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Bible Commentaries

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

Psalms 21

Verses 1-13

Psalms 19

Proper Psalm for Christmas Day ( Morning).

Psalms 19-21 = Day 4 ( Morning).

Verse 13


‘Be Thou exalted, Lord, in Thine own strength; so will we sing and praise The power.’

Psalms 21:13

This psalm follows naturally on the preceding. In the former, prayer had been offered for the warrior king as he went forth to war, but now in the opening strains of this (1–7), the priests of the temple, and perhaps the people, celebrate his victory. Ah! tried and conflicting soul, as surely as thou hast uttered thy prayer for salvation thou shalt utter thy thanks for it. Was it asked that God should grant thee thy heart’s desire? (20:4). It shall be said ‘Thou hast given him’ ( Psalms 21:2).

I. How admirably do these sweet words describe, not only the case of the Church militant, but also that of the Church triumphant!—Think of those whom you have loved and lost awhile, and then say of them Psalms 21:2-Joshua :. Oh, when will that day come, when of us too those words so exuberant in their triumph will be true? Of how many of our sainted dead may we not say that, in answer to their faithful prayers, God hath made them most blessed for ever, making them glad with His countenance?

II. But as the fire which ripens fruit consumes straw, so the same love which deals so tenderly with the saints is stern to punish all who oppose themselves.—Beware, O hardened sinner, lest in a moment thou be plunged into irretrievable ruin! Be thou exalted, O blessed Christ! in all coming ages, for Thy reign means joy and song to Thy saints.


(1) ‘The Targum and the Talmud understand this psalm of the King Messiah. In this, as in the last, the people come before God with matters which concern the welfare of their king; in the former with their wishes and prayers, in the latter with their thanksgivings and hopes in the certainty of a victorious termination of the war.’

(2) ‘A noble coronation psalm. It was sung throughout England by the over-trustful Presbyterians at the Restoration of Charles II. They afterwards mildly characterised it as a day when “the bitter was mingled with the sweet.” ’

(3) ‘Given the Messianic interpretation, it seems an irresistible conclusion that the group, from the twenty-first to the twenty-fourth inclusive, forms a connected whole—the twenty-first a thanksgiving for the victory of the King.’

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Bibliographical Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Psalms 21". Church Pulpit Commentary. 1876.