PSALM 144*

A Prayer for Victory and Prosperity

1Of David.


*Blessed be the LORD, my rock,

who trains my hands for battle,

my fingers for war;

2My safeguard and my fortress,

my stronghold, my deliverer,

My shield, in whom I take refuge,

who subdues peoples under me.


3*LORD, what is man that you take notice of him;

the son of man, that you think of him?a

4*Man is but a breath,

his days are like a passing shadow.b

5*LORD, incline your heavens and come down;

touch the mountains and make them smoke.c

6Flash forth lightning and scatter my foes;

shoot your arrows and rout them.

7Reach out your hand from on high;

deliver me from the many waters;

rescue me from the hands of foreign foes.

8Their mouths speak untruth;

their right hands are raised in lying oaths.*

9O God, a new song I will sing to you;

on a ten-stringed lyre I will play for you.d

10You give victory to kings;

you delivered David your servant.e

From the menacing sword 11deliver me;

rescue me from the hands of foreign foes.

Their mouths speak untruth;

their right hands are raised in lying oaths.


12May our sons be like plantsf

well nurtured from their youth,

Our daughters, like carved columns,

shapely as those of the temple.

13May our barns be full

with every kind of store.

May our sheep increase by thousands,

by tens of thousands in our fields;

may our oxen be well fattened.

14May there be no breach in the walls,

no exile, no outcry in our streets.g

15Blessed the people so fortunate;

blessed the people whose God is the LORD.h

* [Psalm 144] The Psalm may reflect a ceremony in which the king, as leader of the army, asked God’s help (Ps 144:18). In Ps 144:9 the poem shifts abruptly from pleading to thanksgiving, and (except for Ps 144:11) shifts again to prayer for the people. The first section (Ps 144:12) is a prayer of thanks for victory; the second (Ps 144:37a), a humble acknowledgment of human nothingness and a supplication that God show forth saving power; the third (Ps 144:911), a promise of future thanksgiving; the fourth (Ps 144:1215), a wish for prosperity and peace. A prayer for deliverance from treacherous foes serves as a refrain after the second and third sections (Ps 144:7b8, 11). Except for its final section, the Psalm is made up almost entirely of verses from other Psalms.

* [144:12] Composed of phrases from Ps 18:3, 35, 4748.

* [144:3] Similar to Ps 8:4.

* [144:4] Composed of phrases from Ps 39:6; 102:12.

* [144:57] Adapted in large part from Ps 18:10, 15, 17; 104:32.

* [144:8b, 11b] Their right hands are raised in lying oaths: the psalmist’s enemies give false testimony.

a. [144:3] Jb 7:17.

b. [144:4] Ps 62:10; 90:910; Jb 7:16; Eccl 6:12; Wis 2:5.

c. [144:5] Is 63:19.

d. [144:9] Ps 33:23.

e. [144:10] Ps 18:51.

f. [144:12] Ps 128:3.

g. [144:14] Is 65:19.

h. [144:15] Ps 33:12.

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