As we look at Psalm 18, it’s helpful to understand the context in which David wrote this Psalm. The Psalm actually also appears in 2 Samuel 22. It’s in this and the previous chapter (21) that we find out why David is writing this Psalm to the Lord.
In 2 Samuel 21:15-22, we read of David being at war again with the Philistines, against relatives of Goliath, whom David had killed. In all of these battles, David is delivered safely. At the beginning of 2 Samuel 22, then, we read, “1 And David spoke the words of this song to the LORD in the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.” This is also the beginning of Psalm 18. So, we see that David is specifically praising God for delivering him from the hand of his enemies and from Saul, who had tried to kill David.
As an overview, the Psalm is an exaltation of God’s deliverance and protection. We’re told right away that it is a “Psalm of David”, and he uses great imagery that helps us understand how powerful is God’s protection for His people, and His justice against His enemies. From this Psalm, we also learn about God’s character. It is a Psalm that gives assurance and comfort to God’s people. As we read it, we should always be looking for Messiah in these verses, for as Jesus said, “it is these that testify about Me.” (John 5:39)
Verse 1 – As mentioned this is a Psalm of David. When David says “I love you, O LORD, my strength”, he does not use the typical Hebrew word for love to show human love for another (‘ahab). Rather, he uses the word “racham”, which means “to love, love deeply, have mercy, be compassionate, have tender affection, have compassion”. As far as I can tell, this word is only here translated as “love”; everywhere else, it is translated primarily as “mercy” or “compassion.” It has also been described as carrying the idea of cherishing, soothing, and in a gentle emotion of the mind. It’s as if David’s love (and likewise, ours) finds comfort, mercy, and compassion in the strength and help of the Lord.
Verses 2-3 – “2The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. 3I call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised, And I am saved from my enemies.
This passage strongly emphasizes God’s protection, the One in whom we can find safety. Recall that God provided David refuge and shelter in the mountains and caves while running from Saul, to which “rock” may refer. The words “rock” and “fortress” also refer to mountaintop strongholds, a place where it would be almost impossible for an enemy to attack. Moreover, God is our shield, our strength (horn). Given the context,salvation here refers more to safety or deliverance as opposed to salvation in the eternal sense, although that would also be true. The one who calls upon the Lord for deliverance finds the ultimate refuge, against which no enemy can conquer. For this, we praise God.
While deliverance and refuge was true for David in his earthly life, it is also true for us, sometimes in this life, but always eternally. There are times the Lord does not deliver us from our enemies; Stephen in Acts is an example. Ultimately, though, God does deliver us and is our rock. As Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15: “55O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?" 56The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; 57but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.”
This brings to mind our brother in Christ, a man named Salavat. He is an Uzbekistan Christian, and is persecuted for his faith by the government. He has been imprisoned numerous times, yet when he is released, he always goes back to preaching, which is to what God has called him. Church members must meet outside of their village where they could pray and worship without fear of anyone hearing. Despite all of these troubles, Salavat says that over and over, the Lord provided for his family. He continues preaching despite the persecution because his refuge is in the Lord, and the Lord has delivered him and provided for him and his family. May we be like Salavat, our Uzbek brother in Christ.
Ultimately, this also brings to mind our Lord Jesus, as He placed His full trust in God the Father. He was delivered when He overcame death and took up His life again in the resurrection.
Verses 4-6 – “4The cords of death encompassed me, And the torrents of ungodliness terrified me. 5The cords of Sheol surrounded me; The snares of death confronted me. 6In my distress I called upon the LORD, And cried to my God for help; He heard my voice out of His temple, And my cry for help before Him came into His ears.”
David paints the picture here of someone in what is practically a hopeless situation, where you cannot see any way of surviving with your life. Destruction and death is compared to a raging river (torrents) of continual ungodliness that is pursuing David. In his desperation, he calls out to the Lord.
