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The Complete Jewish Bible with Rashi Commentary
   

Tehillim - Psalms - Chapter 18

Tehillim - Psalms - Chapter 18

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Rashi's Commentary:

Chapter 18

1. For the conductor; of the servant of the Lord, of David, who spoke to the Lord the words of this song on the day that the Lord saved him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul.   א. לַמְנַצֵּחַ | לְעֶבֶד יְהֹוָה לְדָוִד אֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר | לַיהֹוָה אֶת דִּבְרֵי הַשִּׁירָה הַזֹּאת בְּיוֹם | הִצִּיל יְהֹוָה אוֹתוֹ מִכַּף כָּל אֹיְבָיו וּמִיַּד שָׁאוּל:
on the day the Lord saved him etc.: When he became old and all his troubles had already passed over him and he was saved from them.  
and from the hand of Saul: Was not Saul included? But [he is mentioned specifically] because he was the harshest to him and pursued him more than all of them. Similarly, you say (in Josh. 2: 1): “see the land and Jericho.”  
2. And he said, "I love You, O Lord, my strength.   ב. וַיֹּאמַר אֶרְחָמְךָ יְהֹוָה חִזְקִי:
I love You: Heb. ארחמך, I love You, as the Targum renders (Lev. 19:18): “and you shall love your neighbor,” ותרחם.  
3. O Lord, my rock and my fortress and my rescuer; my God, my rock, I will take refuge in Him; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my refuge.   ג. יְהֹוָה סַלְעִי וּמְצוּדָתִי וּמְפַלְטִי אֵלִי צוּרִי אֶחֱסֶה בּוֹ מָגִנִּי וְקֶרֶן יִשְׁעִי מִשְׂגַּבִּי:
my rock: For You saved me at the Rock of the Divisions (I Sam. 23:28), when I was trapped between Saul and his men, to be caught, as it is stated (in I Sam. 23:26): “but Saul and his men were encircling to David and his men etc.”  
and my fortress: Heb. ומצודתי, an expression of a fortress.  
my rock: Heb. צורי, an expression of a rock.  
I will take refuge: Abrier in French (to protect, cover; cf. Rashi to Isa. 30:2, Joel 4:16).  
I will take refuge in Him: I will take shelter in His shade, as the matter is stated (in Job 24:8): “and without shelter (מחסה) they embrace the rocks,” because the rocks are a shelter and a shield for the travelers from the winds and from the downpour of rains.  
4. With praise I call to the Lord, and from my enemies I will be saved.   ד. מְהֻלָּל אֶקְרָא יְהֹוָה וּמִן אֹיְבַי אִוָּשֵׁעַ:
With praise I call to the lord: With praises I call Him and pray before Him constantly, i.e., even before the salvation I praise Him, because I am confident that I will be saved from my enemies.  
5. Bands of death have encompassed me, and streams of scoundrels would affright me.   ה. אֲפָפוּנִי חֶבְלֵי מָוֶת וְנַחֲלֵי בְלִיַּעַל יְבַעֲתוּנִי:
Bands of death have encompassed me: On many occasions wicked men have surrounded me. אפפוני is like סבבוני. Similarly (below 40: 13), “For countless evils… have encompassed (אפפו) me.”  
Bands of death: Heb. חבלי, camps of enemies, as (in I Sam. 10:5): “a band (חבל) of prophets.” But Jonathan renders: as a woman who sits on a birthstool, an expression of the pangs (חבלי) of a woman in confinement.  
and streams of scoundrels: That too is an expression of troops that flood like a stream.  
6. Bands of the nether world have surrounded me; the snares of death confronted me.   ו. חֶבְלֵי שְׁאוֹל סְבָבוּנִי קִדְּמוּנִי מוֹקְשֵׁי מָוֶת:
Bands of the nether world: Like “bands of death,” camps of wicked men, and I - what did I do?  
