and had given him great victories. But David is sanitizing his past, talking in terms of conflict-deliverance-glorious victory, just as many kings boasted. His references to God as a rock, tower and stronghold seem to have in view his deliverances from Saul; see on :49. Rocks and strongholds feature much in the record (at least ten references- 1 Sam. 22:4,5; 23:14,19,25–28; 24:1,3,23). But that was in his earlier life pre-Bathsheba, and he has little to say about the majority of his kingship after that. And David carefully omits to mention God's salvation of him from his greatest 'death'- the Divine death penalty mandated for his adultery with Bathsheba and murder of her husband and other men to try to cover it. And he makes no more than passing allusion to the huge grace shown him in 2 Sam. 7, where he was promised a pretty well unconditional eternal salvation through resurrection to behold his future descendant reigning eternally on his throne. Like every man, David had a strong tendency to whitewash himself, assuming the passage of time had worked a kind of quasi atonement for his sins. And yet God, as predicted through Nathan at the time, worked constantly to jog and nudge David to realize the dimensions of his sin with Bathsheba and his subsequent sinful behaviour. In the hope he would come to a higher grade of repentance. All these failures in appreciation by David are a relevant challenge to all of us, especially those who have already walked many years in the Lord.

This is largely the material found in Ps. 18. The Psalm concludes with a reference to David as the anointed, so this could be a Psalm composed when Saul was slain and David was finally declared king, and his anointing came to fulfilment. It is a "song" but it has no strophes (unlike most of the Psalms), perhaps because it was intended for use at a procession. But quite possibly what was originally a song of thanks at David's declaration as king over Judah was then edited by him at the end of his life. Because parts of the song allude to the promises made to him in 2 Sam. 7, which was after this accession to the throne. Further 'his enemies and Saul' suggests he had many enemies but the greatest one was Saul. This is a style found elsewhere- e.g. "Nineteen men and Asahel" (2 Sam. 2:30); "Go spy out the land and Jericho" (Josh. 2:1); "King Solomon loved many foreign women and he loved the daughter of Pharaoh" (1 Kings 11:1).

Ps. 18:1 adds "I love You, Yahweh, my strength". This bald statement "I love You" is intentionally startling, and is the only place where we read this; usually we read the word of God's love to man. Here, David simply tells God "I love You"

2Sa 22:2 and he said, Yahweh is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, even mine-
This is the language of rocky terrain, the type where Saul chased David and God saved him multiple times.

David's description of how the cherubim acted in his life in 2 Sam. 22 is full of Angelic language:
v. 2 "My rock"- an Angel (Gen. 49:24)
v. 3 "My shield"- the Angel who made the promises to Abraham (Gen. 15:1)
v. 3 "My saviour"- as the Holy Spirit Angel was to Israel (Is. 63:8-10)
v. 7 "He did hear my voice out of His temple, and my cry did enter into His ears"- the language of Angelic limitation regarding the Angel who dwelt in the temple.
v. 9 "fire"- God makes His Angels a flame of fire (Ps. 104:3,4).
v. 10 "came down " - God manifest in the Angels, as at Sodom and Babel.
v. 11 "a cherub. . did fly. . wings of wind". Gabriel could "fly swiftly"; the Angels are made "spirits"- winds.
v. 12 "darkness. . thick clouds"- the Angel dwelt over the darkness of the Most Holy and in the pillar of cloud; cp. the scene during the Angelic manifestation at Sinai.
v. 15 "arrows. . . lightning"- Angel cherubim language
v. 16 "the blast of the breath (spirit) of His nostrils".  God's spirit is manifested through Angels.
v. 17 "He sent from above, He took me"- the physical movement of the Angels from Heaven to earth to obey God's word
v. 25 "Before His eyes"- Angels
v. 37 "Thou hast enlarged my steps. . so that my feet did not slip"- the Angel keeping David from sinning?
23:1 "God of Jacob"- an Angel
23:3 "the rock of Israel" (an Angel) inspired David- which is the work of Angels.

2Sa 22:3 God, my rock, in Him I will take refuge; my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge. My saviour, You save me from violence

The "city of David" was not a city, it is defined in 2 Sam. 5:7 as a stronghold, and elsewhere the term is used specifically of the burial places of the Davidic kings: "David took the stronghold of Zion; the same is the city of David". It was a hill southeast of Jerusalem. In the wilderness Psalms, David so often talks of Yahweh as his stronghold, his fortified tower. And we think of 2 Sam. 22:1-3: "David spoke to Yahweh the words of this song in the day that Yahweh delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies, and out of the hand of Saul: and he said, Yahweh is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, even mine; God, my rock, in Him I will take refuge; my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower, and my refuge. My saviour, You save me". But once he settles in Jerusalem, we repeatedly read of the city / stronghold of David, the area he built a fortification around, the "milo". Again we see his spiritual decline once he settled down and we must beware of this. He himself and his fortified home fortress was his own stronghold rather than Yahweh. 

David sees that Yahweh will be a "high tower" or place of refuge at the day of future judgment (Ps. 9:8,9, quoted about this in Acts 17:31). But David feels God has been like this to him in this life (2 Sam. 22:3; Ps. 18:2; 46:7; 48:3; 59:9,16,17; 62:2; 94:22; 144:2). He therefore sees a seamless experience in his relationship with God in this life, and at the future day of judgment. God saves us right now and is a refuge for us in countless life situations; and this is the guarantee that He will be likewise at the last day.

Truly David is our example. David was very much involved in Israel his people. He saw himself as their representative. "The God of my rock is my shield... he is a shield to all them that trust in him" (2 Sam. 22:3,31). “I am in a great strait; let us fall now into the hand of the Lord” (2 Sam. 24:14) reflects this. When he sung Psalms, he invited them to come and sing along with him (Ps. 105:2; 107:22; 111:1). And many of these Psalms of praise seem to have their origin in his experience of forgiveness regarding Bathsheba.

2Sa 22:4 I will call on Yahweh, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from my enemies-
We can render "derided, I called to the Lord; I called for help from my enemies", in which case the allusion is to his feigning madness before Achish, calling for help and being delivered (1 Sam. 21:14). As nearly always in this song, the reference is to the events of David's glory days in his 20s and not to the bulk of his life. He is sanitizing his past.

The tenses can be read as 'I kept on calling and kept on being saved'. David's focus of all his praises upon Yahweh was what he wanted his people to follow (Ps. 22:3). The implication of "worthy" could imply a contrast with other gods, as in Ps. 96:4 "He is to be feared / praised above all gods". This would confirm the hints we have that Saul was an idolater (see on Ps. 18:31; Ps. 12:8; 16:4), and that idolatry was prevalent in Israel at the time.

