Psalms 18

 

לַמְנַצֵּחַ לְעֶבֶד יְהוָה לְדָוִד אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר לַיהוָה אֶת־דִּבְרֵי הַשִּׁירָה הַזֹּאת בְּיוֹם הִצִּיל־יְהוָה אוֹתוֹ מִכַּף   18:1

כָּל־אֹיְבָיו וּמִיַּד שָׁאוּל׃

Psal. 18:1   For the leader, for the servant of the Lord, for David, who spoke to the Lord the words

of this song on the day the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the power of Saul.

This entire psalm is an echo, although with some minor variations, of Chapter 22 of 2Sam.  I imagine that this

rendering is probably the original, as it is presumed to have been written by David, whereas in 2Sam. it is being

remembered by Samuel himself, who may not have been present at the time of David’s composing the psalm.

וַיֹּאמַר אֶרְחָמְךָ יְהוָה חִזְקִי׃   18:2

Psal. 18:2   And he said,

                              “I shall love You, O Lord, my Strength.”

יְהוָה סַלְעִי וּמְצוּדָתִי וּמְפַלְטִי אֵלִי צוּרִי אֶחֱסֶה־בּוֹ מָגִנִּי וְקֶרֶן־יִשְׁעִי מִשְׂגַּבִּי׃   18:3

Psal. 18:3   O Lord, my Rock and my Fortress and my Deliverer,

                              my God, my Strength!

                       I shall trust in Him,

                              my Shield and the Horn of my salvation,

                      my high Tower.

מְהֻלָּל אֶקְרָא יְהוָה וּמִן־אֹיְבַי אִוָּשֵׁעַ׃   18:4

Psal. 18:4   Celebrating, I will call upon the Lord,

                               and I will be saved from my enemies.

אֲפָפוּנִי חֶבְלֵי־מָוֶת וְנַחֲלֵי בְלִיַּעַל יְבַעֲתוּנִי׃   18:5

Psal. 18:5   The cords of death and the flood of destruction encircled me;

                               they would have terrified me.

Here David confesses that he would have been terrified if he didn’t know the Lord was with him.

חֶבְלֵי שְׁאוֹל סְבָבוּנִי קִדְּמוּנִי מוֹקְשֵׁי מָוֶת׃   18:6

Psal. 18:6   The snares of hell engulfed me;

                               the hooks of death preceded me.

בַּצַּר־לִי אֶקְרָא יְהוָה וְאֶל־אֱלֹהַי אֲשַׁוֵּעַ יִשְׁמַע מֵהֵיכָלוֹ קוֹלִי וְשַׁוְעָתִי לְפָנָיו תָּבוֹא בְאָזְנָיו׃   18:7

Psal. 18:7   In my distress I would call upon the Lord,

                               and to my God I would cry.

                     He would hear my voice out of His Temple.

                               And my crying before Him would enter into His “ear.”

וַתִּגְעַשׁ וַתִּרְעַשׁ הָאָרֶץ וּמוֹסְדֵי הָרִים יִרְגָּזוּ וַיִּתְגָּעֲשׁוּ כִּי־חָרָה לוֹ׃   18:8

Psal. 18:8   Then the earth would shake and tremble,

                               and the foundations of the mountains would shake and tremble,

                      for “anger” was His.

עָלָה עָשָׁן בְּאַפּוֹ וְאֵשׁ־מִפִּיו תֹּאכֵל גֶּחָלִים בָּעֲרוּ מִמֶּנּוּ׃   18:9

Psal. 18:9   Smoke rose up in His “nostrils”

                               and fire from His “mouth” would devour;

                      coals burned from it.

וַיֵּט שָׁמַיִם וַיֵּרַד וַעֲרָפֶל תַּחַת רַגְלָיו׃   18:10

Psal. 18:10   And He would spread the heavens and come down,

                                 and darkness would be beneath His “feet.”

וַיִּרְכַּב עַל־כְּרוּב וַיָּעֹף וַיֵּדֶא עַל־כַּנְפֵי־רוּחַ׃   18:11

Psal. 18:11   And He would ride upon a cherub and shine forth,

                                 and He would fly on the wings of the wind.

