Psalm 18:9

ESV He bowed the heavens and came down; thick darkness was under his feet.
NIV He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet.
NASB He also bowed the heavens down low, and came down With thick darkness under His feet.
CSB He bent the heavens and came down, total darkness beneath his feet.
NLT He opened the heavens and came down; dark storm clouds were beneath his feet.
KJV He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was under his feet.

What does Psalm 18:9 mean?

A poetic description of God's powerful response (Psalm 18:7–8) to David's pleas continues. David portrays the Lord as descending from heaven like a black cloud. The imagery suggests the sky was dropping down to the earth, engulfing it in an ominous darkness. Earlier passages compared God's wrath to an earthquake, and possibly to a volcanic eruption. This verse might follow that pattern, depicting the dust, smoke, and ash of such an event. An alternative image might be that of a massive tornado.

When God judges the wicked in the tribulation, the seven-year period that follows His removal of Christians from the earth (1 Thessalonians 4:13–17), thick darkness will fall upon the earth. Joel 2:2 describes this period as "a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and thick darkness." Revelation 16:10 prophesies that during the fifth bowl judgment the kingdom of the beast will be plunged into darkness and people will gnaw their tongues in anguish. Whereas the events of Revelation 16:10 are at least partially literal, David's description of God's descending like a black cloud is figurative. Nevertheless, both descriptions provide a terrifying account of God's furious judgment.
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