Daily Arts Web Nucleus


Discover the Arts! Each day a different image from the Literary, Performing, or Visual Arts representing a portion of Scripture
plus an explanation with links

2015 February 19

Image 1: Eruption of Vesuvius by Moonlight (1771)
Pierre-Jacques Volaire (1729 - 1799)
Romanticism Style
Private Collection
Image Source: Web Gallery of Art


Image 2: David Delivered out of Many Waters (c. 1805)
(Partial Provenance:
Part of the Thomas Butts Collection;
Later acquired by and donated by George Thomas Saul in 1878 to the National Gallery, London,
Thence transferred to the Tate Gallery)

William Blake (1757-1827)
Romanticism Style
Tate Gallery, London, England, Great Britain, United Kingdom
Image Source: Tate Gallery

     Explanation: In Psalm 18 David praised God for delivering him from Saul and making the kingdom secure in his hand. He described victory in defensive and in offensive situations. Fire and water images are featured prominently in the Psalm. And today's images illustrate those aspects Psalm 18. The imagery which refers to fire and related ideas seems to be borrowed from Israel's experiences during the Exodus and at Sinai. Sinai, in particular, seemed to be devoured by fire and smoke, though not volcanically as in Image 1. The imagery of water and related ideas seem to be borrowed from the Red Sea crossing and from unspecified perils at sea; Image 2, above, illustrates this aspect of the Psalm, particularly verse 16.


          [ CHRONOLOGY: General. Patriarchs (Traditional). Judges # 1. Judges # 2. Kings # 1. Kings # 2. Prophets # 1. Prophets # 2. NT # 1. NT # 2. NT # 3. ]

          [ MAPS: Maps # 1. Maps # 2. Maps # 3. Maps # 4. Maps # 5. ]

          [ COMMENTARIES, ETC: GENERAL: Bible Study Tools; Bible Hub: Study Light; Blue Letter Bible // PSALMS: Monergism: Precept Austin: The Treasury of David; John Gill; John Calvin - Volumes 1, 2, 3, 4, 5]

          [ MUSIC: GENERAL: The Cyber Hymnal // PSALMS: Genevan Psalter (Instrumental). Psalm 18 - #1. Psalm 18 - #2. Psalm 18 - #3. ]

     This Psalm was written by David sometime after he gained full control of the kingdom, particularly after his perils at the hand of Saul and his household (c. 1003 B.C., or later -- 2 Samuel 5). The Psalm also occurs in 2 Samuel 22.
     David opens his Psalm with expressions of love, trust, and praise for the LORD. In the remainder of the Psalm he describes how he arrived at those feelings (1-3). He said that the sorrows of death had surrounded him when floods of ungodly men made him afraid. The sorrows of hell and the snares of death came upon him. And it was then that he cried out to the LORD his God; and God heard him out of his Holy Temple. This undoubtedly refers to the heavenly Temple because verse 9 says that the LORD bowed the heavens and come down, and because the earthly Temple was built by Solomon after David's death. The Tabernacle was then in existence, not the Temple (4-6).
     When God responded, the earth shook, the foundations of the hills moved, smoke came out of his nostrils. Fire came from his mouth; and coals were kindled by it. He bowed the heavens and came down; and darkness was under his feet. All of these descriptions are very similar to, and were probably borrowed from, the experience of Israel at Mount Sinai when the LORD came down. No such descriptions are given in the account of David's life, so this is most probably David's way of indicating the kind of power (though unseen) which the LORD unleashed in response to David's cry for help (7-9).
     The Sinai comparisons continue. The LORD rode upon a cherub, flying on the wings of the wind, enclosed in darkness but surrounded by brightness, precipitating hailstones and coals of fire (10-12). And, as at Sinai, the LORD thundered. And for the third time, David mentions hailstones and coals of fire. Lightning shot out like arrows and frightened his enemies. And, in an image reminiscent of the Red Sea crossing, David said that the channels of the waters were seen, and the foundations of the world at the rebuke of the LORD and the blast from his nostrils (13-15).
     He drew David out of many waters, delivering him from his strong enemies who hated him and who were standing before him in the day of his calamity (16-18). The LORD brought him to a large place and delivered him because he delighted in him. He rewarded David in accord with his righteousness, the cleanness of his hands, because he kept the ways of the LORD, and did not wickedly depart from his God (19-21). David kept God's rules before him and remained upright; and so the LORD rewarded him (22-24).
     David then addressed the LORD directly, noting that the LORD treats people in accord with the way they act: merciful with the merciful, upright with the upright, pure with the pure, and clever with the devious, because he saves the afflicted and brings down high looks (25-27). David then expressed his confidence that the LORD will give him light when he needs it because he has helped David militarily; and the LORD is perfect in his ways and true to his word; and he is a shield for all who trust him (28-30). The LORD alone is God, a rock, one who strengthens David and makes him as surefooted as a deer in perilous places (31-33). He teaches David the art of war, strengthens him for it, shields him with his salvation, holds him up, and makes him great with his gentleness. He kept David's feet from slipping (34-36).
     It was the LORD who gave David the strength to pursue his enemies and cause them to fall under his feet (37-39). The LORD also gave him the neck of his enemies; and no one could deliver them; he scattered them like dust (40-42). The LORD delivered David from the strife of the people and made him the head of the heathen nations around him. They will submit to him as soon as they hear about him; or they will withdraw in fear (43-45). The LORD lives, says David, and he exalts him because he avenges David, and subdues his enemies, and delivers him from violent men (46-48). For these reasons David will give thanks to the LORD among the heathen and will sing praises to his name. But the supreme benefit is that the LORD gave David and his seed great deliverance and mercy forevermore. This refers to the fact that the LORD established David's descendants (2 Samuel 7; 1 Chronicles 17:17) as the line through which the Messiah, Jesus Christ, would come (49-50).



