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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Psalms 144:5

 

 

Bow Your heavens, O LORD, and come down; Touch the mountains, that they may smoke.

Adam Clarke Commentary

Bow thy heavens - See the note on Psalm 18:9.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Psalms 144:5". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/psalms-144.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Bow thy heavens, O Lord … - Come to my aid “as if” the heavens were bent down; come down with all thy majesty and glory. See the notes at Psalm 18:9: “He bowed down the heavens also, and came down.” What it is there declared that the Lord “had” done, he is here implored to do again.

Touch the mountains, and they shall smoke - See the notes at Psalm 104:32: “He toucheth the hills, and they smoke.” It is there affirmed as a characteristic of God that he “does” this; here the psalmist prays that, as this belonged to God, or was in his power, he “would” do it in his behalf. The prayer is, that God would come to his relief “as if” in smoke and tempest - in the fury of the storm.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Psalms 144:5". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-144.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Psalms 144:5

Touch the mountains, and they shall smoke.

The kindling of the heart

It must be striking indeed to any one living in the neighbourhood of a chain of volcanoes to see those mountains which have long lain dormant suddenly tremble and throw up smoke. It must seem to them as though God laid His finger on the mountain peak, and called its hidden forces into activity, as the touch of a musician on the key of an instrument awakes a musical note. Some such scenes, transacted in the moral world, are quite as striking as those which occur in the material world. There are human natures which are cold and impassive, which become full of emotion and glow with heat at the touch of God. It was so at Pentecost. Before that day how faint-hearted, narrow-minded, short-visioned were the apostles. But how changed were they after the cloven tongues had rested on their heads. Fear was banished, their caution had disappeared, trampled down by their zeal, their understandings were illumined, their hearts burned with the fire of love, it was woe to them if they preached not the Gospel. “If He do but touch the mountains, they shall smoke.” And now, what are we to learn from this? That there are times when God touches the heart, and the emotions are stirred. Perhaps the conscience is agitated by remorse for sin, perhaps with a sudden pang of sorrow for wasted opportunities, perhaps it quakes with fear of the judgments of God, perhaps there comes the flame of Divine love touching the heart, as a taper touches the wick of a candle, bidding it flame. And what then? If the feeling be allowed to be transient, if it be not followed up by an act of will, accepting the call, responding to grace, if it be followed by no resolutions, no struggle for amendment,--then it is the old story of Felix, and Agrippa, and Simon the Sorcerer over again. But, oh! if the touch of the finger of God calls up the long dormant will, if resolutions of amendment are formed, and a struggle be entered on which is to continue through life, then it is the old and beautiful story over again of Magdalen penitent and loving much, of Peter weeping and rising courageous to die for his Lord, of Saul the persecutor becoming Paul the preacher of righteousness, of John Boanerges transformed into the apostle of love. If ever your heart is stirred, at once turn the emotion to account, transform the feeling into practice. Then the feeling does not pass away for ever, it has left its trace, it has stirred your whole being, and has begun to transform your life. The whole mount of your heart will quake with the consciousness of sin, and your affections will smoke altogether as an offering of a sweet savour to God. (S. Baring Gould, M. A.)


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Psalms 144:5". The Biblical Illustrator. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/psalms-144.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

"Bow thy heavens, O Jehovah, and come down:

Touch the mountains, and they shall smoke.

Cast forth lightning, and scatter them;

Send out thine arrows and discomfit them.

Stretch forth thy hand from above;

Rescue me, and deliver me out of great waters,

Out of the hand of aliens;

Whose mouth speaketh deceit,

And whose right hand is a a right hand of falsehood."

Delitzsch's concise paraphrase of these four verses is, "May Jahve then be pleased to grant a victory this time also over the boastful lying enemies."[12]

"The mountains shall smoke ... lightnings ... arrows" (Psalms 144:5-6). "The prayer is that God would come to his relief as if in smoke and tempest - in the fury of a storm."[13]

"Out of great waters ... out of the hand of aliens" (Psalms 144:7). The serious threat against Israel, "Is here described first as `great waters' and then, more literally, as pressure from foreign powers who think nothing of breaking solemn treaties."[14] Addis agreed that "Verse 7 here can only mean foreigners."[15]


Copyright Statement
James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Psalms 144:5". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/psalms-144.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Bow thy heavens, O Lord, and come down,.... The heavens, which the Lord has made, and where he dwells; and which are under his influence, and he can cause to incline or bow at his pleasure: and which literally may be said to bow, particularly the airy heavens, when these are filled with clouds heavy with rain, and hang low, ready to fall upon the earth, and being rent, let down showers on it: and mystically may design storms of wrath gathering over the heads of ungodly men, and revealed from heaven against them. Or rather, as connected with the phrase, "and come down", denotes some appearance or manifestation of God; either for the help and assistance of his people; or in a way of vengeance against their enemies; or both: and which descent must be understood in consistence with the omnipresence of God; and supposes his habitation to be on high, and is expressive of regard to the persons and affairs of men on earth; and is by some considered as a prayer for the incarnation of Christ, which is sometimes signified by coming down from heaven; not by change of place, nor by bringing an human nature, soul or body, down with him from heaven; but by the assumption of our nature; and which was greatly wished, prayed, and longed for, by the Old Testament saints The Targum is,

"O Lord, bow the heavens, and manifest thyself;'

see Psalm 18:9;

touch the mountains, and they shall smoke; as Mount Sinai did when the Lord descended on it, Exodus 19:18; see Psalm 104:32; These, according to Kimchi, signify mighty kings, strong as mountains: so kingdoms are sometimes called; as the Babylonian empire is called a mountain, a destroying and burnt mountain, Zechariah 4:7. Such kings and kingdoms rose up like mountains against Christ, when here incarnate; and against his Gospel, and the ministry of it by his apostles; as the kingdom and nation of the Jews, and the whole Pagan empire: but these, by a touch of his almighty power, have vanished into smoke, Psalm 2:1, Revelation 8:8.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Psalms 144:5". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/psalms-144.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

d Bow thy heavens, O LORD, and come down: touch the mountains, and they shall smoke.