2Sa 22:5 For the waves of death surrounded me. The floods of ungodliness made me afraid-
Ps. 18:4 "the cords of death", alluding to Saul trying to ensnare David in a trap that will lead to his death (1 Sam. 18:21). The allusion is also to Saul calling David a "son of death", certain to die, in 1 Sam. 20:31. Always the allusions are to David's life in his 20s, his dramatic deliverances during his halcyon years. Never to his not so wonderful life post Bathsheba. It could be argued that David is writing or singing these words after he was made king and Saul was dead. But he still had many "enemies" to be saved from (:1), and the placement of this song at this point in the narrative surely suggests it was David doing what most kings of the time did at the end of their lives- recount the glory of their lives and thank their god for all their victories and deliverances. "The day" when God had delivered David from all his enemies (:1) is surely only the "day" of the end of his life. David felt as if he had been a sacrifice bound to an altar, as man drowning in water, and therefore about to be pulled into the grave (Ps. 18:5). The allusion is to Isaac and his miraculous deliverance from such cords, thanks to the ram in the thicket whom David is later to understand as representative of the future Messianic saviour; for the Lord quotes David's "My God, why have You forsaken me?" (Ps. 22:1) as the Aramaic sabachthani, "entangled", the word used of the ram entangled in the thicket.

"Ungodliness" is 'ungodly men', 'men of Belial'. We think of Nabal, a man of Belial (1 Sam. 25:17,25). But he was saved from killing Nabal by God's grace to him through Abigail. David makes no reference to this. See on :27. But probably the reference is to large numbers of such men rising against David and almost killing him (:6), which would apply more naturally to the time of Absalom's rebellion. David's fear is not much hinted at in the record, but here he himself admits to it.

2Sa 22:6 The cords of Sheol were around me, the snares of death caught me-
"Cords" is literally the pangs, hence AV "sorrows" (as in Acts 2:24 "having loosened the pangs of death"). David saw even the death which he feared as the birth pangs to a rebirth in resurrection. Just as had been hinted at for him in the promises of 2 Sam. 7. But because he was saved out of imminent death, perhaps his focus on that future resurrection was diminished.  See on :5. David felt he had come face to face with death, to the point that his salvation was effectively a resurrection. The response to this near death situation is described here, but it is hard to locate such an incident in the historical records. Perhaps there was a particular salvation from death at Saul's hands which isn't recorded, but David alludes to it here.

"Caught me" is Ps. 18:5 "Came on me", or literally 'went before me'. The same word is used in Ps. 59:10: "My God will go before me with His grace". David was inside his house surrounded by his enemies (Ps. 59:1), and escaped through a window. As he planned the escape, he believed that God's grace would go before him. At the end of his life he appears to reflect upon this incident, glorying that although he was "compassed about" with the threat of death, seeing the house was surrounded by Saul's men intending to kill him; yet God's grace had somehow gone before David and prepared a way of escape (Ps. 18:5,18 s.w.).

 The Ras Shamra texts speak of the insatiable appetite of Mot for dead people- he eats them ceaselessly with both hands. There are frequent parallels drawn between Mot / Mawet, and the grave: 2 Sam. 22:5,6; Is. 28:18; Hos. 13:14; Job 28:22; 30:23; Ps. 6:5; 18:5; 89:48; 116:3; Prov. 2:18; 5:5; 7:27. The point is that Mot / Mawet doesn't exist, it is simply to be understood as the grave. For very often, language used about Mot in the pagan literature is applied to God in order to show Mot's effective non-existence. The significance of this point is that at times, the Bible refers to pagan ideas about 'Satan' like figures in order to deconstruct them, and show their effective non-existence in the light of the supremacy of the one true God.

2Sa 22:7 In my distress I called on Yahweh. Yes, I called to my God. He heard my voice out of His temple. My cry came into His ears-
The reference to "my distress" could be to how David returned to find that the Amalekites had plundered Ziklag and taken his wives and children captive, and his men turned against him. "David was greatly distressed, for the men spoke of stoning him because they were grieved, every man for his sons and his daughters... David inquired of Yahweh" (1 Sam. 30:6-8). The theophany which is now described could possibly refer to some unrecorded events at the time when David pursued after the Amalekites and recovered the captives. The references to pursuing after a "troop" and overtaking them (:30,38) would then refer to this too. Likewise "You have delivered me from the contentions of my people" (:44) would refer to David regaining control of his mutinous men at this time. Another alternative is that the theophany refers to how David heard the cherubim "marching on the tops of the balsam trees" in 2 Sam. 5:24.

David imagines his prayers as coming into the heavenly throne room, and eliciting a response. His later obsession with building a physical temple for God was a departure from how he had earlier perceived God's temple- as being in Heaven, and accessible by faithful prayer.

2Sa 22:8 Then the earth shook and trembled. The foundations of heaven quaked and were shaken, because He was angry-
It is hard to locate such an incident in the historical records. Perhaps there was a particular salvation from death at Saul's hands which isn't recorded, but David alludes to it here. Or perhaps the language here is that of theophany and God manifestation; it may not literally describe things which happened, but the hand of God in saving David was no less than as if He had appeared as He did at Sinai. For the language of earth shaking and quaking is that of the Sinai theophany and the deliverance from Egypt.

The parallel Ps. 18:7 has "the mountains". David felt that the whole of Heaven was aware of him and his dramas; just as all the Angels rejoice every time one sinner repents. 1 Sam. 2:8; 2 Sam. 22:8 speak as if Heaven / the sky rests on the mountains, from where earth seems to touch the heavens (Is. 13:5), with the stars stretched out in the north (Job 26:7). This reflected the geo-centric view held by people at the time. The point surely was that however people understood creation to have happened, God had done it, and in wisdom.

The theophany described in :8-16 clearly alludes to that at Sinai (Ex. 19:16-18; Jud. 5:4,5; and how David understood Sinai's events in Ps. 68:8; 77:16-18). David could be referring to some unrecorded amazing theophany and deliverance that he experienced; or he could be making the point that God's grace and salvation shown to him personally was as awesome for him as the vast outpouring of God's power, meaning, covenant, love, grace and awe on Sinai. Which is something we can relate to. The unrecorded amazing deliverance of David may be his way of describing his salvation from the Divine death penalties regarding Bathsheba and Uriah. For he makes no mention of this deliverance... which was the greatest deliverance.

2Sa 22:9 Smoke went up out of His nostrils. Fire out of His mouth devoured. Coals were kindled by it-
This sounds like the symbolic language of theophany and God manifestation, rather than describing actually observed events in literal terms. The allusion is clearly to what happened at the exodus and Sinai, which David felt had been repeated for him in essence; as it is for all in covenant relationship with the God who saves.

2Sa 22:10 He bowed the heavens also-
The same phrase used of Moses stretching out his hands toward the heavens, and God responding by delivering His people (Ex. 9:22,23; 10:21).

