The Treasury of David

Psalm 21

Subject. The title gives us but little information; it is simply, To the chief Musician, a Psalm of David. Probably written by David, sung by David, relating to David, and intended by David to refer in its fullest reach of meaning to David’s Lord. It is evidently the fit companion of Psalm Twenty, and is in its proper position next to it. Psalm Twenty anticipates what this regards as realized. If we pray today for a benefit and receive it, we must, ere the sun goes down, praise God for that mercy, or we deserve to be denied the next time. It has been called David’s triumphant song, and we may remember it as The Royal Triumphal Ode. “The king” is most prominent throughout, and we shall read it to true profit if our meditation of him shall be sweet while perusing it. We must crown him with the glory of our salvation; singing of his love, and praising his power, The next psalm will take us to the foot of the cross, this introduces us to the steps of the throne.

Division. The division of the translators will answer every purpose. A thanksgiving for victory, Psalms 21:1-6. Confidence of further success, Psalms 21:7-13.
The Treasury of David.

Psalm 21:3


For thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness. The word prevent formerly signified to precede or go before, and assuredly Jehovah preceded his Son with blessings. Before he died saints were saved by the anticipated merit of his death, before he came believers saw his day and were glad, and he himself had his delights with the sons of men. The Father is so willing to give blessings through his Son, that instead of his being constrained to bestow his grace, he outstrips the Mediatorial march of mercy. “I say not that I will pray the Father for you, for the Father himself loveth you.” Before Jesus calls the Father answers, and while he is yet speaking he hears. Mercies may be bought with blood, but they are also freely given. The love of Jehovah is not caused by the Redeemer’s sacrifice, but that love, with its blessings of goodness, preceded the great atonement, and provided it for our salvation. Reader, it will be a happy thing for thee if, like thy Lord, thou canst see both providence and grace preceding thee, forestalling thy needs, and preparing thy path. Mercy, in the case of many of us, ran before our desires and prayers, and it ever outruns our endeavours and expectancies, and even our hopes are left to lag behind. Prevenient grace deserves a song; we may make one out of this sentence; let us try. All our mercies are to be viewed as “blessings;” gifts of a blessed God, meant to make us blessed; they are “blessings of goodness”, not of merit, but of free favour; and they come to us in a preventing way, a way of prudent foresight, such as only preventing love could have arranged. In this light the verse is itself a sonnet!

Thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head. Jesus wore the thorn crown, but now wears the glory crown. It is a “crown”, indicating royal nature, imperial power, deserved honour, glorious conquest, and divine government. The crown is of the richest, rarest, most resplendent, and most lasting order—“gold,” and that gold of the most refined and valuable sort, “pure gold”, to indicate the excellence of his dominion. This crown is set upon his head most firmly, and whereas other monarchs find their diadems fitting loosely, his is fixed so that no power can move it, for Jehovah himself has set it upon his brow. Napoleon crowned himself, but Jehovah crowned the Lord Jesus; the empire of the one melted in an hour, but the other has an abiding dominion. Some versions read, “a crown of precious stones; “this may remind us of those beloved ones who shall be as jewels in his crown, of whom he has said, “They shall be mine in the day when I make up my jewels.” May we be set in the golden circlet of the Redeemer’s glory, and adorn his head for ever!

Explanatory Notes and Quaint Sayings

For thou preventest him with the blessings of goodness: thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head. The Son of God could not be more ready to ask for the blessings of the divine goodness, than the Father was to give them; and his disposition is the same towards all his adopted sons. Christ, as King and Priest, weareth a crown of glory, represented by the purest and most resplendent of metals—gold. He is pleased to esteem his saints, excelling in different virtues, as the rubies, the sapphires, and the emeralds, which grace and adorn that crown. Who would not be ambitious of obtaining a place therein? George Horne.

