Psalms 144:14 MEANING

Psalm 144:14
(14) This verse is full of obscurities. The words rendered "oxen, strong to labour," can hardly bear this meaning with the present pointing, since the participle is passive, and there is no authority for rendering oxen bearing burdens. The words have been rendered oxen laden, either with the produce of the land, or with their own fat (so apparently the LXX.), or with young, pregnant--all open to the objection that the passive of to bear must mean "to be borne," and the latter to the further objection that the words are in the masculine. But since all-phim elsewhere means "heads of families" (Jeremiah 13:21, &c) or "princes," and the noun cognate with the verb is used of a post connected with the revenue (1 Kings 11:28; comp. the connection between the Greek ????? and ????????), the participle passive may easily here mean "honoured," or "high in office." Or, from the use of the cognate Chaldee form in Ezra 6:3, "strongly laid," we might render, our princes firmly established; and this is the best explanation of the passage.

No breaking in.--Heb., a "breach," i.e., in the town walls. LXX. and Vulg., "no falling of the fence." Others refer to the folds for cattle. (See Psalm 60:2.) Ewald, however, connecting closely with the mention of "pregnant oxen," renders no abortion. So Syriac: "Our cattle are great (with young), and there is not a barren one among them."

Nor going out--i.e., either to war, or into captivity (Prayer Book version), or the breaking out of cattle. The first is the more probable.

Complaining.--Rather, outcry, cry of sorrow, as in Jeremiah 14:2; or possibly, cry of battle.

Streets.--Better, squares.

Verse 14. - That our oxen may be strong to labor; rather, and our oxen are heavily laden. A sign that an abundant harvest is being gathered in. That there be no breaking in, nor going out; literally, and there is no breach and no removal; i.e. no breach made in our walls, and no removal of our population into captivity. That there be no complaining in our streets; rather, and no wailing in our streets. Here the description of a happy time ends, and a burst of congratulation follows (see the next verse).

144:9-15 Fresh favours call for fresh returns of thanks; we must praise God for the mercies we hope for by his promise, as well as those we have received by his providence. To be saved from the hurtful sword, or from wasting sickness, without deliverance from the dominion of sin and the wrath to come, is but a small advantage. The public prosperity David desired for his people, is stated. It adds much to the comfort and happiness of parents in this world, to see their children likely to do well. To see them as plants, not as weeds, not as thorns; to see them as plants growing, not withered and blasted; to see them likely to bring forth fruit unto God in their day; to see them in their youth growing strong in the Spirit. Plenty is to be desired, that we may be thankful to God, generous to our friends, and charitable to the poor; otherwise, what profit is it to have our garners full? Also, uninterrupted peace. War brings abundance of mischiefs, whether it be to attack others or to defend ourselves. And in proportion as we do not adhere to the worship and service of God, we cease to be a happy people. The subjects of the Saviour, the Son of David, share the blessings of his authority and victories, and are happy because they have the Lord for their God.That our oxen may be strong to labour,.... To draw carriages, to plough with, and to tread out the corn: or "may be burdened" (w); fit to carry burdens; or burdened with flesh, be plump and fat, and in good condition to work; or burdened with young, as some (x) understand it, and then it must be meant of cows, as the word is used, Deuteronomy 7:13; and so here an increase of kine is wished for, as of sheep before. Ministers of the word are compared to oxen for their patience in suffering, and their laboriousness in working, 1 Corinthians 9:9, 1 Timothy 5:17; and happy is it for the churches of Christ when their ministers are laborious ones; are strong to labour, and do labour, in the word and doctrine; stand fast in the faith, and quit themselves like men, and are strong;

that there be no breaking in: of the enemy into the land to invade it, into cities and houses to plunder and spoil them;

nor going out: of the city to meet the enemy and fight with him, peace and not war is desirable; or no going out of one's nation into captivity into a foreign country, as Kimchi; or no breaking in to folds and herds, and leading out and driving away cattle, to the loss of the owners thereof. Some (y) understand both these of abortion, of any violent rupture of the womb, and an immature birth;

that there be no complaining in our streets; on account of famine, pestilence, the sword, violence, and oppression; or no crying (z), no mournful cry or howling and shrieking on account of the enemy being at hand, and just ready to enter in, or being there, killing, plundering, and spoiling.

(w) "onusti", Pagninus, Montanus, Gejerus; "onerarii", so some in Vatablus; "onerati", Schmidt; "loden", Ainsworth, (x) So Bochart. Hierozoic. par. 1. l. 2. c. 295. (y) lbid. (z) "clamor", Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version, Musculus, Cocceius, Gejerus, Michaelis.

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