Psalm 144 – O Lord, What Is Man?

German theologian Hermann Gunkel

German theologian Hermann Gunkel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Psalm 144 is one of the 10 psalms that Hermann Gunkel (a German scholar of the Old Testament) classified as “Royal Psalms” because of their subject matter of the king and his role in the worship of God. Other psalms have been placed in this category by other scholars. This one is very similar to Psalm 18 (which is another psalm on Gunkel’s list). The style of both is unquestionably that of David, as the superscription states. But Psalm 18 was written during the time when David was rescued by the Lord “from the hand of Saul” (see that psalm’s superscription), whereas Psalm 144 is generally believed to have been written following the defeat of Absalom.

David praises God as his fortress, stronghold, and deliverer. He is with him in times of battle (verses 1-2, 10-11), and He blesses him and his people with abundance in their daily lives (verses 12-15). Some of the most beautiful, humble, and poetic praise in the chapter occurs in verses 3-4:

O Lord, what is man that you regard him,
or the son of man that you think of him?
Man is like a breath;
his days are like a passing shadow.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at  


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