Psalm 18 - Divine Appearance and Triumph of the Righteous




[New International Version] Psalm 18 belongs to Book I of the Book of Psalms. With 51 verses, it reports the vicissitudes of David, the manifestation of the power of God in the world of men and prophesies a just future with the grace of God.

The PS 18 belong to Book I of the Book of PS composed of a collection of texts 150 arranged by 5 poetry books. The Book of Psalms, for its wisdom and basic principles of human action , is considered the heart of the Old Testament. Book I encompasses Psalms 1 to 41 . The PS 18 is divided into 51 verses.

The Psalms are poems-prayers addressed to God, being the privileged way to address and speak to Him. These prayers represent human experiences and religious conscience . They portray the common man , with his faults, insecurities, fears and hopes and, even today, we can identify with the Psalmist and draw inspiration from these texts to pray and plead with God when we feel lost and anguished or to express our gratitude for some blessing received.

“There are enemies or friends, there is life or death, health or illness, pain or joy and, most of the time, there are no changes or gradations. Words are like stones and poetry like boulders carved by chisel”; “The Psalms are a bit like mountain paths, simple, especially when walking on snow, but they lead to the peaks; they are paths toward the peaks of meeting the Lord.” - Carlo Maria Martini, Cardinal of Milan

Psalm 18 - Divine Apparition and Triumph

1  To the director. Of the servant of the Lord, David, who spoke the words of this song to the Lord, in the day that the Lord delivered him out of the hand of all his enemies and out of the hand of Saul. Then David said:

2  I love you dearly, O Lord, my strength!

3  Lord, my rock, strength and protection!
O my God, shelter where I take refuge,
my shield and force of salvation, my stronghold of defense!

4  I called upon the Lord who is worthy of praise
and was saved from my enemies.

5  The waves of death surrounded me,
and the destructive waves terrified me.

6  The abyss of death enfolded me in its snares,
and its deadly nets reached me.

7  In my anguish I called on the Lord,
and to my God I directed my cry.

From his sanctuary He heard my voice;
my cry with him reached his ears.

8  Then the earth shook and was shaken;
the bases of the mountains shuddered,
shaken by the heat of his wrath.

9  Smoke rose from his nostrils;
and from his mouth, a devouring fire,
from which blazing coals sprang.

10  He tilted the heavens and descended,
with thick clouds under his feet.

11  Mounted on a cherub, He flew,
carried on the wings of the wind.

12  He made darkness his veil;
deep waters and thick clouds
were the tent around him.

13  In the glow of his presence,
his clouds turned
to hail and burning coals.

14  From heaven the Lord made thunder,
the Most High sent out his voice.

15 He  shot his arrows and scattered the enemies,
and set them to flight with the lightning.

16  Then the depths of the sea came into view,
and the foundations of the universe were revealed.

All because of Thy threats, O Lord,
and the mighty breath of Thy wrath.

17  From on high, God reached out and grabbed me;
he took me out of the rushing waters.

18  Delivered me from mighty enemies,
who hated me and were stronger than I.

19  They attacked me from the front in my day of trouble,
but the Lord came to my aid.

20  He made me go out into a spacious place;
he set me free, because he loves me.

21  The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness, He
repaid me for the purity of my hands.

22 For  I followed the ways of the Lord
and did not depart from my God like any evildoer.

23  For I had his commandments before me,
and I do not depart from his precepts.

24  I have been blameless with Him,
keeping me from any guilt.

25  And then the Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness,
and the purity of my hands, before his eyes.

26  You show that you are faithful to him who is faithful;
and you are righteous for whoever is righteous.

27  You are loyal to your loyal ones,
and by those who are cunning you are not fooled.

28  For You save the humble people,
but you lower them with the haughty look.

29  Lord, You are the light of my lamp;
You are my God, who illuminates my darkness.

30  With you I can charge an army;
with my God I will assault walls.

31  God’s way is perfect,
the Lord’s word is fireproof.
He is the protector for all who trust him.

32  Who is God but the Lord?
Who is a rock but our God?

33  He is the God who
gives me courage and makes my way straight.

34  He makes my feet as quick as a deer’s
and makes me walk safely in the mountains.

35  He has trained my hands for combat
and my arms to wield the bronze bow.

36  You have given me your shield of salvation;
your right hand has sustained me,
and your goodness has made me prosper.

37 You  gave my steps wide,
and my ankles did not waver.

38 I  pursued my enemies until I reached them,
and I did not turn back without having defeated them.

39  I brought them down, and they could not get up;
they fell under my feet.

40  You have clothed me with strength for combat
and have brought the adversaries at my feet.

41  You made the enemies turn their backs
on me, that I might exterminate those who hate me.

42  They cried for help: there was no one to help;
they called upon the Lord, but He did not answer them.

43  And I scattered them like dust blown by the wind;
I trampled them like mud from the paths.

44  Thou hast delivered me from the strife of a people,
and hast set me at the head of nations;
people I did not know paid me allegiance.

