Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Trust.—The poetry is weakened by the insertion of this word. Render, These in chariots and these on horses; but we in the name of Jehovah our God make boast. The mention of horses and chariots suggests a Syrian war, since the armies of Syria were peculiarly strong in this arm. For an interesting historical reference to this verse, see Macaulay’s Hist. of England, chap. ix.Psalm 20:7-9. Some trust in chariots — This again was spoken by the people. The word trust is not in the Hebrew, which is more literally translated, These in their chariots, and those on their horses, but we will remember, make mention of, or, celebrate, the name of the Lord our God; that is, we will remember, or make mention of it, so as to boast of or trust in it. They are brought down — From their horses and chariots, to which they trusted. Hebrew, כרעו, charegnu, they bowed down, as being unable to stand longer, because of their mortal wounds. See Jdg 5:27. But we are risen, and stand upright — Stand firmly, and keep the field. Let the king hear us — Either, 1st, David; and so the sense is, O Lord, preserve and assist the king, that, when we are distressed, and cry to him for help, he may be able and ready to help us: or, 2d, Let God, the supreme Monarch, the King of kings, and, in a peculiar manner, the King of Israel, hear and answer us, when we pray for our king and people. But Dr. Waterland renders the verse, very agreeably to the Hebrew, Lord, save the king. He (that is, the Lord) will hear us when we call.
And some in horses - Some in cavalry, commonly a very material reliance in war. The use of horses in war was early known in the world, for we find mention of them in the earliest periods of history.
But we will remember the name of the Lord our God - That is, we will remember God - the name, as before remarked, often being used to denote the person. The meaning is, We will not forget that our reliance is not on armies, but on God, the living God. Whatever instrumentality we may employ, we will remember always that our hope is in God, and that he only can give success to our arms.Some trust; or, remember; which may better be applied out of the next clause.
We will remember; or, make mention of, to wit, so as to boast of it, or trust in it; for such things men oft remember or mention. Deuteronomy 20:1; such chariots as were called "currus falcati", that had scythes at the sides of them, which being drove with fury among the infantry, cut them down as grass is mown with scythes; such the old Canaanites used, which were very terrible, Joshua 17:16; and horses trained up for war do much execution in a battle by pawing and trampling; see Job 39:21; though these are vain things for safety, and not to be depended on, for salvation and victory are of the Lord, Psalm 33:17; and such are the chariots and horses of the sun, and the idols in which the Gentiles trusted, 2 Kings 23:11; and all external things in which men depend for salvation, as fleshly privileges, outward works of righteousness, morality, a profession of religion, a round of duties, &c. all which are disclaimed by those who know the way of life and salvation by Christ, Hosea 14:3;
but we will remember the name of the Lord our God; not any of the names by which the Lord God is called, as Elohim, Elshaddai, Jehovah, and the like; though each of these are worthy of remembrance, and greatly serve to encourage faith in him; but rather the perfections of God, such as the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, which are to be remembered and confided in; and not the friendship of princes, the schemes of human policy, and the outward forces of strength; or else God himself is intended, whose name is himself, and is a strong tower to the righteous: and to remember him is to bear him in mind, and not forget him; to have the desires of the soul towards him, and to the remembrance of him; and to make mention of him, of his names, attributes, word, and works; which is both for his glory and for the encouragement of faith in him, both in ourselves and others; it is to call upon his name in times of trouble, and at all times, and also to trust in him and not in an arm of flesh; for it stands opposed to trusting in chariots and horses; and it is to call to mind past instances of his goodness, wisdom, and power, and be thankful for them, and make use of them to engage confidence in him; and which should be done from the consideration of his being God and not man, and of his being our God, our covenant God and Father.Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)7. Some] The heathen enemy, like Pharaoh (Exodus 14), and Sennacherib (2 Kings 19:23); not here heathenish Israelites, as in Isaiah 31:1-3.
But we will remember the name] R.V., But we will make mention of the name &c. This shall be our watchword and our strength. Cp. Jdg 7:18; 1 Samuel 17:45; 2 Chronicles 16:8-9; Psalm 33:16 f.; Isaiah 26:13; Hosea 1:7.Verse 7. - Some trust in chariots, and some in horses. The enemies of David towards the north - Syrians of Zobah, and Maachah, and Damascus, and Beth-Rehob - were especially formidable on account of their cavalry and their chariots. David on one occasion "took from Hadarezer, King of Zobah, a thousand chariots, and seven thousand horsemen" (1 Chronicles 18:4). On another he "slew of the Syrians seven thousand men which fought in chariots" (1 Chronicles 19:18). His own troops appear to have consisted entirely of footmen. But we will remember the Name of the Lord our God. Our trust, i.e., shall be in the Lord, who has commanded our kings "not to multiply horses" (Deuteronomy 17:16). 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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