HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY (Old Testament) – THE BOOK OF PSALMS, with the Canticles, the foundation of the Breviary

The Psalms with the Canticles of the Old and New Testaments are the complete foundation of the Breviary. The Breviary includes lessons and prayers and hymns. St. Benedict gave one of the earliest rules in the West after St. Ambrose and the rule that bears his name, Ambrosian. The Breviary, the Divine Office, is second only to the Mass. There are different offices both East and West. St. Benedict made note of that by saying that let anyone who would among the faithful pray the Psalms in the order they choose. However, to alter the meaning of the faith in either the Divine Liturgy, the Mass, or in the Divine Office is forbidden whether it is in the wording or in association with infidel paganism. That has been, done no matter what order they use, by the Vatican II Apostates in the Breviary and most especially in the Novus Ordo NON-mass. All of Vatican II is Apostate.

PSALMS

 

THE BOOK OF PSALMS.

 

INTRODUCTION.

The Psalms are called by the Hebrew, Tehillim; that is, hymns of praise.  The author, of a great part of them at least, was king David; but many are of opinion, that some of them were made by Asaph and others, whose names are prefixed in the titles.  Ch. These, however, are not unquestionably of divine authority, though they deserve to be respected.  C. S. Jerom (ad Cyprian) says: “Let us be convinced that those labour under a mistake, who suppose that David was the author of all the Psalms, and not those whose names appear in the titles.”  Paine is not, therefore, the first who has made this discovery.  Watson.  2 Par. xxix. 30. Psalm lxxvi. compared with Psalms xxxviii. lxiv. lxx. cxi. cxxv. cxxxvi. and cxlv. seems favourable of this opinion, (C.  T. &c.) which is contrary to S. Ambrose, &c.  The matter is not of great moment, as all confess that the 150 Psalms were dedicated by the Holy Ghost.  D. S. Aug. (de Civ. Dei. xvii. 14.) attributes all the Psalms to David; and it seems best to adhere to this opinion, as it is most generally received.  M. Our Saviour cites the cix. Psalm as belonging to David, (Matt. xxii. 44.) agreeably to the title; and the 2d Psalm is also attributed to him, by the apostles, (Act. iv. 25.) though it have no title at all, no more than the first.  H. It has generally been asserted, that when a Psalm is in this position, it must be referred to the author who was mentioned last.  But Bellarmine calls this in question: and the titles of themselves afford but a precarious argument, either to know the author or the real import of the Psalm.  C. S. Jerom himself (ad Paulin.) seems to suppose that David was the writer of all the Psalms, (W.) and that he has left us compositions which may vie with those of the most celebrated pagan bards.  In effect, nothing could excel the harmony of these divine hymns, to judge even from a translation.  Fleury. What then would they be in the original?  The difficulty of coming to a perfect knowledge of the author’s meaning, arises chiefly from the variety of translations and commentaries, which have been more numerous on this work than any other.  To examine all minutely, would require more volumes than our present limits will allow.  The version which we have to explain, is not that which S. Jerom made from the Heb. and which possesses the same intrinsic merit as the rest of his works: but the Church has declared authentic the holy doctor’s corrected (H.) version from S. Lucian, (Bellar.  T.) or from the Sept. as the people had been accustomed to sing the psalter in that manner; and it would have been difficult for them to learn another.  C. A critical examination would show, that the Sept. have not so often deviated from the original as some would pretend.  See Berthier, &c.  Pellican extols the fidelity of our version on the Psalms, though he was a Prot.  Ward. Err. p. 6. When therefore we offer a different version, we would not insinuate that the Vulg. is therefore to be rejected.  The copiousness of the Heb. language, (H.) and on some occasions the uncertainty of its roots, or precise import, (Somon. Crit.) ought to make every one diffident in pronouncing peremptorily on such subjects.  Let us rather adhere to the decision of the Church, when it is given on any particular text; and when she is silent, let us endeavour to draw the streams of life from our Saviour’s fountains, and read for our improvement in virtue.  H. No exhortations could be more cogent, than those which we may find in the Psalms.  They contain the sum of all the other sacred books, as the Fathers agree.  S. Aug.  S. Bas. &c.  To understand them better, we must reflect upon what key or string they each play.  Expositors discover ten such stings on this mysterious harp: 1. God; 2. his works; 3. Providence; 4. the peculiar people of the Jews; 5. Christ; 6. his Church; 7. true worship; 8. David; 9. the end of the world; 10. a future life.  On some of these subjects the Psalm principally turns.  The titles, composed by Esdras, or the Sept. (W.) or by some other, (C.) will often point out the subject; and if that be not the case, the context and other parts of Scripture will (W.) commonly (H.) do it.  W. The greatest stress must be  laid on these.  C. An intimate acquaintance with the history of David, and with the Jewish and Christian religion, will also be of essential service to enable us to penetrate the hidden treasures contained in these most heavenly canticles.  H. David excels all the pagans in point of antiquity, as he lived 100 years before Homer.  His natural genius led him to follow the pursuits of poetry and music; (1 K. xvi. 23.) and God inspired him to compose these poems, as works in metre are more easily remembered, and make a more pleasing impression upon the heart.  Hence Moses and other prophets adopted the same plan, both in the Old and the New Testament.  The pious king not being permitted to build the temple, made nevertheless all necessary preparations for it; and among the rest, procured 288 masters of  music to train up 4000 singers.  1 Par. xxiii. 25.  He foresaw that these Psalms would be of service, not only on the Jewish festivals, but also in the Christian Church, (Ps. lvi. 10. &c.) gathered from all nations, (W.) among whom he sings by the mouths (H.) of the clergy, who are commanded daily to sing or recite some of these Psalms.  W. The psalter takes its name from an instrument of ten strings, resembling the Greek L, (Ven. Bede) and sounding from above, to insinuate that we may (W.) here learn to observe (H.) all the decalogue, and to aim at heaven.  If difficulties present themselves in the perusal of these sacred writings, we must remember not to trust private interpretation, (2 Pet. i.) but to the doctrine of the Church, (Jo. xiv. 16.  1 Cor. xii.) which we may find in the works of the holy Fathers, (S. Aug. Doct.) and exercise ourselves in humility, when any thing occurs above our comprehension.  S. Greg. xvii. in Ezec.  W. We must pray with all earnestness to the Father of Lights, and surely no prayers can be more efficacious to obtain what we want, than those which he has here delivered.  Whether just or sinners, whether in joy or sorrow, we may here find what  may be suitable for us.  H. In hoc libro spiritualis Bibliotheca instructa est.  Cassiod.

 

PSALM 1

PSALM I.  (BEATUS VIR.)

The happiness of the just: and the evil state of the wicked.

Theodoret observes that this psalm has “no title in Heb.;” and some have attributed it to Esdras, when he collected the psalms into one book.  But the Compl. Sept. reads, “A psalm of David;” “without a title among the Hebrews.”  The Fathers attribute it to David, and suppose that he speaks particularly of Joseph of Arimathea, or of Jesus Christ; though the Jews refer this high encomium to Josias.  Jeremias (xvii. 7.) has imitated this psalm, which may be considered as a preface to all the rest, and an abridgment of the whole duty of man.  C. Blessed.  Heb. also, Manifold are (H.) “the blessings” (Pagnin) both for time (H.) and eternity.  W. Ungodly, who mind no religion, or a false one.  H. Heb. “inconstant.” Sinners, who are still more obstinate.  C. Pestilence.  Heb. “scoffers,” who are the most dangerous sort of people, boldly deriding all religion, and maintaining atheism.  There is a beautiful gradation here observed, showing the fatal consequences of evil company.  If the virtuous associate with one even of the least contagious, the infection presently catches him, and he is soon introduced among the more dissolute, where he stops with little remorse, till at last he even glories in his shame, and becomes a champion of impiety.  1 Cor. xv. 33.  H. These three sorts of wicked people may designate pagans, Jews, and heretics.  S. Clem. Stron. ii.  S. Jerom.  C. He is on the road to heaven, who has not consented to evil suggestions, nor continued in sin, so as to die impenitent.  W.

Virtus est vitium fugere, et sapientia prima.  Hor. i. ep. 1.

The suggestion, delight, and consent to sin, are here rejected, as well as every offence against God, ourselves, or our neighbours.  Hopper.

Ver. 2.  Will.  He is wholly occupied and delighted in keeping God’s commandments.  W. This distinguishes the saint from him who only refrains from sin through fear.  C. Qui timet invitus observat.  S. Amb. Yet even servile fear is of some service, as it restrains exterior conduct, and may, in time, give place to filial reverence.  H. Meditate, and put in practice.  M. Night.  The Jews studied the books of the law so earnestly from their childhood, that they could recite them as easily as they could tell their own names; (Josep. c. Ap. 2.  Deut. vi. 6.) and is it not a shame that many Christians should be so negligent, that they have never so much as read the gospels! (C.) though they be eager enough after idle books.  The sacred writings are the records of our inheritance.  They shew us our true destination, and deserve to be most seriously considered from the beginning to the end.  H.

Ver. 3.  Tree.  Probably the palm-tree, the emblem of a long life.  Job xxviii. 18.  The tree of life is watered by the river of living waters, proceeding from the throne of God, who is the source of all grace.  Apoc. xxii. 1.  Lu. xxi. 33.  Jo. iv. 14.  C. Those who make good use of favours received, are continually supplied with fresh graces.  W. And.  In the office-book a new verse begins here, though not in Heb. which the Vulg. follows.  They were not marked by the sacred penman. Prosper, and be rewarded hereafter, though the just man even among the Jews might be here afflicted.  Prosperity was only promised to the nation, as long as it continued faithful.  Individuals were in the same condition as Christians.  They were to trust in the promises of futurity, though some have very erroneously asserted, that there is no mention of eternal felicity in thee holy canticles; (Berthier) Ferrand says, hardly in the Old Testament.  C. All this verse might perhaps be better understood of the tree.  “And its leaf…and whatever it shall produce,” faciet (fructum).  H. Some trees are always covered with leaves, like the palm-tree, &c.  M.

Ver. 4.  Not so.  Heb. “but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.”  H. They are inconstant (S. Jer.) in the good resolutions which they sometimes form.  H.  Job xxi. 18. The good corn remains, but they are tossed about by every wind, and their memory perishes with all their children and effects.  C. They yield to the slightest temptation.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  Again.  So as to gain their cause, (Amama) or to make opposition; as the Heb. yakumu, “stand up,” with defiance, intimates.  H. They are already judged, (Jo. iii. 18.) and can make no defence; they being separated from the just, like goats,  Kimchi (though he is defended by Amama.  H.) and some other Jews, falsely assert that the souls of the wicked will be annihilated, and that only the just Israelites will rise again.  Buxtorf. Syn. 1. But this is very different from the belief of the ancient Jews, who clearly assert the truth respecting future rewards and punishments.  2 Mac. vii. 9. 14. 23. and 36.  Wisd. v. 1.  Josephus. or 4 Mac. x.  See Job, &c. The Fathers have adduced many such proofs from the other parts of Scripture, which they had read with as much attention as modern critics.  C. Council, (M.) or rather “counsel,” as the same word, Boulh, is used by the Sept. as v. 1. (C.) though the Heb. hadath, here be different, and mean a council, or assembly.  M. Sept. and Vulg. may be understood in the same sense.  H. Sinners shall be destitute of all hope at the resurrection, and shall be driven from the society of the blessed.  W. They will not even be able to complain, since they had been so often admonished of their impending fate, (Bert.) and would not judge themselves in time.  S. Aug.  1 Cor. xi.  Acts xxiv. 15.  Prot. “They shall not stand,” &c.  H.

 

Ver. 6.  Knoweth, with approbation.  There is only one road which leads to heaven: but these men, having sown in the flesh, must reap corruption.  Gal. vi. 8.  Berthier. God will reward or punish (W.) all according to their deserts.  H. To some he will thunder out, I never knew you; while others shall hear, Come, &c.  Mat. xxv. 34. &c.  C. In this world, things seem to be in a sort of confusion, as the wicked prosper.  But, at the hour of death, each will receive a final retribution.  Temporal advantages have been dealt out to the wicked for the small and transitory acts of virtue, the afflictions of this world have served to purify the elect from venial faults.  H.

PSALM 2

PSALM II.  (QUARE FREMUERUNT.)

The vain efforts of persecutors against Christ and his Church.

This psalm has no title, and therefore, S. Jerom, after the Jews, consider it as a part of the former.  In Acts xiii. 33. some copies have, in the first, others in the second psalm; and Origen testifies that he saw a copy where this and the former psalm were joined together; and he says, the psalms were not distinguished by numbers or letters, as they have been since.  We find in some Gr. and Lat. MSS. “a psalm of David.”  It is certain that he composed it, speaking of the Messias, (Acts iv. 25.  Heb. i. 5.) though some passages may be applied to himself.  The Rabbins would restrain it to him entirely; and some Christians have been so much off their guard, as to allow (C.) that it refers to David in the literal sense, and to Christ only in the spiritual; (Lyran.  Grot.) which would destroy the force of the prophecy.  David takes occasion, (C.) from the opposition which was made by Saul, (H.) the Philistines, &c. (2 K. v. 7.  Joseph. vii. 4.) to his own exaltation, to foretell the similar rage with which many would resist the Messias.  C. The Philistines, however, had no kings to oppose David, as Kimchi confesses; and we had better refer the whole psalm to Christ.  Berthier.

Ver. 1.  Raged.  Heb. “come together with tumult,” (Sym.) “loud cries,” like a furious army, composed of several nations.  H. Why have the Philistines, &c. assembled to obstruct my reign? or (C.) “why will the Gentiles be troubled, and the tribes meditate vain things?”  S. Jer.  Pilate, Herod, and the chiefs of the Jews, met to destroy the Messias; though, on other occasions, they were at variance.  H. Their attempts were fruitless.  Their false witnesses could not agree.  C. The priests had, in vain, meditated on the law, since they had not discovered Him who was the end of it.  S. Athan. &c. People of Israel.  Acts iv. 27.  M.

 

Ver. 2.  Kings.  Herod and Pilate, (W.) who acted for the Roman emperor. Princes, of the priests, (H.) Annas and Caiaphas.  But all the rage of the Gentiles and Jews against Christ was fruitless, (W.) and wicked, (H.) as the attempt of the surrounding nations to dethrone David was, in contradiction to the divine appointment.  He is sometimes styled the Christ, or “anointed of the Lord.”  Ps. xix. 7.  But the Chal. has, “to revolt from the Lord, and fight with his Messias.”  So that the ancient Jews agreed with us, (C.) and it would be “rash to abandon the interpretation given by S. Peter.”  S. Jerom.

Ver. 3.  Us.  Let us no longer be subject to the old law, which is abrogated, (S. Aug.) or the enemies of David, and of Christ, encourage one another (C.) to subvert their authority, before it be too well established.  Prot. still seem to be actuated with the same phrensy; fearing nothing more than the restoration of the Catholic religion; and incessantly pouring in petitions to Parliament to withhold the common rights of subjects from people of that persuasion.  H. “I fear there are more political than religious objectors to emancipation.”  Nightingale.

 

Ver. 4.  Them, who continue rebellious.  Prov. i.  He speaks thus to shew that we deserve derision.  H. Quod nos derisu digna faciamus.  S. Jer. Yet he will convert many, (W.) even of those who, like S. Paul, were bent on persecuting the faithful.  If they still resist, (H.) he will shew the futility of their plans, and triumph over all, as David did over his opponents, and Christ over those who wished to have obstructed his resurrection, and the propagation of his gospel.  Thus Jesus has proved his divinity, and confirmed our hopes that he will still protect his Church; as he did when it seemed to be in the greatest danger.  C. God can fear no opposition to his decrees.  M. He is in Heaven, to whom we ought to address our prayers.  The Lord seems to be here applicable to Christ.  Chal. “the word of God.”  He has the title of the Creator, Adonai, as the Jews have marked it with a Kamets 134 times, when it is to be taken in that sense.  Berthier.

Ver. 5.  Rage.  These, and similar expressions, when applied to the immutable Deity, only denote that men have deserved the worst of punishments.  H. God had discomfited the enemies of David (2 K. v. 20. 24.) by his thunder.  But he still more confounded the devil, when Christ descended to take away his spoils; and he chastised the Jews by the ruin of their city, (C.) as he has or will do all persecutors of his Church.  H. He will severely reprehend, and justly punish the obstinate.  W.

 

Ver. 6.  I am.  Heb. “I have anointed…over Sion, my,” &c.  S. Jerom and others have read in the first person, what the Sept. translate in the third.  The sense is much the same.  C. But the Vulg. seems to be better connected, and the same letters may have this sense, if we neglect the points, which were unknown to the Sept. and of modern invention.  These interpreters may also have read a v for i, as these letters are very similar.  Berthier. “But I am anointed king by him over Sion, his holy mountain.”  Houbig. Theodoret, observing that Christ is king not only over Sion, but also over all, alters the punctuation: On Sion…preaching, &c. which is very plausible, since Isaias (ix. 3.) says, the law shall come forth from Sion, (Berthier) and C. xxxvii. 32. and salvation from Mount Sion.  Hence Christ preached frequently in the temple.  It is certain David was not anointed here, but at Hebron; and the temple was not built till the reign of Solomon.  See Psalm cix. 2.

Ver. 7.  Thee.  Chal. weakens this text.  H. “I love thee as my son, and look upon thee with the same affection, as if I had this day created thee;” which might be applied to David, now settled more firmly on the throne by his late victory.  But it literally refers to Christ, either born in time, (v. 1.  S. Aug.  C.) or baptized; (S. Just.) or rather rising again, (Acts xiii. 33.) and born from all eternity.  Heb. i. 5.  This shews him superior to the angels.  The prophet had both these events in view.  Eternity is always the same.  Berthier.  Bossuet.  D. He to whom God may speak thus to-day, at all times, must be God also.  Robertson, Lexic.  Jo. v. 25. To this Socinians can make no reply, without giving up the Epistle to the Heb. or allowing that the apostle’s arguments were inconclusive.  Bert. The same text may thus have many literal senses.  D. The eternal birth seems here to be the chief, as from that source the nativity, baptism, priesthood, (Heb. v. 5.) and miraculous resurrection of Christ, necessarily spring.  H.

 

Ver. 8.  Ask.  The Messias must be invested with human nature, and merit all graces for man.  When did David ask for such an extensive dominion?  Berthier. But Christ’s kingdom extends over the world.  His Church cannot fail, as S. Aug. proved hence against the Donatists, and his arguments confute Protestants as well.  W. Our doctors used to refer this psalm to the Messias, said R. Solomon; but it is better to apply it to David, on account of “Christians.”  D.

Ver. 9.  Rule, as a shepherd, (poimaneiV) as it is cited Apoc. ii. 26.  But he is speaking of vengeance taken on the rebellious; and we might translate, “Thou shalt break,” &c.  C. Yet this is not necessary, as a shepherd sometimes beats with severity, to prevent his sheep from straying.  H. The Church guides also use coercion, but for the good of the flock.  C. God brought the murderers of his Son to an evil end, and destroyed their city.  H. He broke the Gentiles, to make them a more noble vessel.  Jer. xviii. 4.  S. Hilary. He will execute judgment at the last day.  Apoc. xix. 11.  C. When the clay is still soft the vessel may easily be repaired; so the sinner may be reclaimed, when he has only just fallen .  S. Jer. Even the most obdurate, are as clay in God’s hands.  W.

 

Ver. 10.  And.  Here the prophet may address kings, unless the Father or the Messias continue to speak.  It is evident these words are not to be understood of David’s dominions alone.  Fear and joy keep the Christian in proper order.  Phil. ii. 12. and iii. 1.  Bert. “The love of God pushes us forward, and the fear of God makes us take care where we walk.”  S. Theresa. The one guards us against despair, the other against presumption.  Kings are here instructed to support the Church, for which some have been styled, “Most Christian,” “Catholic,” or “Defenders of the Faith.”  The Donatists falsely asserted, that they were ever found enemies to religion, because of Constantine, &c. attempted to repress their errors.  But Julian favoured them, to increase dissensions.  See S. Aug. c. Pet. et. c. Gaud. ii. 26.  W.

Ver. 11.  Trembling, with reverential awe and humility, (1 Cor. ii. 3.  Amama) as none is sure of salvation.  Bell. More are list by presumption than by trembling.  Amama.

Ver. 12.  Discipline.  Chal. “doctrine.”  S. Jer. “adore purely.”  Prot. “kiss the Son, lest he be angry,” &c.  H. Houbig. “adore the son, lest he be angry, and you perish.  For he comes forward, and shortly his wrath will be enkindled.”  This version seems to be judicious: that of the Vulg. is less energetic, but come to the same end, as those who adore the Messias, must follow his doctrine.  Berthier. Lord and just is not in Heb.  H. The way or projects of sinners will perish; (Ps. i. 6.) they will be hurried before the tribunal, as soon as they are dead; (S. Hil.) and when they least expect it.  1 Thes. v. 2.  C. Some fall from salvation, and God will bring them to judgment at the end of this short life.  W. Heb. “Kiss purely.”  Kissing is often used in Scripture to express submission, love, and adoration.  S. Jer. c. Ruf. i.  Gen. xli. 40.  C. We testify our respect for God, by kissing the Bible, &c.  H. But it cannot be shewn that bar means “a son,” in Heb.  C. Amama blames the Vulg. for withdrawing a text in favour of Christ’s divinity.  We must, however, submit to the law and faith of Christ with confidence and live, if we desire to escape his indignation and enter heaven.  Acts iv. 12.  Mr. Nightingale (Portrait of Cath. 1812. p. 117 and 332) may represent this doctrine as uncharitable and groundless, though he allows it has been maintained by most (p. 473) who have professed to be the true disciples of Christ, whether Catholics or Protestants.  The principle is good, though some apply it wrong.  If he and Lord Milton, (speech. 1812. to whom we must express our manifest obligations) had contented themselves with saying that they believed our doctrine was “unscriptural,” &c. (p. 18) we should not have much wondered; as they could not consistently have said less, and remained out of the Catholic Church.  But for any man who has read the Bible, to persuade himself that it is not necessary to profess the one only true religion, wherever it may be, after Christ has plainly declared, He that believeth not is already judged, and shall be condemned; (Jo. iii. 18.  Mark xvi. 16.) and after the apostle has delivered over to satan those who only asserted that the resurrection was past, (2 Tim. ii. 17.) this fills us with astonishment.  Not a single text can be produced in favour of the contrary system leading to indifference about religion; which, if true, would shew the preaching of the prophets and apostles was nugatory, and their blood shed in vain.  All the “Scriptures” proclaim the necessity of faith and good works.  We may observe, that the doctrine of the blessed Trinity seems to be no less objectionable to Mr. N. than the rest of our faith, p. 117, &c.  Yet (H.) we must not refuse him the praise of liberality.  Catholic Review, &c. Jan. 1813.  H.

Ver. 13.  Trust for salvation through Christ, (D.) acting as he has directed, so that our hope may be well founded.  M. This psalm is quoted six times in the New Testament, which shews the concord of Scripture, and that the prophets saw the promises at a distance, following the law of love, which is as ancient as the world.  Berthier.

PSALM 3

PSALM III. (DOMINE QUID MULTIPLICATI.)

The prophet’s danger and delivery from his son, Absalom: mystically the passion and resurrection of Christ.

Heb. and Sept. have lit. “a psalm of David,” (tw Dauid) which may mean that it was addressed to him by God, or that he would set it to music himself, (H.) or that it was composed by him, or on his occasion.  The part. l. has various meanings, and it does not incontestably prove that the person before whose name it is placed, must be regarded as the author.  C. Yet there is no reason for doubting that this psalm was composed by David.  H. The Jews say he wrote it on the ascent of Mount Olivet.  2 K. xv. 17.  But he rather waited till he had re-entered his capital, and herein expressed his gratitude, specifying at the same time the sentiments with which he had been impressed in the hour of danger.  Ven. Bede explains this and many other psalms of Ezechias, as he perhaps did not read or attend to the title.  C. This deserves more attention, as it is the same in all Bibles, though all interpreters do not consider them as canonical, no more than that which is prefixed to the Lamentations.  Berthier. They are authentic, being inspired to Esdras or the Sept.  W. But this is doubtful.  H.

Ver. 2.  Why.  Let me know the enormity of my sins.  All Israel follows Absalom.  2 K. xv. 13.  So all rose up against Christ.  W. The Church was assailed on all sides, (C.) and every soul must live in expectation of battle from innumerable enemies.  Heb. also, (H.) “How are they multiplied.”  Houbig. David is surprised at the sudden change, and adores the depth of God’s judgments, which had been denounced unto him.  1 K. xii. 10.  C.

 

Ver. 3.  God.  His case is desperate.  W. He must therefore be a criminal.  This is the usual judgment of the world, though very false, as we have seen in the person of Job; for temporal punishments are frequently an effect of the divine clemency.  Semei upbraided David on this occasion, as the Jews did Christ.  2 K. xvi. 7.  Mat. xxvii. 42.  At the end of this verse, Heb. adds, Selah, (C.) sle and Sept. diayalma, (H.) a word which is not much better understood.  Houbigant therefore informs us that he has omitted it entirely, as the Vulg. seems to have done, except Ps. lxi. 8. where it is rendered, in æternum, “for ever,” (Bert.) as S. Jerom expresses it semper, in his Heb. version.  It would perhaps be as well to leave the original term.  H. It occurs seventy-one times in the psalms, and thrice in Habacuc.  Some think it is a sign to raise the voice, or to pause, &c. (Bert.) at the end of the lesson, before the psalter was divided.  None, except Eusebius, asserts that it was  inserted by the original authors, and it seems now to be useless.  C. Dis.

 

Ver. 4.  Protector.  Heb. “shield.” Glory.  God is the hope of his servants, (1 Cor. xv. 31.) and grants their requests.  C. He has not abandoned me, when I had fallen into sin.  H. He gives me the victory, and confirms my throne.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  Hill.  Sion, where the ark had been placed, (C.) or from heaven.  M. Heb. adds, “Selah.”  Prot.  H.

 

Ver. 6.  Rest, in sin; (S. Athan.) or, I have not lost my confidence in God, though dangers threaten on every side.  C. Jesus remained undaunted, when his enemies surrounded him; he continued (Theod. &c.) free among the dead, and rose again by his own power.  H. If he prayed that the chalice might be removed, it was to teach us how to behave.  C. He was buried, and rose again, and his disciples believed the Scriptures (Jo. ii. 22.) recorded here, and in other places.  W. The same word refers to past and future things.  S. Greg. Mor. xx. 1.  W.

 

Ver. 7.  Thousands.  Sept. “myriads.”  H. If my enemies were still more numerous, I should not fear.  C. I beseech thee to help me.  W.

 

Ver. 8.  Without cause.  Heb. “on the jaw.”  H. Without redress.  C. Sept. seems to have read léinom, as “some Jews say that the ancient copies were different.”  Origen, A.D. 231.  Kennicott. Teeth.  Strength and fury.

 

Ver. 9.  Blessing.  Abundance of grace is promised to God’s servants, who must look up to him for salvation.  David gives thanks for the victory, though he grieved at his son’s death.  W. He shewed proofs of the greatest clemency on this occasion.  It is evident, from this psalm being inserted before many which regard Saul, that no chronological order is observed.  C. Selah occurs a third time here, as some may have ended the lecture at one, while others ordered it to be continued to another, or even to the 3d and 5th verse of the next psalm, if that be its real  import.  H.

PSALM 4

PSALM IV. (CUM INVOCAREM.)

The prophet teacheth us to flee to God in tribulation, with confidence in him.

Ver. 1.  Unto the end.  Or as S. Jerom renders it, victory to him that overcometh; which some understand of the chief musician; to whom they suppose the psalms, which bear that title, were given to be sung.  We rather understand the psalms thus inscribed to refer to Christ, who is the end of the law, and the great Conqueror of death and hell; and to the New Testament. In verses, in carminibus.  In the Heb. it is neginoth, supposed by some to be a musical instrument, with which this psalm was to be sung. For David, or to David, tw Dauid, that is, inspired to David himself, or to be sung by him.  Ch. Lamnetseach, from nitseach, “to push to an end,” may signify (H.) to the end; and this sense is more noble than (Berthier) “To the precentor, or president.”  C. Binginoth.  H. “Over the female musicians.”  C. “To the chief of the singers on stringed instruments.”  Duguet. The psalms which have this title, related to future times, and to the Church of Christ; (S. Aug.  W.) or were to be sung at the close of the Jewish festivals, &c.  Bert. This is considered as a sequel to the preceding, to thank God for the late victory over Absalom.  C.

Ver. 2.  The God.  Heb. “When I call, hear me, O God of my justice:” source and witness of my virtue.  If I have offended thee, I have done no wrong to my rebellious son and his adherents.  Many copies read Cum invocarem te, exaudisti me.  C. Thou.  The change of persons intimates that when God is present (S. Aug.) the soul is animated with confidence to speak to him.  H. Prayer.  Though his request had been granted, he still continues to address God, as we ought to pray without ceasing.  1 Thes. v. 17.

 

Ver. 3.  O.  This is a sort of manifesto to the rebels; and an invitation for them to return to their duty, desisting from setting up a false king, or a lie.  H. Dull.  Heb. “my glory to shame.”  But the reading of the Sept. seems to preferable, (C.) as the rhyme in Heb. is now lost, (Fourmont) and the text has been altered (Houbig.) by an injudicious junction of words, and by using c for b.  In ancient MSS. the words were all joined together, (Bert.) as may be seen in the specimen of the Alex. Sept. given by Grabe.  Prot. “How long will ye turn my glory into shame?” &c.  H.

 

Ver. 4.  Wonderful, (mirificavit) according to the Heb. means also has chosen in a striking manner his appointed ruler, or holy person.  Bert. Holy, often means one set aside, (Lu. ii.) or commissioned, though the person be a pagan.  Isai. xiii. 3.  Chasid, (H.) particularly signifies a “clement” character, such as a king ought to be.  C. “The Lord has set aside for himself the pious.”  Pagn. I am ready to pardon you, but know that if you continue rebellious, you go against the ordinance of heaven.  H.

 

Ver. 5.  Angry.  My soldiers, do not resent this offence too much, kill not the boy; (2 K. xviii. 5.) or (H.) you, my deluded subjects, enter into yourselves.  S. Paul (Eph. iv. 26.) cites this as a moral sentence.  C. It is more difficult to moderate anger than to deny access to it entirely.  S. Fran. de Sales.  H. Beds.  Repent for the most secret evil thoughts, before you fall asleep.  W.

 

Ver. 6.  Justice.  External devotion will not suffice.  S. Chrys. No sacrifice will please God as long as people take part with rebels.  C. Besides external sacrifices, which have always been required, and those of praise and contrition, (Ps. xlix. and l.) we must offer to God the sacrifice of justice, by complying with our duties to him, ourselves, and neighbours, and by hating sin, and also the world, the flesh, and the devil, which prompt us to offend, and thus to give the preference to vanity.  For this  purpose, we must not trust in ourselves, but in God; and that no one may plead ignorance, the light of reason and grace is given us, plainly indicating that we have a God to serve, and must expect reward or punishment.  Heb. xi. 6.  W.

Ver. 7.  The.  Houbigant transposes this to v. 9, which is not necessary.  David answers those diffident people, (Bert.) who thought they had received no marks of God’s favour, and were in great want of provisions, till some were brought by Berzellai.  H.

 

Ver. 8.  By.  Heb. and S. Aug. “From the time of their corn and wine” (C.) gathering.  I rejoiced “more” than those who live in the greatest affluence, which is nothing but vanity.  No mention is made of oil, but the original term, “liquor,” includes it.  Bert. S. Jerom found it not in the Hexapla.  But it now occurs in the Arab. Syr. &c.  C. David envies not the present prosperity of the rebels.  H. He comforts his followers with the assurance of God’s favour, which he had again testified by sending provisions. Bullenger. He may also here express the disappointment of the rebels, who promised themselves great riches, of which Providence would soon deprive them, by restoring the king, whom he had chosen, and hitherto so wonderfully protected.  H. God gave temporal advantages to the just in the old law, as the figure of heavenly rewards.  W.

 

Ver. 9.  Same, (in idipsum) which signifies with one accord.  Acts i. 14.  Heb. “altogether,” when we shall be united as one people, which I expect will shortly be the case.  Confiding in God, I will repose as in the arms of peace.  Absalom was already cut off.  But all his adherents were not reclaimed.  Yet their number was so small, as to cause no apprehensions.  H. Under thy protection, I am secure, (C.) no longer kept between fear and hope.  S. Bern. When I lie down, I can enjoy rest, (Bert.) being free from turbulent passions.  H.

