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Psalm chapter 21

New International Version

1 For the director of music. A psalm of David. The king rejoices in your strength, LORD. How great is his joy in the victories you give! 2 You have granted him his heart's desire and have not withheld the request of his lips. 3 You came to greet him with rich blessings and placed a crown of pure gold on his head. 4 He asked you for life, and you gave it to him-- length of days, for ever and ever. 5 Through the victories you gave, his glory is great; you have bestowed on him splendor and majesty. 6 Surely you have granted him unending blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence. 7 For the king trusts in the LORD; through the unfailing love of the Most High he will not be shaken. 8 Your hand will lay hold on all your enemies; your right hand will seize your foes. 9 When you appear for battle, you will burn them up as in a blazing furnace. The LORD will swallow them up in his wrath, and his fire will consume them. 10 You will destroy their descendants from the earth, their posterity from mankind. 11 Though they plot evil against you and devise wicked schemes, they cannot succeed. 12 You will make them turn their backs when you aim at them with drawn bow. 13 Be exalted in your strength, LORD; we will sing and praise your might.
English Standard Version

1 To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. O LORD, in your strength the king rejoices, and in your salvation how greatly he exults! 2 You have given him his heart’s desire and have not withheld the request of his lips. Selah 3 For you meet him with rich blessings; you set a crown of fine gold upon his head. 4 He asked life of you; you gave it to him, length of days forever and ever. 5 His glory is great through your salvation; splendor and majesty you bestow on him. 6 For you make him most blessed forever; you make him glad with the joy of your presence. 7 For the king trusts in the LORD, and through the steadfast love of the Most High he shall not be moved. 8 Your hand will find out all your enemies; your right hand will find out those who hate you. 9 You will make them as a blazing oven when you appear. The LORD will swallow them up in his wrath, and fire will consume them. 10 You will destroy their descendants from the earth, and their offspring from among the children of man. 11 Though they plan evil against you, though they devise mischief, they will not succeed. 12 For you will put them to flight; you will aim at their faces with your bows. 13 Be exalted, O LORD, in your strength! We will sing and praise your power.
King James Version

1 {To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.} 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. 7 For the king trusteth in the LORD, and through the mercy of the most High he shall not be moved. 8 Thine hand shall find out all thine enemies: thy right hand shall find out those that hate thee. 9 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. 10 Their fruit shalt thou destroy from the earth, and their seed from among the children of men. 11 For they intended evil against thee: they imagined a mischievous device, which they are not able to perform. 12 Therefore shalt thou make them turn their back, when thou shalt make ready thine arrows upon thy strings against the face of them. 13 Be thou exalted, LORD, in thine own strength: so will we sing and praise thy power.
New American Standard Bible

1 For the choir director. A Psalm of David. O LORD, in Your strength the king will be glad, And in Your salvation how greatly he will rejoice! 2 You have given him his heart's desire, And You have not withheld the request of his lips. Selah. 3 For You meet him with the blessings of good things; You set a crown of fine gold on his head. 4 He asked life of You, You gave it to him, Length of days forever and ever. 5 His glory is great through Your salvation, Splendor and majesty You place upon him. 6 For You make him most blessed forever; You make him joyful with gladness in Your presence. 7 For the king trusts in the LORD, And through the lovingkindness of the Most High he will not be shaken. 8 Your hand will find out all your enemies; Your right hand will find out those who hate you. 9 You will make them as a fiery oven in the time of your anger; The LORD will swallow them up in His wrath, And fire will devour them. 10 Their offspring You will destroy from the earth, And their descendants from among the sons of men. 11 Though they intended evil against You And devised a plot, They will not succeed. 12 For You will make them turn their back; You will aim with Your bowstrings at their faces. 13 Be exalted, O LORD, in Your strength; We will sing and praise Your power.
New Living Translation

1 For the choir director: A psalm of David. How the king rejoices in your strength, O LORD! He shouts with joy because you give him victory. 2 For you have given him his heart's desire; you have withheld nothing he requested. Interlude 3 You welcomed him back with success and prosperity. You placed a crown of finest gold on his head. 4 He asked you to preserve his life, and you granted his request. The days of his life stretch on forever. 5 Your victory brings him great honor, and you have clothed him with splendor and majesty. 6 You have endowed him with eternal blessings and given him the joy of your presence. 7 For the king trusts in the LORD. The unfailing love of the Most High will keep him from stumbling. 8 You will capture all your enemies. Your strong right hand will seize all who hate you. 9 You will throw them in a flaming furnace when you appear. The LORD will consume them in his anger; fire will devour them. 10 You will wipe their children from the face of the earth; they will never have descendants. 11 Although they plot against you, their evil schemes will never succeed. 12 For they will turn and run when they see your arrows aimed at them. 13 Rise up, O LORD, in all your power. With music and singing we celebrate your mighty acts.
Christian Standard Bible

1 LORD, the king finds joy in your strength. How greatly he rejoices in your victory! 2 You have given him his heart's desire and have not denied the request of his lips. Selah 3 For you meet him with rich blessings; you place a crown of pure gold on his head. 4 He asked you for life, and you gave it to him--length of days forever and ever. 5 His glory is great through your victory; you confer majesty and splendor on him. 6 You give him blessings forever; you cheer him with joy in your presence. 7 For the king relies on the LORD; through the faithful love of the Most High he is not shaken. 8 Your hand will capture all your enemies; your right hand will seize those who hate you. 9 You will make them burn like a fiery furnace when you appear; the LORD will engulf them in his wrath, and fire will devour them. 10 You will wipe their progeny from the earth and their offspring from the human race. 11 Though they intend to harm you and devise a wicked plan, they will not prevail. 12 Instead, you will put them to flight when you ready your bowstrings to shoot at them. 13 Be exalted, LORD, in your strength; we will sing and praise your might.

What does Psalm chapter 21 mean?

Psalm 21 pairs with Psalm 20, which seems to come before David entered a battle. This song celebrates victory and expresses confidence in future success.

This praise of God begins by expressing the king's victory and his appreciation for God's favor. Verse 4 makes a reference to "length of days forever and ever," which seems to be a reference to the Messiah. In 2 Samuel 7:11–16, the Lord promises to establish David's descendant(s) on the throne for all time. It was these guarantees from God, and the success he obtained, that made David and his people confident in God's goodness and faithfulness (Psalm 21:1–7).

The second half of the psalm anticipates future victories for king David. These are credited to God, as the one who "swallows up" enemies of His chosen people. As part of this celebration, Scripture reminds us that following in the sinful footsteps of our ancestors is no excuse. Those who continue the sins of their parents can expect to face God's judgment. This passage also uses a vivid illustration of how David's enemies will flee him. They will respond as drastically as would someone having a drawn bow pointed directly into their face. This is the depth of faith the people express in God's power and plans (Psalm 21:8–13).