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Thursday, May 23rd, 2024
the Week of Proper 2 / Ordinary 7
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 20

Dr. Constable's Expository NotesConstable's Expository Notes

Verses 1-4

The people lifted their voices to God concerning their king (Psalms 20:6) and prayed that God would give him success in this royal psalm (cf. Psalms 21:2). Meal and burnt offerings of worship often accompanied prayers for God’s help in Israel’s worship. Their purpose was not just to atone for sin but also to seek God’s favor and consecrate oneself for war (cf. 1 Samuel 7:9-10; 1 Samuel 13:9-12).

Verses 1-5

1. The intercession of the people 20:1-5

Verses 1-9

Psalms 20

Before a battle with an enemy, David found encouragement in the intercession of his people to trust God for victory.

"This psalm gives a good example of what it means to intercede for another." [Note: Carl Armerding, Psalms in a Minor Key, p. 52.]

Verse 5

The people anticipated victory in the upcoming battle. When the soldiers went out to war they marched according to their tribes, and each tribe had its own distinctive banner (cf. Numbers 2:2).

Verse 6

David was confident he would be successful in the coming conflict because he was the Lord’s anointed. Of course, if David had been guilty of sin, God might not have given him victory. However, the king believed that he was clean, and with the intercession of his people, he felt even more certain that he would emerge the victor.

Verses 6-8

2. The assurance of the king 20:6-8

Verse 7

He repudiated confidence in the most sophisticated physical implements of warfare available, but he affirmed his reliance on the Lord Himself for victory (cf. Exodus 14; Judges 4). The name of the Lord refers to His character, reputation, and nature. David gained confidence as he meditated on his God.

Verse 8

The king was sure of success. Often in the psalms the writers expressed strong confidence by describing an event yet future as already having taken place with the desired result, as here.

Verse 9

3. The repeated intercession of the people 20:9

In view of the similarity between this petition and the one that opens this psalm, it is probable that the Israelites prayed it too. They looked to Yahweh as their ultimate authority and the One from whom victory must come.

The elect can appeal to God for victory against their spiritual enemies confidently, when they are walking with Him, because He is willing and able to subdue the powers of darkness. God has assured us of our ultimate victory (cf. 2 Corinthians 2:14). The psalm presents three essentials for victory as God’s people fight against the forces of evil. First, there must be a praying people (Psalms 20:1-5). Second, there must be a confident leader (Psalms 20:6-8). Third, there must be a sovereign Lord (Psalms 20:9). [Note: Wiersbe, The . . . Wisdom . . ., pp. 129-31.]

Bibliographical Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Psalms 20". "Dr. Constable's Expository Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcc/psalms-20.html. 2012.
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