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Exposition On The Book Of Psalms by St. Augustine

Psalm XXI.

To the end, a psalm of David himself.

1. The title is a familiar one; the Psalm is of Christ.

2. |O Lord, the King shall rejoice in Thy strength| (ver.1). O Lord, in Thy strength, whereby the Word was made flesh, the Man Christ Jesus shall rejoice. |And shall exult exceedingly in Thy salvation.| And in that, whereby Thou quickenest all things, shall exult exceedingly.

3. |Thou hast given Him the desire of His soul| (ver.2). He desired to eat the Passover, and to lay down His life when He would, and again when He would to take it; and Thou hast given it to Him. |And hast not deprived Him of the good pleasure of His lips.| |My peace,| saith He, |I leave with you:| and it was done.

4. |For Thou hast presented Him with the blessings of sweetness| (ver.3). Because He had first quaffed the blessing of Thy sweetness, the gall of our sins did not hurt Him. |Diapsalma. Thou hast set a crown of precious stone on His Head.| At the beginning of His discoursing precious stones were brought, and compassed Him about; His disciples, from whom the commencement of His preaching should be made.

5. |He asked life; and Thou gavest Him:| He asked a resurrection, saying, |Father, glorify Thy Son;| and Thou gavest it Him, |Length of days for ever and ever| (ver.4). The prolonged ages of this world which the Church was to have, and after them an eternity, world without end.

6. |His glory is great in Thy salvation| (ver.5). Great indeed is His glory in the salvation, whereby Thou hast raised Him up again. |Glory and great honour shalt Thou lay upon Him.| But Thou shalt yet add unto Him glory and great honour, when Thou shalt place Him in heaven at Thy right hand.

7. |For Thou shalt give Him blessing for ever and ever.| This is the blessing which Thou shalt give Him for ever and ever: |Thou shalt make Him glad in joy together with Thy countenance| (ver.6). According to His manhood, Thou shalt make Him glad together with Thy countenance, which He lifted up to Thee.

8. |For the King hopeth in the Lord.| For the King is not proud, but humble in heart, he hopeth in the Lord. |And in the mercy of the Most Highest He shall not be moved| (ver.7). And in the mercy of the Most Highest His obedience even unto the death of the Cross shall not disturb His humility.

9. |Let Thy hand be found by all Thine enemies.| Be Thy power, O King, when Thou comest to judgment, found by all Thine enemies; who in Thy humiliation discerned it not. |Let Thy right hand find out all that hate Thee| (ver.8). Let the glory, wherein Thou reignest at the right hand of the Father, find out for punishment in the day of judgment all that hate Thee; for that now they have not found it.

10. |Thou shalt make them like a fiery oven:| Thou shalt make them on fire within, by the consciousness of their ungodliness: |In the time of Thy countenance:| in the time of Thy manifestation. |The Lord shall trouble them in His wrath, and the fire shall devour them| (ver.9). And then, being troubled by the vengeance of the Lord, after the accusation of their conscience, they shall be given up to eternal fire, to be devoured.

11. |Their fruit shalt Thou destroy out of the earth.| Their fruit, because it is earthly, shalt Thou destroy out of the earth. |And their seed from the sons of men| (ver.10). And their works; or, whomsoever they have seduced, Thou shalt not reckon among the sons of men, whom Thou hast called into the everlasting inheritance.

12. |Because they turned evils against Thee.| Now this punishment shall be recompensed to them, because the evils which they supposed to hang over them by Thy reign, they turned against Thee to Thy death. |They imagined a device, which they were not able to establish| (ver.11). They imagined a device, saying, |It is expedient that one die for all:| which they were not able to establish, not knowing what they said.

13. |For Thou shalt set them low.| For Thou shalt rank them among those from whom in degradation and contempt Thou wilt turn away. |In Thy leavings Thou shalt make ready their countenance| (ver.12). And in these things that Thou leavest, that is, in the desires of an earthly kingdom, Thou shalt make ready their shamelessness for Thy passion.

14. |Be Thou exalted, O Lord, in Thy strength| (ver.13). Be Thou, Lord, whom in humiliation they did not discern, exalted in Thy strength, which they thought weakness. |We will sing and praise Thy power.| In heart and in deed we will celebrate and make known Thy marvels.

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