And came down. Thick darkness was under His feet-
As Yahweh came down at Sinai (Ex. 19:11 s.w.). The idea is that as God had miraculously intervened for the salvation of His people in history, so David felt He had in his life; although there is no historical record of such dramatic scenes as on Sinai and at the Red Sea. We likewise experience His interventions; they aren't as dramatic as in history, but none less dramatic in ultimate reality. This coming down in a saving theophany was what David had in fact prayed for in Ps. 144:5. He asked for a theophany to save him, no less that what happened at Sinai (s.w. Ex. 19:18-20), when again God had as it were made the mountains smoke by His touch. We marvel at David's spiritual ambition, unafraid to ask for a similar theophany to save him. And here he reflects at the end of his life that this prayer was in fact answered. The relevance to the exiles is that Yahweh was prepared to "bow" (s.w. "stretch out") the heavens and "come down" to restore the exiles; but they chose not to make use of that huge potential (s.w. Is. 40:22; 42:5; 64:1).

God Himself is spoken of as coming, descending etc. when He ‘preaches’ to humanity (e.g. Gen. 11:5; Ex. 19:20; Num. 11:25; 2 Sam. 22:10). In Jer. 39:16, the imprisoned Jeremiah is told to "go, tell Ebed-melech..." a word from the Lord about him. Jeremiah couldn't have literally left prison to do so- but the idea is that a person encountering the Lord's word has as it were experienced the Lord 'going' to him or her. And in this sense the message of the Lord Jesus (in its essence) could 'go' to persons without Him physically going anywhere or even existing consciously at the time (1 Pet. 3:18-21).

2Sa 22:11 He rode on a cherub, and flew. Yes, He was seen on the wings of the wind-
"Wind" and "spirit" are the same words in Hebrew. The cherubim chariot are presented as God's vehicle of manifestation, and this was language the exiles would've been familiar with through the visions of Ezekiel. Yet this is not to say that David also had such a vision. Rather did he perceive God's huge cherubic activity through the various experiences of salvation and grace he had in his life. And this is the same for us. The reference may simply be to God as it were riding on clouds in glory: "He makes the clouds His chariot, He walks on the wings of the wind" (Ps. 104:3).

2Sa 22:12 He made darkness pavilions around Himself: gathering of waters, and thick clouds of the skies-
All the scene at God's manifestation on Sinai. The Old Testament describes Yahweh, the one true God, as riding through the heavens on chariots to the help of His people Israel (Dt. 33:26; 2 Sam. 22:11; Ps. 18:10; 104:3; Is. 19:1; Hab. 3:8). But Baal was known as the rkb 'rpt, the one who rides upon the clouds; and he is here being deconstructed.

This could also be an allusion to the exodus. Rashi suggests: "He put [a protective] darkness around", alluding to how the pillar of cloud and the darkness separated between the Egyptians and Israelites (Ex.  14:20).

2Sa 22:13 At the brightness before Him, coals of fire were kindled-
The "coals of fire" speak of Divine judgment (Ps. 140:10), and were part of the cherubim vision (Ez. 1:13; 10:2). Hail and thick clouds were the judgment threatened upon the Assyrians in Hezekiah's time (Is. 28:2; 30:30). David's experience becomes developed as relevant to the manifestation of God in salvation in other contexts.

2Sa 22:14 Yahweh thundered from heaven, the Most High uttered His voice-
Ps. 18:13 adds "hailstones and coals of fire", alluding to the destruction of Sodom. And yet there is no recorded incident of God consuming David's enemies like this. But he felt that God had indeed come through for Him in no less powerful a way. And we can feel and experience the same.

2Sa 22:15 He sent out arrows, and scattered them; lightning, and confused them-
This continues the thanksgiving that his prayer of Ps. 144:6 had been answered. He had asked for a saving theophany of the magnitude of what was seen at Sinai. Now at the end of his life, David was thankful that this prayer had in fact been answered. David rejoices that Divine "arrows" were sent to destroy his enemies (Ps. 7:13; 18:14; 45:5; 64:7; 144:6), in fulfilment of God's promise to do so to the sinful within Israel (Dt. 32:23,42). But David had realized that those same arrows had been fired by God into him in judgment for his sin (Ps. 38:2). But David appears unaware that he is rejoicing at the arrows fired at his enemies, when his sin with Bathsheba also merited Divine arrows to be fired at himself. This realization was perhaps to help David understand that his rejoicing in Divine arrows of judgment being fired at his enemies had not been mature; for he himself had to realize that he was worthy of the same.

"And confused them" is the language of God's enemies being destroyed (Ex. 14:24; Josh. 10:10; Jud. 4:15; 1 Sam. 7:10). Possibly there had been some supernatural intervention by God against Absalom's army, when we read that the forest consumed more of the enemy than did the sword. But there seems no other such example.

2Sa 22:16 Then the channels of the sea were exposed, the foundations of the world were laid bare by the rebuke of Yahweh, by the blast of the breath of His nostrils-
The opening word "then" is significant. As the channels of water were laid bare at the exodus, so God had acted for David. As discussed above, this section sounds like the symbolic language of theophany and God manifestation, rather than describing actually observed events in literal terms. The allusion is clearly to what happened at the exodus and Sinai; the essence of what God did then was experienced by David, just as it can be by us in our crises.

2Sa 22:17 He sent from on high and He took me, He drew me out of many waters-
The allusion is clearly to Moses, drawn out of the waters and thereby saved from death (Ex. 2:10). David is saying that the salvation he had experienced was no less than on the level and significance of what God did for Moses. We can look at His work in our lives likewise, and thereby cease considering that men like Moses had far more dramatic and significant experiences of God than we do.

"Waters" are usually symbolic of armies or nations. David felt he had been surrounded and faced with certain death, but had been as it were airlifted to safety by God. The language here says that God has done this, but it is parallel with David's prayer for this to happen in Ps. 144:7. This triumphant song is therefore praise for the prayer of Ps. 144 being answered. We cannot locate any particular historical incident of fulfilment; perhaps it was too personal and wonderful to be recorded. Just as a Christian man or woman might feel it inappropriate to record God's most dramatic salvation of them when they write their autobiography.


2Sa 22:18 He delivered me from my strong enemy, from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me-
That thanksgiving was because he had prayed for salvation from "those who hate me" in Ps. 9:13 (s.w.). We have here a direct example of gratitude for answered prayer. It seems Saul and his supporters were the initial reference of the "strong enemy" (see on :1). These words are an allusion to his prayer of Ps. 69:14, asking to be delivered from "those who hated me" at the time of Absalom's rebellion. So we can reject the idea that this Song was written early in David's life; it is indeed his end of life reflection. Now at the end of his life David reflects that he has been delivered from those who hated him (s.w.). At the time, he wept bitterly for Absalom's death; but now in maturity he realized that this was in fact an answer to his prayers.

