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To him that presides over the music, a Psalm of David, the servant of jehovah, who spoke to jehovah the words of this song, in the day in which jehovah delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, especially from the hand of Saul.
The lord's confidence from his Divine principle against the hells, verses 1 to 3, 6; the lord's combats with the hells, verses 4, 5, 6; that in his zeal he subdued and overthrew them, verse 7 to 14; that so Divine truth appears, verse 15; that through his Divine principle he prevailed over them, verses 10 to 19; that the lord was possessed of justice and integrity, verses 20 to 27, 30, 32; and Divine truth, verses 28, 29; that He is the only god, verse 31; that he fights from his Divine principle, verses 32 to 36; and subjugates the hells, verses 37 to 40; that they have no Saviour, verse 41; wherefore they shall be destroyed, verses 42, 45; then there will be a new church which will acknowledge and worship the lord, verses 43, 44; celebration of the lord by that church by reason of redemption, verses 46 to 50.
Verses 1, 2. jehovah is my strength, my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my god, with whom I take refuge; my shield, and the horn of my salvation. Strength and a rock, when applied to jehovah, or the lord, as in the present case, signify Omnipotence; a fortress and a rock in which to take refuge, signify protection; shield and a horn of salvation, signify salvation thence; strength and fortress, and a shield in the Word are predicated of the Divine good, a rock and a horn are predicated of Divine truth; hence by the above words are signified Omnipotence, protection, and salvation, which appertain to the Divine good by divine truth. AE 316. See also AC 2832.
Verse 1. My rock (sela) and my rock (tsur) That the good of natural love, and the good of spiritual love, with their delights, were given to those who constituted the ancient church, by means of truths from which their intelligence was derived, and according to which they lived is signified by "He made them to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the stone of the rock," Deut 32:13; honey denoting the delight of natural love, oil the delight of spiritual love, and the rock (sela) and the stone of the rock (tsur) truth from the Lord. AE 619.
Verses 4, 5. The cords of death encompassed me, the snares of death prevented me. The cords and snares of death, which encompassed and prevented, signify temptations, which being from hell are also called the cords of hell: These, and the other things said in the whole of that Psalm, treat of the lord's combats and victories, wherefore it is also said, verse 43, "You shall set me for a head of the nations, a people whom I have not known shall serve me." Treatise on the Lord, verse 14.
Verse 6. He will hear my voice out of his temple. Temple, in the supreme sense, signifies the divine human principle of the lord, and in a respective sense, heaven; and since it signifies heaven, it signifies also the church, for the church is the lord's heaven upon earth, and whereas temple signifies heaven and the church, it signifies also the Divine truth proceeding from the Lord; the reason is because this truth makes heaven and the church, for they who receive it with the soul and heart, that is, with faith and love, constitute heaven and the church. That temple in the word signifies the divine human principle of the lord, and in a respective sense heaven and the church, consequently also the Divine truth, may be manifest from the following passages: "The Jews said to Jesus, What sign show you to us, that you do these things? jesus answered and said to them, Dissolve this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and will you raise it up in three days? But he spoke of the temple of his body." John 2:18 to 23. It is here expressly said, that temple signifies the divine human principle of the lord, for by the dissolution of the temple, and its being raised again in three days, is understood his death, burial, and resurrection. That temple signifies heaven, is evident from the following passages: "I called to jehovah, and cried to my God, he heard my voice out of his temple." Psalm 18:7. Again, "For a day in your courts is better than a thousand; I had rather be a door-keeper in the house of my god, than to dwell in the tents of ungodliness;" Psalm 84:10. That by temple is signified the divine truth proceeding from the lord, is manifest from the following passages, "the glory of jehovah lifted up itself above the cherub over the threshold of the house, and the house was filled with the cloud, and the court was full of the brightness of the glory of jehovah;" Ezek 10:4; by house is there meant heaven and the church; and by the cloud and by glory, the Divine Truth. And in Isaiah, "a voice of the tumult of jehovah from the city, a voice of jehovah from the temple;" Is 56:6; by city in meant the doctrine of truth, by temple the church, and by the voice of jehovah from the temple Divine Truth. AE 220.
Verses 7. 8. In my distress I called on jehovah, and cried to my god; and the earth trembled, and the foundations of the mountains were moved and shaken because he was angry. The earth here denotes the church, which is said to be moved and shaken, when it is perverted by the falsification of truths; and in this ease the foundations of the mountains are said to tremble and be moved, since the goods of love, which are founded on the truths of faith, vanish, for mountains are the goods of love, and their foundations are the truths of faith. AE 304.
