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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 144

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

Verse 1

« [A Psalm] of David. » Blessed [be] the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, [and] my fingers to fight:

A Psalm of David — The Greek addeth, against Goliath; and the Chaldee, for the hurtful sword, Psalms 144:10 , hath Goliath’s sword.

Blessed be the Lord my strength — See Psalms 18:1 , and observe how this psalm suiteth with that.

Which teacheth my hands — Used to the hook and harp, and not to the sword and spear; but God hath apted and abled them to feats of arms, and warlike exploits. It is God that giveth skill and success, saith Solomon, Proverbs 8:1-36 , wisdom and ability, saith Daniel, Daniel 2:19-23 And as in the spiritual warfare, so here, our weapons are mighty through God, 2 Corinthians 10:4 , who promiseth that no weapon formed against his people shall prosper, Isaiah 54:17 .

Verse 2

My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and [he] in whom I trust; who subdueth my people under me.

My goodness and my fortress — See Psalms 18:1 , with the notes, His epithetis et elogiis eblanditur Deum, saith an interpreter (Genebr.).

Who subdueth my people under me — This is the work of God, and not of kingcraft, to make men good subjects who are naturally discontented at the present government, be it never so good, and apt to rebel, αει το παρον βαρυ (Thucyd.).

Verse 3

LORD, what [is] man, that thou takest knowledge of him! [or] the son of man, that thou makest account of him!

Lord, what is man? — What am I, that thou shouldest do all this for me? or, what is the strongest man alive, when such a giant as Goliath so suddenly and easily is slain by me?

That thou makest account of him?Tantus tantillos et tales, saith a Father.

Verse 4

Man is like to vanity: his days [are] as a shadow that passeth away.

Man is like to vanity — See Psalms 39:6 ; Psalms 62:9 . Adam Abelo compar est, Adam is Abel’s mate.

His days are as a shadow — Which is a mere privation, and hath no subsistence at all.

Verse 5

Bow thy heavens, O LORD, and come down: touch the mountains, and they shall smoke.

Bow thy heavens, O Lord — Come to my help suddenly and seasonably, as it were out of an engine, εκ της μηχανης .

Touch the mountains — These high and haughty enemies of mine, do thou but lightly touch them, and it shall suffice; they shall soon burn, and be turned into smoke, as the mountains that are thunder struck.

Verse 6

Cast forth lightning, and scatter them: shoot out thine arrows, and destroy them.

Cast forth lightning, and scatter them — All this was done according to David’s desire, Psalms 18:13-14 . God sometimes answereth his suitors ad cardinem desiderii; and saith unto them, Be it unto you even as ye will. This is a wonderful condescension.

Verse 7

Send thine hand from above; rid me, and deliver me out of great waters, from the hand of strange children;

Send thine hand from above — Heb. hands, both hands, all thy whole power; for I need it.

Verse 8

Whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand [is] a right hand of falsehood.

Whose mouth speaketh vanity — They keep touch no further than will serve their own turns.

And their right hand — No, though they give their hands upon it that they will keep promise.

Nulla fides est in pactis.

Verse 9

I will sing a new song unto thee, O God: upon a psaltery [and] an instrument of ten strings will I sing praises unto thee.

I will sing a new song — Upon the receipt of any new mercy, like as in a lottery, at every new prize drawn the trumpet soundeth.

Verse 10

[It is he] that giveth salvation unto kings: who delivereth David his servant from the hurtful sword.

It is he that giveth salvation (or victory) unto kings — Ferdinand, king of Arragon, sending his son against the Florentines, thus bespake him: Victoria mihi crede, non hominum disciplinis aut industria comparatur, sed Dei O.M. benignitate et arbitrio, Deum igitur imprimis cole, in eum confide, a quo tum victorias omnes tum optima quaeque provenire dubio procul est, …: Believe me, son, victories are not gotten by art or industry, but given of God (Val. Max. Christian., p. 516).

Who delivereth David his servant — All kings are God’s servants for the common good of mankind, saith Plutarch, but David by a specialty (Plut. προς ηγεμονα απαιδευτον ).

From the hurtful sword — Of Goliath, saith the Chaldee, and of all his other enemies; for (as it was said of Queen Elizabeth) he swam to the crown through a sea of sorrows, and might rather marvel that he was, than muse that he should not be, were it not that God’s holy hand had protected him beyond expectation.

Verse 11

Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand [is] a right hand of falsehood:

Rid me, and deliver me — He repeateth his former petition, Psalms 144:7-8 , for an utter riddance of those ill members that stood in the way of Israel’s welfare, and broke off David’s new song or psalmody, Psalms 144:9 .

Verse 12

That our sons [may be] as plants grown up in their youth; [that] our daughters [may be] as corner stones, polished [after] the similitude of a palace:

That our sons may be as plants, … — As young plants, fair and flourishing.

That our daughters may be as corner stones, … — Tall and trim, comely of person and costly arrayed, resembling the polished pillars at palace gates. Tremellius rendereth the last words of this verse, sint structura templi, may be the building of the temple, that is, may be such living stones as may be used to the building and polishing of God’s Church, that we may altogether grow up to a holy temple in the Lord, Ephesians 2:21 ; Ephesians 4:12-13 . For, indeed, what can better preserve Jacob from confusion, or his face from waxing pale, than to see his children, the work of God’s hands, framed and fitted for God’s building. This maketh religious parents to sanctify God’s name (as here), even to sanctify the Holy One, and with singular encouragement, from the God of Israel, Isaiah 29:22-23 .

Verse 13

[That] our garners [may be] full, affording all manner of store: [that] our sheep may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our streets:

That our garners — Heb. our corners, i.e. that every corner of our houses may be filled with pleasant and precious riches.

That our sheepFoetosae multiparae, mille duplicantes, myriadificantes.

Verse 14

[That] our oxen [may be] strong to labour; [that there be] no breaking in, nor going out; that [there be] no complaining in our streets.

Nor going out — viz. To encounter the enemy, or to be led into captivity.

No complaining — No outcries but harvest homes.

Verse 15

Happy [is that] people, that is in such a case: [yea], happy [is that] people, whose God [is] the LORD.

Happy is that people — That hath such a confluence of outward comforts. In Hezekiah’s days only it was so, say the Rabbis, peace, plenty, and posterity. The Syriac rendereth it questionwise: Is not the people happy that is in such a case? No, not except they have God to boot; as, if they have, they are happy howsoever, Deuteronomy 33:29: ut vita carnis anima est, ita beatitudo hominis Deus, saith Austin.

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 144". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/psalms-144.html. 1865-1868.
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