Psalm 18

1 I love thee, O Jehovah, my strength.

1 That a song also signifies glorification, which is confession from joy of heart, is because singing exalts, and causes the affection to break forth from the heart into sound, and to present itself intensely in its life. The Psalms of David are nothing else but songs, for they were played and sung, on which account also they are in many places called songs. R. 279.

It is to be observed that all the instruments here mentioned — Psalm cl. 1-5 — signify affections, and each has respect to its particular affection, and this from the concordance of their sound, for the affections are what produce the variety of sounds with men. Therefore the affections are also known by the sounds.The sounds of the musical instruments mentioned elevate the affection, and the truths form it, as is also known to those skilled in music. For this reason the writings of David are called Psalms and also songs, for they were played and sung with the addition of the sounds of various instruments. E. 326.

1-3 et seq. That the exalting of Jehovah, that is of the Lord was practised by songs is plain in David. A. 8261.

1-4, 7. Confidence of the Lord from His Divine against the hells. P. P.

2 Jehovah is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer;
My God. my rock, in whom I will take refuge;
My shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower.

2, 3. The horn of salvation stands for truth in regard to power. Here strength, rock, fortress, God, strong rock and shield are all significative of the power of truth. A. 2832.

A horn signifies power, and in speaking of the Lord, omnipotence. R. 270.

By a rock and fortress when predicated of Jehovah, or the Lord, is signified omnipotence. “In whom I will trust,” signifies defence. “My buckler and the horn of my salvation” signify salvation thence derived. Fortress, and shield are predicated in the Word of Divine good, rock and horn of Divine truth. Hence by these things are signified omnipotence, defence and salvation, which are from Divine good by Divine truth. E. 316.

3 “My God — El — my strong rock” where power is treated of. A. 4402.

3, 29, 30, 32. He is called Jehovah because He alone is, or lives, thus from His essence, and God because he can do all things, thus from His power — as is evident in the Word, where this distinction is made. A. 300.

3, 31. A shield and a buckler stand for protection against falsities. A. 1788.

3, 32, 47. By the rock is understood the Lord as to Divine Truth. E. 411.

By rock throughout the Word the Divine truth is understood. Inv., 35.

3 I will call upon Jehovah, who is worthy to be praised:
So shall I be saved from mine enemies.
4 The cords of death compassed me,
And the floods of ungodliness made me afraid.
5 The cords of Sheol were round about me;
The snares of death came upon me.

5 Rivers in the opposite sense signify falsities in abundance. By floods also temptations are signified, because temptations are inundations of falsity. R. 409.

Since all spiritual temptations are caused by falsities breaking into the thoughts and infesting the interior mind, thus by reasoning from them, hence also temptations are signified by inundations of waters, and by irruptions of
streams and torrents. E. 518.

5, 6. See Psalm ix. 14. A. 61 19.

By death is here signified the extinction of spiritual life, 5 which is spiritual death. Every man has spiritual life indeed from creation, and thence from birth, but that life is extinguished when God, the holiness of the Word, and eternal life are denied. R. 321.

No others are meant by death and hell, — Revelation xx. 13 — but those who were interiorly in themselves devils and satans. That by death are meant the impious in heart, who in themselves were devils, and by hell those who in themselves were satans is manifest. R. 870.

See Psalm vi. 6. E. 186.

5-7. Combats of the Lord with the hells. P. P.

5, 6, 15, 38, 39, 40, 41, 43. The cords and snares of death that compassed and prevented signify temptations, which because they are from hell are also called the cords of hell. These and all the other things in this Psalm treat of the combats and of the victories of the Lord. L. 14.

6 In my distress I called upon Jehovah,
And cried unto my God:
He heard my voice out of his temple,
And my cry before him came into his ears.

7 In the highest sense by a temple is signified the Lord as to His Divine Human, in particular as to His Divine truth, but in the representative sense the Lord’s church in heaven is signified by the temple, as also the Lord’s church in the world. R. 191.

Where temple is mentioned heaven and the church are understood, as likewise the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord. E. 220.

7 Then the earth shook and trembled;
The foundations also of the mountains quaked
And were shaken, because he was wroth.

7, 8. The earth shaken and moved stands for the state of the church become perverse. An earthquake is nothing else than a change of the state of the church. Earth in the internal sense is nothing else than the church. A. 3355-

In the natural sense the earth is the earth, but in the spiritual sense it is the church, for the reason that they who are in the spiritual sense, that is who are spiritual as are the angels, when earth or land is mentioned in the Word, do not understand the earth or land itself, but the nation therein and its Divine worship. Hence it is that by earth or land is signified the church. J. 3.

