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Psalm 18 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Psalm 18[a]

A King’s Thanksgiving for Victory

For the leader. Of David, the servant of the Lord, who sang to the Lord the words of this song after the Lord had rescued him from the clutches of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said:


I love you, Lord, my strength,
    Lord, my rock, my fortress, my deliverer,
My God, my rock of refuge,
    my shield, my saving horn,[b] my stronghold!
Praised be the Lord, I exclaim!
    I have been delivered from my enemies.


The cords of death encompassed me;
    the torrents of destruction terrified me.
The cords[c] of Sheol encircled me;
    the snares of death lay in wait for me.
In my distress I called out: Lord!
    I cried out to my God.
From his temple he heard my voice;
    my cry to him reached his ears.
[d]The earth rocked and shook;
    the foundations of the mountains trembled;
    they shook as his wrath flared up.
Smoke rose from his nostrils,
    a devouring fire from his mouth;
    it kindled coals into flame.
10 He parted the heavens and came down,
    a dark cloud under his feet.
11 Mounted on a cherub[e] he flew,
    borne along on the wings of the wind.
12 He made darkness his cloak around him;
    his canopy, water-darkened stormclouds.
13 From the gleam before him, his clouds passed,
    hail and coals of fire.
14 The Lord thundered from heaven;
    the Most High made his voice resound.
15 He let fly his arrows[f] and scattered them;
    shot his lightning bolts and dispersed them.
16 Then the bed of the sea appeared;
    the world’s foundations lay bare,
At your rebuke, O Lord,
    at the storming breath of your nostrils.
17 He reached down from on high and seized me;
    drew me out of the deep waters.
18 He rescued me from my mighty enemy,
    from foes too powerful for me.
19 They attacked me on my day of distress,
    but the Lord was my support.
20 He set me free in the open;
    he rescued me because he loves me.


21 The Lord acknowledged my righteousness,
    rewarded my clean hands.
22 For I kept the ways of the Lord;
    I was not disloyal to my God.
23 For his laws were all before me,
    his decrees I did not cast aside.
24 I was honest toward him;
    I was on guard against sin.
25 So the Lord rewarded my righteousness,
    the cleanness of my hands in his sight.
26 Toward the faithful you are faithful;
    to the honest man you are honest;
27 Toward the pure, you are pure;
    but to the perverse you are devious.
28 For humble people you save;
    haughty eyes you bring low.
29 For you, Lord, give light to my lamp;
    my God brightens my darkness.
30 With you I can rush an armed band,
    with my God to help I can leap a wall.
31 God’s way is unerring;
    the Lord’s promise is refined;
    he is a shield for all who take refuge in him.


32 Truly, who is God except the Lord?
    Who but our God is the rock?
33 This God who girded me with might,
    kept my way unerring,
34 Who made my feet like a deer’s,
    and set me on the heights,
35 Who trained my hands for war,
    my arms to string a bow of bronze.[g]


36 You have given me your saving shield;
    your right hand has upheld me;
    your favor made me great.
37 You made room for my steps beneath me;
    my ankles never twisted.
38 I pursued my enemies and overtook them;
    I did not turn back till I destroyed them.
39 I decimated them; they could not rise;
    they fell at my feet.
40 You girded me with valor for war,
    subjugated my opponents beneath me.
41 You made my foes expose their necks to me;
    those who hated me I silenced.
42 They cried for help, but no one saved them;
    cried to the Lord but received no answer.
43 I ground them to dust before the wind;
    I left them like mud in the streets.
44 You rescued me from the strife of peoples;
    you made me head over nations.
A people I had not known served me;
45     as soon as they heard of me they obeyed.
Foreigners submitted before me;
46     foreigners cringed;
    they came cowering from their dungeons.


47 The Lord lives! Blessed be my rock!
    Exalted be God, my savior!
48 O God who granted me vengeance,
    made peoples subject to me,
49     and saved me from my enemies,
Truly you have elevated me above my opponents,
    from a man of lawlessness you have rescued me.
50 Thus I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
    I will sing praises to your name.
51 You have given great victories to your king,
    and shown mercy to his anointed,
    to David and his posterity forever.


  1. Psalm 18 A royal thanksgiving for a military victory, duplicated in 2 Sm 22. Thanksgiving Psalms are in essence reports of divine rescue. The Psalm has two parallel reports of rescue, the first told from a heavenly perspective (Ps 18:5–20), and the second from an earthly perspective (Ps 18:36–46). The first report adapts old mythic language of a cosmic battle between sea and rainstorm in order to depict God’s rescue of the Israelite king from his enemies. Each report has a short hymnic introduction (Ps 18:2–4, 32–36) and conclusion (Ps 18:21–31, 47–50).
  2. 18:3 My saving horn: my strong savior. The horn referred to is the weapon of a bull and the symbol of fertility, cf. 1 Sm 2:10; Ps 132:17; Lk 1:69.
  3. 18:6 Cords: hunting imagery, the cords of a snare.
  4. 18:8–16 God appears in the storm, which in Palestine comes from the west. The introduction to the theophany (Ps 18:8–9) is probably a description of a violent, hot, and dry east-wind storm. In the fall transition period from the rainless summer to the rainy winter such storms regularly precede the rains, cf. Ex 14:21–22.
  5. 18:11 Cherub: a winged creature, derived from myth, in the service of the deity (Gn 3:24; Ex 25:18–20; 37:6–9). Cherubim were the throne bearers of the deity (Ps 80:2; 99:1; 1 Kgs 6:23–28; 8:6–8).
  6. 18:15 Arrows: lightning.
  7. 18:35 Bow of bronze: hyperbole for a bow difficult to bend and therefore capable of propelling an arrow with great force.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Psalm 18 New International Version (NIV)