God hears David’s voice, just as surely as He will hear our voice if we call out to Him. God will only hear those who have been given the gift of faith, for without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Note that God heard “out of His temple”, which in David’s day was God’s dwelling place. Under the New Covenant, believers are the temple of God, whose Holy Spirit indwells us (1 Corinthians 3:16). Therefore, when we call, God is never far away.
Note that sometimes, however, when we call God does not answer. This does not necessarily mean He is ignoring us. Rather, it may mean He has other plans more important than an immediate answer to our situation. An example of this is found in Habakkuk 1. In this situation, the Lord gives Habakkuk an explanation of why He is not answering. We may not receive such an explanation. In times like that, we must simply trust that whatever the Lord is doing, it is for our good and His glory (Romans 8:28).
Verses 7-15 – “7Then the earth shook and quaked; And the foundations of the mountains were trembling And were shaken, because He was angry. 8Smoke went up out of His nostrils, And fire from His mouth devoured; Coals were kindled by it. 9He bowed the heavens also, and came down With thick darkness under His feet. 10He rode upon a cherub and flew; And He sped upon the wings of the wind. 11He made darkness His hiding place, His canopy around Him, Darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies. 12From the brightness before Him passed His thick clouds, Hailstones and coals of fire. 13The LORD also thundered in the heavens, And the Most High uttered His voice, Hailstones and coals of fire. 14He sent out His arrows, and scattered them, And lightning flashes in abundance, and routed them. 15Then the channels of water appeared, And the foundations of the world were laid bare At Your rebuke, O LORD, At the blast of the breath of Your nostrils.”
Here is an incredible scene, as David puts into words what happens when the Lord becomes angry. His creation literally trembles. Great mountains that appear immovable have their very foundations shaken. God’s anger is so great that the devouring fire that comes from His mouth produces smoke from His nostrils. God here is pictured as coming in a great thunderstorm, out of which He brings hailstones, coals of fire, and arrows of lightning to destroy His adversaries.
Note, too, that the Lord “flew” when He heard David’s prayer; He did not delay to save His own. When someone attacks one of God’s children, he is attacking God Himself. We see this in Acts 9, a passage that is not all that different from Psalm 18 when you think about it. For example, Saul (later, Paul) is “breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord” when he is accosted by the Lord Himself. He comes in a “light from heaven” (compare with God’s “brightness” from Psalm 18:12), yet his companions could not see Jesus (God made darkness His hiding place, v. 11). Saul’s companions could hear His voice, just as David’s enemies heard God as His voice thundered (v. 13).
Another interesting parallel to vs. 18:7-15 is found in Nahum 1. Here we learn that God is “jealous, avenging, and wrathful” against His adversaries; He reserves wrath for His enemies. This is why we are not to seek revenge, as the Lord says “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY” (Romans 12:19, Hebrews 10:30). Also, although God is quick to avenge, He is “slow to anger”, but because He is just, He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished. Such punishment and wrath is compared to a fire, just as we see here in Psalm 18.
We should always keep in mind that there is nothing that happens to us that is outside of the Lord’s sovereign control. Even when we are afflicted and attacked, God has a purpose in it. We may not know that purpose, but it is always for good. Consider Nahum 1:12-13, “12Thus says the LORD, Though they are at full strength and likewise
many, Even so, they will be cut off and pass away. Though I have afflicted you, I will afflict you no longer. 13"So now, I will break his yoke bar from upon you, And I will tear off your shackles.” It is God who afflicted Israel, and it is God who will deliver them.
Ultimately, Jesus will come again in the clouds, and will destroy all of His enemies with the word of His mouth. Again, this is not unlike what we read here in Psalm 18.
Verses 16-24 – “16He sent from on high, He took me; He drew me out of many waters. 17He delivered me from my strong enemy, And from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me. 18They confronted me in the day of my calamity, But the LORD was my stay. 19He brought me forth also into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me. 20The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness; According to the cleanness of my hands He has recompensed me. 21For I have kept the ways of the LORD, And have not wickedly departed from my God. 22For all His ordinances were before me, And I did not put away His statutes from me. 23I was also blameless with Him, And I kept myself from my iniquity. 24Therefore the LORD has recompensed me according to my righteousness, According to the cleanness of my hands in His eyes.”