Ver. 10.  Singularly.  Art “alone” (Pagn.) the source of all my happiness; (H.) or thou hast taken such care of me, as if thou hadst no other.  M. I am at a distance from  the contagion of evil company, (S. Chrys.) which I hate.  Bert. “For thou only art Lord, thou hast made me dwell secure.”  S. Jer.

PSALM 5

PSALM V.  (VERBA MEA AURIBUS.)

A prayer to God against the iniquities of men.

Ver. 1.  For her that obtaineth the inheritance.  That is, for the Church of Christ, (Ch.) and every faithful soul, which gains the victory and heaven.  W. Nechiloth, may also, (H.) signify musical instruments with holes, or “women dancing,” on religious and joyful occasions, as they did when the ark was removed, &c.  2 K. vi. 12.  C.  Ps. lxvii. 26. We may (H.) as well follow the Vulg. and S. Jerom.  Some have supposed that David alludes to Saul, Absalom, &c.  But in most of the psalms, the wicked in general are reprobated, and the sentiments of the faithful expressed.  This psalm contains an excellent from of morning prayer, as an armour against all our spiritual enemies.  Berthier.

Ver. 2.  Cry.  Heb. “meditation.”  M. The cry of the heart, (S. Chrys.) and “the groans,” which the spirit forms within us.  Rom. viii. 26.  God cannot reject such prayers.  If he seems inattentive, it is because we ask amiss.  Jam. iv. 3.  C. He attends to the prayers of the Church, and of every faithful soul, (W.) and even exhorts sinners to come to him, that they may emerge from the abyss.  H.

 

Ver. 4.  Morning.  This hour of prayer is also specified, (Ps. lxii. 1. and cxviii. 147.) as that of the evening is.  Ps. iv. 9, and liv. 19.  We read also of noon being a time for prayer among the Jews.  Acts x. 9.  Daniel (vi. 10.) diligently observed these holy customs.  C.

 

Ver. 5.  Stand.  Heb. implies “in order,” as those who neglect prayer must be all in confusion.  God enables those who are diligent, to see wonderful things.  Bert. Iniquity.  No: he has it in abhorrence; (C.) consequently he cannot be the author of it, but hates those who commit evil, though he loves them as his creatures, and wishes their conversion.  W. On this subject I will meditate.  M.

 

Ver. 6.  Eyes.  God suffers them to remain for a time.  S. Jer.

 

Ver. 7.  Workers, (operantur) “who work,” (H.) and die impenitent. Lie.  All heretics, who kill their own and neighbours’ souls, (S. Jer.) and in general all seducers, (C.) who will be treated like those who have committed murder.  Euseb.  Cæsar.

 

Ver. 8.  Mercy, not trusting in my own merit, (H.) but with the greatest awe.  C. The just trust in mercy, not in man’s power. Temple, the Church, and in God’s presence.  W. Some would infer hence that David was not the author of this psalm.  But the tabernacle is called  by the same name; (1 K. i. 7, 24, and iii. 3.) so that this reason is not sufficient.  C.

 

Ver. 9.  Enemies.  Heb. “observers.”  They are always on the watch to discover any fault.  Grant me thy preventing grace.  Bert. Let me not stumble, (H.) but cause me to walk cheerfully in thy paths.  C. If thou approve, it matters not how much worldlings blame me.  S. Aug.

Ver. 10.  Their.  Heb. “his.”  But it is incorrect.  Houb. S. Jer. has “their.”

Ver. 11.  Sepulchre, which never says there is enough.  Prov. xxx. 15.  C. Dealt, &c.  S. Paul authorizes this version, (Rom. iii. 13.) though the Heb. be rendered, “they flatter cunning;” (Bert.) or “they sharpen their tongue,” and polish it like a sword, that it may cut more easily.  This may be applied to heretics.  SS. Athan. Chrys. Jer.  C. Judge, or “condemn them.”  Heb. may be explained as a prediction.  Bert. The Holy Ghost could not dictate an imprecation or desire revenge.  But David might beg that God would frustrate the designs of his enemies; and, by treating them with some severity, hinder the execution of their wicked schemes, which would bring on their own ruin.  S. Chrys.  S. Aug.  C. Though the just desire the conversion of all, yet if any die impenitent, they approve of God’s judgment, manifested at the end of the world.  W. Provoked.  Heb. “rebelled against.”  I forgive them for what they have done to me.  But I grieve at thy offence; make them return to a sense of their duty.  C. He might abhor the enemies of salvation, the world, &c. whom Christ has condemned.  Bert.

Ver. 12.  Dwell.  Heb. “protect,” (S. Jer.) “or shade them.”  C. The just will rejoice under thy protection, (H.) and at the conversion of the sinner.  S. Chrys.

 

Ver. 13.  Us.  Heb. “him.”  S. Jer.  Aquila.  C. But neglecting the points, the Sept. is as accurate, and more beautiful.  Bert. Shield.  Heb. tsinna, (H.) which was probably large enough to cover the body.  C. If God be with us, who is against us?  H. The just shall receive the sentence of eternal glory.  W.

 

PSALM 6

PSALM VI.  (DOMINE NE IN FURORE.)

A prayer of a penitent sinner, under the scourge of God.  The first penitential Psalm.

Ver. 1.  For the octave.  That is, to be sung on an instrument of eight strings.  S. Augustin understands it mystically, of the last resurrection, and the world to come; which is, as it were, the octave, or eighth day, after the seven days of this mortal life; and for this octave, sinners must dispose themselves, like David, by bewailing their sins, whilst they are here upon the earth.  Ch.  W. It may also signify, that this psalm was to be sung by “the eighth” of the 24 bands.  1 Par. xv. 21.  David might compose it after sickness, with which he had been punished for his adultery; (C.) or under any distress: he expresses the sentiments of a true penitent, (Bert.) with which he was ever after impressed.  H. It is applicable to penitents of the new law.  W.

Ver. 2.  Indignation.  Lit. “fury.”  H. Such strong expressions were requisite to make the carnal Jews fear God’s judgments, though a being of infinite perfection can have no passion.  S. Chrys. David does not beg to be free from suffering, (H.) but he requests that God would chastise him with moderation.  Jer. x. 24. and xlvi. 28.  C. Justice without mercy is reserved for the last day.  S. Greg. Wrath.  This regards those who have built wood, &c. on the foundation.  They shall be purified by fire.  S. Aug.  Purgatory was then believed in the 4th Cent.  Bert. Let me not be condemned either to it, or hell.  S. Greg. hic. and Ps. xxxvii.

 

Ver. 3.  Troubled, with grief.  W. I am sinking under my illness: my virtue is lost.  C. The whole human race is this sick man, requiring the aid of Jesus Christ.  S. Aug. The ineffable name Jehova, (H.) is repeated thrice, to insinuate that salvation must come from the Blessed Trinity.  Bert. v. 9. Under the allegory of sickness, the ravages of sin appear.  M.

 

Ver. 4.  Long?  Wilt thou leave me in distress?  W. He breaks off abruptly to express his sorrow.  See Isai. vi. 11; Jer. xiii. 26.  Bert. True converts are often tried a long time, that they may conceive how God will treat those who never return him, (S. Aug.  Euseb.) and that they may beware of a relapse.  C.

 

Ver. 5.  Turn.  God never abandons us first.  Jer. ii. 27.  Bert. We drive him away by sin.  S. Athan. Sake.  I cannot take one step without thee.  C. Treat me not as my sins deserve; but mercifully restore me to favour.  W.

 

Ver. 6.  Hell.  The hardened sinner will not praise thee, (S. Aug.) much less will the damned, who are confirmed in evil.  Bert. Even those who are in “the grave,” though just, cannot sound forth thy praises; and consequently, if I be cut off, the number of they adorers will be diminished.  This motive is often urged, as if God was forgotten in the rest of the world.  Ps. xxix. 10.  Isai. xxxviii. 18.  C. This life is the time for repentance.  After death there is no conversion, but eternal blasphemies in hell.  I will strive to prevent this misery, by continuing to do penance, till I am watered with thy grace.  W.

 

Ver. 7.  Bed.  S. Jerom, “I will make my bed swim” (H.) with tears, or sweat.  Bert. Here we behold the effects of true repentance, which will not suffer the sinner to enjoy any repose, (C.) when he reflects on the pains of hell, and the perfections of God.  H. “O sweet affliction, which extinguishes the fire of hell, and restores man to the friendship of his God.”  S. Chrys.

 

Ver. 8.  Indignation of God (Theod.) or of my enemies.  I am also indignant when I behold my foes exulting in my ruin.  C. I have.  Heb. “It,” the eye.  Bert. The eye is naturally injured by excessive grief.  Yet David could not think of his sins, without floods of tears.  H.

 

Ver. 9.  Iniquity, who have fostered my passions, (Bert.) or sought my ruin.  I now perceive who were my true friends.  C. Lord.  He is twice mentioned in the next verse, in honour of the blessed Trinity, as a German commentator remarks, after the ancient interpreters (Bert.) and Fathers.  They have constantly had an eye to these grand truths, which are nevertheless proved by clearer passages of Scripture.  H. David confides in God, as every true penitent may do, for protection.  W. He had also been assured of pardon by Nathan, the prophet.  H.

Ver. 11.  Troubled.  This is a prophecy, (S. Aug.) or a prayer for their speedy and earnest conversion, (S. Jer.  C.) or a threat if they persist.  W. Speedily.  At the last day, the wicked will perceive how short life has been.  Tunc sentient peccatores quam non sit longa omnis vita quæ transit.  S. Aug.

PSALM 7

PSALM VII.  (DOMINE DEUS MEUS.)

David, trusting in the justice of his cause, prayeth for God’s help against his enemies.

Shiggaion (H.) is a word which has greatly puzzled interpreters.  See Robertson in shage.  Prot. have, “Shiggaion of David.”  The Rabbins confess that they know not its meaning, and it is of no service for the explanation of the psalm.  Bert. S. Jerom follows the Sept. (H.) which may suit very well.  Others have, “ignorance.”  M. “Perplexity.”  C. “Secret.”  Vatab. “Song of wanderings.”  Parkhurst, &c. Chusi is scarcely less difficult to understand.  The person who has inserted this historical title, and many others, without much judgment, had probably in view the wars of Absalom, and the curses of Semei.  But the psalm seems rather to refer to the persecutions of Saul, (C.  1 K. xxii. 8.  M.) who was of the tribe of Benjamin.  H. SS. Aug. Bas. and Chrys. explain it of Chusi, (W.) the Arachite, from a town of Benjamin, (C.) who defeated the counsel of Achitophel, (W.) as it is supposed that David was given to understand that his friend had betrayed him, and in consequence speaks of him in such harsh terms.  But if that had been the case, he would have suppressed what was founded on error; (C.) and the supposition is contrary to the idea which we have of inspiration.  Yet there is nothing in the psalm which requires the harsh expressions to be applied to Chusi.  They may as well refer to Achitophel, who spoke in answer to him.

Ver. 2.  My God.  This title is prompted by love and confidence.  H. All.  David had only few followers, while he was pursued by Saul (C.) and Absalom.  H.

 

Ver. 3.  Lion.  In a spiritual sense this is the devil.  1 Pet. v. 8.  S. Aug. “Let him only see the sign of the cross, or the lamp continually burning before the altar, he will flee away.  Should we wonder at this? the garments alone of Paul drove him from possessed person.”  S. Chrys. Will modern sectaries still ridicule these things? While.  Heb. “tearing, and not snatching away.”  But there is a similar construction, (Lam. v. 8.) which shews that we ought to follow the Vulg.  Bert. Absalom, or any other enemy, may be this lion.  W. They threatened David with utter ruin, which he could never have escaped, without God’s visible protection.

 

Ver. 4.  Thing, alluding to some calumny, (H.) with which he was assailed (W.) by Saul, Absalom, and Semei.  Bert. He disclaims all such ambitious or unjust sentiments, though he allows that he is not innocent before God.  C.

 

Ver. 5.  That repaid.  This seems better than “my peaceable one,” as some translate the Heb. for it would be but a small commendation not to injure a friend: the pagans do as much.  Duport therefore agrees with the Vulg., and S. Jerom has, “If I have rendered evil to those who did me any, and sent my enemies empty away;” or, as the Heb. is in the future, “I will let my enemies depart without fighting;” which is equivalent to, I will gain no advantage over them.  Bert. The man who takes revenge, injures himself, and becomes the devil’s slave.  S. Aug. David had been so far from giving way to ingratitude, that he would not even hurt his enemy.  H. He let Saul escape, when he might easily have slain him.  C.

 

Ver. 6.  Dust.  Heb. adds, “to dwell,” (H.) as if the ignominy was not to be effaced.  This would be very sensible for a king.  Bert. Glory is here synonymous with life, or soul.  Gen. xlix. 6.  Let my life and (C.) reputation be lost.  W. Summum crede nefas animam præferre pudori.  Juv. viii.

 

Ver. 7.  Borders.  Heb. is rendered, “fury of my enemies.” My is found in some copies of the Sept. though the edit. of Comp. and Aldus agree with the Vulg., and Bos observes, that an ancient interpreter rendered the first word as we do.  Berg. Habar means, “to pass;” and, of course, behabroth (H.) may denote, in the borders; (Berg.) though S. Jer. &c. have, “rise up indignant over mine enemies.”  Avenge thy own cause, as they would overturn thy decree, which has called me to the throne.  H. Commanded.  Shew thy power, and protect me, since thou hast ordered me to reign.  W. Convince my enemies of the injustice of their proceedings, (H.) and cause them to repent.  Thy order is what displeased Saul. Protect me as thou hast promised.  Chal. “Execute the judgment in my favour, which thou hast decreed.”  Then all will obey.  C. O Lord, my God.  Heb. has not Lord, and some translate elai, “to me.”  But it also means, “my God.”  Bert.

 

Ver. 8.  High, on thy tribunal, to decide this dispute.  The Fathers apply this to the ascension of Jesus Christ, who will judge the world.  S. Aug.  Theod.  C.  2 Cor. x. 11. The interference of Providence (H.) will induce many to come to thy tabernacle, (M.) to embrace the true religion, (W.) and sectaries will decrease.  These will be refuted most effectually, when they see the law well observed.  Berthier.

 

Ver. 9.  Innocence.  Heb. “simplicity,” which has the same meaning.  H.  He speaks of the justice of his cause (Muis) against his particular enemies.  W. S. Paul thus commends himself.  2 Tim. iv. 7.  The justice of the saints is not merely imputed, as the first Protestants foolishly imagined: for how should God reward those whom he saw still in sin, and who were only reputed holy? a notion which their disciples have modified or abandoned, as they have also done what had been taught respecting grace.  Justice is an effect of God’s grace, and of man’s co-operation.  1 Cor. xv. 10.  Bert. David begs that the disposer of kingdoms would convince Saul that he was not a rebel: and the world, that he had not lost God’s favour, like his rival.  H.

Ver. 10.  Reins; affections, (Jer. xii. 2.  C.) and inmost recesses, which are open to God.  M.

Ver. 11.  Just.  This epithet refers to God, in Heb.  Sept.  might easily explain it of help, before the words and verse were divided: (H.) yet it is still taken in the former sense, in some Gr. and Lat. copies.  The wicked shall be frustrated in their designs, though they may succeed for a time, (C.) consumetur, (Sym.  H.) or rather let their ruin be determined on.  1 K. xxv. 17.  C.

Ver. 12.  Strong.  Heb. el, means also “God threatening every day;” (H.) which must be a proof of his patience, as the Sept. have intimated, since he could destroy at once.  Thus numquid, must be rendered “is he not?”  Isai. xxvii. 7.  Bert. God cannot but be displeased at every sin.  He threatens the offender daily by secret remorse, or by his preachers and good books.  H. But he often defers punishment (W.) till death, when the measure of crimes is full.  S. Aug. This silence or delay is one of the most terrible of his judgments, (H.) and a mark of his great indignation.  If he were, however, to strike every one as soon as he had committed sin, where should we be?  “He would soon be alone,” as a pagan observed of “Jupiter, if he were presently to hurl his thunderbolts against every offender.”  C.  See Val. Max. i. 2.  Eccli. v. 4.

 

Ver. 13.  Except you.  Heb. “if he be not.”  Houb. would read, “God will not be turned aside.”  Bert. “For him who does not change, he will sharpen his sword.”  S. Jer.  H. God threatens before he strikes, (C.) expecting amendment.  W.

 

Ver. 14.  For them that burn.  That is, against the persecutors of his saints.  G. Heb. also, “he has made his arrows to turn.”  Houbigant after Sym.  H. The ancients used fiery darts or arrows.  Ps. cix.  Eph. vi. 16.

Sed magnum stridens contorta phalarica venit,

                        Fulminis acta modo.  Æn. ix. Herod. viii.

The death of Saul seems to be foretold.  C.

 

Ver. 15.  Iniquity.  Heb. “a lie.”  All the labour of the wicked ends in smoke.  See Mic. ii. 1.  Is. lix. 4.  H. The psalmist sometimes speaks of many enemies, and sometimes of one, who was the chief.  Yet what he says of him must, according to the genius of the Heb. language, be applied to the rest.  Bert. Saul, (C.) Absalom, and Achitophel, each found their ruin, in their unjust attempts.  H. They had injustice in view, and were actuated by envy, which destroyed them.  W.

 

Ver. 17.  Sorrow.  The evil which he designed for me (M.) will fall on him, like an arrow shot upwards.  C. Crown.  Prot. “pate.”  H.

 

Ver. 18.  Justice.  “Truly thou art just, O Lord,” cries out S. Aug. “since thou protectest the just, so as to enlighten them by thyself; and so disposest of sinners, that they are punished, not by thine, but by their own malice.”

PSALM 8

PSALM VIII.  (DOMINE DOMINUS NOSTER.)

God is wonderful in his works; especially in mankind, singularly exalted by the incarnation of Christ.

Ver. 1.  The presses.  In Heb. Gittith, supposed to be a musical instrument: (Ch). or, “the musicians from Geth,” who were famous, and might follow David.  2 K. i. 20. and xv. 18.  The Sept. must have read a v for i.  (C.)  Gothuth.  Yet S. Jer. and Pagnin agree with them; (H.) and that sense seems as plausible as any other.  The psalm relates to Christ alone; (Matt. xxi. 16.  1 Cor. xv. 26. and Heb. ii. 6.) who is represented treading the wine-press.  Is. lxiii. 3.  Apoc. xix. 13.  Bert. The Jews  confess that it speaks of the Messias.  Ferrand. We may explain it also fo the natural prerogatives of man, (C.) though (H.) this weakens the force of the prophecy.  Bert. S. Aug. applies the expressions to the good and bad in the Church.  W. It might be sung during the feast of tabernacles, after the vintage.  M.

Ver. 2.  O Lord, (Jehova) our Lord, (Adonenu)  S. Jer.  Dominator noster, “our Ruler.”  H. God is Lord of all by creation, and still more of those who believe.  W. Adonai is pronounced by the Jews, and sometimes applied to men. But they have lost the pronunciation of the first term, which some read Jehovah, (C.) or Jaho, (S. Jer.) Jave, &c.  H. Admirable.  It expresses all that He is.  (Ex. iii. 14.  Bert.)  Essence itself.  H. Earth.  This was verified after the incarnation; (S. Chrys.) for before, the Gentiles knew it not, and the Jews caused it to be blasphemed.  Bert. Now all confess the glory of Jesus Christ, the master-piece of God.  C. Heavens; which are nothing in comparison, (M.) for he hath created them.  W.  Hab. iii. 3.

 

Ver. 3.  Praise.  But why does the prophet take notice of this proof of Christ’s being the Messias, while he passes over his curing the sick? &c.  S. Chrysostom answers, because the other miracles had been performed in the old law, but God had never before opened the mouths of infants to proclaim “praise the Lord,” as they did when they bore witness to Christ entering the temple.  Other commentators greatly weaken this proof.  Bert. We read that after the passage of the Red Sea, wisdom opened the mouth of the dumb, and made the tongues of infants eloquent; (Wisd. x. 21.) which may be a figurative expression.  The prophets and apostles, whom the world looked upon as fools, were chosen to declare the highest mysteries.  All nature so clearly proves the existence of Providence, that, if other things were silent, infants would open their mouths to confound the incredulous.  The condition of man from his infancy is, in effect, one of the plainest proofs of the divine wisdom.  His imitative powers, the ease with which he takes his mother’s milk, &c. are something surprising.  Hippocrates even, concludes hence, that the child must have sucked, even in the womb, as the art is soon lost, and not easily recovered.  God seems to be particularly pleased with the praises of children.  Mic. ii. 9.  Joel ii. 16.  S. Aug. admires how the Scriptures have been proportioned to the capacity of infants.  Heb. “Thou hast founded strength.”  Aquila.  C. But S. Jerom retains praise, as our Saviour himself quotes it.  Matt. xxi. 16.  H. Avenger.  The old Vulg. read defensorem (H.) in the same sense.  S. Chrys. explains it of the Jews; and other Fathers understand heretics and the devil.  S. Aug. &c.  C. Arnobius (con. Gent. i.) seems to think that all have an innate idea of Providence, ingenitum.  The poor and simple confessed Christ, whom the proud doctors of the law, and Pharisees, rejected, despising his followers as children or fools.  H.

 

Ver. 4.  Fingers, as if they had been formed in play, while the Incarnation is the work of God’s right hand.  Euseb.  C. Heavens, moon, and stars, denote the Church.  No mention is made of the sun, because it is the emblem of Christ, who was the Creator.  Bert.  Apoc. xii. 1. This text proves that the world was not formed by angels, as some ancient heretics asserted.  David, perhaps, wrote this at night; and the sun and stars are not seen together.  M.

 

Ver. 5.  Him.  The prophet considers the nature of man at such a distance from the divinity.  Being, nevertheless, united with it in Jesus Christ, it is raised far above the angels.  Heb. ii. 6.  Bert. When we reflect on the meanness of our nature, on the one hand, and on what God has done for it on the other, we are lost in astonishment.  The pagans were aware of the corporal infirmities of man, (Seneca Consol. xi.) but not of his spiritual disorders.  Heb. has here, the son of Adam, or one of the lowest class; and not of ish, which means a person of nobility, vir.  Ps. iv. 4.  C. Yet Christ applies to himself the former appellation, to shew us a pattern of humility.  H. S. Aug. inquires, what difference there is between man or the son.  The Heb. v means, likewise, and; yet or would have been better.  Ex. xxi. 16. “Whether he have sold him, or he be in his hand.”   Amama.

 

Ver. 6.  Angels.  Elohim means also “God,” as S. Jerom, &c. explain it.  Thou hast placed man like a deity upon earth.  But S. Paul adopts the sense of the Sept.  C. S. Jerom doubted whether the epistle to the Hebrews belonged to him or he would have done the same.  Some of the Fathers suppose, (Bert.) that the prophet speaks of man before the fall.  Theodoret. Yet he has Christ principally in view.  C. A little less may be better rendered, “”for a little while:” bracu ti.  Acts v. 34.  Is. x. 25. modico.  Heb. ii.  Notwithstanding the prerogatives of Adam, before the fall, what is said by the prophet and S. Paul can be true of none but Christ; who was subject to death only for a short space, and quickly rose from the tomb, Lord of all.  1 Cor. xv. 26.  If we do not see it yet, (Heb. ii. 8.  Ps. lxix. 2.) our faith must not waver.  He is crowned, and will one day assert his dominion.  Bert.  Matt. xxviii. 18.  Eph. i. 19.  C. In his assumed nature, Christ became less than the angels; but he has raised it above them, and is appointed Lord of angels, men, and creatures of every description.  The sea and the winds obey him.  Matt. viii. W.

 

Ver. 8.  All sheep.  S. Paul did not judge it necessary to specify these things, as they are included in the word all.  Bert.  These tame cattle designate the believing Jews; beasts, the Gentile converts; birds, the proud; fishes, the voluptuous.  S. Athan. The birds may also be put for men of genius, who dive into the secrets of theology; and fishes, for anxious worldlings.  Hesyc. SS. Aug. and Jerom understand that people who labour not for their salvation, or who are attached to the earth, men who rise up against God, or never elevate their thoughts to heaven, are emblematically specified by these creatures.

 

Ver. 9.  Sea.  All things are subjected to man’s dominion.  Gen. i. 26. and ix. 2.  C. “The Stoics are in the right, who say that the world was made for us.  For all its parts and productions are contrived for man’s benefit.”  Lact. ira. xiii.

Ver. 10.  Earth.  This repetition of the first verse insinuates, that as God was admirable in giving man the power to avoid sin and death; so he is wonderful in raising him again, in such a state the he can sin no more.  W.

PSALM 9

PSALM IX.  (CONFITEBOR TIBI DOMINE.)

The church praiseth God for his protection against her enemies.

Ver. 1.  The hidden things of the son.  The humility and sufferings of Christ, the Son of God; and of good Christians, who are his sons by adoption; and called hidden things, with regard to the children of this world, who know not the value and merit of them.  Ch. It may also signify, “to Ben, the master of music, over the young women.”  See 1 Par. xv. 18.  C.  M. These authors have joined almuth, which S. Jerom, &c. read as tow words, “on the death of the son.”  Prot. “upon Muth Labben.”  David might allude to the death of Absalom, or of some of his other children.  But he has his Son, Christ, the conqueror of death and hell, principally in view, as this psalm sings of victory over nations.  His incarnation and the afflictions of Christians are hidden in God.  W. Lamnatseach has generally a preposition, l, al, &c. after it, which might induce us to prefer rendering “death,” before “secrets or young women.”  H. But al may be understood, as it is found Ps. xlv., where all have, “for the secrets.”  In Heb. this psalm is divided (Bert.) at v. 22nd, and formerly it seems at the 17th.  C. This division is arbitrary, and of no consequence for the understanding of the psalms.  Bert. It would be well if there were no more serious controversy between Catholics and Protestants.  The Jews agree with neither.  Some unite the 1st and 2nd, as Kimchi does the 114th and 115th.  Amama. What is here rendered a psalm for David, is the same in the Heb. and Sept. as has been before expressed of David.  Ps. iii.  H.

Ver. 2.  Praise and thanks, or I will confess.  W. To thee.  Heb. “to the.”  David had received many favours from God, and he has testified his gratitude, and shewn how we ought to praise God, (S. Jer.  C.) with soul and body.  Bert.  W. Wonders; victories gained over the neighbouring nations, so that Israel was at peace and liberty to transport the ark to Sion.  1 Par. xv.

 

Ver. 4.  Back; routed.  After Saul’s family was taken off, none durst oppose David.  They saw that the Lord had set him on the throne.  C. Only after his sin, rebels began to molest him.  H. The Fathers explain this of the devil and his agents.  S. Jer. God repelleth the enemy, when man is not able to resist.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  Justice, or rightly.  C. God alone always discerns what is just.  S. Chrys. Man overcomes the devil, with the assistance of God’s grace.  W.

 

Ver. 6.  Name, or destroy them.  The name is often put for the thing itself.  Yet many of those nations who once made such a noise, are now quite forgotten.  No traces of them can be found.  H. The Egyptians and Chanaanites had been exterminated.  C. Ever, for all eternity, as long as God shall reign, v. 8. 40. or Ps. x. 16.  This shews that he speaks of the latter times, and of the final destruction of idolatry, by the preaching of apostolic men, (Bert.) and by the last fire.  For some will be so infatuated as to uphold it even to the end.  H. We have even reason to fear that it will again become more general, (P.  Apoc.) as faith shall decrease.  Jesus Christ and his apostles gave it however (H.) a mortal wound, so that in the fifth age many of its mysteries were quite forgotten.  Theod.  SS. Aug. and Jer.  C. They took the towns, or the souls, of many from the strong-armed.  Luk. xi. 21.  Bert. All sinners may be here styled Gentiles, because they were generally wicked.  If their reputation survive here for a while, it will certainly perish in the future world.  W.

 

Ver. 7.  Swords.  “My enemies have sunk under the sword.”  Syr.  H. Frameæ is a German word for “javelins,” pointed with iron, which they might either throw, or use in close fight.  Tacit. It is often put for a sword.  Et martii frameam.  Juv. xiii. The weapons of the enemy being exhausted, they are forced to yield. Their.  Heb. &c. “the.” Noise, as swiftly.  These fierce nations are fallen like a huge Colossus.  C. Heb. “they themselves,” or “with them.” Cities, &c.

 

Ver. 8.  In judgment.  S. Jer. “to judge.”  H.

 

Ver. 9.  World.  This globe  must give place to new heavens and earth, (Bert.) after its inhabitants have been judged.  H. Justice.  Men  may be corrupt judges, but God cannot.  W.

Ver. 10.  Poor.  Heb. ladac, “the oppressed,” (S. Jer.) “broken with grief.”  C. Tribulation.  God’s assistance is requisite both in prosperity and adversity.  He generally manifests his power only, when all human succour proves useless.  H. Thus he acted at the Red Sea, and when he sent delivers to Israel.  Our Saviour came at the time appointed, when he was most wanted.  Theod.  Gal. iv. 4.  C. “We are often oppressed with tribulation, and yet it is not the due time; that so we may be helped by the desire of being set free.”  S. Greg. Thus the delay is for our advantage.  W.

Ver. 11.  Know, with love.  Such are always heard.  What wonder if others be rejected, who flee from God?  S. Chrys. and S. Aug.  C. The learned often trust too much to their own knowledge, whereas God has made choice of the simple.  Matt. xi. 25.  Bert.

Ver. 12.  Ways, (studia) “favours,” (H.) works, &c.  C. This was done by the apostles.  S. Aug. Men ought chiefly to study the precepts of God.  W.

 

Ver. 13.  Their, may be omitted, as it would seem to refer to the Gentiles.  God declares that he will demand the blood of all that shed it without authority.  Gen. ix. 5.  H. He had punished the Chanaanites, &c. for their cruelty, as he did afterwards the persecutors of his Church.  If the names of Herod, Nero, &c. be infamous in history for their sanquinary proceedings, they are not less so on account of the judgments which God exercised upon them, even in this world.  C.  See Lact. de Mort. Persec.  H. God avengeth the blood of his martyrs.  W.

 

Ver. 14.  Enemies.  Israel has been so long under oppression.

 

Ver. 15.  Death, from the most imminent dangers.  H. Daughter.  In the places where the inhabitants of Sion assembled, (Bert.) or publicly in the Church.  W. In hell, the damned would wish to die.  Theod. The gates of death may also signify sin, (Orig.) and the bad example of parents.  S. Jer.

 

Ver. 16.  Hid.  These are the enemies of salvation.  Bert. The nations which had oppressed the Jews found their fortifications and arms turned against themselves, (C.) which is often the case of the wicked.  W.

 

Ver. 17.  Hands.  Caught in the very act, so that he cannot deny the crime.  Here we find in Heb. (C.) higaion sela, which S. Jerom renders, “by meditation for ever.”  H. Sept. Sym. and some Lat. copies, “a canticle of the psalm’s division,” diayalmatoV.  Here perhaps the psalm ended.  C.

 

Ver. 18.  Hell; shall die, or be lost.  (Convertantur.)   Lit. “Let,” &c.  But it may be properly explained as a prediction, or menace.  H. “Those who are devoid of God’s justice, return to the dominion of the devil.”  Robertson, Lexic. Zeal, and not revenge, prompts David to speak thus.  W.

 

Ver. 19.  Not perish.  Heb. does not express the negation, but it must be understood.  Bert. Prot. supply it from the former part of the verse.  The expectation of the just will not be frustrated.

Ver. 20.  Man.  Heb. enosh, (H.) “weak,” sinful “man.”  Bert. Gentiles, or all notorious sinners.  The Jews despised the Gentiles, as the Romans did all barbarians.  W.

Ver. 21.  Lawgiver.  Heb. mora.  H. Sept. intimates one who rigorously enforces his laws.  M. Sym. “a law.”  Heb. “instruction.”  C. Houb. “fear.”   S. Jer. “terror:  let the nations know that they are men always.”  Sela is thus frequently explained as a part of the sentence by S. Jerom, though neglected by others.  H. It is no proof that the psalm ends here; but serves to excite attention.  W. The Gentiles lived without law, like beasts, except that their conscience sometimes admonished them of their duty.  Rom. ii. 14.  H. Whether a person can ever silence it entirely, is a very serious and terrible question.  The great ones stand in need of being admonished frequently of their frail condition.  Bert. When Pausanias, king of Sparta, asked Simonides to give his some important lesson, he replied, “Remember that thou art a man.”  Whoever reflects on this, will beware never to yield to sentiments of pride.  The Fathers understand this lawgiver to be Jesus; or Antichrist, whom the wicked have deserved to have set over them.  Theod.  S. Athan. &c.  C. Those who will not believe in Christ, will give credit to Antichrist.  S. Aug.  2 Thes. ii.

