Psalm 147:13
For he has strengthened the bars of your gates; he has blessed your children within you.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(13) For he hath strengthened.—An allusion to the new fortifications of the restored city is probable, though the expression is plainly figurative of security and peace.

With the second clause comp. Isaiah 60:17-18.

Psalm 147:13-14. For he hath strengthened the bars of thy gates — Thy strength consists not in thy walls, and gates, and bars, but in his protection. They had walls and gates, and kept their gates barred in time of danger; but that would not have been an effectual security to them, if God had not strengthened the bars of their gates, and fortified their fortifications. Let us remember, the most probable means we can devise for our defence and preservation will not answer the end, unless God give his blessing with them; we must, therefore, in the careful and diligent use of these means, depend upon him for that blessing, and attribute the undisturbed repose of our land more to the wall of fire than the wall of water round about us, Zechariah 2:5. He maketh peace in thy borders — In all thy land, even to its utmost borders, which are most liable to the incursion of enemies. He puts an end to the wars that existed, and prevents those that were threatened and feared. And he preserves the country in tranquillity, healing all differences between contending parties, and preventing intestine broils and animosities. And filleth thee with the finest wheat — With wheat, the most valuable grain, the finest of that, and a fulness thereof. Canaan abounded with the best wheat, Deuteronomy 32:14; and exported it to the countries abroad, Ezekiel 27:17. It was not enriched with precious stones or spices, but with what was far more valuable, with bread which strengthens man’s heart. That, with abundance of milk and honey, vines and fig-trees, rendered it the glory of all lands.147:12-20 The church, like Jerusalem of old, built up and preserved by the wisdom, power, and goodness of God, is exhorted to praise him for all the benefits and blessings vouchsafed to her; and these are represented by his favours in the course of nature. The thawing word may represent the gospel of Christ, and the thawing wind the Spirit of Christ; for the Spirit is compared to the wind, Joh 3:8. Converting grace softens the heart that was hard frozen, and melts it into tears of repentance, and makes good reflections to flow, which before were chilled and stopped up. The change which the thaw makes is very evident, yet how it is done no one can say. Such is the change wrought in the conversion of a soul, when God's word and Spirit are sent to melt it and restore it to itself.For he hath strengthened the bars of thy gates - He has made thee safe and secure - as if he had given additional strength to the fastenings of the gates of the city. Cities were surrounded by walls. They were entered through gates. Those gates were fastened by bars passed across them, to which the gates were secured. The language here might be applicable to any period, but it is probable that there is particular reference to Jerusalem as made strong in rebuilding it after the return from Babylon.

He hath blessed thy children within thee - The inhabitants, by giving them safety and peace.

13. strengthened … gates—or, means of defense against invaders, Thy strength consists not in thy walls, and gates, and bars, but in his protection. For he hath strengthened the bars of thy gates,.... Of Jerusalem, of Zion the church of God. Gates are for the letting in of persons into the city of our God; which are Christ, faith in him, and a profession of it; see Isaiah 26:1, "bars" are for the security of those that, are in it, and to keep out the enemy: and these, "strengthened", denote the utmost safety of the true members of Christ and his church; who have nothing to fear from their spiritual enemies, sin, law, Satan, the world, death, and hell: God is on their side; Christ is the munition of rocks unto them the Holy Spirit is in them, who is greater than he that is in the world; and angels are guards about them; all which is matter of praise, and a sufficient reason for it;

he hath blessed thy children within thee; multiplied them and made them fruitful, increased the number of them; even the spiritual children of the church, brought forth to Christ by her; born in her, through the ministry of the Gospel; and brought up by her, with the ordinances of it. These in the first times of the Gospel were very numerous, and will be so again in the latter day, like the drops of the morning dew; and are and will be blessed with all spiritual blessings, with pardoning, justifying, adopting, and sanctifying grace, and with eternal life; for which the Lord's name is to be praised.

For he hath {i} strengthened the bars of thy gates; he hath blessed thy children within thee.

(i) He not only furnishes his Church with all that is necessary but preserves also the same, and makes it strong against all outward force.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
13. he hath strengthened] The same word is used in Nehemiah 3:4 ff. of repairing or fortifying the wall and gates. All through Nehemiah’s narrative appears the conviction that “this work was wrought of our God.”

the bars of thy gates] There may be a particular reference to Nehemiah 3:3; Nehemiah 3:6; Nehemiah 3:13-15.

thy children] Zion is regarded as the mother of its inhabitants.Verse 13. - For he hath strengthened the bars of thy gates. The strength of gates in the ancient world depended wholly upon their bars, which were generally strong beams of wood passed across from side to side of the gateway, about midway up the gate, having their ends inserted into strong iron hooks or clamps, which were let into the stonework of the walls. The "bars" of the gates of Jerusalem are mentioned in Nehemiah repeatedly (Psalm 3:3, 6, 13, 14, 15; 7:3). He hath blessed thy children within thee. Under Nehemiah's govern-meet, when he had firmly established it, Israel enjoyed a period of repose and of great prosperity, which, at the date of the psalm, was probably just commencing. With 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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