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20. Psalm 20

The Lord hear thee in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob defend thee;

2Send thee help from the sanctuary, and strengthen thee out of Zion;

3Remember all thy offerings, and accept thy burnt sacrifice; Selah.

4Grant thee according to thine own heart, and fulfil all thy counsel.

5We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners: the Lord fulfil all thy petitions.

6Now know I that the Lord saveth his anointed; he will hear him from his holy heaven with the saving strength of his right hand.

7Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.

8They are brought down and fallen: but we are risen, and stand upright.

9Save, Lord: let the king hear us when we call.

6. Now I know. Here there follows grateful rejoicing, in which the faithful declare that they have experienced the goodness of God in the preservation of the king. To this there is at the same time added a doctrine of faith, namely, that God showed by the effect that he put forth his power in maintaining the kingdom of David, because it was founded upon his calling. The meaning is, It appears from certain experience, that God is the guardian of the kingdom which he himself set up, and of which he is the founder. For David is called Messiah, or anointed, that the faithful might be persuaded that he was a lawful and sacred king, whom God had testified, by outward anointing, to be chosen by himself. Thus, then, the faithful ascribe to the grace of God the deliverance which had been wrought for David from the greatest dangers, and at the same time, particularly mention the cause of this to be, that God had determined to protect and defend him who, by his commandment, had been anointed king over his people. They confirm still more clearly their hope, with respect to the future, in the following clause: God will hear him out of heaven I do not translate the verb which is here used into the past tense, but retain the future: for I have no doubt, that from the experience which God had already given them of his goodness, they concluded that it would be hereafter exercised in the continual preservation of the kingdom. Here the Psalmist makes mention of another sanctuary, 477477     Different from “the sanctuary” mentioned in verse second. namely, a heavenly. As God then graciously vouchsafed to descend among the Israelites, by the ark of the covenant, in order to make himself more familiarly known to them; so, on the other hand, he intended to draw the minds of his people upwards to himself, and thereby to prevent them from forming carnal and earthly conceptions of his character, and to teach them that he was greater than the whole world. Thus, under the visible sanctuary, which was made with hands, there is set forth the fatherly goodness of God, and his familiarity with his people; while, under the heavenly sanctuary, there is shown his infinite power, dominion, and majesty. The words, In the mightiness of the salvation, mean his mighty salvation, or his saving power. Thus, in the very expression there is a transposing of the words. The sense comes to this: May God by his wonderful power, preserve the king who was anointed by his commandment! The Holy Spirit, who dictated this prayer, saw well that Satan would not suffer David to live in peace, but would put forth all his efforts to oppose him, which would render it necessary for him to be sustained by more than human power. I do not, however, disapprove of the other exposition which I have marked on the margin, according to which the faithful, for their greater encouragement, set before themselves this truth, that the salvation of God’s right hand is in mightiness; in other words, is sufficiently strong to overcome all impediments.


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