Psalm 144:13

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 13. That our garners may be full, affording all manner of store. A household must exercise thrift and forethought: it must have its granary as well as its nursery. Husbands should husband their resources; and should not only furnish their tables but fill their garners. Where there are happy households, there must needs be plentiful provision for them, for famine brings misery even where love abounds. It is well when there is plenty, and that plenty consists of "all manner of store." We have occasionally heard murmurs concerning the abundance of grain, and the cheapness of the poor man's loaf. A novel calamity! We dare not pray against it. David would have prayed for it, and blessed the Lord when he saw his heart's desire. When all the fruits of the earth are plentiful, the fruits of our lips should be joyful worship and thanksgiving. Plenteous and varied may cur products be, that every form of want may be readily supplied.

That our sheep may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our streets, or rather in the open places, the fields, and sheep walks where lambs should be born. A teeming increase is here described. Adam tilled the ground to fill the garner, but Abel kept sheep, and watched the lambs. Each occupation needs the divine blessing. The second man who was born into this world was a shepherd, and that trade has ever held an important part in the economy of nations. Food and clothing come from the flock, and both are of first consideration.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 13. That our sheep may bring forth thousands, etc. The surprising fecundity of the sheep has been celebrated by writers of every class. It has not escaped the notice of the royal Psalmist, who, in a beautiful ascription of praise to the living and the true God, entreats that the sheep of his chosen people might "bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our streets." In another song of Zion, he represents, by a very elegant metaphor, the numerous flocks covering like a garment the face of the field: -- "The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing": Psalms 65:13 . The bold figure is fully warranted by the prodigious numbers of sheep which whitened the extensive pastures of Syria and Canaan. In that part of Arabia which borders on Judea, the patriarch Job possessed at first seven thousand, and after the return of his prosperity, fourteen thousand sheep; and Mesha, the king of Moab, paid the king of Israel "a yearly tribute of a hundred thousand lambs, and an equal number of rams with the wool": 2 Kings 3:4 . In the war which the tribe of Reuben waged with the Hagarites, the former drove away "two hundred and fifty thousand sheep": 1 Chronicles 5:21 . At the dedication of the temple, Solomon offered in sacrifice "an hundred and twenty thousand sheep." At the feast of the passover, Josiah, the king of Judah, "gave to the people, of the flock, lambs and kids, all for the passover offerings, for all that were present, to the number of thirty thousand, and three thousand bullocks: these were of the king's substance": 2 Chronicles 35:7 . The ewe brings forth her young commonly once a year, and in more ungenial climes, seldom more than one lamb at a time. But twin lambs are as frequent in the oriental regions, as they are rare in other places; which accounts in a satisfactory manner for the prodigious numbers which the Syrian shepherd led to the mountains. This uncommon fruitfulness seems to be intimated by Solomon in his address to the spouse: -- "Thy teeth are like a flock of sheep that are even shorn, which came up from the washing; whereof every one bear twins, and none is barren among them": So 4:2. --George Paxton (1762-1837), in "Illustrations of Scripture."

Verse 13-14. Streets, though not incorrect, is an inadequate translation of the Hebrew word, which means external spaces, streets as opposed to the inside of houses, fields or country as opposed to a whole town. Here it includes not only roads but fields. -- Joseph Addison Alexander.