Psalm 21 - David, the Psalmist

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 splendor 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.
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.

The psalmist praises God for delivering the king from his enemies in this Psalm. The victory secures the king a crown of pure gold, which is placed upon his head. Who is the psalmist? Is it David? If it is David, is he talking about himself or someone else? These are important questions, so let us learn a few things about the Psalms, so we understand them better. 

First, David didn’t write all the Psalms. He wrote only about half of them. When you read the Psalms in your Bible, you will notice that some have subtitles. These identify the author. 73 name David as the writer. Fifty psalms do not mention their author, but many scholars believe David may have also written some of these. Thirty-eight of the first 41 psalms have been written by David, so until we get to Psalm 42, we don’t have an issue with authorship. They’re all David’s!

Now, we need to keep two things in mind when trying to relate events in David’s life to what he writes in the Psalms. One, we don’t have a record of David’s entire life in Scripture, so there are events he might have written about that we don’t know. Two, David, like any poet, could have written about things he hadn’t experienced personally. This is important because we try to relate his narratives with his experiences. For instance, we all know about his sordid affair with Bathsheba, so we wonder if the struggles he often writes about took place after this happened. 

We might also wonder what these Psalms have to do with us. We are not kings, and we aren’t going to have crowns placed on our heads. Actually, we are, and we will, but that’s a subject for another time. What is important to note is that the Psalms, like everything in the Bible, teaches us of God’s plan for us and the world, and provides us with the daily sustenance we need. 

A final note. These reflections are intended to introduce you to the psalms and give you something to reflect upon each day. I hope they will inspire you to do a deeper study. Several resources are available, including Charles Spurgeon’s excellent book, The Treasury of David. It’s available free online. Have a great day now.

God be with you.