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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Psalms 20

 

 

Verse 1

Psalms 20:1 « To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. » The LORD hear thee in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob defend thee;

A Psalm of David] Or, concerning David; so Kimchi. Or, for and on the behalf of David; so Aben Ezra. David, as a prophet, dictated this form of prayer to be made by the people for himself, their king; when he went forth to fight their battles, probably, against the Ammonites and Syrians; or, when he fled from Absalom, and was to help them from the city by his prayers, 2 Samuel 18:3, as Aben Ezra thinketh.

Ver. 1. The Lord hear thee in the day of trouble] Great men, though gracious, as David, have their distresses, and must pray for themselves then; not trusting to the prayers of others for them; as did that profane Earl of Westmoreland, who said he had no need to pray, since he had tenants enough to pray for him (Camden).

The name of the God of Jacob defend thee] Heb. set thee in a high place, such as God’s name is, Proverbs 18:10, the righteous run thereto and are safe, as in a tower of brass or town of war. By the name of God is meant, Deus nominatissimus, the most renowned God, saith Junius, and worthy to be praised, as Psalms 18:3. And he is called the God of Jacob here, saith another; first, because Jacob was once in the like distress, Genesis 32:6-7; secondly, because he prayed to the like purpose, Genesis 35:3; thirdly, because he prevailed with God as a prince; and there God spake with us, Hosea 12:5; fourthly, because God of Jacob is the same with God of Israel; and so the covenant is pleaded.


Verse 2

Psalms 20:2 Send thee help from the sanctuary, and strengthen thee out of Zion;

Ver. 2. Send thee help from the sanctuary] Or, from his holy heaven, saith Tremellius; without which vain is the help of man. God is all the doer in battles; and whencesoever the sword comes, it is bathed in heaven, Isaiah 34:5, whatsoever Ajax, Timotheus Atheniensis, and other atheists think to the contrary: God will send from heaven and save me, saith holy David.

And strengthen thee out of Zion] i.e. Out of the assemblies of the saints, where they are praying hard for thy welfare. See Psalms 76:2-3, {See Trapp on "Psalms 76:2"} {See Trapp on "Psalms 76:3"}


Verse 3

Psalms 20:3 Remember all thy offerings, and accept thy burnt sacrifice; Selah.

Ver. 3. Remember all thy offerings] Before they went to war they were wont to offer sacrifices, as did Saul; though by his haste therein he lost his kingdom, 1 Samuel 13:9. From the people of God the heathens had also learned this course and custom. Io Paean is the force of Jehovah Peneh that is, Lord, look upon us. The devil (God’s ape) had taught the Athenians, when they began the battle, to use these words, and thereby to hearten one another. The Romans also did the like, and would not desist till they had an auspicious answer; hence also they called a sacrifice hostiam because when they went against their enemies they offered it.

And accept thy burnt sacrifice] Or turn it to ashes (and so seal up his acceptance); or make it fat, i.e. take delight in it, as men do in fat things full of marrow, saith R. Solomon.

Selah] This is added to show, saith Vatablus, with how great fervency the people ought to pray for their king.


Verse 4

Psalms 20:4 Grant thee according to thine own heart, and fulfil all thy counsel.

Ver. 4. Grant thee according to thine own heart] David’s heart was according to God’s heart (otherwise this had not been a warrantable petition), and therefore might say (and the people on his behalf), as once Luther did, Fiat voluntas mea; mea, Domine, quia tua, Let my will be done; mine I say, Lord, because the same with thine.

And fulfil all thy counsel] Answer thee, ad cardinem desiderii, as a Father expresseth it (Aug. Confess. l. 5, c. 8). Let it be unto thee even as thou wilt. Sometimes God doth not only grant a man’s prayer, but fulfilleth his counsel; that is, in that very way, by that very means, which his judgment pitch upon in his thoughts.


Verse 5

Psalms 20:5 We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up [our] banners: the LORD fulfil all thy petitions.

Ver. 5. We will rejoice in thy salvation] i.e. We are well assured that God will save us by thee, O king; and that shall produce a general joy among us. This confidence prayer hath begotten in him; for it is a sure grain, and if man would sow more of it in God’s bosom, they shall not fail to reap the fruit and comfort of it in their greatest need. Pray, that your joy may be full.

And in the name of our God will we set up our banners] Our flags of defiance to the enemy, or our tokens of triumph to God’s glory, who hath given us the victory. The Romans, when they had conquered an enemy, rode in triumph to the Capitol, where in all humility they presented a palm, or laurel bush, to Jupiter.


Verse 6

Psalms 20:6 Now know I that the LORD saveth his anointed; he will hear him from his holy heaven with the saving strength of his right hand.

Ver. 6. Now know I that, &c.] This is Vex populi ; I, that is, all we; but they speak as if they had been all one, and had uttered it all with one mouth; such was their unity and consent in prayer. Or, it is sermo uniuscuiusque in Israele, as Kimchi will have it, the triumph of their trust.

He will hear him from his holy heaven, &c.] He will hear him; he will do for him. Haec duo documents, saith Junius; by these two ways (besides the word) the Church comes to know the grace and goodwill of her God.


Verse 7

Psalms 20:7 Some [trust] in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.

Ver. 7. Some trust in chariots, &c.] i.e. In their national accommodations and military provisions; but these were never true to those that trusted them. All is but an arm of flesh.

But we will remember, &c.] i.e. In the remembrance of his excellent attributes, whereof we have had such proof, we will take courage.


Verse 8

Psalms 20:8 They are brought down and fallen: but we are risen, and stand upright.

Ver. 8. They are brought down, &c.] They lie flat by the fall they have taken, being confuted in their confidences, as Benhadad was of old; as of late, the French at the battle of Agincourt, Sigismund the young king of Hungary, and many others.

But we are risen] Who before seemed to lay along, Et tanquam sideratos humi serpere. God helpeth his when forsaken of their hopes almost.


Verse 9

Psalms 20:9 Save, LORD: let the king hear us when we call.

Ver. 9. Save, Lord] A short but pithy prayer: Quam multa quam paucis.

Let the king hear us] They beg of God that the king may hear them, so as to govern and defend them in equity and tranquillity; or, Respondent Rex (so Aben Ezra rendereth it), Let the king say Amen to our prayers to thee and our requests to him.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 20:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/psalms-20.html. 1865-1868.

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