Psalm 20:3
Remember all thy offerings, and accept thy burnt sacrifice; Selah.
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(3) All thy offerings.—The king is sacrificing, according to custom, before battle (1Samuel 13:9), the burnt offering (ôlah, from root to “go up,” i.e., of the smoke) and the bloodless offering (minchah, from root “to portion out”) of fine flour. (See Leviticus 2:1). Since the word rendered in our version memorial (Leviticus 24:7), which is a derivative of the verb here rendered “remember,” has been proved by eminent scholars to signify “incense,” we may believe the psalmist meant—

“Accept the incense of all thy minchah,

And the fat of thy ôlah”

Indeed Mr. Burgess would render “smell” and “relish.”

Accept.—Literally, make fat (Psalm 23:5, “anointest”) i.e., regard or receive as a fat or a worthy offering. The objection to the alternative rendering, “turn to ashes,” i.e., “consume,” (Leviticus 9:24; 1Kings 18:38), is that the Hebrew word never elsewhere has that sense, but only that of “cleansing from ashes.”

20:1-9 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.Remember all thy offerings - On the meaning of the word here used, see the note at Isaiah 1:13, where it is rendered oblations. The word occurs often in the Scriptures, and is sometimes rendered offering, and sometimes oblation. The word means an offering of any kind or anything that is presented to God, except a bloody sacrifice - anything offered as an expression of thankfulness, or with a view to obtain his favor. It is distinguished from bloody sacrifices, which are expressed by the word in the following clause. The word here employed occurs in the Psalms only in the following places: Psalm 20:3; Psalm 40:6; Psalm 96:8; where it is rendered offering and offerings; Psalm 45:12, rendered gift; Psalm 72:10, rendered presents; and Psalm 141:2, rendered sacrifice. The use of the word in this place proves that such offerings had been made to God by him who was about to go forth to the war; and the prayer of the people here is that God would remember all those offerings; that is, that he would grant the blessing which he who had offered them had sought to obtain.

And accept - Margin, turn to ashes, or make fat. The Hebrew word - דשׁן dâshên - means properly to make fat, or marrowy, Proverbs 15:30; to pronounce or regard as fat; to be fat or satiated, or abundantly satisfied, Proverbs 13:4. It conveys also the notion of reducing to ashes; perhaps from the fact that the victim which had been fattened for sacrifice was reduced to ashes; or, as Gesenius supposes (Lexicon, see דשׁן deshen), because "ashes were used by the ancients for fattening, that is, manuring the soil." The prayer here seems to be that God would "pronounce the burnt-offering fat;" that is, that he would regard it favorably, or would accept it. This proves, also, that a sacrifice had been made with a view to propitiate the divine favor in regard to the expedition which had been undertaken; that is, a solemn act of devotion, according to the manner of worship which then obtained, had been performed with a view to secure the divine favor and protection. The example is one which suggests the propriety of always entering upon any enterprise by solemn acts of worship, or by supplicating the divine blessing; that is, by acknowledging our dependence on God, and asking his guidance and his protecting care.

Thy burnt sacrifice - The word used here denotes bloody offerings; see the note at Isaiah 1:11. These offerings were designed especially for the expiation of sin, and for thus securing the divine favor. They were an acknowledgment of guilt, and they were offered with a view to secure the pardon of sin, and, in connection with that, the favor of God. In similar circumstances we approach God, not by an offering which we make, whether bloody or bloodless, but through the one great sacrifice made by the Redeemer on the cross for the sins of the world.

3. all thy offerings—or gifts, vegetable offerings.

accept—literally, "turn to ashes" (compare 1Ki 18:38).

Selah—(See on [578]Ps 3:2).

Remember, to wit, with acceptance, as it follows.

Thy offerings; offered either by thee at thy entrance upon this expedition; or by us thy people on thy behalf, or by thine appointment.

Accept, Heb. turn to ashes, by fire sent from heaven in token of his acceptance, as was usual; of which see Leviticus 9:24 1 Kings 18:38.

Remember all thy offerings,.... The spiritual sacrifices of prayer and praise which Christ, as the great High Priest, offers up for his people; or which they offer by him, and are acceptable to God through him, by virtue of the incense of his mediation; or the offering up of himself, which answers to, and is the body, the sum and substance, of all the offerings of the law; they were types of this, and what they could not do this did; and therefore it is expressed in the singular number in the next clause;

and accept thy burnt sacrifice. The word rendered "accept" signifies to "reduce to ashes" (o); and the way in which it was known that sacrifices were acceptable to God was by fire coming down from heaven upon them and consuming them, Leviticus 9:24; and therefore the word is rightly rendered "accept"; and Christ's sacrifice of himself, putting away sin, and perfecting for ever them that are sanctified, is of a sweet smelling savour to God; for hereby his justice is satisfied, his law is magnified and made honourable, the sins of his people are atoned for, their persons are accepted, and their sacrifices of prayer and praise come up also with acceptance to him through the virtue of this sacrifice; and so these petitions have their accomplishment.

Selah; on this word; see Gill on Psalm 3:2.

(o) "incineret", Pagninus, Montanus, Cocceius; "in cinerem vertat", Vatablus; so Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Gejerus, Ainsworth.

Remember all thy offerings, and {c} accept thy burnt sacrifice; Selah.

(c) In token that they are acceptable to him.

3. May He remember all the offerings by which in past time the king has expressed his self-devotion and his dependence on Jehovah, and accept those by which he is now consecrating the present expedition. For sacrifice before a war see 1 Samuel 7:9-10; 1 Samuel 13:9-12; and cp. the phrase to sanctify a war (Jeremiah 6:4, R.V. marg.). Offering properly denotes the so-called meal-offering, which accompanied the burnt-offering.