By the earth the Lord’s church in the heavens and on the earth is meant. R. 285.

The reason that earthquakes signify changes of state in the church is because the earth signifies the church, and because in the spiritual world when the state of the church is anywhere perverted and a change is made, there is an earthquake, and because this foreshadows their destruction they are in terror. R. 331.

Here the earth stands for the church, which is said to shake and to tremble when it is perverted by the falsifications of truths, and in this case the foundations of the mountains are said to shake and to be moved, for the goods of love which are founded upon the truths of faith then vanish. Mountains stand for the goods of love, and their foundations for the truths of faith. E. 304.

By these words it is not to be understood that the earth shook and trembled, and that the foundations of the hills also were moved, but the church and the truths upon which the church is founded are meant; for the earth signifies the church, and the foundations of the hills signify the truths on which it is founded, which are truths derived from good. E. 400.

7-11 et seq. By all this is described the last judgment. D. P., Page 72.

8 Mountains stand for the good things of love, and their foundations for the truths of faith. A. 9643.

The earth stands for the church, and the foundations of the mountains for the truths upon which the goods of love are founded. E. 405.

8-15. In zeal He has subjugated them and laid them low. P. P.

8-20. Here is described the destruction of the impious, and the well-being of the faithful. D. P., Page 72.

8, 16. The church is signified by the globe and by the earth. R. 589-

By the foundation of the world is signified the establishment of the church, for the same is understood by the world as by heaven and the earth. E. 1057.

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 thick darkness was under his feet.

9 Anger is described by fire. A. 9143. The state of an evil man when he is angry is similar to that of smoke, which when fire is applied to it conceives flame, for the false of evil in the intellect is as smoke, and anger is like a flame of kindled smoke. There is also a correspondence between them. Hence it is that in the Word smoke stands for what is false, and the flame thereof signifies anger. A. 9144.

Where it is said that there is a fire from Jehovah which consumes the wicked, and that Jehovah acts from the fire of wrath, of anger and of fury, it is not meant that it is from Jehovah, but from the infernal love of the wicked.
Such things are said in the Word because they are appearances, and the Word in the sense of the letter is written by appearances and correspondences. R. 494.

Smoke in the opposite sense signifies what is false from evil, because the fire by which that smoke is occasioned, signifies evil of love. E. 494.

9, 10. Fire stands for the hatreds and smoke for the falsities which are in men, which are attributed to Jehovah or the Lord. A. 1861.

See Psalm xi. 6. Add: evil, hell and the devil do these things, by no means the Lord, who is mercy itself and good itself, but because He appears to do them therefore. . . they are attributed to Him. A. 2447.

In these passages it is not meant that a smoke and a devouring fire ascended from Jehovah, for there is no wrath in Him, but it is thus said because the Lord so appears to those who are in falsities and evils, for they view Him from their own falsities and evils. E. 539.

9, 13, 14. See Psalm xi. 6. E. 504.

9, 16. See Psalm vi. 2. A. 8286.

10 And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly;
Yea, he soared upon the wings of the wind.

10 When the good and true things of faith are perverted by means of natural light. The dusk of the feet — Nahum i. 3 — signifies the natural and corporeal things with man, from which are clouds. A. 2162.

10, 11. Thick darkness here stands for clouds. To ride upon a cherub represents the Lord’s providence, lest man should of himself enter into the mysteries of faith which are in the Word. A. 2761.

The sense of the letter of the Word is a guard for the genuine truths which are concealed within. It is a guard in this respect that this sense may be turned hither and thither, and explained according to one’s apprehension, and yet without hurt or violence to its internal. This guard is signified by cherubs. To ride upon cherubs and to sit upon them means upon the ultimate sense of the Word. S. 97.

By the cherubs the Divine truth in the ultimates as a guard is signified. To ride upon the cherubs, to sit and to be seated upon them is upon the ultimate sense of the Word. R. 239.

The wings of the wind are the Divine truths which flow in. R. 343.

Since by cherubs is signified the Word in the ultimates and also a guard it is therefore said ” Jehovah bowed the heavens, and came down, and rode upon a cherub.” To ride upon cherubs, and to sit upon them means upon the ultimate sense of the Word. T. 260.

Because it is the Divine proceeding from the Lord which provides and guards, therefore it is said concerning the Lord that He dwelleth between the cherubim. E. 277.

By Jehovah bowing the heavens and coming down is signified visitation which precedes the last judgment. By the darkness under His feet is signified the falsities of evil in things beneath. By His riding upon a cherub, His flying and being carried upon the wings of the wind is signified omnipresence with the Divine, the wings of the wind standing for Divine truths in ultimates. E. 419.

