From Chuck Lane

Questions for The Book of Psalms

Questions (w/ some answers) for Psalm 20

1. Who is the Psalmist?

  • “To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David”

2. Who is/are the speaker(s)?

  • David, the pilgrim, instructs and provides an example on one’s path for salvation.

3. Who is the audience?

  • David is speaking for himself to the LORD, encouraging his fellow pilgrims to put their trust in the LORD for all things . . . walk by faith . . . seek Him while He may be found. This is not listed as a messianic palm, but it does speak of the Messiah’s work of redemption . . . His prayer for you and me, which Father God hears.

4. List those described in the Psalm? How are they described (adjectives used, actions given, consequences prescribed)? Examples from the Bible? Do you know people like this?

1 The LORD hear thee in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob defend thee

  • In our time of trouble is, of course, when we want Him to hear us, but we cannot escape “in the day of trouble” and “the God of Jacob.” David may be addressing our need to seek Him out in our need, even as Jacob had a tendency to do time and again after creating what would appear to be insurmountable difficulties, to be saved but for the grace of God; but without knowing it, David draws our attention, on this side of time, to Jacob’s trouble, with a focus on Israel.
  • Finally, who is “thee” whom the LORD hears? His anointed . . .

2 Send thee help from the sanctuary, and strengthen thee out of Zion

1. In the Bible, Zion is the name of the Jebusite fortress of Jerusalem, which was the first if not the most important conquest of David after being made king in Hebron (c. 1000 BC; 2 Samuel 5:3-9 ). Be it a Hebrew word (most likely Amorite/west Semitic derivation), Hurrian or Hittite, we can assume that it predates the Israelites entry into Canaan.

2. Abraham (c. 2100-1800 BC; Genesis 25:7-8 ; Abraham and Chedorlaomer Chronological, Historical and Archeological Evidence, 2015) meets the first recorded king of Salem (Jerusalem) named Melchizedek following Abraham’s defeat of Chedorlaomer of Elam and the kings of the north, who came to put down rebellion in the south and took captives and booty from Sodom and Gomorrah in the process. Having freed Lot and the other captives, and returning with their possessions to their cities, Melchizedek offered succor to Abraham and his followers, and blessed him by the most high God. Abraham, recognizing Melchizedek as high priest of the same God Whom had brought him to Canaan, returns the blessing by offering him tithes of all. This occurring, of course, before the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

3. In Joshua 10 we learn of another king of Jerusalem Adoni-zedek (Lord of- zedek; c. 1400 BC: 3 possible dates for crossing the Jordan ) who forms a coalition with four other (Amorite) kings to attack the Gibeonites, who had allied themselves with the invading Israelites, albeit through subterfuge. Joshua defeats and kills all five of these kings, although we are also told that there were those who escaped and entered into “fenced cities” ( Joshua 10:20 ),

presumably Zion among them.
Later, when the land is divided, we learn that Jebusi, which is Jersalem, is part of inheritance of the children of Benjamin (
Joshua 18:28 ). Then we learn that Benjamen failed to destroy Zion and that the Jebusites continued to live there, apparently until the time of David ( Judges 1:21 )

4. When Joshua and the Hebrew children first crossed over Jordan we are told that they set up the up camp in Gilgah (as instructed in Exodus including the placement of the tribes around the tabernacle), reinstituted circumcision for those of the generation who had not been circumcised during the years of wandering, and after which they observed the Passover ( Joshua 5:2-10 Map of Canaan Conquest ).