On one level, David's thanksgiving and gratitude is commendable. But his biggest and worst enemy was himself and his failure to recognize that reflects immaturity rather than spiritual maturity. We would far rather see a recognition that he had been his own worst enemy, but by grace he had been saved from himself. But we don't see that.

2Sa 22:19 They came on me in the day of my calamity, but Yahweh was my support-
The phrase "day of calamity" is consistently used of a day of Divine condemnation, especially of Judah at the hand of the Babylonians (Dt. 32:35; Job 21:30; Jer. 18:17; 46:21). Perhaps the Psalm was reworked as comfort for the exiles, that they could be saved even out of the day of their condemnation. And maybe David has the idea that he had been worthy of Divine condemnation, and the judgment was being articulated at the hands of his enemies- but by grace alone, God saved him from it.    

"Support" is literally 'my stay', a staff for David. Possibly the reference is to the time of Absalom's rebellion in Ps. 23:4 "Your rod and staff [the rod and staff that is You] comfort me".

2Sa 22:20 He also brought me out into a large place. He delivered me, because He delighted in me-

"Delighted" is the same word as in Ps. 51:6 "Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts".  This is the word here used by David at the end of his life of how God desired or delighted in him. Perhaps this desire or delight was because of the "truth" in David's heart in recognizing his sins and accepting God's grace. He had left God to decide whether He delighted in him when he fled Absalom (2 Sam. 15:26), and now he triumphs that God had done so, by grace (2 Sam. 15:25). And yet we could equally argue that indeed, God delights in confession of sin when it is the "truth" in the inward parts, But at the point of this song, is this how David still understands it? He seems to reason that God delights in him because of his righteousness. And not because of his inner contrition, as he had earlier understood at the time of Ps. 51.

When the Lord’s mockers jeered "If he desireth him" (RV), they were alluding to the LXX of Ps. 18:19 and 91:11. God cannot be tempted, otherwise He would have responded. 'If God likes Him', is what they were really implying.

Being brought out or escaping to freedom may be a reference to the night he escaped from his house with Michal's help. Or he may have in mind the time when he was saved from effective captivity in Gath: "You have not shut me up into the hand of the enemy, You have set my feet in a large place'.

At the time of Absalom's rebellion, David's critics mocked "Let Yahweh rescue him, if He delights in him" (Ps. 22:8). David himself considered God's delight in him to be open to question and over to God to prove: "he king said to Zadok, Carry back the ark of God into the city. If I find grace in the eyes of Yahweh, He will bring me again, and show me both it, and His dwelling place; but if He say thus, ‘I have no delight in you;’ behold, here am I. Let Him do to me as seems good to Him" (2 Sam. 15:25,26). David seems to now triumphantly consider that Yahweh does delight in him. But he does so on the basis that he considers that Divine delight in him to be a reward for his righteousness and clean hands (:21). Whereas the deliverance from Absalom was because Yahweh by grace alone 'delighted' in David.

2Sa 22:21 Yahweh rewarded me according to my righteousness. He rewarded me according to the cleanness of my hands-
David seems to have in mind 1 Sam. 26:23 "Yahweh will reward every man for his righteousness and his faithfulness, because Yahweh delivered you into my hand today and I wouldn’t put forth my hand against Yahweh’s anointed". Likewise Saul says that David had "rewarded" him good when Saul had "rewarded" David evil (1 Sam. 24:18). He considers that he got saved from Absalom (see on :20) because of his good and gracious action towards Saul years before that. But that is salvation by works. He considers his hands were clean in relation to Saul and therefore this, he considers, saved him from the post-Bathsheba judgments. But those judgments were exactly because he did have blood on his hands. And the fact he didn't previously was no atonement or cleansing. Ps. 24:4 may suggest that David perceives 'cleanness of hands' to be a way of saying he hadn't worshipped idols (see on :24), as the ideas are paralleled: "He who has clean hands... who has not lifted up his soul to falsehood".

But from another angle, we recall how it was the wise actions of Abigail which saved David from getting blood on his hands by killing her and her kids, as David had intended to do. He was saved from having blood on his hands by grace, God's grace, working through Abigail (1 Sam. 25:30,31). But there is no mention of that now by David, rather a simplistic persuasion that he had pure guiltless hands and that is why he was preserved and delivered by God.

David was yet to learn that he himself was a sinner and no man apart from the Lord has clean hands or total personal righteousness.  Yet David twice repeats this self righteousness. If this were written at the end of his life, then he appears to have lost the intensity of contrition for sin he had at the time of his repentance about Bathsheba. We too can allow the passage of time to blunt our sense of wonder at God's grace to us, and even reinterpret our sins as nothing major.

Verses 21-25 sound as if David is really commending himself. Possibly he was indeed too self congratulatory at this point. But his words clearly allude to the requirements for Israel's king in Dt. 17:18-20. If, as suggested on :1, he sung these words when he was first made king, he could be reflecting God's position that David was the king whom He had chosen in line with His requirements in Dt. 17:18-20: "When he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he must write for himself a copy of this law in a book... It shall be with him and he must read from it all the days of his life, so that he may learn to fear Yahweh his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them. Thus his heart will not be raised up above his brothers, and he will not turn aside from the commandment to the right hand or to the left, so that he may prolong his days in his kingdom".

2Sa 22:22 For I have kept the ways of Yahweh, and have not wickedly departed from my God-
It would be hard to better describe David's sins with Bathsheba and Uriah than 'wickedly departing from God'. If David at the end of his life could say that he was upright and had kept himself from his iniquity (2 Sam. 22:21-24). He could only say this by a clear understanding of the concept of imputed righteousness. Paul's claim to have always lived in a pure conscience must be seen in the same way. And yet it seems to me that David ought to have added what we would all add if saying this- that this is only by grace, and me a sinner being counted righteous. 

"Wickedly departed" is the word usually translated "condemn" (e.g. Ps. 37:33). Those who depart from God condemn themselves. This is a major Biblical theme; that the condemned are more self-condemned rather than condemned by God. "We make the answer now". But later David was to realize that he too had wickedly departed from God, and confession of that was vital for salvation (s.w. Ps. 106:6).

David felt preserved by God from Saul and his other enemies (1 Sam. 30:23; 2 Sam. 22:44), because he had preserved or obeyed [s.w.] God's ways (2 Sam. 22:22,24; Ps. 18:21,23); whereas Saul didn't obey / preserve them and was destroyed (1 Sam. 13:13,14; 1 Chron. 10:13). Hence Ps. 145:20: "Yahweh preserves all those who love Him, but all the wicked He will destroy". And yet in all this David is without grace, thinking on the basis of human merit soliciting Divine response.

