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Bible Commentaries

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible
Psalms 144

 

 

Verse 1

Psalms 144.

David blesseth God for his mercy: he prayeth that God would powerfully deliver him from his enemies: he promiseth to praise God: he prayeth for the happy estate of the kingdom.

A Psalm of David.

Title. לדוד ledavid. This is evidently a psalm of triumph, probably upon the same occasion with the 118th. I guess so, says Mudge, partly from the particular deliverance of David from the evil sword of Ishbibenob; and partly for that it seems to be a victory over the Philistines, (for them I take to be the sons of the stranger, as the LXX. calls them αλλοφυλοι ; and being in a manner mixed with the sons of Israel, it was natural by way of distinction to call them so;) who by their everlasting wars against Saul and David, certainly in breach of treaties, seem to be truly characterised by persons whose mouth speaketh falsehood, &c. From the victory the author takes occasion to describe the happiness of those people who live under the protection of God.

Psalms 144:1. Which teacheth my hands, &c.— Who hath taught my hands; and so in Psalms 144:2. Who hath subdued, or made my people subject to my will. Green renders it, Who reduceth nations to my obedience.


Verse 3-4

Psalms 144:3-4. Lord, what it man, &c.?— This is spoken in rapture; reflecting on the regard that God had shewn to his petition, which, in his usual way, he repeats in the very words in the four next verses.


Verse 5

Psalms 144:5. Bow thy heavens See 2 Samuel 8 and 2 Samuel 22:10. The images here are taken from the promulgation of the law on mount Sinai.


Verse 6

Psalms 144:6. Cast forth, &c.— Cast forth lightning, and make them [the heavens] swell: cast thy darts and melt them. Schult.


Verse 8

Psalms 144:8. Whose mouth speaketh vanity, &c.— Whose mouth uttereth falsehood, and whose right hand is a right hand of deceit: "For with that hand, as with a pledge, they confirmed the treaties of peace and leagues of friendship made with them; all which they have perfidiously broken." Lifting up the hand was the usual ceremony at the taking of an oath. See Genesis 14:22. So that this verse seems to contain a repetition of the same sense; agreeable to which the Chaldee interprets the former part of the verse to mean a false oath; and the Arabic renders the latter part thus, and their oath it an oath of iniquity. May not this ancient solemnity of lifting up the hand have given rise to the custom practised at this day in our courts of justice, where the party accused holds up his hand when he declares himself guilty or not guilty of the facts laid to his charge?


Verse 9

Psalms 144:9. Upon a psaltery, and an instrument of ten strings Upon the ten-stringed psaltery. There is nothing for the particle and in the Hebrew.


Verse 11

Psalms 144:11. Rid me, and deliver me This is a kind of da capo, a repetition of that sentence upon which the psalm turns. These are probably the very words of the cry hinted at in Psalms 118:5 which gave occasion to the following verses in that psalm, and the two first in this. Mudge.


Verse 12

Psalms 144:12, &c. That our sons may be, &c.— Our sons are like plants grown tall in their youth; and our daughters like corner-pillars polished for the ornament of a palace. Green; who renders the following verses also in the present; and with him agrees Mr. Mudge, who observes, that these verses are spoken in a kind of exultation, arising from a view of the happiness which they enjoyed; and are connected to the 9th and 10th. The 11th is a parenthesis; for it appears from the last verse, that he is not wishing, but describing a prosperity; describing their sons like young trees, large at the same time that they are young; their daughters exactly and beautifully shaped, like pillars for a palace: their sheep not bringing forth thousands, but multiplied by ten thousands in their out countries (for sheep were kept abroad on the open downs, not under or near a covert); I take חוצות chutzoth, here, to signify this; for streets are no places for sheep. Their oxen are not described by number, for that belongs to sheep, but by their firmness and usefulness for tillage: according to the original, מסבלים mesubbalim, fit to bear; i.e. the yoke. The following words פרצ אין ein perets I take to mean, No house-breaking; ( פריצ parits is a robber or house-breaker;) No violent intrusion or forcing a man out of his property; and thus it will agree with what follows; No complaining in our streets; namely, upon account of violence or injustice. Kimchi observes of these verses, that all those three blessings, namely, of the womb, of the earth, and of cattle, which are mentioned in Deuteronomy 28:4 are specified here. Green tenders the second clause of the 14th verse, There is no hostile invasion, nor going into captivity. We may just observe, that the Hebrew word רחב rechob, rendered streets in this verse, is different from that so rendered in the former. The old English word street, from the Latin stratum, signifies any place for rest or repose; a bed, a couch, a litter, or place fit for ewes to couch or lamb: and our translators in the 13th verse seem to have used it properly, and agreeable to the Hebrew, in this sense.