7. When I am in distress, I call upon the Lord; yes, I cry out to my God; out of His temple He hears my voice, and my cry comes before Him in His ears.   ז. בַּצַּר לִי | אֶקְרָא יְהֹוָה וְאֶל אֱלֹהַי אֲשַׁוֵּעַ יִשְׁמַע מֵהֵיכָלוֹ קוֹלִי וְשַׁוְעָתִי לְפָנָיו | תָּבוֹא בְאָזְנָיו:
When I am in distress, I call: I would always call upon the Lord.  
8. The earth shook and quaked, the foundations of the mountains did tremble; and they were shaken when He was angered.   ח. וַתִּגְעַשׁ וַתִּרְעַשׁ | הָאָרֶץ וּמוֹסְדֵי הָרִים יִרְגָּזוּ וַיִּתְגָּעֲשׁוּ כִּי חָרָה לוֹ:
The earth shook and quaked: This is not connected to the preceding verse, but its beginning is connected to its end; i.e., when He was angered, the earth shook and quaked. [The word] כי is used as an expression of “when.” When He was angered and came to wreak the vengeance of His people, His servants, on Pharaoh and his people, the earth shook and quaked.  
9. Smoke went up in His nostrils, and fire out of His mouth did devour; coals flamed forth from Him.   ט. עָלָה עָשָׁן | בְּאַפּוֹ וְאֵשׁ מִפִּיו תֹּאכֵל גֶּחָלִים בָּעֲרוּ מִמֶּנּוּ:
Smoke went up in His nostrils: (En ses nariles in Old French, in his nostrils.) So is the custom of every anger, to cause smoke to ascend from his nostrils.  
10. And He bent the heavens, and He came down, and thick darkness was under His feet.   י. וַיֵּט שָׁמַיִם וַיֵּרַד וַעֲרָפֶל תַּחַת רַגְלָיו:
And He bent the heavens, and He came down: to pass through the land of Egypt. “He came down” is to be understood in its simple meaning. Another explanation is “i atonvit” in Old French, to flatten, as (in Exod. 39:3), and the radical is רדד.  
11. And He rode on a cherub and did fly; He swooped on the wings of the wind.   יא. וַיִּרְכַּב עַל כְּרוּב וַיָּעֹף וַיֵּדֶא עַל כַּנְפֵי רוּחַ:
He swooped: Heb. וידא, He flew, as (in Deut. 28:49), “as the eagle swoops (ידאה).”  
12. He made darkness His hiding-place about Him as His booth; the darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies.   יב. יָשֶׁת חֹשֶׁךְ | סִתְרוֹ סְבִיבוֹתָיו סֻכָּתוֹ חֶשְׁכַת מַיִם עָבֵי שְׁחָקִים:
the darkness of waters: that are in the thick clouds of the skies are the darkness that is about Him. Lest you say that within the darkness there is no light, Scripture tells us: From the brightness before Him, and from within His partition, His thick clouds that are about Him are split, and hail and coals of fire pass through them.  
13. From the brightness before Him, His thick cloud passed, hail and coals of fire.   יג. מִנֹּגַהּ נֶגְדּוֹ עָבָיו עָבְרוּ בָּרָד וְגַחֲלֵי אֵשׁ:
passed: Heb. עברו, trepasant in Old French, passed. The hail split and passes through onto the Egyptians at the Sea of Reeds.  
