Psalms 144

A King's Prayer



1 May the Lord my rock be praised, who trains my hands for battle and my fingers for warfare.
2 He is my faithful love and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer. He is my shield, and I take refuge in Him;[a] He subdues my people[b] under me.
3 Lord, what is man, that You care for him, the son of man, that You think of him?[c]
4 Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow.
5 Lord, part Your heavens and come down.[d] Touch the mountains, and they will smoke.[e]
6 Flash [Your] lightning and scatter the foe;[f] shoot Your arrows and rout them.
7 Reach down[g] from on high; rescue me from deep water,[h] and set me free from the grasp of foreigners
8 whose mouths speak lies, whose right hands are deceptive.
9 God, I will sing a new song to You; I will play on a ten-stringed harp[i] for You-
10 the One who gives victory to kings, who frees His servant David from the deadly sword.
11 Set me free and rescue me from the grasp of foreigners whose mouths speak lies, whose right hands are deceptive.
12 Then our sons will be like plants nurtured in their youth, our daughters, like corner pillars that are carved in the palace style.
13 Our storehouses will be full, supplying all kinds of produce; our flocks will increase by thousands and tens of thousands in our open fields.
14 Our cattle will be well fed.[j] There will be no breach [in the walls], no going [into captivity],[k] and no cry of lament in our public squares.
15 Happy are the people with such [blessings]. Happy are the people whose God is the Lord.

Psalms 144 Commentary

Chapter 144

David acknowledges the great goodness of God, and prays for help. (1-8) He prays for the prosperity of his kingdom. (9-15)

Verses 1-8 When men become eminent for things as to which they have had few advantages, they should be more deeply sensible that God has been their Teacher. Happy those to whom the Lord gives that noblest victory, conquest and dominion over their own spirits. A prayer for further mercy is fitly begun with a thanksgiving for former mercy. There was a special power of God, inclining the people of Israel to be subject to David; it was typical of the bringing souls into subjection to the Lord Jesus. Man's days have little substance, considering how many thoughts and cares of a never-dying soul are employed about a poor dying body. Man's life is as a shadow that passes away. In their highest earthly exaltation, believers will recollect how mean, sinful, and vile they are in themselves; thus they will be preserved from self-importance and presumption. God's time to help his people is, when they are sinking, and all other helps fail.

Verses 9-15 Fresh favours call for fresh returns of thanks; we must praise God for the mercies we hope for by his promise, as well as those we have received by his providence. To be saved from the hurtful sword, or from wasting sickness, without deliverance from the dominion of sin and the wrath to come, is but a small advantage. The public prosperity David desired for his people, is stated. It adds much to the comfort and happiness of parents in this world, to see their children likely to do well. To see them as plants, not as weeds, not as thorns; to see them as plants growing, not withered and blasted; to see them likely to bring forth fruit unto God in their day; to see them in their youth growing strong in the Spirit. Plenty is to be desired, that we may be thankful to God, generous to our friends, and charitable to the poor; otherwise, what profit is it to have our garners full? Also, uninterrupted peace. War brings abundance of mischiefs, whether it be to attack others or to defend ourselves. And in proportion as we do not adhere to the worship and service of God, we cease to be a happy people. The subjects of the Saviour, the Son of David, share the blessings of his authority and victories, and are happy because they have the Lord for their God.

Footnotes 11

  • [a]. Ps 18:2; 71:1-3; 2 Sm 22:2-3
  • [b]. Other Hb mss, DSS, Aq, Syr, Tg, Jer read subdues peoples; Ps 18:47; 2 Sm 22:48
  • [c]. Ps 8:4
  • [d]. Ps 18:9-10; 2 Sm 22:10
  • [e]. Ps 104:32
  • [f]. Lit scatter them
  • [g]. Lit down Your hands
  • [h]. Ps 18:16; 2 Sm 22:17
  • [i]. Ps 33:3; 40:3; 98:1
  • [j]. Or will bear heavy loads, or will be pregnant
  • [k]. Or be no plague, no miscarriage

Chapter Summary


\\<>\\. This psalm was written by David; not on account of the return of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity, by a spirit of prophecy, as Theodoret; but on his own account, after he was come to the throne, and was king over all Israel; and was delivered from the was between him and Israel, and from the war of the Philistines, as Kimchi observes, having gained two victories over them: or it was written between the two victories, and before he had conquered all his enemies; since he prays to be delivered from the hand of strange children, Ps 144:7,11. R. Obadiah thinks it was written on the account of his deliverance from Absalom and Sheba; but the former is best. Some copies of the Septuagint, and also the Vulgate Latin, Ethiopic, and Arabic versions, have in their titles these words, ``against Goliath;'' and so Apollinarius; as if it was written on account of his combat with him, and victory over him; but this clause is not in the Hebrew Bibles; nor could Theodoret find it in the Septuagint in the Hexapla in his time. The Syriac inscription is still more foreign to the purpose, ``a psalm of David, when he slew Asaph the brother of Goliath.'' R. Saadiah Gaon interprets this psalm of the times of the Messiah; and there are several things in it which are applicable to him.

Psalms 144 Commentaries

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