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For New King James text and comment, click here.
II Samuel 22-23; Psalm 57 Listen
David, the song writer (II Samuel 22)
In this passage, David writes a song.
David cites his relationship with Jehovah
1 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:
2 And he said, The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer;
3 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.
4 I will call on the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.
David recounts Gods deliverance
5 When the waves of death compassed me, the floods of ungodly men made me afraid;
6 The sorrows of hell compassed me about; the snares of death prevented me;
7 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.
8 Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations of heaven moved and shook, because he was wroth.
9 There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it.
10 He bowed the heavens also, and came down; and darkness was under his feet.
11 And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: and he was seen upon the wings of the wind.
12 And he made darkness pavilions round about him, dark waters, and thick clouds of the skies.
13 Through the brightness before him were coals of fire kindled.
14 The LORD thundered from heaven, and the most High uttered his voice.
15 And he sent out arrows, and scattered them; lightning, and discomfited them.
16 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.
17 He sent from above, he took me; he drew me out of many waters;
18 He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them that hated me: for they were too strong for me.
19 They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay.
20 He brought me forth also into a large place: he delivered me, because he delighted in me.
David explains why God delivered him
21 The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness: according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.
22 For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God.
23 For all his judgments were before me: and as for his statutes, I did not depart from them.
24 I was also upright before him, and have kept myself from mine iniquity.
25 Therefore the LORD hath recompensed me according to my righteousness; according to my cleanness in his eye sight.
26 With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful, and with the upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright.
27 With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself unsavoury.
28 And the afflicted people thou wilt save: but thine eyes are upon the haughty, that thou mayest bring them down.
29 For thou art my lamp, O LORD: and the LORD will lighten my darkness.
30 For by thee I have run through a troop: by my God have I leaped over a wall.
31 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.
David writes more about the victory
32 For who IS GOD, SAVE THE LORD? and who is a rock, save our God?
33 God is my strength and power: and he maketh my way perfect.
34 He maketh my feet like hinds’ feet: and setteth me upon my high places.
35 He teacheth my hands to war; so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms.
36 Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy gentleness hath made me great.
37 Thou hast enlarged my steps under me; so that my feet did not slip.
38 I have pursued mine enemies, and destroyed them; and turned not again until I had consumed them.
39 And I have consumed them, and wounded them, that they could not arise: yea, they are fallen under my feet.
40 For thou hast girded me with strength to battle: them that rose up against me hast thou subdued under me.
41 Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies, that I might destroy them that hate me.
42 They looked, but there was none to save; even unto the LORD, but he answered them not.
43 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.
44 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.
45 Strangers shall submit themselves unto me: as soon as they hear, they shall be obedient unto me.
46 Strangers shall fade away, and they shall be afraid out of their close places.
47 The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and exalted be the God of the rock of my salvation.
48 It is God that avengeth me, and that bringeth down the people under me,
49 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.
David's praise goes to God
50 Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto thy name.
51 He is the tower of salvation for his king: and sheweth mercy to his anointed, unto David, and to his seed for evermore.
This song is so good, we get it twice - here and Psalm 18 (see notes). It's a song of deliverance, and David doesn't pull any punches. After the deaths of Saul and Absalom, along with everyone in between, David has ample precedent to make the bold statements about God's provision in this Psalm. And why does David feel God is on his side? Look at II Samuel 22:24-25, "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." David felt it was because of his cleanness before God.
It is amusing to me how politically incorrect, even in fundamental Christian circles, David's proclamations in this Psalm are. Consider the wrath that would be incurred from fellow Believers were one to make statements like these regarding those who have wronged them in today's society.
Regarding David's fellowship and position before God:
II Samuel 22:18 He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them that hated me: for they were too strong for me.
II Samuel 22:20 He brought me forth also into a large place: he delivered me, because he delighted in me.
II Samuel 22:21 The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness: according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.
II Samuel 22:22 For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God.
II Samuel 22:23 For all his judgments were before me: and as for his statutes, I did not depart from them.
II Samuel 22:24 I was also upright before him, and have kept myself from mine iniquity.
