Psalms 21

For the director of music. A psalm of David.

1 [a]The king rejoices in your strength, LORD. How great is his joy in the victories you give!
2 You have granted him his heart’s desire and have not withheld the request of his lips.[b]
3 You came to greet him with rich blessings and placed a crown of pure gold on his head.
4 He asked you for life, and you gave it to him— length of days, for ever and ever.
5 Through the victories you gave, his glory is great; you have bestowed on him splendor and majesty.
6 Surely you have granted him unending blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence.
7 For the king trusts in the LORD; through the unfailing love of the Most High he will not be shaken.
8 Your hand will lay hold on all your enemies; your right hand will seize your foes.
9 When you appear for battle, you will burn them up as in a blazing furnace. The LORD will swallow them up in his wrath, and his fire will consume them.
10 You will destroy their descendants from the earth, their posterity from mankind.
11 Though they plot evil against you and devise wicked schemes, they cannot succeed.
12 You will make them turn their backs when you aim at them with drawn bow.
13 Be exalted in your strength, LORD; we will sing and praise your might.

Psalms 21 Commentary

Chapter 21

Thanksgiving for victory. (1-6) Confidence of further success. (7-13)

Verses 1-6 Happy the people whose king makes God's strength his confidence, and God's salvation his joy; who is pleased with all the advancements of God kingdom, and trusts God to support him in all he does for the service of it. All our blessings are blessings of goodness, and are owing, not to any merit of ours, but only to God's goodness. But when God's blessings come sooner, and prove richer than we imagine; when they are given before we prayed for them, before we were ready for them, nay, when we feared the contrary; then it may be truly said that he prevented, or went before us, with them. Nothing indeed prevented, or went before Christ, but to mankind never was any favour more preventing than our redemption by Christ. Thou hast made him to be a universal, everlasting blessing to the world, in whom the families of the earth are, and shall be blessed; and so thou hast made him exceeding glad with the countenance thou hast given to his undertaking, and to him in the prosecution of it. The Spirit of prophecy rises from what related to the king, to that which is peculiar to Christ; none other is blessed for ever, much less a blessing for ever.

Verses 7-13 The psalmist teaches to look forward with faith, and hope, and prayer upon what God would further do. The success with which God blessed David, was a type of the total overthrow of all Christ's enemies. Those who might have had Christ to rule and save them, but rejected him and fought against him, shall find the remembrance of it a worm that dies not. God makes sinners willing by his grace, receives them to his favour, and delivers them from the wrath to come. May he exalt himself, by his all-powerful grace, in our hearts, destroying all the strong-holds of sin and Satan. How great should be our joy and praise to behold our Brother and Friend upon the throne, and for all the blessings we may expect from him! yet he delights in his exalted state, as enabling him to confer happiness and glory on poor sinners, who are taught to love and trust in him.

Cross References 22

  • 1. S 1 Samuel 2:10
  • 2. S 2 Samuel 22:51; Psalms 59:16-17
  • 3. S Psalms 20:4; Psalms 37:4
  • 4. S 2 Samuel 12:30; Revelation 14:14
  • 5. Zechariah 6:11
  • 6. Psalms 10:16; Psalms 45:17; Psalms 48:14; Psalms 61:5-6; Psalms 91:16; Psalms 133:3
  • 7. ver 1; Psalms 18:50; Psalms 44:4
  • 8. S Psalms 8:5; Psalms 45:3; Psalms 93:1; Psalms 96:6; Psalms 104:1
  • 9. Psalms 43:4; Psalms 126:3
  • 10. S 1 Chronicles 17:27
  • 11. S 2 Kings 18:5
  • 12. Psalms 6:4
  • 13. Genesis 14:18
  • 14. S Psalms 15:5; S Psalms 55:22
  • 15. Isaiah 10:10
  • 16. S Deuteronomy 32:22; Psalms 50:3; Jeremiah 15:14; Lamentations 2:2; Malachi 4:1
  • 17. Deuteronomy 28:18; Psalms 37:28
  • 18. Psalms 2:1
  • 19. Job 10:3; Psalms 10:2; Psalms 26:10; Psalms 37:7
  • 20. S Exodus 23:27; Psalms 7:12-13; Psalms 18:40
  • 21. S Psalms 18:46
  • 22. Psalms 18:1

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. In Hebrew texts 21:1-13 is numbered 21:2-14.
  • [b]. The Hebrew has "Selah" (a word of uncertain meaning) here.

Chapter Summary

To the chief Musician, a Psalm of David. This psalm was either written by David; and therefore called a "psalm of David"; or it was written, as it may be rendered, "for David," by some other person, on account of his victories and triumphs; or rather "concerning David" {s}; that is, concerning the Messiah, the son of David, as Kimchi says some expound it; or concerning the Messiah, who is called David, Ezekiel 37:24; and Jarchi observes, that their Rabbins interpret it of the Messiah; but, says he, it is right to explain it, moreover, of David himself, for an answer to the heretics (Christians) who err in it; and various passages in this psalm are by the Jewish writers understood of the Messiah; as "the King," in Psalm 20:1 is in the Targum called the King Messiah; Psalm 21:4 is in the Talmud applied {t} to him; Psalm 21:3 are in Zohar {u}, and in the Midrashes {w}, interpreted of him; and many Christian writers understand the whole of him; which is right: though Theodoret thinks it was penned on the account of the health of King Hezekiah, and his restoration from his disease; which is not likely.

{s} dwdl "pro Davide, vel de Davide," Vatablus. {t} T. Bab. Succah, fol. 52. 1. Vid. Nachman. disput. "cum fratre Paulo," p. 36. Ed. Wagenseil. {u} In Numb. fol. 68. 3. 4. {w} Midrash Tillim apud Viccars. in loc. & in Galatin. l. 3. c. 9. Bemidbar Rabba, fol. 212. 4. & 218. 1.

Psalms 21 Commentaries

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