Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Psalms 21:4

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

He asked life of thee - This verse has caused some interpreters to understand the Psalm of Hezekiah's sickness, recovery, and the promised addition to his life of fifteen years; but it may be more literally understood of the Messiah, of whom David was the type, and in several respects the representative.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

He asked life of thee - An expression similar to this occurs in Psalm 61:5-6, “For thou, O God, hast heard my vows; … Thou wilt prolong the king‘s life, and his years to many generations.” The expression in both cases implies that there had been a prayer for “life,” as if life were in danger. The expression itself would be applicable to a time of sickness, or to danger of any kind, and here it is used doubtless in reference to the exposure of life in going into battle, or in going forth to war. In this apprehended peril he prayed that God would defend him. He earnestly sought protection as he went forth to the perils of war.

And thou gavest it him - Thou didst hear and answer his prayer. He was saved from danger.

Even length of days forever and ever - Thou didst grant him more than he asked. He sought life for himself; thou bast not only granted that, but hast granted to him the assurance that he should live in his posterity to all generations. The idea is, that there would be an indefinite contination of his race. His posterity would occupy his throne, and there would be no end to his reign thus prolonged. Beyond all his petitions and his hopes, God bad given the assurance that his reign would be permanent and enduring. We cannot suppose that he understood this as if it were a promise made to him personally, that “he” would live and would occupy the throne forever; but the natural interpretation is that which would refer it to his posterity, and to the perpetuity of the reign of his family or descendants. A similar promise occurs elsewhere: 2 Samuel 7:13, 2 Samuel 7:16; compare the notes at Psalm 18:50. It is by no means an uncommon thing that God gives us more than we asked in our prayers. The offering of prayer is not only the means of securing the blessing which we asked, but also often of securing much more important blessings which we did not ask. If the expression were allowable it might be said that the prayer “suggested” to the divine mind the conferring of all needed blessings, or it indicates such a state of mind on the part of him who prays that God “takes occasion” to confer blessings which were not asked; as a request made by a child to a parent for a specific favor is followed not only by granting “that” favor, but by bestowing others of which the child did not think. The state of mind on the part of the child was such as to “dispose” the parent to grant much larger blessings.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Happy the people whose king makes God's strength his confidence, and God's salvation his joy; who is pleased with all the advancements of God kingdom, and trusts God to support him in all he does for the service of it. All our blessings are blessings of goodness, and are owing, not to any merit of ours, but only to God's goodness. But when God's blessings come sooner, and prove richer than we imagine; when they are given before we prayed for them, before we were ready for them, nay, when we feared the contrary; then it may be truly said that he prevented, or went before us, with them. Nothing indeed prevented, or went before Christ, but to mankind never was any favour more preventing than our redemption by Christ. Thou hast made him to be a universal, everlasting blessing to the world, in whom the families of the earth are, and shall be blessed; and so thou hast made him exceeding glad with the countenance thou hast given to his undertaking, and to him in the prosecution of it. The Spirit of prophecy rises from what related to the king, to that which is peculiar to Christ; none other is blessed for ever, much less a blessing for ever.