Psalm 18[a]

For the director of music. Of David the servant of the Lord. He sang to the Lord the words of this song when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. He said:

I love you, Lord, my strength.

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
    my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
    my shield[b] and the horn[c] of my salvation, my stronghold.

I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
    and I have been saved from my enemies.
The cords of death entangled me;
    the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
The cords of the grave coiled around me;
    the snares of death confronted me.

In my distress I called to the Lord;
    I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
    my cry came before him, into his ears.
The earth trembled and quaked,
    and the foundations of the mountains shook;
    they trembled because he was angry.
Smoke rose from his nostrils;
    consuming fire came from his mouth,
    burning coals blazed out of it.
He parted the heavens and came down;
    dark clouds were under his feet.
10 He mounted the cherubim and flew;
    he soared on the wings of the wind.
11 He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him—
    the dark rain clouds of the sky.
12 Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced,
    with hailstones and bolts of lightning.
13 The Lord thundered from heaven;
    the voice of the Most High resounded.[d]
14 He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy,
    with great bolts of lightning he routed them.
15 The valleys of the sea were exposed
    and the foundations of the earth laid bare
at your rebuke, Lord,
    at the blast of breath from your nostrils.

16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
    he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
    from my foes, who were too strong for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
    but the Lord was my support.
19 He brought me out into a spacious place;
    he rescued me because he delighted in me.

20 The Lord has dealt with me according to my righteousness;
    according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.
21 For I have kept the ways of the Lord;
    I am not guilty of turning from my God.
22 All his laws are before me;
    I have not turned away from his decrees.
23 I have been blameless before him
    and have kept myself from sin.
24 The Lord has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
    according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.

25 To the faithful you show yourself faithful,
    to the blameless you show yourself blameless,
26 to the pure you show yourself pure,
    but to the devious you show yourself shrewd.
27 You save the humble
    but bring low those whose eyes are haughty.
28 You, Lord, keep my lamp burning;
    my God turns my darkness into light.
29 With your help I can advance against a troop[e];
    with my God I can scale a wall.

30 As for God, his way is perfect:
    The Lord’s word is flawless;
    he shields all who take refuge in him.
31 For who is God besides the Lord?
    And who is the Rock except our God?
32 It is God who arms me with strength
    and keeps my way secure.
33 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
    he causes me to stand on the heights.
34 He trains my hands for battle;
    my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35 You make your saving help my shield,
    and your right hand sustains me;
    your help has made me great.
36 You provide a broad path for my feet,
    so that my ankles do not give way.

37 I pursued my enemies and overtook them;
    I did not turn back till they were destroyed.
38 I crushed them so that they could not rise;
    they fell beneath my feet.
39 You armed me with strength for battle;
    you humbled my adversaries before me.
40 You made my enemies turn their backs in flight,
    and I destroyed my foes.
41 They cried for help, but there was no one to save them
    to the Lord, but he did not answer.
42 I beat them as fine as windblown dust;
    I trampled them[f] like mud in the streets.
43 You have delivered me from the attacks of the people;
    you have made me the head of nations.
People I did not know now serve me,
44     foreigners cower before me;
    as soon as they hear of me, they obey me.
45 They all lose heart;
    they come trembling from their strongholds.

46 The Lord lives! Praise be to my Rock!
    Exalted be God my Savior!
47 He is the God who avenges me,
    who subdues nations under me,
48     who saves me from my enemies.
You exalted me above my foes;
    from a violent man you rescued me.
49 Therefore I will praise you, Lord, among the nations;
    I will sing the praises of your name.

50 He gives his king great victories;
    he shows unfailing love to his anointed,
    to David and to his descendants forever.


  1. Psalm 18:1 In Hebrew texts 18:1-50 is numbered 18:2-51.
  2. Psalm 18:2 Or sovereign
  3. Psalm 18:2 Horn here symbolizes strength.
  4. Psalm 18:13 Some Hebrew manuscripts and Septuagint (see also 2 Samuel 22:14); most Hebrew manuscripts resounded, / amid hailstones and bolts of lightning
  5. Psalm 18:29 Or can run through a barricade
  6. Psalm 18:42 Many Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint, Syriac and Targum (see also 2 Samuel 22:43); Masoretic Text I poured them out
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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