Exegetical Notes: 2 Samuel 22:26-36, 50-51

2 Samuel 22 is comprised of a psalm of thanksgiving and praise directed toward God from King David. It reveals much about the king’s love for God. It also revels much about the character of God. Chapter 22 proves to be highly significant because of it’s classic psalm structure and the fact that this is the longest quoted material we have from King David.

With are narcissistic culture, we may often find it difficult to show thanksgiving and give praise to the Lord. Sometimes we can’t see past our own lives and difficulties to utter words of praise. This should not be the case and 2 Sam. 22 provides us with ample food in which to cultivate our appetite for praise.

26  “With the merciful you show yourself merciful; with the blameless man you show yourself blameless; 

27  with the purified you deal purely, and with the crooked you make yourself seem tortuous. 

28  You save a humble people, but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them down. 

In verses 26-28, David lists 4 characteristics which please the Lord.

“merciful”  – here rendered, is actually the Hebrew word “chessed”. It is most often translated as “loving kindness”. It’s meaning can take several nuances, depending upon the context. Ranging from kind, godly, gracious, faithfulness, etc. David declares that the Lord shows loving kindness to those who exhibit the trait of loving kindness.

“the blameless” – as in, those with integrity.

“the pure” –

“the humble” – meaning humble, poor, or oppressed. God brings salvation and deliverance to the humble, but he watches the proud with the intent of bringing them down.

Some points to ponder:

  • God does not treat everyone the same.
  • None of us really exhibit these qualities apart from the righteousness of Christ bestowed upon us when we turn from sin and trust Him as our Redeemer.

29  For you are my lamp, O Lord, and my God lightens my darkness. 

David describes God as the one who turns his darkness to light. Jesus calls believers to exhibit this same quality in Matthew 5:14-16.

It doesn’t take long to recognize this truth in the lives of believers. Describe a time in your life that seemed grim, but God gave the strength, ability, and grace to walk through it.

30  For by you I can run against a troop, and by my God I can leap over a wall. 

David found God to be a source of courage whereby he could face difficulty.

31  This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him. 

32  “For who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God? 

33  This God is my strong refuge and has made my way blameless. 

Verses 31-33 seem to be a a single unit in the Hebrew language. Thus David is describing God’s way, word, and protection to be perfect.

Simply put, God never makes mistakes. He is perfect in who He is and what He does. Because God is perfect, He is completely trustworthy. David describes God as the only deity that is perfect in character and action.

34  He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights. 

“like the feet of a deer” – an odd metaphor, but David is emphasizing the security and stability God brings to his life. “David’s diligent adherence to the ways of the Lord transformed him, making the end result of his life something more than could be explained through natural processes. The Lord’s paths led the man of faith to great prominence and domination in the wildernesses of life—God enabled him “to stand on the heights.” – Robert D. Bergen, 1, 2 Samuel, vol. 7, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1996), 460.

35  He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. 

This verse is probably not to be taken literally, but instead is a poetic means of stating that God has been directly related to all of David’s successes and that God has taken the very average life of a shepherd boy and placed him in extraordinary place as king. David is giving God credit for his success.

36  You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your gentleness made me great. 

“salvation” – may not have soteriological meaning. It may refer to a general sense of deliverance. Context seems to lean in that direction. However, both nuances are true.

“gentleness” – also can be translated as “help”

50  “For this I will praise you, O Lord, among the nations, and sing praises to your name. 

“For this” – God has been a constant source of blessing in David’s life, thus he desires to praise Him among many people.

QUES: How has God been a source of blessing in your life? Do you share this with others?

51  Great salvation he brings to his king, and shows steadfast love to his anointed, to David and his offspring forever.” 

God’s loving kindness towards David and his offspring would never cease. This is a promise all believers can hold on to.