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such an extraordinary mode. The pious now, though often receiving extraordinary deliverances, never ask miraculous interventions for their extrication from the power of enemies, or relief from alarming dangers. It would be regarded as indicating both very mistaken views of his government, and a fanatical spirit. And if God had wrought no miracles for David's relief and protection, but had granted him only the ordinary aids of his providence, which his children generally enjoy, why would it not have been as inappropriate and unnatural in him to have prayed for an intervention in such a visible form for his extrication from the evil that threatened him?
The prayer, then (Ps. cxliv. 5-7), may justly be considered as a proof that God had already actually granted him a deliverance like that which he there invokes, and that the interposition, therefore, which he commemorates (Ps. xviii. 6-16), was a real and visible theophany, such as he represents. It was no more miraculous and wonderful than the inspiration which he enjoyed, and the peculiar communications and promises that were made to him. It was no more extraordinary than the visible manifestations of himself which God granted to Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Elijah, and is as credible therefore as they are. Of the other passages to
which Rosenmüller refers, (Nahum i. 1–6), is descriptive of the mode in which God was accustomed to interpose for the deliverance of his people, and the communication and enforcement of his will, as in Egypt, at the Red Sea, and at Sinai; and instead of disproving, therefore, shows that it was in har mony with the administration he was exercising, that he should have interposed in that miraculous manner three hundred years before for the extrication of David from his enemies. On the other hand, Is. xxix. 6, Habak. iii., Hag. ii. 21, and Zech. ix. 13 -16, and xiv. 1–9, are predictions of God's visible interposition for the deliverance of the Israelites at their last great conflict at the time of their restoration, that are accordingly to have a literal accomplishment. There not only is no ground whatever for the supposition that they are figurative, but it is inconsistent with their nature. Instead of an obstacle, therefore, they present an additional reason for regarding the interposition described (Ps. xviii.) as an actual theophany.
The ground on which Hengstenberg regards that part of the Psalm as tropical, is, in like manner, not that there are any specific figures in it which show by their nature that the theophany which it celebrates was merely conceptional, but only that the song is represented in the title to have been com
posed after David had been delivered from all his enemies. That it was not written, however, till near the close of his life, when his conflicts were over, is no proof that the deliverances which it commemorates were not such as he represents them, any more than the fact that his deliverance from Saul took place many years before the Psalm was written, proves that his description of it is figurative instead of literal. Neither he nor the other writers to whom we have referred, seem to have suspected that there are any obstacles in the language itself to the supposition that it is tropical; and were led, perhaps, in a measure to regard it as such, by a feeling that it was too extraordinary to be probable that God had interposed in such a manner to rescue the Psalmist from danger.
The question whether it is figurative or not, and, especially, whether it is to be regarded as figurative simply on account of the nature of the interposition which it ascribes to God, is one of great moment; as if the mere fact that it was a visible appearance in the clouds, with lightnings, thunders, and hail, irrespective of the language in which it is described, is to be taken as a proof that it is figurative, it will result that all the other similar manifestations which are narrated or predicted in the Scriptures must also be regarded as merely tropical; as to our first
parents in Eden, to Abraham, to Jacob, to Moses on Mount Horeb, to the Israelites at Sinai, to Joshua, to Isaiah, Elijah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and John, and no evidence whatever be left that he has ever revealed himself to the senses of any of our race. All those and other narratives of the personal revelation of himself are converted into myths or fictions. And if his visible presence was the mere work of the prophet's fancy, the communications he is represented to have made must naturally be regarded as imaginary also. If it is maintained that God did not in fact manifest himself to their senses, how can it be held that that which is related by the prophets to have been heard by them in his visible presence, is to be regarded as any the less the work of their imaginations? The question whether God has in fact made any such communications to men as the Scriptures represent, may thus fairly be considered as turning on the question whether the visible revelations of himself which they record, like that described (Ps. xviii.), were real, or the mere product of the prophet's fancy.
The question, however, whether the description of David's deliverance is figurative or not, is not to be determined by the nature of the interposition by which it is represented to have been accomplished, but by the language in which it is depicted. I
propose, therefore, to try it by that test, and to show that that which it describes was a reality, not a fiction. In order to this I will point out the several figures that occur in the Psalm, and explain them by their laws.
1, 2. Metonymies. "To the chief musician, by David the servant of Jehovah, who spake unto Jehovah the words of this song, in the day Jehovah freed him from the hand of all his foes, and from the hand of Saul," v. 1. The hand of his foes is used here by metonymy for their power which was exerted by their hand, and the hand of Saul, for his power. The denomination of David the servant of Jehovah, indicates that he sustained a peculiar relation to him and filled an important office towards his chosen people, and may be considered as implying that that sacred and extraordinary relation was the occasion of God's interposing in the majestic manner he celebrates, to rescue him from the enemies that were conspiring against his life. It was as the predestined monarch of Israel and progenitor of the Messiah that God descended in a whirlwind to deliver him from the grasp of his foes, and it is as such that he celebrates that wonderful act. That his extrication from the hand of Saul is mentioned, in addition to his deliverance from his other enemies, is probably because it was that extri