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Prayer in Time of War.
To the chief musician, a psalm of David, evidently composed to be sung by the Tabernacle chorus while the king and his army were in the field, the purpose being to implore Jehovah to grant victory to the arms of Israel. The chorus as such opens the hymn.
v. 1. The Lord hear thee in the day of trouble, graciously and attentively listening to the king's call when he would find himself in a difficult and dangerous position; the name of the God of Jacob, the mighty God of Jacob, the great Protector of Israel Himself, defend thee, setting him up on high, on a stronghold where no enemy could harm him;
v. 2. send thee help, that for which he called, from the Sanctuary, from His dwelling-place on Zion, where this prayer was made, and strengthen, support and assist, thee out of Zion, the place of His habitation among men;
v. 3. remember all thy offerings, such as were always made before opening a battle, and accept thy burnt sacrifice, finding it fat and therefore acceptable; Selah. Cf Psalms 3:2. V 4. Grant thee according to thine own heart, exactly as the king desired it, and fulfill all thy counsel, permitting all his plans and measures in the war to be successful.
v. 5. We will rejoice in thy salvation, over the victory which would be sure to come to the king's arms, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners, letting them wave in token of the victory gained; the Lord fulfill all thy petitions, granting the king all that he desired to bring the campaign to a successful conclusion. This section of the psalm was probably sung while the offerings of the day were lighted. A solo voice now continues:
v. 6. Now know I that the Lord saveth His anointed, letting him experience His gracious assistance, as the singer states in the confidence of faith; He will hear him from His holy heaven, the throne of His majesty, with the saving strength of His right hand, with the wonderful deeds of His almighty power. This confidence is based on the means of grace, on the sacrifice and the word which accompanied it.
v. 7. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, making flesh their arm, depending upon their own strength and resources; but we will remember the name of the Lord, our God, making mention of Jehovah, their confidence being founded in Him alone.
v. 8. They, the enemies who so foolishly trust in their own power, are brought down and fallen, first bowing down, sinking to the knees, and then lying prostrate; but we are risen and stand upright, firm and secure, holding the field with ease, without the slightest distress and fear. The Levitical soloist having finished his air, the entire chorus takes up the theme in a triumphant conclusion.
v. 9. Save, Lord! Let the King hear us when we call, or, "Save the king, O Jehovah, hear us in the day of our calling"; just the right proportion of humble pleading and confident requesting, as it behooves believers in stepping before the throne of God. The sentiments here expressed have a permanent value, for, as one commentator has it, the prosperity of the kingdom of Christ is not merely typified, but also involved, in that of Israel and its king.
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Kretzmann, Paul E. Ph. D., D. D. "Commentary on Psalms 20". "Kretzmann's Popular Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 12 / Ordinary 17