2 Samuel 22


David's psalm of thanksgiving for God's powerful deliverance

and manifold blessings, including prophetic declarations

relative to the humiliation and exaltation of the Messiah,



Verse 1. David spake unto the Lord the words of this song] This

is the same in substance, and almost in words, with Ps 18:1-50,

and therefore the exposition of it must be reserved till it occurs

in its course in that book, with the exception of a very few

observations, and Dr. Kennicott's general view of the subject.

Verse 5. When the waves of death compassed me] Though in a

primary sense many of these things belong to David, yet generally

and fully they belong to the Messiah alone.

Verse 11. He rode upon a cherub, and did fly-he was seen upon

the things of the wind.] In the original of this sublime passage,

sense and sound are astonishingly well connected. I shall insert

the Hebrew, represent it in English letters for the sake of the

unlearned reader, and have only to observe, he must read from the

right to the left.

ruach canphey al vaiyera :vaiyaoph kerub al vayirkab

wind the of wings the upon seen was he and :fly did and cherub a upon rode he

The clap of the wing, the agitation and rush through the

air are expressed here in a very extraordinary manner.

Other beauties of this kind will be noted in the exposition of

the Psalm alluded to above.

I now subjoin Dr. Kennicott's remarks on this chapter:-

"The very sublime poetry contained in this chapter is

universally admired, and yet it cannot be perfectly understood,

till it is known WHO is the speaker, who the person thus

triumphant over mighty enemies, whose sufferings occasioned such a

dreadful convulsion of nature, and, who, upon his deliverance,

inflicted such vengeance on his own people, and also became thus a

king over the heathen. Should we be told that this person was

David, it will be very difficult to show how this description

can possibly agree with that character: but if it did in fact

agree, yet would it contradict St. Paul, who quotes part of it as

predicting the conversion of the Gentiles under Christ the

Messiah. Ro 15:9; Heb 2:13; and see

Peirce's Commentary, p. 50. Now if the person represented as

speaking through this Divine ode be David only, the Messiah is

excluded. In consequence of the difficulties resulting from each

of these suppositions, the general idea has been that it relates

both to David and to the Messiah as a prophecy of a double

sense; first, as spoken by David of himself, and yet to be

understood in a secondary sense, of the Messiah. But it must be

remarked here, that if spoken only of David, it is not a

prediction of any thing future, but a thanksgiving for favours

past, and therefore is no prophecy at all. And farther, it could

not be a prophecy descriptive of David unless the particulars

agreed to David, which they evidently do not. If then David be

here necessarily excluded from the single sense, he must be

excluded also from the double sense, because nothing can be

intended by any sacred writer, to relate to two persons, unless it

be TRUE of both; but it not being the case here as to David, we

must conclude that this song relates only to the Messiah; and on

this subject an excellent Dissertation, by the late Mr. Peirce, is

subjoined to his comment on the Epistle to the Hebrews. It may be

necessary to add here two remarks: the twenty-fourth verse now

ends with, I have kept myself from mine iniquity, which words, it

is objected, are not proper, if applied to the Messiah. But this

difficulty is removed, in part, by the context, which represents

the speaker as perfectly innocent and righteous; and this exactly

agrees with the proof arising from the Syriac and Arabic versions,

and also the Chaldee paraphrase, that this word was anciently

ab iniquitatibus; consequently, this is one of the many

instances where the final mem is improperly omitted by the

Jewish transcribers. See my General Dissertation, p. 12. Lastly,

the difficulty arising from the title, which ascribes the Psalm to

David, and which seems to make him the speaker in it, may be

removed, either by supposing that the title here, like those now

prefixed to several Psalms, is of no sufficient authority; or

rather, by considering this title as only meant to describe the

time when David composed this prophetic hymn, that when delivered

from all his other enemies as well as from the hand of Saul, he

then consecrated his leisure by composing this sublime prophecy

concerning MESSIAH, his son, whom he represents here as speaking,

(just as in Psa. 22, 40, and other places,) and as describing, 1.

His triumph over death and hell; 2. The manifestations of

Omnipotence in his favour, earth and heaven, trembling at God's

awful presence; 3. The speaker's innocence thus divinely attested;

4. The vengeance he was to take on his own people the Jews, in the

destruction of Jerusalem; and, 5. The adoption of the heathen,

over whom he was to be the head and ruler.

"Another instance of a title denoting only the time of a

prophecy, occurs in the very next chapter; where a prophecy

concerning the Messiah is entitled, The LAST words of David; i.e.,

a hymn which he composed a little before his death, after all his

other prophecies. And perhaps this ode in 2 Sam. 22, which

immediately precedes that in 2 Sam. 23, was composed but a little

while before; namely, when all his wars were over. Let it be

added, that Josephus, immediately before he speaks of David's

mighty men, which follow in this same chapter of Samuel, considers

the two hymns in 2 Sam. 22 and 23, as both written after his wars

were over-Jam Davides, bellis et periculis perfunctus, pacemque

deinceps profundam agitans, odas in Deum hymnosque composuit. Tom.

i., page 401."

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