2Sa 22:23 For all His ordinances were before me. As for His statutes, I did not depart from them-
Depart or "Put away" (Ps. 18:22) is the word used for how God departed from Saul because he didn't keep God's statutes (1 Sam. 16:14; 18:12; 28:15). David is therefore comparing himself favourably with Saul; for this is his triumph song after Saul has been slain (see on :1). And yet in essence, David and Saul did the same sins and David was preserved by grace thanks to his heart for God- and not because he sinned less than Saul. “And his statutes did I not put away from me” (Ps. 18:22). We think about his adultery, murders, lies... And especially in the matter of Bathsheba and Uriah, be broke so many Divine statutes. “You shall not murder”, “You shall not commit adultery”, “You shall not steal” (2 Sam. 12:4,7–10) and “You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife”.

2Sa 22:24 I was also perfect towards Him-
A true seed of Abraham, who were to walk with or before Yahweh blameless (s.w. Gen. 17:1). David may be using 'perfect' in the sense of complete, undivided. In which case [as noted on :21] he may be protesting that the fact he didn't worship idols therefore made him somehow "perfect towards" Yahweh. And perhaps his lack of idolatry led to him thinking that lies, adultery, murder and family smashing were all quite legitimate because he didn't worship idols.

I kept myself from my iniquity-
This sounds like a boast in his iron willed self-control. He would never be able to boast like this after the sin with Bathsheba. It is God by His grace who keeps men from sinning (Gen. 20:6), and not the rigid self-discipline of the deeply religious. "My iniquity" could suggest some specific temptation David had. He boasts that he kept himself from it. But yet he did so many other sins... Alternatively David may refer to how "my iniquity" lurks in every man but we are to keep ourselves from it, having recognized it as always being latently there. David surely alludes to his words to Jonathan that there is no "iniquity" in him (1 Sam. 20:1,8). But now at 70 years of age, it is not exactly of integrity to take those earlier words of youth, uttered in a specific context of having done no iniquity to Saul, and use them as explanation of why God had been so good to David throughout his life. God's goodness had been on the basis of grace, and not David's lack of iniquity towards Saul at an earlier point. He broke his promise to Saul not to slay his descendants, and as argued on 2 Sam. 21, this was a sin of David's and was from political reasons. So David would have been wrong to argue that he was totally blameless in his actions toward Saul.

2Sa 22:25 Therefore Yahweh has rewarded me according to my righteousness, according to my cleanness in His eyesight-
David was yet to learn that he himself was a sinner and no man apart from the Lord has clean hands or total personal righteousness.  Yet David twice repeats this self righteousness. In describing his feelings after the Bathsheba experience, David comments that he was "as a man that hears not [the taunts of others against him], and in whose mouth are no rebukes" (Ps. 38:14). The pre-Bathsheba Psalms present David as a man who was so easily hurt by the taunts of others, and whose mouth was indeed full of rebuke of others. Ps. 18:23-26 has David describing his own uprightness before God, and how God only shows His grace to the pure and upright. How little did he understand grace! Worse still, he several times bids God judge men according to their sins (Ps. 5:10). It is against this background that we must understand the significance of David's statements that after Bathsheba, after how God did not deal with him according to his sin, there were no rebukes of others now in his mouth. Realizing the extent of his personal sin and the depth of God's grace led David to not only be less reproachful of others; but also to be less hurt by their unkindness to him. And in these things we surely have a great lesson to ourselves.

2Sa 22:26 With the merciful You will show Yourself to have bowed the neck; with the perfect man You will show Yourself perfect-
We have here the mixture of spirituality and yet arrogance which we can often detect in ourselves. David recognizes his salvation has been through God's mercy; but he sees himself as having earned this mercy by being "perfect". The same word is used of Job, but he had to be taught that that status was a case of having righteousness imputed to him by grace; and because David was unwilling to really learn this, he had to be taught it through the righteousness imputed to him after his sin with Bathsheba.

David especially recognized the humility of God. In  2 Sam. 22:26 he uses an unusual word to describe how God is "merciful" to His faithful people. The word only occurs elsewhere in Prov. 25:10 concerning 'bowing the neck' in shame or reverence. And this is what the Hebrew means: to bow the neck. This, David recognized in his time of spiritual maturity, was what God does in response to those who shew a truly spiritual attitude to their brethren.

"Merciful" can also be translated "faithful", as in GNB "you are faithful to those who are faithful to you". In this case, David would be alluding to his faithfulness to his covenant with Jonathan. His idea is that God has been faithful to His covenant with David in 2 Sam. 7 because David has been faithful to his covenant with Jonathan. This totally disregards the huge grace behind the covenant with David as commented upon on 2 Sam. 7. David significantly omits to accept he had not been faithful to the oath he made to Saul before Yahweh, not to harm his seed. For we have seen on 2 Sam. 21 that he did do so, and at several points appears to have tacitly ensured Saul's descendants were cut off if they appeared a potential threat to his throne. He was not a faithful covenant keeper, and was hardly faithful to Uriah and many others. David is certainly being selective about his past, and sanitizing himself.

"The perfect man" could refer to David's idea that he has 'perfect' devotion to God in that he worships no idols. And God will match this by a similar focus upon us. Or the Hebrew could be rendered "the upright hero", which raises the ugly vista of David considering that his heroic victories as a young man made him somehow worthy of God's acceptance in later life.

This verse is at the center of the song. There are 365 Hebrew words in the song, 182 on each side of the word "perfect". The centerpiece of David's argument is his innocence, rather than God's grace. And that says... not much for David's maturity and perception. On one hand, he was indeed made pure from his sin by grace, as he exalts in Psalms 32 and 51. But as ever with David, his spirituality is not pure. On one hand yes, he can rightly reason that God has treated him as justified, counted righteous, and had indeed cast David's sins behind His back. But if any of us were to tell the world of our spotless moral purity, we as convicted sinners would naturally add the rider that this is only by Divine grace through the Lord, seeing we eagerly confess that we of ourselves are sinners. But there is none of that here with David. Psalm 119, composed during his wilderness years on the run from Saul, has many references to his own sins. But that now seems far from him. And the spirit of Psalms 32 and 51, glorying in Divine grace and justification of sinners by grace alone, is likewise now far from him... As with Gideon and so many others, he reached pinnacles of understanding and spirituality which he spent the rest of his life receding from. And yet will still be ultimately saved. David is presented as the very opposite of what we might expect from a spiritual hero- progressively growing in grace until he faces his grave planks in gentle, calm spirituality and closeness to God. His final words recorded to Solomon breathed judgment and hated rather than any grace or personal expectation of future glory at the resurrection.

2Sa 22:27 With the purified You will show Yourself pure, with the crooked You will show Yourself tortuous-
"The pure" connects with David's please for a pure heart to be restored to him after his sin with Bathsheba (Ps. 51:10). We could argue that he considered that he had been so cleansed of that sin that he was treated as pure. Or it could be that he simply forgot how he had been so impure in what he had done. 

