Blessed be the LORD my strength, who teaches my hands to war, and my fingers to fight:
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Augustine of Hippo
1. The title of this Psalm is brief in number of words, but heavy in the weight of its mysteries. "To David himself against Goliath." This battle was fought in the time of our fathers, and ye, beloved, remember it with me from Holy Scripture. ...David put five stones in his scrip, he hurled but one. The five Books were chosen, but unity conquered. Then, having smitten and overthrown him, he took the enemy's sword, and with it cut off his head. This our David also did, He overthrew the devil with his own weapons: and when his great ones, whom he had in his power, by means of whom he slew other souls, believe, they turn their tongues against the devil, and so Goliath's head is cut off with his own sword. ...
2. "Blessed be the Lord my God, who teacheth my hands for battle, my fingers for war" (ver. 1). These are our words, if we be the Body of Christ. It seems a repetition of sentiment; "our hands for battle," and "our fingers for war," are the same. Or is there some difference between "hands" and "fingers"? Certainly both hands and fingers work. Not then without reason do we take "fingers" as put for "hands." But still in the "fingers" we recognise the division of operation, yet still a sort of unity. Behold that grace! the Apostle saith, To one, this; to another, that; "there are diversities of operations; all these worketh one and the self-same Spirit;" there is the root of unity. With these "fingers" then the Body of Christ fighteth, going forth to "war," going forth to "battle." ...By works of Mercy our enemy is conquered, and we could not have works of mercy unless we had charity, and charity we could have none unless we received it by the Holy Ghost; He then "teacheth our hands for ...
Goliath. Hebrew has simply, "of David. "(Haydock)
St. Hilary thinks that the Septuagint added the rest by inspiration, (Calmet) because this was David's first exploit in war. (Worthington)
But others pay no deference to this part of the title. The Chaldean, however, seems to allude to the same victory, (ver. 10.) and the Syriac to that which David obtained over Asaph, brother of Goliath, 1 Paralipomenon xx. 5. (Calmet)
David prays that he may overcome the Philistines, and gives thanks in Psalm xvii. (Ferrand)
These two psalms are very much alike, and this seems to have been written after the rebels were discomfited, while the 17th expresses the sentiments of the prophet, towards the end of his life, for all his victories. (Calmet)
Zorobabel after the defeat of God, (Ezechiel xxxviii.; Origen) or the Machabees; (Greek paraphrast.) or Jesus Christ might adopt these sentiments. (Holy Fathers)
Kimchi and Goan refer the psalm to the Messias. (Calmet)
God. Hebrew, "rock. "