Psalm 144

Psalm 144 is the 144th psalm of the Book of Psalms, beginning in English in the King James Version "Blessed be the LORD my strength which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight". The Book of Psalms is part of the third section of the Hebrew Bible, and a book of the Christian Old Testament. In the Greek Septuagint version of the Bible, and the Latin Vulgate, this psalm is Psalm 143 in a slightly different numbering system. In Latin, it is known as "Benedictus Dominus".[1] It is attributed to David.

Psalm 144
"Blessed be the LORD my strength"
David-harp.jpg
David playing his harp,
Paris Psalter, c. 960, Constantinople
Other name
  • Psalm 144 (Vulgate)
  • "Benedictus Dominus"
LanguageHebrew (original)
Psalm 144
BookBook of Psalms
Hebrew Bible partKetuvim
Order in the Hebrew part1
CategorySifrei Emet
Christian Bible partOld Testament
Order in the Christian part19

The psalm is used as a regular part of Jewish, Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican and other Protestant liturgies; it has been set to music often.

TextEdit

Hebrew Bible versionEdit

Following is the Hebrew text of Psalm 144:[2]

Verse Hebrew
1 ;לְדָוִד: בָּרוּךְ יְהוָה, צוּרִי-- הַמְלַמֵּד יָדַי לַקְרָב

.אֶצְבְּעוֹתַי, לַמִּלְחָמָה

2 :חַסְדִּי וּמְצוּדָתִי, מִשְׂגַּבִּי וּמְפַלְטִי-לִי

.מָגִנִּי, וּבוֹ חָסִיתִי; הָרוֹדֵד עַמִּי תַחְתָּי

3 .יְהוָה--מָה-אָדָם, וַתֵּדָעֵהוּ: בֶּן-אֱנוֹשׁ, וַתְּחַשְּׁבֵהוּ
4 .אָדָם, לַהֶבֶל דָּמָה; יָמָיו, כְּצֵל עוֹבֵר
5 .יְהוָה, הַט-שָׁמֶיךָ וְתֵרֵד; גַּע בֶּהָרִים וְיֶעֱשָׁנוּ
6 .בְּרוֹק בָּרָק, וּתְפִיצֵם; שְׁלַח חִצֶּיךָ, וּתְהֻמֵּם
7 .שְׁלַח יָדֶיךָ, מִמָּרוֹם: פְּצֵנִי וְהַצִּילֵנִי, מִמַּיִם רַבִּים; מִיַּד, בְּנֵי נֵכָר
8 .אֲשֶׁר פִּיהֶם, דִּבֶּר-שָׁוְא; וִימִינָם, יְמִין שָׁקֶר
9 .אֱלֹהִים--שִׁיר חָדָשׁ, אָשִׁירָה לָּךְ; בְּנֵבֶל עָשׂוֹר, אֲזַמְּרָה-לָּךְ
10 .הַנּוֹתֵן תְּשׁוּעָה, לַמְּלָכִים: הַפּוֹצֶה, אֶת-דָּוִד עַבְדּוֹ--מֵחֶרֶב רָעָה
11 :פְּצֵנִי וְהַצִּילֵנִי, מִיַּד בְּנֵי-נֵכָר

.אֲשֶׁר פִּיהֶם, דִּבֶּר-שָׁוְא; וִימִינָם, יְמִין שָׁקֶר

12 :אֲשֶׁר בָּנֵינוּ, כִּנְטִעִים-- מְגֻדָּלִים בִּנְעוּרֵיהֶם

.בְּנוֹתֵינוּ כְזָוִיֹּת-- מְחֻטָּבוֹת, תַּבְנִית הֵיכָל

13 :מְזָוֵינוּ מְלֵאִים-- מְפִיקִים מִזַּן, אֶל-זַן

.צֹאונֵנוּ מַאֲלִיפוֹת, מְרֻבָּבוֹת-- בְּחוּצוֹתֵינוּ

14 .אַלּוּפֵינוּ, מְסֻבָּלִים: אֵין-פֶּרֶץ, וְאֵין יוֹצֵאת; וְאֵין צְוָחָה, בִּרְחֹבֹתֵינוּ
15 .אַשְׁרֵי הָעָם, שֶׁכָּכָה לּוֹ: אַשְׁרֵי הָעָם, שֱׁיְהוָה אֱלֹהָיו

King James VersionEdit

  1. Blessed be the LORD my strength which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight:
  2. My 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!
  4. Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away.
  5. Bow thy heavens, O LORD, and come down: touch the mountains, and they shall smoke.
  6. Cast forth lightning, and scatter them: shoot out thine arrows, and destroy them.
  7. Send thine hand from above; rid me, and deliver me out of great waters, from the hand of strange children;
  8. Whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood.
  9. I 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.
  11. Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood:
  12. That 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.
  15. Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the LORD.

ThemesEdit

The text is attributed to David in the Masoretic text. The Septuagint has the additional specification of Τῷ Δαυΐδ, πρὸς τὸν Γολιάδ "David against Goliath", putting the text in the context of the narrative of David's fight against Goliath in 1 Samuel 17.

