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.
Thou hast given him his heart's desire, and hast not withholden the request of his lips. Selah.
Verse 2. - Thou hast given him his heart' s desire (comp. Psalm 20:4, "Grant thee according to thine own heart"). And hast not withholden the request of his lips. "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." The deliverance from his enemies, which David had earnestly desired in his heart, he had also devoutly requested with his lips (Psalm 20:1, 5). Selah. The pause here may have been for the presentation of a thank-offering.
For thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness: thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head.
Verse 3. - For thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness; i.e. thou givest him blessings before he asks, and more than he asks.. "The blessings of goodness" is pleonastic, since a blessing cannot be otherwise than a good. Thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head. It is remarked that David, as the result of one of his wars, did actually take the crown of the conquered king, which was a crown of gold, from off the king' s head, and place it upon his own head (2 Samuel 12:30); but this is scarcely what is intended here. As Hengstenberg observes, "The setting on of the crown marks the bestowment of dominion," not in one petty ease only, but generally, and is scarcely to be altogether separated from the promises recorded in 2 Samuel 7:12-16.
He asked life of thee, and thou gavest it him, even length of days for ever and ever.
Verse 4. - He asked life of thee, and thou gavest it him, even length of days for ever and ever. The "life" intended cannot be ordinary human life, since in David' s case this certainly did not continue "for ever and ever." We must understand the psalmist to have asked for continuance in his posterity, and this was guaranteed him in the message which God sent him by Nathan (2 Samuel 7:13, 16). In the full sense the promise was, of course, Messianic, being fulfilled only in Christ, the God-Man, who alone of David' s posterity "liveth for ever."
His glory is great in thy salvation: honour and majesty hast thou laid upon him.
Verse 5. - His glory is great in thy salvation. David' s glory exceeds that of all other living men, through the "salvation" which God vouchsafes him. That salvation is partly temporal, consisting in deliverance from his foes; partly of an unearthly and spiritual character, arising out of his relationship to the coming Messiah. It is from the latter point of view, rather than the former, that it is said, Honour and majesty hast thou laid upon him.
For thou hast made him most blessed for ever: thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance.
Verse 6. - For thou hast made him most blessed for ever; literally, for thou settest him to be blessings for ever. Thou makest him, i.e., to be a perennial source of blessings to men. As all mankind were blessed in Abraham (Genesis 12:3; Genesis 18:18; Genesis 22:18), i.e. in his seed, so were they all blessed in David' s seed. Thou hast made him exceeding glad with thy countenance; i.e. with thy favour and protection, so frequently and so markedly extended to him.
For the king trusteth in the LORD, and through the mercy of the most High he shall not be moved.
Verse 7. - For the king trusteth in the Lord. This is at once the ground and the result of God' s favour to him. God favours David because of his trust, and David trusts in God because of his favour. The result is that, through the mercy (or, loving-kindness, Revised Version) of the Most High he shall not be moved (comp. Psalm 15:5; Psalm 112:6). The words appear to denote a conviction, as Professor Alexander says, that David "would never be shaken from his standing in God' s favour." This conviction we may well conceive him to have felt, and to have regarded as one that might fittingly be expressed by his subjects, in whose mouth he placed it. But such a conviction is not always borne out by events, and David confesses elsewhere, that, at any rate, once in his life, after he had said, "I shall never be moved," God "hid away his face from him," and he "was troubled" (Psalm 30:6, 7).
Thine hand shall find out all thine enemies: thy right hand shall find out those that hate thee.
Verses 8-12. - In this second portion of the psalm, the people address themselves to David, anticipating future glories for him. "Having shown what God would do for his anointed, the psalm now describes what the latter shall accomplish through Divine assistance" (Alexander). Past success is taken as a guarantee of victory over all other enemies. Verse 8. - Thine hand shall find out all thine enemies; i.e. "shall reach them, attain them, punish them" (comp. 1 Samuel 31:3). Thy right hand (the hand of greater power) shall find out those that hate thee; and, of' course, punish them severely.
Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of thine anger: the LORD shall swallow them up in his wrath, and the fire shall devour them.
Verse 9. - Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of his anger. Some suppose a reference to the event mentioned in 2 Samuel 12:31, "He (David) made them (the Ammonites) to pass through the brick-kiln.;" but the expression "fiery oven" is probably not intended to be taken literally, but metaphorically. Severe suffering is continually compared in Scripture to confinement in an oven or furnace (see Deuteronomy 4:20; 1 Kings 8:51; Isaiah 48:10; Jeremiah 11:4; Ezekiel 22:18, 20, 22; Malachi 4:1). And we may best understand the present passage to mean simply that in the time of his anger David would subject such of his enemies as fell into his hands to very terrible sufferings. (See, as showing what extreme severities David did sometimes inflict on captured enemies, 2 Samuel 12:31 which is to the point, as also is 1 Kings 11:15, 16.) The Lord shall swallow them up in his wrath, and the fire shall devour them. The metaphor is followed up, with the addition that what was previously attributed to David alone is here declared to have the sanction of God.
Their fruit shalt thou destroy from the earth, and their seed from among the children of men.
Verse 10. - Their fruit shalt thou destroy from the earth; i.e. their offspring or progeny. Joab, by David' s orders, remained in Edom "until he had cut off every male" (1 Kings 11:16). And their seed from among the children of men. The second clause, as so often, re-echoes the first; without adding anything to it.
For they intended evil against thee: they imagined a mischievous device, which they are not able to perform.
Verse 11. - For they intended evil against thee. Their destruction is brought upon them by their own selves. They plot against the people of God, and thus provoke God to anger, and cause him to deliver them into their enemy' s hand. It does not matter that they can effect nothing. The "intention" is enough. They imagined a mischievous device, which they are not able to perform. The inability is not so much from a deficiency of strength in themselves, as from the opposition offered to their schemes by God. The best-laid plans an powerless, if God wills to baffle them.
Therefore shalt thou make them turn their back, when thou shalt make ready thine arrows upon thy strings against the face of them.
Verse 12. - Therefore shalt thou make them turn their back; literally, their neck (comp. Psalm 18:40). The meaning is simply, "Thou shalt put them to flight." When thou shalt make ready thine arrows upon thy strings against the face of them. The Authorized Version, by supplying "when" and "thine arrows," expresses what the psalmist has left to the intelligence of the reader. The psalmist says, "Thou shalt put them to flight; thou shalt make ready upon thy strings against the face of them, no doubt meaning that the discharge of arrows would produce the hasty flight, but not saying it.
Be thou exalted, LORD, in thine own strength: so will we sing and praise thy power.
Verse 13. - Be thou exalted, Lord, in thine own strength. The psalm, as already remarked, ends, as it began, with the praise of God. "Be thou exalted" means, "Be thou lifted up, both in thyself, and in the praises of thy people" (comp. Psalm 18:46; Psalm 46:10). So will we sing and praise thy power. We, at any rate, will do our part to exalt thee. Our tongues shall ever sing of the great deeds thou doest for us.