What does Psalm 33:17 mean?
ESV: The war horse is a false hope for salvation, and by its great might it cannot rescue.
NIV: A horse is a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength it cannot save.
NASB: A horse is a false hope for victory; Nor does it rescue anyone by its great strength.
CSB: The horse is a false hope for safety; it provides no escape by its great power.
NLT: Don’t count on your warhorse to give you victory — for all its strength, it cannot save you.
KJV: An horse is a vain thing for safety: neither shall he deliver any by his great strength.
NKJV: A horse is a vain hope for safety; Neither shall it deliver any by its great strength.
Verse Commentary:
Israel needed to understand that it is futile to rely on a war horse for deliverance in battle. No earthly object or advantage is enough, by itself, to guarantee victory. Ultimately, victory belongs to the Lord God.

In the era of the Exodus, Egyptian cavalry was extremely powerful (Exodus 12:37–39; 14:5–9). The Hebrews were just-liberated slaves ill-equipped for battle. Nevertheless, that difference in strength was not what mattered. War horses and well-built chariots were not enough to defeat the power of God. When the final encounter was over, the Egyptian cavalry was dead and the Hebrews were unhurt. What made the difference? Exodus 14:24 explains how God terrified the pursuing Egyptian cavalry, terrifying them as they tried to chase Israel across the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21–23). Before long, the potent Egyptian army was drowned in the Red Sea (Exodus 14:26–28).
Verse Context:
Psalm 33:4–19 records David's reasons to praise the Lord. They include praise for God's Word, His creative power, His sovereignty over the nations, His all-seeing vision, His faithful works, and His deliverance of His people.
Chapter Summary:
David summons the worshipers of Israel to be joyful as they praise God. The psalm celebrates God's creative power, sovereignty, and faithfulness. Rather than relying on earthly strength, the Lord's people can trust in His omnipotent power. This results in a collective praise for God and His unfailing love for those who trust and hope in Him.
Chapter Context:
The Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, attributes this psalm to David. It is a psalm that encourages worshipers to praise the Lord. It may have been written after Israel experienced a victory over an enemy. Because the verbs in this psalm are plural, it features the worship leader's call to worship and the worshipers' response.
Book Summary:
The book of Psalms is composed of individual songs, hymns, or poems, each of which is a ''Psalm'' in and of itself. These works contain a wide variety of themes. Some Psalms focus on praising and worshipping God. Others cry out in anguish over the pain of life. Still other Psalms look forward to the coming of the Messiah. While some Psalms are related, each has its own historical and biblical context.
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