Perhaps of all of Psalm 18, we see the Lord Jesus most clearly in this passage. Jesus was “sent from on high”, setting aside His very Deity, humbling Himself to become a man. Although crucified “by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:23), Jesus was ultimately delivered from the strong enemy, from those who hated Him, because God delighted in Him (Matthew 3:17). The resurrection testifies that God rewarded Jesus, as it were, “according to my righteousness”, and “according to the cleanness” of His hands. He who has sinned must die and stays dead; the sinless Lamb without blemish has overcome death. Only Christ has perfectly followed God’s statutes, His Law. Only Christ has perfectly kept Himself from iniquity. Therefore, Christ was resurrected, and given His bride, the church. For those who believe in Him, God has delivered them from sin and death, from His wrath. Believers are delivered from the power of Satan (Ephesians 2:2), and are now sealed with the Holy Spirit. We are rewarded not because of our righteousness (Titus 3:5), but because of Christ’s righteousness imputed to us.
While this passage applies prophetically to Messiah, it also applies to David, and therefore, to us as believers. God indeed delivered David from his strong enemy. “Waters” is often symbolic of trouble or death in Scripture (in Revelation 21:1 we’re told there is no longer any sea in the new heaven and new earth). David appeared to be hemmed in by danger and destruction on every side, but God rescued him and put into a “broad place”, which refers to our freedom and liberty. Rather than being trapped by our enemies, we are free to move about as we please. Likewise, before we believe in Christ, Scripture tells us we are slaves to sin; we cannot change ourselves and are therefore “trapped” in a life of sin, under the power of the enemy. When faith in Christ is given to us, we are free. We now have liberty to obey God, and are empowered to do so by His Holy Spirit. We see this same thought in Psalm 31 (another Messianic Psalm), when
David says, “8And You have not given me over into the hand of the enemy; You have set my feet in a large place.”
What about David’s comments regarding being rewarded according to “his righteousness” and “the cleanness of his hands”? Aren’t we all unrighteous (except for Christ), as Scripture says (Romans 3:10)? Yes, we are all unrighteous, so unless we think Scripture contradicts itself (which it does not), then David cannot mean that he is perfectly righteous, nor does he mean he is sinless. Indeed, we see that David is not sinless (e.g., commits adultery with Bathsheba, then murders her husband Uriah). What David refers to here is that he has followed God’s law before men. Charles Spurgeon comments on this as follows:
“David's early troubles arose from the wicked malice of envious Saul, who no doubt prosecuted his persecutions under cover of charges brought against the character of "the man after God's own heart." These charges David declares to have been utterly false, and asserts that he possessed a grace-given righteousness which the Lord had graciously rewarded in defiance of all his calumniators. Before God the man after God's own heart was a humble sinner, but before his slanderers he could with unblushing face speak of the "cleanness of his hands" and the righteousness of his life. He knows little of the sanctifying power of divine grace who is not at the bar of human equity able to plead innocence. There is no self-righteousness in an honest man knowing that he is honest, nor even in his believing that God rewards him in providence because of his honesty, for such is often a most evident matter of fact; but it would be self-righteousness indeed if we transferred such thoughts from the region of providential government into the spiritual kingdom, for there grace reigns not only supreme but sole in the distribution of divine favours. It is not at all an opposition to the doctrine of salvation by grace, and no sort of evidence of a Pharisaic spirit, when a gracious man, having been slandered, stoutly maintains his integrity, and vigorously defends his character. A godly man has a clear conscience, and knows himself to be upright; is he to deny his own consciousness, and to despise the work of the Holy Ghost, by hypocritically making himself out to be worse than he is? A godly man prizes his integrity very highly, or else he would not be a godly man at all; is he to be called proud because he will not readily lose the jewel of a reputable character? A godly man can see that in divine providence uprightness and truth are in the long run sure to bring their own reward; may he not, when he sees that reward bestowed in his own case, praise the Lord for it? Yea rather, must he not show forth the faithfulness and goodness of his God? Read the cluster of expressions in this and the following verses as the song of a good conscience, after having safely outridden a storm of obloquy, persecution, and abuse, and there will be no fear of our upbraiding the writer as one who sets too high a price upon his own moral character.”