45  As soon as they heard me, they obeyed me.
Some foreigners sought my favors.

46  Other foreigners were weak
and trembling from their shelters.

47  Long live the Lord! Blessed be my protector!
Glorified be the God who is my salvation.

48  He is the God who gave me vengeance
and subjected the people to my power.

49  Delivered me from my enemies,
lifted me above my adversaries,
delivered me from the violent man.

50  Therefore I will praise thee among the peoples, O LORD,
and will sing hymns to thy name.

51  He grants his king great victories,
and shows his faithfulness to his anointed one,
to David and his seed, forever.

Meaning and interpretation

The Psalm 18 is a thanksgiving prayer ; the king’s suffering is expressed as the pangs of death; God reveals himself to him and helps him, taking into account his merits, granting him the gift of royalty and victories.

In the first part of the Psalm (Verses 2-31), the Psalmist refers to the dangers to which David was exposed from Saul and relates an apparition or revelation of God with great natural phenomena that reveal the extent of divine power; in the second part (Verses 32-51), it recalls David’s triumph over national and foreign enemies and ends with a vision of a future guaranteed by the messianic promise .

The Psalms of Praise are hymns addressed, above all, to God. In this sense, the Bible continues the liturgical literature of neighboring and previous religions, where hymns are the most common way for people to address the divinity , especially in contexts of greater solemnity.

These Psalms were of great importance in the lives of biblical heroes. The preaching of the word of the prophets or the teaching of wisdom reflection appears closely linked to the cultural action of the people of Israel. They express, in a solemn and simple way , the believer’s recognition of the efficacious presence of God who saves his people, for he is mercy that lasts forever; it is a refuge from the dangers of life; it is joy and joy; it is prosperity that feeds its people; it is light in times of darkness and salvation on Earth and in eternal life.

The texts of the Book of Psalms oscillate between shout and praise, supplication and joy. Perhaps its authors understood that Man can only express his supplications, laments or thirst for revenge before God, if he is immersed in the spirit of praise that sings life stronger than death . Perhaps, beyond the scream, the lament or the anger, they realized that what moves these words is nothing but that life force that explodes in praise when it comes out of violence or when it goes through death.

These hymns narrate, thus, the greatness or improvements and the thanks that flow from it. Examples of this are Ps 8; 19; 28; 33; 47; 65-66; 93; 96-100; 104-105; 111; 113; 117; 135; 146; 148-150. Hymns can also be addressed to the king , focusing especially on the ceremony of royal enthronement, with every expectation of divine intervention for the well-being of the people and the just ordering of the world . In this case, the Psalms were performed at court parties, in the presence of the king, in celebrations for victory over enemies, among others. Some examples are Psalm 2; 18; 20; 21; 27; 51; 60; 61.

With the end of the monarchy, these Psalms were accentuating the messianic connotations , which already had implicit. This is the case of Psalm 2; 18; 20-21; 45; 72; 89; 101; 110; 132; 144. The Psalms celebrating Jerusalem, which with the temple have a special connection to God, are also considered hymns. These are Ps 46; 48; 76; 84; 87; 122.

The Book of Psalms

The Joy and Happiness of the Righteous in Communion with God

The Psalms are prayer-poems addressed to God, being the privileged way to address and speak with Him. Depicting the common man , with his failures, insecurities, fears and hopes, we can still identify with the Psalmist and be inspired today in Psalms to make prayers and supplications to God in times of trouble or express our gratitude for some blessing received.

The Psalms, despite being written in Antiquity, still move , sensitize , awaken feelings , inspire and enchant . In them, we can identify anguish and joy , deeply human feelings, praises, supplications, teachings of reflection on spiritual wisdom and prophetic words.

Written for different situations , some Psalms are intimate, revealing the author’s personal relationship with God; others provide guidelines and advice for life, others are compositions for specific liturgical events such as rituals and pilgrimages.

The Book of Psalms is composed of a collection of 150 poetic texts and is divided into five parts, called Psalm Books or Booklets. Each Book closes with short hymns of praise to God . The division into five parts was considered to correspond to the five books of Moses and it is assumed that each passage in the Pentateuch (first five books of the Bible, called Torah by the Jews) was read in parallel with the corresponding Psalm. Its main forms are lamentation , supplication , praise and gratitude .

The Power of Prayer in Dialogue with the Divine

The Psalms elevate our thoughts to the Divine and prayer is the power of the word . Prayer is the language of faith. Any thought, word or image addressed to God is called prayer . It is through it that we come into contact with our God within and, therefore, it is so powerful in transforming life . Prayer can produce miracles , turn dreams into reality, give us hope for change , harmony and peace with ourselves and the world.

Each Psalm has an intention that helps us meditate and walk with our God . For many theologians, the Book of Psalms has a prophetic or messianic tone as its verses refer to the coming of Christ into the world of men to guide them through the uncertainty and doubts of Human existence.

The prayer has the power to call the Spiritual Universe full mode, honest, sincere, conscious, for the purpose of spiritual self-protection, family protection and those who are dear to us, to have peace of mind, spiritual and physical, for prosperity and success, to protect health and relationships, to ward off negative energies and, above all, to connect us to something bigger than ourselves. From this peace , well-being, hope and goodness in front of everyone and everything result.

The faith can change our lives. It gives us tranquility and spiritual strength to face challenges. It helps us to meditate on our mission in life and to create a balanced and healthy environment for ourselves and those we love. When you pray, fill your heart with love and determination . The Psalms will guide you on a path of peace and communion with the higher energy.