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PSALM 20

To him that presides over the music, a Psalm of David.

  1. May jehovah answer you in the day of trouble! may the name of the god of Jacob exalt you!
  2. May he send you help from the sanctuary! and strengthen you out of Zion!
  3. May he remember all your offerings, and make fat your burnt-sacrifice! Selah.
  4. May he give you according to your heart, and fulfill all your counsel!
  5. We will rejoice in your salvation, and in the name of our god we will set up banners; jehovah will fulfill all your petitions.
  6. Now know I that jehovah saves his anointed; He will answer him from the heavens of his holiness, with the saving strength of his right hand.
  7. Some glory in chariots and some in horses, but we will glory in the name of jehovah our god.
  8. They are brought down and fallen; but we are risen and stand upright.
  9. Save, O jehovah, let the king answer us in the day when we call.

The Internal Sense

Celebration of the lord because he sustains the church, verses 1 to 4; that salvation is from him, verses 5, 6, 9; that they will be saved who trust in him, and that they will perish who trust in themselves, verses 7, 8.

Exposition

Verses 1, 2. May jehovah send you help from the sanctuary, and strengthen you out of Zion. Sanctuary denotes the heaven where the truth of faith is, and Zion where the good of love is. AC 8330.

Verse 3. Remember all your offerings, and make fat your burnt-sacrifice. That burnt-offerings in one complex signify representative worship, is manifest from the prophets, as in David, "Let jehovah send you aid out of the sanctuary, and strengthen you out of Zion; remember all your offerings, and make fat your burnt-sacrifice;" Psalm 20:3, 4; and in Isaiah, "Every one that keeps the Sabbath from polluting it, even them will I introduce to the mountain of my holiness; their burnt-offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar;" Is 56:6, 7; where burnt-offerings and sacrifices denote all worship,burnt-offerings, worship from love; sacrifices, worship from faith thence derived. AC 923.

Verse 3. Make fat your burnt-sacrifice. To make fat the burnt-sacrifice is, to make worship good, and the reason is because fat denotes the celestial principle of good, as is manifest from several passages in the Word; and not only the fat which was in the animal, but also the fat which is from other sources, as butter and oil; and those things which partake at all of fatness, so far as they partake, so much of good they signify, as milk, honey, gums. That fatness was a representative of celestial good, thus of the love which is from the lord, is manifest from the burnt-offerings and sacrifices, in that all the fat was to be burnt on the altar, and that hence was an odour of rest to jehovah. AC 5943.

Verses 2, 5, 6. jehovah will send you help from the sanctuary, and strengthen you out of Zion; we will sing in your salvation, and in the name of our God, will we set up our banners. Now know I that jehovah saves his anointed. He will answer him from the heaven of his holiness, with the saving strength of his right hand. These words have relation to the lord, and his victory over the hells, and the consequent salvation of men: combats and victories are understood by answering his anointed from the heaven of his holiness with the saving strength of his right hand; and the consequent salvation of the faithful, by strengthening us out of Zion, and singing in his salvation. AE 850.

Verse 7. Some glory in chariots and some in horses, but we will glory in the name of jehovah our god. By glorying in a chariot and in horses are signified all things which are from man's own intelligence. AE 355.

The Translator's Notes and Observations

Verses 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. It is remarkable that, in all these verses, a manifest reference is made to the divine and heavenly marriage of the good and the true, which we have had occasion to note in all the preceding Psalms. Thus, in the first verse, jehovah is expressive of the supreme being as to his divine good, and the name of the god of jacob is expressive of the same divine being as to his divine truth. In the second verse, again, mention is made of the sanctuary and of Zion, because the sanctuary signifies the source of all that is true, and Zion the source of all that is good. The same observation may be extended to the third, the fourth, and the fifth verses, where we find distinct mention made of offerings and burnt-sacrifice, of heart and counsel; of salvation and the name of our god; the proper meaning of which expressions, in their conjoined state, can only be known, by referring them to that eternal law stamped on all the pages of divine revelation, by which they are compelled to bear witness to the above divine and heavenly marriage.

Verse 5. jehovah, will fulfill all your petitions. In the original the term (yimala), fulfill, properly means to fill, or make full, and suggests an idea perfectly distinct from granting. If it be asked what the idea is, which is here intended to be expressed by filling, it may be replied, that all petition, or prayer, may be of two descriptions, either full or empty, and that it is of the first description, when it is from the lord, and thus filled with his spirit, but that it is of the second description when it is from the man himself, and thus has nothing in it but the man's own spirit, and is consequently empty of the divine spirit. When therefore it is here said, "jehovah will fulfill all your petitions, it is the same thing as if it had been said, your petitions shall no longer be empty, having nothing in them but the selfish spirit of man, but shall be full, being derived from and replenished with a divine spirit from the most high god.

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