Psalm 147:10
He delights not in the strength of the horse: he takes not pleasure in the legs of a man.
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(10) Strength of the horse . . . legs of a man.—This somewhat strange antithesis has been explained to refer to cavalry and infantry, but the much more expressive passage, Psalm 33:16-17, which was plainly before this poet, would hardly have been altered so strangely. The horse as a type of strength and endurance was of course common. (Comp. especially Job 39:19-25.) And we have before seen that Eastern nations naturally select fleetness of foot as the typical quality in a vigorous warrior. (See Psalm 18:33.)

The constant epithet “swift-footed Achilles,” suggests the best explanation of the second clause of the verse. (Comp. 2Samuel 2:18).

Psalm 147:10-11. He delighteth not in the strength of the horse, &c. — As if he needed either one or the other for the accomplishment of his designs: see the note on Psalm 33:16-17. Mr. Green translates the verse, He delights not in the courage of the horse, nor is pleased with the agility of the warrior; and Bishop Patrick connects it with the preceding verse: and paraphrases it thus: “Let us not doubt, then, but he that takes care of crows will much more take care of us; and not be afraid, though we are of little force, (Nehemiah 4:3; Nehemiah 7:4,) and have no armies of horse and foot to defend us: for the Lord, who fights for us, hath no need of these, (4:29,) and will not take part with our enemies, because they are superior to us in the strength of their horses, and the nimbleness of their soldiers.” But the Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him — “He delights to give those his assistance and protection who, worshipping him devoutly, fear to offend him; and having no help in themselves, nor any earthly refuge to flee to, depend, notwithstanding, with a steadfast faith on his infinite mercy.”147:1-11 Praising God is work that is its own wages. It is comely; it becomes us as reasonable creatures, much more as people in covenant with God. He gathers outcast sinners by his grace, and will bring them into his holy habitation. To those whom God heals with the consolations of his Spirit, he speaks peace, assures them their sins are pardoned. And for this, let others praise him also. Man's knowledge is soon ended; but God's knowledge is a dept that can never be fathomed. And while he telleth the number of the stars, he condescends to hear the broken-hearted sinner. While he feeds the young ravens, he will not leave his praying people destitute. Clouds look dull and melancholy, yet without them we could have no rain, therefore no fruit. Thus afflictions look black and unpleasant; but from clouds of affliction come showers that make the soul to yield the peaceable fruits of righteousness. The psalmist delights not in things wherein sinners trust and glory; but a serious and suitable regard to God is, in his sight, of very great price. We are not to be in doubt between hope and fear, but to act under the gracious influences of hope and fear united.He delighteth not in the strength of the horse - The horse is among the noblest works of God - perhaps the noblest of all the animals that he has made. See the notes at Job 39:19-25. Yet God regards with more interest and pleasure humble piety than he does any mere power, however great and wonderful it may be.

He taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man - Not the same pleasure as in piety; he prefers the humble heart to this. The reference is to man as capable of rapid marches, of quick movements in assaulting an enemy; the allusion being, perhaps, to an army prepared for war - cavalry and infantry - the horse moving on with resistless force - the foot-soldiers with rapid motion.

10, 11. The advantages afforded, as in war by the strength of the horse or the agility of man, do not incline God to favor any; but those who fear and, of course, trust Him, will obtain His approbation and aid. As if he needed either the one or the other for the accomplishment of his designs. He delighteth not in the strength of the horse,.... It has been his will and pleasure to give the horse strength for the use and service of men, both for labour and war; and as this is a creature of his, and the work of his hands, it must be agreeable to him, Job 39:19 yet a horse, though prepared for the battle, is a vain thing for safety, which is only of the Lord; neither can it deliver any by its great strength; nor are a king and his country saved by the multitude of an host, or by a large cavalry: nor are these what the Lord delights in, nor does he save men for the sake of them; though a well-mounted cavalry may be a pleasing sight to men, and they may raise their expectations, and promise themselves great things from them; yet these are of no account with God, who can save as well without them as with them, Proverbs 21:31. The Targum is,

"he delighteth not in the strength of those that ride on horses;''

that are well mounted, and pride themselves in it; and are equipped for war, and are mighty to engage in it, and prepared to make their escape in danger: Kimchi's note is,

"he delighteth not in man, who puts his confidence in the strength of the horse;''

see Psalm 20:8;

he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man; in which his strength lies, and of which he is apt to glory; but should not, it being displeasing to God; who delights not therein, but in lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, Jeremiah 9:23; not in the legs of a man of war, as Arama; which are strong to stand his ground, or swift to flee away when hard-pressed; see Amos 2:14; so the Targum,

"he takes no pleasure in the legs of men that run;''

that are swift to run races, or to flee in battle; to this sense are the notes of Jarchi and Kimchi. It seems to intend the infantry in an army, as the cavalry before; and both intimate that neither horse nor foot are to be trusted in for safety, how pleasing or promising they may be, since God seeth not as man does: or reference may be had to athletic exercises of horse and foot races, of wrestling, combats, &c. men may delight in, but God does not. What are pleasing to him are exercises of a spiritual kind; such as fleeing to Jesus, the strong tower; running the Christian race, to obtain the incorruptible crown; wrestling against principalities and powers, and such acts of grace as are next mentioned.