יָשֶׁת חֹשֶׁךְ סִתְרוֹ סְבִיבוֹתָיו סֻכָּתוֹ חֶשְׁכַת־מַיִם עָבֵי שְׁחָקִים׃   18:12

Psal. 18:12   He would make darkness His covering around Himself.

                                 His pavilion is the darkness of water and the thickness of clouds.

מִנֹּגַהּ נֶגְדּוֹ עָבָיו עָבְרוּ בָּרָד וְגַחֲלֵי־אֵשׁ׃   18:13

Psal. 18:13   From the brightness of His presence

                                 His clouds pass over hail and embers of fire.

וַיַּרְעֵם בַּשָּׁמַיִם יְהוָה וְעֶלְיוֹן יִתֵּן קֹלוֹ בָּרָד וְגַחֲלֵי־אֵשׁ׃   18:14

Psal. 18:14   And the Lord thunders from the heavens,

                                 and the Most High would render His voice hail and embers of fire.

וַיִּשְׁלַח חִצָּיו וַיְפִיצֵם וּבְרָקִים רָב וַיְהֻמֵּם׃   18:15

Psal. 18:15   And He would send out His arrows and scatter them,

                                 and He shoots shafts of lightning and He agitates them.

וַיֵּרָאוּ אֲפִיקֵי מַיִם וַיִּגָּלוּ מוֹסְדוֹת תֵּבֵל מִגַּעֲרָתְךָ יְהוָה מִנִּשְׁמַת רוּחַ אַפֶּךָ׃   18:16

Psal. 18:16   And streams of water are seen,

                                 and the foundations of the world appear out of Your rebuke, O Lord,

                        from the blast of the breath of Your “nostrils.”

יִשְׁלַח מִמָּרוֹם יִקָּחֵנִי יַמְשֵׁנִי מִמַּיִם רַבִּים׃   18:17

Psal. 18:17   He would send from above,

                                 He would take me,

                        He would pull me out from too much water.

יַצִּילֵנִי מֵאֹיְבִי עָז וּמִשֹּׂנְאַי כִּי־אָמְצוּ מִמֶּנִּי׃   18:18

Psal. 18:18   He would deliver me from my mighty enemy,

                                  and from my haters,

                         for they were stronger than I.

יְקַדְּמוּנִי בְיוֹם־אֵידִי וַיְהִי־יְהוָה לְמִשְׁעָן לִי׃   18:19

Psal. 18:19   They confronted me at the time of my oppression;

                                  but the Lord was my support,

וַיּוֹצִיאֵנִי לַמֶּרְחָב יְחַלְּצֵנִי כִּי חָפֵץ בִּי׃   18:20

Psal. 18:20   and He pulls me out to an open space.

                                 He will deliver me,

                        for He delights in me.

יִגְמְלֵנִי יְהוָה כְּצִדְקִי כְּבֹר יָדַי יָשִׁיב לִי׃   18:21

Psal. 18:21   The Lord shall reward me according to my righteousness;

                                  He shall render to me according to the purity of my hand.

Here and in the next few verses David appears to be saying that God is with him because of his good works.

Because of what he says in many other verses, I believe that David really expects and receives the support of the Lord because of his love for and trust in Him (and God’s love for him).  I’ll leave it to you to find these many expressions of his faith and joy in the Lord.

כִּי־שָׁמַרְתִּי דַּרְכֵי יְהוָה וְלֹא־רָשַׁעְתִּי מֵאֱלֹהָי׃   18:22

Psal. 18:22   For I have kept the ways of the Lord

                                  and not wickedly departed from my God.

כִּי כָל־מִשְׁפָּטָיו לְנֶגְדִּי וְחֻקֹּתָיו לֹא־אָסִיר מֶנִּי׃   18:23

Psal. 18:23   For all His ordinances are before me,

                                  and I will not put His statutes away from me.

וָאֱהִי תָמִים עִמּוֹ וָאֶשְׁתַּמֵּר מֵעֲוֺנִי׃   18:24

Psal. 18:24   And I am upright with Him,

                                  and I guard myself from my iniquity.

