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The earth heaved and shook.[a]
The roots of the mountains[b] trembled;[c]
they heaved because he was angry.
Smoke ascended from[d] his nose;[e]
fire devoured as it came from his mouth.[f]
He hurled down fiery coals.[g]
He made the sky sink[h] as he descended;
a thick cloud was under his feet.

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Footnotes

  1. Psalm 18:7 sn The earth heaved and shook. The imagery pictures an earthquake in which the earth’s surface rises and falls. The earthquake motif is common in OT theophanies of God as warrior and in ancient Near Eastern literary descriptions of warring gods and kings. See R. B. Chisholm, “An Exegetical and Theological Study of Psalm 18/2 Samuel 22” (Th.D. diss., Dallas Theological Seminary, 1983), 160-62.
  2. Psalm 18:7 tn 2 Sam 22:8 has “heavens” which forms a merism with “earth” in the preceding line. The “foundations of the heavens” would be the mountains. However, the reading “foundations of the mountains” has a parallel in Deut 32:22.
  3. Psalm 18:7 tn In this poetic narrative context the prefixed verbal form is best understood as a preterite indicating past tense, not an imperfect. Note the three prefixed verbal forms with vav (ו) consecutive in the verse.
  4. Psalm 18:8 tn Heb “within”; or “[from] within.” For a discussion of the use of the preposition ב (bet) here, see R. B. Chisholm, “An Exegetical and Theological Study of Psalm 18/2 Samuel 22” (Th.D. diss., Dallas Theological Seminary, 1983), 163-64.
  5. Psalm 18:8 tn Or “in his anger.” The noun אַף (ʾaf) can carry the abstract meaning “anger,” but the parallelism (note “from his mouth”) suggests the more concrete meaning “nose” here. See also v. 15, “the powerful breath of your nose.”
  6. Psalm 18:8 tn Heb “fire from his mouth devoured.” In this poetic narrative context the prefixed verbal form is best understood as a preterite indicating past tense, not an imperfect. Note the two perfect verbal forms in the verse.sn Fire devoured as it came from his mouth. For other examples of fire as a weapon in OT theophanies and ancient Near Eastern portrayals of warring gods and kings, see R. B. Chisholm, “An Exegetical and Theological Study of Psalm 18/2 Samuel 22” (Th.D. diss., Dallas Theological Seminary, 1983), 165-67.
  7. Psalm 18:8 tn Heb “coals burned from him.” Perhaps the psalmist pictures God’s fiery breath igniting coals (cf. Job 41:21), which he then hurls as weapons (cf. Ps 120:4).
  8. Psalm 18:9 tn The Hebrew verb נָטָה (natah) can carry the sense “[cause to] bend, bow down.” For example, Gen 49:15 pictures Issachar as a donkey that “bends” its shoulder or back under a burden. Here the Lord causes the sky, pictured as a dome or vault, to sink down as he descends in the storm.

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