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144. Psalm 144

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

2My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and he in whom I trust; who subdueth my people under me.

3 Lord, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of man, that thou makest account of him!

4Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away.

5Bow thy heavens, O Lord, and come down: touch the mountains, and they shall smoke.

6Cast forth lightning, and scatter them: shoot out thine arrows, and destroy them.

7Send thine hand from above; rid me, and deliver me out of great waters, from the hand of strange children;

8Whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood.

9I will sing a new song unto thee, O God: upon a psaltery and an instrument of ten strings will I sing praises unto thee.

10 It is he that giveth salvation unto kings: who delivereth David his servant from the hurtful sword.

11Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood:

12That 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:

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:

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.

15Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the Lord.

9. O God! I will sing a new song to thee. He again sets himself, with self-possession, to the exercise of praising God, not doubting but he would continue those mercies which he had once bestowed. I have taken notice in another place that by a new song is meant one of a singular or uncommon kind; and we are left from this to infer that David’s expectations stretched beyond the conclusions of man’s judgment; for, with a view to the greatness of the help to be extended, he promises a song of praise unprecedented in its nature, and distinguished, by the title here applied to it, from ordinary thanksgiving’s. As to the nablum and psaltery, I have elsewhere observed that they formed part of that system of training under the law to which the Church was subjected in its infancy. But the chief thing to be noticed is the subject of his songs that God, who is the preserver of kings, had kept — and even rescued from the sword — David, whom he had made and anointed king by his authoritative decree. As to the idea of there being implied in the term kings an opposition to the commonalty, David meaning that not only the common class of people are indebted to divine preservation, but the more influential, and such as appear to have sufficient and abundant strength of their own, I question whether it be well founded. His meaning seems to me rather to be different from this, That while God preserves all men without exception, his care is peculiarly extended to the maintenance of political order, which is the foundation of the common safety of all. It is in effect as if he called him the guardian and defender of kingdoms; for as the very mention of government is an odious thing, and none willingly obeys another, and nothing is more contrary to natural inclination than servitude, men would seek to throw off the yoke, and subvert the thrones of kings, were these not hedged round by a hidden divine presidency. David, however, distinguishes himself from other kings, as elsewhere he is called “the firstborn of kings,” (Psalm 89:27;) at least he speaks of the goodness of God as having been preeminently shown to him, representing himself as holding the highest place, on account of the holy anointing which had been more eminently bestowed upon him. As a title of distinction, he claims the special name of God’s servant; for although all kings are God’s servants, and Cyrus has the name applied to him by Isaiah emphatically, (Isaiah 45:1,) yet as no heathen prince ever recognized himself as called of God, and David alone of all others in the world was invested with legitimate authority, and had a warrant to reign which faith could rest upon with certainty, it was not without reason that this mark of distinction is applied to him. By the hurtful sword, are doubtless meant all the dangers he had passed through for a series of years, which were such that he might be truly said to have come to the throne by deaths oft, and to have been settled upon the throne in the midst of them.

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