REFLECTIONS.—1st, All the returns that we can make for mercies received, are blessing and praise ascribed to the gracious giver of all good. Of this the Psalmist sets us the example.

1. He blesses God for all the goodness that he had experienced. Blessed be the Lord my strength, by whose power I have been upheld, and by whose providence I have been protected; which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight; and from a shepherd's crook enabled him to wield Goliah's sword. My goodness, the author of all grace, and engaged to be mine, to bless me in a covenant of love; and my fortress, where I am safe from the attacks of my enemies: my high tower, above the reach of human or Satanical malice; and my deliverer out of every danger: my shield, to guard me in the day of battle; and he in whom I trust, who neither can nor will ever disappoint my confidence, while I depend upon him: who subdueth my people under me; bringing me, after all my wanderings, to the peaceable possession of Israel's throne.

2. He expresses his admiration of God's condescension and kindness. Lord, what is man, so low in his original, and now become so vile by sin, that thou takest knowledge of him? or the sin of man, that thou makest account of him? shewing such poor and wretched creatures such kindness and regard; especially sending his Son to be incarnate to redeem them. Man is like to vanity; an empty nothing, or a vapour. His days are as a shadow that passeth away; so swift, so transitory. O that men were wise, that they pondered these things, that they considered their latter end. If their moment be so short, and eternity depends upon it, how diligently should they redeem each hour!

3. He looks up to God for support against all his remaining enemies; and calls on him to manifest his presence in some tremendous displays of his power, (as when he descended on Sinai's hoary top,) to scorch them with his lightnings, and shoot forth those arrows of his vengeance, which no human powers can for a moment withstand. By this divine interposition he hopes for deliverance out of the deep waters of trouble, and the hosts of enemies which surrounded him. And their character called for such righteous judgment against them: their mouth speaketh vanity, false and deceitful; and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood; whether lifted up in prayer, or in a solemn oath; the one is hypocritical, the other faithless. Note; (1.) There is a terrible day approaching, when vengeance will overtake the enemies of God. (2.) The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of the deepest waters of affliction; and they who call upon him will find him near to save them. (3.) Falsehood and lies may for a moment prosper, but in the end will issue in everlasting confusion.

2nd, We have,

1. David's praises for his deliverances in answer to his prayer. I will sing a new song unto thee, O God, and join his music with his voice, to raise the sound: Upon a psaltery, and an instrument of ten strings, will I sing praises unto thee. And abundant reason he had: for it is he that giveth salvation unto kings, whose armies are not their safety, but the power of God giving success to their enterprises; who delivereth David his servant from the hurtful sword of all his secret and open enemies. The Son of David was thus enabled also to triumph, when God raised him from the dead, and exalted him to the throne; sin, Satan, death, and every enemy of his faithful people, being bruised under his feet.

2. The Psalmist prays for the continuance of the same care over himself, (many enemies of the same ill character remained, from whom he desires to be delivered,) and for his subjects, that prosperity, plenty, and peace, might reign among them; their families be increased, their sons and daughters endowed with every corporal and mental accomplishment; their garners full with every kind of store; their flocks multiplied exceedingly: their oxen strong; no irruptions from an enemy; no leading out to captivity; no complaints of faction, famine, sickness, or the sword, ever heard; but all peaceful without and quiet within. Such a state cannot but denote a happy people: not that happiness consists in these outward blessings merely; but, where bestowed, they are marks of God's favour, which is the supreme felicity. Happy, therefore, are the people who have the Lord for their God. Note; (1.) The blessings of the basket and the store, so far as they come from God in a way of love, are doubly sweet; and they twice enjoy this world's good things who see and gratefully bless the hand which bestows them. (2.) All that earth can give is but shadow, without God. He alone can truly satisfy the desires of the soul. (3.) They who have God for their Lord, bound to them by grace through faith in a covenant of love and peace, must needs be happy, for all his things are theirs.

 


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Bibliography Information
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 144:4". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/psalms-144.html. 1801-1803.

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Monday, December 9th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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