the one who trains my hands for battle, 4
and my fingers for war,
my refuge 6 and my deliverer,
my shield and the one in whom I take shelter,
who makes nations submit to me. 7
their days like a shadow that disappears. 12
Touch the mountains and make them smolder! 15
144:6 Hurl lightning bolts and scatter them!
Shoot your arrows and rout them! 16
Grab me and rescue me from the surging water, 18
from the power of foreigners, 19
144:8 who speak lies,
and make false promises. 20
144:9 O God, I will sing a new song to you!
Accompanied by a ten-stringed instrument, I will sing praises to you,
and rescued David his servant from a deadly 22 sword.
who speak lies,
and make false promises. 24
that quickly grow to full size. 26
Our daughters will be like corner pillars, 27
carved like those in a palace. 28
providing all kinds of food. 30
Our sheep will multiply by the thousands
No one will break through our walls,
no one will be taken captive,
and there will be no terrified cries in our city squares. 34
How blessed are the people whose God is the Lord!
[144:1] 1 sn Psalm 144. The psalmist expresses his confidence in God, asks for a mighty display of divine intervention in an upcoming battle, and anticipates God’s rich blessings on the nation in the aftermath of military victory.
[144:1] 4 sn The one who trains my hands for battle. The psalmist attributes his skill with weapons to divine enablement (see Ps 18:34). Egyptian reliefs picture gods teaching the king how to shoot a bow. See O. Keel, The Symbolism of the Biblical World, 265.
[144:3] 9 tn Heb “and the son of man.” The phrase “son of man” is used here in a collective sense and refers to human beings. For other uses of the phrase in a collective or representative manner, see Num 23:19; Ps 146:3; Isa 51:12.
[144:5] 13 tn The Hebrew verb נָטָה (natah) can carry the sense “to [cause to] bend; to [cause to] bow down.” For example, Gen 49:15 pictures Issachar as a donkey that “bends” its shoulder or back under a burden. Here the
[144:6] 16 sn Arrows and lightning bolts are associated in other texts (see Pss 18:14; 77:17-18; Zech 9:14), as well as in ancient Near Eastern art (see R. B. Chisholm, “An Exegetical and Theological study of Psalm 18/2 Samuel 22” [Th.D. diss., Dallas Theological Seminary, 1983], 187).
[144:8] 20 tn Heb “who [with] their mouth speak falsehood, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood.” The reference to the “right hand” is probably a metonymy for an oath. When making an oath, one would raise the hand as a solemn gesture. See Exod 6:8; Num 14:30; Deut 32:40. The figure thus represents the making of false oaths (false promises).
[144:12] 25 tn Some consider אֲשֶׁר (’asher) problematic, but here it probably indicates the anticipated consequence of the preceding request. (For other examples of אֲשֶׁר indicating purpose/result, see BDB 83 s.v. and HALOT 99 s.v.) If the psalmist – who appears to be a Davidic king preparing to fight a battle (see vv. 10-11) – is victorious, the whole nation will be spared invasion and defeat (see v. 14) and can flourish. Some prefer to emend the form to אַשְׁרֵי (“how blessed [are our sons]”). A suffixed noun sometimes follows אַשְׁרֵי (’ashrey; see 1 Kgs 10:8; Prov 20:7), but the presence of a comparative element (see “like plants”) after the suffixed noun makes the proposed reading too awkward syntactically.
[144:12] 26 tn Heb “grown up in their youth.” The translation assumes that “grown up” modifies “plants” (just as “carved” modifies “corner pillars” in the second half of the verse). Another option is to take “grown up” as a predicate in relation to “our sons,” in which case one might translate, “they will be strapping youths.”
[144:14] 33 tn Heb “weighted down.” This probably refers (1) to the cattle having the produce from the harvest placed on their backs to be transported to the storehouses (see BDB 687 s.v. סָבַל). Other options are (2) to take this as reference to the cattle being pregnant (see HALOT 741 s.v. סבל pu) or (3) to their being well-fed or fattened (see L. C. Allen, Psalms 101-150 [WBC], 288).