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Psalm 20

Prayer for Victory

To the leader. A Psalm of David.


The L ord answer you in the day of trouble!

The name of the God of Jacob protect you!


May he send you help from the sanctuary,

and give you support from Zion.


May he remember all your offerings,

and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices. Selah



May he grant you your heart’s desire,

and fulfill all your plans.


May we shout for joy over your victory,

and in the name of our God set up our banners.

May the L ord fulfill all your petitions.



Now I know that the L ord will help his anointed;

he will answer him from his holy heaven

with mighty victories by his right hand.


Some take pride in chariots, and some in horses,

but our pride is in the name of the L ord our God.


They will collapse and fall,

but we shall rise and stand upright.



Give victory to the king, O L ord;

answer us when we call.

9. Save, O Jehovah! etc. Some read in one sentence, O Jehovah! save the king; 478478     This is the reading of the Septuagint. Its words are, Κυριε σωσον τον βασιλεα. The reading of the Vulgate is the same. Calvin’s rendering, which is also that of our English version, agrees with the masoretical punctuation; but the Septuagint has followed a different pointing. perhaps because they think it wrong to attribute to an earthly king what is proper to God only, — to be called upon, and to hear prayer. But if we turn our eyes towards Christ, as it becomes us to do, we will no longer wonder that what properly belongs to him is attributed in a certain sense to David and his successors, in so far as they were types of Christ. As God governs and saves us by the hand of Christ, we must not look for salvation from any other quarter. In like manner, the faithful under the former economy were accustomed to betake themselves to their king as the minister of God’s saving grace. Hence these words of Jeremiah,

“The breath of our nostrils, the anointed of the Lord, of whom we said, Under his shadow we shall live among the heathen.” (Lamentations 4:20)

Whenever, therefore, God promises the restoration of his church, he sets forth a symbol or pledge of its salvation in the kingdom. We now see that it is not without very good reason that the faithful are introduced asking succor from their king, under whose guardianship and protection they were placed, and who, as the vicegerent of God, presided over them; as the Prophet Micah says, (Micah 2:13,) “Their king shall pass before them, and the Lord on the head of them;” by which words he intimates, that their king will be as it were a mirror in which they may see reflected the image of God. To return to the present passage:— The expression, Save, O Jehovah, is elliptical, but it has greater emphasis than if the object for which salvation is sought had been mentioned; for by this means David shows that this salvation belongs in common to the whole body of the church. In Psalm 118:25, there is a prayer in the same words, and it is certain that it is the very same prayer. In short, this is a prayer, that God, by blessing the king, would show himself the Savior of the whole people. In the last clause of the verse there is expressed the means of this salvation. The people pray that the king may be furnished with power from God to deliver them whenever they are in distress, and cry to him for help. Let the king hear us in the day that we call upon him. God had not promised that his people would be saved in any other way than by the hand and conduct of the king whom he had given them. In the present day, when Christ is now manifested to us, let us learn to yield him this honor — to renounce all hope of salvation from any other quarter, and to trust to that salvation only which he shall bring to us from God his Father. And of this we shall then only become partakers when, being all gathered together into one body, under the same Head, we shall have mutual care one of another, and when none of us will have his attention so engrossed with his own advantage and individual interest, as to be indifferent to the welfare and happiness of others.

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