What does Psalm 18:36 mean?
ESV: You gave a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip.
NIV: You provide a broad path for my feet, so that my ankles do not give way.
NASB: You enlarge my steps under me, And my feet have not slipped.
CSB: You make a spacious place beneath me for my steps, and my ankles do not give way.
NLT: You have made a wide path for my feet to keep them from slipping.
KJV: Thou hast enlarged my steps under me, that my feet did not slip.
NKJV: You enlarged my path under me, So my feet did not slip.
Verse Commentary:
Narrow surfaces are hard to walk on. Olympic athletes compete on a balance beam only as wide as a hand. Even more difficult is to move along a wire or cord, also known as "walking a tightrope." Rough terrain is also tough to navigate, with few places on which a person can set his or her feet. When the path is narrow, blocked, or unstable, it becomes almost impossible to make progress. In contrast, flat, clear surfaces such as a running track allow for incredibly fast movement.

As part of praising God for enabling his victories (Psalm 18:31–35), David poetically refers to God giving him a clear, stable path to success.

This concept of having a "wide place" to travel also acknowledges the liberty David received from God. The Lord has given liberty to Christians too. He redeemed us from the enemy and gives us the privilege of walking by faith. The apostle Paul addressed the churches of Galatia about this freedom that the Lord has given us. False teachers had wormed their way into the churches of Galatia and insisted that salvation depended upon their becoming Jews. They taught the Gentile believers in Galatia to be circumcised and adhere to the law of Moses (Galatians 5:7–12).

To the contrary, Paul taught the Galatians that Christ freed believers from the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13). He urges the Christians in Galatia to "stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery" (Galatians 5:1). Jesus promised, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:31–32). We are not free to sin, but we are free to serve and enjoy God.
Verse Context:
Psalm 18:28–45 celebrates the Lord's goodness to David during his wilderness experience (2 Samuel 22:1). Second Samuel 22:29–46 is a companion passage, and 2 Samuel chapter 8 features several of David's victories. Other passages that focus on the victory God gives His people are Romans 8:28–39, 1 Corinthians 15:50–58, 2 Corinthians 1:8–11, 2:14–17, Ephesians 6:10–20, Philippians 1:12–26, 1 Peter 1:3–9, and 1 John 5:1–5.
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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