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Bible Commentaries

L. M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible

2 Samuel 22

 

 

Verses 1-51

This chapter presents David's song of triumph after God had subdued all his enemies under him. It is almost identical to Psalms 18:1-50, though with some variations. Of course faith realizes that God has a wise reason for the differences, though we may find ourselves unable to explain them.

Appropriately David begins his song with a number of the wonderful aspects of God's nature and character. Jehovah is his rock, the symbol of unchanging stability. 1 Corinthians 10:4 tells us "That Rock was Christ, for He is God over all, blessed forever." "My fortress" speaks of the place of impregnable defense. David, in his time of exile, learned how valuable a fortress was. Added to this is "my deliverer." When endangered on more than one occasion, when it seemed the enemy was on the verge of capturing or killing him, God intervened to deliver him from harm. He was also "the God of my strength." At times when weakness became overpowering, it was God who renewed his strength. If we are to prove this in experience we must learn to "wait upon the Lord" (Isaiah 40:31), and the renewal of strength will appear to be virtually miraculous. "My shield" speaks of God's protection when face to face with the enemy, while "the horn of my salvation" speaks of the power of God in saving him from enemies and from adversity.

God being his "stronghold and refuge" involves kindred thoughts, the stronghold speaking of His protecting power, the refuge emphasizing the grace of that protection. Finally David calls God "my savior," a lovely term that finds a fuller meaning in the new Testament when we consider the great work of the Lord Jesus in suffering at Calvary to provide eternal salvation for the lost. God had saved David from violence on various occasions when he was in imminent danger of death. But the Lord Jesus saves from the greater violence of eternal judgment by virtue of His sacrifice.

Verse 3 has told us, "in Him will I trust," and verse 4 adds, "I will call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised." Therefore, with calm assured confidence he may affirm, "so shall I be saved from mine enemies." 2 Samuel 22:4. There is no uncertainty about this.

Beginning with verse 5 the language goes beyond what was true of David. While he may have felt deeply the sorrows of which he speaks, yet only the Lord Jesus can speak these words as being fully true of His own sufferings and sorrows. "When the waves of death encompassed Me, the floods of ungodliness made me afraid. The sorrows of Sheol surrounded Me, the snares of death confronted Me." In the case of the Lord Jesus "the waves of death" were infinitely worse than David or we have ever experienced, for this went far beyond the sufferings with which ungodly men abused Him. He "endured the cross, despising the shame" (Hebrews 12:2). Men's contempt was nothing to Him compared to the agony of His being forsaken by God on account of our sins.

Verse 7, in the case of the Lord Jesus, preceded verse 5. He called upon God in His deep distress in the garden of Gethsemane, before His suffering. Knowing well all that He would have to bear, "having offered up both supplications and entreaties to Him who was able to save Him out of death, with strong crying and tears; (and having been heard for His piety)" (Hebrews 5:7). He was not saved from dying, but was saved "out of death" because God had heard Him even before He suffered and died.

Verses 8 to 16 show God's answer to the value of the death of the Lord Jesus. These things will have their complete fulfilment in God's judgment of the world at the time of the great tribulation, but there were portents of it at the very time of the resurrection of Christ. Men may dismiss any thought of the seriousness of His death, but God has not forgotten, and will yet bring the whole world to give account of their crucifixion of His Son. He will judge the world in righteousness.

"The earth shook and trembled: the foundations of heaven moved and shook." Then the Lord died there was and earthquake (Matthew 27:51) and again when He rose from the grave (Matthew 28:2). Yet the greatest of all earthquakes is foretold in Revelation 16:18. In each case God shakes the earth because of His anger against men for having rejected and crucified His Son. Smoke and devouring fire are particularly connected with the judgment, but the resurrection of Christ is itself a warning of coming judgment (John 16:9-11).

"He bowed the heavens also and came down." Bowing the heavens speaks of the great voluntary humbling of the Lord of glory in His first coming to earth in lowly grace, but also of His coming in solemn judgment at the end of the tribulation. "Darkness was under His feet" involves the character of His judgment as being undiscerned by the eyes of the ungodly. Verse 11 indicates the swiftness of his judgment, the Cherub signifying the principle of pure justice in His government. "The wings of the wind" speak of the swift, irrestible power of the Spirit of God (John 3:8).