Verses 25-27 – “25With the kind You show Yourself kind; With the blameless You show Yourself blameless; 26With the pure You show Yourself pure, And with the crooked You show Yourself astute. 27For You save an afflicted people, But haughty eyes You abase.”
Once again, we see characteristics of humanity that, elsewhere in Scripture (e.g., Romans 3), we are told no one possesses. Yet, for example, we also see that Job and Abraham were called blameless. Since Scripture cannot contradict itself, the only thing that makes sense is to understand this in an earthly sense. For example, the Hebrew word for blameless can mean “without blemish”, but it also can mean “integrity”. We do, in fact, speak this way of others. We’ll refer to someone as being full of integrity, while at the same time realizing that all are sinners. So, when we see these descriptions, we need to view them from an earthly rather than spiritual perspective.
In this passage, God shows how He deals with various kinds of people. In other words, how we deal with men is how God deals with us. This is similar to what our Lord tells us when teaching us how to pray: “forgive us for our sins as we forgive those who have sinned against us” (Matthew 6:12). To the kind or merciful, to the pure, to those with integrity, we reciprocate.
In verse 26, God likewise says He deals with the crooked the way they deal with others. The two words, crooked and astute, are different Hebrew words. Crooked means perverse, twisted. Astute means to twist, wrestle, or to be twisted. A similar passage is in Leviticus 26, where God lays out for the Israelites the blessings and curses of following or not following His Law. Regarding the curses, He says in vs. 23-24, “And if by these things you are not turned to Me, but act with hostility against Me, then I will act with hostility against you; and I, even I, will strike you seven times for your sins.” So, God disciplines those who act in crooked and perverse ways in ways that they behave. Note two important things here. First, God’s desire is to turn the rebellious heart back to Him (as in Leviticus above: “and if by these things you are not turned to Me...”). Only if the response is one of hostility does God then exact vengeance. Even in our crookedness, God seeks reconciliation first. Second, we see here God’s mercy and justice. Because His nature is holy, although He first shows mercy, ultimately, He will bring about justice, for a holy God always punishes sin.
Some might see here a contradiction to Jesus’ command to love our enemies, because here we see God punishing His enemies. This isn’t a contradiction, because while we are to show mercy, as well as love our enemies, Scripture specifically tells us to leave vengeance and wrath to God (Romans 12:19). We are to show love, mercy, kindness to all, and leave justice to God.
Finally, David says God saves an afflicted people but brings down the haughty. Proverbs 3:34 puts it this way, “Though He scoffs at scoffers, yet He gives grace to the afflicted.” Afflicted means those who are poor, needy, humble, lowly, wretched. Does this not describe all humanity? And so it is that by grace, God is pleased to give salvation to those He chooses, never to those who deserve it, for no one deserves God’s grace.
Even those of us who have been saved can be afflicted, just as surely David was afflicted. This may seem to contradict the earlier verse that says God shows mercy, kindness and purity to those who demonstrate such behaviors, which believers should do. Yet there is no contradiction, for although we may be afflicted now, ultimately, God will save us. In the end, the afflicted are saved and the haughty, or arrogant, will be abased. As our Lord said in Matthew 23:12, “Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” Indeed, this applies directly to our Lord, who humbled Himself by becoming a man and taking the punishment that was due to us. From this humility, He has been exalted above all things, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings. Since we are to be imitators of our Messiah, we, too, should humble ourselves, knowing that our affliction will ultimately be rewarded when we go to be with God.