Fourteen years later, according to Maimonides (Rabbinic scholar, 1135-1204) the tabernacle was set up at Shiloh ( Joshua 18:1 ) . . . this, however, is rejected by the Samaritans (descendants of Manasseh and Ephraim who call themselves “the keepers of the law”), who consider all the books that follow the Pentateuch works of fiction, and the Hebrew transliteration of the Pentateuch itself, passed on through the Masoretic Bible, inaccurate at best, if not intentionally altered by the Jews (Jerubbabel/Ezra: ) who returned from Babylonian captivity and supplanted Moses original, which the Samaritan’s claim to have preserved ( )

It’s worth mentioning that Moses originally gave Israel the Law with ancient Hebrew characters in the Hebrew language. The Samaritans continued to use a traditional Hebrew script in Aramaic language, a script that resembles ancient Phoenician and is related to some of the script found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Beginning with Ezra at the Great Assembly following the Babylonian captivity the Torah of the Jews was transliterated into Hebrew using the more universal Ashshurith (Aramaic/Amorite) script, which has a more squared appearance than the Phoenician.

5. The schism begins (but certainly does not end) with the discrepancy for where the LORD God says to build the temple: ( Deuteronomy 12:4-5 ; Deuteronomy 12:13-14) in both verses of scripture they replace “will choose” with “has chosen.” Furthermore, the Samaritans believe the place is given by God as Mount Gerizim, the mount of blessing across from the mount of cursing (Mount Ebal), where the Israelites were to go after crossing over Jordan and observe the commands of God upon entering the Land (Deuteronomy 11:26-32 ; Map of Canaan Conquest )

6. Here is where Joshua brought all of Israel after destroying Jericho and defeating Ai, setting up an altar (the Bible says on Ebal, the Samaritan’s insist Gerizim, while others indicate that it was probably somewhere on the valley floor in between) next to which was brought the Ark of the Covenant. Joshua commence the reading, followed by as many as 22,00O chanting Levites who shouted out the scripture to some 300,000 over against each mount who responded “AMEN,” as Moses had instructed Deuteronomy 27:9-26

7. The Samaritans believe that that the two mounts they identify as Ebal and Gerizim lie on opposite sides of Shechem (contested by some biblical scholars, who believe the mounts were on either side at the nearby Oak of Moreh), and that it was at this time of the blessings and cursing when the tabernacle was set up on the side of Mount Gerizim permanently to be served by the Levites and the priests in the line of Aaron.

8. This version of things ( ) tells us that Eli originally served in the sanctuary, established by Joshua at Gerizim and not Gilgal, under Uzzi, the sixth High Priest in the line of Eleazar (Aaron, Eleazar, Phinehas, Abishua, Shesha, [1] Bukki, Uzzi), who became High Priest at the young age of 23. Eli, who was 60 at the time, was in charge of tithes and sacrifices at the stone altar outside the tabernacle. He had become rich and the thought had crossed his mind to wrest the high priesthood from the young Uzzi of the line of Eleazar. Equipped with the teachings of sorcery and magic brought by the people who came to inhabit Shechem at the time, Eli is said to have been one of many priests who left the ways of God. He had not only become very wealthy but very popular as well, and when Uzzi criticized his lack of attention to ritual during sacrifice Eli's pride caused him to lead his followers into apostasy, breaking with the tribes of Joseph and going to Shiloh with copies of the Law, and a counterfeit Ark and tabernacle to rival the sanctuary established by Joshua, according to the Samaritans, on Mount Gerizim.

9. Eli claimed that God had commanded that the tabernacle be moved, and due to his sorcery, he was soon leading the majority of Israel west of Jordan, virtually all of Judah and Benjamin. The tribes East of Jordan had been settling into their own syncretism since returning to their allotments after Joshua had divided the land, where in places such as the Levitical city Astharoth, the traditional home of Job, there could be found only one ancient temple, which worshipped the goddess Asherah. Many throughout Israel continued to sacrifice and burn incense in the high places, led by the first born when priests were unavailable, as had been permitted during the time of military campaigns while the tribes of Israel went about attempting to conquer and expel the peoples of Canaan. As it turned out we know that they failed to do what God had told them to do, with predictable results.

Hence there were three division that split Israel at the time: those that continued to follow Uzzi (Manasseh and Ephraim), the legitimate High Priest at Gerizim; those who followed Eli (Benjamin and Judah), the defector at Shiloh; and those of the other various tribes who lapsed into paganism. The Samaritans also tell us that Uzzi, following God's instruction, put all the vessels and furniture of the tabernacle into a nearby cave. Once everything was inside, the cave not only miraculously closed up, engulfing the entire sanctuary, but the next day the cave, with all its contents, disappeared, not be found again until the Messiah comes.