Remember) Possibly an allusion to the memorial, or part of the meal-offering which was burnt by the priest on the altar, as it were bringing the worshippers for whom it was offered to God’s remembrance (Leviticus 2:2; Leviticus 2:9; Leviticus 2:16; Acts 10:4).

accept] Lit., regard as fat. The fat, as the choicest part, was Jehovah’s portion, and was always to be burnt (Leviticus 3:3 ff. Leviticus 3:16). Less probable is the alternative in A.V. marg., turn to ashes, by fire from heaven (Leviticus 9:24).

Verse 3. - Remember all thy offerings. (On David's offerings, see 2 Samuel 6:13, 17; 2 Samuel 24:25; 1 Chronicles 15:26; 1 Chronicles 16:1; 1 Chronicles 21:28; 1 Chronicles 29:21.) It is not to be supposed, however, that David ever sacrificed victims with his own hand, or without the intervention of a priest. And accept thy burnt sacrifice; Selah. It is a reasonable conjecture that the "Selah" here marks a "pause," during which special sacrifices were offered, with a view of entreating God's favour and protection in the coming war (Hengstenberg). Psalm 20:3(Heb.: 20:2-6) Litany for the king in distress, who offers sacrifices for himself in the sanctuary. The futures in Psalm 20:2, standing five times at the head of the climactic members of the parallelism, are optatives. ימלּא, Psalm 20:6, also continues the chain of wishes, of which even נרננה (cf. Psalm 69:15) forms one of the links. The wishes of the people accompany both the prayer and the sacrifice. "The Name of the God of Jacob" is the self-manifesting power and grace of the God of Israel. יעקב is used in poetry interchangeably with ישראל, just like אלהים with יהוה. Alshךch refers to Genesis 35:3; and it is not improbable that the desire moulds itself after the fashion of the record of the fact there handed down to us. May Jahve, who, as the history of Jacob shows, hears (and answers) in the day of distress, hear the king; may the Name of the God of Jacob bear him away from his foes to a triumphant height. שׂגּב alternates with רומם (Psalm 18:49) in this sense. This intercession on the behalf of the praying one is made in the sanctuary on the heights of Zion, where Jahve sits enthroned. May He send him succour from thence, like auxiliary troops that decide the victory. The king offers sacrifice. He offers sacrifice according to custom before the commencement of the battle (1 Samuel 13:9., and cf. the phrase קדּשׁ מלחמה), a whole burnt-offering and at the same time a meat or rather meal offering also, מנחות;

(Note: This, though not occurring in the Old Testament, is the principal form of the plural, which, as even David Kimchi recognises in his Lexicon, points to a verb מנח (just as שׂמלות, גּבעות, שׁפחות point to שׂמל, גּבע, שׂפח); whereas other old grammarians supposed נחה to be the root, and were puzzled with the traditional pronunciation menachôth, but without reason.)

for every whole offering and every shelamim - or peace-offering had a meat-offering and a drink-offering as its indispensable accompaniment. The word זכר is perfectly familiar in the ritual of the meal-offering. That portion of the meal-offering, only a part of which was placed upon the altar (to which, however, according to traditional practice, does not belong the accompanying meal-offering of the מנחת נסכים, which was entirely devoted to the altar), which ascended with the altar fire is called אזכּרה, μνημόσυνον (cf. Acts 10:4), that which brings to remembrance with God him for whom it is offered up (not "incense," as Hupfeld renders it); for the designation of the offering of jealousy, Numbers 5:15, as "bringing iniquity to remembrance before God" shows, that in the meal-offering ritual זכר retains the very same meaning that it has in other instances. Every meal-offering is in a certain sense a מנחת זכּרון a esnes . Hence here the prayer that Jahve would graciously remember them is combined with the meal-offerings.

As regards the ‛olah, the wish "let fire from heaven (Leviticus 9:24; 1 Kings 18:38; 1 Chronicles 21:26) turn it to ashes," would not be vain. But the language does not refer to anything extraordinary; and in itself the consumption of the offering to ashes (Bttcher) is no mark of gracious acceptance. Moreover, as a denominative from דּשׁן, fat ashes, דּשּׁן means "to clean from ashes," and not: to turn into ashes. On the other hand, דּשּׁן also signifies "to make fat," Psalm 23:5, and this effective signification is applied declaratively in this instance: may He find thy burnt-offering fat, which is equivalent to: may it be to Him a ריח ניחח [an odour of satisfaction, a sweet-smelling savour]. The voluntative ah only occurs here and in Job 11:17 (which see) and Isaiah 5:19, in the 3 pers.; and in this instance, just as with the cohortative in 1 Samuel 28:15, we have a change of the lengthening into a sharpening of the sound (cf. the exactly similar change of forms in 1 Samuel 28:15; Isaiah 59:5; Zechariah 5:4; Proverbs 24:14; Ezekiel 25:13) as is very frequently the case in מה for מה. The alteration to ידשּׁנה or ידשׁנהּ (Hitzig) is a felicitous but needless way of getting rid of the rare form. The explanation of the intensifying of the music here is, that the intercessory song of the choir is to be simultaneous with the presentation upon the altar (הקטרה). עצה is the resolution formed in the present wartime. "Because of thy salvation," i.e., thy success in war, is, as all the language is here, addressed to the king, cf. Psalm 21:2, where it is addressed to Jahve, and intended of the victory accorded to him. It is needless to read נגדּל instead of נדגּל, after the rendering of the lxx megaluntheeso'metha. נדגּל is a denominative from דּגל: to wave a banner. In the closing line, the rejoicing of hope goes back again to the present and again assumes the form of an intercessory desire.

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