"He made darkness canopies around Him" (v.12) Though God is manifestly working behind the scenes, yet He Himself is not seen, so that people who have not faith are blinded by the darkness. But the "dark waters and thick clouds" are still witnesses to the fact that it is the God of creation who is speaking. In fact there is brightness as well as the darkness, just as in a violent storm there may be flashes of bring shining between the clouds, or brilliant lightning may flash suddenly, often kindling "coals of fire."

Verses 14 to 16, speaking of the Lord thundering from heaven, tells of His clear intervention after man has done his utmost in crucifying God's Son. God's Solemn response to this will be seen in all its terror in "the day of the Lord," but by faith we recognize His response when we see it in the resurrection of Christ. The angel rolling away the stone at the grave was like the arrows to scatter the guards and vanquish them. The Pharisees and Sadducees were panic stricken at hearing the news of the Lord's resurrection. It was like lightning bolts to their hardened consciences.

The channels of the sea were seen. "Psalms 77:19 tells us, "Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known." The great waters speak of the depths and mystery of suffering, and specially of the sufferings of the Lord Jesus. Now the channels of the sea being seen indicates the wondrous divine design to bring blessing by means of the deepest suffering, so that we are privileged to see something of God's great wisdom in the anguish of the cross, though it is only "the channels" we see: the depths are still beyond our vision of comprehension.

"The foundations of the world were uncovered." All the world's basic enmity against the Father and the Son has been laid bare in its ugliest light in the death and resurrection of Christ. No wonder ungodly men, in their attempt to defend the world, have strenuously fought against the truth of the resurrection, for that truth exposes the very foundations of the world, its basis character of proud defiance against God. For the resurrection of Christ is a rebuke from God to a world that has crucified His Son. Only the breath of His nostrils is a blast that strikes terror into men's hearts.

"He sent from above, He took me, He drew me out of many water." The many waters do not speak of the Lord's suffering from men, but of the dark depths of anguish suffered from God on account of our sin. The great work of atonement being finished, God intervened to raise His Son from among the dead. Nevermore will He suffer the deep waters of judgment. Besides this, "He delivered me from my strong enemy, from those who hated me." Satan did all he could against the Lord Jesus, but in his apparent victory he was defeated. For God delivered His Son, not from dying, but from death, therefore both from Satan and from all who followed him in the abuse of the blessed Christ of God. "For they were too strong for me." The Lord in lowly grace was "crucified through weakness." Outwardly His enemies were too strong for Him, but how completely were the tables turned! They confronted Him in the day of His calamity, but Jehovah was His support.

"He also brought me Out into a broad place." He was "straitened" (or confined) until His great work was finished. But in resurrection He has the place of the Head of a new creation, a sphere of infinitely great blessing in which all of His own have part. "He delivered me because He delighted in me." Everything about Him -- His character, His words, His work, drew the fullest approbation of the Father. His raising Christ from among the dead is the clear proof of this. He is rewarded according to His righteousness and recompensed according to the cleanness of His hands. This was true of David only in a very limited way, and of course not true of him at all in reference to the question of resurrection. All saints will of course be raised eventually, but not as a reward for righteousness: it will be pure grace that raises them to enjoy eternal glory with Christ.

Only One has fully "kept the ways of the Lord" and has not in any detail wickedly departed from God. He always kept all the judgments of God in view, never in any way departing from His statutes, but blameless before Him. The expression "I kept myself from my iniquity" implies that if He had succumbed to it, this would have been iniquity on His part, but He kept himself fully from it. Therefore the Lord recompensed Him because of His perfect righteousness and cleanness in the eyes of God.

Verses 26 and 27 indicate the absolute justice of God's ways. He has justly recompensed the Lord Jesus, who Himself has been merciful and gracious, upright and pure. God has shown Himself similarly toward His Son. On the other hand, if one shows himself perverse, then God will show Himself "contrary" (J.N.D.trans.), recompensing the perverter in just judgment. "You will save the humble people." Not only does the Lord Jesus speak of Himself here, but of others also who become identified with Him by virtue of His death and resurrection. They take the humble place with Him, in contrast to those who haughtily exalt themselves.

