Lectionary Calendar
Friday, July 12th, 2024
the Week of Proper 9 / Ordinary 14
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 21

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

Verse 1

« To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. » The king shall joy in thy strength, O LORD; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!

The king shall joy in thy strength — This psalm dependeth upon the former, and is therefore fitly set next unto it. Some call it David’s triumphant song of praise, for victory gotten over the Ammonites and Syrians. For that victory it was certainly which he and the people had begged so fervently, Psalms 20:1-9 , and promised solemnly to rejoice in God’s salvation …, Psalms 21:5 , as here is done accordingly. Vow and perform unto the Lord your God: bring presents, …, Psalms 76:11 .

And in thy salvation — All is God’s. As Joab once sent to David to come and take the honour of the victory over Rabbah of the Ammonites; so dealeth David by the Lord. His posy was, Non nobis, Domine; not by us, O Lord, his practice was to drive a holy trade between earth and heaven, receiving and returning, importing one commodity and transporting another: prayers and praises were his whole life.

Verse 2

Thou hast given him his heart’s desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips. Selah.

Thou hast given him his heart’s desire — Good men are sure to have out their prayers either in money or in money’s worth, as they say; in that very thing they desire, or a better. If God cross them, it is in faithfulness to their souls when the wicked boasteth of their heart’s desire Psalms 10:3 , which yet he hath for a mischief Deus saepe dat iratus, quod negat propitius. See Trapp on " Psalms 20:4 "

And hast not withholden, … SelahAc si dicat, O magnam et admirabilem Dei benevolentiam erga Davidem! saith Vatablus. This Selah is added here to set forth the very great and wonderful love of God to David, in hearing his suits after that sort.

Verse 3

For thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness: thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head.

For thou preventest him with the blessinqs of goodness — Not staying till he asked them of thee. He had but a thought of building thee a house and thou sentest Nathan to tell him that thou wouldest build him an everlasting house, and stablish his throne to all perpetuity, 2 Samuel 7:16 . So Isaiah 65:24 , "Before they call, I will answer," …

Thou settest a crown of pure gold upon his headHebraei dicunt per hoc iutelligi favorem Dei, the Jewish doctors by this crown understand the favour of God; confer Psalms 103:4 . God had set a crown of lovingkindness and tender mercies upon his head by pardoning all his iniquities, as it is there; and he blesseth God for this as a far better crown than that which he took from off the head of the king of Ammon and set upon his own, 2 Samuel 12:30 .

Verse 4

He asked life of thee, [and] thou gavest [it] him, [even] length of days for ever and ever.

He asked life of theeQuando fugiebat a Saule, saith R. Solomon, when he fled from Saul; rather when he went into the field against his enemies, carrying his life in his hand. His life we begged, Psalms 20:1-2 , and thou hast not only given him his life, but a long continued series of lives in his successors, 2 Samuel 7:13 Psalms 72:15 , yea, life everlasting in Christ, his Son according to the flesh. See Psalms 61:6 . Thus God is better to his people than their prayers; and when they ask but one blessing he answereth them, as Naaman did Gehazi, with, Nay, take two. Hezekiah asked but one life, and God gave him fifteen years, which we reckon at two lives, and more. He giveth liberally, and like himself; as Great Alexander did when he gave the poor beggar a city; and when he sent his schoolmaster a ship full of frankincense, and bade him sacrifice freely.

Verse 5

His glory [is] great in thy salvation: honour and majesty hast thou laid upon him.

His glory is great in thy salvation — He was at first slighted, even by his own, as a petty prince; and the Philistines came up to seek him, that they might suppress him before he grew too strong for them; insomuch as he, for fear of them, went down to the hold, 2 Samuel 5:17 , but soon after he became formidable to them and the rest of the neigbbouring nations, whom he subdued and reigned over. The like hereunto befell our Queen Elizabeth, who, how low soever at first, became at length, as her enemies confessed, the most glorious woman that ever swayed sceptre, because posuit Deum adiutorem suum.

Honour and majesty hast thou laid upon him — A growing weight of glory, a load of it, even before man. The saints, when they come to heaven, shall have an exceeding, excessive, eternal weight of glory, 2 Corinthians 4:17 , such as if the body were not upheld by the mighty power of God it were impossible it should ever bear it.

Verse 6

For thou hast made him most blessed for ever: thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance.

