The Treasury of David

Psalm 20

Subject. We have before us a National Anthem, fitted to be sung at the outbreak of war, when the monarch was girding on his sword for the fight. If David had not been vexed with wars, we might never have been favoured with such psalms as this. There is a needs be for the trials of one saint, that he may yield consolation to others. A happy people here plead for a beloved sovereign, and with loving hearts cry to Jehovah, “God save the King.” We gather that this song was intended to be sung in public, not only from the matter of the song, but also from its dedication “To the Chief Musician.” We know its author to have been Israel’s sweet singer, from the short title, “A Psalm of David.” The particular occasion which suggested it, it would be mere folly to conjecture, for Israel was almost always at war in David’s day. His sword may have been hacked, but it was never rusted. Kimchi reads the title, concerning David, or, for David, and it is clear that the king is the subject as well as the composer of the song. It needs but a moment’s reflection to perceive that this hymn of prayer is prophetical of our Lord Jesus, and is the cry of the ancient church on behalf of her Lord, as she sees him in vision enduring a great fight of afflictions on her behalf. The militant people of God, with the great Captain of salvation at their head, may still in earnest plead that the pleasure of the Lord may prosper in his hand. We shall endeavour to keep to this view of the subject in our brief exposition, but we cannot entirely restrict out remarks to it.

Division. (Psalms 20:1-4) are a prayer for the success of the king. (Psalms 20:5-7) express unwavering confidence in God and his Anointed; (Psalms 20:8) declares the defeat of the foe, and (Psalms 20:9) is a concluding appeal to Jehovah.
The Treasury of David.

Psalm 20:4


Grant thee according to thine own heart, and fulfil all thy counsel. Christ’s desire and counsel were both set upon the salvation of his people; the church of old desired for him good speed in his design, and the church in these latter days, with all her heart desires the complete fulfilment of his purpose. In Christ Jesus sanctified souls may appropriate this verse as a promise; they shall have their desire, and their plans to glorify their Master shall succeed. We may have our own will, when our will is God’s will. This was always the case with our Lord, and yet he said, “not as I will, but as thou wilt.” What need for submission in our case; if it was necessary to him, how much more for us?

Explanatory Notes and Quaint Sayings

Ver. 1-5. See Psalms on “Psalms 20:1 for further information.

Grant thee according to thine own heart, and fulfil all thy counsel. Let us here call to mind the zealous and earnest desire of the Redeemer to accomplish his work, “I have a baptism to be baptised with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished.” Luke 12:50. “With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer” (Luke 22:15); that he might leave a memorial of his sufferings and death, for the strengthening and refreshing of their souls. These earnest desires and anticipations did the Father satisfy, as of one with whom he was well pleased. W. Wilson.

Fulfil all thy counsel; whatever was agreed upon in the counsel and covenant of peace between him and his Father, relating to his own glory, and the salvation of his people. John Gill.

Fulfil all thy counsel. Answer thee, ad cardinem desiderii, as a father, Augustine, expresses it; let it be unto thee even as thou wilt. Sometimes God doth not only grant a man’s prayer, but fulfils his counsel; that is, in that very way, by that very means, which his judgment pitched upon in his thoughts. John Trapp.

Hints to the Village Preacher

Ver. 3-4. The great privilege of this fourfold acceptance in the Beloved.
The Treasury of David.

Singing Psalm

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