Ver. 22. or Hebrew Psalm x. Ver. 1.  In modern times, the Jews have done it.  W. The Church allows this title, though the Sept. found none in their copies, and therefore looked upon all to be one ps.  The change of subject is no proof of the contrary, as such compositions mingle joy and fear together.  David has shewn how the just had got the victory.  He now proceeds to declare what persecutions they had to endure.  Bert. After peace war succeeds.  There is no settled state here below.  H. The same sentiments occur, Ps. xi. and xiii. &c.  C. Trouble.  God assists his servants in distress; (v. 10,) yet sometimes he delays, in order “to inflame their souls with a desire of his coming.”  S. Aug. He is present, (Acts. xvii. 28.) but only the men of prayer are truly sensible either of it, or of his absence.  Bert. The weak think he defers his aid a long time when they suffer any great persecution.

 

Ver. 23. or Hebrew Psalm x. Ver. 2.  Fire.  With zeal (W.) and indignation, or rather is oppressed (C.) and persecuted.  See Mic. iii. 3.  H. They.  Houb. would substitute “he is caught.”  But we may well explain this of the sinner and the unjust, v. 3.  Bert. Indeed both are under perplexity, as the poor  knows not why the wicked prosper.  Bellar.  M. An answer is given to the complaint of the just, intimating that the wicked are caught in their own snares, (W.) and are not free from trouble.  H.

 

Ver. 24. or Hebrew Psalm x. Ver. 3.  Blessed by flatterers, while his is full of himself also, as the Heb. insinuates.  C. “The miser, applauding himself, has blasphemed the Lord.  The wicked in the height of his fury will not seek, nor is God in all his thoughts.”  H. This is more energetic, and encourages us to study the original.  The worldling wishes there were no God; or banishes him from his thoughts as much as possible.  Bert.

 

Ver. 25. or Hebrew Psalm x. Ver. 4.  Seek to regain his favour, (W.  M.) or rather (H.) he flatters himself that God will not punish him, v. 13.  C. Multum irascitur, dum non exquirit.  S. Aug.  See Psalm xxxv. 5.

 

Ver. 26. or Hebrew Psalm x. Ver. 5.  Filthy.  Heb. “as one in labour.”  He can enjoy no ease.  Chal. “his ways are prosperous.”  Jun. “paved.”  C. Removed.  Heb. “height itself before him, he will blow upon all his enemies.”  This more forcibly denotes his violence and scorn.  Bert.  Acts ix. 1.  M. He ruleth for a time, and supposeth that his dominion will never have an end, and that he will enjoy constant happiness.  W.

 

Ver. 27. or Hebrew Psalm x. Ver. 6.  Evil.  Always happy, or as the Heb. Chal. &c. may signify, “I shall not desist from evil.”  C. I will gratify my passions.  Who dares to oppose me?  A. The pride of Nabuchodonosor is known.  Dan. iv. 19. &c.

 

Ver. 28. or Hebrew Psalm x. Ver. 7.  Sorrow.  Which he prepares for others, and yet feels himself.  C. Etiam ad perniciem laboratur.  S. Aug. To gain hell requires some “trouble.  H. The wicked is his own executioner.  C.

 

Ver. 29. or Hebrew Psalm x. Ver. 8.  Rich.  S. Jer. “in the  porches,” is equivalent.  Moderns translate, “villages,” which Houbigant would change for a word signifying “ditches,” without necessity.  Bert.

Ver. 30. or Hebrew Psalm x. Ver. 9.  Poor.  “His eyes look round the strong,” for aid; or “the poor,” (Prot.) for destruction.    See v. 14.

Ver. 31. or Hebrew Psalm x. Ver. 10.  Fall.  Prot. “and humbleth himself, that the poor may fall by his strong ones.”  H. He imitates the lion in the fable, which feigned sickness.  Hor. ep. But the Vulg. gives a better sense.  C. “He will bring under the broken, (poor) and will rush on violently with all his power.”  S. Jerom here explains chelecaim, valenter, instead of “the poor;” (H.) as some of the Gr. interpreters must have done, if it be true that his version is formed on the plan of the Hexapla, of a mere selection from Aq. Sym. and Theodotion, as Houbigant asserts, (Pref.) in order to confute the Jews.  H.

Ver. 32. or Hebrew Psalm x. Ver. 11.  End.  God delays for a time; but he will  punish.  C. Religion lays open all the sophisms of infidelity.  Bert.

 

Ver. 35. or Hebrew Psalm x. Ver. 14.  Sorrow.  Thou punishest with pain.  S. Aug. Thou beholdest all the iniquity which is committed, (C.) but  waitest until the measure be full.  S. Chrys. Terrible delay! Poor.  S. Jer. “art left thy strong ones,” who distrust in themselves, and rely on thee.  H. Others explain cheleca, “poor and weak.”  Parkhurst. Cheleca only occurs here and v. 9. 10.  Prot. “the poor committeth himself to thee.”  H.

 

Ver. 36. or Hebrew Psalm x. Ver. 15.  Found.  When the means of sinning are withdrawn, he will repent; (SS. Chrys. Aug.  Is. xxviii. 19.) or it is a sort of irony: he will see whether, as he said, God will take no notice, v. 4.  C. He shall be utterly exterminated.  Ps. xxxvi.  M. No vestige of his magnificent works, founded on injustice, shall remain.  H.

 

Ver. 37. or Hebrew Psalm x. Ver. 16.  Shall.  Or Heb. “have perished.”  In the prophetic style, things to come are spoken of as past, on account of their certainty.  Bert. The wicked shall not appear in the kingdom of God, to pollute his earth.  H. Ye nations which have seized the promised land, except not to keep possession.  If God suffer the sinner for a while, it is because he is eternal, so that he will never let him escape.  C.

 

Ver. 38. or Hebrew Psalm x. Ver. 17.  The.  Heb. “Thou, Lord, hast heard the desire of the humble.  Thou wilt prepare their heart; thou wilt cause thine ear to hear.”  Prot.  H. Luther seems to have altered the text in his German version, in order to establish his error of the certitude of salvation; “their heart is sure that thine ear hath heard.”  The Heb. intimates that God prepares the heart for all good.  Bert. He hears before his servants cry out, (Is. lxv. 24.) since his spirit inspires the petitions.  Rom. viii. 26.  Gal. iv. 6.  C. The cry of the heart is charity, amore petitur.  S. Aug. Mor. Ecc. The just man is always ready to suffer whatever God may appoint.  W.

 

Ver. 39. or Hebrew Psalm x. Ver. 18.  Earth.  S. Jerom is more expressive, “that the man of earth may by no means cherish pride any longer.”  Though he may be the greatest monarch, he is but man, dust and corruption, v. 21.  H. Christ, who shewed himself wonderful in humility at his birth, (v. 1.) will display his power at the last day, by giving sentence against the wicked, and by exalting his servants.  W.

PSALM 10

PSALM X.  (IN DOMINO CONFIDO.)

The just man’s confidence in God in the midst of persecutions.

Ver. 1.  Heb. Lamnatseach lidavid, (H.) “to the master of music or, or to David.”  C. S. Jerom supplies the word psalm.  That David, or any other, should give the title of master of music to so great a prince may seem strange; and therefore the Vulg. may perhaps be as accurate.  S. Jerom and Pagnin have “to the victor of David.”  Almost all agree that he composed this psalm (H.) when he began to be persecuted by Saul.  He expresses his confidence in God; when his friends advised him to flee.  C. The Fathers take hence occasion to caution the faithful against the insidious speeches of those who pretend that they can procure greater security than the Church affords, (H.) and that they teach a doctrine of greater perfection.  SS. Aug. Jer. &c.  C.

Ver. 2.  How.  My friends…say, &c.  W. To the.  Heb. now, “to your mountain,” as the words are joined which were formerly divided, while a v has been lost, and another placed instead of i, as we may gather from the ancient interpreters.  Chal. Syr. S. Jer. &c. Most people suppose that David’s friends exhort him to withdraw: but he waits for the divine order.  Others think (C.) that these are the words of his enemies, who wished to fill him with dismay, that he might retire among the Gentiles, and adore their idols, 1 K. xxvi. 19.  Mariana. Sparrow.  Heb. tsipor, any little “bird.”  H.  Prov. xxvii. 8.  M. Heretics false style their conventicles the mountains.  S. Aug.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  Quiver.  Heb. “on the string,” ready to shoot.  C. But yether (H.) means “abundance,” and may be well understood of the quiver.  Bert. Persecutors use all rigour, though they disguise the real cause of their resentment against the innocent.  W. Dark.  Sept. add “moon.”  M.

 

Ver. 4.  Made.  In choosing me for king, Heb. “the foundations are, or shall be destroyed; and what shall the just do? or, what has the just man done?”  The foundations, both of religion and of the kingdom, depend on God’s ordinances, as the Sept. well explain.  Bert. Pagnin has, “the nets;” S. Jerom, “the laws.”  In these days of infidelity and rebellion, the just must experience the greatest perplexity.  H. If faith be lost, who shall be just?  Bert. Persecutors, and especially heretics, pull down what others have built.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  Heaven.  This is the source of my confidence.  C. The admirable mother of the Machabees suggested this consoling motive, (Bert.) to strengthen her youngest son.  2 Mac. vii. 28.  Heaven is  the temple of the Lord, (H.) though the tabernacle may be so styled here.  See Ps. x. 8.  C. The poor man is not in Heb. but it is chiefly of him that the psalmist speaks; (Bert.) and the Sept. and Arab. (C.) seem to (H.) have read it.  Eliphaz remarks, that God does not disregard human affairs, as the wicked supposed.  Job  xxii. 12.  C. If his eyes seem to be shut, his providence watcheth.  W.

 

Ver. 6.  Trieth, interrogat, which is rendered by examine, v. 5.  H. God juridically questions all, (C.) and makes them give an exact account of themselves, even of every idle word.  H. The word also means that he punishes, or chastises.  C. Heb. “the Lord trieth the just, but his soul hateth the wicked, and the lover of iniquity.”  S. Jer. &c.  H. Yet the original may be explained in the sense of the Sept. which is more beautiful and instructive; as the sinner will hardly believe that he is his own greatest enemy.  Bert. By continuing in sin he brings damnation on his soul.  W.

 

Ver. 7.  Snares.  Wonderful expression!  The wicked cannot escape.  H. Brimstone, as he did upon Sodom.  Gen. xix. 4.  Jude 7. Cup.  At feasts, each person (C.) had his portion and his own cup.  Dreadful indeed is the inheritance of the wicked.  See Ps. xv. 5.  Bert. If God spare for a time, He must at last punish severely.  W.

 

Ver. 8.  Righteousness.  As, on the other hand, (H.) the upright shall behold God, (Matt. v. 8.) while the wicked shall be driven into darkness (C.) for all eternity.  In vain do modern sophists pretend that hell will not last for ever because God is incapable of revenge, or of delighting in the torture of his creatures.  They use the word revenge in a wrong sense.  Bert. God is not subject to any passion; but his justice requires that those should be eternally punished, whose will is always impious.  H. Can they shew that there will be room for repentance in the other world? (Bert.) or that the wicked would make use of it, if granted, since they would not repent as long as they lived?  By the same arguments, they might as well prove that God could not punish at all.  H.  Dan. iii. 27.

PSALM 11

PSALM XI.  (SALVUM ME FAC.)

The prophet calls for God’s help against the wicked.

Ver. 2.  Save.  David, persecuted by Saul, (Bossuet) or Absalom; (Grot.) the captives at Babylon; (C.) our Saviour suffering, or coming to judge; (S. Aug.) in a word, any just man who sees the corruption of men, may use this language.  H. We cannot open the writings of the prophets, or of the Fathers, without meeting with such complaints.  Heb. “no saint;” chasid, “pious” (Pagn.  H.) clement person.  C. Truths.  Heb. “people of veracity.”  C. Bias said, “All men are bad;” (Clem. strom. 1.) or, as Laertius expresses it, “Most people are wicked.” Hence few are chosen.  H. Christ is the truth.  If we admire his doctrine, let us put it in practice.  Bert.

 

Ver. 3.  Deceitful.  Heb. “flattering;” and of course not fee from deceit.  Bert.

“That man I hate, e’en as the gates of hell,

Who thinks one thing, and will another tell.”  Iliad I.

None can have (H.) confidence in a liar.  S. Jam. i. 8.  C.

 

Ver. 4.  Lips.  “The saints do not curse, but foretell what will happen.”  S. Jer. Heb. “the Lord will destroy” the deceitful, (Bert.) who mean to injure men; (H.) and the proud, who attack God and religion, which they pretend they can prove (Bert.) to be a mere fiction , by their superior eloquence!  H.

 

Ver. 5.  Own.  “We have lips,” (Sym.) or eloquence to gain our cause against these miserable exiles.  C. Lord.  Heb. adon, “master.”  We admit of no superior, neither in heaven nor on earth.  H. Such was the haughtiness of Pharao, &c.  Ex. v. 2. and 4 K. xviii. 19.  Dan. iii. 15.  C.

 

Ver. 6.  Arise, and redeem lost man; (Theod.) or, protect my servants (C.) from such insolent oppressors.  H. Regard.  This may be put in the mouth of the afflicted.  C. “I will place my confidence in the Saviour, and will act boldly in him.”  H. His promises give me full assurance, v. 7.  The Heb. seems to be incorrect, and very different from what the ancients read.  C. S. Jer. has, “I will place their aid in salvation;” (H.) which he explains of Jesus Christ.  See Is. xii. 2.  C. Moderns insert many words.  “I will save him, that hey may learn to trust in me.”  German. “I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him.” Prot.  Or “would ensnare him.”  Margin.  We may better translate, “I will put in safety, the Lord will act freely herein;” or, “safety which will act freely upon him,” the poor.  Bert. “I will raise up a Saviour, who with his breath will destroy the wicked.”  Prin. disc.

 

Ver. 7.  Pure words, very different from those of the deceitful, v. 3.  C. Earth, dross, or in the crucible, or “for the ruler of earth:” (Pagnin.  H.) current money.  If we alter the Heb. a little, it may be, “with care, (bahalil, which is never elsewhere used for a crucible) gold refined seven times;” often, (Prov. xxiv. 16.) or as much as possible.  C.

 

Ver. 8.  This corrupt generation; or, both in this world and in the next.  Heb. “preserve them;” the just, or thy words.  C. “And thou wilt keep him.”  Pagn. Prot. marg. i.e. “Every one of them.”  S. Jerom reads, “us.”  H.

 

Ver. 9.  About.  Their life is a circle of relapses; or rather they continually attack the just, (C.) but their designs are made subservient to their advancement in virtue, by the power of God.  T. Heb. “They (the just) shall go round the wicked, when baseness shall have raised herself up,  on account of the children of men.”  When God shall  have restored the Jews to liberty, the Babylonians shall be, in their turn, oppressed by Cyrus and the Persians, whom they now despise: or, when the miserable shall be placed in power, the wicked shall not dare to approach them.  C. “The wicked shall walk round about, when the vilest of the sons of men shall be exalted.”  S. Jerom.  H. The former have spent their life in vanity, and shall be kept for ever out of the kingdom of heaven; as the error of the Platonists, who assert that all things will come to pass again, the world being compared to a wheel, is manifestly refuted by Scripture, which assures us that God will preserve the just from this generation, (S. Aug.) and the wicked will knock at the door, like the foolish virgins, and will be rejected with, I never knew you.  Matt. xxv.  S. Jer. or some other learned author.  W. For some suspect that the commentary which goes under the name of S. Jerom, is not in the state in which it came from his hands. H.

PSALM 12

PSALM XII.  (USQUEQUO DOMINE.)

A prayer in tribulation.

Ver. 1.  Me?  These expressions are figurative.  God seems displeased: but it is often for our greater good.  Some explain this of David, Ezechias, the captives, &c.  It may be applied to every afflicted soul, which places her whole trust in God.  C.

Ver. 2.  Day; frequently.  W. Sept. adds, “and night.”  C. These cares and perplexities arise from persecutions and from man’s weakness.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  Enemy; Saul, &c. or the devil.  S. Aug.  C.

 

Ver. 4.  Death, by mortal sin, (W.) or through excessive sorrow.  Jer. li. 39.  Shew me thy favour, (C.) and I shall be secure.  Sleep is represented as nearly related to death.  Iliad xiv.

Tum consanguineus lethi sopor.  Æn. vi.  H.

 

Ver. 7.  Mercy.  Man must attribute nothing to himself, otherwise he will be moved by pride.  S. Aug.  C. Things; patience and reward.  W. The prophet feels a secret confidence arising in his breast, in consequence of God’s protection. Yea, &c. is not in Heb. but it is in the Sept. Arab. and the ancient Fathers.  Heb. “My heart shall be transported in thy salvation; I will praise the Lord, because he has rendered me the like,” as I placed  my hopes in him: (C.) or, “he hath rewarded me.”  The blessed Virgin adopts the language of this verse, and the prophet probably had the same salvation, Christ, in view.  Berthier.

PSALM 13

PSALM XIII.  (DIXIT INSIPIENS.)

The general corruption of men, before our redemption by Christ.

Ver. 1.  Fool:  the man of the most depraved morals, the atheist and deist.  There have always been (Bert.) such pests of society.  H. David has refuted them again.  Ps. lii.  Bert. Some have imagined that this psalm was composed in consequence of the blasphemies of Rabsaces, (4 K. xviii. 32.  Theodoret, &c.) or of the Babylonians.  C. The Fathers explain it of Jesus Christ, denied by the Jews, &c. Heart.  This must be strangely corrupted, before the mouth can utter such impiety.  H. No God.  Chal. “no power of God on earth.”  Elohim denotes particularly “judges.”  There have been a few philosophers who have denied the existence of God; and more who  have called in question his Providence: though this amounts to the same thing.  But the number of those who confess God with the mouth, and deny him by their works, is immense.  H. These live as if there were no judge.  C. By sin they come at last to think there is none to govern the world.  W. Plato (Leg. 10.) acknowledged that three sorts of people offend God; those who deny him; who say that He does not mind human affairs; or those who think that presents may prevail on him to connive at their wickedness.  It is doubtful whether the mind can ever be so darkened as to believe that there is no God.  Bert. The heart may wish there were none to punish its impiety.  H. Libertinage or pride gives birth to so many infidels.  They have begun by reducing conscience to silence.  Their arguments only tend to destroy. No, not one, is not in Heb. Sept. &c. except in v. 3.  C. Yet it occurs in the Vatican Sept, which is the best.  Bert.  C. “They are become abominable, with earnestness there is none who doth good.”  S. Jer.  H. Or they sin designedly and with affectation.  C. All are unable to do good without the Redeemer.  W. Some explain this of mankind in general, as all are born in sin.  David refers also to actual and habitual sinners.  Bert. S. Paul (Rom. iii.) proves from this text, and Isai. lix. 7, that all stand in need of grace and faith, and cannot be saved either by the law of nature or of Moses.  But it does not follow that faith alone will save, or that the most just are still wicked, as Calvin and Beza falsely expound the Scriptures.  For the prophets speak of those who were not yet justified, teaching that all mankind were once in sin, and could not be justified but by Christ.  At the same time, they assert that, when they are justified, they must serve justice to bear fruit, and obtain happiness.  Rom. vi.  These points are well explained by S. Aug.: (de Sp. et lit. i. 9.)  “The just are justified freely by his grace,” not by the law or will; though this is not effected without the will, &c.  The same holy doctor (c. 27) observes, that the just do not live free from all venial sins, and yet remain in the state of salvation; while the wicked continue in the state of damnation, though they do some good works.  W.

Ver. 2.  God.  Those only who seek God, understand their real interests.  H. The pagans, and particularly those of Babylon, lived in the greatest dissolution, so as to call loudly for vengeance, v. 5.  C. Both the understanding and the will were gone astray.  Bert.

 

Ver. 3.  Unprofitable.  Without faith in Christ, none have meritorious works.  W. Not one.  Such was the condition of the world before Christ, as all were born in sin.  “No one,” says S. Aug. “can do good, except he shew the method.”  All were immersed in ruin, “except the holy Virgin, concerning whom, for the honour of the Lord, I would have no question at all, in treating of sins.”  S. Aug. de Nat. et Grat. con. Pelag. xxxvii. 44.  C. The Council of Trent approves of this reserve, when speaking of original sin.  Our Saviour is the source of this privilege, and much more out of the question.  He could not be guilty of any sort of transgression.  He was in all things like to us, excepting sin.  H. Their, &c.  What follows to shall not, (v. 4.) occurs in S. Paul; (Rom. iii. 11, 12, 13.) whence S. Jerom supposes that it has been inserted here, though the apostle took the quotations from different parts of scripture.  Praef. in xvi. Isai.  He informs us, that all the Greek commentators marked it as not found in Heb. or the Sept. “except in the Vulg. or koinh, which varied in different parts of the world.”  There seems to be no reason why it should have been omitted designedly, whereas some might insert it, through the false notion that S. Paul had taken it from this psalm.  C. The Heb. is not therefore mutilated, but the Vulg. redundant.  Amama. Yet this is not absolutely clear.  We find the quotation in the Rom. Sept. which is the most correct; (Bert.) though some prefer the Alex. MSS.  H. It is also in the Arab. and Ethiopic versions; so that it might have been in S. Paul’s copy.  Our Saviour read a passage from Isaias, which is not extant.  Luke iv. 19.  Bert. S. Justin, S. Aug. &c. agree with the Vulg.; and Lindan mentions a Heb. copy which had these verses, though the learned have reason to think that this Heb. was of a modern date.  C. Prot. 1577, inserted these three verses, (W.) which they now omit. Sepulchre.  They are never satisfied with destruction, (H.) and with vexing others.  W. We bear in ourselves the seed of corruption, which can be prevented from growing up only by the grace of Jesus Christ.  Bert. Perdition is from thyself, O Israel.  H.

 

Ver. 4.  Know my just providence, though they would fain keep it out of sight, (v. 1.) that they may indulge their passions.  H. My people.  These we may conclude, were just; (Bert.) at least in comparison with their cruel oppressors, (H.) who made it their daily practice to injure them, (S. Aug.) as they could do it with facility.  Num. xix. 9.  Prov. xxx. 14.  Mic. iii. 2.  C. The prophet, in God’s name, complains of their eagerness to hurt the good.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  Where.  This expression refers to there, which is in Heb. though  this last part of the verse is wanting.  Capel. It is in Ps. lii. 6., and this renders the former omission (v. 3.) more credible.  Bert. When Cyrus approached to besiege Babylon, Nabonides, the king, met him, and gave him battle; but losing the victory, he, in a panic, retreated to Borsippe, and abandoned the defence of his capital.  Beros. apud Jos. con. App. l.  The citizens were in the utmost consternation.  Isai. xiii. and xxi., &c.  C. But the wicked tremble at the prospect of temporal losses, (M.) and at shadows, while they boldly affront the Deity.  Unbelievers find difficulties in the Catholic doctrines, which are frequently attributed to their own mistakes.  H. The pagans would not believe in God, but trembled before idols; which cannot hurt the faithful.  W.

Ver. 6.  Man, who wished sincerely to practise his religion, like Daniel, &c.  Such you have persecuted, and hence God  has filled you with alarms, and will punish you.  C. Some persevere in justice, amid the general contagion and insults of men.  W.

 

Ver. 7.  Sion; which God has chosen for his sanctuary.  H. Salvation, or the Saviour, whom Jacob expected.  Gen. lxix.  Bert. This Redeemer would fill all, both Jews and Gentiles, with joy, who should embrace his faith.  S. Aug. &c. The prophet seems to foretell the restoration of the ten tribes to the kingdom of Judea, as it took place after the captivity.  C. Diss. But he sighed for, and designated more particularly, (H.) the Saviour of the world; who would redeem man from the tyranny of the devil, to the great joy of those who strive to supplant every vice, and to contemplate God, (W.) as some interpret the names of Jacob and Israel.  H. The Gentiles will then be ingrafted into the stock of Abraham, (M.) into the true olive-tree.  Rom. xi.  H.

PSALM 14

PSALM XIV.  (DOMINE QUIS HABITABIT.)

What kind of men shall dwell in the heavenly Sion.

Ver. 1.  David.  The word psalm being appropriated to some, while others are styled hymns, &c. does not hinder the latter from being also psalms or spiritual songs, to be set to music: so the insertion of David, “the beloved’s name,” in some of these divine canticles, is no proof that the rest were not written by him.  W. The author describes the perfection of priests, &c. contrasts the sanctity of those who shall inherit Jerusalem with that of the wicked mentioned in the last psalm.  Some copies have To the end in the title, while others omit it, with the Heb. S. Chrys. &c. Hill.  The Jews comforted themselves with the hopes of seeing Jerusalem rebuilt, Ps. cxxxi. 1.  The prophets describe those who should return from captivity, as holy people, (Isai. xxvi. 3.  Soph. iii. 13.  C.) a figure of the Church.  H. Heaven is also styled a tabernacle and mountain, (Apoc. xv. 5.  Heb. xii. 22.  Bert.) and is here chiefly (H.) meant.  See ver. 5.  W.

Ver. 2.  Justice.  These two things characterize the true Israelites.  C. We must avoid sin, and do good, in thought, word and deed, v. 3.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  Heart, as he thinks.  H. Those who sincerely love truth, will not deceive others.  C. We must be attached to all revealed truths, and avoid all the disorders of the tongue. Up, which would otherwise have fallen to the ground, &c.  Bert. Reproach.  Rashly giving credit to injurious reports, (C.  S. Aug.  Ex. xxiii. 1.) or speaking with insult, (Theod.) even in giving correction, (S. Hilary) or listening to detraction.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  Nothing.  He despises all wickedness, though done by kings, whose power he considers as the means of destruction.  1 K. xv. 26.  Lu. xxiii. 9.  The wicked dares not appear before an upright judge, like David.  Ps. c. 2.  Heb. may be “the wicked is despised.”  S. Jer.  H. Those who follow the Jews, have “he thinks meanly of himself,” which is very good; but the sense of the Vulg. seems more pointed, (C.) though the other contains a noble maxim of the gospel.  Bert. Prot. “in whose eyes a vile person is contemned.”  The sinner is the only person who is truly vile, in the opinion of the just, who forms not his opinion on outward appearances.  H. Lord.  Glory is the reward of good works.  W. Neighbour.  This sense is conformable to the Heb. without points, (Geneb.) and more beautiful than that of the Rabbins, “against his own interest,” (Jun.) “to do evil,” (Ainsworth) “friendship,” (Sym.) or “to afflict himself.”  S. Jerom. We find such vows strongly enforced.  Num. xxx. 3.  Deut. xxiii. 21.  C. Prot. “that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.”  H. It were to be wished that oaths were not necessary.  C. But when they are, the Lord must be the arbiter of truth, and not idols; as by swearing, we testify that we believe God is the sovereign truth, and thus honour his name.  See Lev. xix 12.  Mat. v. 33.  H.

 

Ver. 5.  Usury.  This was always blameable, though Moses tolerated it with respect to the Jews lending to the Chanaanites.  Deut. xxiii. 19.  Lu. vi. 35.  The Roman law condemned the guilty to pay double as much as the thief, who was to restore twice the value of what he had stolen.  Cato 1. Under the semblance of kindness it does a real injury; (S. Hil.) etiam his invisa quibus succurrere videtur.  Columel. præf.  C. Bribes, (munera) “presents.”  Even these are dangerous, as they tend to prepossess the judge.  H. Both usury and doing wrong for bribes exclude from heaven.  W. A judge must shake such things from his hands, (Isai. xxxiii. 15.) as he cannot take them to give either a just or a wrong sentence.  His duty requires him to give the former; so that the innocent would thus be purchasing what was his own.  C. The same maxims must be applied to all in authority, (H.) to witnesses, &c.  C. Those who have not failed in any of these respects, must be possessed of faith, and all other necessary virtues, before they can enter heaven.  For when the scripture attributes salvation to any one virtue in particular, it does not mean to exclude the rest. For ever.  All terrestrial things are mutable; and of course, the psalmist speaks of heaven.  If so great perfection was required, to appear in the tabernacle, how much more must be expected of the candidate for heaven!  W. The good Christian who has not yielded to temptation, may there enjoy undisturbed repose.  Isaias (xxiii. 15.) uses similar expressions, when describing the state of Jerusalem, after the defeat of Sennacherib.  C.

PSALM 15

PSALM XV.  (CONSERVA ME DOMINE.)

Christ’s future victory and triumph over the world and death.

Ver. 1.  The inscription of a title.  That is, a pillar or monument, sthlografia: which is as much as to say, that this psalm is most worthy to be engraved on an everlasting monument.  Ch. Mictam.  Prot. “Michtam.”  Marg. or “golden psalm of David,” or most excellent.  S. Jerom, &c. have divided the word into two: “of the humble and upright David.”  H. It may signify “inscribed.”  C. But there seems to be no reason for abandoning the Sept. who were well acquainted with the original.  The ps. is in the form of a prayer, which David pronounces in the person of Christ, to whom the apostles apply several verses; and, as the rest seem to be of the same nature, we must understand all of the Messias, praying, in his sacred humanity, (Bert.) that his body may remain incorrupt.  It may refer to Ezechias, to the captives, or rather to David, persecuted by Saul, and provoked to serve false gods.  1 K. xxvi. 19.  But then many expressions must be explained figuratively, (C.) and this would tend to weaken the prediction, (Bert.) which all the Fathers have understood of Christ suffering.  C. The thing most worthy to be noted, (stilographia) by the prophet David, is our Saviour’s crucifixion; (W.) the memory of which must be perpetuated.  Job (xix. 24.) wished that what he said about the resurrection, might thus be engraven on flint.  H. Preserve.  David acknowledges his infirmity, and that all good comes from God.  C. Jesus was heard praying with tears, &c.  Heb. v. 7.  In his humanity, He might use these expressions, (H.) as He was the head of a new people, whom he wished to sanctify and instruct.  Bert. He often prayed, as the gospel informs us.  W.

Ver. 2.  I have.  Heb. “Thou, my soul, hast said.”  But S. Jerom agrees with us. Goods.  Heb. “my good is not above thee.”  I can desire nothing greater.  Bert. Aquila and Vatable seem to have the same idea as the Sept.  We reap all the profit from our piety.  C. The redemption was entirely for man’s benefit, (W.) though it gave the greatest glory to God.  H. Since God, therefore, wants nothing, I will shew my kindness (Bellar.) to the poor.  H.

 

Ver. 3.  Saints.  Heb. “the magnificent” priests, God himself, (Ex. xv. 11.  Calmet) and ceremonies of religion, (H.) for which David had a wonderful affection.  C. But Christ has displayed the greatest love towards all his converts, and they had need of it.  Bert. God here speaks, shewing that Christ should make known his wonderful charity to the apostles and other saints.

 

Ver. 4.  Haste.  Men who are convinced of their own infirmities, hasten to find a remedy.  W. No sooner had fallen man been redeemed, that he strove to advance in the ways of perfection.  Bert. The sins, to which the saints sometimes yield, tend to make them more cautious (C.) and grateful to their deliverer, like S. Peter.  Persecutions  likewise cause them to cling closer to God, and fill them with interior joy.  Acts v. 41.  H. If we explain it of the wicked, chastisement often makes them repent.  Ps. lxxvii. 34.  C. “Their idols have been multiplied after their followers, I will not join in their libations of blood.”  S. Jer. David was continually exposed to such temptations, among the idolaters; but out of contempt, he would not even pronounce the name of the idols.  C. Blood, or bloody.  D. The pagan (W.) and Mosaic sacrifices shall cease.  Christ will unite us (Bert.) by a more excellent oblation of his own body and blood.  H. Christians shall be distinguished by a fresh appellation, being styled children of light and of God, in opposition to the sons of men, (S. Aug. &c.  C.) and pagans.

 

Ver. 5.  Cup.  Eternal happiness consists in seeing (W.) and enjoying God, (H.) and is promised to the patient.  Though Christ was truly king of Israel and exercised jurisdiction, (Jo. xii. and xviii. 37.  Matt. xxi. &c.  W.) yet it was not of a temporal nature; (H.) and his chief inheritance was the Lord, who would reward his merits.  He has taught all clergymen to make this happy choice; as they declare when they become such.  Man may call God his inheritance, as he was made for him; and though he may have fallen, if he rise again, his title will be restored, and he may obtain felicity, whether he live in the world or retire from it.  W. David alludes to the custom of allotting each his portion of wine and meat, which was greater in proportion to the person’s dignity.  He rejects with disdain all worldly and sensual  joys.  C. God in not “a part,” but the whole portion of a good man. It is, &c.  S. Jer. “Thou are the possessor of my lot.”  I trust in thee for all.  H.  1 Pet. i. 4.  2 Tim. i. 12.  In the ancient sacrifices a part was reserved for the offerer.  But Jesus keeps nothing back.

