Psalm 144:2
My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and he in whom I trust; who subdues my people under me.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(2) My goodness·—Or, my lovingkindness, or my grace, a shortened form of “God of my grace” (Psalm 59:10; Psalm 59:17). The expression is exactly analogous to the term” grace,” applied to kings as the source of grace or mercy. For the other epithets, see Psalm 18:2.

Who subdueth.—Psalm 18:47; but the verb is different (cognate with 2Samuel 22:48), and here the singular, “my people,” instead of “my peoples.” Some MSS. indeed have the plural here, and the Syriac and Chaldee followed them, or changed to suit Psalms 18. If we had the historical incidents out of which the psalm sprung we might account for the change.

144:1-8 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.My goodness - Margin, "my mercy." That is, He shows me mercy or favor. All the favors that I receive come from him.

And my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer - See the notes at Psalm 18:2, where the same words occur.

My shield - The same word which in Psalm 18:2 is rendered "buckler." See the notes at that passage.

And he in whom I trust - The same idea as in Psalm 18:2. The tense of the verb only is varied.

Who subdueth my people under me - See the notes at Psalm 18:47. The language is slightly different, but the idea is the same. It is to be remarked that David "here" refers to his people - "who subdueth my people," meaning that those over whom God had placed him had been made submissive by the divine power.

PSALM 144

Ps 144:1-15. David's praise of God as his all-sufficient help is enhanced by a recognition of the intrinsic worthlessness of man. Confidently imploring God's interposition against his enemies, he breaks forth into praise and joyful anticipations of the prosperity of his kingdom, when freed from vain and wicked men.

My goodness; or, my mercy; or, the God of my mercy, as God is called, Psalm 59:10,17; the name of God being easily understood from the foregoing verse. Or, he who is exceeding good or merciful to me, as good as goodness itself; the abstract being put for the concrete, as it is frequently in speeches of God, who is called wisdom, truth, goodness, &c.; and, sometimes of men, as Psalm 12:1 Proverbs 10:29, where faithfulness and uprightness are put for faithful and upright men.

Who subdueth my people under me; who has disposed my people’s hearts to receive and obey me as their king. My goodness,.... Not only good, but goodness itself; the donor of all the blessings of goodness to him; the author of all goodness in him; the provider of all goodness for him, laid up to be used hereafter. The Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions render it my mercy, properly enough; that is, the God of "my mercy", as in Psalm 59:10; who is all mercy, full of mercy, rich and plenteous in it; which is abundant, and from everlasting to everlasting. Or, "my grace" (d); the God of all grace, the giver of every grace, and who is able to make all grace to abound; and from whom every blessing of grace, and every particular grace, as faith, hope, and love, and all the supplies of grace, as well as every good and perfect gift, come: Christ is prevented with all the blessings of goodness; in him all fulness of grace dwells, and with him God keeps his mercy for evermore;

and my fortress; garrison or strong hold: what fortresses or fortifications are to cities, whether natural or artificial, that is God to his people; all his perfections are on their side; and particularly they are kept by his power, as in a garrison, through faith unto salvation, 1 Peter 1:5;

my high tower: the name of the Lord, which is himself, is a strong tower, where his righteous ones that flee to him are safe; and is an "high" one, where they are out of the reach of all their enemies, Proverbs 18:10;

and my deliverer; that delivered him from his temporal enemies; and from his spiritual ones, from sin, Satan, and the world; from all afflictions and temptations, from wrath and ruin, death and hell;

my shield; that protected him from all evil and danger; whose favour encompassed him as a shield; whose salvation was a shield to him; and more particularly the person, blood, righteousness, and sacrifice of his Son, called the shield of faith, Ephesians 6:16;

and he in whom I trust; not in men, no, not in princes; but in the Lord only; in his Word, as the Targum; for things temporal and spiritual; for the blessings of grace here, and glory hereafter; of these several titles, see more on Psalm 18:2;

who subdueth my people under me; the people of Israel, all the tribes; whose hearts the Lord inclined to make him king over them all, 2 Samuel 5:1. Or, "the people" (f); so the Targum, Syriac, and Arabic versions; the Heathen people, the Philistines, Ammonites, Edomites, Moabites, and Syrians; see 2 Samuel 8:1. The former reading seems best, and is followed by the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, and other versions: and this may be typical of the subduing of Christ's people under him; who are made willing, in the day of his power, to receive and own him as their King; profess subjection to his Gospel, and submit to his ordinances.