II Samuel 22:25 Therefore the LORD hath recompensed me according to my righteousness; according to my cleanness in his eye sight.
Regarding David's treatment of his enemies:
II Samuel 22:38 I have pursued mine enemies, and destroyed them; and turned not again until I had consumed them.
II Samuel 22:39 And I have consumed them, and wounded them, that they could not arise: yea, they are fallen under my feet.
II Samuel 22:41 Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies, that I might destroy them that hate me.
II Samuel 22:43 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.
II Samuel 22:48 It is God that avengeth me, and that bringeth down the people under me,
So...where's David's modesty? Who of us hasn't thought like David in this Psalm when the world seemed to be closing in on us. Keep in mind, included in David's enemies here are two people he loved dearly, Saul and Absalom. Who of David's contemporaries would have ever dreamed that David would one day die of old age instead of battle; what are the chances?! Yet, God did indeed deliver David, and David knew it; moreover, he openly expresses here that it was God who had favor upon him. This is a great example of a Godly man's confidence in his position before God.
David has some last words (II Samuel 23:1-7)
1 Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said,
2 The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.
3 The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.
4 And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain.
5 Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow.
6 But the sons of Belial shall be all of them as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands:
7 But the man that shall touch them must be fenced with iron and the staff of a spear; and they shall be utterly burned with fire in the same place.
Verse 1 says, "Now these be the last words of David." David attests to verbal inspiration here in verse 2, "The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue."
The KJV term "sons of Belial" found in verse 6 is a general term used in the Old Testament to describe worthless individuals - people who are depraved in their conduct and attitude toward God. One might get the impression that it's a proper name of a god, but not so.
Notice David's declaration in verse 5 regarding God's covenant with him, "...he hath made with me an everlasting covenant." That's the covenant of II Samuel 7:12-16 (see notes), and it's unconditional in addition to being eternal in scope. This is the same covenant under which Jesus came as the promised Messiah. For more information regarding the Davidic Covenant, click here.
David names the top 37 men of battle he has known (II Samuel 23:8-39)
8 These be the names of the mighty men whom David had: The Tachmonite that sat in the seat, chief among the captains; the same was Adino the Eznite: he lift up his spear against eight hundred, whom he slew at one time.
9 And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David, when they defied the Philistines that were there gathered together to battle, and the men of Israel were gone away:
10 He arose, and smote the Philistines until his hand was weary, and his hand clave unto the sword: and the LORD wrought a great victory that day; and the people returned after him only to spoil.
11 And after him was Shammah the son of Agee the Hararite. And the Philistines were gathered together into a troop, where was a piece of ground full of lentiles: and the people fled from the Philistines.
12 But he stood in the midst of the ground, and defended it, and slew the Philistines: and the LORD wrought a great victory.
13 And three of the thirty chief went down, and came to David in the harvest time unto the cave of Adullam: and the troop of the Philistines pitched in the valley of Rephaim.
14 And David was then in an hold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem.
15 And David longed, and said, Oh that one would give me drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!
16 And the three mighty men brake through the host of the Philistines, and drew water out of the well of Bethlehem, that was by the gate, and took it, and brought it to David: nevertheless he would not drink thereof, but poured it out unto the LORD.
17 And he said, Be it far from me, O LORD, that I should do this: is not this the blood of the men that went in jeopardy of their lives? therefore he would not drink it. These things did these three mighty men.
18 And Abishai, the brother of Joab, the son of Zeruiah, was chief among three. And he lifted up his spear against three hundred, and slew them, and had the name among three.
19 Was he not most honourable of three? therefore he was their captain: howbeit he attained not unto the first three.
20 And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, the son of a valiant man, of Kabzeel, who had done many acts, he slew two lionlike men of Moab: he went down also and slew a lion in the midst of a pit in time of snow:
21 And he slew an Egyptian, a goodly man: and the Egyptian had a spear in his hand; but he went down to him with a staff, and plucked the spear out of the Egyptian’s hand, and slew him with his own spear.