David's claim here is that God blessed the righteous and cursed the wicked, confirming each in their way. This may have some truth to it, but his claim is a tacit reflection of his failure to understand the grace shown to him. Theoretically he had grasped it in Ps. 32, staying that God counts as right those who are not right, by grace. But now he reasons as if he has no grasp of the grace concept.

"Tortuous" translates a Hebrew word pathel which is very similar to the Hebrew for Ahithophel, David's one time confidante and counsellor, Bathsheba's grandfather, who betrayed him to Absalom. David was saved from Ahithophel's counsel by grace alone and by the loyalty of Hushai. But instead he appears to gloat over how God, as he saw it, had punished Ahithophel and justified himself. He appears to be oblivious to the fact that Ahithophel had good reason to be against him; and wishes all manner of curses upon him in the Psalms composed at this time.


David sees himself as the pure, and Saul as the crooked. Throughout David’s Psalms in Ps. 1-72, he repeatedly asks for torture upon the sinners and blessing upon himself as the righteous. He speaks of how sinners should be “contemned” in the eyes of the righteous (Ps. 15:4), the gatherings of sinners should be “hated” and sinners should not be fellowshipped (Ps. 26:4-6; Ps. 31:6) and how God’s uprightness is shown to the upright and His judgment to the judgmental (Ps. 18:25,26; Ps. 33:22). He invites God’s judgment upon himself and others according to their and his works (Ps. 28:4).  Frequently he alludes to Saul as “the violent man”- even though David committed his share of violence- and asks judgment upon him (Ps. 18:48). Only those with clean hands and pure heart like himself could have fellowship with God (Ps. 24:3,4). Psalm 37 doesn’t indicate any desire to convert the sinners but rather an expectation of their judgment and destruction. God and David laugh at the wicked because their day is coming (Ps. 37:13). There’s no spirit of grace here at all- perhaps that’s why Zech. 12:10 specifically says that the spirit of grace will have to be poured out upon the house of David in the last days. This attitude changed after the sin with Bathsheba, but still something of the old self righteousness and judgmental attitudes are to be found in David in Psalms written after that.

2Sa 22:28 You will save the afflicted people, but Your eyes are on the proud, that You may bring them down-
Again David perceives Saul as proud, and Saul's initial apparent humility must therefore be considered in this context. Perhaps he became proud, or maybe he had always been that way, and only appeared humble. But the word "people" may have been added when the Psalm was used by the exiles, for salvation for "the afflicted people" was the prophetic message to them (s.w. Is. 49:19).

David may be alluding to how he had proclaimed his own humility in God's eyes in dancing before all when the ark came to Zion: "I will make myself yet more contemptible than this, and I will be abased [afflicted / brought down] in my own eyes" (2 Sam. 6:21,22). But humility is hardly something that a man self proclaims...

2Sa 22:29 For You are my lamp, Yahweh. Yahweh will light up my darkness-
The phrase is only used of the lighting of the lamps in the tabernacle (Ex. 25:37; Num. 8:2). I noted on Ps. 17:8 that David sees himself as located on the mercy seat, in the Most Holy place. "You will light my lamp" refers to his Messianic hopes for his family.

2Sa 22:30 For by You, I run against a troop. By my God, I leap over a wall-
Such victories were given to David against the Philistines; the idea is as in GNB "You give me strength to attack my enemies and power to overcome their defenses". "Troop" is the word used of the Amalekites whom David overcame (1 Sam. 30:8,15). The leaping over a wall may refer to the way that Zion was captured (2 Sam. 5:6-8). 

2Sa 22:31 As for God, His way is perfect. The word of Yahweh is tested. He is a shield to all those who take refuge in Him-
The word" specifically in view may be the prophetic word that David would be king and thereby overcome all of Saul's machinations (see on Ps. 119:1).

2Sa 22:32 For who is God, besides Yahweh? Who is a rock, besides our God?-
David in his Psalms repeatedly alludes to the song of his ancestor Hannah. He effectively quotes 1 Sam. 2:2 here; although I argue throughout 1 Sam. 2 that Hannah's was apparently lifted up with pride and the vengeance of the underling who has overcome the oppressor. And there is reason to think that David had elements of this weakness too.

David perceives his victory over Saul as the vindication of Yahweh above other gods. This would confirm the hints we have that Saul was an idolater (see on Ps. 12:8; 16:4).

2Sa 22:33 God is my strong fortress. He makes my way perfect-
A reference to his victory over Goliath without human armour, trusting completely in God (see on :34,35).

2Sa 22:34 He makes His feet like hinds’ feet, and sets me on my high places-
As in :35, this may be a reference to his victory over Goliath, which he saw as the epitome of all his victories. For he ran swiftly towards Goliath before releasing the stone which slew him. Or as mentioned on :30, getting his high places may allude to the conquest of Zion from the Jebusites. 

2Sa 22:35 He teaches my hands to war, so that my arms bend a bow of brass-
Perhaps alluding to how it was David's dexterity of hand as a slinger which gave the victory over Goliath. But he recognizes that this was all of God. He is careful not to exalt as if his strength was his own.

This is another allusion to the song of Hannah (see on :32). Here, it is to "The bows of the mighty men are broken". Seeing children are as arrows (Ps. 127:4,5), the bow may refer to the womb, in Hannah's mind. And she is now wishing her barrenness upon her enemies who had once mocked her. This is hardly the right attitude, and yet David applies it to himself. And there is reason to think that David had elements of this weakness too. He thought it was acceptable to be like this because Hannah had been. And that is the problem with setting bad examples.

2Sa 22:36 You have also given me the shield of your salvation. Your gentleness has made me great-
God’s gentleness, His humility / bowing down (Heb.) has made us great, lifted us up (Ps. 18:35). And we respond to it by humbling ourselves. Paul's take on "the shield of your salvation" is that it means "the shield of faith" (Eph. 6:16). If we enquire 'Faith in exactly what?', the answer is 'faith in salvation at the end of the day, that God will finally save me'. The Hebrew can mean gentleness but it has the idea of condescension, so the idea may be 'Your answers to my prayers for help'.

2Sa 22:37 You have enlarged my steps under me. My feet have not slipped-
David in his earlier Psalms exalts and boasts to God that his feet have not slipped, indeed he was overly confident that his feet would never slip / "be moved" (Ps. 17:5; 21:7; 55:22; 62:2,6; 125:1). His more mature reflection is that he had wrongly said "I shall never slip [AV "be moved"]" (Ps. 30:6), and his feet had indeed slipped, not least over the Bathsheba incident (Ps. 38:16; 94:18). But now at the end of his life, he considers his feet haven't slipped. But David's feet did slip terribly in relation to the Bathsheba affair. But he looks back on his life and whitewashes himself. Solomon didn't learn this lesson, for he likewise assumed that the righteous would never be moved / slip (Prov. 10:30), although he appears to accept that even a righteous man like his father had indeed slipped (Prov. 25:26). And Solomon himself did so, not learning the lesson from his father's mistaken assumption that the righteous can never slip.

