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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 20

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 1

The LORD hear thee in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob defend thee;

Israel's prayer for its anointed king in battle. So the Church's prayer for her Messiah's triumph. Psalms 20:1-9 and Ps Israel's prayer for its anointed king in battle. So the Church's prayer for her Messiah's triumph. Psalms 20:1-9 and Psalms 21:1-13 form a pair. Psalms 20:1-9.-Prayer that the God of Jacob would help Israel's King in the coming conflict (Psalms 20:1-4); assurance that Yahweh will save His Anointed King and people (Psalms 20:5-8); summary prayer (Psalms 20:9).

Hear thee - i:e., answer thee.

The name - the manifested power and faithfulness.

God of Jacob - i:e., of the God who saved Jacob in his "day of trouble," (Genesis 32:1-32) defend thee [ saagab (H7682)] - literally, 'exalt thee,' or 'set thee on a high and secure place,' (Psalms 59:1-17.)

Verse 2

Send thee help from the sanctuary, and strengthen thee out of Zion;

Help ... out of Zion. The help sought is on the ground of God's covenant with His people, whereof the sanctuary on Zion is the pledge. Zion is the destined seat of His throne (Psalms 2:6).

Verse 3

Remember all thy offerings, and accept thy burnt sacrifice; Selah.

Remember. The word "remember" [ yizkor (H2142)] alludes to the portion of the meat offering (so minchowt (H4503) "offerings," here expresses) taken for a 'memorial' unto the Lord ['azkaaraah], and burnt by the priest in the fire, for a sweet savour, to put God in remembrance of the offerer (Leviticus 2:9). The offerings meant are the festive oblations presented by the king in going forth to battle (cf. Acts 10:4).

Selah. The "Selah" implies here that between this verse and the following one the offering the sacrifices intervened, during which there was a solemn pause (Hengstenberg).

Accept, [ yªdashªneh (H1878)] - literally, make fat, and so to regard as an acceptable victim (Hengstenberg). Rather, from a root [ daashen (H1878)], 'ashes,' 'to reduce to ashes' by fire, as God did in the case of acceptable sacrifices (Buxtorf). (Compare 1 Kings 18:38; 1 Chronicles 21:26).

Verse 4

Grant thee according to thine own heart, and fulfil all thy counsel.

Grant thee. The gracious answer to this is joyfully acknowledged, Psalms 21:2. The desire of Israel's king was for divine help in the battle with the foes of God's people. So the antitypical King, Messiah's own all-absorbing desire in His is conflict for us with Satan was, that man's "salvation" (Psalms 20:5) might be accomplished. As to the fulfillment of this His desire, see Isaiah 53:11; Luke 22:15.

Verse 5

We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners: the LORD fulfil all thy petitions.

We will rejoice. From prayer he passes to the confident anticipation of faith. We shall be given by thee occasion to rejoice etc. From the form of the Hebrew [the appended Hebrew letter he (h) marking the optative], as well as because the concluding clause, "the Lord fulfill all thy petitions," is a wish, Hengstenberg translates 'May we rejoice over thy salvation, and ... be lifted up.' But the Septuagint, Arabic, Syriac, and Vulgate versions support the English version.

Thy salvation - the salvation which thou grantest to our king. "Thy" is parallel to "our God."

Set up our banners (Psalms 60:4) - as Moses, after the discomfiture of Amalek by Israel, built an altar, and called the name of it Yahweh Nissi - i:e., 'Yahweh my banner' (Exodus 17:15); or else as the Septuagint, Vulgate, Arabic, and Ethiopic versions-`we shall be magnified,' or 'set up.' [ nidgol (H1713), from gaadal (H1431), to be great. (Dr. James Strong derives it from daagal (H1713)). The English version takes it from degel (H1714), a standard.] (Compare Psalms 20:8, end.) But the Chaldaic supports the English version. The answer:

In the name of our God - beautifully corresponds to the prayer, Psalms 20:1. "Name" implies God's manifestation of Himself: here His faithfulness and power in His people's behalf (Psalms 20:7).

