TEHILIM 20: When a King of Israel goes to war

TEHILIM 20: When a King of Israel goes to war

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PASUQ 1: To the director, Psalm for David.
According to several commentators, including Eben Ezra and RaDaQ, this psalm of Tehilim  was not written “by” King David, but “for” King David. And it was a Tefila, a prayer, to ask HaShem to protect and grant victory to King David and his army, when he was about to go to battle, against his enemies.
PASUQ 2: “May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble, May the Name of the God of Ya’aqob, protect you”
This is the prayer that the people ask for the welbeing of their king: “If you find yourself in a moment of distress, when you pray to HaShem for your life, may He  answer your prayer.” The commentators explain that this Psalm only mentions Ya’aqob (God of Ya’aqob) because Ya’aqob suffered more and received more help from HaShem, than our other two patriarchs.
PASUQ 3: “May HaShem send you help from His sanctuary, may He sustain you from Zion.”
According to some commentators, this psalm was said as a prayer in the Miqdash, right before going to war, at the time the king offered sacrifices to God. This verse means: “May your prayers, O king, rise to HaShem from His sanctuary,” since that is the place from which the prayers of the people of Israel would reach heaven. From this expression we also see the tremendous  importance of prayer in Jerusalem, near the Bet haMiqdash (or its ruins, like the Kotel haMa’arabí). And this is also why Jews, wherever we are, we always pray toward the place of the Bet haMiqdash.
PASUQ 4: “HaShem will remember all your offerings, and the ashes of your sacrifices.”
From Zion HaShem will receive all your prayers, even the prayers you will pronounce on the battlefield. And HaShem will remember all the offerings that you offered him. It refers here to the offerings in times of peace and prosperity, when the King, as any Jew, approaches HaShem not to ask but mainly to thank Him. This pasuq is a wish that in the same way HaShem received your offerings when you thanked Him, may He now listen to your prayer and protect you.
PASUQ 5: “May HaShem answer everything your heart wants,  and make all your plans succeed.”
Let us remember that King David is about to go to war. The King and his army have already discussed and determined their plans and military strategies, but they know that to succeed on the battlefield, they totally depend on the help of HaShem, .
PASUQ 6: “We will rejoice with your success,  and we will raise a banner [of gratitude to] HaShem, once HaShem has fulfilled all your desires.”
The people and / or the Priests who recite this prayer are now sowing optimism and EMUNA (faith) in the heart of the King and his army, by visualizing the victorious return of King David and his men. And by declaring that when that time comes, we will all celebrate your triumph thanking HaShem for His salvation.
PASUQ 7: “Now I know that Hashem saved His anointed [= His King, i.e., David],  he answered him from the heights of His sanctuary, and awarded his victory through the power of His right hand.”
This is the beginning of the prayer of gratitude to HaShem that the people will recite when King David would return victorious from the battle. The main part of the Tefila, of this or of any other prayer, is “attribution to God”, in this particular case, the recognition that it is HaShem Who granted the King and his army their triumph.
PASUQ 8: “Some [may boast] their chariots, and others, their horses. But we,  the name of our God will invoke.”.
Following the idea expressed in the previous pasuq, this Psalm says that while other people attribute their victory to the power of their weapons, their indestructible chariots or their powerful horses, the Jewish people knows, and declares that victory is not won by just by weapons or force. It is HaShem who determines the final outcome of the battle. It is He Who grants victory to the armies.
PASUQ 9: “They will tumble and fall, [but] we will rise and take heart”
It is this EMUNA, our belief that HaShem is the One who grants victory, what distinguishes us from other people of the earth. People who do not have HaShem on their side, will fall and  vanquish,  but we will succeed. Since HaShem is with His people, when the people of Israel is with HaShem, having Him present in their prayers and in their actions on the battlefield.
PASUQ 10: “May HaShem save us, may the King [=in this case refers to HaShem] answer us when we call Him.”
We are now reaching the last verse of this beautiful Psalm. Unlike all other verses that were a prayer addressed and dedicated to David, this pasuq is a prayer addressed directly to Hashem, in the second person of the singular. It is possible,  some commentaries say,  that this final PASUQ is the cry of war that everyone present, the people and the army of Israel, said together, imploring HaShem’s salvation, just before the King and his army, animated by this words, departed for battle.

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