 

Ver. 6.  Lines, with which land was measured.  Bert. Christ expresses his satisfaction with his church, which is gathered from all nations, to manifest the choicest virtues.  Tit. ii. 14.  Euthymius, S. Jer. &c.  C. This was his inheritance, not measured out with lines, (Jos. x.) but reaching to the very ends of the earth.  Ps. ii.  H.

 

Ver. 7.  Understanding.  Heb. “counsel.”  In the night of tribulation God directs the reins, or affections of the soul.  Christ might speak thus concerning his human nature.  Bert.  Lu. ii. 40.  Heb. v. 7.  David also gives thanks to God for enabling him to make so happy a choice, and to avoid being seduced.  C. He derives instructions from pain.  W.

 

Ver. 8.  That I.  Heb. “I shall not,” &c.  The sense is the same, but S. Peter agrees with us and the Sept.  Acts ii. 25, &c.  It is not of faith that the seven preceding verse regard Jesus Christ as the following do; but as the same person speaks, we may rationally infer that all should be explained of him.  Though he always enjoyed the beatific vision, his soul had the affections of other men, and always tended to keep in God’s presence.  So the angels who see God, desire more and more to contemplate him.  1 Pet. i. 12.  How earnestly ought we to strive always to keep in the divine presence!  (Bert.) then we should constantly advance in virtue, and fear no dangers.  The patriarchs thus walked with God, and arrived at such perfection.  H. The father was always at the right hand of his Son, to support and glorify him; and the Son, having continually performed what was pleasing to God, (Jo. viii. 29.) was placed at his right hand at his ascension, though his divinity had never been separated from him.  C. He had always God in view, and has left us a pattern how to behave.  W.

 

Ver. 9.  Tongue.  Heb. “glory.”  Yet Prot. translate, “tongue,” (Acts ii.) as S. Peter follows the Sept. (H.) and he surely understood the force of the Heb.; so that his testimony in their favour is very strong.  Commentators observe that the tongue manifests the joy of the heart, (Bert.) and the same word is used for the soul.  Ps. vii. 6.  C. Yet very different words signify the tongue and glory; and we follow the text, adopted by the apostle.  Joy naturally flows from the presence of the best of friends.  Bert. Our Saviour sometimes suspended this joy, that he might suffer the more for us.  C.

Ver. 10.  Soul in hell.  Beza, (in his 1st. edit. which he corrected afterwards) would translate “more corpse (cadaver, or carcass) in the grave;” for which he as been justly blamed.  For, though the corpse is sometimes called soul, as it has been animated by it, (H.) and the soul and blood are often used synonymously, yet we shall find no instance of the body of any one still living being styled a soul.  When speaking, therefore, of a person’s future death, the soul means either life or the spiritual substance.  Gen. xxxvii. 22.  Ps. xlix. 16.  Hence the explanation of the Fathers, who understand this of Christ’s descent into hell, to free the saints who were detained in limbo, is more probable.  Bert. The instances which are adduced to maintain the opposite sentiment, which Calmet, &c. assert is more literal, either prove nothing, or they relate to people deceased, whose bodies were not to be touched.  See Gen. ix. 5.  Lev. xvii. 11. and xxi. 11.  Num. vi. 6. and xix. 13.  Agg. ii. 14.  Christ speaks of his body in the following part of the verse, (H.) calling it Holy, because it was never separated from the divine nature.  Bert.   The erroneous interpretations or corruptions of Beza and Calvin on this head, opposing themselves to the consent of all the ancient Fathers, who believed this passage related ot the descent into limbo, are noted.  Gen. xxvii.  Acts ii.  1 Pet. iii.  The Prot. edit. vary.  Some retain the word hell, others the grave; remarking that “this is chiefly meant of Christ, by whose resurrection all his members have immortality.”  And (Acts ii.) they paraphrase, “Thou shalt not leave me in the grave;” wresting that which regards the body, rising from the grave, to the soul, which was never there.  W. The last edit. of Jas. I. agrees however with us, in both places.  “Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thy holy one to see corruption.”  It is observable that in the Heb. editions, (except Stephen’s and some few others) we find the word chasidic in the text, though the last i be properly omitted in the margin; as the word would otherwise signify “saints:” and thus make the apostles false witnesses.  Acts xiii. 35, &c.  H. “But who shall lay any such thing to their charge?  Other men may be deficient in their knowledge, and in their honesty; but inspired apostles could neither be deceived nor deceive.  All the ancient versions, the Masorets,” who order the word to be read in the singular, though printed plural in the text, and many of the best MSS. vouch for their veracity.  Moreover it is not true that God will not suffer his saints to see corruption; and, if this were the meaning of the words, they would not predict the resurrection of any particular person: yet “these words, the apostles observe to the Jews, are a prophecy of some particular person, whose soul was not long to continue in the place of departed spirits, and whose body was not to be corrupted, both being soon to be reunited.  Now David, say they, did not speak this of himself, &c.  Have the apostles imposed a prophecy upon the Jewish people, and upon the world?”  Kennicott. Dis. i. This learned author was greatly encouraged to go on with his ten years’ labour, in examining Heb. MSS. over the world, by finding many of the so favourable to the Christian religion, though it had been confidently asserted that all the MSS. were perfectly uniform.  We may rejoice to see that he also approves of the Catholic explanation of this passage, and does not refer the whole to the burial of Christ.  In effect, the Apostles’ Creed clearly distinguishes this article from that of the descent into hell. One.  Mont. ventures to follow Keri, “thy merciful one.”  H. Corruption.  “Neither wilt thou permit that sanctified body, by which other people are to be sanctified, to become corrupt.”  S. Aug. Christ rose again before the holy women had embalmed his body, (Lu. xxvi. 53.  Mark xvi. 1.) that no one might attribute the incorruption to that cause.  His appearance was so glorious, as to dispel every doubt from the minds of those who would attend to reason.  His descent into hell was not in consequence of any weakness, or that he might suffer, (C.) as Calvin blasphemously asserts, (H.  T.) but he descended in triumph, to liberate the souls of the holy Fathers, (C.) or to announce to them the glad tidings of peace, the fruits of which they should shortly enjoy at his ascension, when he would open the gates of heaven to all the faithful.  H.

Ver. 11.  Of life.  The observance of the commandments, (S. Jer.) or the method of obtaining happiness by patience and humility.  S. Aug. Thou hast opened a new track to me (H.) in the resurrection, unknown to mortals.  Euthym.  Bellar. For though some had been already raised to life, Christ is still called the first-fruits of those who sleep, or of the dead; because none had raised themselves to life, as he did.  H.  Jo. x. 18. Yet he attributes all the glory to the Father, either because he is the origin of the Deity, or because Jesus considered himself as man, and was in all things obedient to his Father.  Bert. His sacred humanity was now glorified, and beheld the face of God in a more perfect manner than any mere creature can do, tasting inexplicable delights for ever.  C. We must die and rise again, (W.) before we shall perfectly comprehend the ways of life.  Then we shall form a true judgment of all terrestrial things.  H.

PSALM 16

PSALM XVI.  (EXAUDI DOMINE JUSTITIAM.)

A just man’s prayer in tribulation, against the malice of his enemies.

Ver. 1.  Prayer.  This psalm contains the model of a fervent prayer, (H.) which may be used by any person under affliction.  W. The Rabbins say David expresses too much confidence in his own integrity, and therefore was soon after permitted to fall; while others assert that he spoke thus after the murder of Urias, to avert God’s wrath from his army before Rabbath.  But this supposition is  improbable, (C.) as well as the other.  H. The Fathers think that this psalm was composed during the persecution of Saul, and that it contains the sentiments of Jesus Christ and of his Church, under the persecution of infidels.  There are some very difficult passages in it.  C. My justice.  Heb. “attend to justice,” (H.) which amounts to the same thing; as no one would make this petition, unless he supposed that he was in the right.  “Here the justice of my cause.”  Principes.  Bert. “Hear the just man.”  S. Jer.  H. Lips.  I do not attempt to deceive thee, like the hypocrite; or rather I have not acted with deceit, or endeavoured to excite rebellion, as I have been accused.  C. In my just cause, hear my unfeigned petition.  W.

Ver. 2.  Countenance.  Pronounce sentence, (Est. i. 19.  C.) if I have done wrong.  I do not refuse punishment.  Ps. vii. 5. H. The Gr. and Lat. copies vary.  Some read correctly with the Heb. “Let thy eyes behold what is wrong.”  Yet S. Jer. (ep. ad Sun.) has “right,” with the Syr. &c.  Others more commonly read, “Let mine eyes behold justice.”  C. Montanus, however, substitutes rectitudines for iniquitates, as Pagnin had rendered mesharim, and Prot. “the things that are equal.”  H. “Holy preachers are the eyes of Christ…let them see what is just…and fulfil the justice which they preach.”  S. Jer. God sees all things, and will pass a just sentence.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  Fire.  I have experienced all sorts of misery.  C. Iniquity.  Heb. “Thou hast not found; I have thought.”  But the same word without points, zamothi, (H.) has the sense given by the Sept. and they knew nothing of these points.  Bert. We may also translate, “Thou hast not found in me any criminal thoughts.  My mouth has not transgressed thy orders.”  If some thoughts of taking revenge by killing Saul, presented themselves involuntarily, David repressed them; (C.) and when he was alone with him at night in a cave, he would not suffer him to be hurt, 1 K. xxvi. 7.  Theod. He asserts that he had gone through tribulations without offending.  Those who are innocent or penitent, may pray with this confidence; as the Church may, which has always some saints, on which account she is styled holy.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  Men.  Houb. “My mouth shall not pass to the pretexts of Adam.”  I will not seek for excuses in sin.  H. “My mouth utters not vows to the vain works of men.”  Prin. disc. But these versions are singular.  Bert. Hard.  Heb. “way of the robber.”  Purits, or prits,  (S. Jer.  H.) means also “fracture.”  Bert. David was ordered by God to retire into the wilderness, and to caves, where he was obliged to live like robbers, (C.) and was branded (C.) with the title of a fugitive slave by Nabal, 1 K. xxv. 10.  H. Yet the actions of David were very different from theirs.  Bert. He did not speak about the works of men, in power to condemn Saul, or any other, being averse to all detraction, and prescribing to himself the strictest laws, (C.) which God had ever promulgated.  Prot. “I have purposed that my mouth shall not transgress.  (4) Concerning the works of men, by the word of thy lips, I have kept me from the paths of the destroyer.”  The division of the verses is arbitrary.  H. David kept the narrow path of virtue.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  Perfect.  Heb. “support” me in these hard ways, where I am in continual danger of falling.  C. A Deo est incipere, a Deo est finire.  S. Jer. God’s grace enables us to begin and to perfect every good work.  H. None can walk right of themselves.  W.

 

Ver. 6.  Heard me, of former occasions.  This encourages me to pray with more confidence (Bert.) and fervour.  Bona vota quoties effectum percipiunt, multiplicantur.  S. Greg. Mor. xxxv. 3. Heb. also, “thou wilt hear me favourably.”  S. Jer.  H.

 

Ver. 7.  Mercies.  We become accustomed to the ordinary effects of grace, which are always admirable; and we are astonished only at miraculous conversions and occurrences.  Orig. Some such manifestation of the divine power seemed now requisite, to deliver David from such a powerful rival as Saul.  C. Syr. “Lord, make thy holy one appear as a prodigy, as the Saviour of those who hope in thee.”  S. Jer. “O thou Saviour of those who hope.”  H.

 

Ver. 8.  Eye.  God has shewn particular attention to protect the apple of the eye.  He watches still more over his servants, (Zac. ii. 8.) for whom all things procure good.  Rom. viii. 28.  Saul had declared himself against David, because he had been chosen to succeed him, and thus he opposed the designs of God.  C. The prophet prays that he may never give way to such  impiety.  W. Wings, as a hen does her chickens.  H. Defend me from the furious countenance of my enemies.  W.

Ver. 10.  Their fat.  That is, their bowels of compassion: for they have none for me.  Ch. They have become fat, and have given way to greater insolence, as we see too often verified.  Deut. xxxii. 15.  Job xv. 26.  Ps. lxxii. 7.  Chal.  C. Proudly.  Libertines are often prompted by vanity to speak as they do against God and man.  H. If Collins, Tindal, &c. had been cast upon some desert island, they would probably never have written such irreligious works as there would have been none to applaud them.  Bert.

Ver. 11.  Earth, to testify their wrath.  So Virgil describes Juno.

Diva solo fixos oculos aversa tenebat.  Æn. l.

Hebrew, ashurenu, is rendered “by out step,” (Mont.) or contemplation.  But the Sept. have explained it as a verb, as well as S. Jerom, (Bert.) who reads, “marching against me; now they have surrounded me,” (H.) like wild bulls.  C. Sym. “blessing me, the have presently cast down their eyes, they have prepared snares, to throw me down upon the ground.”  They have sought my ruin both by craft and by open force.  Even those who were once my friends and admirers, are now turned against me.  H. He alludes particularly to the courtiers of Saul.  C. They intend utterly to destroy me, even to the ground.  W. Heb. “by our step they have now surrounded us,” (Mont.) conformably to Keri; though the text, followed by Pagnin, has, “In our path, they have surrounded me.”

Ver. 12.  They have taken me, is not expressed in Heb.  H.

 

Ver. 13.  Disappoint.  Heb. “meet him,” as an enemy.  Lev. xxvi. 23. Thy sword.  The wicked are employed by God to chastise the just, and will then be thrown into the fire.  Isai. x. 5.  Jer. l. 23.  C. They little think that they are subservient to the designs of Providence, as they attribute their success to their own might.  Whether we beg that God would take his sword from the wicked, or that we may be freed from their malice, is much the same.  Bert. Hebrew may express the latter sentiment, “Deliver my soul from the wicked, thy sword, (14) the men of thy hand, worldings, whose portion is temporal, in this life,” &c.  H. Many other versions may be given: (C.) by they all tend to shew the fleeting pleasures of God’s enemies, who are thus rewarded for their transient virtues, and reserved for eternal torments.  H. Man is not sufficient to resist that power, which they exercise by God’s permission.  Hence David begs that it may be taken away. W.

 

Ver. 14.  Divide them from the few, &c.  That is, cut them off from the earth, and the few trifling things thereof; which they are so proud of, or, divide them from the few; that is, from thy elect, who are but few; that they may no longer have it in their power to oppress them.  It is not meant by way of a curse or imprecation; but, as many other similar passages in the psalms, by way of a prediction, or prophecy of what should come upon them, in punishment of their wickedness. Thy hidden stores: thy secret treasures, out of which thou furnishest those earthly goods, which with a bountiful hand thou hast distributed both to the good and the bad.  Ch. Of children.  Heb. “their children are satiated.”  Houb.  Bert. Some copies read ueiwn, (Rom. Sept.) instead of uiwn.  “They have been filled with hogs’ flesh.”  The mistake was easy in Greek.  C.  S. Jerom agrees with the Vulg.  H. A numerous family was the great desire of the Jews.  David is willing to forego every temporal advantage, and only prays that he may live in his own country, and attend the divine worship in the tabernacle.  This was the glory of Israel, v. 15.  1 K. iv. 21.  C. He predicts the final separation of the wicked from the elect, which sometimes begins in this life.  Their worldly joys are hidden or disapproved by God.  W. The feed on the poor servants of our Lord, (H.) whose life is hidden.  M.

 

Ver. 15.  Appear.  S. Jer. “I shall be filled, when I shall awake in thy likeness,” (H.) at the resurrection: (Phil. iii. 21. and 1 Cor. xiii. 12.) or “when thy likeness, the Messias, shall rise again:” or (as the same expression is used by the Sept. as Num. xii. 8.) David begs for actual inspiration, “thou wilt comfort my with the prophetic spirit.”  C. Perhaps he might also desire to see the tabernacle again, or even now prepare to erect a temple unto the Lord; (2 K. vii. 2.  H.) or he begs for the gifts of grace and glory, which will restore the image of God, effaced by sin.  1 Jo. iii. 2.  Bert. Then the just being approved, will taste that joy which alone can satiate the heart of man, when he shall behold God.  W.

PSALM 17

PSALM XVII.  (DILIGAM TE DOMINE.)

David’s thanks to God for his delivery from all his enemies.

Ver. 1.  This title is almost wholly taken from the book of Kings, except Unto the end for; instead of which we read, And David spoke, &c. (H.) which are the words of the inspired writer; so that Ferrand is very rash in rejecting both these titles.  David wrote this psalm after he had subdued the Moabites, &c.  C. He was inspired to write it (W.) twice, with some variations, (Bert.) 74 in number, (Aberbanel) or many more, if we believe Kennicott, who lays them to the charge of transcribers, perhaps, (H.) with greater reason.  C. We cannot doubt but this psalm regards David.  But there are some passages which refer to Jesus Christ and his Church more directly; and in general, David must here be considered as only (Bert.) the figure of the Messias, and of the just in his Church.  W. James Paine has endeavoured to prove, with great ingenuity, that the whole must be explained of Jesus Christ, and that the name of Saul stands for “the grave;” as the points which are of modern date, only need to be changed.  Thus the sufferings of our Saviour, and the punishment of the Jews in the last siege of Jerusalem are described; and thus it is clear that S. Paul (Rom. xv. 9.) has cited this ps. in it proper sense.  Bert. See v. 10. 41. SS. Jerom and Aug. explain it of the victories of David, of the Messias, and of his Church.  C. Saul may be particularly mentioned, because he was the most powerful.  W.

Ver. 2.  I will love thee, as a mother does her son.  He that loves has fulfilled the law.  This word is omitted 2 K. xxii. 2.  C. Strength.  Ibid. Rock.  H. The Sept. have inserted some alterations in the Psalms, giving the sense of the Hebrew.  W. Others attribute the variations to David, or to the mistake of transcribers.  H.

 

Ver. 3.  Firmament.  Heb. “rock and my citadel, and my deliverer.  My God, (or strong one) my rock.”  S. Jer. “my strong one.”  The two words which are rendered “my rock,” are salhi and metsudathi.  H. David frequently retired to such places for safety.  The idea was beautiful and striking.  Such multiplicity of titles shews the gratitude (C.) and affection which David felt.  C. Here are nine, and we may add the three metaphorical Heb. terms, “rock, citadel, and buckler.” Can we refuse to love One from whom we have received so many favours? And in, &c.  These words are most probably cited by S. Paul, (Heb. ii. 13.) though they occur also in Isai. viii. 18. Protector.  Heb. “buckler.”  Bert. Horn.  This title is given to Jesus Christ, Luke i. 69.  It is an allusion to beasts which attack their opponents with their horns (Theod.  Deut. xxxiii. 17.) being an emblem of strength (W.) and glory.  C. And my, &c. (2 K.) he lifted me up and is my refuge; my Saviour, thou wilt deliver me from iniquity.  Heb. “violence.”

 

Ver. 4.  Praising.  Heb. “praised;” and (2 K.) the Lord, who is worthy to be praised.  H. Chal. agrees here with the Sept. and Vulg. which seems more natural.  C. The sense is the same.  Bert.

 

Ver. 5.  Sorrows…iniquity.  Heb. “cables…Belial.”  By these figurative expressions, David declares to what dangers he had been exposed.  They seem to be more applicable to our Saviour’s agony.  Bert. The wicked were constantly laying snares for both.  We have the same idea enforced in the next verse.  H. The words are put into the mouth of fallen man, in the mass for Septuagesima.  W.

 

Ver. 7.  Called.  All these words are in the future, 2 K. and Heb.  H. But as they relate to an event that was past, they seem to be as well expressed here as they are in Duport’s Greek Psalms.  Bert. Both are true; as David had prayed, and would continue to pray, for God’s protection; otherwise he would have deserved to lose it.  We must always pray, and never faint.  H. Temple, “from my heart;” (S. Aug.) from the tabernacle at Gabaaon, (Lyran) or from heaven.  Chal.  Euseb.  C. Earnest prayer is the best remedy against temptations and affliction.  God will not fail to hear those who are sincere, as he did the prophet.  W.

 

Ver. 8.  With them is not in Heb.  Lo, illi refers to God.  Furor fuit ei.  Mont. “He was wroth.”  Prot.  Yet he displayed his power on the mountains, as if he had been displeased with them, or with the enemies (v. 4.) whom he would thus strike with awe.  H. These expressions are not to be taken in a gross literal sense.  C. God shewed himself as earnest in the protection of David, (H.) as if he had been in a rage; (C.) or as if the elements had all conspired to defend him.  Theod. This most pompous description (C.) alludes to the wonders wrought at Sinai, and the terrors which would happen at the death and resurrection of Christ, and at his last coming.  Some moderns think that the overthrow of the Babylonians, and other enemies of God’s people, are also denoted.  The sinner, touched by divine grace, implores mercy, and feels the remorse of conscience, the ropes or sorrows of hell, and a dread of God’s just judgments hanging over him.  Bert. These cause the most haughty and obstinate to tremble.  W.

 

Ver. 9.  By it.  This relates to the clouds, thunder, and lightning.  Muis. God’s wrath is compared with smoke, fire, a dark night, or mist.  W.

Ver. 10.  Feet.  A violent storm of rain.  Hence the Pagans borrowed:

Jupiter et læto descendit plurimus imbri.  Virg. Ec. 7.

The prophets Isai. (xxix. 6.) and Nahum (i. 3.) speak in the same lofty strains; (C.) and shall any one despise the language of Scripture?  Nothing can exceed its sublimity.  Heb. is rather more expressive, (v. 9.) “a fire devoured;” (v. 11.) “on a cherub, and flew; he flew most swiftly;” like and eagle.  Bert. Heb. vida.  H.

Ver. 11.  Winds.  God mounts his chariot, as it were, (Ezec. i. 4. &c.) to come speedily to David’s assistance.  Æscylus, and other pagan authors, seem to have imitated his description.  Euseb. præp. evan. xiii. 13. The Fathers explain the former verse of Christ’s incarnation, or of his second coming; and this of his ascension.  S. Athan. &c. They may also (H.) intimate that God is ready to pardon as well as to punish.  W. Plato (Phædro) represents the Deity on “a winged chariot, directing and taking care of all things.”  H.

Ver. 12.  Pavilion.  Job xxii. 14. and xxvi. 9.  The Jews had this idea of God’s throne, of which we behold only the less brilliant side, as the Egyptians did that of the cloud.  Ex. xiv. 19.  The poets represent Jupiter surrounded with clouds and darkness.  Hesiod. op. 125 and 255.  Iliad O. Air.  The parallel passage, (2 K.) seems more accurate.  Dropping waters out of the clouds of the heavens.  Heb. “waters bound up in darksome clouds.”  C. God is incomprehensible in himself, and his counsels are inscrutable.  W.

 

Ver. 13.  Clouds.  2 K. The coals (Heb. “flames”)  of fire were kindled.  Two words, habaw haberu, his clouds removed, (H.) omitted in this passage, are here supplied, as the former word is found in Syr. and Arab.  But then hail and coals of fire seem improper for “they kindled into coals of fire;” and in the next verse they are redundant; being therefore omitted in 2 K. xxii. in the best editions of the Sept. and in the old Italic of Blanchini.  Capel supposes they have been inserted from the preceding verse, which is rendered more probably by the Heb. MS. 5.  Kennicott Dis. 1. They have been inserted in some editions of Sept. from the Heb. of Theodotion, (C.) or Symmachus.  Montf. This unusual third hemistic occurs in a smaller type in Brettinger’s (Ken.) and Grabe’s Sept. but they indicate thereby that it was not in the Alex. MS. as it is not in that of the Vatican.  If it were in its proper place, we should read at least grandinem, &c.  This magnificent description of a thunder-storm (H.) may allude to that which routed the Philistines.  2 K. v. 24.  Is. xxviii. 21.  C. The lightning seemed to dispel the gloom.  Theod.  Flamin. Though man is overpowered with God’s majesty, yet he is instructed how to act by those whom God has commissioned to teach.  W.

 

Ver. 15.  Arrows.  Thunderbolts.  Tela reponuntur manibus fabricata Cyclopum.  Metam. Hesiod Theog. 708.

 

Ver. 16.  Discovered.  The earthquakes were so great, that such dreadful effects might have been expected.  These phenomena sometimes make the sea retire, and new islands appear.  Pliny i. 84. and xxxi. 5. &c. The Jews supposed that the sea was the common source of all fountains, and that the earth was founded on it.  Ps. xxiii. 2.  Eccle. i. 7.  C.

 

Ver. 17.  Sent his angel, &c. Waters, which often represent multitudes, (Apoc. xvii. 15.  C.) and afflictions.  W. David seemed in danger of perishing.  C.

 

Ver. 18.  For me.  He may allude to the giant Jesbibenob, or to Saul, who surrounded him on all sides; (1 K. xxiii. 26. and 2 K. xxi. 15.  C.) and, in general, to all his temporal or spiritual adversaries.  W.

 

Ver. 19.  Affliction, when my friends joined Absalom.  Theod. In the rest of this psalm, the prophet chiefly uses words in the obvious sense, yet mystically speaks of Christ, and of the faithful.  W.

Ver. 20.  Place, where I was not hemmed in by my enemies.  H. Saved me, by repentance, out of his infinite mercy, (Euseb.  S. Athan.) without any deserts.  W.

Ver. 21.  Will reward.  S. Jerom, “hath rewarded,” (C.) yet the edition of 1533 reads retribuet.  H. Justice, with respect to my enemies, whom I have not injured; (C.) or my sincere desire to serve God.  Theod.

Ver. 23.  Judgments.  Commands, or treatment both of the just and of the wicked.

 

Ver. 24.  Him, by his grace.  W. Iniquity, and be careful not to relapse.  Others explain it in the past time.  I have not shed the blood of my enemy when I could have done it.  1 K. xxiv. 6. 14.  C. Fui immaculatus.  S. Jer.  H.  It seems most probable that David composed this before his fall, as Aberbanel, one of the most learned of the Jews, asserts.  If he be only a figure of Jesus Christ, we may easily conceive how the latter might speak thus of his innocence, and declare his abhorrence of all sin, though he was made a sin-offering, having undertaken to expiate the iniquities of mankind.  Bert.

 

Ver. 25.  And.  He repeateth, (v. 21.) that God will render to every one as he deserves.  W. Matt. xvi.  That all sins are equal is the error of the Stoics.  H.

 

Ver. 27.  Perverted.  No version can properly express this idea.  God turns away from those who abandon him, treating every one according to his works.  If we do not advance in piety, it is a sign that God perceives something amiss in us.  Bert. He cannot but abhor duplicity, and resist the wicked.  Lev. xxvi. 23. 40.  Prov. iii. 34.  He will make the craft of men turn against themselves, as he evinced in the case of Laban, Joseph’s brethren, Pharao, and Saul.  Sinners complain of him without reason, Ezec. xviii. 25.  C. Some improperly use this text to shew, that people will adopt the manners of those with whom they associate, (H.) though it means that God will treat the good liberally, and the wicked with severity.  Lev. xxvi. 23. 24.  Amama.

 

Ver. 28.  Proud, as thou hast already done.  C.

Insignem attenuat Deus,

                        Obscura promens.  Horat.

 

Ver. 29.  Lamp, giving me hopes of redress, and of the Messias.  C.

Ver. 30.  Temptation.  David was almost continually assailed by enemies.  C. Sept. peieathsion, signifies “a place of pirates;” denoting what crafty foes he had to encounter, (Bert.) or “a place or time to learn the military exercise,” a warfare.  Job vii. 1.  But gedud, (H.) means “a troop,” designed to make incursions, as those under Jephte and David.  Heb. “In thee I will run armed;” (S. Jer.) or, “at the head of my troops.”  C. “I will break, (Pagnin) or, run through an army.”  Mont.  No fortification can hold out.  H. He alludes particularly to the wall of the Jebusites, which Joab first mounted, though extremely high.  2 K. v. 6.  C. With God’s help, every difficulty may be surmounted.  W. Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation, as our Saviour admonishes.

Ver. 31.  As for, might be omitted.  H. The conduct of God towards men is irreproachable.  He will treat all according to their deserts, and will fulfil his promises of protecting the just.  Euseb. Heb. “He is the strong God…his words are pure as gold…He is the shield,” &c.  Bert.

Ver. 32.  Our God.  Will any one then hinder Him from doing as He has said?  H. Heb. “Who is the rock but our God?”  Bert. God is often styled a rock, tsur.  Yet S. Jerom and Pagnin render it “strong,” or “the strong one.”  H. There is only one Lord and Saviour of all.  W.

 

Ver. 33.  Blameless.  Whatever good is in me, comes from his grace, v. 21. 24.  H. God has prevented me from killing Saul and Nabal; He has rescued me from the abyss into which I had fallen.  C.

 

Ver. 44.  Harts.  Prot. “hinds.”  H. The Hebrews generally prefer to specify the female.  Harts are remarkably swift, and this quality was greatly esteemed in a warrior.  Asael is praised for it; (2 K. ii. 18.) and Homer styles his hero “the swift-footed Achilles.”  C. As harts trample serpents under their feet, says Theodoret, so I treat my enemies. High.  Heb. “my high places,” where I have so often baffled the efforts of my persecutors.  H.

 

Ver. 35.  And thou.  Chal. gives the same sense.  “He strengthens,” &c.  C. Heb. “and a brazen bow is broken by my arms.”  Mont. Prot. “a bow of steel.”  Perhaps not knowing that the ancients had the art of making brass answer the same purposes.  See Proclus, Hesiod, &c.  H. They made all sorts of weapons of it.  Job (xx. 24.) seems even to insinuate that it was harder than iron.  Our brass is too brittle.  To break a bow, often means to obtain a victory.  1 K. ii. 4.  Jer. xlix. 5.  C. David gained many over a lion or a bear, over Goliath, &c.  W.

 

Ver. 36.  Of thy.  The latter word is omitted in some copies of the Sept. while others change it into “my.”  But the Heb. is agreeable to the Vulg.  C. End.  Thou hast preserved me by salutary correction.  S. Aug.  H. Heb. “thy goodness shall multiply me” with children.  Sym. conformably to 2 K. xxii. has, “my obedience shall lift me up.”  C. The Heb. may, however, admit the sense of the Vulg. And thy, &c. is a paraphrase of the former sentiment, or it is borrowed from Theodotion.  Bert. Grabe marks from unto the end, &c. as omitted in Heb.  H. Luther and the Dutch translate, “When thou humblest me, then thou exaltest me,” to shew the salutary effects of suffering.  But there is nothing of the kind in the original.  Amama.

 

Ver. 37.  Weakened, or tired.  Chal.  H. I am now free from danger.  All my enterprizes have succeeded.  2 K. viii. 6. and 1 Par. xviii. 13.  See Prov. iv. 12.  C.

 

Ver. 38.  I will.  Bellarmine would supply “I said I will;” and thus all is connected.  But these future victories relate more to Jesus Christ.  Bert. David also continued making fresh conquests, (H.) and so entirely subdued his enemies all around, that they were not able to make head, even against his successor.

 

Ver. 40.  Against. me.  No prince was ever more courageous than David, as the single combat with Goliath evinces.  We know not that he ever lost a battle.  He refers all the glory to God.  C.

Ver. 41.  Upon me.  An expression often used to denote a fight.  Jos. iii. 12. &c.  C. God strengthens his servants, and weakens their enemies.  W.

Ver. 42.  Lord.  This must be understood of Absalom, who offered sacrifices, (2 K. xv. 12.  Bert.) or of Saul, who, receiving no answer, consulted a witch.  The Philistines also brought their gods with them, so that they were taken and burnt; (2 K. v. 21.) and the other pagans, finding no aid in their idols, might in time of danger, invoke the Lord.  C. This is “the testimony of a soul naturally Christian,” as Tertullian (Apol. xvii.) speaks, to have recourse to the great and only God, in the utmost distress.  H. Deus ut subveniat oratur; ipsa veritas, cogente naturâ…erumpit.  Lac. Inst. ii. 1.

 

Ver. 43.  Streets.  Thus he treated the Ammonites, &c.  2 K. viii. 2. and xii. 31.  C. Jesus Christ will rule over his enemies with a rod of iron.  Bert.

 

Ver. 44.  Gentiles.  Here he begins to predict the glory of the Messias, though what he says may be applied to himself.  David’s own people began to revolt, under Absalom and Seba; after he had subdued the most powerful nations around, 2 K. xx. 1.  The chosen people rejected Christ, (C.) while the nations were converted.  The reprobation of the former was prefigured by those rebels.  W.

