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A thanksgiving for victory. Confidence of further success.
To the chief musician, A Psalm of David.
Title.— לדוד מזמור למנצח lamnatseach mizmor ledavid. Dr. Delanely is of opinion, that this psalm was composed by David in a transport of joy and thanksgiving after his conquest of Rabbah, and triumph over the Ammonites. It is of the same kind with the preceding. The two first verses seem to be spoken upon seeing the sacrifice promise well; the five next express the continued series of divine favour to the king, and from thence the priest promises him success against his enemies. The last is an address to God. The psalm is generally thought, even by the Jews themselves, to have a relation to Christ; and indeed there are some things in it which are more literally fulfilled in Christ than in David. See Psalms 21:4-6. We shall, therefore, in the following notes, consider it particularly as relating to Christ.
Psalms 21:1. The king— Though, by the king, we may here understand king David, who composed this psalm, yet it may be much better explained of the king Messiah. In thy strength, means in the divine power, which was manifested in the resurrection of Christ, and in the establishment of his gospel.
Psalms 21:3. For thou preventest him— The word in the original signifies to encompass. The rendering of Castalio is fully expressive of the sense; Thou hast bestowed most eminent favours on him. By the crown of pure gold, may be meant, in general, an illustrious crown; which is here represented as being set upon our blessed Saviour's head at his exaltation into heaven, in token of his being then advanced to the chief exercise of his regal authority. Thus he is said, Psa 8:5 to be crowned with glory and honour; and St. John says, with respect to his deified humanity, in which he was made King of Kings and Lord of Lords, that on his head were many crowns. Revelation 12:16.
Psalms 21:4. He asked life— New life from the dead; his resurrection; the same that is meant by his heart's desire, Psalms 21:2. Isaiah says, When thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall prolong his days. Length of days for ever and ever, is an expression which, however some understand of David and his successors on the throne, can with no degree of propriety belong to him or to them, but as referring to that king for ever, who was of the lineage of David, and of whose kingdom there shall be no end. See Luke 1:32-33.
Psalms 21:6. Thou hast made him most blessed for ever— According to the original, Thou hast set him to be blessings for ever; i.e. to be the author of all felicity and blessedness to his subjects and servants. See Galatians 3:8. In conformity to the next clause, Thou hast made him glad, &c. Jesus Christ says of himself, My heart is glad, and my glory rejoices; in thy presence is the fulness of joy, &c. Psalms 9:11. And thus the Psalmist says of him: Thy God hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. Psalms 45:7.
Psalms 21:8. Thine hand shall find out all thine enemies— Thus Psalms 2:9. Thou shalt bruise them with a rod of iron, &c. The menaces that are described in this and the following verses particularly relate to the unbelieving Jews. Compare Malachi 4:1.Psalms 2:2-4; Psalms 2:2-4; Psalms 109:13-15.
Psalms 21:11. A mischievous device, which, &c.— A mischievous device, but prevailed not. Houbigant. Dr. Delaney is of opinion, that these words refer more especially in their primary sense to the Ammonites, and those cruelties which they intended to inflict upon David and his people, but which were retaliated upon their own heads. See Life of David, vol. 2: p. 118.
Psalms 21:12. Therefore shalt thou make them turn their back, &c.— For thou shalt make them as Shechem; i.e. "Thou shalt subdue them, and portion them out, as the two brothers did Shechem heretofore." The expression became a proverb, as in Psalms 60, 108. The word arrows is not in the original, and may elegantly be omitted, as in Psalms 7:12. He hath bent his bow, and fixed it; that is, fixed his arrow upon it.
REFLECTIONS.—1st, David could not experience such wonderous deliverances without deep gratitude; and his people, who prayed for him, were confident that God's salvation was the very joy of his heart; and therefore in his behalf they offer to God their sacrifice of praise for prayers granted; for blessings which prevented even desire; for dignity so eminent, to which he was advanced; for length of days in the midst of danger; and an abiding throne, though so often shaken; for great glory, honour, and majesty, bestowed from on high; for the promise of future blessings, and the experience of present exceeding great consolations.
But more peculiarly applicable are these words to the King of Glory, who, in his work of man's redemption, was supported by the divine strength to go through the arduous task, and in the prospect of the salvation of the faithful, rejoiced with exceeding great joy in the midst of all his sufferings. To him every request was granted, whether for grace or glory, in behalf of the faithful. In him God's preventing blessings were wonderfully manifested to the sons of men, without desert, yea, without desire. A crown of glory is the reward of his sufferings, and worthy is he to be thus exalted; death, Satan, and sin, being all subdued by him; and angels, principalities, and powers, put under him. The life which for a moment he laid down is restored for ever; Christ, being raised from the dead, dieth no more, and, because he lives, we shall live also. Unutterable is the glory and majesty that he has received, the government of all things in heaven and earth being committed to him. Thou hast made him most blessed for ever, or, as the Margin of our English Bibles read it, thou hast set him to be blessings for ever, to communicate eternal blessings to his faithful people, and be himself the author, procurer, and bestower of them; and, in consequence of all these things, the spirit of gladness rests upon him; and in the high approbation of God his Father, in his mediatorial work, is his everlasting delight. Note; Every faithful believer in Jesus is a king, and shall share his triumphs; be supported by the same strength; find the same gracious answers to his prayers; experience God's preventing blessings; receive at last the crown of glory; and reign with his exalted head, happy, eternally and unutterably happy in the light of God's countenance.
2nd, Praise for past mercies encourages confidence of present and future blessings; the priest and the people therefore express their trust, that no enemies should ever shake the stability of David's throne; but that vengeance from God should pursue and overtake them to the uttermost; and, when this divine interposition shall appear, they promise to renew their grateful songs of praise. But we must look farther than David's throne, and the subduing of his enemies, to the more enduring dominion of David's Son and Lord.
1. His enemies must finally and eternally fall before him: wicked men, and wicked devils, who have hated his government, shall not escape his arm. Their mischievous devices shall not only be disappointed, whether against himself or his people, but their malice be visited in judgments terrible as just: wrath to the uttermost shall overtake them, and the furnace of hell be heated for their reception; while sharp arrows within shall pierce the conscience, and waken up the worm which never dies. Sinner, mark the end of the enemies of Christ and his kingdom; consider thy ways, and be wise.
2. The whole is ascribed to the Lord's power; it is he who must and will exalt his own glory in the salvation of the faithful, and in the destruction of his enemies; and all our work and business will be, everlastingly to sing and praise him for his complete redemption.
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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 21". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 20 / Ordinary 25