What does Psalm 20:9 mean?
ESV: O Lord, save the king! May he answer us when we call.
NIV: Lord, give victory to the king! Answer us when we call!
NASB: Save, Lord; May the King answer us on the day we call.
CSB: Lord, give victory to the king! May he answer us on the day that we call.
NLT: Give victory to our king, O Lord! Answer our cry for help.
KJV: Save, Lord: let the king hear us when we call.
NKJV: Save, Lord! May the King answer us when we call.
Verse Commentary:
This psalm began with a prayer from the congregation (Psalm 20:1–5), and it ends with one, as well. In unison the congregation of Israel prayed for David's deliverance from his enemy. The congregation called on the Lord to answer their prayer and save the king. With a repeat of that basic theme, the psalm ends as it began. The people of Israel bowed to the sovereign King—God, the Lord—and looked to Him for victory.

David was an earthly king, but he acknowledged the Lord is the King of glory. In Psalm 24:10 he writes, "Who is this King of glory? The LORD of hosts, he is the King of glory!" Psalm 95:3 proclaims, "the LORD is a great God, and a great King above all gods." Like the congregation that prayed for David, believers ought to keep in mind that the person to whom they pray is the sovereign King of the universe. Nothing is impossible with Him (Luke 1:37). No burden is too heavy for Him to lift. No problem is too big for Him to solve. No barrier is too strong for Him to break down. And He answers when we call on Him (Jeremiah 33:3; Matthew 7:7–8; Hebrews 4:14–16).
Verse Context:
Psalm 20:6–9 assures the congregation that the Lord will grant David victory over the enemy. His words express strong confidence in the Lord. The passage reminds us of the confidence in the Lord that Daniel's three friends had when they were threatened with the fiery furnace (Daniel 3:16–18), and it reminds us of the victory over the lions that God gave to Daniel, who consistently prayed (Daniel 6:19–24). Psalm 91 similarly expresses confidence in the Lord in treacherous times.
Chapter Summary:
David prepares for battle. He offers prayer and sacrifices in the tabernacle and trusts in the Lord for victory. His army is ready to march into battle, and it is organized into groups, each with its banner. The congregation voices its invocation, asking the Lord to protect, help, support, and give David success. King David responds by assuring the congregation that the Lord answers prayer and will grant him victory over the enemy. He is certain the enemy will fall while he and his men will stand. Finally, the congregation calls upon the Lord to answer their prayer to save the king.
Chapter Context:
This psalm was written by David as a prayer before he went into battle. Psalm 21 offers praise for victory. It seems David had entered the tabernacle to pray before going to battle. The tone of the psalm is somber and urgent, whereas the tone of the next psalm (Psalm 21:1) is joyful. Perhaps our Lord's prayer in the garden of Gethsemane resembles the prayer in Psalm 20. At Gethsemane Jesus struggled with the prospect of suffering and dying and prayed for deliverance (Luke 22:39–44).
Book Summary:
The book of Psalms is composed of individual songs, hymns, or poems, each of which is a ''Psalm'' in and of itself. These works contain a wide variety of themes. Some Psalms focus on praising and worshipping God. Others cry out in anguish over the pain of life. Still other Psalms look forward to the coming of the Messiah. While some Psalms are related, each has its own historical and biblical context.
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