10, 12, 13. The subject here treated of is concerning the coming and presence of the Lord in the Word. Thick darkness under His feet denotes the sense of the letter of the Word, in like manner the darkness of waters and the clouds of the heavens. That nevertheless the Divine truth, such as it is in the heavens is in that sense, is signified by setting darkness for His hiding place. That at the presence of the Lord the internal sense appears such as it is in heaven in its glory, is signified by His clouds passing away from the splendor before Him. A. 9406.
11 Describing the Divine truth and its power. A. 8764. Since guard and providence to prevent the Lord being come at, as also heaven, except by the good of love is signified by cherubs, therefore in the Word Jehovah is said to sit upon cherubs, also to ride and to dwell upon cherubs. A. 9509.

See Psalm xvii. 8. R. 245.

The understanding of the Word is meant by a horse. God rode upon a cherub. R. 298.

By flying when in the Word it is predicated of the Lord is signified omnipresence, since omnipresence is infinite circumspection and infinite presence. E. 282.

By Jehovah riding upon a cherub is signified His Divine providence. By the expression “and did fly” is signified His omnipresence in the spiritual world. “Yea He did fly upon the wings of the wind” stands for His omnipresence in the natural world. The wings of the wind signify things spiritual, from which are things natural. E. 283.

By riding is signified to give intelligence and wisdom. E. 355-

By a cherub is signified the inmost heaven, by riding is signified to give understanding and to enlighten, in this case the inmost heaven which is signified by a cherub. By flying is also signified to give understanding and to enlighten but the middle heaven. By flying upon the wings of the wind is signified to give understanding and to enlighten the ultimate heaven. E. 529.

In these places to ride signifies to instruct and to be instructed in the truths of doctrine, and so to become wise. W. H.

11 He made darkness his hiding-place, his pavilion round
about him,
Darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies.
12 At the brightness before him his thick clouds passed,
Hailstones and coals of fire.
13 Jehovah also thundered in the heavens,
And the Most High uttered his voice,
Hailstones and coals of fire.
14 And he sent out his arrows, and scattered them;
Yea, lightnings manifold, and discomfited them.

11, 12. The subject is the Divine revelation of the Word. See also ii. Samuel xxii. 10, 12. To bow the heavens and come down means to hide the interiors of the Word.

The thick darkness under His feet means that the things which appear to man are darkness in comparison — such is the literal sense of the Word. To ride upon a cherub means that it was so provided. To put darkness round about Him for tents, or His surroundings for His tent means the holy of truth in its hiding place, namely within the literal sense. The gathering of waters, thick clouds of the skies are the Word in the letter. A. 4391.

11-13. The cherubs also signify the Word. A tent signifies a dwelling. R. 24.

To ride signifies to instruct in Divine truths from the Word, for a horse signifies the understanding of the Word. Cherubs also signify the Word. T. 776.

Here also is described the illustration of the Word and thence the illumination of the men of the church. Illustration by the influx of Divine truth from the heavens is signified by ” he rode upon a cherub and did fly.” Divine truth in ultimates which is illustrated is signified by the wings of the wind, darkness, dark waters, and thick clouds of the skies. The various degrees of the understanding receiving illumination are signified by those things. That the obscurities of the literal sense — or the ultimate sense — are thereby dissipated is understood by ” at the brightness that was before him his thick clouds passed.” E. 594.

12-15. Here hailstones stand for falsity from evil. A. 7553-

Since by hail are signified falsities, and by fire the evils from which they spring, therefore where hail is spoken of so also is fire. A. 7575.

13-15. Hail signifies falsity destroying good and truth, by the fire is signified infernal love, and by the blood falsification of truth. Blood is the Lord’s Divine truth, which is also the Word, and in the opposite sense the Word falsified. R. 399.

13-15. In these passages by hailstones and coals of fire are signified falsities and evils destroying the truths and goods of the church. The reason of its being said that such things are from Jehovah is, because the Divine truth descending from heaven is turned into infernal falsities with the evil. E. 503.

14 See Psalm vii. 18. A. 8153.

15 Then the channels of waters appeared,
And the foundations of the world were laid bare,
At thy rebuke, O Jehovah,
At the blast of the breath of thy nostrils.
16 He sent from on high, he took me;
He drew me out of many waters.

14, 15. Uttering His voice, hailstones and coals of fire stand for the devastation of truth and good by falsities and evils of lusts. A. 7573.

Thunders and lightnings signify the Divine truth in regard to understanding and illumination. E. 273.
16 See Psalm vi. 2. A. 8286.

