Every motzaei Shabbat before ma'ariv, I have the custom to sing Tehillim 144 and Tehillim 67. However, the first passuk (verse) always confounds me:

לְדָוִד: בָּרוּךְ יְהוָה, צוּרִי-- הַמְלַמֵּד יָדַי לַקְרָב; אֶצְבְּעוֹתַי, לַמִּלְחָמָה. -Mechon-Mamre

My free translation:

By David: Blessed is Hashem Tzuri, he who teaches my hands in battle, my fingers in war. (emphasis mine)

Why does David mention his fingers?

I have thus-far only checked the Soncino Tehillim, whose brief note adds little understanding to the passuk.


Malbim Beur Hamilot explains:

הקרב הוא מה שמתאבקים מקרוב וזאת עושים בכח היד, והמלחמה הוא מרחוק וזאת צריך אימון האצבעות לשלוח חציו למטרה

קרב (battle) refers to swordfighting here. This is done with the hands. מלחמה (war) is shooting arrows, which requires skilled fingers.

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  • 1
    Interesting explanation. Makes you appreciate David's preciseness in his poetry, of which Tehillim is, probably, his finest sample. – DanF May 4 '15 at 19:09
  • Curious. David is best known, perhaps, for fighting with a sling. Are there known instances of his fighting with a bow? (I haven't checked.) Does a sling require dexterity of the fingers? (I have no idea, but tend to doubt it.) – msh210 May 5 '15 at 2:05

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