 

Ver. 46.  Faded, (inveterati sunt) “are grown old.”  H. The Jews had been long the objects of God’s favours: yet they fell away.  Thus we often see priests outdone in piety by simple laics.  Bert. David continues in the comparison of a tree which bears no fruit; (C.) thus lying, as it were, and frustrating the just expectations of the owner.  Subjects do the like, when they revolt; (Isai. xxx. 9.) and thus deserve the title of strange.  Prot. “the strangers shall fade away, and be afraid out of their close places;” (S. Jer.) “shall flow away, and be contracted in their straits;” while I shall be at large, v. 37.  The last verb gachregu, (H.) occurs no where else.  It may signify “shall be withered,” or burnt, from carar.  C.

 

Ver. 47.  Liveth.  This is my consolation, though it must fill the obstinate sinner with dismay.  H. In a sort of transport, David wishes all happiness to his great benefactor.  He may also speak of Christ’s resurrection.  C. My God.  Heb. “rock:” a title frequently applied to God, in acknowledgment of his stability and protection.  Bert.

 

Ver. 48.  Avengest, or “grantest me revenges,” (H.) and the victory; inflicting a just punishment on the wicked.  David was too well informed to delight in sentiments of revenge.  3 K. iii. 11.  Jesus Christ takes vengeance on his enemies, but this id done without passion.  The love of justice is his only motive.  David approves of this conduct.  C. Enraged enemies.  Vulg. iracundis.  H. Sept. have thus explained aph, “wrath;” others join it with the following verse, “But (C.) or yea,” (H.) etiam.  The former version is, however, very accurate.  Bert.

 

Ver. 50.  Nations.  S. Paul (Rom. xv. 9.) adduces this to prove the vocation of the Gentiles.  C. We cannot doubt but the great things announced in the psalm pertain to Christ.  Bert. We see the completion of this prophecy, as there is no Christian nation which does not use the psalms of David to praise God.  Theod. &c. This practice is very common (Pref.  W.) in all places here either Jews or Christians are found.

Ver. 51.  Great.  This in intimated by the plural salutes, “salvations;” as David had experienced innumerable favours.  H. He speaks of himself in the third person, to lead our minds to the Messias, in whom this was more gloriously accomplished.  The greater honour of this chief family of Israel, consisted in giving birth to so great a personage, in whom all are blessed.  C.  Isai. xi. 1.  Ezec. xxxiv. 23. For ever.  The true Church will never perish; (H.) God still protecting it, as he did David, v. 48.  W.

PSALM 18

PSALM XVIII. (CŒLI ENARRANT.)

The works of God shew forth his glory; his law is to be esteemed and loved.

Ver. 1.  David.  It is not known when this was composed.  David praises the works and law of God.  Some passages are applied to Jesus Christ and his apostles, Rom. x. 18.  C. When any text of a psalm is thus quoted, many judiciously conclude that the whole must be understood in the same sense, as the harmony will thus be greater.  It seems there are two literal senses here, one regarding the law, whither natural or Mosaic; the other pertaining to the apostles and the law of the gospel; (Bert.) the “beloved” David of the latter days.  W.

Ver. 2.  Firmament.  Heb. “expansion,” or region of the stars, far above our atmosphere.  Bert. These two sentences express the same idea, unless the former may denote what we behold, and the firmament be explained of the higher heavens, (H.) where we imagine the throne of God to be placed.  Some have taken these expressions in a gross sense, and asserted that the heavens are animated.  Job xxxviii. 7.  But we must allow that they are figurative expressions, which seem to give a soul to plants, stars, &c.  C. The beautiful works of God extort our admiration.  H. The silence of heaven speaks louder than any trumpet.  S. Chrys. “Who can behold the heavens, and yet be so foolish as not to acknowledge that a God exists? said Cicero, (H.) a learned pagan; (Arusp. and Nat. Deo. 2.  C.) though they cannot determine of what nature the Deity may be.  Leg. i.  M. Hands.  Chal. “Those who look up at the heavens, publish the glory of the Lord; and those who raise their eyes towards the air, announce his works.”  C. The silent works declare God’s Majesty to those who consider them, and his preachers make the same known to their hearers by word of mouth.  W. S. Paul reproaches the philosophers of paganism for not understanding the language of the creation.  Rom. i. 20.  Job xii. 7.  H. The Church, which is so often styled the kingdom of heaven, makes God known, not only as a Creator, but also as a Redeemer.  The figure is here most beautifully preserved.  Heaven denotes the Church, as the stars represent apostolic men, who cease not to perform their duties day or night, in happier days as well as under persecution.  Jesus Christ is the true sun of justice, enlightening every man that cometh into the world.  S. Jo. i. The Fathers have made these remarks.  Bert. What a consolation must it be for Catholics to think that the true doctrine will never cease, no more than the succession of day and night!  We have received our creed, our orders and mission, from the apostles.  The chain of succession has never been broken.  Unhappy those who make a religion of their own to damn souls! who run, though God send them not!  H.

 

Ver. 3.  Utterth, with great force and abundance, eructat. Knowledge of God.  Bert. Our knowledge is always on the increase.  Abenezra. The vicissitudes of day and night prove the wisdom of their author.  Euseb. They seem to sing in succession the praises of God.  Bellarm. This evinces the power of God, as the perpetual propagation of the gospel does that of Jesus Christ, whose Church will last till the end.  W. All the chief reformers acknowledged that there was no salvation out of the one true Church, and that the Church of Rome is such.  Nightingale, p. 263.  H.

 

Ver. 4.  There.  Sym. joins this with the preceding.  “Will announce knowledge.  Not by words or speeches, the sounds of which are not heard,” so as to be understood.  H. “They are not languages or words, the signification of which is unknown;” or Heb. “never has their voice been heard.”  Beli, “not,” may also signify absque, “without;” and thus we may render, “no speeches, (or country) where their voice has not been heard.”  Bert. The sight of the heavens is sufficient to convince any one of the existence of God.  H. No nation, however barbarous, can plead ignorance.  The Fathers have explained this of the gift of tongues, by means of which the apostles spoke languages which they had not studied.  Acts ii. 4.  S. Aug. &c. Some of every nation have heard, (W.) or will embrace, (H.) the Christian religion.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  Sound.  So, S. Paul reads this text, though the Heb. have, “line.”  Yet there is no reason why we should suppose that the Sept. read differently, or that the Jews have corrupted their copies, as t hey could derive no advantage from so doing (Bert.) here, unless it were to discredit the apostle; as infidels assert the truth of the Old Testament, to vilify the new.  Kum (H.) may signify a “line,” (Bert.) or “writing.”  Abenezra. The greatest exactitude has been observed in forming the world, as if all had been measured by an architect.  But the sense of the Vulg. is preferable, and is adopted by Sym. S. Jer. and the Syr.  C. Prot. “their line.”  Marg. “their rule or direction.”  Kolam, “their voice,” occurs in the preceding verse.  The l might easily be lost, (H.) or omitted by a poetical licence.  Genebrard.  M. Their, refers to the heavens representing the apostles, as S. Paul explains this text, to prove that all were inexcusable who would not believe the gospel.  Bert.

 

Ver. 6.  Sun.  Here God seems to reside, (Ferrand) and the magnificence of his works shines forth, insomuch that almost all nations have offered divine honours to the sun, and even the Manichees adored it, imagining that it was the very body of Jesus Christ.  S. Aug. con. Faust. xiv. 12. and xx. 6. Heb. “For the sun he has place a tent in them,” the heavens, (S. Jer.  H.) or the ends of the world.  The Jews supposed that the heavens rested, like a tent, upon the earth.  C. Diss. The Heb. preposition l, may have (H.) different meanings, ad solem posuit, &c.  “He placed a tent in them, at  or for the sun.”  The idea of the Vulg. is more noble, but we would not exclude the other, which is very good, (Bert.) and obviates the gross mistake of the Manichees.  Amama. The Vulg. may admit the fig. hypallage, (M. Geneb.) as good authors say dare classibus austros, and thus it may signify “he placed the sun in his tent.”  H. This vast body stands in need of no vehicle, or tent, but itself.  Diodorus. It was placed in the firmament at first, (Gen. i. 16.) and still performs its revolutions exactly.  H. Giant.  Moderns would render “a strong man;” and Bythner remarks that the bulk of a giant would render him less fit for running, as if the stoutest wrestlers were not often the most active.  Bert. The sun is represented as a hero at some of the ancient games.  S. Aug. and S. Jer. explain all this of Jesus Christ, who diffuses the light and warmth of his grace throughout the world.  C. He always resides with the Church, and is never divorced from her.  W.

 

Ver. 7.  Circuit.  So the Heb. word is rendered “revolution.”  Sept. and Vulg. “meeting” occursus, may insinuate that the sun is found in the centre, while the earth moves daily and yearly round it, according to the Copernican system.  But we must be more attentive to the life and motions of Jesus Christ, in whom the Deity resided corporally.  Bert.

 

Ver. 8.  The law.  As the sun gives light to the world, so the law serves to direct mankind, and is another most powerful motive for us to praise God.  This raises our hearts and minds still more perfectly to him, recalling us from our wanderings, and confirming our knowledge.  Light is necessary for the body, and the law for the soul.  The prophet admires eight characteristics of this divine law, which he designates by different names; as in the 118th ps. some thing relate only to the evangelical law, which converts souls, (Bert.) and lasts for ever.  v. 10.  H. The law of nature and of Moses are nevertheless also commended, (Theod.) inasmuch as the morality is always the same; and some faith in Christ, to come, or already past, is requisite under every dispensation.  Hence he is called the Lamb slain from the beginning.  Implicit faith would suffice for the less informed, before our Saviour’s coming; but now, under the light of the gospel, we must express our belief in his incarnation, as well as in the blessed Trinity.  More is required of those to whom more has been given.  H. Unspotted.  Heb. and Sept. “irreprehensible.”  C. Who indeed could pretend to find any fault with it, since it comes from God?  H. The laws of men are imperfect, and liable to change.  Those of Draco were too sanguinary, and gave place to Solon’s, which were deemed too mild, &c.  How happy would all be if they would embrace the law of the gospel!  Bert. Converting.  Heb. “tranquillizing souls,” (M.) by keeping the passions under.  H. Testimony, declaring the will of God to men. Little ones.  The simple, and the wicked; as both are so called.  C. Pethi, “easily persuaded.”  M. It directs the former, and keeps the latter in awe by punishment.  C. All, in general, must confess their ignorance, and want of the divine law, to reap any benefit from it.  H. This is the first lesson which it imparts.  Bert. The law is most pure in itself, whether we understand that given to Moses, or the gospel.  But the latter makes the observers unspotted, by the grace which the Holy Ghost communicates to them, though all who barely read and know the law, have no share in this happiness.  God is the author of salvation, sweetly inviting all by the perfections of his law, which confers light and gladness, to co-operate with grace, that they may obtain the promised reward.  v. 12. and 2 Tim. iv. 6.  W. The like grace was offered from the beginning, so that none will ever be punished who has not deserved it, having had the means to perform his duty.  H.

 

Ver. 9.  Justices.  The law displays what is just, and renders those who observe it agreeable to God, (S. Greg. Naz.) filling their hearts with joy, by the testimony of a good conscience, and the prospect of felicity.  C.  Prov. vi. 23.

Ver. 10.  Fear; or “the law accompanied with fear;” of which he is speaking.  This fear is filial and pure, such as a child must have of displeasing his father.  Bert. Yet even servile fear, which restrains us from committing sin, lest we incur punishment, is a gift of God, and prepares the way for charity.  Trid. Sess. xiv. 4.  But we must not stop here, like Achab and Antiochus.  If we understand by fear, the moral law, it will subsist as long as there shall be men. Themselves.  Sept. epi to wto, “by that very thing,” that they are the judgments of the Lord, (H.) who cannot do wrong.  Dan. ii. 27.  C. Heb. “truth itself, is justified altogether.”  H. Infidels acknowledge that the morality of the Gospel is excellent, but they reject the dogmatical part.  Would He, who has prescribed such noble rules of conduct, lead our understanding astray, by requiring us to believe what is false?  Bert.

Ver. 11.  Stones.  So S. Jerom renders the Heb.  Prot. “than gold; yea, than  much fine gold.”  Paz (H.) denotes  the finest gold of Uphan, or of the Phison; which is probably the river Phasis.  Gen. ii. 11.  C. Yet many explain this word of the topaz or chrysolite, which is of a golden colour.  The Vulg. expresses topaz, (Ps. cxviii. 127.) where the Sept. have, “a precious stone.” Honeycomb, as the English and German versions have it, though the Heb. signify, “the dropping of the honeycombs;” which is the most excellent honey.  Bert. This interpretation is inserted in the Prot. margin, and answers to S. Jerom’s favum redundantem.  Nothing can be more delicious, or more magnificent.  H.

Ver. 12.  For.  I speak from experience.  C. If I had no other inducement, I would observe this law for the consolation, (H.) and repeated advantages which I have derived from it.  Theod. Those who keep the same, and content not themselves with reading or hearing only, may feel the same impressions. Reward: on which account the prophet declares that he observed the justifications; (Ps. cxviii. 112.) though that passage is corrupted in the Prot. version.  W. Heb. “wherefore thy servant shall teach them;” (S. Jer.) or rather, “is instructed by them, and convinced that in keeping them there are frequent falls.  Who,” &c. 13.  C. Hekeb may indeed signify “a fall,” or tripping up the heels.  But it is more commonly rendered “a reward,” (as Prot. Mont. &c. here agree) or end, as 1 Peter (i. 9.) has it.  H. The instruction, which the observer of the laws obtains, arises from that observance, inasmuch as “he is attentive to them.”  Sept. fulassei auta.  This must therefore be understood, and is well expressed by Custodit.  Taste, and see that the Lord is sweet.  Ps. xxxiii. 9.  Berthier.

 

Ver. 13.  Sins.  Who can always decide when a sin is only venial?  H. Though I may have avoided the grosser transgressions, how can I be assured that my heart is innocent?  C. This assurance is reserved for Methodists, who seem to look upon it as essential, before a person can obtain salvation.  But where does God specify this condition?  We know that (H.) we are to work out our salvation in fear and trembling; and that S. Paul though  conscious to himself of nothing said: yet in this I am not justified, &c. 1 Cor. iv. 4. and ix. 27.  Phil. ii. 12.  Heb. speaks of “ignorances,” which might not however be wholly blameless.  Bert. Ones, or enemies: “…and from the proud preserve.”  Sym.  Chal.  But he alludes to the distinction of sins of ignorance and of pride, (Lev. iv. 2.  Num. xv. 30.  C.) or malice.  H. David had not fallen into many sins of the latter description, though his adultery and murder were such.  But the former are daily sins, into which even the just fall frequently.  C. None can be assured of their state, (Eccles. ix.) but are kept between hope and fear.  W.

 

Ver. 14.  Those, &c.  Or “from strangers,” alienis, whose company we cannot avoid with too much caution.  H. Heb. “the proud.”  It is conjectured (Bert.) that the Sept. read r for d, in mizzedim.  H.  Amama. But this is not necessary, as they might include the proud, and all the wicked, under the name of “strangers,” which term is particularly applicable to idolaters, (Isai. xiii. 11.) and all scandalous sinners, who are strangers to the law; and from whose society and dominion we may all beg to be delivered.  Bert. Spare.  Heb. “free,” (S. Jer.) or “withhold.”  Nature is so prone to evil, that the prophet prays earnestly for grace to resist, or to be kept out of danger.  H. All sins cannot be avoided, but preserve me from wilfully committing any enormous crime.  Rivet. Deliver me from the devil’s power.  Theod. Those who are in authority have much to dread, lest they be answerable for the sins of others, which they ought to have prevented; as all must fear giving scandal, &c. and so being accessory to another’s crime.  H. Delicta aliena affigunt me.  S. Aug. Yet sins of frailty, and of malice, are here meant; (Bell.) which last ought to be strange, or very uncommon. Over me.  Sept. mou.  H. S. Aug. reads dominata, which agrees better with delicta.  If  my secret sins, or those of others, do not oppress me, I shall pray with confidence, and be heard.  C. Yet dominata refers to alienis, strangers, or proud people, (Bert.) who are continually alluring to evil, both by word and example.  How great must be the influence of such over their subjects, when even their equals take the infection so frequently!  Vulgate might be rendered, “If my own had not ruled;” in which sense Pius IV. used this explanation on his death bed, knowing that his kindred had abused their power.  Du Thou, B. vi. A.D. 1549.  H. Sin, pride; the source of all evil.  S. Jer. “Let men at last blush to be proud, for whose sake God was humbled.”  S. Aug. If mortal sin be absent, the soul is just, and will be, one day, free from stain.  W.

 

Ver. 15.  Always.  Heb. “to thy regards,” such as thou mayst approve.  H. He joins mental with vocal prayer, speaking like an evangelist.  Bert. Helper.  Heb. “rock.”  C. S. Jer. and Prot. “strength.”  H. Grace is requisite to persevere, as well as to be converted.  W.

PSALM 19

PSALM XIX.  (EXAUDIAT TE DOMINUS.)

A prayer for the king.

Ver. 1.  David.  This psalm was to be sung when he or his successors went to battle.  In a higher sense, it may allude to the victories of Christ, and of his Church.  Bert. Christian must offer up this prayer for their governors.  W. It was probably composed when the Ammonites and Syrians made such great preparations for war, v. 8. and 2 K. x. 6. 18.  C.

Ver. 2.  Hear thee, the Ruler; or Jesus Christ praying for his people.  W. Tribulation.  War is always such.  The victors themselves suffer, and many souls perish.  C. Name.  The Messias, as the Jews often explain the expression, (Hooke, Prin.) or God himself, as others have it.  Nomen ejus ipse.  C. The blessed Trinity is all one God.  The name of the Lord is a strong tower, &c.  Prov. xviii. 10.  It was made known to Moses, to give him confidence.  Ex. iii. 13.  H. Great was the honour conferred on the patriarchs, that God should be styled the God of Abraham, &c.!  But ours is not less, since we are authorized to call Him Our Father.  Bert.

 

Ver. 3.  Sion, where God was supposed to reside, in the tabernacle; though he was also in heaven, v. 7.  C.

 

Ver. 4.  Sacrifices.  Heb. mincha, a sacrifice of flour, or unbloody; a figure of the Mass.  W. Minchothec, “thy presents” (Mont.  H.) of fruits, &c. Fat.  Heb. also, “ashes,” by miraculous fire, (Bert.) to testify God’s acceptance; as at the sacrifices of Abel, (H.) Elias, &c.  Lev. ix. 24. and 3 K. xviii. 31. and 1 Par. xxi. 26.  God forbade lean victims to be offered, as they might shew a want of respect; (Mal. i. 8.) though he always regards the heart (C.) and faith of the offerer more than the victim.  Heb. xi. 4.  H. Sacrifices were offered before every important enterprize.  1 K. xiii. 12.  C. Fat here intimates what would be acceptable.  W.  Dan. iii. 40.  M.

 

Ver. 5.  Counsels.  We must suppose that those of a pious prince are right.  C. This condition is always understood.  H.

 

Ver. 6.  Salvation.  Jesus Christ, who gives us the victory over all our spiritual enemies, (C.) or in thy prosperity; (W.) which we shall attribute to God.  The first words may also be addressed to Him.  We shall rejoice if thou grant us the victory, and we will return thanks.  Heb. “we shall praise, or be praised, for thy salvation; and in thy name we shall lift up the standard.”  C. But there is no proof that nodgol, (H.) which occurs no where else, has this signification.  It is probable that the Sept. read nogdol; and Houbigant adopts their version.  S. Jerom has, “we shall dance.”  All the versions denote joy.  Bert.

 

Ver. 7.  Hath saved.  The prophets speak of future events as past.  Bert. The people were convinced of God’s protection, (C.) and anticipated what they would say at their triumphant return. Anointed (Christum) the king, (C.) priest, (W.) or our Saviour, at his resurrection, (S. Athan.) after he had subdued his enemies.  W. Powers.  That is, in strength.  His right hand is strong and mighty to save them that trust in him.  Ch. The plural is often used to denote something most excellent, (H.) great strength, or heavenly forces.  W.

 

Ver. 8.  Call upon.  Sept. Rom. Syr. &c. read, “we shall be exalted,” megalunqhsomeqa, (C.) as v. 6.  Some call upon or trust in chariots, &c.  H. Heb. “remember,” which often implies to confide, (C.) and such we call upon as we hope will be able and willing (H.) to protect us.  Bert. Let our enemies assemble all their forces and auxiliaries, we shall not fear as long as God is for us.  C. The Jewish kings were forbidden to multiply horses, that they might not be tempted to confide in them.  H.

 

Ver. 9.  Bound.  Their chariot wheels are entangled.  Ex. xiv. 25. C. Those who trust in the power of man, fall into captivity.  W. Their feet are ensnared.  Bert. The king.  Heb. “Let the king hear us when we call.”  Prot. (H.) “our king shall hear,” &c.  Syr. “Word of the Lord, redeem us; Potent king, hear,” &c.  But the Sept. is preferable, and the best critics often deviate from the Jews; (Muis.  C.) though here the sense is very good, and adopted by S. Jerom.  God is styled king in Heb.  H. This title is commonly given to the Messias.  Bert. The Chal. seems to have had the second person of the blessed Trinity in view, as many of the Jews were acquainted with this mystery, particularly after the propagation of the gospel, when the paraphrase on the psalms was probably composed.  H. When the head is safe, the body is also preserved.  W. We must pray for our superiors, that we also may lead a quiet life.  1 Tim. ii. 2.  Their welfare is for the public good.  H.

PSALM 20

PSALM XX.  (DOMINE IN VIRTUTE.)

Praise to God for Christ’s exaltation after his passion.

Ver. 1.  David, after his victory over the Ammonites; (Du Pin.  C.) though many passages relate only to the Messias, as the Chaldee and even some of the modern Jews confess, (Kimchi.  Muis.) with the holy Fathers, who explain all of Him.  C. Those who overcome the devil, are here concerned.  W.

Ver. 2.  King.  Chal. adds, “the Messias shall reign; and how shall he rejoice when thou shalt have delivered him!”  The people had promised to return thanks in the former psalm.  H. Christ our king as man, having by his divine power overcome his enemies, rejoiceth.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  Will.  Heb. aresheth, “the proof or request,” (H.) which manifests the will.  The term occurs no where else.  Bert. Our Saviour’s greatest desire was the glory of his Father, (H.) in man’s redemption.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  Sweetness.  Heb. “of goodness,” the effects of thy mercy.  H. Thou hast made David a king according to thy own heart, and granted him victory, and many favours, even before he had asked for them.  The humanity of Jesus Christ was still more glorified, (C.) by a gratuitous predestination.”  S. Aug. Prædest. 30.  Persev. 24. &c. Stones.  Heb. “fine gold or the topaz.”  Ps. xviii. 11.  Bert. David took the crown of Melchom, weighing a talent.  2 K. xii. 30.  C. God gave him the victory on every occasion.  Eccli. xlvii. 7.  H. He crowned Jesus Christ, the martyrs, and all those who have been ready to suffer for him.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  And ever.  David was much favoured, and reigned a long time, as well as his posterity.  2 K. vii. 12. 29.  But this was literally verified only in the Messias, (C.) who was his son; (H.) and founded his Church on a rock, to endure unto the end.  C. What do we ask for on earth?  All will be lost if we have not life; and this we cannot obtain for ever, without rising again.  Therefore Jesus said, I am the resurrection and the life.  Jo. xi. 25. We must live in him by faith, (Bert.) and suffer before we can expect a crown.

 

Ver. 7.  To be, (in benedictionem.)  Thou shalt inebriate him with a torrent of thy blessings.  H. Blessing shall take hold of him, if we may so speak, (Bert.) and embrace him for ever.  H. All the saints receive glory.  But Christ alone can impart it to others, as all are blessed in him.  Gen. xxi.  Jo. i. W. When people wish any happiness to their friends, they need only desire that they may be like David.  See Gen. xviii. 18. and xlviii 20.  Gal. iii. 16.  C.

 

Ver. 9.  Thy hand.  O king, Messias, or God.  No earthly monarch can always punish his enemies.  But none can escape the hand of the Almighty.  He will bring all to judgment.  Bert. The just approve of God’s decree in punishing.  This is all a prediction.  W. Let thine enemies find thy power, so as to return to good.  S. Jer. To find, often means to attack, (Jud. i. 5. and 3 K. xiii. 24.) or to accomplish with ease.  Deut. xxxiii. 1.

Ver. 10.  Anger.  Lit. “face;” (vultus.  H.) which sometimes intimates favour, v. 7.  This passage may allude to the vengeance (C.) which David exercised upon the Ammonites, whom he burnt in kilns, (2 K. xii. 31.  Geier.  Vat.) or to the destruction of Sodom.  Gen. xix 28.  Lam. iv. 6.  C. It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of an angry God, who will punish his enemies in a fire; to which S. Paul (Heb. x. 27.) attributes rage, (H.) or emulation, as it will seem to strive to surpass all others.  O that we may meditate on this fire! that the love of God may consume all our defects! Trouble.  Heb. “swallow up;” which is more energetic.

Ver. 11.  Fruit of the womb, or all their possessions.  The family of Herod was presently extirpated.  Bert. The works of the wicked must burn.  S. Aug. The severity shewn to the Ammonites was perhaps without example, v. 10.  C. But this will be more fully verified in the judgment of the wicked, whose schemes against Christ and his Church will fail.  W.

Ver. 12.  Intended.  Heb. “turned aside,” like a torrent.  The Ammonites had violated the law of nations, and had attempted to raise up very powerful enemies to invade David.  C. Establish.  Hebrew leaves thee sentence imperfect, to shew the utter weakness or impotence of God’s enemies.  Bert.

 

Ver. 13.  In thy remnants thou shalt prepare their face: or thou shalt set thy remnants against their faces.  That is, thou shalt make them see what punishment remain for them hereafter from thy justice.  Instead of remnants, S. Jerom renders it funes, that is cords or strings: viz. of the bow of divine justice, from which God directs his arrows against their faces;” (S. Jer.) or “thou wilt prepare thy arrows on thy bow-strings,” &c.  But as bemetharic (H.) may also have the sense of the Vulg. in thy remnants, we need not abandon this version; as it implies that after God shall have put his enemies to flight, he will turn their faces to receive “the last” of his arrows or blows; (Bert.) or He will meet them everywhere.  H. There seems to be some transposition in Heb. and the Vulg. as if we should read in reliquis eorum præparabis vultum tuum.  “Thou wilt execute thy vengeance upon their children;” (C.) or, as this transposition is unnecessary, “thou shalt make them look at thy children;” (H.) the elect, to increase their rage.  Bellar.  Jans. To behold the glory of the just, which might so easily have been their own, will greatly mortify the reprobate at the last day.  H.

 

Ver. 14.  Exalted.  God can receive no increase; but he manifests what he has.  Theod. Power.  Lit. “powers.”  H. While the wicked perish, the just sing God’s praises.  W. We must beg that the kingdom of righteousness may spread over the world, (H.) and never cease to acknowledge the divine favours.  Bert.

PSALM 21

PSALM XXI.  (DEUS DEUS MEUS.)

Christ’s passion: and the conversion of the Gentiles.

Ver. 1.  Protection, susceptione.  Heb. ayeleth, hathuchar, or “for a speedy interposition,” or succour.  See v. 2. 20. 25. S. Jer. “the morning stag.”  H. Many of the titles are almost inexplicable, and this is one of the most puzzling; (C.) but is of no service to understanding the psalm, which certainly speaks of Jesus Christ, as the apostles have quoted several texts, and Theodorus of Mopsuesta was condemned for asserting that it was only accommodated to him.  Conc. v. col. 4.  Bert. Grotius comes too near this system, by explaining it of Christ only in a figurative sense.  We ought to do quite the reverse, if we allow that some verses regard David, as a figure of the Messias; (C.) or rather, as the same person speaks throughout, we must understand the whole of Him.  Bert. t. ii. The Jews were formerly of the same opinion, (Lyran) but seeing the use which was made of this psalm by Christians, they have explained it of David, or of the miseries of the nation.  Sept. seem to intimate that this psalm was sung at the morning service, (C.) or referred to the coming, or resurrection of our Saviour, (S. Aug.  W.  Ps. iii. 6.  M.) after the long night of infidelity.  Didymus. He is represented as the hart, or beautiful hind, whom the Jews  hunted unto death, v. 17.  Some band of musicians might be styled, after “the morning hind,” as another seems to be after “the mute dove;” (Ps. lv.) and the wine presses, or “band of Geth;” (Ps. viii. &c.) though we cannot pretend to give a reason for these titles.  Many, who are unwilling to confess their ignorance, say that these terms allude to some musical instrument, or favourite song, &c.  C. It would be as well to speak plainly that these things are hidden from us.  H.

Ver. 2.  O God.  Our Saviour repeated these words as they are in Heb. though the vulgar tongue was Syriac, (C.) or Greek mixed with the Abamean.  Paulus. Eli (or Eloi. S. Mark) lamma sabacthani.  So he pronounced what the Jews would now read, Eli…lama (or lamach.  T.) hazabtani; (C.) and in our method, ali…lome azbocthoni.  But it must be admitted (H.) that the true pronunciation is irretrievably lost.  The Masorets vary from the ancient versions, (Masclef.  Capel.  Houb.  Mr. C. Butler.  Hor. Bib. 4 edit. p. 69.) and from one another; so that after being at the immense labour of learning their rules, we shall be no more secure of attaining the truth.  H. It were, therefore, greatly to be wished that the learned would agree about some characters to express uniformly the Hebrew in modern languages, as it would greatly facilitate the knowledge of the sacred writings.  Kennicott.  Diss. i. p. 243. We have only attempted to use such as  might inform the reader what letters were in the original; and yet we are sorry to find that z, or the long á and é are often printed without the mark above; which shews the inconvenience of so many points, introduced by the Masorets.  H. Look upon me, are words admitted by Christ, “because (says Eusebius) they are not in Heb.”  But this reason is not conclusive, as he might have left them out, though they were in the original.  The Sept. may have rendered one ali, in this sense, “to me,” as they have not added my to the first mention of God: or, they may have anticipated from v. 20 (Bert.) this explication.  Christ speaks with reference to his sacred humanity, as his divinity suspended its beatific influence, that he might drink the bitter chalice.  Theod.  S. Jer. He also speaks the language of his afflicted members, who think they are abandoned.  S. Aug.  C. Sins.  That is, the sins of the world, which I have taken upon myself, cry out against me, and are the cause of all my sufferings.  Ch. An ancient psalm of S. Germ. reads “lips,” instead of sins.  Heb. “roaring.”  S. Jer.  C. “Prayer,” Sixt. Edit.  “Why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?”  Prot.  H. the Sept. seem to have read shagathi, whereas the Heb. places the g after the a, or they have substituted the cause for the effect; as sin was certainly the cause of Christ’s affliction, and of his Father’s not granting present relief.  Indeed our Saviour did not ask for it, but only expressed the sentiments of suffering nature, which he corrected by the most perfect submission, to teach us how to behave.  Bert. God is the God of all creatures, but more particularly of Christ, by personal union.  W. The latter tenderly expostulates, (H.) that he is not comforted like other saints, (Mat. xxvii. 64.) since he had undertaken to die for the sins of the world, and reputed them as his own.  W. Delicta nostra sua delicta fecit, ut justitiam suam nostram justitiam faceret.  S. Aug. He speaks in the name of his members.  S. Tho. 3. p. q. 15. a 1. Christ could commit no sin: (1 Pet. ii. 21. and 2 Cor. v. 21.) but as long as he had taken our iniquities upon himself, to expiate with his own blood, he could not be at ease till he had perfected the work.  David was convinced that his own sins were punished by the rebellion of Absalom, as Nathan had declared.  2 K. xii. 10.  C.

