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Verses 1-13

Psalms 20-21 Before and after battle

These two psalms belong together as a pair. The former is a prayer for the king before he leads the people in battle; the latter, a thanksgiving after victory.Addressing the king, the people call down God’s power and protection upon him (20:1-2). They pray that God will remember the king’s faithfulness and give him victory (3-5). The king replies that victory is certain, because he has God’s help. God’s power is greater than military might (6-8). In response, the people offer a further plea, brief and urgent, for God’s help (9).

The people join in thanksgiving to God that he has answered their prayer of the previous psalms (see Psalms 20:4). God has given the king his heart’s desire, enabling him to lead his people to victory (21:1-4). Although the king receives glory because of his victory, the glory is not self-centred. It is glory given him by God, in whom he trusts (5-7). Having offered thanks to God, the people turn and address the king. They assure him that through God’s power he will continue to have victory over all his enemies (8-12). King and people then unite in praise to God (13).

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