2Sa 22:38 I have pursued my enemies and destroyed them. I didn’t turn again until they were consumed-
This is written after God had subdued Saul and David's other enemies (:1). He is taking this as a portent of future victory against all other enemies. But I will explain on :40-43 that David did not use all the potential authority and power of judgment which he was given. David pursuing his enemies alludes to David pursuing and overtaking a band of his enemies (1 Sam. 30:8). But again, David is alluding back to heroic deliverances and victories in his twenties. But human life isn't solely the halcyon years of youth. His life post Bathsheba was nothing to write home about. And he makes hardly any reference to it now at age 70 as he looks back on his life. In Ps. 18:37 “overtaken them", alluding to Ex. 15:9- again, David is saying that God's work for him was as dramatic as His salvation of Israel at the Exodus.

2Sa 22:39 I have consumed them, and struck them through, so that they can’t arise. Yes, they have fallen under my feet-
Ps. 18:38 changes the tenses: "I will strike them through, so that they will not be able to rise. They shall fall under my feet". See on :38. This refers to the potential power of judgment David felt he had been given, but this is not to say he would use it.

2Sa 22:40 For You have armed me with strength for the battle. You have subdued under me those who rose up against me-
David reflects how his victory in battle by God's strength meant that all was subdued under him (s.w. Ps. 8:6), a Psalm about the victory over Goliath). The victory in battle which he had in view was supremely that over Goliath, his most major and applauded victory, where he stood over Goliath in triumph. But again, he is harping on about his halcyon days and not taking into account the majority of his adult life post Bathsheba. To a far greater extent, the victory of the Lord Jesus meant not simply the subjugation of Israel beneath Him, but of all creation, including the natural creation.

2Sa 22:41 You have also made my enemies turn their backs to me, so that I might cut off those who hate me-
Those who hated David surely refer to the house of Saul (:1). But David did not cut them off- even though he was given the opportunity of doing so. Literally, "I silenced those who hated me". The reference would then be to the defenders of Jebus / Jerusalem who hated David / were hated by David (2 Sam. 5:8). Perhaps his 'leaping over a wall' (:30) references his capture of the walled city of Jebus.

2Sa 22:42 They looked, but there was none to save; even to Yahweh, but He didn’t answer them-
A reference to God refusing to answer Saul just before he died (1 Sam. 28:6). David is enjoying making the point that his enemies had no salvation, Saul's shield was cast away and he died in battle: "the shield of the mighty was shamefully cast away, the shield of Saul was not anointed with oil" (2 Sam. 1:21). David rejoices that in contrast, "you gave to me the shield of Your salvation" (:36). David fails to realize that the historical record actually paints Saul and himself as sinning in parallel. If anything, David sinned worse than Saul. He was saved by Divine grace because he had a heart for God. But instead he here posits that God chose to save him and not Saul because he was somehow more pure and righteous than Saul. He totally misses the grace of God towards him.

The Lord Jesus was well aware of the connection between God's refusal to answer prayer and His recognition of sin in the person praying (2 Sam. 22:42 = Ps. 2:2-5). It is emphasized time and again that God will not forsake those who love Him (e.g. Dt. 4:31; 31:6; 1 Sam. 12:22; 1 Kings 6:13; Ps. 94:14; Is. 41:17; 42:16). Every one of these passages must have been well known to our Lord, the word made flesh. He knew that God forsaking Israel was a punishment for their sin (Jud. 6:13; 2 Kings 21:14; Is. 2:6; Jer. 23:33). God would forsake Israel only if they forsook Him (Dt. 31:16,17; 2 Chron. 15:2). We can therefore conclude that His desperate “Why have You forsaken me?” was because He was so intensely identified with our sins that in the crisis of the cross, He indeed felt forsaken because of sin. He did not sin, but felt like a sinner; He thereby knows how sinners feel.

In their extremity even the Gentiles cry for mercy to the “unknown God” of their enemies (as in 1 Sam. 5:12; Jonah 3:7); there are no atheists on a plane going down.

2Sa 22:43 Then I beat them as small as the dust of the earth. I crushed them as the mire of the streets, and spread them abroad-
I noted on :41 that David didn't execute the judgments against the house of Saul which he could have done. The language of being "crushed" or "cast out" and being driven by the wind is that of Divine judgment. It could be that David intends us to understand that although he was given the opportunity of judging them ["that I might cut off...", :41], he didn't- he left it to God's judgment. The 'spreading abroad' may refer to him making Moabite captives lay down and be slain: "he smote Moab, and measured them with a line, casting them down to the ground; even with two lines measured he to put to death, and with one full line to keep alive" (2 Sam. 8:2). This was hardly David at his best, and surely is an example of how he shed blood indiscriminately. But he rejoices in it as if it were some special reward from God for his piety.

2Sa 22:44 You also have delivered me from the strivings of my people. You have preserved me to be the head of the nations. A people whom I have not known will serve me-
David expected in faith that now he was solidly established as Israel's king, the surrounding Gentiles would come to serve him and his God (see on :50). Verses 44-46 should all be past tenses, "served me" etc.  We could render "You kept me as head of the nations" in which case the allusion would be to how under Achish the Philistine he was made “keeper of my head” (1 Sam. 28:2). Again, an allusion to his pre Bathsheba life.

"Let people serve you" was the blessing promised to Jacob in his moment of weakness, as he crouched before his father in fawning deception (Gen. 27:29). And yet David applies this promised blessing to himself (2 Sam. 22:44).

David felt preserved by God from Saul and his other enemies (1 Sam. 30:23; 2 Sam. 22:44), because he had preserved or obeyed [s.w.] God's ways (2 Sam. 22:22,24; Ps. 18:21,23); whereas Saul didn't obey / preserve them and was destroyed (1 Sam. 13:13,14; 1 Chron. 10:13). Hence Ps. 145:20: "Yahweh preserves all those who love Him, but all the wicked He will destroy".

2Sa 22:45 The foreigners will submit themselves to me. As soon as they hear of me, they will obey me-
David's vision was that his kingdom would take the good news of Israel's God to the surrounding Gentiles (see on :50). Some of them would submit to David and his God, whereas others would not (:46). But if we read as past tenses, the reference would be to how at the mere rumour of David’s victories, Toi king of Hamath submitted to David (2 Sam. 8:9). But the Hebrew for "submit" is strictly 'to feign obedience'. This is exactly what happened with the Amalekite who lied about killing Saul (2 Sam. 1:2–16), coming kneeling to David; and Baanah and Rechab (2 Sam 4:5–12), who each came to David expecting a reward from him. Again we note these were all incidents pre-Bathsheba.

