Daily Archives: October 9, 2017

October 9, 2017: Verse of the day


16    He sent from on high, he took me;

he drew me out of many waters.

17    He rescued me from my strong enemy

and from those who hated me,

for they were too mighty for me.

18    They confronted me in the day of my calamity,

but the Lord was my support.

19    He brought me out into a broad place;

he rescued me, because he delighted in me. [1]

16–19 The portrayal of God’s indignation and readiness to vindicate gives comfort to the psalmist. He does not fear God’s coming in anger, because his Father comes to his rescue. Though the enemy forces are strong (vv. 4–5), the Lord prevails over their great strength (v. 17). He delivers the psalmist from the adversity and provides a new dimension of life. Instead of “disaster,” the psalmist experiences the Lord to be his “support” (v. 18). Instead of “distress” (v. 6), the Lord gives him “a spacious place” (v. 19; cf. 4:1; 31:8). Instead of the enmity of his foes, the psalmist experienced the redemption of the God who delights in him (cf. 22:8; 41:1). This God is faithful! God’s love for his servant is beautifully expressed by a series of verbs: “He reached down … and took hold of me; he drew me out of the deep waters. He rescued me.… He brought me out …; he rescued me.” The language is reminiscent of God’s great act of deliverance of Israel from Egypt, as they were brought out of Egypt, passed through the Red Sea, and came to the land of Canaan. God’s mighty acts of deliverance are always evidence of his tender love (cf. Ex 19:4).[2]

18:16–19 / The thanksgiving now continues, picking up where verse 6 left off. Having heard the cry for help (v. 6), Yahweh now comes with saving action. So in contrast to the “narrow place” of my “distress” (the basic meaning of ṣar is “narrow[ness],” which comes to mean “distress”), he brought me out into a spacious place. Had verses 7–15 never appeared in the psalm, they would not have been missed. The reason for their insertion probably lies in the linking images of Yahweh’s reaching down from on high and the threat of deep waters (also “the torrents” of v. 4). The mysterious “them” of verse 14 is thus explained by “my enemies” and my foes of verses 3 and 17. The effect of this insertion is to add drama to the thanksgiving. The God of the heavens can expose “the valleys of the sea” (v. 15), that is, the underworld (vv. 4–5). We have here not just another deliverance from death but a cosmic one. It will become plain once we get to verse 29 that the scene is one of a monumental battle.[3]

18:16–19 In striking symbolism God smashes, bruises, crushes, wounds and maims the foe until he retreats in utter defeat. Then He reaches down and takes Christ from the still-sealed tomb. Hallelujah! Christ is risen! Not only does God raise Him from the dead but He gives Him a triumphant ascension through the enemy’s realm and glorifies Him at His own right hand. Thus, as Paul says, “Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it” (Col. 2:15).[4]

18:16–19 His sheer power, exhibited so dramatically in vv. 7–15, is now amazingly attested as coming to rescue the psalmist personally.[5]

[1] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ps 18:16–19). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[2] VanGemeren, W. A. (2008). Psalms. In T. Longman III & D. E. Garland (Eds.), The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Psalms (Revised Edition) (Vol. 5, p. 206). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

[3] Hubbard, R. L. J., & Johnston, R. K. (2012). Foreword. In W. W. Gasque, R. L. Hubbard Jr., & R. K. Johnston (Eds.), Psalms (p. 105). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books.

[4] MacDonald, W. (1995). Believer’s Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments. (A. Farstad, Ed.) (p. 570). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[5] MacArthur, J. F., Jr. (2006). The MacArthur study Bible: New American Standard Bible. (Ps 18:16–19). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.