He delighteth not in the {h} strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man.

(h) Though to use lawful means is both profitable and pleases God, yet to put our trust in them is to defraud God of his honour.

10. 11. Based upon Psalm 33:16-18. Jehovah’s delight is not in physical strength, but in reverent trustfulness;—a thought of consolation, parallel to Psalm 147:6. Israel might look regretfully back to its ancient military power, or envy the forces of neighbouring nations; but it is by spiritual strength that its victories are to be won. The horse is the warhorse (Job 39:19): the man is the warrior, for whom strength and swiftness of foot were indispensable qualifications. Cp. Psalm 20:7; Psalm 18:33; Amos 2:14-15 : and the standing epithet in Homer for Achilles, “swift of foot.”Verse 10. - He delighteth not in the strength of the horse. In a certain sense, God no doubt "delights" in the glory and excellency of all his creatures; but their physical endowments do not give him the sensible pleasure which he derives from the moral qualities of his rational creation (see ver. 11). The negation is not absolute, but relative (compare "I will have mercy, and not sacrifice"). He taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man; i.e. in his strength and swiftness. The Hallelujah, as in Psalm 135:3, is based upon the fact, that to sing of our God, or to celebrate our God in song (זמּר with an accusative of the object, as in Psalm 30:13, and frequently), is a discharge of duty that reacts healthfully and beneficially upon ourselves: "comely is a hymn of praise" (taken from Psalm 33:1), both in respect of the worthiness of God to be praised, and of the gratitude that is due to Him. Instead of זמּר or לזמּר, Psalm 92:2, the expression is זמּרה, a form of the infin. Piel, which at least can still be proved to be possible by ליסּרה in Leviticus 26:18. The two כּי are co-ordinate, and כּי־נעים no more refers to God here than in Psalm 135:3, as Hitzig supposes when he alters Psalm 147:1 so that it reads: "Praise ye Jah because He is good, play unto our God because He is lovely." Psalm 92:2 shows that כּי־טוב can refer to God; but נעים said of God is contrary to the custom and spirit of the Old Testament, whereas טוב and נעים are also in Psalm 133:1 neuter predicates of a subject that is set forth in the infinitive form. In Psalm 147:2 the praise begins, and at the same time the confirmation of the delightful duty. Jahve is the builder up of Jerusalem, He brings together (כּנּס as in Ezekiel, the later wozd for אסף and קבּץ) the outcasts of Israel (as in Isaiah 11:12; Isaiah 56:8); the building of Jerusalem is therefore intended of the rebuilding up, and to the dispersion of Israel corresponds the holy city laid in ruins. Jahve healeth the heart-broken, as He has shown in the case of the exiles, and bindeth up their pains (Psalm 16:4), i.e., smarting wounds; רפא, which is here followed by חבּשׁ, also takes to itself a dative object in other instances, both in an active and (Isaiah 6:10) an impersonal application; but for שׁבוּרי לב the older language says נשׁבּרי לב, Psalm 34:19, Isaiah 61:1. The connection of the thoughts, which the poet now brings to the stars, becomes clear from the primary passage, Isaiah 40:26, cf. Isaiah 40:27. To be acquainted with human woe and to relieve it is an easy and small matter to Him who allots a number to the stars, that are to man innumerable (Genesis 15:5), i.e., who has called them into being by His creative power in whatever number He has pleased, and yet a number known to Him (מנה, the part. praes., which occurs frequently in descriptions of the Creator), and calls to them all names, i.e., names them all by names which are the expression of their true nature, which is well known to Him, the Creator. What Isaiah says (Isaiah 40:26) with the words, "because of the greatness of might, and as being strong in power," and (Isaiah 40:28) "His understanding is unsearchable," is here asserted in Psalm 147:5 (cf. Psalm 145:3): great is our Lord, and capable of much (as in Job 37:23, שׂגּיא כּח), and to His understanding there is no number, i.e., in its depth and fulness it cannot be defined by any number. What a comfort for the church as it traverses its ways, that are often so labyrinthine and entangled! Its Lord is the Omniscient as well as the Almighty One. Its history, like the universe, is a work of God's infinitely profound and rich understanding. It is a mirror of gracious love and righteous anger. The patient sufferers (ענוים) He strengthens (מעודד as in Psalm 146:9); malevolent sinners (רשׁעים), on the other hand, He casts down to the earth (עדי־ארץ, cf. Isaiah 26:5), casting deep down to the ground those who exalt themselves to the skies.
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