14. The Lord thundered from Heaven; and the Most High gave forth His voice with hail and coals of fire.   יד. וַיַּרְעֵם בַּשָּׁמַיִם | יְהֹוָה וְעֶלְיוֹן יִתֵּן קֹלוֹ בָּרָד וְגַחֲלֵי אֵשׁ:
15. And He sent out arrows and He scattered them; He shot lightning and He discomfited them.   טו. וַיִּשְׁלַח חִצָּיו וַיְפִיצֵם וּבְרָקִים רָב וַיְהֻמֵּם:
16. And the depths of the water appeared; the foundations of the world were laid bare by Your rebuke, O Lord, by the blast of the breath of Your nostrils.   טז. וַיֵּרָאוּ | אֲפִיקֵי מַיִם וַיִּגָּלוּ מוֹסְדוֹת תֵּבֵל מִגַּעֲרָתְךָ יְהֹוָה מִנִּשְׁמַת רוּחַ אַפֶּךָ:
And the depths of the water appeared: when the sea split.  
the foundations of the world were laid bare: for all the waters in the world split.  
by the blast: from the blowing.  
17. He sent forth from on high [and] He took me; He drew me out of many waters.   יז. יִשְׁלַח מִמָּרוֹם יִקָּחֵנִי יַמְשֵׁנִי מִמַּיִם רַבִּים:
He sent forth from on high: His angels to save Israel from the sea and from the Egyptians.  
He drew me out: Heb. ימשני, an expression of drawing out, as (in Exod. 2:10), “I drew him out (משיתהו) of the water.”  
18. He delivered me from my mighty enemy, and from those that hated me, for they were too powerful for me.   יח. יַצִּילֵנִי מֵאֹיְבִי עָז וּמִשּׂנְאַי כִּי אָמְצוּ מִמֶּנִּי:
19. They confronted me on the day of my calamity, but the Lord was a support to me.   יט. יְקַדְּמוּנִי בְּיוֹם אֵידִי וַיְהִי יְהֹוָה לְמִשְׁעָן לִי:
They confronted me: My enemies would hasten and attack me early on the day of my calamity, but the Lord was, etc.  
20. And He brought me forth into a wide space; He delivered me because He took delight in me.   כ. וַיּוֹצִיאֵנִי לַמֶּרְחָב יְחַלְּצֵנִי כִּי חָפֵץ בִּי:
21. The Lord rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands He recompensed me.   כא. יִגְמְלֵנִי יְהֹוָה כְּצִדְקִי כְּבֹר יָדַי יָשִׁיב לִי:
according to my righteousness: According to the righteousness of my following Him in the desert.  
according to the cleanness: Heb. כבד, an expression of cleanness, as (below 24:4), “and pure of heart.” Another explanation: He sent forth from on high [and] He took me. [David] said this about himself, concerning the angel who came to the Rock of the Divisions (I Sam. 23:27) to turn Saul away from him, as it is stated: “And an angel came to Saul, etc.”  
according to my righteousness: that I did not slay him when I sliced off the skirt of his coat. [Obviously, Rashi explains verses 8- 17 as referring to Israel’s departure from Egypt. Only in verse 17 does he suggest the explanation that David refers to his own experiences.]  
22. For I have kept the ways of the Lord and have not wickedly departed from [the commandments of] my God.   כב. כִּי שָׁמַרְתִּי דַּרְכֵי יְהֹוָה וְלֹא רָשַׁעְתִּי מֵאֱלֹהָי:
23. For all His ordinances were before me; and His statutes I will not remove from myself.   כג. כִּי כָל מִשְׁפָּטָיו לְנֶגְדִּי וְחֻקֹּתָיו לֹא אָסִיר מֶנִּי:
For all His ordinances were before me: I always placed them before my eyes.  
24. And I was single-hearted with Him, and I kept myself from my iniquity.   כד. וָאֱהִי תָמִים עִמּוֹ וָאֶשְׁתַּמֵּר מֵעֲו‍ֹנִי:
25. And the Lord has recompensed me according to my righteousness, according to the cleanness of my hands before His eyes.   כה. וַיָּשֶׁב יְהֹוָה לִי כְצִדְקִי כְּבֹר יָדַי לְנֶגֶד עֵינָיו:
26. With a kind one, You show Yourself kind, with a sincere man, You show Yourself sincere.   כו. עִם חָסִיד תִּתְחַסָּד עִם גְּבַר תָּמִים תִּתַּמָּם:
With a kind one, You show Yourself kind: Because so are His ways, to pay a measure for a measure. Kind… sincere… pure, corresponding to the three patriarchs.  
