What does Psalms 20 mean?
Psalm 20 features two main parts, as both the assembled people and King David pray for victory in an impending battle.
First, the people pray that God would bless the king during the fight: "the day of trouble." They pray that God would provide support for David, both spiritually—"from the sanctuary"—and militarily—"from Zion." Zion is another name for the city of Jerusalem. Their prayer is that David's pleas for victory would be granted. The people look forward to celebrating the victory God brings through their king (Psalm 20:1–5).
Next, David prays to describe his confidence in God. He refers to the "might of [God's] right hand," implying the full power of the Lord. This is contrasted with the only power available to worldly kingdoms: horses and chariots, common symbols of war. By comparison, David and the people of Israel are trusting in something far more potent, and reliable, than human armies (Psalm 20:6–8).
The psalm ends in the same way it began: with a sincere prayer from the people to give David victory in his battle (Psalm 20:9).
Psalm 20:1–5 expresses the tabernacle's congregational prayer for David as he prepares for battle. Deuteronomy 20:1–4 calls upon the people of Israel to rely on the Lord when they go to battle. The opening of this psalm demonstrates the people's positive response to this call. These words reveal Israel's love and admiration for King David.
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.
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.
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).
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.
Accessed 12/6/2023 10:05:07 PM
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