Psalm 144 is the 144th psalm from the Book of Psalms in the Masoretic and modern numbering, corresponding to psalm 143 in the Vulgata Clementina. The text is attributed to David in the Masoretic text. The Septuagint has the additional specification of τω δαυιδ προς τον γολιαδ "David against Goliath", putting the text in the context of the narrative of David's fight against Goliath in 1 Samuel 17.
The first verse is rendered in the KJV as "Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight". This translates the Hebrew ברוך יהוה צורי המלמד ידי לקרב אצבעותי למלחמה׃, where "my strength" renders צורי (lit. "my rock"). But the Septuagint has
- ευλογητος κυριος ο θεος μου ο διδασκων τας χειρας μου εις παραταξιν τους δακτυλους μου εις πολεμον
putting θεος μου "my god" where the Hebrew has "my rock/strength". This was the text rendered by the Vulgata Clementina,
- Benedictus Dominus Deus meus, qui docet manus meas ad prælium, et digitos meos ad bellum.
This Latin translation was the one which was influential in Western Christianity during the Middle Ages. With the development of the ideal of the knighthood in the 12th century, the verse came to be seen as a fitting prayer for the Christian warrior, and references to it are found inscribed on a number of high medieval swords, most notably on the pommel of the Imperial Sword of Otto IV (made c. 1198).
In Jewish liturgy, this psalm is recited in some congregation before Maariv on Motzei Shabbat. Verse 15 is the second verse of Ashrei and is also the eighth verse of Hoshia Et Amecha in Pesukei Dezimra.
- The Complete Artscroll Siddur, p. 592
- The Complete Artscroll Siddur, p. 65-67
- Nosson Scherman, The Complete Artscroll Siddur (1984), Mesorah Publications, ISBN 978-0899066509.