(d) "gratia mea", Cocceius, Gejerus. (f) "pro" "populos", Piscator.

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

(b) He confesses that neither by his own authority, power or policy was his kingdom quiet, but by the secret grace of God.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2. Cp. Psalm 18:2; Psalm 18:47, and notes there.

My goodness] Rather, my lovingkindness, a bold expression for the God of my lovingkindness (Psalm 59:10; Psalm 59:17), to denote Jehovah as the sum and source of lovingkindness. A partial parallel may be found in Jonah 2:8, but in view of the fact that the verse is almost wholly derived from Psalms 18, it seems not improbable that we should read as in Psalm 18:1, my strength (חזקי for חסרי), or as in Psalm 18:2, my cliff (סלעי), which agrees better with the next epithet my fortress or stronghold.

my deliverer] Lit. my deliverer for me, as in 2 Samuel 22:2. In Psalms 18 for me is omitted.

my shield, and he in whom I have taken refuge] A somewhat awkward variation from the text in Psalms 18, “my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield.”

who subdueth my people under me] The phrase resembles the text of 2 Samuel 22:48 (who bringeth down) more closely than that of Psalm 18:47 (and led subject, a different word from that used here). Instead of my people both texts read peoples, which is supported by some MSS and several Versions (Aq. Syr. Jer. Targ.) here. If Israel is the speaker, this reading must be adopted here, and the reference must be to the subjugation of neighbouring nations: but if the leader of the community is speaking, the more difficult reading ‘my people,’ which is supported by the LXX, may be right. The reference will then be to his success in overcoming internal dissensions (cp. “the strivings of my people,” 2 Samuel 22:44) and the establishment of his authority.Verse 2. - My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and he in whom I trust. The general resemblance to Psalm 18:2 is striking, but there are peculiar and original touches which indicate the author, not the copyist. For instance, the expression, "my goodness," occurs nowhere else. Who subdueth my people under me. Another reading gives, "Who subdueth peoples under me." Either reading suits the circumstances of David, who had to subdue a great portion of his own people under him (2 Samuel 2:8-31; 2 Samuel 3:6-21), and also conquered many foreign nations (2 Samuel 8:1-14). In this second half the Psalm seems still more like a reproduction of the thoughts of earlier Psalms. The prayer, "answer me speedily, hide not Thy face from me," sounds like Psalm 69:18; Psalm 27:9, cf. Psalm 102:3. The expression of languishing longing, כּלתה רוּחי, is like Psalm 84:3. And the apodosis, "else I should become like those who go down into the pit," agrees word for word with Psalm 28:1, cf. Psalm 88:5. In connection with the words, "cause me to hear Thy loving-kindness in the early morning," one is reminded of the similar prayer of Moses in Psalm 90:14, and with the confirmatory "for in Thee do I trust" of Psalm 25:2, and frequently. With the prayer that the night of affliction may have an end with the next morning's dawn, and that God's helping loving-kindness may make itself felt by him, is joined the prayer that God would be pleased to grant him to know the way that he has to go in order to escape the destruction into which they are anxious to ensnare him. This last prayer has its type in Exodus 33:13, and in the Psalter in Psalm 25:4 (cf. Psalm 142:4); and its confirmation: for to Thee have I lifted up my soul, viz., in a craving after salvation and in the confidence of faith, has its type in Psalm 25:1; Psalm 86:4. But the words אליך כסּיתי, which are added to the petition "deliver me from mine enemies" (Psalm 59:2; Psalm 31:16), are peculiar, and in their expression without example. The Syriac version leaves them untranslated. The lxx renders: ὅτι πρὸς σὲ κατέφυγον, by which the defective mode of writing כסתי is indirectly attested, instead of which the translators read נסתי (cf. נוּס על in Isaiah 10:3); for elsewhere not חסה but נוּס is reproduced with καταφυγεῖν. The Targum renders it מימרך מנּתי לפריק, Thy Logos do I account as (my) Redeemer (i.e., regard it as such), as if the Hebrew words were to be rendered: upon Thee do I reckon or count, כסּיתי equals כּסתּי, Exodus 12:4. Luther closely follows the lxx: "to Thee have I fled for refuge." Jerome, however, inasmuch as he renders: ad te protectus sum, has pointed כסּיתי (כסּיתי). Hitzig (on the passage before us and Proverbs 7:20) reads כסתי from כּסא equals סכא, to look ("towards Thee do I look"). But the Hebrew contains no trace of that verb; the full moon is called כסא (כסה), not as being "a sight or vision, species," but from its covered orb.