Psalms 1-41.

Psalm 18

1 To the chief Musician, [Transposed To Psalm 17] *

A Psalm of David, the servant of the LORD, who spake unto the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul:

And he said, I will love thee, O LORD, my strength.
2 The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.
3 I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies.

4 The sorrows of death compassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid.
5 The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me.
6 In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.

7 Then the earth shook and trembled; the foundations also of the hills moved and were shaken, because he was wroth.
8 There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and fire out of his mouth devoured: coals were kindled by it.
9 He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was under his feet.

10 And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: yea, he did fly upon the wings of the wind.
11 He made darkness his secret place; his pavilion round about him were dark waters and thick clouds of the skies.
12 At the brightness that was before him his thick clouds passed, hail stones and coals of fire.

13 The LORD also thundered in the heavens, and the Highest gave his voice; hail stones and coals of fire.
14 Yea, he sent out his arrows, and scattered them; and he shot out lightnings, and discomfited them.
15 Then the channels of waters were seen, and the foundations of the world were discovered at thy rebuke, O LORD, at the blast of the breath of thy nostrils.

16 He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters.
17 He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me.
18 They prevented me in the day of my calamity: but the LORD was my stay.

19 He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.
20 The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed me.
21 For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God.

22 For all his judgments were before me, and I did not put away his statutes from me.
23 I was also upright before him, and I kept myself from mine iniquity.
24 Therefore hath the LORD recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his eyesight.

25 With the merciful thou wilt shew thyself merciful; with an upright man thou wilt shew thyself upright;
26 With the pure thou wilt shew thyself pure; and with the froward thou wilt shew thyself froward.
27 For thou wilt save the afflicted people; but wilt bring down high looks.

28 For thou wilt light my candle: the LORD my God will enlighten my darkness.
29 For by thee I have run through a troop; and by my God have I leaped over a wall.
30 As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the LORD is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.

31 For who is God save the LORD? or who is a rock save our God?
32 It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.
33 He maketh my feet like hinds' feet, and setteth me upon my high places.

34 He teacheth my hands to war, so that a bow of steel is broken by mine arms.
35 Thou hast also given me the shield of thy salvation: and thy right hand hath holden me up, and thy gentleness hath made me great.
36 Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip.

37 I have pursued mine enemies, and overtaken them: neither did I turn again till they were consumed.
38 I have wounded them that they were not able to rise: they are fallen under my feet.
39 For thou hast girded me with strength unto the battle: thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against me.

40 Thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies; that I might destroy them that hate me.
41 They cried, but there was none to save them: even unto the LORD, but he answered them not.
42 Then did I beat them small as the dust before the wind: I did cast them out as the dirt in the streets.

43 Thou hast delivered me from the strivings of the people; and thou hast made me the head of the heathen: a people whom I have not known shall serve me.
44 As soon as they hear of me, they shall obey me: the strangers shall submit themselves unto me.
45 The strangers shall fade away, and be afraid out of their close places.

46 The LORD liveth; and blessed be my rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted.
47 It is God that avengeth me, and subdueth the people under me.
48 He delivereth me from mine enemies: yea, thou liftest me up above those that rise up against me: thou hast delivered me from the violent man.

49 Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name.
50 Great deliverance giveth he to his king; and sheweth mercy to his anointed, to David, and to his seed for evermore.

1 To the chief Musician, [Transposed From Psalm 19:1] *

* NOTE: On Opening and Closing Comments in the Psalms.
[Some commentators take the Psalm in Habakkuk 3 to be a standard model for the Psalms.
Habakkuk's Psalm begins with the name of the composer (Habakkuk) and a musical notation ("upon Shigionoth").
It closes with a dedication or a "send to" notice ("To the chief singer on my stringed instruments").
I have arranged similar material, where it is found in the Psalter, in accord with the model in Habakkuk.]

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