2 Samuel 22

2 Samuel 22 is one of the final chapters of the Books of Samuel in the Hebrew Bible (or the 22nd chapter of the "Second Book of Samuel" in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible). It contains a Song of Thanksgiving attributed to King David which corresponds to Psalm 18.[1]

2 Samuel 22
The complete Hebrew text of the Books of Samuel (1 and 2 Samuel) in the Leningrad Codex (1008)
BookBooks of Samuel
Hebrew Bible partNevi'im
Order in the Hebrew part3
CategoryFormer Prophets
Christian Bible partOld Testament
Order in the Christian part10


The original text of this chapter was written in the Hebrew language. This chapter is divided into 51 verses.

Textual versions

Some ancient witnesses for the text of this chapter in Hebrew are of the Masoretic Text, which includes the Codex Cairensis (895), Aleppo Codex (10th century), Codex Leningradensis (1008).[2]

There is also a translation into Koine Greek known as the Septuagint, made in the last few centuries BC. Extant ancient manuscripts of the Septuagint version include Codex Vaticanus (B; B; 4th century), Codex Sinaiticus (S; BHK: S; 4th century), and Codex Alexandrinus (A; A; 5th century).[3]


The song celebrates King David's achievements as God's marvellous works, which is very similar to Psalm 18, with only minor differences, attributed to possible scribal errors or to the transmission process.[1] According to Charles and Emilie Briggs in the International Critical Commentary series, Psalm 18 borrowed material from 2 Samuel 22, which may have been written by David himself, with later additions in the psalm by multiple editors adapting it for use in public worship.[4] The Pulpit Commentary suggests that "the introduction – David spoke to the Lord the words of this song on the day when the Lord delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul – "was probably written by the prophet who compiled the Books of Samuel. The scribe who collected the Book of Psalms would be a priest, and he has repeated it with one or two additions".[5] It is generally recognized that the language of the poem is archaic,[1] with earlier attempts to date it to the Macabean period (second century BCE) 'have been abandoned in favor of the tenth century BCE'.[6] The analysis finds two ancient poems from the monarchical period: (1) verse 2–20 and (2) verses 29–31, 35–51),[7] which were linked with the addition of verses 21–28, verse 1 and verse 51a.[1] The combined songs celebrates two aspects in the life of David: the deliverance from his enemies and his military conquests.[1]

Verse 1

Then David spoke to the Lord the words of this song, on the day when the Lord had delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul.[8]

This verse contains the song title which generally relates to the protection of David from Saul and his enemies, not focusing on any particular event.[1]

Verses 2–20

The prominent theme of first poem, comprising verses 2–20, is the rescue of David from his enemies, with the help of God, in the imagery of a rock as a place of refuge (verses 2–4), and as a theophany (verses 8–20) that God responded to his cry of help (verse 7) when he was in distress at the hands of the enemies (verses 5–6).[1]

Verses 21–28

The transitional verses 21–28 contain traces of Deuteronomistic language, the most obvious clichés being: 'the ways of the LORD' (cf. Deuteronomy 8:6; 10:11, etc.), 'judgements and statutes' (Deuteronomy 4:5; 5:1, etc.).[1] Verses 21–25 proclaim David's innocence, pointing (according to biblical commentator Alexander Kirkpatrick) "to the earlier years of David's reign rather than the later, overclouded as these were by the fatal consequences of his sin" (his adultery with Bathsheba),[9] with its fateful consequences which hung over David for the remainder of his life.[10] Kirkpatrick associates this song with the period of peace described in 2 Samuel 7:1, but after the visit of Nathan when he proclaims God's covenant with David "and his descendants for ever".[11] Verses 26-27 assert again the theme of 'Yahweh's help to the blameless and pure' in a fourfold statement, which 'have been described as an ancient quatrain'[12]

Verses 29–51

The second poetic section (verses 29–51) focuses more on 'David's victories over his enemies', so this part has been called a 'royal victory song'.[1] The mention of David and his descendants only in the last phrase of the song is a 'feature paralleled in other victory songs',[13] so it is to be regarded not as an addition,[14] but as original.[15]

Verse 51

"He is the tower of salvation to His king,
And shows mercy to His anointed,
To David and his descendants forevermore."[16]
  • "Tower": from Hebrew: מגדיל; written: migdil; read: migdol.[17]
  • "Mercy" (Hebrew: חסד; khesed[17]): "steadfast love" (NRSV) or "loyalty".[18]
  • "Anointed" (from Hebrew word: מָשִׁיחַ; mashiach[17]): "Messiah".[18]
  • "His descendants": supporting a forward-looking statement that God would also keep the covenant with David's descendants.[19]

See also


  1. Jones 2007, p. 228.
  2. Würthwein 1995, pp. 35-37.
  3. Würthwein 1995, pp. 73-74.
  4. Charles Augustus Briggs; Emilie Grace Briggs (1960) [1906]. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Psalms. International Critical Commentary. 1. Edinburgh: T & T Clark. pp. 137–141.
  5. Pulpit Commentary on 2 Samuel 22, accessed 20 August 2017
  6. Cross, F. M. (1953) 'A Royal Song of Thanksgiving: 2 Sam 22 = Psalm 18', JBL 72:15-34; apud Jones 2007, p. 228
  7. McCarter, P. K. (1984), 2 Samuel, AB 9 (Garden City, NY: Doubleday); apud Jones 2007, p. 228
  8. 2 Samuel 22:1 NKJV
  9. Kirkpatrick, A., Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges on 2 Samuel 22, accessed 20 August 2017
  10. 2 Samuel 12:10
  11. 2 Samuel 7:16 cf. 2 Samuel 22:51
  12. Cross, F. M. (1953) 'A New Qumran Biblical Fragment Related to the Original Hebrew Underlying the Septuagint', BASOR 132: 15-26; apud Jones 2007, p. 228.
  13. Hertzberg, H. W. (1964), 1 and 2 Samuel: A Commentary, tr. J. S. Bowden, OTL (London: SCM); apud Jones 2007, p. 229.
  14. Jones 2007, p. 229.
  15. See: McCarter, P. K. (1984), 2 Samuel, AB 9 (Garden City, NY: Doubleday); apud Jones 2007, p. 229.
  16. 2 Samuel 22:51 NKJV
  17. Greek text analysis: 2 Samuel 22:51. Biblehub.com
  18. Coogan 2007, p. 482 Hebrew Bible.
  19. Payne 1994, p. 332.




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