22 These things did Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and had the name among three mighty men.
23 He was more honourable than the thirty, but he attained not to the first three. And David set him over his guard.
24 Asahel the brother of Joab was one of the thirty; Elhanan the son of Dodo of Bethlehem,
25 Shammah the Harodite, Elika the Harodite,
26 Helez the Paltite, Ira the son of Ikkesh the Tekoite,
27 Abiezer the Anethothite, Mebunnai the Hushathite,
28 Zalmon the Ahohite, Maharai the Netophathite,
29 Heleb the son of Baanah, a Netophathite, Ittai the son of Ribai out of Gibeah of the children of Benjamin,
30 Benaiah the Pirathonite, Hiddai of the brooks of Gaash,
31 Abialbon the Arbathite, Azmaveth the Barhumite,
32 Eliahba the Shaalbonite, of the sons of Jashen, Jonathan,
33 Shammah the Hararite, Ahiam the son of Sharar the Hararite,
34 Eliphelet the son of Ahasbai, the son of the Maachathite, Eliam the son of Ahithophel the Gilonite,
35 Hezrai the Carmelite, Paarai the Arbite,
36 Igal the son of Nathan of Zobah, Bani the Gadite,
37 Zelek the Ammonite, Naharai the Beerothite, armourbearer to Joab the son of Zeruiah,
38 Ira an Ithrite, Gareb an Ithrite,
39 Uriah the Hittite: thirty and seven in all.
David lists their accomplishments, many of whom we read about in the Samuels. He even tops it off at the end by giving special recognition to Uriah the Hittite. Hmmmmm...where have we heard that name before? That's right, Bathsheba's first husband. When you read about Uriah in II Samuel 11 (see notes), you must admit that this was a great fighting warrior for Israel. We also find David's list of men in I Chronicles 11:10-46 (see notes).
Do you see a name missing in this list? While Joab is mentioned in verses 18, 24 and 37, it is only to provide context with regard to his relatives and associations. He does not make the list of the great men of battle. As a matter of fact, David directs Solomon to have him executed after he's gone in I Kings 2:5-6 (see notes). Joab rescued David over and over again from his enemies, but David resented him; David did not like Joab's tactics. What's more, Joab was responsible for the execution of David's son, Absalom, back in II Samuel 18:1-18 (see notes).
To the chief Musician, Altaschith, Michtam of David, when he fled from Saul in the cave.
1 Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast.
2 I will cry unto God most high; unto God that performeth all things for me.
3 He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up. Selah. God shall send forth his mercy and his truth.
4 My soul is among lions: and I lie even among them that are set on fire, even the sons of men, whose teeth are spears and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword.
5 Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; let thy glory be above all the earth.
6 They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down: they have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves. Selah.
7 My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise.
8 Awake up, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early.
9 I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people: I will sing unto thee among the nations.
10 For thy mercy is great unto the heavens, and thy truth unto the clouds.
11 Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: let thy glory be above all the earth.
According to this introduction, David is writing this Psalm after the occasion of his experience in Gath either in I Samuel 22 (see notes) or I Samuel 24 (see notes). In both instances, we find David taking refuge in caves from the wrath of Saul. Here David proclaims that, while it looks bad right now, God will deliver him. He praises God for that.
Incidentally, verses 7-11 here comprise Psalm 108:1-5 (see notes). As a matter of fact, Psalm 108:6-13 (see notes) is comprised of Psalm 60:5-12 (see notes). For a comparison of these three Psalms, click here.
In the introduction, you'll find a couple of words that may need explanation. Following are definitions taken from Easton's Bible Dictionary:
Altaschith: destroy not, the title of Ps. 57, 58, 59, and 75. It was probably the name of some song to the melody of which these psalms were to be chanted.
Michtam: writing; i.e., a poem or song found in the titles of Ps. 16; 56-60. Some translate the word golden, i.e., precious. It is rendered in the LXX. by a word meaning tablet inscription or a stelograph. The root of the word means to stamp or grave, and hence it is regarded as denoting a composition so precious as to be worthy to be engraven on a durable tablet for preservation; or, as others render, a psalm precious as stamped gold, from the word kethem, fine or stamped gold.