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Bible Commentaries

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

Psalms 20

Introduction

A.M. 2944. B.C. 1060.

This Psalm is supposed to have been written upon occasion of some particular expedition of David, to be used by the people as a prayer for his good success. The first three verses seem to have been intended to be spoken by the people, or the priests of the temple, upon the king’s coming to offer sacrifice and prayer; the next five to be spoken partly by David himself, or by the high- priest, and partly by the people, while the sacrifice was consuming. We have here,

(1,) A prayer for the king, Psalms 20:1-4 .

(2,) The king and people rejoice in God, and pray for his help, Psalms 20:5-9 .

Verse 1

Psalms 20:1. The Lord hear thee in the day of trouble It was often a day of trouble with David. “Neither the crown on his head,” says Henry, “nor the grace in his heart, would exempt him from trouble.” But in his trouble he had recourse to God; and in this all, even the greatest of men, ought to imitate him. “Though he was a man of business, and a man of war, yet he was constant to his devotions. Though he had prophets, and priests, and many good people among his subjects to pray for him, yet he did not think that excused him from praying for himself. None must expect benefit by the prayers of the church, or of their ministers or friends for them, who are capable of praying for themselves, and yet neglect it. The prayers of others for us must be desired, not to supersede, but to second our own for ourselves.” The name of the God of Jacob That is, God himself, for names are often put for persons. He calls him the God of Jacob, or Israel, not only to distinguish him from false gods, but as an argument to enforce the prayer, because God had made a covenant with Jacob and his posterity. Let God by his providence keep thee safe, and secure from the reach of evil, even the God who preserved Jacob in the days of his trouble; and let God by his grace keep thee easy and happy from the fear of evil.

Verses 2-4

Psalms 20:2-4. Send thee help from the sanctuary Either from heaven, as it is expressed Psalms 20:6; or, rather, from the tabernacle in Zion, where the ark then was; toward which the Israelites directed their prayers, and from which God heard and answered them. Thus it is explained in the next clause. Remember Namely, with acceptance, as it follows; all thy offerings Offered either by thee, or by us thy people in thy behalf. And accept thy burnt-sacrifice Hebrew, ידשׁנה , jedasheneh, turn to ashes, by fire sent from heaven in token of acceptance, as was usual. Grant thee according to thy own heart That is, that good success which thy heart desires; and fulfil all thy counsels Thy present designs for the glory of God and the good of his and thy people.

Verses 5-6

Psalms 20:5-6. We will rejoice in thy salvation Hereby they show their confidence in God, and their assurance of the victory. In the name of our God That is, to the honour of God, we will set up our banners In the way of triumph, which, among other ways, was celebrated by the setting up of banners, or trophies. Now know I, &c. I am already assured of victory by the consideration of God’s power and faithfulness, and love to his people. These words seem to have been spoken by David himself; or rather, by the high-priest. The Lord saveth his anointed Will certainly save, with the saving strength of his right hand This shows how God would hear him, even by saving him with a strong hand.

Verses 7-9

Psalms 20:7-9. Some trust in chariots This again was spoken by the people. The word trust is not in the Hebrew, which is more literally translated, These in their chariots, and those on their horses, but we will remember, make mention of, or, celebrate, the name of the Lord our God; that is, we will remember, or make mention of it, so as to boast of or trust in it. They are brought down From their horses and chariots, to which they trusted. Hebrew, כרעו , charegnu, they bowed down, as being unable to stand longer, because of their mortal wounds. See Judges 5:27. But we are risen, and stand upright Stand firmly, and keep the field. Let the king hear us Either, 1st, David; and 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, 2d, Let 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. But Dr. Waterland renders the verse, very agreeably to the Hebrew, Lord, save the king. He (that is, the Lord) will hear us when we call.

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Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Psalms 20". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rbc/psalms-20.html. 1857.