2Sa 22:46 The foreigners will fade away, and will come trembling out of their hiding places-
This may allude to how Saul's persecutors of David included "foreigners" such as Cush (see on Ps. 7:1) and Doeg the Edomite (1 Sam. 22:22). We should read in the past tense, "faded away", like plants scorched by the burning sun, which is the figure in Ex. 18:18. The idea repeatedly is that as God did for His people at the Exodus, so He had done for David. And so He does for us all.

2Sa 22:47 Yahweh lives! Blessed be my rock! Exalted be God, the rock of my salvation-
David had earlier lamented that Saul "My enemy" (= Saul, 1 Sam. 18:29; 19:17) was "exalted over me" (Ps. 13:2 s.w.). The David who had once triumphed over his enemy Goliath now felt that Saul was triumphing over him. This, in the bigger Divine picture, may have been to keep David from pride at the amazing victory and triumph. And he learned the lesson. David was indeed to triumph / be exalted over Saul (:49), but he saw it is God triumphing / being exalted. His praise Psalms are full of this word and idea- of the exaltation of God (Ps. 57:5,11) and not himself.

2Sa 22:48 even the God who executes vengeance for me, who brings down peoples under me-
An allusion to how David had restrained himself from murdering Saul when he could have done, and instead had trusted in God to execute vengeance. Here David reflects that God had indeed cast down the peoples under him (2 Sam. 22:48; Ps. 18:47); by saying this he considers that his prayer of Ps. 56:7 has been answered: "In anger cast down the peoples, God". Perhaps when he prayed it, he just wanted God's anger to be poured out immediately, the day of judgment to come there and then, when the scales will be adjusted and men and nations cast down or lifted up. But he reflects that in a sense that had happened in his life, in that the peoples were cast down beneath him.

This is what Baanah and Rechab told David when they presented him with Ishbosheth’s head: "Behold, the head of Ishbosheth, the son of Saul, your enemy, who sought your life; thus, the Lord has given my lord the king vengeance this day on Saul and his descendants"  (2 Sam. 4:8). As ever, David is alluding to things in the pre-Bathsheba part of his life. And he is citing his own refusal to personally take vengeance on Saul (1 Sam. 24,26 ,"May the Lord judge between you and me, and may the Lord avenge me on you; but my hand shall not be against you" (1 Sam 24:13)) as the basis for God giving him the throne over the people, who had [so David claims] been brought down under him. David's response to Baanah and Rechab is to comment that "Yahweh... has redeemed my life from all distress" (2 Sam. 4:9). He alludes to how he had told Saul "so may my life be highly valued in the sight of the Lord, and may He deliver me from all distress (1 Sam. 26:24). Even at that point, he had the idea that his deliverances by Yahweh were because he had not taken vengeance upon Saul. Now apparently at the end of his life, he has the same attitude. Grace to him by God doesn't seem to be in his thinking. David also seems to have forgotten that he had intended taking vengeance on Nabal, but was stopped from this by God's grace through Abigail's wisdom urging David not to avenge himself with his own hand (1 Sam. 25:23–35). It was only because this stopped him taking vengeance that God took vengeance for him. But the grace of it all is lost upon David.

We can read "who brought down the people [peoples could be an intensive plural for the great people, Israel] under me". The reference would be to his overcoming the internal opposition to his rule. But that opposition was because of the great disillusion with David because of his actions over Bathsheba and Uriah and his subsequent politically foolish moves. He ought to have resigned the kingship, but he didn't. Yet here he credits God for keeping him on the throne, leaving us to ponder whether he really appreciated God's undeserved grace in this... And again he is sanitizing how things were. The series of revolts against David in the later years of his reign rather question his claim that the people had been "brought down" beneath him. The cry of Sheba the Benjamite "To your tents O Israel! What portion have we in the son of Jesse?" was to be repeated at the end of Solomon's reign. Even on his deathbed, David had to deal with a rebellion by his son Adonijah, backed by Joab his own general.

2Sa 22:49 who delivers from my enemies. Yes, You lift me up above those who rise up against me. You deliver me from the violent man-
"Deliver" translates the word commonly used in the record of David's escape from Saul when his house was surrounded one night (1 Sam. 19:10,11,12,17,18). Again we see David harking back to his glory days and the deliverances when he was a young man- and glossing over the majority of his kingship. David's enemies were the Philistines and other nations, from whom God had given David "rest" at the time of 2 Sam. 7:11 ("Yahweh has given you rest from all your enemies"). But the term is also used of Absalom and his followers by Ahimaaz and the Cushite (2 Sam. 18:32 "the enemies of my lord the king [are] like the young man" Absalom). But God's deliverance of David from Absalom and his supporters was not at David's hand; he didn't go out to fight in the battle. The victory was because of Joab daring to disobey David's order not to kill Absalom. And Joab rightly mocks David for having more sympathy with his enemies than with his own men. This was hardly David at his most glorious and heroic on the battlefield, but he likes to spin it that way.


See on :47. The violent man was initially Saul (see on :1). The Hebrew word hamas [basically meaning 'physical violence arising from wicked plans'] is quite common in Scripture, and the usages speak of how God is provoked by hamas to bring judgment upon the enemies of His people (Gen. 6:11-13; Mic. 6:12; Zeph. 1:9) and also to intervene in order to save His people (Ps. 18:49; Ps. 72:14). How amazingly appropriate that an organization actually called hamas has arisen in these last days to do violence to Israel! If Biblical history means anything to us, clearly enough God's intervention in appropriate judgment and salvation cannot be far off. Note how Hagar's persecution of Sarah- typical of the Arab-Jew conflict- is described as her hamas (Gen. 16:5).

2Sa 22:50 Therefore I will give thanks to You, Yahweh, among the nations. I will sing praises to your name-
David was one of the few in the Old Testament who had a sense of taking the good news of Yahweh's covenant to the Gentiles. And he apparently did so through exporting his musical productions to the surrounding peoples, who may well have been able to understand David's Hebrew. 

2Sa 22:51 He gives great deliverance to His king, and shows grace to His anointed, to David and to his seed, for evermore

"Deliverance" is 'salvation'. This could be a reference to how at the time of Absalom's rebellion people considered that "there is no salvation for him in Yahweh" (Ps. 3:3). It's good to see that David does end with gratitude for grace and that he does mention the eternity of the promises made to him in 2 Sam. 7. David's song is presenting himself as the ideal king of Israel, who loved Yahweh and His word, saved Israel and was eternally blessed. We as readers know this is a highly sanitized view of himself. But in his "last words" in 2 Sam. 23 David appears to admit that his "house" was "not so with God", and "he that rules over men must be just"- and he had not been that.

The Psalm concludes with a reference to David as the anointed, so this could be a Psalm composed when Saul was slain and David was finally declared king, and his anointing came to fulfilment. But the reference to eternal salvation for "his seed" could suggest it was composed after he had received the promises of 2 Sam. 7.