What does Psalm 18:37 mean?
ESV: I pursued my enemies and overtook them, and did not turn back till they were consumed.
NIV: I pursued my enemies and overtook them; I did not turn back till they were destroyed.
NASB: I pursued my enemies and overtook them, And I did not turn back until they were consumed.
CSB: I pursue my enemies and overtake them; I do not turn back until they are wiped out.
NLT: I chased my enemies and caught them; I did not stop until they were conquered.
KJV: I have pursued mine enemies, and overtaken them: neither did I turn again till they were consumed.
NKJV: I have pursued my enemies and overtaken them; Neither did I turn back again till they were destroyed.
Verse Commentary:
David tells us in this verse that he chased down his enemies, overtook them, and obliterated them. This is a reference to David's past wars (2 Samuel 8:1–8, 14). In 2 Samuel 22:38–43 David also reports his victories in war. He sang a song to the Lord after the Lord had "delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul" (2 Samuel 22:1). That speech seems to have been adapted for public worship, here in Psalm 18. This is an expression not only of David's commitment to God, but to God's work in making David successful.

It should be noted that David did not initiate land-grabbing invasions of other nations. He did not lead soldiers into foreign countries, engaging armies in military conflict so he could acquire their territory. However, when a foreign power invaded Israel, David attacked that enemy and thoroughly subdued it. Nations who were hostile to Israel were defeated and left intact, but as subordinates to Israel.

As Christians we live in a culture that is neither friendly to God, nor to us. Jesus predicted that in the world we would have tribulation, but He told us to take heart because He has overcome the world (John 16:33). Unlike David, who fought to defend a physical kingdom using physical war (Psalm 144:1; 1 Samuel 17:50; 2 Samuel 5:18–20), the primary battle of a Christian is spiritual (John 18:36; Ephesians 6:12). Even so, we can declare our commitment to God and praise Him for victory in advance (Romans 8:37).
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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