Title. To the Chief Musician a Psalm of David, the servant of the Lord, who spake unto the Lord the words of this song in the day that the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul. We have another form of this Psalm, with significant variations (2 Samuel 22:1-51), and this suggests the idea that it was sung by David at different times when he reviewed his own remarkable history, and observed the gracious hand of God in it all. Like Addison’s hymn beginning, “When all thy mercies, O my God, “this Psalm is the song of a grateful heart overwhelmed with a retrospect of the manifold and marvellous mercies of God. We will call it The Grateful Retrospect. The title deserves attention. David, although at this time a king, calls himself, “the servant of Jehovah, “but makes no mention of his royalty; hence we gather that he counted it a higher honour to be the Lord’s servant than to be Judah’s king. Right wisely did he judge. Being possessed of poetic genius, he served the Lord by composing this Psalm for the use of the Lord’s house; and it is no mean work to conduct or to improve that delightful part of divine worship, the singing of the Lord’s praises. Would that more musical and poetical ability were consecrated, and that our chief musicians were fit to be trusted with devout and spiritual psalmody. It should be observed that the words of this song were not composed with the view of gratifying the taste of men, but were spoken unto Jehovah. It were well if we had a more single eye to the honour of the Lord in our singing, and in all other hallowed exercises. That praise is little worth which is not directed solely and heartily to the Lord. David might well be thus direct in his gratitude, for he owed all to his God, and in the day of his deliverance he had none to thank but the Lord, whose right hand had preserved him. We too should feel that to God and God alone we owe the greatest debt of honour and thanksgiving.
If it be remembered that the second and the forty-ninth verses are both quoted in the New Testament (Hebrews 2:13 Romans 15:9) as the words of the Lord Jesus, it will be clear that a greater than David is here. Reader, you will not need our aid in this respect; if you know Jesus you will readily find him in his sorrows, deliverance, and triumphs all through this wonderful psalm.
Division. Psalms 18:1-3 are the proem or preface in which the resolve to bless God is declared. Delivering mercy is most poetically extolled from Psalms 18:4-19; and then the happy songster Psalms 18:20-28, protests that God had acted righteously in thus favoring him. Filled with grateful joy he again pictures his deliverance and anticipates future victories Psalms 18:29-45; and in closing speaks with evident prophetic foresight of the glorious triumphs of the Messiah, David’s seed and the Lord’s anointed.
The Treasury of David.
Surveying all the armour in which he fought and conquered, the joyful victor praises the Lord for every part of the panoply. The girdle of his loins earns the first stanza:
It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect. Girt about the loins with power from heaven, the warrior was filled with vigour, far above all created might; and, whereas, without this wondrous belt he would have been feeble and effeminate, with relaxed energies and scattered forces, he felt himself, when braced with the girdle of truth, to be compact in purpose, courageous in daring, and concentrated in power; so that his course was a complete success, so undisturbed by disastrous defeat as to be called “perfect.” Have we been made more than conquerors over sin, and has our life hitherto been such as becometh the gospel? Then let us ascribe all the glory to him who girt us with his own inexhaustible strength, that we might be unconquered in battle and unwearied in pilgrimage.
It is God that girdeth me with strength. One of the few articles of Eastern dress which I wore in the East, was the girdle, which was of great use as a support to the body in the long and weary camel rides through the Desert. The support and strengthening I received in this way, gave me a clearer idea than I had before of the meaning of the psalmist. John Anderson, in “Bible Light from Bible Lands, “1856.
Ver. 32-34. Trying positions, gracious adaptations, graceful accomplishments, secure abidings, grateful acknowledgment.
The Treasury of David.
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