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Psalms 21:1-7

Context
Psalm 21 1 

For the music director; a psalm of David.

21:1 O Lord, the king rejoices in the strength you give; 2 

he takes great delight in the deliverance you provide. 3 

21:2 You grant 4  him his heart’s desire;

you do not refuse his request. 5  (Selah)

21:3 For you bring him 6  rich 7  blessings; 8 

you place a golden crown on his head.

21:4 He asked you to sustain his life, 9 

and you have granted him long life and an enduring dynasty. 10 

21:5 Your deliverance brings him great honor; 11 

you give him majestic splendor. 12 

21:6 For you grant him lasting blessings;

you give him great joy by allowing him into your presence. 13 

21:7 For the king trusts 14  in the Lord,

and because of the sovereign Lord’s 15  faithfulness he is not upended. 16 

1 sn Psalm 21. The psalmist praises the Lord for the way he protects and blesses the Davidic king.

2 tn Heb “in your strength.” The translation interprets the pronominal suffix as subjective, rather than merely descriptive (or attributive).

3 tn Heb “and in your deliverance, how greatly he rejoices.”

4 tn The translation assumes the perfect verbal forms in v. 2 are generalizing, stating factually what God typically does for the king. Another option is to take them as present perfects, “you have granted…you have not refused.” See v. 4, which mentions a specific request for a long reign.

5 tn Heb “and the request of his lips you do not refuse.”

6 tn Or “meet him [with].”

7 tn Heb “good.”

8 sn You bring him rich blessings. The following context indicates that God’s “blessings” include deliverance/protection, vindication, sustained life, and a long, stable reign (see also Pss 3:8; 24:5).

9 tn Heb “life he asked from you.” Another option is to translate the perfect verbal forms in v. 4 with the present tense, “he asks…you grant.”

10 tn Heb “you have granted him length of days forever and ever.” The phrase “length of days,” when used of human beings, usually refers to a lengthy period of time (such as one’s lifetime). See, for example, Deut 30:20; Job 12:12; Ps 91:16; Prov 3:2, 16; Lam 5:20. The additional phrase “forever and ever” is hyperbolic. While it seems to attribute eternal life to the king (see Pss 61:6-7; 72:5 as well), the underlying reality is the king’s enduring dynasty. He will live on, as it were, through his descendants, who will continue to rule over his kingdom long after he has passed off the scene.

11 tn Or “great glory.”

12 tn Heb “majesty and splendor you place upon him.” For other uses of the phrase הוֹד וְהָדָר (hod vÿhadar, “majesty and splendor”) see 1 Chr 16:27; Job 40:10; Pss 96:6; 104:1; 111:3.

13 tn Heb “you make him happy with joy with [i.e., “close by” or “in”] your face.” On the idiom “with your face” (i.e., “in your presence”) see Ps 16:11 and BDB 816 s.v. פָּנֻה II.2.a.

14 tn The active participle draws attention to the ongoing nature of the action.

15 tn Traditionally “the Most High’s.” The divine title “Most High” (עֶלְיוֹן, ’elyon) pictures God as the exalted ruler of the universe who vindicates the innocent and judges the wicked. Note the focus of vv. 8-12 and see Ps 47:2.

16 tn Another option is to translate the imperfect verbal form as future, “he will not be upended” (cf. NRSV “he shall not be moved”). Even if one chooses this option, the future tense must be understood in a generalizing sense.



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