Verse 7. The earth shook and trembled, and the foundations of the mountains were moved and shaken, because he was angry. By these words is not meant that the earth and its foundations are shaken and moved, but that this is the case with the church, and with the truths on which it is founded, for the earth signifies the church, and the foundations of the mountains signify the truths on which it is founded, which are truths grounded in good. AE 400. Mountains denote the good things of love, their foundation signify the truths of faith. AC 9643.
Verse 8. There went up a smoke out of his nostrils, and a devouring fire out of his mouth, coals were kindled at it. Smoke denotes the false principle, from the kindling of which comes anger: Fire out of his mouth, denotes anger from the affection of evil; the reason why anger grounded in the affection of evil is fire, is because anger is from that source, for when man's love is assaulted, the fiery principle bursts forth, and, as it were, burns. In this and in several other passages, anger is described by fire, and is attributed to jehovah, that is, to the Lord, but it appertains to man, see AC 5798, 6997. AC 9143.
It is not meant that smoke and devouring fire ascended from jehovah, or the Lord, because he has no anger, but it is so said, because the lord appears such to those who are in falsities and evils, for they view him from their own falsities and evils. AE 539.
The state of an evil man when he is angry, is like smoke, which, when fire is applied to it, becomes flame, for the false of evil in the intellectual principle is as smoke, and anger is as the flame of kindled smoke; there is also a correspondence between them. AC 9144.
Verses 9, 10. He bowed the heavens and came down, and thick darkness was under his feet, and he rode upon a cherub and did fly, and was carried on the wings of the wind. By jehovah bowing the heavens and coming down, is signified the visitation which precedes the last judgement; by thick darkness under his feet, are signified the falses of evil in lower principles; by riding on a cherub, flying, and being carried on the wings of the wind, is signified Omnipresence with the Divine principle; the wings of the wind are the Divine truths in ultimates, as above. AE 439.
Darkness is here put for clouds: to ride upon a cherub denotes the lord's providence, to prevent man's entering of himself into the mysteries of faith contained in the Word. A. C. 2761.
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 skies; 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; and 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 before him. AC 9406.
Verse 9. Thick darkness was under his feet. The dust of the feet signifies things natural and corporeal belonging to man; the same thing also is signified by David in these words, jehovah bowed the heavens and came down, and thick darkness was under his feet, Psalm 18:9. AC 2162.
Verse 10. He rode upon a cherub, and did fly. He rode upon a cherub, signifies the Divine providence; did fly, signifies Omnipresence in the spiritual world; and was carried on the wings of the wind, signifies Omnipresence in the natural world, the wings of the wind are spiritual things, from which natural things are derived. AE 282, 283.
By the above words is also described the illustration of the Word, and thereby of the church; illustration by the influx of Divine truth out of the heavens is signified by god riding on a cherub and flying; Divine Truth in ultimates, which is illustrated, is signified by the wings of the wind, darkness of and clouds of the skies; various degrees of the understanding receiving illustration are signified by the above words; that the obscurities of the ultimate, or literal sense are thence dissipated, is understood by the clouds passing away from the brightness before him. AE 594.
Verses 12, 13, 14. At the brightness before Him his thick clouds passed, hail and coals of fire; jehovah thundered in the heavens, and the most high uttered his voice, hail and, coals of fire; he sent out his arrows and scattered them, and many lightnings and dispersed them. By hail and fire are here signified falsities and evils destroying the truths and goods of the church; the reason why it is said that those things are from jehovah is because Divine Truth descending from heaven is changed into infernal falsities with the wicked, as was said above, from which change exist several appearances, as that hail and fire flow down, when yet these things are not out of heaven from the lord, but from those who are in the falsities of evil, who change the influx of Divine Truth and Good into the falsity of evil. It has been also given me to perceive those changes; when Divine Truth out, of heaven flowed down into any hell, it was changed in the way successively into the falsity of evil, such as prevailed amongst the inhabitants, in like manner as the sun's heat when it falls into dunghills and the sun's light into subjects, which change his rays into disagreeable colours, or as the light, and heat of the sun in fenny ground produce noxious plants, which nourish serpents, whilst in good ground they produce trees and grapes, for the nourishment of men and useful animals. From those considerations it may be manifest from what origin there is an appearance of hail and fire in the spiritual world, and whence it is that jehovah causes them to rain, when yet from jehovah there comes nothing but what is good; and when jehovah, that is, the lord, renders the influx strong, it is not that he may destroy the wicked, but that he may deliver and defend the good, for thus he conjoins the good more closely and interiorly to himself, and the consequence is, that they are separated from the wicked, and the wicked perish; for if the wicked were not separated, the good would perish, and the angelic heaven also. AE 503.
