Psalm 21


In Psalm 20, we saw how the people asked God to give victory to David as he prepared to go into battle against the Arameans, 2 Samuel 10:1-16.

In this psalm, we find that God gave him the victory and he gives thanks to God for it, 2 Samuel 10:17-19.


‘For the director of music. A psalm of David.’

Although the headings aren’t inspired by God, they are important because they give us some understanding of the Psalm and they help us to see why it was written. The headings usually tell us four things.

1. Who wrote them, probably wrote them or possibly wrote them.

2. Information about the historical background to the Psalm. Why it was written.

3. They tell us of the tune the Psalm was written to.

4. How it was used.

This is a psalm of David and some believe that it was written for God and God Himself is the director of music, others believe him to be a leader of choirs or musicians in David’s time, such as Heman the Singer or Asaph, 1 Chronicles 6:33 / 2 Chronicles 16:17 / 2 Chronicles 25:6.

‘The king rejoices in your strength, LORD. How great is his joy in the victories you give! You have granted him his heart’s desire and have not withheld the request of his lips. You came to greet him with rich blessings and placed a crown of pure gold on his head. He asked you for life, and you gave it to him—length of days, for ever and ever. Through the victories you gave, his glory is great; you have bestowed on him splendour and majesty. Surely you have granted him unending blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence. For the king trusts in the LORD; through the unfailing love of the Most High he will not be shaken.’ Psalm 21:1-7

David begins by reminding us of where his source of strength, Ephesians 6:10, and joy, Philippians 4:4, comes from, it’s from God. It was the Lord who gave David the victory over the Armenians, 2 Samuel 10:17-19, and as a result, he was filled with joy and gives thanks to God for that victory.

David’s desire was to lead his people into victory over their enemies and the Lord answered his prayers and granted his heart’s desire.

You may notice at the end of verse two, that some translations have the word, ‘selah’, although no-one no one really knows what this word means, it’s likely it means to pause. It’s a time to stop and reflect upon what has just been said.

We can almost imagine the people pausing for a breath as they contemplate how God worked in and through David to bring about the victory, Psalm 20:3.

David could see that the goodness of God had come to meet him and because David and the Levites prayed for the victory, Psalm 20:1-5, and God granted David the victory, a crown of victory was placed on the head of the victorious king.

David asked for life, Psalm 61:5-6, and God rescued him and saved his life, he asked for life but God granted him even more, God gave him the assurance that his reign would be permanent and enduring, 2 Samuel 7:13 / 2 Samuel 7:16 / 1 Kings 1:31 / Nehemiah 2:3 / Psalm 18:50.

David acknowledges the glory, the splendour and majesty of God in his victory. He clearly trusts God and His mercies and it would be God’s unending blessings and His unfailing love which would preserve him and bless him in the future.

‘Your hand will lay hold on all your enemies; your right hand will seize your foes. When you appear for battle, you will burn them up as in a blazing furnace. The LORD will swallow them up in his wrath, and his fire will consume them. You will destroy their descendants from the earth, their posterity from mankind. Though they plot evil against you and devise wicked schemes, they cannot succeed. You will make them turn their backs when you aim at them with drawn bow. Be exalted in your strength, LORD; we will sing and praise your might.’ Psalm 21:8-13

Notice how David looks upon his enemies as God’s enemies, anyone who is against God is our enemy and foe, especially the evil one, 1 Peter 5:8.

Burning the enemies as in a ‘blazing furnace’ is figurative language referring to the judgment of God, Malachi 4:1 / Luke 16:24 / Revelation 20:14. The judgment would be so great that the posterity of the enemies would be destroyed, which would mean these enemies would come to an end.

It’s clear that the enemies of David had one motive and that was to kill David but because the Lord was helping David, the enemy had no choice but to retreat. David wants to know where his enemies are hiding, so he could finish them off.

Notice how David and the people exalt the Lord, God had answered their prayers, Psalm 20:6-9, and David was given the victory over his enemies because of the Lord’s strength. As a result, David and all the people give God all the glory and sing and praise God for His might.


Back in Psalm 20 David and the Levites prayed earnestly that God would intervene and help David be victorious over the Armenian army, 2 Samuel 10:1-16.

In this psalm, after the victory was granted, David and the Levites offer a prayer of thanksgiving to God for helping David be victorious, 2 Samuel 10:17-19.

As we noted going through this psalm, we see that thanksgiving always includes joy, Psalm 95:2 / Psalm 97:12 / Psalm 107:22. When God delivers us from our times of trouble, it’s always a time of joy.

We also saw that thanksgiving also includes praise, Psalm 35:18 / Psalm 69:30 / Luke 17:15–16. When God does wonderful things in our lives, it’s always a time to stop and praise Him for who He is.

Go To Psalm 22