Psalm 147:10
He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh 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. Psalm 147:10With Psalm 147:7 the song takes a new flight. ענה ל signifies to strike up or sing in honour of any one, Numbers 21:27; Isaiah 27:2. The object of the action is conceived of in בּתּודה as the medium of it (cf. e.g., Job 16:4). The participles in Psalm 147:8. are attributive clauses that are attached in a free manner to לאלהינוּ. הכין signifies to prepare, procure, as e.g., in Job 38:41 - a passage which the psalmist has had in his mind in connection with Psalm 147:9. מצמיח, as being the causative of a verb. crescendi, is construed with a double accusative: "making mountains (whither human agriculture does not reach) to bring forth grass;" and the advance to the thought that God gives to the cattle the bread that they need is occasioned by the "He causeth grass to grow for the cattle" of the model passage Psalm 104:14, just as the only hinting אשׁר יקראוּ, which is said of the young of the raven (which are forsaken and cast off by their mothers very early), is explained from ילדיו אל־אל ישׁוּעוּ in Job loc. cit. The verb קרא brev ehT .tic .col boJ ni , κράζειν (cf. κρώζειν), is still more expressive for the cry of the raven, κόραξ, Sanscrit kârava, than that שׁוּע; κοράττειν and κορακεύεσθαι signify directly to implore incessantly, without taking any refusal. Towards Him, the gracious Sustainer of all beings, are the ravens croaking for their food pointed (cf. Luke 12:24, "Consider the ravens"), just like the earth that thirsts for rain. He is the all-conditioning One. Man, who is able to know that which the irrational creature unconsciously acknowledges, is in the feeling of his dependence to trust in Him and not in himself. In all those things to which the God-estranged self-confidence of man so readily clings, God has no delight (יחפּץ, pausal form like יחבּשׁ) and no pleasure, neither in the strength of the horse, whose rider imagines himself invincible, and, if he is obliged to flee, that he cannot be overtaken, nor in the legs of a man, upon which he imagines himself so firm that he cannot be thrown down, and which, when he is pursued, will presumptively carry him far enough away into safety. שׁוק, Arab. sâq, is the leg from the knee to the foot, from Arab. sâqa, root sq, to drive, urge forward, more particularly to urge on to a gallop (like curs, according to Pott, from the root car, to go). What is meant here is, not that the strength of the horse and muscular power are of no avail when God wills to destroy a man (Psalm 33:16., Amos 2:14.), but only that God has no pleasure in the warrior's horse and in athletic strength. Those who fear Him, i.e., with a knowledge of the impotency of all power possessed by the creature in itself, and in humble trust feel themselves dependent upon His omnipotence - these are they in whom He takes pleasure (רצה with the accusative), those who, renouncing all carnal defiance and self-confident self-working, hope in His mercy.
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