corner graphic   Hi,    
ver. 2.0.19.11.16
Finding the new version too difficult to understand? Go to classic.studylight.org/

Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Psalms 144

 

 

Verse 1

Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight:

Psalms 144:1-15.-Blessed be Yahweh, my strength, in subduing my enemies (Psalms 144:1-2). How marvelous that thou shouldest regard frail man! (Psalms 144:2; Psalms 144:4). Bow thy heavens and come down to save me (Psalms 144:5-8). I will praise thee already for salvation anticipated by faith (Psalms 144:9-10). Rid me from strange children who speak vanity, that our children may be as vigorous plants and as polished stones (Psalms 144:11-12); that abundant stores may be ours, and no complainings (Psalms 144:13-14); Epiphonema: Happy are they whose God is Yahweh (Psalms 144:15). David herein applies much of the 18th psalm in a new relation. The grateful review there of God's mercies to himself is in the first part here applied to the edification of his seed and nation. This is the transition psalm from the Prayer-Psalms 138:1-8; Psalms 139:1-24; Psalms 140:1-13; Psalms 141:1-10; Psalms 142:1-7; Psalms 143:1-12; Psalms 144:1-15; Psalms 145:1-21 to the concluding Praise-Psalms 145:1-21. Cf Psalms 144:9-10.

Blessed be the Lord my strength - Hebrew, my rock; from Psalms 18:2; Psalms 18:31; Psalms 18:46. Which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight - from Psalms 18:34. It is not merely David, but David's seed and the elect nation that say so. In Psalms 144:1-2 David sets forth God's relations to him; and on this and God's condescension he grounds the prayer (Psalms 144:5) that God would deliver him and his seed, according to the promise in 2 Samuel 7:1-29.


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 - rather, 'my loving-kindness,' who art loving-kindness itself to me-Hebrew, Chasdi (Psalms 59:17, "the God of my mercy").

My fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and He in whom I trust - from Psalms 18:2, where, as in this verse, the predicates of God are seven. What God has been in the past to David, He still is: this gives a sure hope of deliverance to Israel in the future.

Who subdueth my people under me - from Psalms 18:43; 2 Samuel 22:44. "MY people" include not merely Israel, but also all the pagan to be subdued under the Son of David in due time, of which subjugation Solomon's wide dominion is the earnest. From not understanding "my," and from wishing to harmonize this verse with Psalms 18:47, "subdueth the people under me," many manuscripts read, with the Arabic, Chaldaic, and Syriac [ `amiym (Hebrew #5971), for `amiy (Hebrew #5971)], 'THE peoples.' But the Septuagint support the English version reading: the very difficulty of it shows it is not an interpolation. The "strange children" (Psalms 144:7), now the enemies of David, shall be either won to willing subjection, or else shall be crushed under the triumphant Messiah, (Psalms 2:1-12.) The Spirit by David spake things, the deep significance of which reached further than even he understood (1 Peter 1:11-12).


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, that thou takest knowledge (i:e., notice) of him! Or the son of man, (Hebrew, Enosh, mortal man: note, Psalms 8:4) that thou makest account of him! - from Psalms 8:4. David is lost in adoring wonder at the grace which lavishes such loving-kindness on one so frail and insignificant. So 2 Samuel 7:18-19; Isaiah 55:8.


Verse 4

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

Man is like to vanity (Hebrew, hebel (H1892), a vapour): his days are as a shadow that passeth away - (Psalms 62:9; Psalms 39:5-6; Psalms 102:11; Psalms 103:15.) There is nothing in frail and dying man to merit the favour of one so glorious and infinitely great as is Yahweh.


Verse 5

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

Bow thy heavens, O Lord, and come down - from Psalms 18:9 : cf. Isaiah 64:1; borrowed from the same source. What Yahweh has shown Himself toward David during his persecution by Saul, be now prays Him to prove Himself again to him, to his seed, and to Israel.

Touch the mountains, and they shall smoke. "The mountains" symbolize God-opposed world-kingdoms, which at the mere touch of God smoke: the token of fear and the prelude of being consumed by the coming fire of His wrath (Psalms 104:32, note).


Verse 6

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

Cast forth lightning, and scatter them: shoot out thine arrows, and destroy them - (Psalms 18:13-14.) 'All God's acts are prophecies' (Hengstenberg) - i:e., God's manifestations of Himself in His past dealings are a sure earnest of God's future dealings, in consonance with His unchangeable character. "Them," - i:e., the "strange children" (Psalms 144:7; Psalms 144:11); the pagan enemies.


Verse 7

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

Send (extend) thine hand from above; rid me, and deliver me out of great waters - (Psalms 18:16.) The Hebrew for "rid me" [ paatsah (Hebrew #6475)] is literally to burst open; so to free one confined. This is a rare usage, and adopted to harmonize with the elevated poetic style of the psalm.

From the hand of strange children - `the sons of the stranger' (Psalms 18:44-45; Psalms 54:3); aliens in blood and in religion; enemies of God and of Israel.