Verses 28-29 – “28For You light my lamp; The LORD my God illumines my darkness. 29For by You I can run upon a troop; And by my God I can leap over a wall.”
If we consider a lamp, it’s a vessel for holding light, the purpose of which is to allow one to see, to overcome darkness. Obviously, lamp here is figurative. Scripture tells us, however, what is meant by a lamp. In Proverbs 20:27, we read “The spirit of man is the lamp of the LORD, Searching all the innermost parts of his being.” Our spirit is the vessel, so to speak, of the Lord when He indwells believers. It is God who gives our dark spirit light, for before we are saved, Proverbs 21:4 says, “Haughty eyes and a proud heart, The lamp of the wicked, is sin.” When God saves us, we are literally brought into His light, as 1 Peter 2 says, “9But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY.”
By God’s strength, David, a mighty warrior, is able to overcome an army. A wall, which was typically meant to keep people out of a city, is also no obstacle for David by God’s power. So, too, it is with all believers. Only by God’s power can we overcome the trials we face, the persecutions and the difficulties of life.
Verses 30-34 – “30As for God, His way is blameless; The word of the LORD is tried; He is a shield to all who take refuge in Him. 31For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God, 32The God who girds me with strength And makes my way blameless? 33He makes my feet like hinds' feet, And sets me upon my high places. 34He trains my hands for battle, So that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.”
Consider again vs. 21-23, where David speaks of God’s ways, how he followed them, and how God then considered him blameless. Here, David speaks specifically of God’s way, which refers to His course of life, or how He conducts Himself. His way is perfect, complete. When he says God’s word is tried, it refers to it being tested and proven. It’s like silver or gold that has been refined and has no impurities in it; it is perfect, and those who follow it perfectly are blameless.
Over and over in Scripture, we read that God is a shield and refuge for the believer. He is our protector, and it is in Him alone that we find true safety. This passage is very similar to Proverbs 30: “5Every word of God is tested; He is a shield to those who take refuge in Him. 6Do not add to His words Or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar.” Throughout the church’s history, there have been times when she has departed from God’s word. We live in such a time today. The church is no longer content with God’s word alone. People desire to have their ears tickled; they don’t really want to dig deep into God’s word. Instead, they want to be entertained, and have either added to God’s word or departed from it completely. They do this for comfort, for finding out how to cope with life, how to be a good parent, how to have your best life now.
The irony is that God’s word has been tested, proven that it works. It is only in Him and His word that one truly finds answers, protection, refuge. Yet today, the church only marginally preaches the Word. The church seeks to be “relevant” by being like the culture, and instead of changing the world into Christian disciples, the church becomes like the world. Once again, God’s word is proven true, and men are proved to be liars.
Just as in our day, in David’s time, men made their own gods. David makes clear that there is no God other than Jehovah, the one true and living God. To take refuge or have confidence in any other god is foolishness, but all unbelievers do not seek God nor honor Him as God. As Romans 1 says, “21For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.” But no one will find help in a false god, for only God is our rock. Ultimately, our Rock is Christ, who provides spiritual refuge for all who believe in Him.
David ends this passage with a description of how God surrounds and binds (girds) him with strength. Note David’s complete dependence on God, and how this makes David’s way like God’s way: blameless. When we trust in the Lord (His promises, His word) and do not lean on our own understanding, we are made strong in Him. In our weakness, God’s power is made perfect (2 Corinthians 12:9, 13:4). Remember, David began the Psalm with cries for help. God not only answered, but He answered in His power. Having feet like hinds feet refers to a deer, or a wild mountain goat, whose feet have no problem in rocky, difficult terrain.
This is a picture of David conquering mountain strongholds of his enemies. Despite being hemmed in on all sides by his enemies, God puts David in an open and spacious place of strength and safety (high places). Finally, note that it is God who trains David’s hands for battle; He is the one who provides the supernatural ability and strength that made David a great warrior. Are we to take it literally that David could bend a bow of bronze? I don’t know, but it’s very possible. We have the example of Samson, who was also given supernatural strength by the Lord. While God may not give us supernatural strength, the point is that we can accomplish all things by God’s power. As the apostle Paul says, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
Verses 35-36 – “35You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, And Your right hand upholds me; And Your gentleness makes me great. 36You enlarge my steps under me, And my feet have not slipped.”
