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Bible Commentaries

Thomas Scott: Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms

Psalms 21

Verses 1-13

Psalms 21:1-13.

V. 1. The former psalm wits the prayer of Israel for David, and of the church for the Messiah ; and this is a song of praise to God, who had answered those prayers. Several circumstances of the psalm may be accommodated to the case of David. Yet the whole seems more immediately intended for Christ and his kingdom. ’ Many of the Hebrews themselves apply it to the ’Messiah. So that it may be called a psalm of triumph ’ after the victories which David got over his enemies, ’ which were a type of Christ’ s victory over death, and of ’ the triumph that ensued. And truly there are some things ’ in it, which are more literally fulfilled in Christ than in ’ David.’ Up. Patrick.

David had risen to great authority : but he exulted and rejoiced in the strength and power of God, which had wrought many and great deliverances for him ; which had made him the deliverer of Israel from all enemies, and was engaged for his eternal salvation.

Thus our Lord, being raised from the dead, entered on the "joy set before him;" which includes the salvation of his people, to the glory of God the Father, as well as his own exaltation to the mediatorial throne. (Note, Hebrews 12:2-3.)

V. 2- 5. God had, on all occasions, answered the prayers of his servant David ; had prevented him, by directing Samuel to anoint him, as king of Israel, before he had thought of such an honour ; and had made him successful and distinguished beyond his largest hopes. The Lord had not only very often preserved his life, in answer to his prayers, when in the most imminent danger ; but had given him the assurance of continuing the kingdom in his family for many generations, and in Christ, us his Descendant, forever; and he was encouraged personally to expect everlasting life in heaven. Thus his glory was in all respects " great in God’s salvation." Yet the passage, in its fullest import, can only be accomplished in Christ himself.

Thou preventest. (3) Literally, Thou shalt prevent. This may be considered as the language of prophecy.

V. 6, 7- The marginal rendering, " Thou hast set him " to be blessings for evermore," is the most literal, and suggests another important thought on the subject. David was set to be blessings, not only to his own generation, and to his posterity, and to Israel for many ages ; but, by these divine poems, to the whole church, while the world shall endure ; and in Christ, his Son, to all eternity. (Note, Genesis 12:1-3.) David also enjoyed great felicity in the favour of God ; and, trusting in his mercy, could not be moved, either in respect of his authority or his personal salvation. But the glory and dominion of Christ, to the praise of the glory of divine grace, are beyond the reach of all his enemies, and those of his church ; and he especially " is set for blessings for evermore." (Note, Psalms 72:17-19.

V. 8- 12. These verses indicate, that the haters and opposers of Israel’s anointed king were likewise the enemies of God ; who would assuredly take vengeance on them, and their posterity, in the most awful manner, making them the butt of his severest displeasure. (Notes, Psalms 2:1-9.) But they may be considered as addressed to the Messiah himself; and no doubt, they receive their fullest accomplishment, in the judgments inflicted on the opposers and despisers of his authority and gospel.

(Marg. Ref.-Notes,Psalms 110:1; Psalms 110:5-6. Luke 19:11-27. 1 Corinthians 15:20-28. 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10. Revelation 20:11-15..)

V. 13. Both the prosperity of the church, and the ruin of its enemies, tend to exalt God, or to render his glory conpicous to his rational creatures. These effects can only be produced by his Omnipotence ; which his people unitedly pray to see displayed, that they may joyfully celebrate his praises. This conclusion greatly resembles the first petitions, and closing doxology, of the Lord’s prayer.

(Notes, Matthew 6:9; Matthew 10:13.)


If David rejoiced greatly in the honour conferred on him, ’is king of Israel ; what is the joy of our Redeemer in his exaltation to the mediatorial throne, and in the salvation of his people ! And if Israel, from love to David and his auspicious government, rejoiced, and praised God for him; how great should be our joy to behold by faith our Brother and Friend thus glorified, and our praises for all the blessings which we may expect from him ! The Father was as ready to grant, as his beloved Son to ask, when he desired to be crowned, not with gold, but with glory and honour, and to have all things put under his feet; and to possess an unchangeable kingdom, for the benefit of his church : nay, our God " prevents " us sinners " with the blessings " of his goodness ; " and if we ask, he will give us " a " crown of glory that fadeth not away," and " long life, " even for ever and ever ; " and the requests of the Saviour’s lips are not withheld, while sinners are converted and believers established through his intercession. Words cannot express his glory in God’s salvation, the honour and majesty which are laid upon him, and the adoration which is rendered to him by angels and saints above : yet he chiefly delights in his exalted state, as empowering him to confer " an exceeding and eternal weight of glory " on poor sinners, who here trust and love him. For, being made " most blessed himself for ever," he is constituted to be the Source of blessings, and " the Author of eternal salvation, to all them that obey him." His kingdom is fixed on an immoveable basis, upheld by the power of God ; and the glorious display of the mercy of the Most High forms its grand object. But how will they escape, who are enemies to this glorious King and Saviour ? The Jewish nation soon experienced the dreadful effects of his slighted love : and the condition of their posterity, from the siege and sack of Jerusalem to this day, awfully warns every one, not to entail miseries on his descendants, and bring destruction on himself, by opposing the Redeemer’s kingdom, or neglecting his salvation. The discoveries however which will be made, and the vengeance which will be executed, at the day of judgment, on every enemy of Christ, will form the most tremendous comment on this psalm. In that day of his anger, all who hate him will be made as the fiery oven ; they will be swallowed up and devoured ; their devices will end in everlasting disappointment and despair ; and all the arrows of the Almighty will be prepared, to execute his righteous vengeance upon them. May he then exalt himself by his efficacious grace in our hearts, destroying all the strong holds of sin and Satan ; and may he " by his own strength," set up his kingdom upon earth, and exalt himself above every heathen, Jewish, and antichristian opposer : so will we, so will his whole church, sing and praise his power, "who " only doeth wondrous things ; " as an anticipation of the joy and songs of the redeemed, when they shall see the last enemy put under the Redeemer’s feet.

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Bibliographical Information
Scott, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 21". Thomas Scott: Explanatory Notes, Practical Observations on the book Psalms. 1804.