Verse 8

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

Whose mouth speaketh vanity (Hebrew, shaaw' (H7723); distinct from hebel (H1892), Psalms 144:4, 'a vapour'), and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood - (Psalms 12:2; Psalms 41:6.) The right hand is lifted up in taking an oath: the sense is, They swear to falsehood (Yarchi). The parallelism favours this; or else Hengstenberg's explanation, 'their right hand,' professedly given in token of friendship (2 Kings 10:15), is really given in falsehood: as "Joab took Amasa ... with the right hand to kiss him," and then stabbed him (2 Samuel 20:9).


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 unto thee, O God: upon a psaltery and an instrument of ten strings will I sing praises unto thee - (Psalms 33:2-3.) Compare introduction. The "new song" is this psalm of thanksgiving, in which praise preponderates for the new manifestation of mercies already anticipated by faith, in accordance with the promise in 2 Samuel 7:1-29 to David's seed and to Israel. The thanksgiving which bursts forth in the second strophe, after the prayer for deliverance, finds its culmination in Psalms 145:1-21.


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 unto kings: who delivereth (the same Hebrew as in Psalms 144:7 is translated "rid") David his servant from the hurtful sword - (Psalms 18:50; Psalms 33:16.) The present tense, "delivereth," implies that the deliverance is a continued one, and guarantees the future redemption of David's seed and nation by the Lord, as it ensured the past deliverance of David himself. David calls himself "His (the Lord's) servant," to express the ground of his past and his anticipated deliverances. This phrase links this psalm to Psalms 143:2; Psalms 143:12. On 'the sword,' cf. Psalms 22:20. Against "the hurtful sword" of the great adversary God gives His servants "the sword of the Spirit."


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 from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood. This second strophe begins with resuming the prayer, Psalms 144:7-8.


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 grown up in their youth - `growing up vigorously in their times of youth' (Psalms 128:3). Deliverance from the enemy is a necessary preliminary to having a vigorous population. In times of oppression by a foreign enemy pale and sickly children abound.

That our daughters may be as corner-stones, polished after the similitude of a palace. Female figures were used instead of columns in supporting buildings, called by the Romans Caryatides. This usage, if it existed in David's time and country, would beautifully illustrate this verse. The Hebrew for "corner-stones" is used of 'the corners of an altar,' Zechariah 9:15 [ zaawiyot (Hebrew #2106)]. They were those stones which, as occupying so prominent a place in the building as the corner, were made lofty, graceful, and elegant (Ephesians 2:20). Hengstenberg explains it 'projectures;' the shining and tapering points of a beautiful palace; its graceful pinnacles.


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 may be full, affording all manner of store - literally, from one kind to another.


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.

That our oxen may be strong to labour - literally, 'strong to bear burdens' (Muis, from Kimchi) (1 Chronicles 12:40). Heavily laden oxen imply that there is a rich produce for them to bear. The Hebrew for oxen implies trained oxen [ 'aluwp (Hebrew #441), from 'aalap (Hebrew #502), to learn]. Its meaning is also a leader. It is applied to the dukes of Edom (Genesis 36:1-43), and after the captivity, by Zechariah, to governors (Zechariah 9:7; Zechariah 12:5-6). But there is no ground for the forced translation of Maurer, etc., 'that our leaders may be erect' (a sense of the adjective unsanctioned by the Hebrew). 'Yoke oxen' are naturally named after "sheep."

That there be no breaking in, nor going out - no irruption into the folds, no going out of cattle or sheep, carried away by the plunderer. Hengstenberg translates, 'no breach' (Judges 21:15; 2 Samuel 6:8). 'No misfortune whereby the entireness of our felicity is rent.' 'No going out' means no loss.

That there be no complaining in our streets - literally, no cry; namely, over breach or loss (Isaiah 24:11).


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 is in such a case; (yea), happy (is that) people whose God (is) the Lord. This is the Epiphonema. This blessed consummation is what Moses predicates of Israel when she shall realize her high calling of God in the last days. In the very last words of his last speech, after warnings and promises, he ends with "Happy art thou, O Israel: who is like unto thee, O people saved by the Lord" (Deuteronomy 33:29). The people who are so circumstanced are happy, and the source of their happiness is the Lord whom they have as their God. In the theocracy upon earth which Israel constituted, God promised all temporal mercies on the condition of obedience. These temporal blessings were the external sign of God's favour to them, and therefore of the far higher spiritual benefits which, walking in faith and obedience, they were partakers of: for the prominence of temporal rewards or punishments, as the sanctions of the Mosaic law, could never have been designed to teach that earthly blessings are the all which God would have His people to seek as the fruits of faith. Hebrews 11:10; Hebrews 11:14-16 teaches that the patriarchs looked for far higher blessings: the Law, which succeeded, cannot have been a step backwards, as if it were designed to teach Israel to cease to look for thy heavenly promises, and to look only for the earthly ones.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 144:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/psalms-144.html. 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, November 16th, 2019
the Week of Proper 27 / Ordinary 32
ADVERTISEMENT
Commentary Navigator
Search This Commentary
Enter query in the box below
ADVERTISEMENT
To report dead links, typos, or html errors or suggestions about making these resources more useful use our convenient contact form
Powered by Lightspeed Technology