Psalms 20


לַמְנַצֵּחַ מִזְמֹור לְדָוִד׃   20:1

Psal. 20:1   For the leader, a psalm of David's.

יַעַנְךָ יְהוָה בְּיוֹם צָרָה יְשַׂגֶּבְךָ שֵׁם אֱלֹהֵי יַעֲקֹב׃   20:2

Psal. 20:2   The Lord will answer you in time of trouble;

                              the name of the God of Jacob will raise you on high.

All the popular bibles with which I am familiar interpret this verse and the next four as a prayer for one person, for the congregation before whom the leader may be singing, or for Israel.  The imperfect tense of the verbs are all assumed to be pleas.  For example, this verse is (mis)translated universally as something like “ May the Lord answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.”  In contrast, I believe this psalm is not a prayer, but instead offers praise to God and encouragement to the listener, whoever that may be.

יִשְׁלַח־עֶזְרְךָ מִקֹּדֶשׁ וּמִצִּיּוֹן יִסְעָדֶךָּ׃   20:3

Psal. 20:3   He will send your help from the sanctuary,

                             and from Zion He will strengthen you.

יִזְכֹּר כָּל־מִנְחֹתֶךָ וְעוֹלָתְךָ יְדַשְּׁנֶה סֶלָה׃   20:4

Psal. 20:4   He will remember all your offerings,

                             and He will accept your burnt sacrifices.              Selah.

יִתֶּן־לְךָ כִלְבָבֶךָ וְכָל־עֲצָתְךָ יְמַלֵּא׃   20:5

Psal. 20:5   He will grant to you according to your own heart,

                             and He will confirm all your counsel.

I interpret the first line of this verse to mean that the Lord grants according to what is in your heart, not your

desires.  The heart was seen as the seat of the intellect.

נְרַנְּנָה בִּישׁוּעָתֶךָ וּבְשֵׁם־אֱלֹהֵינוּ נִדְגֹּל יְמַלֵּא יְהוָה כָּל־מִשְׁאֲלוֹתֶיךָ׃   20:6

Psal. 20:6   We will rejoice in your salvation,

                             and we shall set up banners in the name of our God;

                      the Lord will fulfill all your petitions.

עַתָּה יָדַעְתִּי כִּי הוֹשִׁיעַ יְהוָה מְשִׁיחוֹ יַעֲנֵהוּ מִשְּׁמֵי קָדְשׁוֹ בִּגְבֻרוֹת יֵשַׁע יְמִינוֹ׃   20:7

Psal. 20:7   Now I know that the Lord is a Savior of His anointed.

                             He will answer him from the heaven of His holiness

                      with the powers of salvation of His “right hand."

The Lord’s anointed is David.

אֵלֶּה בָרֶכֶב וְאֵלֶּה בַסּוּסִים וַאֲנַחְנוּ בְּשֵׁם־יְהוָה אֱלֹהֵינוּ נַזְכִּיר׃   20:8

Psal. 20:8   Some are in chariot and others are on horses,

                              but we will be remembered in the name of the Lord, our God.

We will be remembered, not because we are important enough or wealthy enough to have chariots and horses,

 but because of our commitment to the Lord.

הֵמָּה כָּרְעוּ וְנָפָלוּ וַאֲנַחְנוּ קַּמְנוּ וַנִּתְעוֹדָד׃   20:9

Psal. 20:9   They are brought down and fall,

                              but He lifts us up so we can stand upright.

יְהוָה הוֹשִׁיעָה הַמֶּלֶךְ יַעֲנֵנוּ בְיוֹם־קָרְאֵנוּ׃   20:10

Psal. 20:10   O Lord, deliver!

                              Let the King answer us in the time of our call.

Out of the entire chapter, I believe only the last line of this verse turns out to be a prayer.


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