Psalms – Chapter 144

Saplings and Cornerstones

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

David praises G-d, Whom he calls his rock, for preparing him for his struggles and battles. David then refers to G-d by a long string of titles: fortress, refuge, shield, and others. David takes shelter in G-d, Who caused the nation to accept him as king.

What is a person that G-d should care about us? We’re frail creatures whose lives don’t last all that long. G-d, on the other hand, is the other end of the scale. He’s off the scale altogether! Exposure to His glory could disintegrate a mountain – quite the opposite of man’s powerlessness! G-d could scatter all of David’s enemies in an instant.

David asks for G-d to intervene and save him from his troubles. By way of thanks, David will compose new Psalms of praise to G-d. Since David refuses to harm Saul, Saul is safe (even if he doesn’t know it). David would like to enjoy similar security. May G-d continue to redeem him from danger as He has done so far!

The sons of the Jewish people are like saplings, grown with care; the daughters are like the cornerstones of palaces (in other words, the foundation of the Jewish home). The nation is rich with the bounty of the harvest and their flocks are full. The people are happy and secure in their land. Happy is the nation that enjoys all this and that worships the one true G-d. (The closing verse of Psalm 144 is one of two verses recited thrice daily as an introduction to Psalm 145, commonly referred to as “Ashrei.”)

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