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Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Psalms 21

Verses 1-13

Psalms 21:1 . The king shall joy. The Targum here, and in other places, expressly names, “The King Messiah.”

Psalms 21:3 . A crown of pure gold. Here again, as in Psalms 19:10, the LXX read, and they are followed by the Latin versions, A crown of precious stones. The gems were inconceivably more valuable than the gold.

Psalms 21:12 . Turn their backs thine arrows against their faces. The Latin, ut clibanus, “as an oven,” alluding to the anger of God, reconciles the opposite ideas of wounding their faces when their backs were turned. The reading of the LXX, Thou hast set them as a butt, &c. is preferable.


“Answers to prayer demand a return of praise. When God hears the petition of his servants for public or private blessings, it becomes them to render thanks to him; to acknowledge the suitableness, seasonableness, and greatness of the mercy granted; and especially to take notice how graciously God has exceeded their prayers and their hopes.

This psalm naturally leads our thoughts to the Lord Jesus Christ. If the author of it had not a direct reference to him, as many suppose, yet David’s victories over his enemies were emblems of the nobler victories of the Redeemer. Let us rejoice in his exaltation and triumph, because God hath given him his heart’s desire, conferred all authority upon him, and vanquished all his foes. He is set for a blessing for ever, and his seed, his faithful servants, shall enjoy everlasting happiness. Let us then submit to this king, and behave as his loyal subjects; for dreadful is that condemnation and ruin which shall be the final portion of his enemies. Let us heartily pray for the further spread and establishment of his kingdom, and do all we can for his service: and wherein the strength of the Lord appears to be exalted, and exalted too in spreading the gospel, and making any the willing subjects of the Lord Jesus Christ, let us sing and praise his power, and long for the happy day when all the kingdoms of the world shall become the kingdoms of the Lord, and of his anointed.”

David, as we find in 2 Samuel 23:24., was in great trouble from the persecution of Saul; but he carried all his troubles to the Lord, and set the Messiah always before him. Psalms 16:8. In the dense cloud of his grief a vista opened, presenting the sufferings of the Saviour. And when we see the head suffering all these things, how can the members complain? His views went yet farther: he saw the Lord rising out of the hands of his enemies, and the strong bulls of Bashan roar and fight against him in vain. What do we say; he saw the whole gentile world converted to their king, and the kingdom made everlasting.

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Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 21". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. 1835.