Verses 13, 14. jehovah also thundered in the heavens, and the most high uttered his voice; and he sent out his arrows and scattered them, and many lightnings and dispersed them. Thunders are here expressed by thundering out of heaven, and by uttering a voice. Lightnings by arrows, and by the latter and the former are signified Divine Truths, and by lightning their light, which truths, in proportion as they vivify and enlighten the good, in the same proportion terrify and blind the wicked, which is understood by sending out arrows and scattering them, and lightnings and dispersing them; for the wicked cannot endure Divine Truths or any light at all from heaven, wherefore they flee away at their presence. AE 273.
Verse 15. The channels of the waters were seen, and the foundations of the world were laid bare at your rebuke, O jehovah, at the blast of the breath of your nostrils. That all things of the church, as to its truth and good, were utterly overturned, is signified by the channels of waters being seen, and the foundations of the world being laid bare, the channels of water, denoting truths, and the foundations of the world denoting its goods; to be seen and to be laid bare, signifies their entire overthrow; that this overthrow is from the hatred and fury of the wicked against things Divine, is signified by at your rebuke, O jehovah, and at the blast of the breath of your nostrils. AE 741.
Verse 15. The foundations of the world were laid bare at the blast of the breath of your nostrils, Inasmuch as Divine Truth consumes and vastates the wicked, hence it is said in David, "The foundations of the world were laid bare at the blast, of the breath of your nostrils." AC 9818.
Inasmuch as the Spirit of god signifies Divine Truth, therefore it is called the spirit of the mouth of jehovah. AE 183.
Verses 18. 19. They prevented me in the day of my calamity. jehovah was my staff. He brought me forth also into a broad place. The day of calamity denotes a weak state as to the faith of truth, jehovah being for a staff, denotes ability in such case; to bring forth into a broad place [breadth] denotes into the truths which are of faith, that this is meant by bringing forth into a broad place, [breadth], see 4482. AC 9028.
Verse 25. With the merciful than will show yourself merciful, with the upright man you will show yourself upright. Upright signifies truth which is grounded in charity, for truth is derived from various other origins, but what is grounded in the good of charity from the lord is called upright, and the man who possesses it is called upright. AC 612.
Verse 33. He makes my feet like hind's feet. Deliverance from a state of temptation is compared to a hind let loose, because the hind is an animal of the forest, loving liberty more than other animals, in which property the natural principle also resembles it, for this principle loves to be in the delight of its affections, consequently in liberty, for liberty is what is of the affections. The reason why by a hind is signified natural affections is because it is amongst the beasts significative of the affections, as all those are which are for food and useful, such as lambs, sheep, she-goats, kids, he-goats, also oxen, heifers, and cows. AC 6413.
Verse 34. He teaches my hands to war, so that a bow of brass is bent by my arms. By war is here signified spiritual war, which is against evils and falsities, this war god teaches; and by a bow of brass is signified the doctrine of charity, this God causes the arms to bend, that is, enables it to prevail. AE 357.
By teaching the hands to war, is not meant war against enemies in the world, but against enemies in hell, which is effected by combats of truth against falsities and against evils; it appears indeed as if by war is there meant war such as David waged against his enemies, and thus that jehovah taught him by such war, and how he caused a bow of brass to be bent by his arms, but still spiritual war is meant, and likewise 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 in its essence is spiritual. AE 734.
Verse 35. Your right hand supports me. By the right hand, when applied to the lord, is signified both Omnipotence and Omniscience, and the reason is because to the right hand in heaven is the south, and to the left hand the north, and by the south is signified Divine Truth in light, and by the north Divine Truth in shade, and whereas Divine Good has all power by Divine Truth, therefore by the right hand, when applied to the lord, is signified Omnipotence; and whereas Divine Good has all intelligence and wisdom by Divine Truth, and to the right hand in heaven Divine Truth is in light, as was said, therefore by the right hand, when applied to the lord, is also signified Omniscience. AE 298.
Verse 42. I will trample them as the dirt in the streets. By a street is signified the Truth of Doctrine, and in the opposite sense the falsity of doctrine, and the reason is because by way in the spiritual sense is signified Truth leading to good, and in the opposite sense what is false leading to evil, see above, AE 97; and streets are ways in a city, and since by a city is signified doctrine, therefore by a street is signified what is true and false of doctrine. In the spiritual world also there are cities, and in the cities there are streets as in cities in the world, and every one is known as to his quality, in regard to the affection of Truth and thence of intelligence, merely from the places there where they dwell, also from the streets in which they walk; they who are in a clear perception of truth, dwell in the southern quarter of the city, and likewise walk there; they who are in the clear affection of the Good of Love dwell in the eastern quarter, and also walk there; they who are in an obscure affection of the Good of Love dwell in the western quarter and likewise walk there; and they who are in an obscure perception of Truth dwell in the northern quarter, and there also walk. Inasmuch as street signifies the leading Truth of Doctrine, and in the opposite sense the principle of what is false, therefore by the dirt, the mire, and the dung of streets, is signified the false principle of the love of evil in the following passages, "Their carcasses became as the dung of the streets" Isaiah 5:25. Again, "I will give him to tread them down like the mire in the streets," Is 10:6. And in Micah, "Now shall she be trodden down as the mire of the streets," Mic 7:10. And in David, "I will trample them as the dirt of the streets." Psalm 18:42. AE 652.
