Psalm 147:13
For he hath strengthened the bars of thy gates; he hath blessed thy children within thee.
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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. Psalm 147:13In the lxx this strophe is a Psalm (Lauda Jerusalem) of itself. The call goes forth to the church again on the soil of the land of promise assembled round about Jerusalem. The holy city has again risen out of its ruins; it now once more has gates which can stand open in the broad daylight, and can be closed and bolted when the darkness comes on for the security of the municipality that is only just growing into power (Nehemiah 7:1-4). The blessing of God again rests upon the children of the sacred metropolis. Its territory, which has experienced all the sufferings of war, and formerly resounded with the tumult of arms and cries of woe and destruction, God has now, from being an arena of conflict, made into peace (the accusative of the effect, and therefore different from Isaiah 60:17); and since the land can now again be cultivated in peace, the ancient promise (Psalm 81:17) is fulfilled, that God would feed His people, if they would only obey Him, with the fat of wheat. The God of Israel is the almighty Governor of nature. It is He who sends His fiat (אמרתו after the manner of the ויּאמר of the history of creation, cf. Psalm 33:9) earthwards (ארץ, the accusative of the direction). The word is His messenger (vid., on Psalm 107:20), עד־מהרה, i.e., it runs as swiftly as possible, viz., in order to execute the errand on which it is sent. He it is who sends down snow-flakes like flocks of wool, so that the fields are covered with snow as with a white-woollen warming covering.

(Note: Bochart in his Hierozoicon on this passage compares an observation of Eustathius on Dionysius Periegetes: τὴν χιόνα ἐριῶδες ὕδωρ ἀστείως οἱ παλαιοὶ ἐκάλουν.)

He scatters hoar-frost (כּפור from כּפר, to cover over with the fine frozen dew or mist as though they were powdered with ashes that the wind had blown about. Another time He casts His ice

(Note: lxx (Italic, Vulgate) κρύσταλλον, i.e., ice, from the root κρυ, to freeze, to congeal (Jerome glaciem). Quid est crystallum? asks Augustine, and replies: Nix est glacie durata per multos annos ita ut a sole vel igne acile dissolvi non possit.)

(קרחו from קרח; or according to another reading, קרחו from קרח) down like morsels, fragments, כפתּים, viz., as hail-stones, or as sleet. The question: before His cold - who can stand? is formed as in Nahum 1:6, cf. Psalm 130:3. It further comes to pass that God sends forth His word and causes them (snow, hoar-frost, and ice) to melt away: He makes His thawing wind blow, waters flow; i.e., as soon as the one comes about, the other also takes place forthwith. This God now, who rules all things by His word and moulds all things according to His will, is the God of the revelation pertaining to the history of salvation, which is come to Israel, and as the bearer of which Israel takes the place of honour among the nations, Deuteronomy 4:7., 32-34. Since the poet says מגּיד and not הגּיד, he is thinking not only of the Tra, but also of prophecy as the continuous self-attestation of God, the Lawgiver. The Ker דּבריו, occasioned by the plurals of the parallel member of the verse, gives an unlimited indistinct idea. We must keep to דברו, with the lxx, Aquila, Theodotion, the Quinta, Sexta, and Jerome. The word, which is the medium of God's cosmical rule, is gone forth as a word of salvation to Israel, and, unfolding itself in statutes and judgments, has raised Israel to a legal state founded upon a positive divine law or judgment such as no Gentile nation possesses. The Hallelujah does not exult over the fact that these other nations are not acquainted with any such positive divine law, but (cf. Deuteronomy 4:7., Baruch 4:4) over the fact that Israel is put into possession of such a law. It is frequently attested elsewhere that this possession of Israel is only meant to be a means of making salvation a common property of the world at large.

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