In the midst of a world darkened by sin, the Lord Jesus depends on Jehovah as His lamp, who illumines all His path (v.29). By the power of God He had run through a troop, the power of the enemy being virtually paralyzed. He had leaped over a wall also, the obstacle in the way being reduced to nothing by God's power. He had chosen only God's way and proclaims it as being "perfect." Linked with God's way is the word of the Lord which has proven totally dependable when tried. Thus God becomes a shield of protection for all who trust Him.

"For who is God save Jehovah?" Elijah proved this to all Israel (1 Kings 18:36-39) when he was opposed by 850 false prophets. All the people then acknowledged, "The Lord, He is God." "And who is a Rock save our God?" The rock is the symbol of solid stability. 1 Corinthians 10:4 tells us, "that Rock was Christ," a clear testimony that Christ is God. "God is my strong fortress," the place of His defense. Just as God's way is perfect, so "He makes my way perfect," the Lord Jesus can say. Believers may say this too, but only in a limited measure.

"He makes my feet like hinds' feet," able to scale precipitous heights with ease and agility. This is the energy of faith that rises above the level of earthly circumstances, no matter how difficult they seem. The high places for Him now are the courts of the Father's house, and believers are identified with Him, "seated in heavenly places in Christ" (Ephesians 2:6). True warfare also is connected with heavenly places (Ephesians 6:10-12). On this level our hands are taught to make war, with strength to bend a bow of bronze. The shield of God's salvation is also given Him. Against this nothing can prevail. Man chooses proud, arrogant aggression to force his way to greatness, but God reduces all of this kind of thing to nothing, and showing Himself gentle in the lowly history of the Lord Jesus, has made this to issue in the greatness of His present exaltation above all heavens. Though the way has before seemed narrow and confined, each step He takes finds the way enlarged and He does not slip.

ln verse 38, taking the offensive, He pursues and destroys His enemies. This will be fully accomplished when He comes again in sovereign power. The devastation will be complete: the enemy crushed never to rise again, falling under the feet of the mighty Conqueror. He gives God the honor for having girded Him with strength for the battle and for subduing under Him all who rose against Him. For it is as Son of Man He speaks, fully dependent upon His God and accomplishing God's will. God made His enemies to turn their backs in defeat. For their hatred He no longer shows kindness and patience, but brings the destruction they have more than deserved. Wherever they looked, they found no one to help. They even sought Jehovah, as desperate men will even after having treated Him with contempt.

But they are too late God's patience with their folly comes to an end and the judgment upon them is swift and complete: they are beaten as line as the dust of the earth (v.43): they return to the dust from which they came, reduced to total humiliation.

God has delivered Him from the strivings of His people. When He was on earth there was continual striving concerning Him, many striving against Him, eventually to the point of His being rejected and crucified. The Jews also contended among themselves as regards Him (John 6:52; John 7:2; John 7:43; John 10:19). In resurrection He is delivered from this personally, though there is still such striving in the world concerning Him, but His eventual there is still such striving in the world concerning Him. Following His resurrection this has been true in a striking way: Gentiles have been brought to Him at a time when Israel had refused Him. But it will be completely fulfilled when He judges the world and Israel is restored. Then Gentiles nations will be brought to submit to Him in His millennial reign.

The foreigners or "strangers" of verses 45 and 46 are evidently stranger nations who have not been involved in the suffering of Israel in the tribulation period, but when they hear of Christ will emerge from their obscurity and come clinging to Him, in apparent forced obedience, which is not likely genuine.

Verses 47 to 51 provide a final summary of the victory of God or behalf of the Man of His counsels. "The Lord lives!" How magnificently this is proven in the resurrection of Christ! "Blessed be my Rock," the solid, unchanging dependable foundation of all blessing. "Let God be exalted." The resurrection of the Lord Jesus has magnified God as "the rock of my salvation." God has avenged Him of His enemies, and will subdue all the people under Him, His resurrection being the promise of this. Therefore He will give thanks, even among the Gentiles, and sing praises to God's name. For He has shown mercy to the Son of David, His King.

 


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Bibliography Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 22:4". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/lmg/2-samuel-22.html. 1897-1910.

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