27. With a pure one, You show Yourself pure, but with a crooked one, You deal crookedly.   כז. עִם נָבָר תִּתְבָּרָר וְעִם עִקֵּשׁ תִּתְפַּתָּל:
With a pure one: a faithful one.  
but with a crooked one: alluding to Pharaoh.  
28. For You deliver a humble people, and You humble haughty eyes.   כח. כִּי אַתָּה עַם עָנִי תוֹשִׁיעַ וְעֵינַיִם רָמוֹת תַּשְׁפִּיל:
29. For You light my lamp; the Lord, my God, does light my darkness.   כט. כִּי אַתָּה תָּאִיר נֵרִי יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהַי יַגִּיהַּ חָשְׁכִּי:
For You light my lamp: when he fought at night with the Amalekite troop that attacked Ziklag, as it is stated (in I Sam. 30:17): “And David smote them from evening until evening to their morrow.”  
30. For by You I run upon a troop, and by my God I scale a wall.   ל. כִּי בְךָ אָרֻץ גְּדוּד וּבֵאלֹהַי אֲדַלֶּג שׁוּר:
For by You: By Your assurance.  
and by my God I scale a wall: When he came to wage war against Jebus, and he said (in I Chron. 11:6): “Whoever smites the Jebusites, etc. shall be a leader and a prince.” Joab brought a green juniper tree, bent it over, suspended himself on it, and scaled the wall. Said David (in Ps. 141:5): “May a righteous man smite me with loving-kindness,” and the Holy one, blessed be He, lowered the wall, and he scaled it (Mid. Ps. 18:24).  
31. [He is] the God Whose way is perfect; the word of the Lord is refined; He is a shield to all who trust in Him.   לא. הָאֵל תָּמִים דַּרְכּוֹ אִמְרַת יְהֹוָה צְרוּפָה מָגֵן הוּא לְכֹל | הַחוֹסִים בּוֹ:
refined: Pure. He promises and He does.  
32. For who is God save the Lord? And who is a Rock, save our God?   לב. כִּי מִי אֱלוֹהַּ מִבַּלְעֲדֵי יְהֹוָה וּמִי צוּר זוּלָתִי אֱלֹהֵינוּ:
33. The God is He Who girds me with strength; and He makes my way perfect.   לג. הָאֵל הַמְאַזְּרֵנִי חָיִל וַיִּתֵּן תָּמִים דַּרְכִּי:
and He makes my way perfect: He removed all obstacles from my way until it became perfect and paved.  
34. He makes my feet like hinds, and sets me upon my high places.   לד. מְשַׁוֶּה רַגְלַי כָּאַיָּלוֹת וְעַל בָּמֹתַי יַעֲמִידֵנִי:
He makes my feet like hinds: The feet of the females stand straighter than those of the males.  
35. He trains my hands for war so that a copper bow is bent by my arms.   לה. מְלַמֵּד יָדַי לַמִּלְחָמָה וְנִחֲתָה קֶשֶׁת נְחוּשָׁה זְרוֹעֹתָי:
so that a copper bow is bent by my arms: Heb. ונחתה, an expression of treading the bow, as (below 38:3): “Your arrows were driven (נחתו) into me.” Its radical [or its active voice] is נחת. When it is used in the passive voice, a dagesh comes and causes the “nun” to drop out. Hence נחתה is derived from ננחתה as (below 69:4): “My throat is dried (נחר),” derived from ננחר as (in Jer. 6:29): “The bellows is heated (נחר) ”; נדף, rattling (in Lev. 26:36) is derived from ננדף;“My eyes stream (נגרה)” (in Lam. 3:49), is like ננגרה;“was given (נתנה)” (Gen. 38:14) is like ננתנה;“they were smitten (נגף)” (II Sam. 10: 15) is derived from ננגף. We cannot interpret it as being of the radical חתת, for then it would say נחתתה, as [it says] נעשתה, was done, from עשה; נענתה, was answered, from ענה. Another explanation: and a copper bow is bent by my arms: חית is an expression of treading a bow, as (below 38:3): “Your arrows were driven (נחתו).” The “nun” is not of the radical but it is like נחלו“gave for inheritance” (in Jos. 14:1), and the copper bow was bent by my arms. Copper bows were hanging in David’s house. The kings of the nations would see them and say to each other, “Do you think that David has the strength to bend them? This is only to frighten us.” But he would hear [them] and bend the bows before them.  