For thou hast made him most blessed for ever — Heb. Thou hast set him to be blessings. For as the wicked, when destroyed by some horrible judgment, are examples to others of God’s curse, Isaiah 65:15 Jeremiah 29:22 2 Peter 2:6 Iudaeus sim, si fallam, Let me be Judus if I lie, say the Turks at this day, when they would assure anything for a certainty; so the godly, when in a special manner blessed, are patterns of blessings to others, that in them they may bless themselves or others, Psalms 72:17 ; Psalms 128:4 Genesis 12:2 ; Genesis 48:20 Ruth 4:11-12 Psalms 37:26 . So here they shall say, Tanto rerum successu polleas, quanto David, Mayest thou be as successful as ever David was.

Thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance — One good cast whereof David long since preferred before all the world’s good, Psalms 4:6 . See the note there.

Verse 7

For the king trusteth in the LORD, and through the mercy of the most High he shall not be moved.

7. For the king trusteth in the Lord — So then his joy was the joy of faith, which is unspeakable and full of glory; and he must needs be safe who relieth upon God, Isaiah 26:4 .

He shall not be movedsc. From the prosperous success of his affairs and state; the beauty and bulwark whereof is God’s never failing mercy.

Verse 8

Thine hand shall find out all thine enemies: thy right hand shall find out those that hate thee.

Thine hand shall find out all thine enemies — Thine, because ours; for thou art in a league with us, both defensive and offensive: now our enemies act as if they were out of the reach of thy rod, but thou wilt easily hunt them down and root them out. Pursued they shall be by thee, and overtaken, run they never so far, never so fast.

ουδεις ανθρωπων αδικων τισιν ουκ αποτισει .

Verse 9

Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of thine anger: the LORD shall swallow them up in his wrath, and the fire shall devour them.

Thou shalt make them as a fiery oveni.e. Thou shall lay upon them grievous and exquisite miseries, Lamentations 5:10 . He alludeth to the overthrow of Sodom, saith Vatablus.

The Lord shall swallow them up — As the fire doth the fuel. Some think the prophet here alludeth to that direful kind of punishment which David inflicted upon the Ammonites whom he made to pass through the brickkiln, 2 Samuel 12:31 , perhaps the furnace of their idol Moloch or Milcom, wherein they caused their children to pass through the fire, 2 Kings 16:3 ; 2 Kings 23:10 .

And the fire shall devour them — Hell fire, saith the Chaldee paraphrast.

Verse 10

Their fruit shalt thou destroy from the earth, and their seed from among the children of men.

Their fruit shalt thou destroyi.e. Their labour, and that which comes thereof, Proverbs 21:16 ; Proverbs 21:31 ; they shall toil to no purpose; the gains shall not pay for the pains, Nulla emolumenta laborum (Juven.).

And their seed — For as personal goodness is profitable to posterity; so on the contrary; as in the second commandment: they are peremptores potius quam parentes (Bern.).

Verse 11

For they intended evil against thee: they imagined a mischievous device, [which] they are not able [to perform].

For they intended evil against thee — Because against thy people. He that wrongeth a subject is arraigned for injury done to the king, his crown and dignity. And as a certain gentleman of Normandy was executed for but intending only to kill Francis II, king of France, which he told to a priest, sub sigillo confessionis, not thinking ever to hear further of it again; so here.

Verse 12

Therefore shalt thou make them turn their back, [when] thou shalt make ready [thine arrows] upon thy strings against the face of them.

Therefore shall thou make them turn their back — Who faced the very heavens, and ran, as it were, full butt against thee; such was their impudence and insolence. But thy wrath shall so meet them in the teeth, wheresoever they turn, that they shall be forced to give over their chase and pursuit of thy people. Thou shall make them turn their back; Heb. their shoulder; whence some sense the words thus, Thou shalt bind them back to back, and cast them into the sea of perdition. Some read the words thus, Thou shall set them as a butt or mark to shoot at: and this agreeth best with that which followeth, Pone eos ut metam (Kimchi).

Against the face of them — Which is elegantly compared to the white; as their bodies to the whole mark or butt.

Verse 13

Be thou exalted, LORD, in thine own strength: [so] will we sing and praise thy power.

Be thou exalted, Lord, in thine own strengthFinit Psalmum cum laude, sicut incepit, saith Aben Ezra. He closeth up the psalm, as he began it, with praise and prayer that God would arise and destroy the rest, as he had already done some of their enemies. God’s power and strength is in itself infinite, and cannot be exalted or amplified; but in respect of us it is said to be exalted when exerted and put forth for the defence of his people.

So will we sing and praise thy power — This they restipulate; as knowing that it would please the Lord better than an ox or bullock that hath horns and hoofs, Psalms 69:31 .

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 21". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/psalms-21.html. 1865-1868.
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