Foundations are the truths of faith, for these truths of the church are for foundations. A. 9643.

The Lord is called the spirit or breath of our nostrils — Lamentations iv. 20. Because Divine truth consumes and vastates the evil it is said in David ” The foundations of the world were revealed (uncovered) at thy rebuke, O Jehovah, at the respiration of the breath of thy nostrils.” A. 9818.

See Psalm xi. 6. R. 343.

By the world is not signified the world of lands, but the church in it. R. 551.

Since the spirit of God signifies Divine truth, it is therefore called ” the spirit of the mouth of Jehovah” — Psalm
xxxiii. 6 — ” the spirit of His lips” — Isaiah xi. 4 — ” the anointed of Jehovah and breath of His nostrils” — Lamentations iv. 20: Job iv. 9. E. 183.

By the breath, spirit and breathing of the nostrils of Jehovah is understood the Divine proceeding, whereby the evil are dispersed and cast down when it flows in intensely and strongly. E. 419.

That all things of the church as to the truths and as to the goods thereof were utterly overturned is signified by the channels of the waters appeared, and the foundations of the world were discovered. The channels of the waters stand for the truths, and the foundations of the world for the goods thereof. To appear and be discovered means to be utterly overturned. That this destruction is from the hatred and the fury of the evil against things Divine is signified by, at Thy rebuke, O Jehovah, at the blast of the breath of Thy nostrils. By the rebuke and the breath of the nostrils of Jehovah is signified the same as by His anger and wrath, elsewhere mentioned in the Word. But, as there does not exist any anger or wrath in the Lord against the evil, but in the evil against the Lord, and these appear to them when they perish as from the Lord, therefore it is so said according to appearance. By the blast of the breath of the nostrils of Jehovah is also understood the east wind, which destroys by drought, and by its penetrating power overturns. E. 741.
Thus the Divine truth appears. P. P.

17 High means what is Divine, because by it is meant heaven, where the Divine is. Therefore in the Word it is said of Jehovah, or the Lord, that He dwells on high, and He himself is called the Highest. A. 8153.

17 He delivered me from my strong enemy,
And from them that hated me; for they were too
mighty for me.
18 They came upon me in the day of my calamity;
But Jehovah was my stay.
19 He brought me forth also into a large place;
He delivered me, because he delighted in me.
20 Jehovah hath rewarded me according to my righteousness;
According to the cleanness of my hands hath he recompensed
21 For I have kept the ways of Jehovah,
And have not wickedly departed from my God.
22 For all his ordinances were before me,
And I put not away his statutes from me.
23 I was also perfect with him,
And I kept myself from mine iniquity.
24 Therefore hath Jehovah recompensed me according to
my righteousness,
According to the cleanness of- my hands in his eyesight.

17-20. From His Divine He has prevailed over them. P. P.

19, 20. The day of calamity stands for a weak state in respect to the faith of truth, Jehovah being a staff stands for power thence. Bringing forth into a large broad place means into the truths which are of faith. A. 9028.

20 That truth is signified by breadth may be evident from these passages. See also Psalm xxxi. 8; cxviii. 5, etc.R. 861.

21, 27, 31, 33. Justice and integrity belonged to the Lord. P. P.

26 See Psalm xv. 1,2. A. 612.

25 With the merciful thou wilt show thyself merciful;
With the perfect man thou wilt show thyself perfect;
26 With the pure thou wilt show thyself pure;
And with the perverse thou wilt show thyself froward.
27 For thou wilt save the afflicted people;
But the haughty eyes thou wilt bring down.
28 For thou wilt light my lamp:
Jehovah my God will lighten my darkness.
29 For by thee I run upon a troop;
And by my God do I leap over a wall.
30 As for God, his way is perfect:
The word of Jehovah is tried;
He is a shield unto all them that take refuge in him.

29 A lamp stands for faith, and the intelligence of truth, and the wisdom of good, which are from the Lord alone. A. 9548.

To light a lamp or candle signifies to illuminate the understanding by Divine truth. To enlighten the darkness signifies to dissipate the falsities of ignorance by the light of truth. E. 274.

Darkness also signifies in the Word mere ignorance, arising from the deprivation of truth. E. 526.

29, 30. Also Divine truth. P. P.

31 For who is God, save Jehovah?
And who is a rock, besides our God,
32 The 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 mine arms do bend a bow of brass.
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,
And my feet have not slipped.

32 That God is One is confirmed by these passages. L- 45

32 For who is God save Jehovah? And who is a rock save our God? D. P., Page 63.

He is the only God. P. P.

32, 47. See Psalm xviii. 32. Add: Jehovah liveth, and blessed be my rock, and exalted be the God of my salvation. D. P., Page 63.

