That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth - That our sons - not called forth to the hardships of the tent and the field, the perils and the exposures of war - may grow up under the culture of home, of the family, in quiet scenes, as plants carefully cultivated and flourishing. Compare Psalms 128:3. The Hebrew here is, "grown large in their youth;" not "grown up," which has a paradoxical appearance. The meaning is, that they may be stout, strong, vigorous, well-formed, even in early life; that they may not be stunted in their growth, but be of full and manly proportions.
That our daughters may be as cornerstones - The word used here - zâvı̂yôth - occurs only in the plural form, and means properly "corners" - from a verb meaning to hide away, to conceal. The word is used respecting the corners of an altar, Zechariah 9:15; and seems here to refer to the corner columns of a palace or temple: perhaps, as Gesenius (Lexicon) supposes, in allusion to the columns representing female figures so common in Egyptian architecture.
Polished - Margin, "cut." The idea is not that of "polishing" or "smoothing," but of cutting or sculpturing. It is the stone carefully cut as an ornament.
After the similitude of a palace - A more literal translation would be, "The likeness or model of a temple;" or, for the building of a temple. That is, that they may be such as may be properly compared with the ornamental columns of a temple or palace. The comparison is a very beautiful one, having the idea of grace, symmetry, fair proportions: that on which the skill of the sculptor is most abundantly lavished.
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