36. You have given me the shield of Your salvation; Your right hand has supported me, and You have treated me with great humility.   לו. וַתִּתֶּן לִי מָגֵן יִשְׁעֶךָ וִימִינְךָ תִסְעָדֵנִי וְעַנְוָתְךָ תַרְבֵּנִי:
and You have treated me with great humility: You have dealt with me with great humility.  
37. You have enlarged my step[s] beneath me, and my ankles have not slipped.   לז. תַּרְחִיב צַעֲדִי תַחְתָּי וְלֹא מָעֲדוּ קַרְסֻלָּי:
You have enlarged my step[s] beneath me: One who widens his steps does not fall easily. Similarly, Scripture states (in Prov. 4:12): “When you walk, your steps will not be hampered (יצר).”  
slipped: Heb. מעדו aluverjert in Old French, to slip.  
my ankles: Heb. קרסלי. They are the feet from the ankle which is called keville (cheville) in Old Frenchand below [to the heel].  
38. I have pursued my enemies and overtaken them, never turning back until they were consumed.   לח. אֶרְדּוֹף אוֹיְבַי וְאַשִּׂיגֵם וְלֹא אָשׁוּב עַד כַּלּוֹתָם:
39. I have crushed them so that they cannot rise; yea, they are fallen under my feet.   לט. אֶמְחָצֵם וְלֹא יֻכְלוּ קוּם יִפְּלוּ תַּחַת רַגְלָי:
40. For You have girded me with strength for the battle; You have subdued under me those that rose up against me.   מ. וַתְּאַזְּרֵנִי חַיִל לַמִּלְחָמָה תַּכְרִיעַ קָמַי תַּחְתָּי:
41. And of my enemies, You have given me the back of their necks; those that hate me, that I may cut them off.   מא. וְאֹיְבַי נָתַתָּה לִּי עֹרֶף וּמְשַׂנְאַי אַצְמִיתֵם:
You have given me the back of their necks: They would turn the back of their necks to me and flee.  
42. They pray but no one saves them; [even] to the Lord, but He answered them not.   מב. יְשַׁוְּעוּ וְאֵין מוֹשִׁיעַ עַל יְהֹוָה וְלֹא עָנָם:
They pray: to their idols.  
but no one saves them: Because it [their prayer] has no power, and they return and call upon the Lord, but He does not answer them.  
43. Then I ground them as dust before the wind; as the mud in the streets I did pour them.   מג. וְאֶשְׁחָקֵם כְּעָפָר עַל פְּנֵי רוּחַ כְּטִיט חוּצוֹת אֲרִיקֵם:
Then I ground them: Heb. ואשחקם, an expression of crushing.  
I did pour them: like loose mud, which is not thick, as (in Gen. 42:35): “when they emptied (מריקים) their sacks” ; (in Jer. 48:11), “has not been poured (הורק) from one vessel to another vessel.”  
44. You allowed me to escape from the contenders of the people; You shall make me the head over nations; may a people that I do not know serve me.   מד. תְּפַלְּטֵנִי מֵרִיבֵי עָם תְּשִׂימֵנִי לְרֹאשׁ גּוֹיִם עַם לֹא יָדַעְתִּי יַעַבְדוּנִי:
You allowed me to escape from the contenders of the people: so that I should not be punished according to Jewish law, for perverting justice or for subjugating an Israelite more than is permitted.  