Verses 31. 46. For who is God except Jehovah? The reason of its being said who is God besides jehovah, or who is a rock except my God: is because where the subject treated of is concerning Divine Good, the Lord is called jehovah, and where it is concerning Divine Truth he is called god, and also rock, as in the present case; in like manner afterwards, "Jehovah lives and blessed be my rock; the God of my salvation shall be exalted," signifies worship by truths from good, whence is salvation; to be exalted when predicated of God denoting worship from good by truths. AE 411.
Verse 43. You will set me for the head of the nations, a people whom I have not known shall serve me. That by people and nation are signified those who are of the lord's spiritual church and who are of his celestial church, is manifest from the signification of people and of nations in the Word, people signifying those who are in spiritual good, and nations those who are in celestial good, thus who are of the Lord's spiritual church, and who are of his celestial church. AC 1159.
Few persons know what is specifically signified by people, and what specifically by nations, therefore I wish to adduce some passages from the Word, where they are together named, from which it will be evident that something distinct is signified by people, and something distinct by nation, for unless something distinct was signified they would not both have been named together. Thus in Isaiah: "Therefore shall the strong people glorify you, the city of the terrible nations shall fear you. jehovah will swallow up in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all peoples, and the veil that is spread over all nations," Is 25:3, 7, 8. A distinction is here made between people and nations, because people signify those who are of the lord's spiritual kingdom, and nations those who are of his celestial kingdom: thus those who are in spiritual good and who are in celestial good; spiritual good is the good of charity towards our neighbour, and thence the good of faith, and celestial good is the good of love to the lord, and thence the good of mutual love; the Truth of this latter good is what is meant by a city of strong nations, for city signifies the Doctrine of Truth or the Truths of Doctrine; by swallowing up the covering over all peoples and the veil spread over all nations is signified that the shadow will be dissipated which has covered the understanding and prevented its seeing the truths, and perceiving the goods which are of the church and of heaven. Again: " Come near you nations to hear, and you peoples hearken, let the earth hear and the fullness thereof," Is 34:1, inasmuch as nations signify those who are in the good of love, and peoples those who are in the good of charity, and thence in the good of faith, therefore it is said of the nations that they should come near, and of peoples that they should hearken, to draw near signifying to be conjoined by love, and to hearken signifying to obey and be instructed; and therefore it is said, let the earth hear and its fullness, earth signifying the church as to good, and its fullness signifying truths. AE 331.
Verse 2. jehovah is my rock, my strong hold, and my deliverer, my god, my strength in whom I confide, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my high tower. The supreme being is here designated by two distinct names, jehovah and god, and under the former name is called a rock, a strong hold, and deliverer, and under the latter name is styled strength, a shield, a horn of salvation, and a strong tower, and under both is described as an almighty saviour. But how inexplicable are the words, unless interpreted according to the idea suggested in the heavenly Doctrine of the New Jerusalem, namely: that by jehovah is meant the supreme as to divine good, and by god the same supreme as to divine truth, and by both united the Divine Marriage of both! For, according to any other idea, it must of necessity be concluded that there are two distinct sources of divine power, strength, and salvation, the one called jehovah, and the other called god, and that thus in reality there are two almighties, which is a conclusion in direct opposition both to the revelation of god, and the reason of man; whereas, when it is considered that the two names, jehovah and god, are expressive of the two distinct principles, the good and the true, which enter into the composition of the one almighty father of all being, all difficulties vanish, and the above words are then seen to confirm the Divine authority and plenary inspiration of the Book of the Psalms, as resulting from the divine and heavenly marriage of these principles.
Verse 42. I will beat them small as dust before the wind. These words manifestly apply to the spiritual enemies here spoken of, "Which are no other than the principles of what is false and evil. But the question is, what is to be understood by beating small these principles? It may be said perhaps that to beat them small is to regard them as things of small importance, when opposed to the power of the almighty, and that this is a full proof of a conquest over them. But may not the expression, I will beat small, as above applied, have a still further meaning by pointing at the particularising of evils and falses, in other words, by learning to view them in the particular, as well as in the general? Certain it is, that the more minutely we regard any evil, the more detestable it appears, and consequently we have more power over it than when we view it only in the gross. Every wise man therefore will see it to be an important duty to enlarge his ideas of every evil and false principle, under a conviction that the more the ideas of their deformity are enlarged, the more extended is his power over those principles.PSALMS 18 Other translations - previous - next - meaning - Psalms - BM Home - Full Page