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 21:4


He asked life of thee, and thou gavest it him, even length of days for ever and ever. The first words may suit King David, but the length of days for ever and ever can only refer to the King Messiah. Jesus, as man, prayed for resurrection and he received it, and now possesses it in immortality. He died once, but being raised from the dead he dieth no more. “Because I live, ye shall live also,” is the delightful intimation which the Saviour gives us, that we are partakers of his eternal life. We had never found this jewel, if he had not rolled away the stone which covered it.

Explanatory Notes and Quaint Sayings

He asked life of thee, and thou gavest it him, even length of days for ever and ever. The glory of God is concerned in Christ’s living for ever—

  1. The glory of his faithfulness: for eternal life and blessedness were pledged to Immanuel in covenant as the reward of his work (Psalms 110:1-4 Isaiah 9:6-7, etc.); and it was in the anticipation and confident hope of this, that he “endured the cross, despising the shame.” Hebrews 12:2 Psalms 16:8-11.
  2. The glory of his justice. The justice of God was honoured and fully satisfied in all its righteous demands by the death of Christ. His subsequent life is the expression on the part of God of that satisfaction. His perpetual life is a permanent declaration that in him and his finished work the everlasting righteousness of Jehovah rests for ever satisfied. Death can “never more have dominion over him:” for to inflict the penalty again would be a violation of justice.
  3. The glory of his grace. The glory of this grace he now lives actively to promote. John 17:2. By living “ever” at God’s right hand, he appears as an eternal memorial of God’s love in making him our Mediator and Substitute—our Saviour from sin and wrath; and his permanent appearance there will keep all heaven perpetually in mind that “by the grace of God they are what they are”, owing all to the sovereign mercy of God through Jesus Christ. He shall appear as the blessed medium through which all the gifts and joys of salvation shall flow to the guilty for evermore. Thus the power of God and all his moral attributes secure the perpetuity of the life of the risen and exalted Saviour. Ralph Wardlaw, D.D.

He asked life of thee, and thou gavest it him. He asked a resurrection, saying, “Father, glorify thy Son; “and thou gavest it him. Length of days for ever and ever. The prolonged ages of this world which the church was to have, and after them an eternity, world without end. Augustine.

He asked life of thee, etc. Thus God is better to his people than their prayers; and when they ask but one blessing, he answereth them as Naaman did Gehazi, with, Nay, take two. Hezekiah asked but one life, and God gave him fifteen years, which we reckon at two lives and more. He giveth liberally and like himself; as great Alexander did when he gave the poor beggar a city; and when he sent his schoolmaster a ship full of frankincense, and bade him sacrifice freely. John Trapp.

Ver. 4-8. If David had before been without the symbol of his royal dignity, namely, the diadem, he was the more justified in praising the goodness of God, which had now transferred it from the head of an enemy to his own.—Augustus F. Tholuck.

Hints to the Village Preacher

Jesus ever living.
The Treasury of David.

Singing Psalm

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