Verse 6

Now know I that the LORD saveth his anointed; he will hear him from his holy heaven with the saving strength of his right hand.

Now know I. The people here speak as an ideal person in the singular. Probably in the temple this verse was sung as a solo; the next verse, wherein the plural "we" occurs, was sung as a chorus. From this point the discourse is no more to the king, but of him. The "now" confirms the confident anticipation of faith individually, which had been expressed in the plural "we" more generally, and with a concluding petition, in Psalms 20:5: Now that God hath worked in me the assurance of faith, I not merely think, but 'I know' That the Lord saveth ... hear him from ... holy heaven - literally, 'from the heaven of his holiness.' The "holy heaven" above corresponds to the holy temple or "sanctuary" (Psalms 20:2) below. His holiness secures His faithfulness to His promises (cf. Psalms 11:4). Anti-typically, in the case of Messiah, the Father "heard" the Son when He prayed, "Glorify thy Son;" and in Gethsemane and Calvary (John 17:1; Hebrews 5:7).

Strength. The Hebrew ( gªburowt (H1369)) for "strength" is plural. 'With the saving powers of His right hand:' implying the infinitude of re-sources that God's power possesses.

Verse 7

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.

Some (trust) in chariots - rather, omit "trust," which is not in the Hebrew, and make the same verb govern all the nouns in the sentence-`Some remember (i:e., glory in the remembrance of) chariots, and some remember horses, but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.' God had forbidden the use of war-chariots and horses to His people, lest they should trust in them, rather than in Yahweh: such arms of flesh were the arms of the Gentile world; the covenant people were to rely on a far more mighty arm (Joshua 17:16; 2 Chronicles 32:8). So David met Goliath. (1 Samuel 17:45); Solomon (1 Kings 10:26) in this disobeyed God (Deuteronomy 17:16). The people's prayer that God should "remember" all the offerings of their king (Psalms 20:3) beautifully corresponds to their resolution, "We will remember the name of the Lord."

Verse 8

They are brought down and fallen: but we are risen, and stand upright.

They are brought down and fallen. According to their objects of confidence respectively, so is the portion of the world and of the Church. Already faith sees the triumph of the godly and the overthrow of their enemies.

We are risen - implying that previously the godly were fallen, and their enemies had the upper hand. Faith sees this anomaly reversed, and the right order established.

Verse 9

Save, LORD: let the king hear us when we call. Save, Lord. The renewed prayer has relation to Psalms 20:6, "the Lord saveth;" "Save Lord," Psalms 20:9; "he will hear him," Psalms 20:6; "let the king hear us," Psalms 20:9. As prayer led to the confident anticipation of faith there, so the anticipation of faith in God's promise there leads to renewed prayer here. Thus the psalm closes similarly to its beginning, "The Lord hear" (Psalms 20:1). The article is emphatic, "Let THE king hear us;" the true King, of whom David is the type and vice-gerent, Yahweh Messiah to whom the kingdom in the fullest sense belongs (Ezekiel 21:27). A powerful plea for being heard. The heavenly King cannot but hear us when we call, seeing that it is the honour and interest of His own kingdom that are at stake in our case. DeBurgh, etc., follow Septuagint and the Vulgate, 'O Lord, save the king: hear us when we call. But the accents are against this. Moreover. "Save, Lord" is more impressive in its abruptness, and the parallelism is not so good as the English version. "Lord," in the first clause, is parallel to "the King" in the second. There is no good authority for altering the Hebrew third person, "let the king hear us," into 'hear thou us.' The third person in the English version beautifully corresponds to the third person in Psalms 20:1, "The Lord hear thee" (our earthly king); Psalms 20:9, "let the (heavenly) king hear us."

When we call (Deuteronomy 4:7). The Church prays God for salvation through the mediation of King Messiah.

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 20". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/psalms-20.html. 1871-8.
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