Psalm 21:1
The king shall joy in your strength, O LORD; and in your salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(1) The king shall.—Rather, the king is exulting in thy might (which has secured the victory he prayed for), and in thy help how greatly glad is he.

Psalm 21:1. The king shall joy in thy strength — Conferred upon him, and put forth, by thee, on his behalf, against his enemies. Though by the king here we may understand King David, who composed this Psalm, yet it may be much better explained of the King Messiah; understood of whom, the words thy strength mean the divine power, which was manifested in the resurrection of Christ, and in the establishment of his gospel.21:1-6 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.The king shall joy in thy strength - King David, who had achieved the victory which he had desired and prayed for, Psalm 20:1-9. This is in the third person, but the reference is doubtless to David himself, and is to be understood as his own language. If it be understood, however, as the language of "the people," it is still an ascription of praise to God for his favor to their king. It seems better, however, to regard it as the language of David himself. The word ""strength"" here implies that all the success referred to was to be traced to God. It was not by the prowess of a human arm; it was not by the valor or skill of the king himself; it was by the power of God alone.

And in thy salvation - In the salvation or deliverance from foes which thou hast granted, and in all that thou doest to save. The language would embrace all that God does to save his people.

How greatly shall he rejoice! - Not only does he rejoice now, but he ever will rejoice. It will be to him a constant joy. Salvation, now to us a source of comfort, will always be such; and when we once have evidence that God has interposed to save us, it is accompanied with the confident anticipation that this will continue to be the source of our highest joy forever.

PSALM 21

Ps 21:1-13. The pious are led by the Psalmist to celebrate God's favor to the king in the already conferred and in prospective victories. The doxology added may relate to both Psalms; the preceding of petition, chiefly this of thanksgiving, ascribing honor to God for His display of grace and power to His Church in all ages, not only under David, but also under his last greatest successor, "the King of the Jews."

1. thy strength … thy salvation—as supplied by Thee.

1 The king shall joy in thy strength, O Lord; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!

2 Thou hast given him his heart's desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips. Selah.

3 For thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness: thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head.

4 He asked life of thee, and thou gavest it him, even length of days for ever and ever.

5 His glory is great in thy salvation: honour and majesty hast thou laid upon him.

6 For thou hast made him most blessed for ever: thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance.

Psalm 21:1

"The king shall joy in thy strength, O Lord." Jesus is a Royal Personage. The question, "Art thou a King then?" received a full answer from the Saviour's lips: "Thou sayest that I am a King. To this end was I born, and for this purpose came I into this world, that I might bear witness unto the truth." He is not merely a King, but the King; King over minds and hearts, reigning with a dominion of love, before which all other rule is but mere brute force. He was proclaimed King even on the cross, for there, indeed, to the eye of faith, he reigned as on a throne, blessing with more than imperial munificence the needy sons of earth. Jesus has wrought out the salvation of his people, but as a man he found his strength in Jehovah his God, to whom he addressed himself in prayer upon the lonely mountain's side, and in the garden's solitary gloom. That strength so abundantly given is here gratefully acknowledged, and made the subject of joy. The Man of Sorrows is now anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows. Returned in triumph from the overthrow of all his foes, he offers his own rapturous Te Deum in the temple above, and joys in the power of the Lord. Herein let every subject of King Jesus imitate the King; let us lean upon Jehovah's strength, let us joy in it by unstaggering faith, let us exult in it in our thankful songs. Jesus not only has thus rejoiced, but he shall do so as he sees the power of divine grace bringing out from their sinful hiding-places the purchase of his soul's travail; we also shall rejoice more and more as we learn by experience more and more fully the strength of the arm of our covenant God our weakness unstrings our harps, but his strength tunes them anew. If we cannot sing a note in honour of our own strength, we can at any rate rejoice in our omnipotent God.

"And in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!" everything is ascribed to God; the source is thy strength and the stream is thy salvation. Jehovah planned and ordained it, works it and crowns it, and therefore it is his salvation. The joy here spoken of is described by a note of exclamation and a word of wonder: "how greatly!" The rejoicing of our risen Lord must, like his agony, be unutterable. If the mountains of his joy rise in proportion to the depth of the valleys of his grief, then his sacred bliss is high as the seventh heaven. For the joy which was set before him he endured the cross, despising the shame, and now that joy daily grows, for he rests in his love and rejoices over his redeemed with singing, as in due order they are brought to find their salvation in his blood. Let us with our Lord rejoice in salvation, as coming from God, as coming to us, as extending itself to others, and as soon to encompass all lands. We need not be afraid of too much rejoicing in this respect; this solid foundation will well sustain the loftiest edifice of joy. The shoutings of the early Methodists in the excitement of the joy were far more pardonable than our own lukewarmness. Our joy should have some sort of inexpressibleness in it.

