“To the choirmaster leader, a psalm of David, the servant of Yahweh, who addressed the words of this song to Yahweh on the day when Yahweh delivered him from the hand of all his enemies, and from the hand of Saul.
‘I love you!
Yahweh is my rock.
Yahweh is my fortress.
Yahweh is my deliverer.
I take refuge in God.
Yahweh is my shield.
Yahweh is the horn of my salvation.
Yahweh is my stronghold.
I call upon Yahweh.
He is worthy to be praised.
I shall be saved from my enemies.’”
Psalm 18 is a very long psalm with a long introduction. It portrays the final victory of David against all his enemies, especially Saul. This is almost identical to the canticle or song of David in 2 Samuel, chapter 22. Thus it is a royal psalm of thanksgiving. These first few phrases, including the introduction, are almost word for word from 2 Samuel. What a beautiful introduction. He loved Yahweh. Yahweh, his God, was his strength, his rock, and his fortress in whom he took refuge. God was his shield, his horn, his stronghold, and his savior. David was saved from his enemies. Surely Yahweh was worthy to be praised.
“The king fell into a rage. He gave orders to have pans and caldrons heated. These were heated immediately. He commanded that the tongue of their spokesman be cut out. They were to scalp him. Then they were to cut off his hands and feet, while the rest of the brothers and the mother looked on. When he was utterly helpless, the king ordered them to take him to the fire, still breathing, and to fry him in a pan. The smoke from the pan spread widely, but the brothers and their mother encouraged one another to die nobly. They said.
‘The Lord God is watching over us.
In truth he has compassion on us.
As Moses declared in his song
That bore witness against the people to their faces,
When he said,
He will have compassion on his servants.’”
The king seems to be personally present at this torture, even though his representatives carry out the action, either in Jerusalem or Antioch. This story of the 7 sons was the principal subject of the later 4 Maccabees, but there was no mention of it 1 Maccabees. This is a particularly brutal story. First they heated up the pans. Then they cut the tongue, the scalp, the hands, and the feet of the spokesperson, while the others looked on. They then fried him on the heated pan while he was still breathing. However, the brothers encouraged each other. They knew the Lord would have compassion on them, based on the Canticle of Moses in Deuteronomy, chapter 32.