(d) He desires God to continue his graces, and to send help for the present need.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Psalms 144:5". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/psalms-144.html. 1599-1645.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Bow thy heavens, O LORD, and come down: touch the mountains, and they shall smoke.

Come — To help me.

Smoke — As Sinai did at thy glorious appearance, Exodus 19:18. This is a figurative and poetical description of God's coming to take vengeance upon his enemies.


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Psalms 144:5". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/psalms-144.html. 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

5.O Jehovah! bow thy heavens. After extolling, as was due, the great goodness of God, he requests him to furnish such help for the preservation of the kingdom as was necessary in the present exigency. As formerly we saw that he had gloried in God with a heroical courage, so here he makes use of the same lofty terms in his prayers, That he would bow the heavens — that he would make the mountains to smoke — disturb the air with thunderings — and shoot forth arrows; forms of speech by which, doubtless, he would put away from him all the obstacles which stand between us and a believing apprehension of the omnipotence of God, and from which we find it so difficult to emerge. He employs almost the same phraseology in the eighteenth Psalm, but it is in praising God for help already extended, and to signify that he had been preserved from above in a wonderful and unusual manner. For although such signs as he mentions might not always occur when God interposed in his behalf, he had good ground to celebrate what had happened to him of an unexpected kind, by reference to extraordinary phenomena. In the passage before us his purpose is different. Threatened by destruction of various kinds, which might overwhelm his mind with despair, he would realize the wonderful power of God, before which all obstacles of a worldly kind must necessarily give way. We may be certain at least that he indulged in this figurative phraseology for a good reason, that he might not confine deliverance to human remedies; for nothing could be more preposterous at such a time than to measure divine power by ordinary rules.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Psalms 144:5". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/psalms-144.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Psalms 144:5 Bow thy heavens, O LORD, and come down: touch the mountains, and they shall smoke.

Ver. 5. Bow thy heavens, O Lord] Come to my help suddenly and seasonably, as it were out of an engine, εκ της μηχανης.

Touch the mountains] These high and haughty enemies of mine, do thou but lightly touch them, and it shall suffice; they shall soon burn, and be turned into smoke, as the mountains that are thunder struck.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 144:5". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/psalms-144.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Psalms 144:5. Bow thy heavens See 2 Samuel 8 and 2 Samuel 22:10. The images here are taken from the promulgation of the law on mount Sinai.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Psalms 144:5". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/psalms-144.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

Come down, to help me, before it be too late, remembering what a frail and perishing creature I am.

And they shall smoke; or, that they may smoke; or, and let them smoke, as Sinai did at thy glorious appearance, Exodus 19:18. This is a figurative and poetical description of God’s coming to take vengeance upon his enemies, which is continued in the next verse.


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 144:5". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/psalms-144.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

5. Bow… come down—This appeal shows that Davidbadly as he has donefeels himself to be the rightful king of Israel. He, as such, may claim the help of Jehovah. The language is as if the deliverance from Egypt were in the writer’s mind, when the Lord looked out in flames upon Pharaoh and his host, but brought his people out of the great waters of the Red Sea.


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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 144:5". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/psalms-144.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

And shall. Hebrew, "and I shall relate the words of thy wonders," (St. Jerome) or "shall meditate on," &c. (Pagnin) (Haydock) --- Yet our version is more followed. (Calmet)


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Psalms 144:5". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/psalms-144.html. 1859.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Bow thy heavens, O LORD, and come down: touch the mountains, and they shall smoke.

Bow thy heavens, O Lord, and come down - from Psalms 18:9 : cf. Isaiah 64:1; borrowed from the same source. What Yahweh has shown Himself toward David during his persecution by Saul, be now prays Him to prove Himself again to him, to his seed, and to Israel.

Touch the mountains, and they shall smoke. "The mountains" symbolize God-opposed world-kingdoms, which at the mere touch of God smoke: the token of fear and the prelude of being consumed by the coming fire of His wrath (Psalms 104:32, note).


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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 144:5". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/psalms-144.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(5) Come down.—The theophany for which the psalmist prays is described in the classic language for such manifestations taken from Psalms 18:9; Psalms 18:13; Psalms 18:16-17; Psalms 18:43; Psalms 18:45, with reminiscences of Psalms 104:32; Exodus 19:18. But there are touches of originality, as in the next clause.


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Psalms 144:5". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/psalms-144.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Bow thy heavens, O LORD, and come down: touch the mountains, and they shall smoke.
Bow
18:9; Isaiah 64:1,2
touch
104:32; Exodus 19:18; Nahum 1:3-6; Habakkuk 3:3-6; Hebrews 12:18

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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Psalms 144:5". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/psalms-144.html.

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