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

Poole's English Annotations on the Holy BiblePoole's Annotations




This Psalm contains a prayer to be used by the people, both now on the behalf of king David, when he was undertaking some great expedition, going forth, as is supposed, against the Ammonites and Syrians, 2 Samuel 10:0, or some other potent enemies, and hereafter in like cases.

The church prayeth God to hear and defend the king, Psalms 20:1; and for a blessing on all his designs, Psalms 20:2-6; and showeth wherein the confidence of some is; but theirs is in God, Psalms 20:7-9.

Verse 1

In the day of trouble; in this time of war and danger.

Name of the God of Jacob, i.e. God himself; for names are oft put for persons, as Numbers 26:53; Acts 1:15; Acts 4:12; and the name of God for God, as Deuteronomy 28:58; Nehemiah 9:5; Psalms 44:8,Psalms 44:20; Proverbs 18:10, and oft elsewhere. He calls him the

God of Jacob, or Israel, partly to distinguish him from false gods; and partly as an argument to enforce the prayer, because God had made a league or covenant with Jacob and his posterity, who are called by the name of

Jacob, Psalms 147:19,Psalms 147:20; Isaiah 44:2, and whose cause David was now pleading against their enemies.

Verse 2

From the sanctuary; either,

1. From heaven, as it is expressed, Psalms 20:6. Or rather,

2. From the tabernacle in Zion, as it is explained in the next words, where the ark then was; toward which the Israelites directed their prayers, and from which God heard and answered them.

Verse 3

Remember, to wit, with acceptance, as it follows.

Thy offerings; offered either by thee at thy entrance upon this expedition; or by us thy people on thy behalf, or by thine appointment.

Accept, Heb. turn to ashes, by fire sent from heaven in token of his acceptance, as was usual; of which see Leviticus 9:24; 1 Kings 18:38.

Verse 4

According to thine own heart, i.e. that good success which thy heart desires.

All thy counsels; thy present design for God, and for his and thy people.

Verse 5

We will rejoice: hereby they show their confidence in God, and their assurance of the victory.

In the name of our God, i.e. to the honour of God, as the Conqueror.

We will set up our banners, in way of triumph; which among other ways was celebrated by the setting up of banners or trophies.

Verse 6

We are already sure of victory, by the consideranon of God’s power, and faithfulness, and love to David, and to his people. They speak as one person, because they were united and unanimous in this prayer.

Saveth, i.e. will certainly save.

His anointed; our lord and king.

with the saving strength of his right hand: this shows how God will hear him, even by saving him with a strong hand.

Verse 7

Some trust; or, remember; which may better be applied out of the next clause.

We will remember; or, make mention of, to wit, so as to boast of it, or trust in it; for such things men oft remember or mention.

Verse 8

They are brought down from their horses and chariots, to which they trusted. Heb. They bowed down, as being unable to stand longer, because of their mortal wounds. Compare Judges 5:27.

But we stand firmly upon our legs, and keep the field, as conquerors use to do.

Verse 9


1. David. So the sense is, O Lord, preserve and assist the king, that when we are distressed and cry to him for help, he may be able and ready to help us. Or,

2. God, the supreme Monarch, the King of kings, and in a peculiar manner the King of Israel, hear and answer us, when we pray for our king and people. And for the change of persons in this verse, nothing is more common. Or,

3. Christ, called

the King both in the Old and New Testament. But this verse is by divers learned men rendered thus, Lord, save the king; he (i.e. the Lord)

will hear us (or, let him hear us; for the future tense is oft put imperatively)

when we cry or call upon him. And this version is very agreeable to the Hebrew text. For whereas the only ground of the other translation is, that the Hebrew accent called athnach is put under the word save, which is supposed to stop the sense there, it is sufficiently evident that athnach doth not always make such a distinction in these poetical books, as appears from Psalms 11:5; Psalms 17:10; Psalms 19:4; Psalms 22:31, and therefore this may seem to be the better version.

Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 20". Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/mpc/psalms-20.html. 1685.
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