By shield of salvation, David here means God’s protection and deliverance, saving David out of many physical battles. Calvin says it well: “if God had not wonderfully preserved him, he would have been exposed unprotected to many deadly wounds; and thus God’s shield of salvation is tacitly opposed to all the coverings and armor with which he had been provided.” Spiritually speaking, this could refer to the commandment for believers to put on the full armor of God, which includes “the shield of faith with which you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” (Ephesians 6:16) By “right hand” is meant that God is on David’s side. To stand on someone’s right hand side is to aid that person. It could also be a reference to the Lord Jesus, who sits at the right hand of God.
The word “gentleness” means “humility, meekness”. At first glance, this seems a somewhat strange statement; how does God being humble make us great? Upon reflection, however, if we understand that God stoops low to make us “great”, then humility makes sense. Consider that the all powerful Creator of the universe would, out of love, be so humble as to make His creatures great. No doubt, this is personified in the Lord Jesus Christ, as Philippians 2 says, “5Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond- servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name.” Truly, Jesus’ humility for our sake has made us “great”!
Moreover, the Lord created a wide space in which David could walk. Having had to hide from his enemies in caves and mountains, having to travel along rocky paths, God makes a clear and wide path for David. His footsteps are sure, and his feet will not slip. When God’s ways are followed, He provides smooth paths (although they are not always without troubles). Psalm 37:31 says, “The law of his God is in his heart; His steps do not slip.” Likewise, Psalm 121:2 says, “My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. 3He will not allow your foot to slip; He who keeps you will not slumber.” A slipping foot typically refers to calamity that’s about to befall sinners, as in Deuteronomy 32 (which, by the way, is the text for Jonathan Edwards’ famous sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God”):
“35'Vengeance is Mine, and retribution, In due time their foot will slip; For the day of their calamity is near, And the impending things are hastening upon them.' 36"For the LORD will vindicate His people, And will have compassion on His servants, When He sees that their strength is gone, And there is none remaining, bond or free. 37"And He will say, 'Where are their gods, The rock in which they sought refuge? 38'Who ate the fat of their sacrifices, And drank the wine of their drink offering? Let them rise up and help you, Let them be your hiding place! 39'See now that I, I am He, And there is no god besides Me; It is I who put to death and give life I have wounded and it is I who heal, And there is no one who can deliver from My hand.”
Note the similarity to this Psalm. God is the only true God; He vindicates His people, punishes His enemies, wounds and heals. Similarly, believers in Christ are given sure footing. The ultimate calamity, death, has no power over us, for there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1). Although the sting of sin is death, 1 Corinthians 15:55 says, “O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?” Christ has truly provided the ultimate victory.
Verses 37-42 – “37I pursued my enemies and overtook them, And I did not turn back until they were consumed. 38I shattered them, so that they were not able to rise; They fell under my feet. 39For You have girded me with strength for battle; You have subdued under me those who rose up against me. 40You have also made my enemies turn their backs to me, And I destroyed those who hated me. 41They cried for help, but there was none to save, Even to the LORD, but He did not answer them. 42Then I beat them fine as the dust before the wind; I emptied them out as the mire of the streets.”
Clothed with the power of God, David is able to utterly destroy the enemies who, at the beginning of the Psalm, looked as though they were ready to kill him. Previously in distress as his enemies were closing in on him, David now pursues his enemies; they flee from him. Notice how completely his enemies are destroyed: they are consumed (annihilated, cease to exist); subdued (made to bow down); they turn their backs (as they run in fear); they are destroyed (annihilated, exterminated); they were beat as fine as dust (pulverized); they were emptied as mire (like mud poured out). Though God’s enemies called, there was none to save; and the Lord did not answer.