Thou hast prevented him with the blessings of goodness. As if he should say, “Lord, I never asked for a kingdom, I never thought of a kingdom, but thou hast prevented me with the blessings of thy goodness.”… From whence I take up this note or doctrine, that it is a sweet thing and worthy of all our thankful acknowledgments, to be prevented with the blessings of God’s goodness, or God’s good blessings… It is no new thing for God to walk in a way of preventing love and mercy with the children of men. Thus he hath always dealt, doth deal, and will deal; thus he hath always dealt with the world, with the nations of the world, with great towns and places, with families, and with particular souls… As for particular souls, you know how it was with Matthew the publican, sitting at the receipt of custom. “Come and follow me, “says Christ; preventing of him. And you know how it was with Paul: “I was a blasphemer, and I was a persecutor, but I obtained mercy.” How so? Did he seek it first? “No, “says he, “I went breathing out threatenings against the people of God, and God met me, and unhorsed me; God prevented me with his grace and mercy.” Thus Paul. And pray tell me what do you think of that whole chapter of Luke—the fifteenth? There are three parables: the parable of the lost groat, of the lost sheep, and of the lost son. The woman lost her groat, and swept to find it; but did the groat make first toward the woman, or the woman make after the groat first? The shepherd lost his sheep, but did the sheep make first after the shepherd, or the shepherd after the sheep? Indeed, it is said concerning the lost son, that he first takes up a resolution, “I will return home to my father, “but when his father saw him afar off, he ran and met him, and embraced him, and welcomed him home. Why? But to show that the work of grace and mercy shall be all along carried on in a way of preventing love. Condensed from William Bridge, 1600-1670.

For thou hast prevented him with the blessings of sweetness. Because he had first quaffed the blessings of thy sweetness, the gall of our sins did not hurt him. Augustine.

Thou preventest him. The word “prevent” is now generally used to represent the idea of hindrance. “Thou preventest him”, would mean commonly, “You hinder him.” But here the word “prevent” means to go before. Thou goest before him with the blessings of thy goodness as a pioneer, to make crooked ways straight, and rough places smooth; or, as one who strews flowers in the path of another, to render the way beautiful to the eye and pleasant to the tread. Samuel Martin.

(first clause). The text is an acknowledgment of God’s goodness. God has anticipated David’s wants; and he writes, Thou preventest—thou goest before him—with goodness. The words blessings of goodness suggest that God’s gifts are God’s love embodied and expressed. And this greatly enhances the value of our blessings—that they are cups as full of God and of God’s kindness as of happiness and blessedness. Samuel Martin.

(first clause). A large portion of our blessing is given us before our asking or seeking. Existence, reason, intellect, a birth in a Christian land, the calling of our nation to the knowledge of Christ, and Christ himself, with many other things, are unsought bestowed on men, as was David’s right to the throne on him. No one ever asked for a Saviour till God of his own motion promised “the seed of the woman.”—William S. Plumer.

Thou settest a crown of pure gold on his head. Christ may be said to have a fourfold glory, or crown.

  1. As God coessential with the Father; “the brightness of the Father’s glory, and the express image of his person.” Hebrews 1:2-3.
  2. He hath a crown and glory as Mediator, in respect of the power, authority, and glory wherewith he is invested as God’s great deputy, and anointed upon the hill of Zion, having power, and a rod of iron, even in reference to enemies.
  3. He hath a crown and glory in respect of the manifestation of his glory in the executing of his offices, when he makes his mediatory power and glory apparent in particular steps: thus sometimes he is said to take his power to him (Revelation 11:17); and is said to be crowned when the white horse of the gospel rides in triumph. Revelation 6:2. The last step of this glory will be in the day of judgment; in short, this consists in his exercising his former power committed to him as Mediator.
  4. There is a crown and glory which is in a manner put on him by particular believers, when he is glorified by them, not by adding anything to his infinite glory, but by their acknowledging of him to be so. James Durham, 1622-1658.

The crown of pure gold has respect to his exaltation at the right hand of God, where he is crowned with glory and honour, and this “crown” being of “pure gold”, denotes the purity, glory, solidity, and perpetuity of his kingdom. John Gill.

Hints to the Village Preacher

(first clause). Preventing mercies.

(first clause). God Going Before Us, or God’s anticipation of our necessities by his merciful dispensations. God prevents us with the blessings of his goodness:

  1. When we come into the world.
  2. When we become personal transgressors.
  3. When we enter upon the duties and upon the cares of mature life.
  4. When, in the general course of life, we enter upon new paths.
  5. In the dark “valley of the shadow of death.”
  6. By giving us many mercies without our asking for them; and thus creating occasion, not for prayer, but for praise only.
  7. By opening to us the gate of heaven, and by storing heaven with every provision for our blessedness. Samuel Martin.

(second clause). Jesus crowned.

  1. His previous labours.
  2. The dominion bestowed.
  3. The character of the crown.
  4. The divine coronant.

The Treasury of David.

Singing Psalm

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