Psalm 18:35

ESV You have given me the shield of your salvation, and your right hand supported me, and your gentleness made me great.
NIV You make your saving help my shield, and your right hand sustains me; your help has made me great.
NASB You have also given me the shield of Your salvation, And Your right hand upholds me; And Your gentleness makes me great.
CSB You have given me the shield of your salvation; your right hand upholds me, and your humility exalts me.
NLT You have given me your shield of victory. Your right hand supports me; your help has made me great.
KJV 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.

What does Psalm 18:35 mean?

David explains that he owes everything to God. God reached down to David and saved him. Also, God stretched out His mighty hand to support David, as he defended himself from enemies such as Saul (2 Samuel 22:1). In ancient literature, the right hand was symbolic of someone's greatest power and ability. Being "shielded" from harm and upheld by the power of God gave David tremendous confidence.

Interestingly, after making so many references to power and strength (Psalm 18:32–34), David says it was God's gentleness which made him great. In this context, that refers to David becoming the king of Israel. The Hebrew word translated as "gentleness" here can also imply "goodness, meekness, or humility." Another possible meaning is "condescension," which means to "look down" on someone. When two people are equals, condescension is insulting. When someone of vast power "condescends" to a less-formidable person, it's an act of charity. Certainly, God was good to do for David what He did, and He condescended to look down to David and make him great.

Even more so, God has also condescended to come to our assistance by providing salvation for us. Although He created the universe and everything it and sustains it, He bent down to us (Philippians 2:5–8), met our most critical need, and has made us "great." Our greatness is the status we enjoy by grace as "heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ" (Romans 8:17).
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