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Psalms 20:1-5

Psalm 20 1 

For the music director; a psalm of David.

20:1 May the Lord answer 2  you 3  when you are in trouble; 4 

may the God of Jacob 5  make you secure!

20:2 May he send you help from his temple; 6 

from Zion may he give you support!

20:3 May he take notice 7  of your offerings;

may he accept 8  your burnt sacrifice! (Selah)

20:4 May he grant your heart’s desire; 9 

may he bring all your plans to pass! 10 

20:5 Then we will shout for joy over your 11  victory;

we will rejoice 12  in the name of our God!

May the Lord grant all your requests!

1 sn Psalm 20. The people pray for the king’s success in battle. When the king declares his assurance that the Lord will answer the people’s prayer, they affirm their confidence in God’s enablement.

2 tn The prefixed verbal forms here and in vv. 1b-5 are interpreted as jussives of prayer (cf. NEB, NIV, NRSV). Another option is to understand them as imperfects, “the Lord will answer,” etc. In this case the people declare their confidence that the Lord will intervene on behalf of the king and extend to him his favor.

3 sn May the Lord answer you. The people address the king as they pray to the Lord.

4 tn Heb “in a day of trouble.”

5 tn Heb “the name of the God of Jacob.” God’s “name” refers metonymically to his very person and to the divine characteristics suggested by his name, in this case “God of Jacob,” which highlights his relationship to Israel.

6 tc Heb “from [the] temple.” The third masculine singular pronominal suffix (ן, nun) has probably been accidentally omitted by haplography. Note that the following word begins with a prefixed vav (ו). See P. C. Craigie, Psalms 1-50 (WBC), 184.

7 tn Or “remember.” For other examples of the verb זָכַר (zakhar) carrying the nuance “take notice of,” see Pss 8:4 and 9:12.

8 tc Heb “consider as fat.” The verbal form should probably be emended to יְדַשְּׁנֶהָ (yÿdashÿneha), the final he (ה) being understood as a third feminine singular pronominal suffix referring back to the feminine noun “burnt sacrifice.”

9 tn Heb “may he give to you according to your heart.” This probably refers to the king’s prayer for protection and victory in battle. See vv. 5-6.

10 sn May he bring all your plans to pass. This probably refers to the king’s strategy for battle.

11 sn Your victory. Here the king is addressed (see v. 1).

12 tc The Hebrew verb דָּגַל (dagal) occurs only here in the Qal. If accepted as original, it may carry the nuance “raise a banner,” but it is preferable to emend the form to נגיל (“we will rejoice”) which provides better parallelism with “shout for joy” and fits well with the prepositional phrase “in the name of our God” (see Ps 89:16).

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