Psalm 21:2

"Thou hast given him his heart's desire." That desire he ardently pursued when he was on earth, both by his prayer, his actions, and his suffering; he manifested that his heart longed to redeem his people, and now in heaven he has his desire granted him, for he sees his beloved coming to be with him where he is. The desires of the Lord Jesus were from his heart, and the Lord heard them; if our hearts are right with God, he will in our case also "fulfil the desire of them that fear him."

"And hast not withholden the request of his lips." What is in the well of the heart is sure to come up in the bucket of the lips, and those are the only true prayers where the heart's desire is first, and the lip's request follows after. Jesus prayed vocally as well as mentally; speech is a great assistance to thought. Some of us feel that even when alone we find it easier to collect our thoughts when we can pray aloud. The requests of the Saviour were not withheld. He was and still is a prevailing Pleader. Our Advocate on high returns not empty from the throne of grace. He asked for his elect in the eternal council-chamber, he asked for blessings for them here, he asked for glory for them hereafter, and his requests have speeded. He is ready to ask for us at the mercy-seat. Have we not at this hour some desire to send up to his Father by him? Let us not be slack to use our willing, loving, all-prevailing Intercessor.

"Selah." Here a pause is very properly inserted, that we may admire the blessed success of the king's prayers, and that we may prepare our own requests which may be presented through him. If we had a few more quiet rests, a few more Selahs in our public worship, it might be profitable.

Psalm 21:3

continued...The subject of this Psalm is the same with the former, both being made for the people’s use, concerning the king; only the prayers there used are here turned into praises for the blessings received in answer to their prayers. And as David was an illustrious type of Christ, so in many of these expressions he may seem to look beyond himself unto Christ, in whom they are more properly and fully accomplished, and of whom divers of the ancient Hebrew doctors understand it.

David, out of a sense of God’s answering his prayers for all he asked, professeth his joy and gladness in him, Psalm 21:1-6. His confidence for further success, Psalm 21:7; that God will find out and consume his enemies, Psalm 21:8-12. He prayeth that God would exalt his strength, that he might praise his power, Psalm 21:13.

In thy strength conferred upon him, and put forth by thee on his behalf against his enemies.

The king shall joy in thy strength, O Lord,.... Either in that strength which is in Jehovah himself, in whom is everlasting strength; and which is seen in the works of creation and providence, and is the same in Christ himself, as he is the mighty God; or else in the strength which Jehovah communicated to Christ as man, whereby he was strengthened in his human nature to go through and complete the work of man's redemption; or in the strength which the Lord puts forth, and the power which he exerts towards and upon his people, in conversion; which is the produce of the exceeding greatness of his power; and in strengthening them, from time to time, to exercise grace, discharge duty, and withstand temptations and sin; and in keeping them safe to the end; in supporting them under all their trials, and in carrying on and finishing the work of faith upon their souls; all which is matter of joy to Christ;

and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice? meaning either his own salvation by the Lord, from all his sorrows and troubles, and out of the hands of all enemies, being in the presence of God, where is fulness of joy, Psalm 16:9; or else the salvation of his people by him, which Jehovah appointed them to, secured for them in the covenant of grace, sent Christ to work out for them, applies by his Spirit, and at last puts into the full possession of: Christ rejoices at the effectual calling and conversion of his people, when salvation is brought near unto them; and especially at their glorification, when they shall be in the full enjoyment of it; then will they be his joy, and crown of rejoicing: this is the joy that was set before him, which made him go so cheerfully through his sufferings and death for them, Hebrews 12:2; the reasons of this joy are, because of the great love he bears to them; the interest and property he has in them; his undertakings for them, as their surety, to bring them safe to glory; his purchase of them by his blood; his intercession for them, that they might be with him to behold his glory; and, last of all, because of his Father's glory, his own glory, and the glory of the blessed Spirit, which are concerned in the salvation of these persons.

<> The king shall {a} joy in thy strength, O LORD; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!

(a) When he will overcome his enemies, and so be assured of his calling.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1. The prayers of Psalms 20 have been answered. The victory is won, and the king rejoices. He has trusted in Jehovah, and now the ground of his rejoicing is the strength which Jehovah has put forth on his behalf, the deliverance which Jehovah has wrought for him. Cp. Psalm 9:14; Exodus 15:2.

1–7. The people’s thanksgiving for Jehovah’s favour to their king.Verse 1. - The king shall joy. The future is used to give the idea of continuance, "The king rejoices, and will go on rejoicing." In thy strength, O Lord; i.e. in the strength that thou puttest forth to help and protect him (comp. Psalm 20:6). And in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice: God' s "salvation" had been confidently anticipated (Psalm 20:5, 6, 9), and has now been experienced. (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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