You shall make me the head over nations: for whom there is no punishment.  
45. As soon as they hear they shall obey me; foreigners shall lie to me.   מה. לְשֵׁמַע אֹזֶן יִשָּׁמְעוּ לִי בְּנֵי נֵכָר יְכַחֲשׁוּ לִי:
As soon as they hear: Even in my absence, as long as they hear my message.  
they shall obey me: They shall give heed to my bidding and obey my orders.  
shall lie to me: out of fright.  
46. Foreigners shall wither, and they shall fear their imprisonments.   מו. בְּנֵי נֵכָר יִבֹּלוּ וְיַחְרְגוּ מִמִּסְגְּרוֹתֵיהֶם:
shall wither: Heb. יבלו. They shall become weary, as (in Exod. 18:18): “you shall surely wither (נבל תבל) ,” which the Targum renders: you shall surely weary. Menachem (Machbereth p. 45) explains it as (in Gen. 18: 12): “after I have become old (בלתי),” and he explained נבל תבל in the same manner.  
and they shall fear: Heb. ויחרגו, an expression of fear; (in Deut. 32:25) “and terror from within,” the Targum renders: חרגת, fear of death.  
their imprisonments: Because of the tortures of the imprisonments in the dungeon where I imprison them and where they torture them. Menachem (p. 94) interprets it as an expression of loosening the girdle, and so he explains it: and they will be loosened of their girdles [meaning they will be frightened or weakened]. Dunash interprets ויחגרו ממסגרותיהם, and they will be lamed from their shackles, which are placed on their feet. The meaning of ויחגרו is: they will become lame, as the Aramaic for a lame person is חגר.  
47. The Lord lives, and blessed be my Rock, and exalted be the God of my salvation.   מז. חַי יְהֹוָה וּבָרוּךְ צוּרִי וְיָרוּם אֱלוֹהֵי יִשְׁעִי:
The Lord lives: He Who does all this for me.  
48. The God Who grants me vengeance and destroys peoples instead of me.   מח. הָאֵל הַנּוֹתֵן נְקָמוֹת לִי וַיַּדְבֵּר עַמִּים תַּחְתָּי:
Who grants me vengeance: Who gives me strength to avenge myself upon my enemies.  
and destroys: Heb. וידבר, and He slew, an expression of דבר, pestilence. Another explanation: as (in Exod. 3:1): “and he led (וינהג),” which is translated into Aramaic as וּדְבַר. Menachem (p. 61) too associated it in this manner. Likewise, he associated (below 47:4), “He leads (יַדְבֵּר) peoples under us.”  
instead of me: Heb. תחתי, in my place and in my stead, as the matter is stated (in Isa. 43:4): “and I give men in your stead (תחתיך) , (verse 3),” I have given Egypt as your ransom. [Cush and Seba in your stead (תחתיך)]."  
49. Who delivers me from my enemies; even above those that rise against me You have lifted me; from the violent man You deliver me.   מט. מְפַלְּטִי מֵאֹיְבָי אַף מִן קָמַי תְּרוֹמְמֵנִי מֵאִישׁ חָמָס תַּצִּילֵנִי:
50. Therefore, I will give thanks to You, O Lord, among the nations, and to Your name I will sing praises.   נ. עַל כֵּן | אוֹדְךָ בַגּוֹיִם | יְהֹוָה וּלְשִׁמְךָ אֲזַמֵּרָה:
51. He gives great salvations to His king, and He performs kindness to His anointed; to David and to his seed forever.   נא. מַגְדִּל יְשׁוּעוֹת מַלְכּוֹ וְעֹשֶׂה חֶסֶד | לִמְשִׁיחוֹ לְדָוִד וּלְזַרְעוֹ עַד עוֹלָם:
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