Verse 1Edit

The first verse is rendered in the King James Version (KJV) as

"Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight."[3]

This translates the Hebrew:

ברוך יהוה צורי המלמד ידי לקרב אצבעותי למלחמה׃[4]

Thus, in KJV "my strength" renders צורי (lit. "my rock").

But the Septuagint has

Εὐλογητὸς Κύριος ὁ Θεός μου ὁ διδάσκων τὰς χεῖράς μου εἰς παράταξιν, τοὺς δακτύλους μου εἰς πόλεμον

putting Θεός μου "my God" where the Hebrew has "my rock/strength". This was the text rendered by the Vulgata Clementina,

Benedictus Dominus Deus meus, qui docet manus meas ad prælium, et digitos meos ad bellum.

This Latin translation was the one which was influential in Western Christianity during the Middle Ages. With the development of the ideal of the knighthood in the 12th century, the verse came to be seen as a fitting prayer for the Christian warrior, and references to it are found inscribed on a number of high medieval swords, most notably on the pommel of the Imperial Sword of Otto IV (made c. 1198).

UseEdit

JudaismEdit

This psalm is recited in some congregations before Maariv on Motzei Shabbat.[5] Verse 15 is the second verse of Ashrei and is also the eighth verse of Hoshia Et Amecha in Pesukei Dezimra.[6] The 15th verse of the psalm is the prayer of Ashrei, and in zemirot.[7]

CatholicismEdit

This psalm was selected to the office of Vespers by St. Benedict of Nursia in 530 AD. It was therefore traditionally performed during Vespers of Friday, according to the Rule of St. Benedict. As Psalm 144 is long enough, Benedict divided it in two. So verses from Deus canticum novum cantabo tibi were his division, and vespers Friday had only three psalms instead of four.[8][9]

In the Liturgy of the Hours, Psalm 144 is recited during Vespers on Thursday of the fourth week. The main cycle of liturgical prayers takes four weeks.[10]

In the Divine Worship: Daily Office, the daily Divine Office of the Anglican Use Personal Ordinariates, Psalm 144 is recited at Morning Prayer on the 30th and 31st Day of the month in the 30-day Prayer Book cycle or at Morning Prayer on Saturday of the 7th Week in the 7 week cycle.[11]

Set to musicEdit

 
No. 5 of Dvorak's Biblical Songs

Michel Richard Delalande, composer of Louis XIV, wrote a grand motet in 1695 for this Psalm (S.44) for the offices celebrated in the Royal Chapel of Versailles.

German poet Matthias Claudius wrote a poem entitled "Wir pflügen und wir streuen" (in English: "We plough the fields and scatter") which was inspired by Psalm 144 and was published in 1782. This poem was set to music in 1800 by Johann Abraham Peter Schulz. The lyrics were translated into English in 1862 by Jane Montgomery Campbell, and since that time We Plough the Fields and Scatter has become a popular hymn that is particularly associated with celebrations of the harvest season.

Antonin Dvorak's set a verse from the psalm in Czech as the beginning of the fifth movement of his Biblical Songs.

In filmEdit

On display in the Museum of the Bible are some clips from the film Saving Private Ryan where Daniel Jackson quotes Psalm 22:19, 25:2 and Psalm 144:2.[12]

ControversyEdit

In September 2015, a gun shop in Apopka, Florida produced an AR-15 engraved with Psalm 144:1, ostensibly so that it could "never… be used by Muslim terrorists”. The Council on American–Islamic Relations responded with disapproval.[13]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Parallel Latin/English Psalter / Psalmus 143 (144)". medievalist.net. 2 May 2019.
  2. ^ "Psalms Chapter 144 תְּהִלִּים". mechon-mamre.org. Retrieved 1 April 2021.
  3. ^ Psalm 144:1 KJV
  4. ^ Psalm 144:1 Masoretic Text
  5. ^ The Complete Artscroll Siddur, p. 592
  6. ^ The Complete Artscroll Siddur, pp. 65–67
  7. ^ Complete Artscroll Siddur.
  8. ^ Prosper Guéranger, Règle de saint Benoît, traduction, (Abbaye Saint-Pierre de Solesmes, réimpression 2007) p. 47.
  9. ^ Psautier latin-français du bréviaire monastique,, 1938/2003 p. 530.
  10. ^ The General Instruction on the Liturgy of the Hours (PDF). Retrieved 14 January 2021.
  11. ^ Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter (2020). Divine Worship: Daily Office: North American Edition. Pine Beach, New Jersey: Newman House Press. ISBN 978-1-7330293-2-2.
  12. ^ https://www.museumofthebible.org/book/minutes/371
  13. ^ "Apopka gun maker etches scripture on assault rifle". WOGX Fox 51. Archived from the original on 15 September 2015. Retrieved 12 September 2015.

SourcesEdit

  • Nosson Scherman, The Complete Artscroll Siddur (1984), Mesorah Publications, ISBN 978-0899066509.

External linksEdit