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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 20

Garner-Howes Baptist CommentaryGarner-Howes

Verses 1-9

Psalms 20

A NATIONAL ANTHEM FOR ISRAEL

Verses 1-9:

Israel’s Prayer For Her King In Battle

Psalms 20, 21 form a pair of Praise and Prayer songs for Israel. In this 20th Psalm Israel prays for her anointed king as he goes forth to battle, with a word of Divine assurance that the God of Jacob will save his anointed king and people in conflict.

Verse 1 appeals to the Lord to hear or answer his people in the hour of trouble, even as he saved or delivered Jacob in his hour of trouble, as recounted Genesis ch. 32. Then it is added "The name or power and faithfulness of the God of Jacob defend or exalt thee, set thee on high, as a victor in battle," Psalms 59. See also Psalms 34:5-7; Psalms 9:10; Proverbs 18:10; Isaiah 50:10.

Verse 2 extends the earnest prayer that this exalting God might "send help" to Israel from the sanctuary, even strength "out of Zion," on the basis of His covenant made with His people there; Zion is the pledged and dedicated seat of His throne, Psalms 2:6.

Verse 3 continues to ask that this covenant God of Jacob, of all Israel, would remember and accept His burnt offerings, as David made them, in harmony with the law, before going forth to battle, Leviticus 2:9; 1 Kings 18:38; 1 Chronicles 21:26.

Verse 4 calls upon this covenant God to grant to Israel’s king the protection in battle that He had promised, that He might fulfill all His covenant counsel and purpose for David in Israel. It was a positional type of Jesus Christ and His desire to deliver all men who believe, Isaiah 53:11; Luke 22:15.

Verse 5 recounts the faith of David and Israel in His help in the hour of their battle. They declared that they would "rejoice in thy salvation," because it "is of the Lord," not of man, John 2:9. They added that they would then "set up" or raise up their banner, to praise the Lord for victory, as Moses built an altar after defeating Amalek, Psalms 60:4; Exodus 17:15, it is then added by David that "the Lord (Jehovah) (may he) fulfill all thy petitions," manifesting His power in times of peace as well as conflict.

Verse 6 recounts the words of the people of Israel, as an ideal person, speaking in the singular, experimentally knew that the Lord had heard, delivered, and protected His anointed people and king as they put their trust in Him. He had heard and answered from His holy heaven with the saving strength of His right hand, as certified Isaiah 57:15; Isaiah 63:15. See also Psalms 11:4; John 17:1; Hebrews 5:7.

Verse 7 states that some trust in chariots and some in horses; But they of Israel cried out "we will remember (trustfully) the name (power and honor) of the Lord our God." God had forbidden the use of war-chariots and horses for battle in Israel, leaving them for the heathen and gentiles; The covenant people were to rely on the mighty arm of Jehovah God, instead of horses and chariots in times of battle, Joshua 17:16; 2 Chronicles 32:8. David met Goliath without them, 1 Samuel 17:45; But Solomon disobeyed God to his hurt in this matter, 1 Kings 10:26; Deuteronomy 17:16; The people’s attitude was holy when they resolved, "we will remember the name of the Lord our God," Psalms 17:7; Psalms 18:35.

Verse 8 relates "they are brought down and fallen,’; in defeat. They who trusted in the might of chariots and horses were destroyed, as Pharaoh and his army in the Red Sea, Exodus 14:21-25. The people of Israel rightly concluded that battles were not won by might or power of carnal things like horses and chariots but by the strength, right hand or might of Jehovah, Zechariah 4:6.

Verse 9 concludes this prayer as it began with a direct address appeal "Save, rescue, liberate, or deliver Lord; let the King (of glory) King absolute over all the earth, answer when we call." They recognized the God who is (exists) over all, as their King and their help. It is still true today. Besides Him there is no other true, living God, Deuteronomy 4:7; Exodus 20:1.

Bibliographical Information
Garner, Albert & Howes, J.C. "Commentary on Psalms 20". Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghb/psalms-20.html. 1985.
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