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Bible Commentaries

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Psalms 21



The subject of this Psalm is the same with the former, both being made for the people’s use, concerning the king; only the prayers there used are here turned into praises for the blessings received in answer to their prayers. And as David was an illustrious type of Christ, so in many of these expressions he may seem to look beyond himself unto Christ, in whom they are more properly and fully accomplished, and of whom divers of the ancient Hebrew doctors understand it.

David, out of a sense of God’s answering his prayers for all he asked, professeth his joy and gladness in him, Psalms 21:1-6.

His confidence for further success, Psalms 21:7; that God will find out and consume his enemies, Psalms 21:8-12.

He prayeth that God would exalt his strength, that he might praise his power, Psalms 21:13.

Verse 1

In thy strength conferred upon him, and put forth by thee on his behalf against his enemies.

Verse 3

Preventest him; or, didst prevent him; crowning him with manifold blessings, both more and sooner than he either desired or expected; surprising him with the gift of the kingdom, and with many happy successes.

With the blessing of goodness, i. e. with excellent blessings. Or, with abundance (as this word both in Hebrew and Greek is sometimes used, as Psalms 84:6; Romans 15:29; 2 Corinthians 9:5,2 Corinthians 9:6) of good.

A crown of pure gold either,

1. In token of victory. Or rather,

2. As an ensign of royal majesty conferred upon him.

Verse 4

He asked only the preservation of that short and mortal life, which was oft exposed to utmost perils.

For ever and ever; either,

1. In his posterity, in whom parents are commonly said to live. Thou gavest the kingdom not only to himself for a season, as thou didst to Saul; but to him and to his seed for ever. Or rather,

2. In his person; for this giving answers to David’s asking. And the thing which David asked of God was not the kingdom, (wherein God had prevented his prayers, and granted what David durst not have presumed to ask,) but only life, or the saving and prolonging of his life, which his enemies designed to take away. Thou gavest him a long life and reign here, and after that thou didst translate him to thy heavenly kingdom, to live with thee for ever. But this was more eminently fulfilled in Christ, who asked of his Father life, or to be saved from death, Hebrews 5:7, though with submission to his will. But his Father, though he saw it fit and necessary to take away his temporal life, yet he instantly gave him another, and that far more noble, instead of it, even the perfect possession of an everlasting and most glorious life, both in his soul and body, at his right hand.

Verse 5

His glory; his fame or renown in the world. In thy salvation; by reason of those great and glorious deliverances which thou hast wrought both for him and by him.

Hast thou laid upon him; or, fitted to him, or upon him, as the Hebrew verb signifies; or, made it adequate to him. Thou hast given him a large and noble soul, very capable of and fit for that high and honourable estate to which thou hast advanced him, and thou hast given him honour and power suitable to so excellent a person, and to such rich endowments.

Verse 6

Thou hast made him most blessed, Heb. thou hast set (or, made, as this verb is used, Psalms 40:5; Psalms 89:42; Psalms 91:9; Lamentations 3:45) him blessings; i.e. either,

1. The author or instrument of manifold blessings to the world, and especially to thy people; which David was in a good measure, but Christ much more truly and eminently. Although this may not seem very suitable to the context, which only speaks of the blessing conferred by God upon this king, and not at all of the blessings flowing from him to others. Or,

2. The great example of all blessings, whom the Israelites in all ages shall propound to themselves, in all their forms and pronunciations of blessings. They shall say, God make thee as blessed as this king, either David or the Messias; compare Genesis 12:2; Genesis 48:20; or rather most blessed, as we translate it; the abstract form and the plural number being here used emphatically, as they commonly are, as Ezekiel 34:26; Psalms 5:10; Psalms 19:10; Psalms 35:6, to note a man in whom all sorts of blessings are united and met together, filled with blessings, and as it were a man of blessings, made up altogether of blessings, as Christ upon a like reason was called a man of sorrows, Isaiah 53:3. And possibly the word man may be understood here, as it is in many other places, as I have showed before, and the place rendered thus, thou hast made him a man of blessings. Forever; of which See Poole "Psalms 21:4".

With thy countenance, to wit, smiling upon him, as it must necessarily be understood from the foregoing words, i.e. by thy grace and favour manifested and imparted to his soul, and by the effects of it in saving him from all his enemies and calamities.

Verse 7

Or removed, from his kingdom, as Saul was.

Verse 8

When they seek to hide themselves or flee away from thee, shall discover, and overtake, and destroy them. Or, shall be sufficient (as this verb sometimes signifies, as Numbers 11:22; Judges 21:14) for all thine enemies, to wit, to conquer them; thou shalt need no foreign succours to help thee.

Verse 9

Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven; or, thou shalt put them, (as the Hebrew word properly signifies,) as it were, into (so there is only an ellipsis of the preposition beth, which is most frequent) a fiery oven, i.e. like wood, which when it is cast in there, is quickly consumed.

Shall swallow them up, i.e. destroy them, as this phrase is oft used, as 2 Samuel 20:19,2 Samuel 20:20; Psalms 56:1,Psalms 56:2; Proverbs 1:12.

Verse 10

Their fruit; either,

1. The fruit of their labours. Or rather,

2. Their seed or children, as it is explained in the next branch, oft called a man’s fruit, as Deuteronomy 28:4 Psalms 127:3; Psalms 132:11; Lamentations 2:20. God will take away both root and branch, the parents and all that wicked race.

Verse 11

Against thee, i.e. against God, not directly, but by conseqence, because it was against David, whom God had anointed, and against the Lord’s people, whose injuries God takes as done to himself, Zechariah 2:8.

To perform; such supplements are usual after this verb, as Exodus 8:18; Psalms 101:5; Psalms 139:6; Isaiah 1:13. Or, for which

they were unable or insufficient. Or, but they did not prevail, as this verb signifies, Psalms 13:4; Psalms 129:2. This clause seems to be added to teach us this great and necessary lesson, that men are justly punished by God for their wicked intentions, although they be hindered from the execution of them, contrary to what some Jewish doctors and others have taught.

Verse 12

Turn their back, i.e. flee away at the first sight of thee, whereby also they will be a fit mark for thine arrows. Or, thou shalt set them as a butt to shoot at, as the like phrase is used, Deuteronomy 7:10; Job 7:20; Job 16:12. Against the face of them; or, against them, the word

face being oft redundant.

Verse 13

In thine own strength; by thy own power, or by the manifestation thereof, whereby thou wilt have the whole glory of the work.

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Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 21". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. 1685.