For the music director; a psalm of David.
may the God of Jacob 5 make you secure!
from Zion may he give you support!
may he accept 8 your burnt sacrifice! (Selah)
may he bring all your plans to pass! 10
we will rejoice 12 in the name of our God!
May the Lord grant all your requests!
and display his mighty ability to deliver. 18
[20:1] 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.
[20:1] 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
[20:1] 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.
[20:2] 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.
[20:3] 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.”
[20:5] 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).
[20:6] sn Now I am sure. The speaker is not identified. It is likely that the king, referring to himself in the third person (note “his chosen king”), responds to the people’s prayer. Perhaps his confidence is due to the reception of a divine oracle of salvation.
[20:6] 14 tn The perfect verbal form is probably used rhetorically to state that the deliverance is as good as done. In this way the speaker emphasizes the certainty of the deliverance. Another option is to take the statement as generalizing; the psalmist affirms that the
[20:7] 19 tn Heb “these in chariots and these in horses.” No verb appears; perhaps the verb “invoke” is to be supplied from the following line. In this case the idea would be that some “invoke” (i.e., trust in) their military might for victory (cf. NEB “boast”; NIV “trust”; NRSV “take pride”). Verse 8 suggests that the “some/others” mentioned here are the nation’s enemies.
[20:7] 21 tn Heb “we invoke the name of.” The Hiphil of זָכַר (zakhar), when combined with the phrase “in the name,” means “to invoke” (see Josh 23:7; Isa 48:1; Amos 6:10). By invoking the
[20:8] 23 tn The grammatical construction (conjunction + pronominal subject) highlights the contrast between God’s victorious people and the defeated enemies mentioned in the previous line. The perfect verbal forms either generalize or, more likely, state rhetorically the people’s confidence as they face the approaching battle. They describe the demise of the enemy as being as good as done.
[20:8] 24 tn Or “rise up and remain upright.” On the meaning of the Hitpolel of עוּד (’ud), see HALOT 795 s.v. I עוד. The verbal forms (a perfect followed by a prefixed form with vav [ו] consecutive) either generalize or, more likely, state rhetorically the people’s confidence as they face the approaching battle.
[20:9] 25 tc This translation assumes an emendation of the verbal form הוֹשִׁיעָה (hoshi’ah). As it stands, the form is an imperative. In this case the people return to the petitionary mood with which the psalm begins (“O
[20:9] 26 tn If the imperative is retained in the preceding line, then the prefixed verbal form is best taken as a jussive of prayer, “may he answer us.” However, if the imperative in the previous line is emended to a perfect, the prefixed form is best taken as imperfect, “he will answer us” (see the note on the word “king” at the end of the previous line).