Psalms 33:17 MEANING

Psalm 33:17
(17) Safety.--Better, victory. (Comp. Habakkuk 3:8.) The allusion is to the war-horse.

Verse 17. - A horse is a vain thing for safety; literally, the horse; i.e. the species, horse, is not to be depended on for safety - it is "a vain thing," quite unable to secure victory, or even escape, to those who trust in it. The use of the horse in war seems certainly to be implied here as familiar to the writer, whence it is rightly concluded that he must have lived later than the time of David. Solomon was the first Israelite king who enrolled a chariot and a cavalry force (1 Kings 10:26). Neither shall he deliver any by his great strength. (On the "great strength" of the horse, see Job 39:19; Psalm 147:10.)

33:12-22 All the motions and operations of the souls of men, which no mortals know but themselves, God knows better than they do. Their hearts, as well as their times, are all in his hand; he formed the spirit of each man within him. All the powers of the creature depend upon him, and are of no account, of no avail at all, without him. If we make God's favour sure towards us, then we need not fear whatever is against us. We are to give to him the glory of his special grace. All human devices for the salvation of our souls are vain; but the Lord's watchful eye is over those whose conscientious fear of his name proceeds from a believing hope in his mercy. In difficulties they shall be helped; in dangers they shall not receive any real damage. Those that fear God and his wrath, must hope in God and his mercy; for there is no flying from him, but by flying to him. Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us; let us always have the comfort and benefit, not according to our merits, but according to the promise which thou hast in thy word given to us, and according to the faith thou hast by thy Spirit and grace wrought in us.A horse is a vain thing for safety,.... Though it is prepared for the day of battle, and is a very warlike creature, and of great service in war, yet safety only is of the Lord, Proverbs 21:31; this is put for all kinds of military preparations which men are apt to trust in, but should not, for they are "a lie" (i), as the horse is here said to be; that is, deceives and disappoints when trusted to; in like manner the olive is said "to lie", Habakkuk 3:17; when hope of fruit from it is disappointed; so "fundus mendax" in Horace (k);

neither shall he deliver any by his great strength; in the time of battle; either by fighting for him, or fleeing with him.

(i) "mendacium", Pagninus, Montanus; "fallax", V. L. (k) Epod. l. 1. Ode 16. ver. 45. Carmin. l. 3. Ode 1. v. 30. "Spem mentita seges", ib. Epist. l. 1. ep. 7. v. 87.

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