Psalm 20:1-9

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.

1 May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble;
May the name of the God of Jacob defend you;

May He send you help from the sanctuary,
And strengthen you out of Zion;

May He remember all your offerings,
And accept your burnt sacrifice. Selah

May He grant you according to your heart’s desire,
And fulfill all your purpose.

We will rejoice in your salvation,
And in the name of our God we will set up our banners!
May the Lord fulfill all your petitions.

Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed;
He will answer him from His holy heaven
With the saving strength of His right hand.

Some trust in chariots, and some in horses;
But we will remember the name of the Lord our God.

They have bowed down and fallen;
But we have risen and stand upright.

Save, Lord!
May the King answer us when we call.

Thought by some commentaries to be a psalm recited by soldiers before beginning a battle. The first five verses were sung in chorus, the fifth by the king alone, and the last three by the chorus. The next psalm, Psalm 21, is a psalm of thanksgiving after a victorious battle.

name (v.1) — all that God has revealed about His character and the association between His name and His provision of spiritual and physical deliverance

God of Jacob (v.1) — referring to the Redeemer who rescued Jacob (Israel) from Egypt

sanctuary (v.2) = holy thing, holiness — not the usual word for sanctuary

offerings … burnt sacrifice (v.3) — The Israelite practice of presenting sacrifices and offerings before a military campaign was an act of devotion and submission to the Lord (1 Samuel 7:9-10; 13:9-12). Their purpose was not primarily to atone for sin but to seek God’s favor and to consecrate oneself for war. As dedicatory offerings, they were burned on the altar so as to make “an aroma pleasing to the Lord” (Leviticus 1:13). — Barker, page 818.

Now I know that the Lord saves His anointed (v.6) — David knew this from personal experience. “I know” is experiential knowledge.

His holy heaven (v.6) = lit. “the heaven of His holiness” as distinct from the created heaven of the universe

horses (v.7) — Israel’s kings were told not to accumulate a lot of horses (Deuteronomy 17:16) because their trust was to be in the Lord, not in their might.

King (v.9) — referring to God, indicated by the parallelism between this statement and the opening one in verse 1

us (v.9) — David and the Israelites

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