 

Ver. 3.  Folly.  My cry proceeds not from impotent rage.  Lu. iv. 28.  Euseb.  Agel.  M. I know that thou wilt grant my request.  C. I shall not cry in vain.  Theodor. It is not for my own folly that I suffer.  Geneb. “Many cry and are not heard, yet it is for their advantage, and not out of folly.”  S. Aug. Christ prayed on the cross, as he had done in the garden, to have the bitter chalice removed.  But this was not blameable, as it was done with entire submission.  W. The cry of the lips, or of human nature, which would be free from suffering, was not heard: (H.) because the cry of the heart, which desired that the justice of God should be satisfied, was much louder; and this petition was granted by Him who denied noting to his Son.  Jo. xi. 41.  C. This should be our model.  Submission and perseverance will always be crowned.  Heb. has now d instead of r,  in the word dumiya, “silence,” which is also good; “there is no silence for me.”  In the night (Bert.) of death, (H.) God granted the petition.  Bert. Aquila gives this idea, non tacebis, as S. Jerom observes: “thou wilt do what I desire.”  Heb. may also mean: I have no rest, or I cry incessantly.  C. The prayer of Christ for relief, was conditional.  He absolutely desired God’s will to be accomplished, and thus he was heard, v. 25.  Heb. v. 7.  He was our pattern.  S. Aug. ep. 120.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  In the, &c.  Heb. “the Holy one inhabitest the praises of Israel,” or “Thou holy, sancte, inhabitant, the praise,” (S. Jer.) or, as the plural intimates, the source and object of all “the praises of Israel,” (H.) and of the Church.  W. This may be connected with the preceding, or following verse.  Thou art in the midst of us, so that  thou canst not be ignorant of my situation, like the idols; or thou hast shewn great favours to our ancestors, v. 5.  Theodoret and S. Jerom seem to take these words to be addressed by the Father or by the prophet to Jesus Christ, who  inhabited a body so free from sin.  C.

 

Ver. 6.  Confounded.  He interests his Father, by calling to mind the ancient patriarchs, (Ecclus. ii. 11.  Bert.) who obtained their requests.  W.

 

Ver. 7.  No man.  Heb. ish, “a great  man,” vir, (Mont.) so far from being treated as a nobleman, I am not even respected as one of the meanest of men, (adam.)  H. “Why not a man?” says S. Aug. “because he is God.  Why a worm? because a mortal, born of the flesh, without generation.”  The ancient naturalists supposed that worms were not generated; and though this be now deemed inaccurate, the Fathers applied this notion to confirm the doctrine of our Saviour’s being born of a virgin, which had been clearly revealed.  C. People.  God afforded Christ no exterior (H.) or common consolation, while the wicked persecutors treated him as a worm.  W. The rights of humanity are respected in the greatest criminals.  But the enemies of our Lord added insult to torments.  Isai. lii. 14.  Bert. It would be difficult to apply this to David.  For even in the depth of his misery, when reviled by Semei, and dishonoured by Absalom, he was attended by the priests, and by a powerful army.  C.

 

Ver. 8.  All.  This often denotes only the greatest number.  S. Jer. For surely the blessed Virgin, and some others, must be excepted.  H. But almost all joined in persecuting Christ, (W.) while his disciples left him.  C. These two verses are quoted by the three first evangelists. Spoken.  Heb. “opened or distorted.”  Bert. “They shoot out the lip.”  Prot. These signs and expressions (H.) mark the greatest contempt, v. 14.  Job xvi. 4. &c.

 

Ver. 9.  He hoped.  Heb. “roll, or he (C.) rolled himself on the Lord.”  Prot. margin. But the text is conformable to ours.  “He trusted on,” &c.  S. Matt. xxvii. 43. He trusted in God, let him deliver him now if he will have him.  Ci, which is here rendered quoniam, “since,” (H.) may also mean “if,” as it is in the Prot. marg.  Thus both texts agree.  Many passages are thus quoted, without adding, as it is written.  Bert. God permitted that these blasphemers should use the very language of the prophet, that the completion of what he said might be more conspicuous.  Chal. “I have sung praises to the Lord, and he has withdrawn me from danger.”  This explanation is not contemptible.  C. But it is foreign to the context, and to all the other versions, as well as to the evangelists.  H. The collating of this psalm with the history of Christ, must convince every sincere person that he who was thus ignominiously treated, was the object of God’s complacency, and that the Christian religion is true.  Bert.

Ver. 10.  Womb.  David might say this as a figure of Christ, in consequence of the many favours which he had received.  Theodoret.  C. But none could use these expressions with propriety, but Jesus Christ, who had no man for his father, and who had the perfect use of reason, so that he could call God his God from the very first.  All others are born children of wrath, except the blessed Virgin, whose privilege was still the fruit of redemption.  Bert. She conceived and bore her son, remaining a pure virgin.  Euseb.  S. Athan. &c. The synagogue rejected the Messias, but God received him, and made him head of the Church.  S. Aug.

Ver. 11.  Cast.  This custom is noticed, (Gen. xxx. 3.) and frequently in Homer.  Thou art my only Father, (C.) as I am born miraculously, and have been hitherto protected.  I now suffer death, but thou wilt raise me to life again.  Ps. xv. 9.  W.

Ver. 12.  Help.  This Christ might say a little before he expired, foreseeing the distress of his Church, (C.) or he might use these words in his agony; (S. Jer.) as this agrees with the sequel.  C. Almost all have abandoned me; and those who would, are not able to protect me.  W.

 

Ver. 13.  Calves.  The insolent Jews and soldiers. Bulls.  The more inveterate enemies, the priests and Pharisees.  S. Aug. &c. Heb. “strong bulls of Basan,” (Prot.) a fertile country east of the Jordan, where the finest cattle were found.  Amos iv. 1.  C.

 

Ver. 14.  As, is supplied by all the versions.  Bert.

 

Ver. 15.  Water, in the agony, or on the cross, fainting away.  Jos. vii. 5. Bones.  In extreme pain, (C.) they have been dislocated.  H. The bones signify the apostles, who were scattered through the world, to propagate the gospel.  S. Aug. Heart.  Which lives and dies first, is now like wax in the fire.  W.

 

Ver. 16.  Jaws.  So that he said, I thirst.  Bert.  W. He would answer Pilate nothing in his own vindication. Death.  The region of blessed spirits, (S. Jer.) or into the grave, where other bodies turn to dust.  C.

 

Ver. 17.  Dogs.  The pagan soldiers, who were instigated by the Jews, (Matt. xv. 26.  C.) or the latter are here styled dogs, as they are by S. Paul.  Phil. iii. 2.  S. Jer. The evangelists could scarcely have explained the authors, and manner of our Saviour’s death more particularly; so that we might entitle this “the Passion of Jesus Christ, according to David.”  W. Dug.  The Jews have here, and God knows in how many other places, corrupted their text; reading “like a lion,” though it have no sense, to avoid so clear a prophecy.  W. They deep cari in the text, though it (Amama) or the margin had formerly the proper reading, caru.  The Chal. has both, “they have bitten like a lion,” &c. in some editions only; which shews the antiquity of this variation, (H.) as the author, Joseph the blind, is supposed to have lived in the 4th century, though this is uncertain.  C. All the ancient versions of the Sept. Syr. &c. agree with us, as the Prot. do likewise.  Even the Masora intimates that cari has not here the sense “of like a lion,” as it has Isai. xxxviii. 13; and, though it might be pointed so as to signify the same as caru, they have rejected that punctuation, and obstinately maintain their reading, in opposition to many MSS. seen by Ben. Chaim, &c.  Bert. Kennicott mentions another MS. in the Bod. Lib. which has caru, with cari in the margin; and observes that Dr. Pocock, nevertheless, maintains the accuracy of the Heb. edit. in this, as well as in every other instance, asserting that car is perfodit, and cari the part.  Benoni, perfodientes, with the m omitted.  “But as this omission is very irregular, and never proper but before a suffixed pronoun, or in construct.; and as the ancient versions express it…as a verb, there seems to be but little doubt that this word was originally cru or caru, with an a inserted to express the kametz.”  Dis. 1. p. 500.  The proposed interpretation would be rejected by the Jews, while they would exult in their error being countenanced by us.  C.  Diss. This reason is perhaps (H.) weak, as their conversion is not expected; if by means of it, the Heb. Bible may be reconciled with the versions; “the council…hath besieged me, digging my hands.”  Bert. But this expedient is at least doubtful; (H.) suggested only by Prot. who maintained the integrity of the Heb. text, which is now given up; and the Jews seem inexcusable, though the variation might originally arise (C.) from a mistake of transcribers.  Houbig. They ought not to have rejected caru even from the margin, which they confess was once in the text, as it is still in very correct copies.  Drusius informs us that a Jew threatened Bomberg, when he designed to adopt this correction, that if he did, he would prevent any of his brethren from purchasing a single copy.  The pusillanimity of Christians, and the obstinacy of the Jews, keep therefore the text in its present state.  Amama, p. 461. Ximenes had the courage to insert caru in his Polyglot.  C. In the edition of S. Jerom, 1533, caru appears indeed in the margin; as he translated fixerunt, “they pierced,” and cru in that of Mont. with o over cari, perhaps as a sing that the former was formerly in the margin, or should be translated, as it is by Pagnin, foderunt; though Mont. alters it for circumdederunt me, sicut leo manus meas, in obedience to the Jews.  H. Thus we behold what dissensions the alteration of a single u or i may occasion; (Ps. xv. 10.) and yet these are letters which the Jews seem to have treated with little ceremony, (H.) changing in 100 instances, (C.) or omitting them, since the introduction of the vowel points; (Houbig.) and they are so easily mistaken, that the greatest attention is requisite to make the distinction.  However, one jot or one tittle shall not pass of the law till all be fulfilled.  Matt. v. 18.  H.  See Zac. xii. 10.

 

Ver. 18.  They.  Heb. “I shall or may tell all my bones,” (C.) they are so dislocated.  H. Syr. “my bones have howled,” as in mourning.  C. Upon me, out of contempt, (Eus.) or to prevent my escape, (Orig.) or deriding my naked condition.  M. David experienced nothing of the kind.  S. Justin. apol. ii.

 

Ver. 19.  Vesture, or inner garment, which was all of a piece.  C. The soldiers perceived that it would be rendered unserviceable by cutting.  H. “Heretics attempt to divide the Church, but in vain.”  S. Jer. Lots.  This was verified above 100 years afterwards, in the person of Jesus Christ.  Bert. Let the Jews shew how it was accomplished in David.  They assert themselves that nothing which had belonged to their kings was used by others.  Their thrones, garments, &c. were all burnt.  Maimon. &c. Though this be doubtful we may employ this testimony against them.  C. At Siceleg the effects of David were indeed plundered; but David was absent, and not under torments, like the person here described.   Our goods must be divided, either before of after death.  Let us be solicitous to obtain the second covering, which may never be taken from us.  2 Cor. v. 4.  Bert.

Ver. 20.  Thy help.  So some editions of the Sept. read, but S. Jer. approves “my help,” as it is in the Com. edit. conformably to the Heb. (C.) which seems more animated, though the sense is the same.  Bert. The humanity here addresses the divine nature, to obtain a speedy resurrection.  S. Jer. Heb. “O, my strength, haste thou to help me.”  What is man when left to himself!  The whole of a spiritual life consists in keeping close to God, and being convinced of our own infirmity.  Bert.

Ver. 21.  Dog.  All my enemies are united to persecute me, in my desolate condition.  Unicam meam, “my desolate one,” the soul, which is the only thing which ought to fix our attention; since if we lose it, all is lost.  This only one, self, is often, however, the most dangerous enemy.  Bert.

Ver. 22.  Lowness.  This sense appears to be preferable to the Heb. “hear me from,” &c.  C. Yet some who render the orig. literally have, “save me from the throat of the lion, and from the horns of the unicorns; thou hast heard me.”  This seems very striking, as Christ henceforth recounts the glorious effects of his sufferings.  The Sept. have explained hanithani as a noun, though it properly signifies, thou hast heard, or humbled.  Bert. They may not have read the last n.  C. Yet S. Jer. has, exaudisti me, “thou hast granted my request.”  H.

 

Ver. 23.  Brethren.  So Christ styles his disciples, principally (C.) after his resurrection.  Matt. xxviii. 10.  Jo. xx. 17.  Heb. ii 11.  S. Paul quotes this passage, which may convince us that this psalm relates to our Saviour alone; and he informs us, that we are brethren of Christ, because we spring from Adam, (Bert.) and are adopted by God: whence the apostles assume the title of children of God, after baptism.  Rom. viii. 15. and 29.  Eph. i. 5.  C. We are willing to be coheirs with Christ, but dislike the condition.  Rom. viii. 17. Church.  This he will never cease to do.  After the resurrection, he communicated many instructions to his apostles, which all tend to honour God.  H. S. Aug. here refutes the Donatists, who pretended that God’s church was confined to a small part of Africa, and that he had abandoned the Catholic Church.  He shews that this conduct would be injurious to God, and contrary to his solemn promises, as well as to this prediction, which speaks of all, and of a great Church, praising and fearing Him, v. 24. 26. 28. and 29.  The Church can, therefore, neither be destroyed nor hidden, though it may be persecuted.  It will always be great, in comparison of any separate congregation which may pretend to the truth; and this appears not only with respect to the Donatists, but also to the Lutherans, &c.  W.

 

Ver. 24.  Fear.  Thus the Gentile converts are designated.  Acts x. 2. 35. and xiii. 16. 26.

 

Ver. 25.  Israel.  This may be something more general, as all the holy nation went under this name. Supplication.  Heb. also, “the lowliness of the afflicted.”  Bert. When I.  Heb. Chal. and Syr. “he,” (C.) Jesus, of whom the prophet speaks; (Bert.) though, according to the Vulg. He speaks himself which seems more agreeable to the context.  H.

 

Ver. 26.  Great Church; the Catholic Church, dispersed throughout the world, in which many adore God in spirit and truth.  S. Jer. Here Jesus Christ praises his Father by the mouth of his priests and faithful, in whom the spirit works.  Heb. “From thee shall proceed my praise,” in the great Church.  C. Prot. “congregation.”  H. The Vulg. may have the same meaning, as the desire to praise comes from God.  The Church which Jesus founded immediately after his resurrection, to pay his vows, must last unto the end; otherwise this service would be interrupted.  This can only be verified in the Catholic Church, as she alone can prove her uninterrupted existence.  She alone is spread throughout the earth, united under the same pastors, and partaking of the same sacraments.  If the Church failed after three or four centuries, the vows of Christ must have ceased.  Yet he assures us, that he will pay them as long as his kingdom shall continue, v. 29. Fear him.  Houbigant would substitute “thee.”  This change of persons is however very proper and remarkable, as Christ no longer addresses his Father, but gives a description of the worship which should be exhibited in his Church.  Bert. The eucharistic sacrifice is the vow here specified, which Christ offers by his priests daily.  It is the only sacrifice of the new law, and the most perfect means of acknowledging God’s supreme dominion, &c.  S. Aug.  S. Jer. &c.  C.

 

Ver. 27.  Poor.  Heb. hanavim, means also, “quiet and modest men,” such as our Saviour calls poor in spirit.  Mat. v. 3.  These alone ought to partake of the holy sacraments.  H. The psalmist may allude to the feasts prescribed by the law, (Deut. xii. 7. and xxvi. 11.) and imitated in the love-feasts of the primitive Christians.  The sacrifices of thanksgiving were symbols of that of the blessed Eucharist, of which the Fathers explain this text.  Theod.  S. Aug. &c.  C. Indeed, as it speaks of the times of the new law, this must be the meaning.  H. It describes that part of the Christian worship, which consists in participating of those sacred mysteries which give life to the humble and worthy receiver.  Jo. vi.  Prot. explain this eating, to mean “instruction.”  But that may be given any where; and the psalmist alludes to the public service, which is to be performed in the midst of the Church.  Calmet would understand it of David, and of the sacrifices of the old law: which throws all into confusion.  Bert. The apostles clearly refer the text to Jesus Christ, who promised to institute the blessed Eucharist, after he had fed the multitudes, (Jo. vi.) and he fulfilled his promise at the last supper.  S. Aug. ep. cxx. 27. This holy doctor observes, that the rich, or the fat ones, have eaten and have adored, (v. 30.) but yet are not filled, because they disdain to be humble.  He speaks not of mere bread and wine, which cannot be lawfully adored; not of Christ’s body on the cross, or in heaven, which “is not eaten, but as it is in the forms of bread and wine on Christ’s table, the altar.”  W. Those who approach unworthily sign their own condemnation, which they bear about in their bodies.  H. Their.  Heb. “your,” though S. Jer. Chal. Syr. &c. agree with us.  The sense is the same.  My friends shall partake of the victims in abundance, after my restoration.  “But the text is more naturally explained of the food…which we receive in the blessed Eucharist,” and which imparts life eternal.  The strong may partake, but they must first become mean in their own eyes.  C. The faithful and humble only derive benefit from this great sacrament.  Its effect is a glorious resurrection in eternal life.  W. The sounder Prot. maintain that Christ is to be adored “in the symbols, before receiving.”  Thorndike.  See Ans. to Slack, p. 14.

 

Ver. 28.  Remember.  Our Saviour says, Do this in remembrance of me.  H. We must recollect what Christ has suffered and done for us, what was the condition of the world at his coming, and what the behaviour of his first disciples.  These reflections will surely fill our breasts with love, admiration, and shame.  The first Christians met together to break bread, they preached to word, and brought many to the faith.  Bert. We cannot explain this of David, except in a very exaggerated sense.  But all is clear if we understand it of Jesus Christ, whose faith many nations have embraced, assembling to celebrate his sacred mysteries, and the festivals of his birth, &c.  C. The Gentiles shall enter into themselves, when they shall hear his doctrine, and embrace the true religion.  W. In his.  Heb. “in thy.”  The sense is the same.  The German version follows the Vulg. which Houb. also approves.  Bert.

 

Ver. 29.  Nations.  God placed David on the throne.  He caused both Jews and Gentiles to submit to Jesus Christ.  Matt. xxviii. 18.  Rom. iii. 29.  Theod.

Ver. 30.  Fat ones.  Many ancient psalters read, “the rich,” which is the true sense. Adored.  This may be take as a prediction.  C. Heb. is in the future, “they shall,” &c.  Bert. The rich of this world have no relish for the sacred nourishment.  C. Those who understand, and comply with their duty, amid the riches with which they are not possessed, but only surrounded, find the greatest comfort in participating of it along with their poorest brethren, who may be equal, or superior to them, in the eyes of the common judge. The original dishnim, (H.) comes from a root, which signifies to reduce a victim to ashes, in testimony of approbation.  It may here designate priests, as well as the rich, and princes. Earth.  Dying, (Bert.) or to manifest their adoration in the Church.  Euseb. All shall adore Jesus Christ, particularly those who receive his sacred body at the hour of death.  Heb. “who go down to the dust.”  H.

Ver. 31.  Shall.  Heb. “and his soul he will not vivify,” which give no distinct meaning.  Some join it with the preceding, All shall adore…yet he will not restore him to life.  The living alone shall be able to sound forth God’s praises, as it is often observed.  Ps. vi. 6.  Isai. xxxviii. 18.  C. Chal. “the Lord will not give life to the wicked; but the race of Abraham shall praise him.”  Others again explain it of Jesus Christ, “because he has not spared his life,” he shall see a  long-lived seed (Isai. liii. 10.) in the Church, which shall praise him for ever.  H. V. sometimes signifies “because,” and though it is not clear that it has this meaning here, the explication is very beautiful.  None of the Greek versions admit the negation.  They agree with the Vulg.; only Theod. reads, “his soul;” making the prophet speak instead of the Messias.  It is suspected that the Sept. read i instead of u, and lu for la.  The Masorets acknowledge 15 places in which this change would be proper.  The learned observe many more.  Thus 1 Par. xi. 20. in Heb. we read that Abisai had “no (la) name among the three;” whereas it ought to be the reverse, (lu) ei nomen inter tres, “he was renowned,” &c.  Bert. S. Jerom agrees with the present Heb. “and his soul shall not live.”  Prot. “and none can keep alive his own soul.”  Sym. “whose soul shall live, and seed shall serve him.”  H. “The Messias shall live for God, and his posterity shall serve him,” (Bert.) as the faithful shall never cease to be influenced by his spirit, to testify their gratitude. H.

Ver. 32.  To, or by the Lord, who opened the mouths of the prophets to foretell the propagation of the Christian Church.  C. Prot. “It shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation: They shall come and shall declare,” &c.  H. Heavens is added by the Vulg. to shew that the apostles, who are styled the heavens, (Ps. xviii.) shall proclaim these things.  Bert. Sept. &c. omit this word, as well as many Latin copies.  One generation shall deliver the true doctrine to another, as long as the world shall last.  C. Which.  Heb. ci has this sense, (Bert.  Gen. iv. 25,) whom Cain slew, as all the versions agree, and S. Jerom renders quem fecit.  H. Yet many translate, “that he hath done these things,” (Bert.) delivering me from danger, and raising the Messias to life again, &c.  C. Thus Jesus foretold, with his dying breath, the glory with should always be given to his Father, in his true Church.  Bert. This is the generation which should be honoured with the title of children of God, and of Christ, (H.) and should partake of his sacraments.  M.

PSALM 22

PSALM XXII.  (DOMINUS REGIT ME.)

God’s spiritual benefits to faithful souls.

Ver. 1.  David.  This psalm most beautifully describes the consolation which the just find in God’s protection.  H. It may be applied to the Israelites in the desert, (Chal.) to David persecuted by Saul, or rather C. settled quietly upon the throne, (Muis.) or to the Jews returned from Babylon.  S. Athan.  C. The Fathers explain it mystically of Jesus Christ, the Shepherd of our souls.  Didymus, S. Aug. &c.  The allegories of a shepherd and of a person giving a feast to his guests, are well supported.  C. Ruleth, in Heb.  Is my shepherd; viz. to feed, guide, and govern me.  Ch. Sept. poimainei, pascit, as S. Aug. and S. Jer. read.  S. Greg. Thaumaturgus understands this of the angel guardian.  Paneg. in Orig. Jesus Christ conducts us into the  pastures of his Church, and feeds us W. with his own body, &c.  C. The saints never complain of want.  Bert.

Ver. 2.  Place.  Mont. “in the huts of grass, (or of young trees, germinis) he will make me lie down.”  See Cant. i. 6.  Ezec. xxxiv. 15.  H. Shepherds were accustomed to conduct their flocks to shady places, during the heat of the day. Refreshment.  Heb. “still waters,” like the pond of Siloe, (Is. viii. 6.) in opposition to the great streams of the Euphrates, &c.  The fathers understand it of baptism; (S. Chrys. &c.) or of the truths of salvation.  Euseb.  C. Baptism is the first justification.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  Converted.  Prot. “restoreth my soul” (H.) to her former tranquility, or bringeth me back from my wanderings.  Bert. Justice.  Those who have received baptism, must observe the law of Christ, (W.) as all indeed are bound to do.  H. Sake.  Not on account of man’s deserving (C.) by the force of nature.  God must begin and carry on the work of our conversion, by his grace; with which we must co-operate.  H. The captives had been in the greatest distress among idolaters.  They rejoice at the sight of the promised land, where they will fear no dangers.  C.

 

Ver. 4.  Walk.  In the greatest temptations, we may resist by God’s grace.  W. Midst.  Heb. “in the valley.”  The greatest darkness, and the most horrible precipices, give no alarm to those who are under God’s protection. Comforted me, as they have kept all enemies at a distance.  The shepherd’s staff or crook is designed for that purpose; and though it may be used to bring back the wandering sheep by beating them, yet it is not under that idea an object of consolation, but rather of terror.  C. The effects of timely correction are, however, comfortable; and it is a great mercy of God to chastise the sinner, lest he should run astray to his eternal ruin.  H. Some distinguish the rod from the staff, and say that the former is to punish, and the latter to support.  S. Jer.  Muis. We are generally too backward in having recourse to God in our distresses, though he invites us so pressingly.  Isai. xli. 10, &c.

 

Ver. 5.  Thou.  Here the allegory of a shepherd seems less discernible, though it may allude to the provisions for winter; (Bert.) or rather it ceases, as feasts are made for men; (M.) and the second allegory of a guest here commences.  H. The enemy had reduced me to the greatest misery.  C. But God has admitted me to his table.  M. This may be explained of the sacred mysteries received in the Church, (S. Amb.) or of the Scriptures, which nourish our souls.  S. Jer. No mention is made of the ancient sacrifices; and as this psalm must be understood in the spiritual sense, the prophet speaks of the blessed Eucharist, which imparts the unction of grace, &c.  The enemy strives to make us keep at a distance from it.  Bert. Christ has himself prepared this table (S. Cyp. ep. 63.  Euthym.) against all spiritual adversaries. Oil.  Christians are also strengthened by the sacraments of confirmation, penance, holy orders, matrimony, and extreme unction.  W. Three of these are administered with oil.  H. It was customary to anoint the head of guests with perfumes, (Matt. xxvi. 6.  Lu. vii. 46.) both among the Jews and Gentiles.  But the Fathers explain this text of chrism, used in confirmation.  S. Athan.  Theod.  C. Chalice.  The blessed sacrament and sacrifice of Christ’s body and blood.  W. Inebriateth.  Heb. “overflowing;” being constantly replenished (Cant. vii. 2.  Iliad iv.) with wine; as people are not inebriated with water.  This term, however, only means to take as much as is requisite.  Gen. xliii. 34.  “Thy chalice inebriating me,” occurs in most copies of the Sept. in Sixtus V. &c.  But the more correct editions of the Sept. and all the Greek interpreters, (S. Jer. ep. ad Sun.) agree with the Heb. and Vulg. How, &c. is added by way of explanation; or rather, the Sept. have taken two words from the following verse, ac tob, verumtamen bonum.  C. Prot. “surely goodness and mercy,” &c.  H. Theodotion and Sym. were not acquainted with this division, which seems less accurate, though the sense be much the same.  Bert.

Ver. 6.  Follow me, like provisions from the king’s table.  2 K. xi. 8.  C. “The grace of God prevents the unwilling to make him willing; and it follows the person who is in good dispositions, that they may not be in vain.”  S. Aug. Ench. 32. Prævenit per fidem, subsequitur in custodiendo mandata Dei.  S. Jer.  Continual and final perseverance is a special grace of God.  W. And that.  Heb. “and I shall.”  The Vulg. expresses the effect of worthy participation of God’s table, which leads to a happy eternity.  Bert. This is particularly applicable to priests, both of the old and of the new law.  C. Only those who remain in the house of God, in his church on earth, can expect felicity.  H. Days, in eternal life.  W. David always desired to be near the ark, (Ps. xxvi. and lxxxiii.  M.) as the figure of heaven.  H.

PSALM 23

PSALM XXIII.  (DOMINI EST TERRA.)

Who they are that shall ascend to heaven: Christ’s triumphant ascension thither.

Ver. 1.  Week.  This title was found only in the common edition of the Sept.  Theod. The Jews say the psalm was used on Sunday; (Bert.) and the Fathers explain it of the resurrection and ascension of our Lord, whom it regards  in the more sublime sense, though it may also be literally explained of the temple, or translation of the ark, 2 K. vi. 12.  C. David appointed when the psalms were to be sung.  Eccli. xlvii. 12.  This speaks  of the creation.  M. S. Paul applies the first verse to Jesus Christ, whom he styles the Lord, (1 Cor. x. 26.) and Creator, of whom David speaks.  It is wonderful that so few have noticed this excellent proof of Christ’s divinity.  The authors of Principles Discussed, according to their general system of two literal senses, explain this psalm of the re-establishment of the Jews after the captivity, and of the propagation of the Christian Church; and it is not clear that two senses ought not to be admitted.  But we must, at least, admit that the prophet speaks literally of Jesus Christ (Bert.) as well as of the ark, &c. Therein.  Though God be the Creator of all, he seems to have made a particular choice of Sion.  Before the coming of Christ, all, except a few Jews (C.) and enlightened Gentiles, like Job, (H.) were buried in sin and ignorance.  But now his kingdom is propagated widely; and in every place the Father is adored in spirit and in truth.  S. Aug. &c. All power is given to Jesus Christ, who rose again on the first day of the week.  Not only the earth, but all that is in it, belongs to the great Creator.  W.

Ver. 2.  Founded, or created it (Bert.) upon (Heb. hal. “above, in, near, to, with,” &c.; Amama) the seas, like a floating island.  Prov. viii. 29.  Jon. ii. 7.  Job xxxviii. 11.  This was the language of the ancients: Ipsa natat tellus Pelagi lustrata coronâ.  Manil. Astr. 4.  The earth was at first covered with water.  Gen. i. 9.  Ps. ciii. 6.  C. Seas and caverns have received part of it, which was poured out again at the deluge.  Several have rejected the antipodes, falsely supposing that there is water all under the earth, which the Scripture does not assert.  Amama.  H.

 

Ver. 3.  Place.  The punishment of the Bethsamites, and of Oza, had filled all with alarm, so that David durst not introduce the ark into his palace.  1 K. vi. 19.  C. Though Christ created and redeemed all, yet only the just shall inherit felicity.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  Heart, whose faith and intentions are pure, as well as their actions. Vain, by neglecting good works, (S. Jer.) or seeking after trifles; (S. Aug.) or rather, according to the Heb. “who hath not sworn in vain by his soul.”  2 Cor. i. 23. and 1 K. i. 26.  To take the name of God in vain, means to swear falsely.  C. Prot. “who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity;” to swell with pride, (H.) or to swear by idols.  Pr. in disc. To his, &c.  This is not in Heb. but must be understood, (C.) as a person can only intend to deceive men.  So Duport, who follows the Heb. so exactly in his Greek psalms in verse, (Bert.) reads, “Nor sworn an oath, that men he might deceive.”  H. These two verses contain an abridgment of the gospel, and shew that something better than Mount Sion is understood.  Heb. xii. 22.  When we approach to the tabernacle, and to the sacred mysteries, we ought to put these terrible questions to ourselves.  Bert. We must carefully employ ourselves in good works, (W.) by which alone we can make our calling and election sure.  1 Pet. i. 10.  H.

 

Ver. 5.  Blessing.  David seems to have given the eulogium of Obededom, whose example taught him that the ark was only terrible to the wicked; and that it was a source of blessings to the just.  2 K. vi. 11. Mercy.  Heb. “justice.”  But these terms are used synonymously, and denote that God gives a just reward; “when he crowns our merits, he crowns his own gifts.”  S. Aug.  Theod.  C. Mercy goes before; good works must follow, to obtain eternal glory.  W.

 

Ver. 6.  The face.  Heb. “Thy face, O Jacob, always.”  S. Jer. Prot. (marg. God of) Jacob. Selah.  H. Thus they intimate that the Heb. is imperfect.  All the preceding virtues belong to Jesus Christ, who obtained mercy for us.  The generation of Adam multiplied, (Gen. v. 1.) and soon forgot the Lord: but it shall not be so with the disciples of Christ, who must delight in fervent prayer, and in the constant practice of good works; and not merely serve him in certain fits of devotion.  Bert.  See Prov. xxix. 26.  M.

 

Ver. 7.  Princes; or, “lift up your chief or highest gates:” portas principes.  Heb. “gates, lift up your heads.”  Here the gates themselves are addressed, while the Sept. and Vulg. turn the discourse to the porters or princes.  Bert. The tops of the gates must be raised, to let the triumphal car pass through.  Isai. vi. 4.  Amos viii. 3. and ix. 1.  The Church has constantly understood this passage of Christ’s ascension.  The saints in his train address the angels, who appear to be filled with astonishment.  Theod.  Euseb.  C. The gates of heaven are more properly styled eternal, than those of the temple, which were not yet erected; or of Jerusalem, which should be (Bert.) soon demolished.  H. This apostrophe to the gates is very striking, commanding them to allow more room for the crowd to pass in the train of the conqueror, who was usually seated on a lofty chariot.  C. The prophet contemplating the ascension of Christ,  inviteth the angels to receive him; and by the figure, prosopopeia, speaketh also to the gates by which he is to enter.  W. Homer (Il. 8.) represents the Hours as door-keepers of heaven removing a thick cloud, which obstructs the entrance.  H. These gates are supposed to open, by being lifted upwards.  The Greeks style them cataracts.  Gen. vii. 11.  Tournemine.

 

Ver. 8.  Who.  This is the question of the Levites, when the ark approached, or of the angels in heaven, who hold a dialogue with the attendants of Christ.  These return a satisfactory answer only at the second demand, having first given four titles to their great king.  Bert. Some of the Fathers suppose that the angels in heaven were not acquainted with the incarnation.  S. Just. dial.  Theod.  S. Jer. in Isai. lxiii.  But the latter here asserts that the good and bad angels hold a dialogue, or that the former address the spirits in limbo, announcing to them their speedy deliverance in consequence of Christ’s victory over the devil.  The dialogue is rather (C.) between the angels in heaven, and the spirits of the just, (S. Athan.) or other angels, who accompanied Christ  in his ascension.  C. The angels express their admiration of the glory with which Christ, (W.) in our human nature, (H.) was environed; and the prophet replies, that he had overcome all his opponents, and again orders the gates to open.  W. The angels were not ignorant, but gave occasion to a further display of the conqueror’s dignity, and expressed their surprise that men should enter heaven.  M.