Here, as elsewhere, David acknowledges his iniquity, for which he frequently seeks (and receives) the Lord’s

forgiveness.

וַיָּשֶׁב־יְהוָה לִי כְצִדְקִי כְּבֹר יָדַי לְנֶגֶד עֵינָיו׃   18:25

Psal. 18:25   So the Lord renders to me according to my righteousness,

                                  according to the purity of my hand before His “vision.”

עִם־חָסִיד תִּתְחַסָּד עִם־גְּבַר תָּמִים תִּתַּמָּם׃   18:26

Psal. 18:26   With the merciful You shall be merciful;

                                  with an upright one You will be upright.

עִם־נָבָר תִּתְבָּרָר וְעִם־עִקֵּשׁ תִּתְפַּתָּל׃   18:27

Psal. 18:27   With the pure You will be pure,

                                 but with the false You shall be subtle.

כִּי־אַתָּה עַם־עָנִי תוֹשִׁיעַ וְעֵינַיִם רָמוֹת תַּשְׁפִּיל׃   18:28

Psal. 18:28   For You shall save afflicted people,

                                 but You will humble haughty eyes.

כִּי־אַתָּה תָּאִיר נֵרִי יְהוָה אֱלֹהַי יַגִּיהַּ חָשְׁכִּי׃   18:29

Psal. 18:29   For You will light my lamp.

                                The Lord, my God, shall brighten my darkness.

כִּי־בְךָ אָרֻץ גְּדוּד וּבֵאלֹהַי אֲדַלֶּג־שׁוּר׃   18:30

Psal. 18:30   For with You I can make an army run,

                                 and with my God I can leap a wall.

הָאֵל תָּמִים דַּרְכּוֹ אִמְרַת־יְהוָה צְרוּפָה מָגֵן הוּא לְכֹל הַחֹסִים בּוֹ׃   18:31

Psal. 18:31   As for God, perfect is His way.

                                The word of the Lord is pure.

                  A Shield is He to all who trust in Him.

כִּי מִי אֱלוֹהַּ מִבַּלְעֲדֵי יְהוָה וּמִי צוּר זוּלָתִי אֱלֹהֵינוּ׃   18:32

Psal. 18:32   For Who is God but the Lord?

                                And Who is the Rock if not our God?

הָאֵל הַמְאַזְּרֵנִי חָיִל וַיִּתֵּן תָּמִים דַּרְכִּי׃   18:33

Psal. 18:33   The God Who girds me with strength,

                                 and makes straight my way,

מְשַׁוֶּה רַגְלַי כָּאַיָּלוֹת וְעַל בָּמֹתַי יַעֲמִידֵנִי׃   18:34

Psal. 18:34   Who makes my feet like hinds

                                  so He can set me on my high places,

מְלַמֵּד יָדַי לַמִּלְחָמָה וְנִחֲתָה קֶשֶׁת־נְחוּשָׁה זְרוֹעֹתָי׃   18:35

Psal. 18:35   Who trains my hand for battle

                                  so my arm can control a bow of brass,

וַתִּתֶּן־לִי מָגֵן יִשְׁעֶךָ וִימִינְךָ תִסְעָדֵנִי וְעַנְוַתְךָ תַרְבֵּנִי׃   18:36

Psal. 18:36   and You give me the shield of Your salvation,

                                  as Your right “hand” will hold me up,

                        and Your condescension will make me great.

תַּרְחִיב צַעֲדִי תַחְתָּי וְלֹא מָעֲדוּ קַרְסֻלָּי׃   18:37

Psal. 18:37   You would enlarge my steps beneath me

                                  so my feet do not slip.

אֶרְדֹּוף אֹויְבַי וְאַשִּׂיגֵם וְלֹא־אָשׁוּב עַד־כַּלֹּותָם׃   18:38

Psal. 18:38   I can pursue my enemies and overtake them,

                                  and I will not turn back before their finish.

אֶמְחָצֵם וְלֹא־יֻכְלוּ קוּם יִפְּלוּ תַּחַת רַגְלָי׃   18:39

Psal. 18:39   I will smite them so that they cannot rise.

                                 They will fall beneath my foot.