And all this even before the Samaritans were called Samaritans; but not before the children of Manasseh and Ephraim, who chose to worship at Gerizim, began referring to those who predominately came to Shiloh as Judeans (Judah and Benjamin). And it was likely that they were the first to used the term Zionists to describe the worshippers who came to David’s tent at Gihon where he had brought the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem.

Before Eli, however, the Bible tells us that Joshua brought the tabernacle to Shiloh when . . .
Joshua 18:1-5 .
Then, at the end of his life, Joshua does bring the Tabernacle to Shechem, where he reminded them of all the LORD had done for them, what it means to serve the LORD, and what it means to forsake the LORD, commanding them to put away their strange gods. Here he set up a great pillar under an oak of Moreh.
Joshua 24:21-27.

Perhaps it was the same Oak of Shechem where Jacob told his people to put away their strange gods (including Lamar’s idols that had been stolen by Rebekkah) after the sin committed by his sons against Shechem. Genesis 35:2-4. And even perhaps the Oak of Moreh where Abram encountered God as he entered the land the LORD had brought him to.

And so, we end where we begin, thinking on why we designate places of worship . . . Let me suggest the words of Christ to the Samaritan woman, in a place called Sychar, at the well, on the land Jacob purchased from Hamor the Hivite, Shechem’s father, not far from the Oak of Moreh (the Land that Jacob specifically gave to Joseph: John 4:5 ), for your meditation: John 4:19-26

3 Remember all thy offerings, and accept thy burnt sacrifice; Selah.

  • Later David writes: Psalm 51:16-17. Here, in verse 3, he is not talking about his offerings and sacrifice, or ours; he is talking about thy LORD’s offerings and sacrifice . . . the only One acceptable. He who was our perfect atonement in the flesh, Who offered not only prayers and tears Hebrews 5:7-10 , but also His own body.
  • Selah – now that is something for you to meditate on, to think about, in these days where there is so much trouble.

4 Grant thee according to thine own heart, and fulfil all thy counsel.

5 We will rejoice in thy salvation, and in the name of our God we will set up our banners; the LORD fulfil all thy petitions.

6 Now know I that the LORD saveth his anointed; he will hear him from his holy heaven with the saving strength of his right hand.

  • Christ, His anointed. McGee believes He is probably the only One whom the Father always hears and always answers. He intercedes for us in heaven as our kindred redeemer.

But where did He go to give His supplication, address His petitions? To some sacred spot? Some High Holy place? Yes, he went to the temple, not to meet with God, but to offer Himself as our prefect sacrifice. You see, that was the only time that He was separated from His Father, when He became sin for us, upon which He in His holiness could not look, when darkness fell during the third watch.

Born again, we are fortunate to never have to experience this, for He promises:

“. . . I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” [Matt. 28:20]

7 Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the LORD our God.

8 They are brought down and fallen: but we are risen, and stand upright.

9 Save, LORD: let the king hear us he we call.

  • Vernon MaGee tells us that the “king” is for Israel. The undivided, unified Israel that made David their king in Zion. For us today He (the “king”) is Savior, and we pray in the name of Jesus. Like Abraham, we are sojourners in a strange land. Our home is not of this world, but in His presence in Paradise. If we trust in Him ( Hebrews 12:2 ), worship Him in Spirit and in Truth, then our hope rests in His love for us, and not in anything of this world alone.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. [Hebrews 1:11]

5. What do you think the speaker is feeling and how do you relate? (Done)

6. How is this Psalm quoted in the New Testament? (N/A)

7. What other scriptures are brought to mind through the content, and how might that enlighten or expand the subject of the Psalm. (Column notes, chain references, commentaries, etc.?). (Done)

[1] Shesha listed only in Samaritan genealogy.