What does Psalm 18:17 mean?
ESV: He rescued me from my strong enemy and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me.
NIV: He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me.
NASB: He saved me from my strong enemy, And from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me.
CSB: He rescued me from my powerful enemy and from those who hated me, for they were too strong for me.
NLT: He rescued me from my powerful enemies, from those who hated me and were too strong for me.
KJV: He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: for they were too strong for me.
NKJV: He delivered me from my strong enemy, From those who hated me, For they were too strong for me.
Verse Commentary:
David continues his testimony of the Lord's intervention on his behalf. He describes his enemy as strong and hateful. Further, he admits they were too mighty for him, but they were not too mighty for the Lord. He rescued David from his enemy. David had spent ten years as a fugitive in the wilderness when Saul sought to kill him, but the Lord brought those years to a happy conclusion (2 Samuel 22:1). After David became king he still fought enemies. Later in his reign that even included fleeing from his own son, Absalom, who had conspired to overthrow his father (2 Samuel 15—19; Psalm 3).

Regardless of how desperate our circumstances seem, we can wait patiently on the Lord and He will bring everything to a happy conclusion. Our enemy, the Devil, is too mighty for us, so we dare not try to defeat him in our own strength. The apostle Paul told Timothy to be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus (2 Timothy 2:1). And he told the Ephesians to "be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might" (Ephesians 6:10). Further, he exhorted them to "put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil" (Ephesians 6:11). The apostle John assured us that He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4).
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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