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Psalms 21:13

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Be thou exalted - Exalt thyself. O Lord - thy creatures cannot exalt thee. Lift thyself up, and discomfit thy foes by thine own strength! Thou canst give a victory to thy people over the most formidable enemies, though they strike not one blow in their own defense. God's right hand has often given the victory to his followers, while they stood still to see the salvation of God. How little can the strength of man avail when the Lord raiseth up himself to the battle! His children, therefore, may safely trust in him, for the name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous flee into it, and are safe.

Praise thy power - God is to receive praise in reference to that attribute which he has exhibited most in the defense or salvation of his followers. Sometimes he manifests his power, his mercy, his wisdom, his longsuffering, his fatherly care, his good providence, his holiness, his justice, his truth, etc. Whatever attribute or perfection he exhibits most, that should be the chief subject of his children's praise. One wants teaching, prays for it, and is deeply instructed: he will naturally celebrate the wisdom of God. Another feels himself beset with the most powerful adversaries, with the weakest of whom he is not able to cope: he cries to the Almighty God for strength; he is heard, and strengthened with strength in his soul. He therefore will naturally magnify the all-conquering power of the Lord. Another feels himself lost, condemned, on the brink of hell; he calls for mercy, is heard and saved: mercy, therefore, will be the chief subject of his praise, and the burden of his song.

The old Anglo-Scottish Psalter says, We sal make knowen thi wordes in gude wil and gude werk, for he synges well that wirkes well. For thi, sais he twise, we sal syng; ane tyme for the luf of hert; another, for the schewyng of ryghtwisness, til ensampil.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Be thou exalted, Lord, in thine own strength - This is the concluding part of the psalm (see the introduction), expressing a desire that God “might” be exalted over all his foes; or that his own strength might he so manifestly put forth that he would be exalted as he ought to be. This is the ultimate and chief desire of all holy created beings, that God might be exalted in the estimation of the universe above all other beings - or that he might so triumph over all his enemies as to reign supreme.

So will we sing and praise thy power - That is, as the result of thy being thus exalted to proper honor, we will unite in celebrating thy glory and thy power. Compare Revelation 7:10-12; Revelation 12:10; Revelation 19:1-3. This will be the result of all the triumphs which God will achieve in the world, that the holy beings of all worlds will gather around his throne and “sing and praise his power.” The “thought” in the psalm is that God will ultimately triumph over all his foes, and that this triumph will be followed by universal rejoicing and praise. Come that blessed day!

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The psalmist teaches to look forward with faith, and hope, and prayer upon what God would further do. The success with which God blessed David, was a type of the total overthrow of all Christ's enemies. Those who might have had Christ to rule and save them, but rejected him and fought against him, shall find the remembrance of it a worm that dies not. God makes sinners willing by his grace, receives them to his favour, and delivers them from the wrath to come. May he exalt himself, by his all-powerful grace, in our hearts, destroying all the strong-holds of sin and Satan. How great should be our joy and praise to behold our Brother and Friend upon the throne, and for all the blessings we may expect from him! yet he delights in his exalted state, as enabling him to confer happiness and glory on poor sinners, who are taught to love and trust in him.
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