וַתְּאַזְּרֵנִי חַיִל לַמִּלְחָמָה תַּכְרִיעַ קָמַי תַּחְתָּי׃   18:40

Psal. 18:40   Thus You gird me with strength for battle;

                                  You will bring down my enemy beneath me.

וְאֹיְבַי נָתַתָּה לִּי עֹרֶף וּמְשַׂנְאַי אַצְמִיתֵם׃   18:41

Psal. 18:41  So You give the back of my enemies to me,

                                  so those who hate me, I may destroy them.

יְשַׁוְּעוּ וְאֵין־מֹושִׁיעַ עַל־יְהוָה וְלֹא עָנָם׃   18:42

Psal. 18:42  They may cry out upon the Lord,

                                  but there is no deliverer,

                        and He does not answer them.

וְאֶשְׁחָקֵם כְּעָפָר עַל־פְּנֵי־רוּחַ כְּטִיט חוּצֹות אֲרִיקֵם׃   18:43

Psal. 18:43   So I will beat them small like dust before the wind;

                                   I will cast them down like the mud of the streets.

תְּפַלְּטֵנִי מֵרִיבֵי עָם תְּשִׂימֵנִי לְרֹאשׁ גֹּויִם עַם לֹא־יָדַעְתִּי יַעַבְדוּנִי׃   18:44

Psal. 18:44   You will deliver me from the strivings of the people;

                                   You will set me as head of nations;

                        a people I do not know shall serve me.

לְשֵׁמַע אֹזֶן יִשָּׁמְעוּ לִי בְּנֵי־נֵכָר יְכַחֲשׁוּ־לִי׃   18:45

Psal. 18:45   Upon hearing an ear, they will become obedient to me;

                                    the sons of the stranger will submit themselves to me.

בְּנֵי־נֵכָר יִבֹּלוּ וְיַחְרְגוּ מִמִּסְגְּרֹותֵיהֶם׃   18:46

Psal. 18:46   The sons of the stranger will fall away

                                    and be afraid from their borders.

חַי־יְהוָה וּבָרוּךְ צוּרִי וְיָרוּם אֱלֹוהֵי יִשְׁעִי׃   18:47

Psal. 18:47   The Lord lives -- and blessed is my Rock!

                                    And exalted is the God of my salvation!

הָאֵל הַנֹּותֵן נְקָמֹות לִי וַיַּדְבֵּר עַמִּים תַּחְתָּי׃   18:48

Psal. 18:48   The God Who renders vengeance for me

                                     and subdues peoples under me,

מְפַלְּטִי מֵאֹיְבָי אַף מִן־קָמַי תְּרֹומְמֵנִי מֵאִישׁ חָמָס תַּצִּילֵנִי׃   18:49

Psal. 18:49   delivering me from my enemies.

                                     Furthermore, You will lift me higher than those who rise up against me;

                        from men most violent You will defend me.

עַל־כֵּן אֹודְךָ בַגֹּויִם יְהוָה וּלְשִׁמְךָ אֲזַמֵּרָה׃   18:50

Psal. 18:50   Therefore, I will give thanks to You among the nations, O Lord,

                                     and I will sing praises to Your name,

 מִגְדֹּל) [מַגְדִּיל] יְשׁוּעֹות מַלְכֹּו וְעֹשֶׂה חֶסֶד לִמְשִׁיחֹו לְדָוִד וּלְזַרְעֹו עַד־עֹולָם׃   18:51

Psal. 18:51   a Tower of salvation of His king,

                                    and Merciful Provider to His anointed,

                         to David and his descendants, for ever more.

The word before the left parenthesis is a noun as I’ve translated it.  The sages thought it should be a verb phrase

translated as He is the Tower.  The alleged correction is in the brackets.  The sages had translated the two

verses 18:50 and 18:51 as two separate statements.  But as I translate these verses, the previous verse (18:50)

 is punctuated with a comma, not a period, and the two constitute one statement.  Thus a noun translated as a

Tower (of salvation) continues the thought from the previous verse, and the word is not in error.  That’s the

interpretation I prefer.  So once more I contend with the sages and scholars.  Woe is me!

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