33-37. He fights from His Divine. P. P.

34 That by a hind is signified natural affection is, because it is among the beasts which signify affections, as all those are which are for food and use, as lambs, sheep, goats, and kids, also oxen and cows. A. 6413.

37 I will pursue mine enemies, and overtake them;
Neither will I turn again till they are consumed.
38 I will smite them through, so that they shall not be
able to rise:
They shall fall under my feet.
39 For thou hast girded me writh strength unto the battle:
Thou hast subdued under me those that rose up against
40 Thou hast also made mine enemies turn their backs
unto me,
That I might cut off them that hate me.
41 They cried, but there was none to save;
Even unto Jehovah, but he answered them not.

35 By war here mentioned is meant war in the spiritual sense, which is war against evils and falsities, this war God teaches. By the bow of brass is signified the doctrine of charity, and by its being broken by the arms is signified victory. E. 357.

By teaching the hands war is not understood war against enemies in this world, but against enemies in hell, which is effected by combats of truth against falses and against evils. It appears indeed as if war were here understood, such as David waged against his enemies, and so that Jehovah teaches that war, and how to let down a bow of brass upon the arms, but still spiritual war is understood, and also a spiritual bow which is the doctrine of truth, and a bow of brass the doctrine of the good of life, and this because the Word viewed in its essence is spiritual. E. 734-

36 See Psalm vii. 10, 11. A. 1788.

The right hand of Jehovah is Divine power. A. 10019. Memorable Relation. If you consult the Word and are such that you can be enlightened, you will perceive that by the right hand there is meant omnipotence. T. 136.
See Psalm xvi. 8. E. 298.

38-41. And subjugates the hells. P. P.

42 They have no saviour. P. P.

42 Then did I beat them small as the dust before the wind;
I did cast them out as the mire of the streets.
43 Thou hast delivered me from the strivings of the
Thou hast made me the head of the nations:
A people whom I have not known shall serve me.
44 As soon as they hear of me they shall obey me;
The foreigners shall submit themselves unto me.
45 The foreigners shall fade away,
And shall come trembling out of their close places.

43 Since the streets signify the truths of the doctrine of the church, therefore they taught in the streets—ii. Samuel i. 20 — and on this account the hypocrites prayed at the corners of the streets — Matthew vi. 2, 5.— For this reason falsity and what is falsified is called the mud, the dirt, and the dung of the streets. R. 501.

These things are also said from appearances in the spiritual world, for in the cities in that world where falses from evil reign, the streets appear full of dung, mire, and mud. E. 652.

43, 46. Therefore they will be destroyed. P. P.
44 Here the people stand for those who are in truths, and the nations for those who are in good. They are both mentioned because they constitute the man of the church. A. 1259.

See Psalm xviii. 5, 6, 15, 38, 39, 40, 41, 43- L- J 4- That there are in the Word repetitions as of the same thing on account of the marriage of good and truth may be seen more clearly from the passages where nations and peoples are mentioned. By nations are meant those who are in good, and by peoples those who are in truths,’ and in the opposite sense those who are in falsities, wherefore they who are in the Lord’s spiritual kingdom are called peoples, and they who are in the Lord’s celestial kingdom are called nations. S. 86.

That peoples signify those who are in truths or falsities of doctrine, and nations those who are in the goods or evils of life may be evident from many places in the Word. R. 483.

It would be tedious to show from the Word that there are such dual expressions in the Word, appearing like repetitions of the same thing. Nations and peoples are mentioned together, because by nations are meant those who are in good, and in the opposite sense those who are in evil, and by people those who are in truths, and in the opposite sense those who are in falsities. T. 251.
Nations signify those who are in the good of love, and people those who are in the good of charity, and the truths of faith thence derived. E. 331.

46 Jehovah liveth; and blessed be my rock;
And exalted be the God of my salvation,
47 Even the God that executeth vengeance for me,
And subdueth peoples under me.
48 He rescueth me from mine enemies;
Yea, thou liftest me up above them that rise up against
Thou deliverest me from the violent man.
49 Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O Jehovah,
among the nations,
And will sing praises unto thy name.
50 Great deliverance giveth he to his king,
And showeth lovingkindness to his anointed,
To David and to his seed, for evermore.

44, 45. Then there will be a new church which will acknowledge and worship the Lord. P. P.

47 Verse quoted. D. P., Page 63.

47-51. A song of that church in praise of the Lord on account of redemption. P. P.

49 A man of violence stands for those who destroy the truths of faith and the goods of charity. A. 6353.

Author: EMANUEL SWEDENBORG (1688-1772)