What does Psalm 18:16 mean?
ESV: He sent from on high, he took me; he drew me out of many waters.
NIV: He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.
NASB: He sent from on high, He took me; He drew me out of many waters.
CSB: He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he pulled me out of deep water.
NLT: He reached down from heaven and rescued me; he drew me out of deep waters.
KJV: He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters.
NKJV: He sent from above, He took me; He drew me out of many waters.
Verse Commentary:
This continues David's praise for God's rescue during hard times (2 Samuel 22:1). As surely as the Lord drew Moses out of the waters of the Nile (Exodus 2:10), so the Lord drew David out of many waters. David was surrounded by his enemies and felt as doomed as a drowning man, but the Lord pulled him to safety. Earlier in this passage (Psalm 18:4–6), David compared his hardships to torrents of destruction and death. In those moments, he cried out for help and God answered his prayer.

Now David testifies to the fact that God delivered him from "many waters." This continues the theme implied by the word "deliver," translated from a Hebrew term which implies rescue (Psalm 18:2).

Matthew 8:23–27 tells the story about Jesus' terrified disciples and how He rescued them. They were all in a boat on the Sea of Galilee when a powerful storm suddenly whipped up the sea and sent waves crashing into the boat. Fearing for their lives, the disciples woke Jesus and asked Him to save them. They believed they were perishing. Jesus rebuked them for their lack of faith, arose, and, with just a word, calmed the wind and the sea. His power over nature caused the disciples to ask, "What sort of man is this, that even winds and sea obey him?"

We may find ourselves drowning in a sea of disappointments and/or difficulties, but the Lord is able to deliver us. We need to trust Him.
Verse Context:
Psalm 18:1–19 expresses David's love for the Lord and his praise to God for delivering him from his enemies. This is very similar—perhaps an updated version—of David's song of praise recorded in 2 Samuel chapter 22. Psalms 3—5 recall David's prayer for deliverance from his foes and his trust in the Lord to deliver him from them. Psalms 48:1; 96:4; 145:3; and 150 also express praise to the Lord. An account of David's deliverance from his enemies is found in 2 Samuel 19—21. Other passages of Scripture that reveal God's deliverance of His people include Exodus 14; Joshua 10; Judges 7; 2 Kings 19:20–37; and Revelation 19:11–21.
Chapter Summary:
In 2 Samuel chapter 22, David expresses praise for all the times in his life where God gave him victory. That prayer or song is copied almost identically here. Psalm 18, itself, might have been adapted for use in public worship. David remembers dire situations where God rescued him. He dramatically recounts how God provided rescue and power. David also credits God with rewarding his obedience by making him a powerful and successful military leader. For these reasons, David commits himself to the praise and worship of the Lord.
Chapter Context:
This psalm is David's prayer to the Lord in which David praises the Lord for making him victorious over his enemies. Second Samuel 5, 8, and 10 are companion chapters, and 2 Samuel 22 provides another version of this psalm. Second Samuel 22:1 tells us David composed Psalm 18 on the day the Lord delivered him from his enemies and Saul. Second Samuel 19 reports David's victorious return to Jerusalem after David vanquished his enemies.
Book Summary:
The book of Psalms is composed of individual songs, hymns, or poems, each of which is a ''Psalm'' in and of itself. These works contain a wide variety of themes. Some Psalms focus on praising and worshipping God. Others cry out in anguish over the pain of life. Still other Psalms look forward to the coming of the Messiah. While some Psalms are related, each has its own historical and biblical context.
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