 

Ver. 10.  Hosts of all heavenly powers, (W.) and the arbiter of war.  H. Both Jews and foreigners were convinced that God granted victory to his people, if they had not forfeited his favour by their crimes, as in the case of Achan, and of the sons of Heli.  Jos. vii. and 1 K. iv.  Judith v. 24.  The title of Lord of hosts, was very applicable to Christ after his victory.  C. Glory.  S. Jer. adds, “for ever;” thus frequently sela seems to form a part of the sentence though it be neglected by the Vulg. &c.  H.

PSALM 24

PSALM XXIV.  (AT TE DOMINE LEVAVI.)

A prayer for grace, mercy, and protection against our enemies.

Ver. 1.  David.  This word alone occurs in Heb.  Sept. and S. Jerom add also Psalm.  H. S. Aug. and Theod. agree with the Vulg.  C. These variations prove that we cannot depend much on the titles; and the learned do not look upon them as the word of God.  The psalm may have been composed, when David was persecuted by his son, (Bert.) or by Saul.  It  may also allude to the captives.  This is the first of the seven alphabetical psalms.  The 33d, 35th, 110th, 111th, 118th, and 144th, are of the same description, being written in this manner (C.) on account of their importance, (Kimchi) or to help the memory, (Bert.) or for copies, to teach young people to write.  Grot. Each verse forms a distinct sentence, not much connected with the rest.  We perceive some derangement in the present Heb. copies of this psalm, as the letters are not in proper order, though it might easily be restored by altering the divisions (C.) than their Thalmudical songs.  Pellican in Ps. lxxxv. 9. The Sept. and S. Jerom seem to have had better copies.  Christ, the Church, (C.) or any pious soul, may address this fervent prayer to God under affliction. Lifted up in a true spirit of prayer, (Bert.) with fervour and confidence.  Deut. xxiv. 15.  Lam. iii. 41.  C. Attention is requisite to obtain a petition, (W.) as well as fervour, &c.  H.

Ver. 2.  In thee.  Heb. bec.  Thus the second verse will properly begin with b, (Capel. Houbig.) though the Jews place my God first, as it is in the Vulg. Deus meus, in te, &c.  H. Ashamed.  Sept. Compl. adds, “for ever.”

 

Ver. 3.  Laugh.  Saying scornfully where is their God?  C. Wait.  This is often urged (Is. xlii. 23.) as comprising all the science of a spiritual life.  We must neither despair nor omit the means of salvation.  Bert. Those who hope for the accomplishment of God’s promises, will not be disappointed.  C.

 

Ver. 4.  All, is not expressed in Heb. or some copies of the Sept.  Bert. Cause.  No one can have reason to do so.  But those who injure their harmless brethren, are more reprehensible, (H.) and the psalmist foretells that they will be put to shame.  S. Jer. This manner of praying frequently occurs in the psalms, to signify the event, and the approbation of the just.  W. Shew.  The forth verse ought to begin here with d, as in Heb.  H. Paths.  The mysterious ways of Providence, (Euseb.) or the law which is unknown to many, (S. Athan.) and practised by still fewer.  C.

 

Ver. 5.  And teach.  If the verse were to commence thus, (C.) v would not be out of its place.  H. Without God’s direction, we cannot walk in the narrow path.  Bert. Long.  We must never cease to desire the knowledge of true doctrine.  W.

 

Ver. 6.  World.  God’s truth or fidelity in performing his promises, and his tender mercies towards his people, are the motives most frequently urged.  C.

 

Ver. 7.  Ignorances.  Heb. “defects,” as youth is more apt to omit duties than to act very wickedly.  Yet it is difficult to decide how grievous such sins may be.  Bert. Passion and ignorance then concur to lead the inexperienced astray.  H. From the first use of reason, many are careless, and neglect to learn their duty.  W. Ignorance is sometimes a sin, though it may be more pardonable.  1 Tim. i.  M.

 

Ver. 8.  Righteous.  Though he is always ready to receive the penitent, he will punish the obstinate with severity.  C.  W. Yet he points out the means of obtaining his favour.  S. Aug. A law.  Heb. “will instruct.”  C.

 

Ver. 9.  Mild.  Only rebels are made the victims of justice.  H.

Ver. 10.  Seek.  Heb. “keeps.”  But no one seeks after the law, who does not strive to keep it.  Bert. Jesus Christ shewed mercy at his first coming, and he will display truth at his second, judging all with equity.  S. Aug. Testimonies.  When God gave the law to manifest his will, he attested heaven and earth, that all might observe it carefully.  C. The law is God’s covenant, and the testimony of his will.  He mercifully preventeth us with his grace, and will reward with truth and justice.  W.

Ver. 11.  Great.  “Original sin is common to all, and will not be washed away, except God be pleased to destroy it in baptism.”  S. Jer. David had committed adultery; and all must acknowledge their manifold guilt.  C. Though the guilt had been remitted, the punishment due to David’s crime was to be endured in this life, and he ought daily to pray for pardon.  Bert. The aversion from God in sin is great, and standeth in need of his gracious remission.  W.

Ver. 12.  He hath.  This may be understood either of God, or of man, who has chosen a state of life.  Bert. Provided he be guided by the fear of the Lord, (C.) all thing will turn to his advantage.  H.

 

Ver. 13.  Dwell.  Heb. intimates, “all night” at rest; yet so that he must only enjoy temporal goods like a traveller.  Bert. We ought to look up to heaven as to our true country, (C.) or which Palestine was only a figure.  Ps. lxviii.  M. The land, is not expressed in Heb. “his seed shall receive (good) for an inheritance.”  H. Five blessings are here promised to those who fear the God: instruction, a supply of necessities, a progeny to imitate his virtues, protection, and heaven.  W.

 

Ver. 14.  Firmament, or strong support.  H. Heb. “the secret of the Lord is for them,” &c.  He conceals nothing from his friends.  C. Both these sense are good, (Bert.) and the Hebrew words are nearly allied.  Robertson. All who fear God, ought to interest themselves, and pray that he would enlighten the ignorant, and convert sinners.  Bert. The uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me.  Ps. l. 8.  M.

 

Ver. 15.  Lord.  Our prayers are not heard, because they are not like this: fervant, incessant, and humble.  We have all to fear from our passions, which are the most dangerous snares.  Bert.

 

Ver. 16.  Alone.  Desolate, (Ps. xxi. 21.) without any assistant.  H. Such is man destitute of God’s grace.  W.

 

Ver. 17.  Multiplied.  Heb. “enlarged.”  So in the gradual for the second Sunday of Lent, we read dilatatæ.  Bert. Afflictions must be endured.  W.  Sen. ep. 12.

 

Ver. 18.  See.  The word kum, “arise,” may be wanting, as the verse should begin with k, (C.) unless it be lost.  MS. 2, repeats the former verse, perhaps to fill up the space.  Kennicott. Forgive.  Heb. or “bear.”  Bert.  S. Jer.  M. If the cause be removed, the affliction will have an end.  W.

Ver. 19.  Unjust.  Heb. also, “cruel,” (H.) or “violent.”   But S. Jerom agrees with the Sept.  Our spiritual enemies are the most dangerous and unrelenting, and we are too often off our guard.  Bert. The wicked, through hatred of God, (H.) seek to draw others into sin.  W.

Ver. 20.  Soul.  David was most concerned for it; (Bert.) and those who sincerely place their confidence in God, will never be confounded.  W.

Ver. 21.  Adhered.  Heb. “innocence, &c. have kept me.”  C. Those faithful subjects, who have accompanied me in my flight, stand guard to protect me.  Requite them, O Lord, and grant peace to all my people.  H. My example encourages them to follow thy law, and they will be staggered, if thou grant not my request.  M.

Ver. 22.  Deliver.  Heb. pede, “redeem.”  All the 22 (H.) letters of the alphabet are complete without this supplication for all Israel, or for the Church.  W. It might form a part of the last verse, or belong to the next psalm; unless it be a conclusion like that of Ps. xxxiii. (C.) out of the alphabetical order.  Houbigant. Israel.  S. Aug. and some ancient psalters read, “Me, O God of Israel, from all my tribulations.”  C.

PSALM 25

PSALM XV.  (JUDICA ME DOMINE.)

David’s prayer to God in his distress, to be delivered, that he may come to worship him in his tabernacle.

Ver. 1.  David.  Heb. and the most correct copies of the Sept. &c. have only “Of David.”  H. The Comp. and Ald. edit. add indeed A psalm.  But these form no rule, as the Vat. Sept. is allowed to be the best.  Bert. The others may, however, be consulted, as in some instances they may be preferable.  H. This psalm might be composed to counteract the calumnies propagated against David, while he lived among the Philistines; (Theod.  Flamin.) or it may contain the sentiments of the captives, as well as the two following canticles.  C. The Church, (S. Aug. &c.) or any afflicted soul, may this appeal to the justice of God, (Bert.) and particularly the sacred ministers, when they are going to appear before him. Innocence.  Only those whose conscience reproaches them with nothing, can hold this language.  God is a just and unerring judge.  C. Weakened.  Heb. also “slide,” (Prot.) or “stagger.”  Sym.  I am confident that my enemies will have no advantage over me.  C.

Ver. 2.  Burn, like gold in the furnace.  Bert. Purify all my affections and thoughts with the fire of divine love.  S. Aug.  S. Jer. Make my dispositions known to the world.   I have done no one any harm.  C. I take thee for the arbiter of my cause with respect to Saul, whom I have not injured.  Still, as I may not be innocent, do thou try me, as thou thinkest proper.  W.

Ver. 3.  Truth.  Before such a judge, I fear no calumny.  I have always endeavoured to imitate these divine perfections.  C. Heb. “I have walked constantly in thy truth,” which could not be without loving it.  Bert.

 

Ver. 4.  Council.  Heb. “men.” Doers.  Heb. “men of darkness;” which means the wicked, (Bert.) who love darkness.  Prot. “dissemblers.”  H. The sacred minister ought to avoid evil company.  C. David had often people of this description, like Joab and Abner, in his train; but he did not approve of their conduct.  Some would restrain his words to idolaters: but this would make his declaration of little importance to Christians, as many would say the same, though they dare not say that they flee from wicked society.  We must also banish all such thoughts as would destroy us.  Bert. David was inspired to speak the sentiments of his soul, and praise his own sincerity more than ordinary men may do.  He instructs us to have no society with the conventibles of any false religion.  W.

 

Ver. 6.  Innocent.  Heb. “in innocence,” avoiding every thing which may defile and render me unfit to approach thy holy altar.  Many things (C.) of themselves innocent, (H.) excluded the priests of the old law from officiating, and if they had partaken of any idolatrous sacrifices, they lost their dignity for ever.  Ezec. xliv. 12.  How much greater ought to be the sanctity of Christian priests!  The Jews carefully abstained from eating what the law forbade.  Dan. i. 8.  Tob. i. 12.  David would not sit down to a feast with the proud.  Ps. c. 5.  It was customary to was before meat (Mat. xv. 2. and Mar. vii. 3.) and prayer.  Aristeas informs us that the Sept. washed their hands every morning, before they began to translate the Bible, to shew what purity of soul was requisite.  Pilate used the like ceremony, when he would have no hand in the condemnation of our Saviour; (Matt. xxvii. 24.  C.) and thus people declared their innocence.  Deut. xxi. 6.  M. People entering the house of God, and priests at the altar, adopt the same symbols of interior purity, and ought to be penetrated with the like sentiments.  H. David opposes the society of the good to that of the wicked, knowing that the former is a great inducement to virtue, and he declares that he will wash or converse with such.  Bert. These words are recited by the priest, to put him in mind of the purity required.  Lev. xvi. 4.  W.

 

Ver. 7.  Hear.  Heb. with points, “publish.”  Bert. S. Jerom agrees with the Sept. Thy praise.  The former word is not expressed in the Vulg. or Heb. (H.) but is understood; and occurs in some editions of the Sept. as well as in the Syr.  Houbig. &c. Worldlings come to the assemblies of the faithful, but often without piety or advantage.  Priests themselves but too frequently dishonour the altar, which they serve.  Bert. If they were careful to perform their sacred duties well, (H.) and had a sincere love for the spouse of Christ, many profanations would be avoided; (C.) as God suffers no greater injury from any, than from bad ministers.  S. Greg. &c.  H. They ought to be recollected, and join mental with vocal prayer in their sacred offices.  W.

 

Ver. 8.  Beauty.  The ark.  1 K. iv. 22.  Sym. “the palace.”  C. Heb. “the dwelling.”  The psalmist desires to imitate those fervent Levites, who chose always to attend the tabernacle.  Deut. xviii. 6.  C. Mehon, when applied to the “dwelling” of God, may be properly rendered a temple, heaven, &c.  Deut. xxvi. 15.  Bert. No one who reflects on the blessings dispensed in God’s house, can fail to be struck with admiration.  W.

 

Ver. 9.  Take; lit. “destroy,” (H.) or suffer me not to be contaminated or lost.  W. Heb. “gather.”  Prot. or “take not away.”  Marg. and S. Jer.  H. Heb. may be more expressive, and agrees with the parable, where God orders the cockle to be gathered into bundles, to be burnt.  Bert. Treat me not like the wicked and murderers, who are cut off before their time.  C. David alludes to a future state, as he knew that the wicked were not always punished here.  Bert. O God is not in Heb. Sept. or S. Aug.  C. But it is understood.  H.

Ver. 10.  Gifts, to bribe; or rather, which the judges have received.  Bert.  Shochad is always used in a bad sense for “a bribe.”  C. Est munus a lingua…a manu…et ab obsequio.  S. Jer. The wicked use their worldly goods to corrupt others.  W. Jugurtha leaving Rome, said, “O venal city.”  Sallust.

Ver. 11.  Innocence.  He opposes the integrity of his proceedings to that of the wicked.  C. Yet still calls for mercy.  H. Every one should strive to be innocent, and to avoid the company of worldlings.  W.

Ver. 12.  Direct, (directo.)  Prot. “in an even place,” (H.) in the court where the Levites sung.  Vatab. I have followed the paths of justice, and hope soon to be able to praise thee in thy temple.  C. These seven last verses are daily recited at Mass.  But do we reflect what innocence and fervour are required of the sacred ministers?  I cannot assert that my paths have never strayed from the right way.  Pardon my transgressions, and enable me henceforth to live so that I may be worthy to sound forth thy praise, and to appear in thy sanctuary.  Bert. Thee.  Heb. “the Lord.”  H. The psalms of David are now used in every Christian Church.  Euthym.  M.

PSALM 26

PSALM XXVI.  (DOMINUS ILLUMINATIO.)

David’s faith and hope in God.

Ver. 1.  Anointed.  Heb. has only, David.  The rest of the title occurs only in some copies of the Sept. (Euseb.  C.) and is not of divine authority.  Yet if any attention be paid to it, we must suppose that David composed this psalm before his second anointing, as he speaks of great dangers.  But this is all uncertain.  Bert. For dangers threatened David even after he had been declared king.  H. Before Samuel anointed him, he was not endued with the spirit of prophecy.  See 1 K. xvi. 13.  2 K. ii. 4. and v. 3.  C. Some suppose that he alludes to the entertainment given him by Abimelech, (v. 5 and 12.  Theod.) or to that night when, fearless of danger, he took away Saul’s cup; (Ferrand) while Abenezra and De Muis rather believe, that he composed this psalm when his people dissuaded him from going out to battle.  2 K. xxi 17.  It expresses the sentiments of the Levites in captivity, (C.) and most beautifully consoles the just in distress.  David did not write this for himself alone, but for all future generations.  Hence it is not necessary to discover the particular circumstances of his life, to which this and many other psalms allude; nor is there any difficulty in explaining away the various imprecations, as they are not directed against any individual, but relate to all the enemies of the soul; while they foretell what the wicked shall suffer.  Bert. Afraid.  “Find one more powerful, and then fear.”  S. Aug. God both giveth light and strength, so that no enemy can hurt his servants.  Lu. xxi. 15.  W.

Ver. 2.  Flesh.  This expression marks the fury of his enemies.  See Job xix. 22. and xxxi. 31.  C. That.  Heb. and Sept. “and my foes.”  This may denote domestic, and the former word public, enemies.  H. Weakened.  Hebrew also, “have stumbled.”  Those who came to take Jesus Christ, verified this prediction.  Jo. xviii. 6.  C.

 

Ver. 3.  This; God’s protection (H.) and light, (M.) or in the very heat of battle: prælium.  Sept. express the Heb. fem. pronoun, as they do with the Vulg. v. 4, unam.  There is no neuter in Heb. which commonly uses the feminine, instead.  C. It may be deemed too scrupulous an exactitude, to express this in a version.  The word petition may be understood.  Bert.  M. The one petition of David comprised every blessing; as he had his mind bent on heaven.  D.

Ver. 4.  House; the tabernacle, (H.) or temple, (C.) unless he may rather allude to God’s presence and union, or his enjoyment in heaven.  Bert. He had already expressed a similar wish.  Ps. xxv. 8.  C. “When we love what God approves, he will surely grant our request.  S. Aug. David esteemed it as a special benefit to be in the Catholic Church, which is the only true house of God.  W. Delight; beauty and sweetness, as the Heb. implies.  Many of the ancients read, “the will,” voluntatem, with Sixtus V. &c.  But the edition of Clem. VIII. agrees with the Heb. and Oriental versions.  C. To comply with God’s will, is the only means of arriving at his beatific vision.  H. David was more grieved at being kept at a distance from the tabernacle, than from his own family.  He envied the happiness of those who could attend the divine worship.  M.

 

Ver. 5.  Tabernacle; in the Catholic Church, so that the enemy can either not find, or at least cannot hurt, my soul.  W. I hope one day to enjoy rest in the temple.  C. The verbs are in the future, in Heb. both here and in the following verse.  But they may be as well explained in the sense of the Vulg.  Those who find themselves in danger, must still have recourse to God’s presence, (Bert.) where, as (H.) in the asylum of the tabernacle, (M.) or of the temple, they will be protected.  C. God rewards those with glory in death, who have suffered for his name.  W.

 

Ver. 6.  Round.  Heb. “my enemies around.”  But the Sept. understand it of David, (Bert.) or of the priest, who poured the blood of the victims on different sides of the altar.  H. Jubilation: singing and music, which are styled the fruit, or calves of the lips.  Is. lvii. 19.  Os. xiv. 3.  C. David diligently recounted God’s benefits, with all his heart and voice.  W. He offered sacrifices by ministry of the priests, on the altar of holocausts, which was not in, but before, the tabernacle.  M.

 

Ver. 7.  To thee, is understood in Heb. and the Rom. Sept.  H.

 

Ver. 8.  Face hath.  Heb. pointed, “faces seek ye.”  But Sept. S. Jer. Chal. &c. take no notice of these points; and even Prot. marg. has, “My heart said unto thee, Let my face seek thy face;” (Bert.) though in the text they derange the words, and add, “When thou saidst, Seek ye my face, my heart said,” &c.  H. Seek.  “I have sought for no reward besides thee.”  S. Aug. I have earnestly desired to see thee face to face.  1 Cor. xiii. 12.  W.

 

Ver. 9.  Decline not.  Heb. “put not away.”  Prot.  But the Vulg. seems preferable. Forsake.  Sept. (Compl. and Ald.) mh aposkorakishV, “send me not to the crows,” an expression borrowed from profane authors, who said, “to the crows,” when they held a person in sovereign contempt.  Theod.  Bert. Grabe substitutes this word, though the Alex. and Vat. MSS. agree with us.  H. There seems to be a gradation in the condition of the reprobate here observed.  God hides his countenance, withdraws, abandons, and despises them; and they only perceive their misery, when it is too late.  Bert. David implores aid in this life, and deprecates the divine anger, looking upon himself as an orphan, whom God takes under his special protection.  W.

Ver. 10.  For.  Heb. “Though.”  David’s parents fled to him.  1 K. xxii. 1.  Yet they had made small account of him, till Samuel called him forth.  1 K. xvi. 10.  The father-in-law and mother-in-law may be also designated.  When a saint is deprived of every human advantage, he may still say with S. Aug. “They have taken from me what God gave, but they have not taken God from me, who gave those things.”  Bert. Though I am like an orphan, I hope for all good from God, my father.  Is. lxiii. 16.  C.

Ver. 11.  Enemies, who strive to pervert me.  Keep me in the right path, which thou hast already made known to me.  W.

Ver. 12.  Will.  Lit. “souls.”  H. Some ancient copies have, “the hands.” Unjust.  Heb. “false.”  H. To itself, ought not to be urged no more than eat sibi, vade tibi.  Gen. xii. 1.  Cant. i. 7.  C. It is a Heb. idiom.  H. Many find fault with the Sept. and Vulg. in this place, but without reason; and they do not agree in their versions.  Sym. and S. Jer. come near to us.  Puach means to breathe, or entangle; and our version intimates, that “iniquity has entangled itself:” vipheach chamas, “and open lying.”  S. Jer.  Bert. The accusers of Susanna, and of our Saviour, could not agree in their testimony.  The Chaldees continually calumniated the captives.  Isai. lii. 4.  Jer. l. 33.  C. Worldlings still do the same, (Matt. v.) delighting in lies, which will prove their own ruin.  W.

 

Ver. 13.  I.  Heb. “But I believe that I shall see.”  S. Jer. “I had fainted, unless,” &c.  Prot.  H. Living, or of promise, as this country is often designated, (Muis.  T.  Du Pin.  C.) or rather in heaven, (Bert.  M.) where death shall be no more.  H. The Fathers explain it in this more elevated sense.  C. The just are comforted by God, and by the hope of heavenly rewards.  W. The land of the living may be opposed to the grave, where none can worship God.  H.

 

Ver. 14.  And let.  Heb. “and he will strengthen my heart, and wait” (instead of and, Prot. put, without reason, “Wait I say) on the Lord.”  We must do our utmost: yet all our strength must come from God.  H. The prophet encourageth his own soul to exercise patience, fortitude, and longanimity (Ps. xxx.  W.) unto the end.  M.

PSALM 27

PSALM XXVII.  (AD TE DOMINE CLAMABO.)

David’s prayer that his enemies may not prevail over him.

Ver. 1.  Himself.  The Heb. and Sept. (Rom. and Alex.) have simply “of David.” Ledavid.  H. The psalm appears to be a sequel of the preceding, and we may adopt the rule of the Jews, who refer the psalms which have no title, to the same author and events as those which go before.  It may relate to the captives, (C.) or to David under persecution, though the Fathers explain it of Christ suffering, &c. and rising again. My God.  Heb. “rock.”  This term is so often applied to God, that it might be added to his other ten titles.  Bert. Lest…to me, is not in the Rom. psalter.  Euthym. &c. Pit, grave; though it also denote “a prison.”  C. S. Jerom has “be not deaf to me,” &c.  M.

Ver. 2.  Pray.  Heb. “cry…to the recess of thy sanctuary, (H.) or to thy oracle.”  Sept. place the whole for a part.  The tabernacle was often styled temple.  1 K. i. 9.  To lift up the hands was customary in prayer, (1 Tim. ii. 8.  Lam. iii. 41.  Bert.) to testify whence our aid must come.  H. The Jews turned towards the holy place in prayer, (3 K. viii. 48.  Ezec. viii. 16.) even after the temple was destroyed.  C.

 

Ver. 3.  Draw.  Sextus V. reads tradas, “deliver,” &c.  But the present trahas, is more conformable to the original.  C. Sept. add, destroy me not, as the Heb. might also signify.  Suffer me not to follow bad example.  They often paraphrase, to render the text clearer.  A similar petition occurs, Ps. xxv. 9. Hearts.  Such double dealers are abominable, and quite opposite to the candour of a Christian.  Jo. i. 47. and 1 Pet. ii. 22.  Bert. The psalmist prays that God would comfort and support him, as he knew that God tempteth no man.  Jam. i.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  Reward.  He speaks prophetically, (v. 5.) or of spiritual enemies.  Bert. “If they do not understand by kindness, make them understand by torments.”  S. Jer. He alludes to the calamities of the Babylonians, who had made such havoc, (C.) as well as to that of all who persecuted or rebelled against David.  H. His zeal prompts him to approve of their chastisement.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  The works, (in opera.)  The preposition seems redundant, though (H.) it was probably in both places, to insinuate that attention is requisite.  The Jews perished, because they would not know the things that were for their peace.  Lu. xix 42.  Their city in ruins, is an emblem of the sinner’s utter destruction. Thou shalt.  Heb. “he will.”  Bert. The Chaldees gave supreme honour to idols, neglecting the true God.  Their punishment was at hand.  Kimchi.  C. Ignorance will prove no excuse, when people might be informed.  God will save none, without their co-operation.  W.

 

Ver. 6.  Blessed.  This energetic epithet is generally applied to the Lord, and as it is also given to Christ, he must be true God.  Rom. ix. 5. &c.

 

Ver. 7.  Protector.  Heb. “buckler,” to defend me from external enemies, as his grace enables me to do good. Flesh.  Heb. “heart.”  But joy would manifest itself over the whole body: (Prov. xvii. 22.  Bert.) and the Syr. agrees with the Sept. “My flesh shall bud forth, and I shall sing his praises in glory.”  C. Will.  Heb. “canticle,” which was dictated by the will.  It is suspected that the Sept. read differently.  Only the saints taste true joys, so that they alone might be styled sensual.  But this worldlings cannot understand.  1 Cor. ii. 14.  Bert. The Fathers explain this text of Christ’s or of our resurrection, (S. Jer. &c.) which was prefigured by the return from captivity.  C. Interior comfort causes the body to be refreshed; and the psalmist gladly (W.) expresses his gratitude.  H.

 

Ver. 8.  People; (hoz lamu) instead of which the Heb. has lamo,their strength;” though the people of God had not been mentioned.  S. Jerom translates, “the Lord is my strength.”  Houbigant shews that the Vulg. is most accurate.  Bert. Prot. marg. “his strength.” Salvation.  Lit. “salvations,” as he had many times protected David, as well as (H.) the priests and prophets, and all the chosen people.  1 Pet. ii. 9.  C. God causeth the good endeavours of the king for his subjects to prosper.  W.

 

Ver. 9.  Exalt, or carry on thy shoulders, like the good shepherd.  Lu. xv. 5.  Restore thy people to prosperity.  This was the wish of the carnal Jews.  The Christian must raise his thoughts higher.  C. S. Jerom and Prot. “feed…and lift them up for ever.”  Here the progress of justification appears.  H. God redeems and conducts us to eternal bliss.  Bert. As in Ps. xix. &c. the subjects pray for their superiors, so here the ruler offers up his petitions for those committed to his charge.  W.

PSALM 28

PSALM XXVIII.  (AFFERTE DOMINO.)

An invitation to glorify God, with a commemoration of his mighty works.

Ver. 1.  Finishing.  Sept. exodiou or exodou, may also signify “the going out;” (H.) as if the sacred ministers exhorted their successors to perform their duty in the ensuing week, or on the last day of the feast of tabernacles.  Lev. xxiii. 36.  C. Heb. has only “A canticle of David,” (H.) and the rest was not in the Hexapla in the time of Theodoret, so that many pay no attention to it.  The author seems to have supposed that the psalm was composed when David had finished the tabernacle, on Sion.  C.  2 K. vi. and 1 Par. xvi. But the psalmist had in view things of far greater importance, the propagation of Christianity among many great potentates.  W. The Fathers explain it in this sense, though it may literally allude (C.) to the storm procured by the prayer of Elias, 3 K. xviii. 1. 41.  H. It might be composed in a thunderstorm, and used on similar occasions, (Muis) when a person had to go from home.  H. The seven voices may allude to the seven sacraments, or trumpets.  Apoc. x. 3.  Bert. God.  Sept. seem to have read Aleim, or they have taken elim in the same sense, as it signifies “the mighty” as well as “rams.”  On account of this ambiguity, a double translation is given either by the Sept. or rather by some later writer, who may have inserted the explanation, O ye children of God, bring ye to the Lord; (H.) which has crept from the margin into the text.  Amama. It is marked as superfluous by Grabe, (H.) not being found in the best Greek copies; or at least have an obel, (Euseb.) to insinuate that it was not in Heb. in which state it appears in the Gal. Psalter, published in S. Jerom’s works.  C. It is not contrary to the original, though more explicit, (Bert.) as the address is made to all the faithful, (M.) or to the priests and nobility.  H. The apostles are styled rams, because they beat down error with the two Testaments; whence bishops’ mitres have two horns.  Lombard.  Amama. “Give praise to the Lord, ye troops of angels; render to the Lord glory and strength.”  Chal.  C. Be grateful for the favours which are here recounted.  W. Most people now translate, “sons of the mighty.”  Yet S. Jerom and Houbigant have, “offspring of rams;” filios arietum.  Bring lambs to the Lord, as the original may certainly mean; though many who are attached to the Heb. allow also sons of God.  Bert. Montfaucon says that Origen marked with a lemniscus, what he judged “a better reading,” and thus obelized the first of these versions, and added the second with an asterisk.  This liberty has been attended both with good and bad consequences.  Ken.

Ver. 2.  Honour.  Heb. “strength,” which we must acknowledge.  H. The first design of sacrifice is to adore God in spirit.  W. Holy court.  Heb. “in the holy beauty.”  1 Par. xvi. 29.  Even the priests were obliged to remain in the court, where they adored God, as sitting upon the Cherubim, in the most holy place (C.) in the Catholic Church.  W. External worship must be observed.  Bert.

 

Ver. 3.  Voice.  Separating the waters from the earth at the beginning, as the six other voices may denote the other works of the creation; or all these voices may signify the various effects of thunder, or may allude to the terrors preceding the last judgment, (Apoc. x. 3.) or attending the establishment and liberation of the Jewish and Christian Churches.  The first voice was heard when Jesus was baptized, (Mat. iii. 17.) as the rest may intimate the instruction and efficacy of the other sacraments.  It is evident that something posterior to the reign of David is prefigured; (Bert.) and the Fathers have generally understood the psalm of the propagation of the gospel by the apostles, two of whom are styled sons of thunder.  Mark iii. 17.  C. The psalmist speaks of greater things than attended the translation of the ark.  He represents our Saviour preaching with great power and majesty, (Mat. vii. 29.) and subjecting the most powerful monarchs to his dominion.  W. Thunder is often styled the voice of God, and is occasioned by the collision of the clouds, (H.) which Moses calls the waters above.  S. Bas.  C.

 

Ver. 4.  Power and magnificence.  The sacraments of confirmation and the blessed Eucharist, or the wonderful propagation of the Church, amid violent persecutions.  Bert.

 

Ver. 5.  Libanus.  Which were the most famous.  H. Storms often tear up trees by the roots.  C. The effects of the gospel and of penance, may be described, or the terrors of the last day, when Jesus Christ will destroy the proud.  Bert.

 

Ver. 6.  Shall reduce them to pieces, &c.  In Hebrew, shall make them to skip like a calf.  The psalmist here describes the effects of thunder, (which he calls the voice of the Lord) which sometimes breaks down the tallest and strongest trees; and makes their broken branches skip, &c.  All this is to be understood mystically, of the powerful voice of God’s word in his Church; which has broke the pride of the great ones of this world, and brought many of them meekly and joyfully to submit their necks to the sweet yoke of Christ.  Ch. Calf, or “branch,” as the Greek word also implies.  But Heb. seems more naturally to signify “a calf; Libanus and Sirion, (or  Sarion.  Deut. iii. 9.) as the son of the unicorn.”  These two mountains are represented jolting together.  C. The violence of an earthquake has sometimes produced such effects.  Pliny ii. 83.  See Ps. cxiii. 4.  Judg. v. 5.  Hab. iii. 10.  C. And as.  The construction & dilectus, seems rather to make this only nominative, “the Lord shall, &c. and the beloved, (H.) the Messias, like the son of the unicorn,” shall perform the like wonders.  It seems probable that the Sept. have read Jeshurun for Shirion, (Bert.) or vissron, instead of ussriun; as i would onlybe a little transposed.  H. Jeshurun is a title of Israel, (Deut. xxxii. 15. and xxxiii. 5. 26.) who was a figure of the Messias, the beloved of God.  Bert. “And he will scatter them as a calf would do; Libanus and Sarion, are in motion, like the son of the rhinoceros.”  S. Jer.  H.  The most powerful submit to Christ, who works these wonders.  W.

 

Ver. 7.  Fire.  Lightning, which deals destruction around.  C. The Holy Ghost appeared in the form of parted tongues of fire, to enable the apostles to convert the desert of the Gentile world, and the Jews, represented by the desert of Cades, (W.) which was near their country, (H.) on the frontiers of Idumea.  Num. xiii. 27.  C. Holy orders were instituted by Christ, to confer grace to the sacred ministers, according to their different stations or exigencies; (Bert.) or extreme unction, which prepares the sol for her separation from the body, may be here meant, if we follow the usual disposition of the sacraments; as the following sentence may allude to holy orders, which shakes or causes the desert to fructify, (H.) unless these words be rather applied to matrimony.  Bert. Shaketh and shakes.  S. Jer. has parturire faciens, making the desert bring forth.”  Chal. “frightens the serpents.”  All nature is alarmed at the sound of thunder.  H. The deserts then appear most terrible.  C.