The כסּתי before us only admits of two interpretations: (1) Ad (apud) te texi equals to Thee have I secretly confided it (Rashi, Aben-Ezra, Kimchi, Coccejus, J. H. Michaelis, J. D. Michalis, Rosenmller, Gesenius, and De Wette). But such a constructio praegnans, in connection with which כּסּה would veer round from the signification to veil (cf. כסה מן, Genesis 18:17) into its opposite, and the clause have the meaning of כּי אליך גּלּיתי, Jeremiah 11:20; Jeremiah 20:12, is hardly conceivable. (2) Ad (apud) te abscondidi, scil. me (Saadia, Calvin, Maurer, Ewald, and Hengstenberg), in favour of which we decide; for it is evident from Genesis 38:14; Deuteronomy 22:12, cf. Jonah 3:6, that כּסּה can express the act of covering as an act that is referred to the person himself who covers, and so can obtain a reflexive meaning. Therefore: towards Thee, with Thee have I made a hiding equals hidden myself, which according to the sense is equivalent to חסיתּי, as Hupfeld (with a few MSS) wishes to read; but Abulwald has already remarked that the same goal is reached with כסּתי. Jahve, with whom he hides himself, is alone able to make known to him what is right and beneficial in the position in which he finds himself, in which he is exposed to temporal and spiritual dangers, and is able to teach him to carry out the recognised will of God ("the will of God, good and well-pleasing and perfect," Romans 12:2); and this it is for which he prays to Him in Psalm 143:10 (רצונך; another reading, רצונך). For Jahve is indeed his God, who cannot leave him, who is assailed and tempted without and within, in error; may His good Spirit then (רוּחך טובה for הטּובה, Nehemiah 9:20)

(Note: Properly, "Thy Spirit, רוּח הטּובה, a spirit, the good one, although such irregularities may also be a negligent usage of the language, like the Arabic msjd 'l-jâm‛, the chief mosque, which many grammarians regard as a construct relationship, others as an ellipsis (inasmuch as they supply Arab. 'l-mkân between the words); the former is confirmed from the Hebrew, vid., Ewald, 287, a.))

lead him in a level country, for, as it is said in Isaiah, Isaiah 26:7, in looking up to Jahve, "the path which the righteous man takes is smoothness; Thou makest the course of the righteous smooth." The geographical term ארץ מישׁור, Deuteronomy 4:43; Jeremiah 48:21, is here applied spiritually. Here, too, reminiscences of Psalms already read meet us everywhere: cf. on "to do Thy will," Psalm 40:9; on "for Thou art my God," Psalm 40:6, and frequently; on "Thy good Spirit," Psalm 51:14; on "a level country," and the whole petition, Psalm 27:11 (where the expression is "a level path"), together with Psalm 5:9; Psalm 25:4., Psalm 31:4. And the Psalm also further unrolls itself in such now well-known thoughts of the Psalms: For Thy Name's sake, Jahve (Psalm 25:11), quicken me again (Psalm 71:20, and frequently); by virtue of Thy righteousness be pleased to bring my soul out of distress (Psalm 142:8; Psalm 25:17, and frequently); and by virtue of Thy loving-kindness cut off mine enemies (Psalm 54:7). As in Psalm 143:1 faithfulness and righteousness, here loving-kindness (mercy) and righteousness, are coupled together; and that so that mercy is not named beside towtsiy', nor righteousness beside תּצמית, but the reverse (vid., on Psalm 143:1). It is impossible that God should suffer him who has hidden himself in Him to die and perish, and should suffer his enemies on the other hand to triumph. Therefore the poet confirms the prayer for the cutting off (הצמית as in Psalm 94:23) of his enemies and the destruction (האביד, elsewhere אבּד) of the oppressors of his soul (elsewhere צררי) with the words: for I am Thy servant.

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