This psalm is a prayer for the kings of Israel, but with relation to Christ.
- Even the greatest of men may be much in trouble. Neither the crown on the king's head, nor the grace in his heart, would make him free from trouble. Even the greatest of men must be much in prayer. Let none expect benefit by the prayers of the church, or their friends, who are capable of praying for themselves, yet neglect it. Pray that God would protect his person, and preserve his life. That God would enable him to go on in his undertakings for the public good. We may know that God accepts our spiritual sacrifices, if by his Spirit he kindles in our souls a holy fire of piety and love to God. Also, that the Lord would crown his enterprises with success. Our first step to victory in spiritual warfare is to trust only in the mercy and grace of God; all who trust in themselves will soon be cast down. Believers triumph in God, and his revelation of himself to them, by which they distinguish themselves from those that live without God in the world. Those who make God and his name their praise, may make God and his name their trust. This was the case when the pride and power of Jewish unbelief, and pagan idolatry, fell before the sermons and lives of the humble believers in Jesus. This is the case in every conflict with our spiritual enemies, when we engage them in the name, the spirit, and the power of Christ; and this will be the case at the last day, when the world, with the prince of it, shall be brought down and fall; but believers, risen-from the dead, through the resurrection of the Lord, shall stand, and sing his praises in heaven. In Christ's salvation let us rejoice; and set up our banners in the name of the Lord our God, assured that by the saving strength of his right hand we shall be conquerors over every enemy.
Psalms 20:1-9 . David probably composed this Psalm to express the prayers of the pious for his success as at once the head of the Church and nation. Like other compositions of which David in such relations is the subject, its sentiments have a permanent value--the prosperity of Christ's kingdom being involved, as well as typified, in that of Israel and its king.
1. hear thee--graciously ( Psalms 4:1 ).
name of--or manifested perfections, as power, wisdom, &c.
defend thee--set thee on high from danger ( Psalms 9:9 , 18:3 ).
2. strengthen thee--sustain in conflict; even physical benefits may be included, as courage for war, &c., as such may proceed from a sense of divine favor, secured in the use of spiritual privileges.
3. all thy offerings--or gifts, vegetable offerings.
accept--literally, "turn to ashes" (compare 1 Kings 18:38 ).
4. thy counsel--or plan.
5. salvation--that wrought and experienced by him.
set up our banners--( Numbers 2:3 Numbers 2:10 ). In usual sense, or, as some render, "may we be made great."
6. He speaks as if suddenly assured of a hearing.
his anointed--not only David personally, but as the specially appointed head of His Church.
his holy heaven--or, literally, "the heavens of His holiness," where He resides ( Psalms 2:6 , 11:4 ).
saving . . . hand--His power which brings salvation.
7. remember--or cause to remember, mention thankfully ( 1 Samuel 17:45 , Psalms 33:16 ).
8. They--that is, who trust in horses, &c.
stand upright--literally, "we have straightened ourselves up from our distress and fears."
9. let the king hear--as God's representative, delivered to deliver. Perhaps a better sense is, "LORD, save the king; hear us when we call," or pray.