Song of Thanksgiving.* 1David proclaimed the words of this song to the LORD when the LORD had rescued him from the grasp of all his enemies and from the grasp of Saul.a 2He said:b
O LORD, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer,
3my God, my rock of refuge!
My shield, my saving horn,*
my stronghold, my refuge,
my savior, from violence you keep me safe.c
4Praised be the LORD, I exclaim!
I have been delivered from my enemies.
5The breakers of death surged round about me,
the menacing floods* terrified me;
6The cords of Sheol tightened;
the snares of death lay in wait for me.
7In my distress I called out: LORD!
I cried out to my God;
From his temple* he heard my voice,
my cry reached his ears.
8The earth rocked and shook;*
the foundations of the heavens trembled;
they shook as his wrath flared up.
9Smoke rose in his nostrils,
a devouring fire from his mouth;
it kindled coals into flame.
10He parted the heavens and came down,
a dark cloud under his feet.d
11Mounted on a cherub* he flew,
borne along on the wings of the wind.e
12He made darkness the cover about him,
a mass of water, heavy thunderheads.
13From the brightness of his presence
coals were kindled to flame.
14The LORD thundered from heaven;
the Most High made his voice resound.
15He let fly arrows and scattered them;
lightning, and dispersed them.f
16Then the bed of the sea appeared;
the world’s foundations lay bare,
At the roar of the LORD,
at the storming breath of his nostrils.g
17He reached down from on high and seized me,
drew me out of the deep waters.h
18He rescued me from my mighty enemy,
from foes too powerful for me.
19They attacked me on a day of distress,
but the LORD came to my support.
20He set me free in the open;
he rescued me because he loves me.
21The LORD acknowledged my righteousness;
rewarded my clean hands.
22For I kept the ways of the LORD;
I was not disloyal to my God.
23His laws were all before me,
his decrees I did not cast aside.
24I was honest toward him;
I was on guard against sin.
25So the LORD rewarded my righteousness,
the cleanness of my hands in his sight.
26i Toward the faithful you are faithful;*
to the honest you are honest;
27Toward the sincere you are sincere;
but to the perverse you are devious.
28Humble people you save,
though on the haughty your eyes look down.
29You are my lamp, O LORD!
My God brightens the darkness about me.
30With you I can rush an armed band,
with my God to help I can leap a wall.
31God’s way is unerring;
the LORD’s promise is tried and true;
he is a shield for all who trust in him.j
32Truly, who is God except the LORD?
Who but our God is the rock?
33This God who girded me with might,
kept my way unerring,
34Who made my feet swift as a deer’s,
set me safe on the heights,k
35Who trained my hands for war,
my arms to bend even a bow of bronze.
36You have given me your protecting shield,
and your help has made me great.
37You gave me room to stride;
my feet never stumbled.
38I pursued my enemies and overtook them;
I did not turn back till I destroyed them.
39I struck them down, and they did not rise;
they fell dead at my feet.
40You girded me with strength for war;
subdued adversaries at my feet.
41My foes you put to flight before me;
those who hated me I destroyed.
42They cried for help, but no one saved them,
cried to the LORD but got no answer.
43I ground them fine as the dust of the earth;
like mud in the streets I trod them down.
44You rescued me from the strife of my people;
you made me head over nations.
A people I had not known became my slaves;
45Foreigners cringed before me;
as soon as they heard of me they obeyed.
46Their courage failed;
they came trembling from their fortresses.
47The LORD lives! Blessed be my rock!
Exalted be God, the rock of my salvation.
48O God who granted me vindication,
subdued peoples under me,
49and helped me escape from my enemies,
Truly you have exalted me above my adversaries,
from the violent you have rescued me.
50Thus I will proclaim you, LORD, among the nations;
I will sing the praises of your name.l
51You have given great victories to your king,
and shown kindness to your anointed,
to David and his posterity forever.
* [22:1–51] This psalm of thanksgiving also appears in the Psalter, with a few small variants, as Ps 18. In both places it is attributed to David. Two main sections can be distinguished. In the first part, after an introductory stanza of praise to God (vv. 2–4), the writer describes the peril he was in (vv. 5–7), and then poetically depicts, under the form of a theophany, God’s intervention in his behalf (vv. 8–20), concluding with an acknowledgment of God’s justice (vv. 21–31). In the second part, God is praised for having prepared the psalmist for war (vv. 32–35), given him victory over his enemies (vv. 36–39), whom he put to flight (vv. 40–43), and bestowed on him dominion over many peoples (vv. 44–46). The entire song ends with an expression of grateful praise (vv. 47–51).
* [22:3] My saving horn: my strong savior. The horn, such as that of an enraged bull, was a symbol of strength; cf. Lk 1:69.
* [22:5–6] Breakers…floods: traditional Old Testament imagery for lethal danger, from which the Lord is uniquely able to rescue; cf. Ps 69:2, 15–16; 89:10–11; Jon 2:3–6.
* [22:7] His temple: his heavenly abode.
* [22:8–10] The Lord’s coming is depicted by means of a storm theophany, including earthquake (vv. 8, 16) and thunderstorm (vv. 9–15); cf. Jgs 5:4–5; Ps 29; 97:2–6; Hb 3.
* [22:11] Mounted on a cherub: in the traditional storm theophany, as here, the Lord appears with thunder, lightning, earthquake, rain, darkness, cloud, and wind. Sometimes these are represented as his retinue; sometimes he is said to ride upon the clouds or “the wings of the wind” (Ps 104:3). The parallelism in v. 11 suggests that the winged creatures called cherubim are imagined as bearing the Lord aloft. In the iconography of the ark of the covenant, the Lord was “enthroned upon the cherubim”; cf. Ex 37:7–9; 1 Sm 4:4; 2 Sm 6:2; 2 Kgs 19:15; Ps 80:2; 99:1.
* [22:26–27] People are treated by God in the same way they treat him and other people.