 

Ver. 9.  Prepareth.  Heb. “delivereth,” as a midwife (S. Jer. 5 Edit. Aquila) “maketh the hinds to calve;” (Prot.  H.) or “to leap, (from éul; Bert.) or frighteneth.”  Hinds are supposed to bring forth with great difficulty.  But the reverse seems to be the case.  S. Chrys. in Job xxxix. 3.  C. They are very swift, and trample serpents under their feet, nature having given them this power.  S. Jer.  Pliny vii. 32.  The text may be understood of the last sacrament, which prepares us for our passage; (Bert.) or of matrimony, by means of which the world is peopled with rational beings, whose duty it is to glorify God in his temple.  H. This is also the effect of grace, and of the preaching of the gospel, (Bert.) which inspires people with a desire of running on in the way of perfection.  Christ explains to them hidden mysteries in his Church, to which he bring multitudes, like the waters, ruling over them, and enabling them to overcome all temptations, till he crown his elect with eternal peace.  W. Glory.  Running thither through fear, or to thank God for rain after a drought.

Ver. 10.  Dwell.  Chal. explains this of the deluge, which continued a long while upon the earth, to punish mankind.  Heb. may also signify, “the Lord sitteth upon the flood,” or clouds, as the Lord of nature. Strength, or abundant rain, (Jos. xxxviii. 6.) with all other blessings; (C.) making his people as terrible to their enemies as the storm which has been described.  M.

PSALM 29

PSALM XXIX.  (EXALTABO TE DOMINE.)

David praiseth God for his deliverance, and his merciful dealings with him.

Ver. 1.  Dedication, when David sung after he had (H.) built a magnificent palace, 2 K. v.  W. David’s ledavid, or “to David,” which some rather join with Psalm, (Muis) and explain the house of the tabernacle or temple; though it seems more probably to relate to the altar, which David erected, after the pestilence (C.) had destroyed 70,000.  2 K. xxiv. 25.  There seems to be nothing respecting a dedication in the psalm; whence we may conjecture that the title is not very authentic.  The Greeks (Bert.) prefixed “unto the end,” in the Rom. Sept. but not Grabe’s, &c.  H. The Rabbins inform us that this psalm was used when people brought their first fruits to the temple, and that it will be sung at the dedication of the temple, which the expect the Messias will erect.  Selden. Syn. iii. 13. The Fathers explain it of Christ’s resurrection.  C. It may be put in the mouth of a just man leaving this world.  Bert. The title of Psalm, most properly belongs to those which were played upon instruments; as a canticle refers to vocal music.  When the instrument preceded, it was called A psalm of a canticle; as a canticle of a psalm intimated that man gave out the psalm, and instruments followed.  W. These distinctions are given by S. Chrys. &c.  M.

Ver. 2.  Extol.  Or publish thy great goodness and power, (H.) in the same sense as we say Hallowed be thy name.  Bert. Though God can receive no increase of glory, we must shew our gratitude.  W. Me.  Thou hast not suffered my people to be wholly destroyed, nor myself to perish in consequence of my vain curiosity.  C. David sings this psalm in thanksgiving for his many deliverances.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  Healed me.  I expected to die every moment, and I had made choice of the scourge of pestilence, that I might not be more screened than my subjects, 2 K. xxiv. 13.  C.

 

Ver. 4.  Hell.  Preserving me from great dangers of sinning, (W.) or from death. Saved.  Heb. “granted me life.”  This may all be explained of Christ’s resurrection.  C.

 

Ver. 5.  Saints.  Heb. “who have obtained mercy.”  Priests and faithful people come to return thanks, because God has turned away the scourge.  C. Memory, or name.  Ex. iii. 15.  C. It is from God, and not from ourselves, that holiness comes.  W.

 

Ver. 6.  Wrath, which is a short fury.  M.  Isai. liv. 7. Heb. “momentary is his indignation;” or rather, “from his indignation comes destruction,” roga, as the Sept. constantly (H.) agree.  Job xx. 5.  Is. xxviii. 12. &c.  C. “The miseries which are inflicted, are in consequence of his indignation.”  Prin. dis.  Bert. We are not miserable unless we have deserved it.  S. Aug. Even in chastising, God considers our welfare.  W. He takes no pleasure in our torments, but delights to crown us with life and happiness.  H. Eternal joys are the fruits of the short sorrows of this world, (Bert.) which is represented as one night or evening.  H. A few moments ago Jerusalem expected nothing but destruction.  Thus the apostles grieved till Christ rose again; (C.) and the life of the just is a constant vicissitude of sorrow and of comfort.  W.

 

Ver. 7.  Moved.  David thought himself invincible; and, out of vanity, ordered his subjects to be numbered.  God shewed his displeasure only for three days, and all was in confusion, v. 8.  C. Though we may imagine that we are firmly established, we must acknowledge that all our strength is derived from God, who sometimes leaves us to experience our own weakness.  W.

 

Ver. 8.  Beauty.  So Sept. and Syriac have read ledre, (C.) instead of leharri, “my mountain,” Sion, which David had taken from the Jebusites.  The sense is much the same, though the reading of the Sept. seem more natural.  Symmachus has followed another copy.  Bert. “Thou hast given strength to my first father.”  C. The present Heb. is rejected by Houbigant, (Bert.) though it be conformable to Aquila, S. Jerom, &c.  How  necessary is it for us to be convinced, that all we have is the gift of God!  H. In prosperity man is too apt to give way to presumption.  Bert. David had yielded to this temptation, not being sufficiently aware how jealous God is of his rights.  C. He confesses this mistake.  Heb. “I was terrified.”  M.

 

Ver. 9.  Will I.  We  must not cease to pray, (W.) as we are always beset with enemies.  H. This text may be explained, “I prayed,” that I might suffer  instead of my people.  4 K. xxiv. 17.  C. But here the prophet seems rather to beg that he may not die, in order that he may publish God’s praises.  H.

Ver. 10.  Profit.  The wicked on his death bed, cannot pray thus, as the justice of God is interested to punish his crimes, and to prevent their continuance.  After death there is no merit; so that we ought to make good use of our time.  Bert. Corruption.  The Fathers explain this of Jesus Christ.  What good will my death procure, if I do not rise again?  Orig.  S. Jer. Truth.  See Ps. lxxxvii. 11.  Bar. ii. 17.  C. The dead cannot make their voice heard in this world, though they may praise God in the other.  M.

Ver. 11.  The Lord.  Heb. points determine, “Lord, hear,” &c.  But the Greek interpreters agree with the Vulg. which seems better.  Bert. S. Jerom, however, make this a prayer.  “Hear,” &c.  H.

Ver. 12.  Joy.  When thou orderest the angel.  2 K. xxiv. 16.  C. Sackcloth, of human nature, which was cut, and the price of our redemption came forth.  S. Aug.  S. Jer. Thou hast changed my mourning weeds for robes of joy.  D.

 

Ver. 13.  Regret.  Or be filled with grief, compungar.  H. Heb. “that glory may sing thee, (or thy praise) and may not be silent.”  S. Jer.  Sym.  H. Glory often signifies the tongue.  D. My is added, to shew that this was David’s glory, (H.) who considered God in all events.  Bert. Prot. supply the word my.  H. Chal. “that the great ones of the world may praise thee incessantly.” Ever.  In this my happy change.  W. Those who suppose that David sung this, when he purified his house from the abominations of Absalom, explain his illness (v. 2.) to mean the anxiety caused by that revolt.  2 K. xvi. 21.  Bossuet.  C. He gives thanks for the favour which God had shown him on that, or on any other occasion.  H. He might consider this purifying as a sort of dedication, as it was customary to dedicate even private houses.  Deut. xx. 5.  C.

PSALM 30

PSALM XXX.  (IN TE DOMINE SPERAVI.)

A prayer of a just man under affliction.

Ver. 1.  Ecstacy.  This word is not in Heb. nor in some of the best Greek copies.  Theod. It seems to be taken from v. 23. (C.) and intimates that the just may recite this psalm in the latter times, (W.) when they shall be in the greatest perplexity.  H. David composed it when he was obliged to flee from court, (1 K. xix. 1. and xxvii. 1.  C.) or in the desert of Moan, seeing himself in the most imminent danger; (1 K. xxiii. 25.  Kimchi.  Du Pin) though some refer this psalm to the conspiracy of Absalom, (Theod.  M.) or to the unpremeditated fall of David, (Euseb.) or to the captives.  S. Chrys. Our Saviour repeated part of v. 6. upon the cross; and he may perhaps be the object of the whole psalm.  The Church prescribes only the six first verses to be recited at Complin.  Bert.

Ver. 2.  Justice.  Sym. “mercy.”  Thou art the judge between us.  C. How grievous soever I may be afflicted, yet I trust in thee.  W. “I fear that confusion which lasts for ever.”  S. Aug.  D.

 

Ver. 3.  A God.  Heb. “a rock of strength.”  Sept. “a God who  holdeth his shield over me,” uperaspisthn.  H. Refuge.  Heb. “fortress.”  C.

 

Ver. 4.  Nourish.  Heb. guide.  H. Sym. “take care of me.”  C.

 

Ver. 5.  Snare.  The order to appear at court, after Saul had manifested his ill-will, could be considered in no other light.  C.

 

Ver. 6.  Spirit.  Heb. ruach.  Our Saviour determines the signification of this word, and shews that the saints of the Old Testament believed that the soul survived after its separation from the body, which some commentators have unguardedly said could not be clearly proved.  This text may be applicable both to David and to Jesus Christ in a literal sense, as nothing contradictory would ensue, no more than from the prediction, out of Egypt I have called my son, being verified both in the Israelites and in the Messias; as both may truly be styled sons of God, though in a different sense.  It is not so with that other prophecy, Behold a virgin, &c. which some say related both to the wife of the prophet and to the blessed Virgin: which cannot be, as they would not both have children, and still remain virgins.  When two literal senses are admitted, they must not be contradictory.  The verb is here in the future, both in Heb. Sept. and in the common Greek of the New Testament; (Lu. xxiii. 46.) though some MSS. of the latter have the present tense, which is adopted by Prot. &c.  Bert. David commits his cause to God, being convinced that his promises would not be in vain.  S. Stephen said in like manner, Lord receive my spirit; (Acts vii. 58.) and “the saints use this prayer when they leave the body,” (S. Jer.  C.) as well as on any other important occasion, particularly when they receive the holy sacrament.  W. Redeemed, by freeing me from many dangers.  The resurrection of Christ might be called a redemption; for which he had paid the price.  Bert.

Ver. 7.  Vanities.  Idols, (C.) superstitious practices, (Hammond) and lies.  It may refer to Saul, who performed his promises so ill, and neglected the laws which he had made against witches.  C. Prot. “I have hated them that regard lying vanities.”  H. The ancient interpreters, with S. Jerom, seem not to have seen the i, which changes the second into the first person, though here it would be less agreeable to the context.  This i would appear unnecessary, if the present Hebrew were correct.  Bert.  Houbig.

 

Ver. 8.  Humility.  Heb. “affliction, thou hast known the tribulations of my soul.”  S. Jer.  H. Thou hast often rescued me from my enemies; and canst thou behold my present distress without pity?  C. When God knows his friend to be in misery, he does not fail to relieve him.  Bert.

 

Ver. 9.  Place.  The psalms were commonly composed after the danger was over.  David had escaped the lance and the servants of Saul.  C.

Ver. 10.  Belly, or entrails.  M.  Lam. i. 20.  Eccli. li. 29.  H. David was filled with indignation at the conduct of his enemies.  C. Both soul and body felt the effects of his great sorrow, (H.) which pervaded every part.  W.

Ver. 11.  Poverty.  Sept. have read ani instead of haoni, “my iniquity,” which seems less accurate, as David had not offended Saul.  Sym. has “malice,” (C.) or “ill-treatment,” kakwsin.  H. We may form some judgment of David’s distress, from his being obliged to eat the consecrated bread at Nobe.  C. Yet without making any change to the Heb. we may explain it in the sense of the Vulg. as áve signifies to be “bent down.”  Bert. “Chastisements waste my strength.”  Pr. disc. Jesus was a  man of sorrows.  Bert.

Ver. 12.  Among.  Lit. “above;” super.  H. Houbigant would exchange l for m, in Heb. “to all,” &c. which seems more agreeable to the sequel, and does not contradict the Vulg.  Bert. David complains that none of his enemies were treated so severely as himself, (H.) though they were very wicked.  M. They all looked upon him with disdain, and even his friends fled from him.  This is the picture of the world.  A man fallen into distress is the object of general contempt.  C. Yet we ought rather to remember that such a one is sacred: sacra res est miser: and that he ought to excite our compassion.  H. Fear.  People are afraid to have it known that they were ever acquainted with me, (C.) lest they should be involved in my misery.  H. My friends dare not converse with me.  W.

Si malè res cedit, superest tibi nullus amicus:

                        Omnia fortunæ sunt inimica malæ.  Lucian Anthol.

If fortune frown, no friend dares shew his face,

All flee the wretched, and abhor their place.

 

Ver. 13.  Heart, past recovery.  Prot. “dead man out of mind.”  H. Vessel means, “any thing.”  C. A broken pot is thrown away.  M.

 

Ver. 14.  About.  They blame me to my face.  Heb. “fear on every side.”  H. But magor signifies also “dwelling,” as well as “fear;” and this dread arose only from the multitude of enemies.  Bert. Life.  I was proscribed by Saul, (1 K. xix. 1.  H.) and they were only solicitous how to destroy me.  C. They assembled to talk about my pretended H. faults, and to contrive my ruin.  Jer. xx. 10.  M.

 

Ver. 16.  Lots.  Sept. Rom. klhroi, as the same word, hittothai is rendered Judg. xxi. 22.  Others explain “times,” with the Rom. Psalter, &c. in the same sense, to denote (Bert.) that all the vicissitudes of life, both prosperity and adversity, are at God’s disposal.  Theod. If he protects me, all my enemies will rage in vain.  C.

 

Ver. 17.  Shine propitiously, so as to free me from this storm.  C. Make me acquainted with the right path, and deliver me.  W.

 

Ver. 18.  Brought.  Prot. “be silent in the grave,” (H.) or “in hell.”  This is a prediction.  When I shall ascend the throne, they will be covered with shame.  C. Let them enter into themselves before they die.  H. Houbigant thinks that the Heb. had formerly, “let them be silent, and descend into the grave;” which seems judicious.  David inveighs against his spiritual enemies, and against manifest impiety.  Bert.

 

Ver. 19.  Iniquity.  Heb. “harsh things;” calumnies.  C. Abuse.  Sept. exoudenwsei, as if they “made nothing” of the just.  H. They seem to acknowledge no superior, and abuse their power.  W.

Ver. 20.  Men.  Thou comfortest thy servants internally, and often manifestest thy protection.  H. This thou wilt do when it is expedient, though the reward of the just in this life is generally hidden.  They are, nevertheless, in great esteem with thee.  W.

Ver. 21.  Face.  The malice of the wicked has its limits; while God defends his servants, admitting them as it were into his own presence and tabernacle, where none dare assault them.  The Eastern princes did not allow any, but their great favourites to come into their presence.  C.  Est. v. and xv.  H. Disturbance.  Chal. “troops of the strong.”  Heb. “from the pride or vexations.”  God will protect his friends, both from an open attack and from malicious speeches. Thy is not expressed in Heb.  Bert. “From the harshness of the great ones thou wilt protect them in the shade, from the contradiction of tongues.”  S. Jer. How shall we avoid the danger of being seduced by contradictory teachers, unless we have recourse to the Catholic Church?  Tu curre ad Eccles. Cath. et protegeris; &c.  S. Aug.  H. Those who are united to God by contemplation and love, cannot be disturbed by men.  Bellar.  M.

Ver. 22.  In a.  Sym. “as in a city shut up” with fortifications.  C. As seems to be understood, though some explain this of Ceila, (Bert.) or of Siceleg, which had been given to David for a retreat.  He here apologizes for having recourse to an infidel.  C.

 

Ver. 23.  Excess.  Sept. “in my ecstacy.”  Heb. “haste.”  Prot. “consternation.”  Sym.  H. In sudden danger I exclaimed that all was lost; but God presently relieved me.  Thus He prepared David for his exalted station; having taught him by affliction, to have pity on others.  C. He experienced for a moment a sort of diffidence, before he had time to reflect.  But he presently turned towards God.  A Protestant commentator, who, in general, is very guarded in his expressions, and who applies all this psalm to the Messias, here falls into a horrible mistake, which he seems to have borrowed from Calvin: “The Messias,” he says, “was to experience once, what the damned will feel for ever.  For the punishment of the damned properly consists in the consternation and grief which they will feel, to see themselves separated for ever from the sight of God.”  He refutes himself, by saying the Jesus Christ shewed us how to pray, when we are abandoned in like manner.  Does any one experience here the torment of the damned? or could Jesus ever be the object of God’s hatred?  It would have sufficed to say that he was destitute of all exterior succour, and internally felt those torments which the gospel mentions.  Bert. Eyes.  This he spoke in great agony of mind, which he would afterwards have recalled, like holy Job.  C. iii. and xlii.  W.

Ver. 24.  Saints.  Heb. “merciful ones;” Assideans, priests, &c. Truth.  Heb. “will preserve the true;” (C.) or, “will observe the faithful.”  Bert. Abundantly.  Sept. “that act with great pride,” as S. Aug. reads, and as Heb. and Vulg. may be rendered.  H. The prophet exhorts all to persevere unto the end.  W.

PSALM 31

PSALM XXXI.  (BEATI QUORUM.)

The second penitential psalm.

Ver. 1.  Understanding; (Prot. mascil.  H.) shewing how he was brought to acknowledge his fault, and by penance to obtain pardon, (W.) justly giving the glory to God’s grace.  S. Aug. Sept. Alex. [“A psalm] to David,” of understanding; which is taken from some other copy.  H. Some suppose this word has been inserted from ver 8.  Abenezra. But there are several other psalms which have this title, (H.) intimating either that they contain great mysteries, (Euseb.) or that they are easy to understand.  Agellius. This is wholly of a moral nature.  The Jews styled it the heart of David, because it displays his sentiments of contrition.  C. He composed it most probably after Nathan had engaged him to confess his fault.  Bellar. It might be used on the solemn feast of expiation.  Grot.  Num. xxix. 7. the Fathers explain it of the grace which we receive in baptism and in penance.  S. Aug.  S. Greg. &c.  C. Are they.  Heb. “The blessings of him whose iniquity.”  Pagnin. But the sense is the same, and S. Paul follows the Sept. which gives their version the highest authority.  Rom. iv. 7. Sins; or, “who is screened from the punishment of sin.”  Prin. disc.  Sin has often this signification; and the psalmist would otherwise seem to say less than he had already expressed.  Bert. Covered, by charity, (1 Pet. iv.) as a physician covers a wound, to remove it entirely; and we must cover our former transgressions, by doing good works.  S. Greg. Then our sins will not appear at the day of judgment, (S. Jer.) nor be punished, as they are wholly destroyed.  The Pelagians calumniated Catholics, as if they taught that sins were only shaven, as it were, the roots still remaining; which S. Aug. (con. 2 ep. Pelag. i. 13.) says, “None affirmeth but an infidel.”  Thus the doctrine of Calvin is condemned; who abuses these texts to prove that sins are only covered, and still remain even in the most just; which is contrary to innumerable passages of Scripture, (Isai. vi.  Jo. i.  1 Cor. vi. &c.) and injurious to the perfections of God, and to the redemption of Christ, as well as to the saints in heaven, who are thus represented as still infected with all their sins.  W. This doctrine is now almost abandoned by Protestants, as it is contrary both to sound philosophy and divinity: for sin is nothing physical, but a want of moral rectitude.  Bert. God cannot fail to punish sin, wherever it really subsists.  His spirit is surely free from guile.  He cannot suppose that we are just by imputation of Christ’s justice, unless we be really so.  H. By means of the sacraments the sinner becomes just, and God sees nothing in him deserving of punishment.  C. “If any one wishes his sins to be covered, let him manifest them to God, by the voice of confession.”  S. Greg. But, replies a Lutheran commentator, “God does not forget sin.”  What is this to the purpose, as long as the sin does not subsist in the offender?  He allows that “the pardon of sin is inseparable from sanctification.”  Renew a right spirit within my bowels.  Ps. l. 12.  Bert. The man who has felt real compunction, will be able to form a true notion of the happiness of a reconciliation.  C. Covering may allude to the custom of writing on wax, which might easily be effaced.  Our sins are recorded in the book of God’s justice.  M.

Ver. 2.  Spirit.  Sym. has “heart,” or “mouth.”  C. The latter is also in some copies of the Sept.  Euseb. The Rom. and Alex. Sept. have it, though Grabe substitutes spirit, (H.) which is recognised by S. Jerom (ad. Sun.), Heb. &c.  Nothing is so contrary to true repentance as hypocrisy.  S. Aug. &c.  C. If we do not co-operate with God’s grace, our sins will never be effaced, though, before remission, our works can only dispose us to receive pardon.  “God (and meritorious) works follow.”  S. Aug.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  Because I was silent, &c.  That is, whilst I kept silence, by concealing, or refusing to confess my sins, thy hand was heavy upon me, &c.  Ch. The cry was then only an effect of vanity, like that of the Pharisee, full of his own merits; (S. Aug.  S. Jer.  C.) or David was silent till Nathan made him know his fault, which he afterwards ceased not to deplore.  Theod. It is supposed that he had continued impenitent for above a year.  But he might fell remorse during that time.  v. 5.  Bert. Cried.  Heb. “roared,” like a lion.  C. Because I acknowledged not my grievous sins, I was much afflicted.  I prayed, but to little purpose.  W. Wishing to conceal the cause of my grief, (C.) I pined away, (H.  Lam. iii. 4.) and suffered greatly, because I did not confess.  M.

 

Ver. 4.  I am turned, &c.  That is, I turn and roll about in my bed, to sek for ease in my pain, whilst the thorn of thy justice pierces my flesh, and sticks fast in me.  Or, I am turned; that is, I am converted to thee, my God, by being brought to a better understanding by thy chastisements.  In the Hebrew it is, my moisture is turned into the droughts of summer.  Ch.  Prot.  H. But the Sept. may have taken l for a prep. before shaddi, as the Greek interpreters say nothing of this moisture, which is the interpretation of modern Jews; and S. Jerom has (Bert.) “I was turned or occupied, in my misery;” versatus sum in miseriâ meâ.  There is no peace for the wicked.  H. God has not punished David exteriorly till after the admonition of Nathan, when so many evils poured upon him.  But the king must have experienced cruel agonies of mind, till he was prevailed on by this wise physician to confess his fault, (C.) and thus let out the imposthume, which would not allow him to enjoy any repose. Fastened.  S. Jer. “while the summer (or heat; æstas) was burning incessantly,” sela.  Heb. becharbone kayits means also in gladios spina.  “The thorn has been turned into swords for my affliction;” (Bert.) or I have been as grievously tormented, as if a thorn or sword had pierced me.  H. Thy divine Providence chastises me, and my conscience tells me that I have deserved all my sufferings.  W. Many of the ancients read, while the thorn is broken, confringitur, (Ps. Rom.  S. Greg.  C.) which causes the extraction to be more difficult.  H. This thorn may denote sin, which like a weed, had infected David’s soul.  Theod.  C.

 

Ver. 5.  Sin.  Or as some psalters read, “of my heart,” with the Sept. Cassiod. &c.  C. “I know that thou wilt readily forgive the sins which are fully laid open before thee.”  S. Jer. David no sooner perceived that he was the unjust man (H.) whom Nathan had described, than he exclaimed, “I have sinned;” and at the same moment God forgave him.  2 K. xii. 7.  C. If this psalm relate to his repentance, it seems he had already had recourse to God; but this is doubtful, as he appears to have entered into himself only after the prophet’s reproach.  Nothing can more effectually give peace to the soul than an humble confession, which costs human pride a great deal, when it must be made to our brethren.  Bert. The Jews were sometimes obliged to confess to God’s minister.  Lev. iv. 5. and Num. v. 7.  M.

 

Ver. 6.  Holy.  Even the angels rejoice at the sinner’s conversion.  Lu. xv. 7.  The saints take part in the welfare of their fellow creatures, and praise God for his mercies shewn unto them.  C. Time.  During this life, (Is. lv. 6.  Eccle. ix. 10.  Chal.  Muis.) or when they shall be treated in like manner.  Piscat. As I now repent, so must those who are afflicted, pray that they may obtain pardon; then they will not be oppressed, though their miseries may appear very great, like a deluge.  W. Yet.  Heb. rak, “surely.”  Bert. “Therefore shall every merciful one pray unto Thee, finding time; that when many waters shall inundate, they may not approach unto him.”  S. Jer.  H. A deluge denotes great calamities.  Is. xliii. 2.  Even the terrors of the last day will not disturb the just, (C.) nor will they inspire the wicked with true repentance.  H.

 

Ver. 7.  Refuge.  Heb. “hiding,” (Ps. xxx. 21.  H.) or asylum.  C. Which.  Heb. “thou shalt surround me with songs of deliverance.  Sela.”  Or “my praise saving, thou wilt environ me always.”  S. Jer.  H. Perhaps th may now occupy the pase of m, as the Greeks all agree; and the sense is at least the same.  Bert.

 

Ver. 8.  Fix.  Heb. “consult with my eyes concerning thee.”  The Vulg. better.  C. Prot. marg. “my eye shall be upon thee.”  H. God thus engages to watch over, and direct his servant, (Gen. xliv. 21.  Jer. xxiv. 6.  C.) giving him instruction, by means of chastisements.  W.

 

Ver. 9.  Do not.  This may be spoken by God, or by the psalmist; as an admonition to hear the counsel of those divinely commissioned.  C. Who come.  Prot. “lest they come near,” (H.) and threaten to bite or to run over thee.  C. But the Heb. may be the sense of the Vulg. qui non accedunt.  S. Jer. It may be a prayer, that God would offer a sort of violence to restrain the sallies of the sinner, (H.) and to convert him; (W.) or God threatens the obstinate with rigour of his justice.  Many delude themselves, thinking that he will always treat them with lenity, and be ready to receive them.  Bert.  Is. xxxvii. 29.  But the prophet admonishes them not to follow their senses alone, nor to imitate brute beasts, as he had done with regard to Bathsabee and Urias.  M. The bit (camus) was a sort of muzzle, “to hinder horses from biting.”  Xenophon.

Ver. 10.  Many.  Sinners deserve much punishment.  But if they will repent they may find mercy.  W. This may be also the declaration of God, though the prophet seem to speak in the next verse.  Bert. God humbles the pride of haughty monarchs, like Sennacherib and Nabuchodonosor, treating them like beasts.  C.

Ver. 11.  Glory, which is lawful when God is the object.  1 Cor. i. 31.  My glory I will not give to another.  Is. xlii. 8.  C. Heb. “praise him.”  S. Jer.  H. Joy is the end of true penance, to which the prophet invites all.  W.

 

PSALM 32

PSALM XXXII.  (EXULTATE JUSTI.)

An exhortation to praise God, and to trust in him.

Ver. 1.  David.  There is no title in Heb.; and the Greek copies vary.  This psalm may be considered as a continuation of the former, with the last verse of which it may be well connected.  C. Some suppose that David composed it after he had been rescued from the giant Jesbibenob.  v. 16.  1 Par. xx. 4.  Ferrand. It is not certain that he is the author; but as other psalms without a title are ascribed to him, we have no reason to deny that he wrote this.  Bert. Many explain it as a thanksgiving of Ezechias.  Theod. &c. But we need not refer it to any particular event.  C. Upright.  But it is not seemly in the mouth of a sinner.  Eccli. xv. 9.  W.  Ps. lxix. 16.  C.

Ver. 2.  Psaltery.  Heb. nebel, (H.) which does not resemble the modern psaltery.  C. We must carefully observe mortification, and the decalogue.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  New.  Interesting, like the canticle of the lamb, or of redemption, Apoc.  Public worship and music are very useful, when performed with attention.  Bert. The prophet invites all to praise God for the blessings granted by Christ in the new law.  W. Noise, proceeding from the heart, the cry of which alone penetrates heaven.  H.

 

Ver. 4.  Faithfulness.  He always fulfils his promises, and his laws are just; (W.) therefore he deserves our praise.  C.  Ps. cxliv. 13.)

 

Ver. 5.  Judgment.  God joins these virtues together, (W.) as we ought to do. H.  Lu. vi. 36.  Mat. v. 48. He punishes the wicked, and rewards the good.  But his mercy displays itself on the earth, as there is no misery in heaven.  S. Aug. Its effects appear more since the coming of our Saviour.  C.

 

Ver. 6.  Mouth, by his command.  Euthym.  Gen. i. 6. The Fathers here find the blessed Trinity expressed; (C.  M.) and the Council of Trent admonishes us to follow their unanimous interpretation, which is here adopted by Baumbgarte, a Prot. 1719.  S. John informs us that all was made by the Word, from whom the Father and the Holy Spirit cannot be separated.  Bert. Seneca (consol. 8.) seems to have had some idea of this mystery.  Quisquis formator universi fuit, sive ille Deus est potens omnium; sive incorporalis Ratio, ingentium operum artifex; sive divinus Spiritus, per omnia maxima et minima æquali intentione diffusus.  The power of them may designate the stars and angels, which the Heb. styles “the army” of heaven.  Is. xxiv. 21.  Mat. xxvi. 53.  C. The word of God is omnipotent, (W.) “the Creator…both of visible and invisible things.”  Nic. Creed.  H. Calvin rejects this proof of the Trinity as weak, (Amama) as he did not like the word Trinity, nor perhaps the mystery itself.  H.

 

Ver. 7.  As in.  This is agreeable to S. Aug. and some ancient psalters; though the Sept. have “like a bottle” made of leather, wsei askon.  Moderns would translate, “like a heap.”  But Sym. and S. Jer. agree with us, (see Ps. lxxvii. 13.  C.) as well as the Chal. and Houbigant.  God has made the bed of the sea capable of containing such quantities of water, some of which evaporate and descend again from the clouds, to make the earth fruitful.  Yet many take no notice of this admirable economy.  Bert. Theodoret and S. Athanasius understand the clouds to be meant by this vessel; but the former sentiment seems better.  These waters, as well as hail, &c. are instruments of God’s vengeance.  Deut. xxxii. 34.  The depths have the same import.  God calls them forth at pleasure, (Amos v. 8.  Gen. vii. 11.) and confines them within bounds.   Job xxxviii. 11.

Ver. 9.  Created.  Heb. “on foot,” to express God’s absolute dominion.  C. This passage shews that bra means properly created out of nothing.  Gen. i.  Matter did not exist before God spoke.  Bert.

Ver. 10.  And…princes.  This seems to be lost in Heb. as all the Greeks have recognised it.  Bert. God prepares the causes and means when he forms his decrees, which are wholly independent.  He is not forced to wait for a favourable opportunity.  C. He confounded the tongues at Babel, and his absolute decrees are always executed.  W.

Ver. 12.  Inheritance, in opposition to the Gentiles.  1 Pet. ii. 9.  Bert. God made choice particularly of the Jews, as he does now of Christians.  W.

 

Ver. 14.  Prepared.  S. Jer. “from his most established throne;” whence he beholds all the conduct of men, (C.) though he fill all places, and work in all.  Bert. His power and wisdom (v. 15.) are infinite.  W.

 

Ver. 15.  Every one, sigillatim.  Heb. yachad, means also “together;” whence the Origenists inferred (H.) that all souls were made at first with Adam.  S. Jer. Thus they explained how they came to be all infected.  Bert. But God rather creates them when he infuses them into the body.  Carthus.  H. S. Aug. could never decide this important question.  This text only proves that God is equally Creator of all; (Eccli. xviii. 1.  C.) and He alone made the hearts and souls of all men, as katamonaV implies.  Ps. iv. 10. and Geneb.  Amama.

 

Ver. 16.  Giant.  Or Heb. “strong man.”  Monarchs and the stoutest men have been overthrown by Providence, like Pharao and Sennacherib, and the giant Og.  C. History proves that great armies have not always gained the victory.  Ps. lxv. 13. and cxlvi. 10.  Bert.

 

Ver. 17.  Safety.  Either of himself or his master.  W.  Prov. xxi. 31. This can only be attributed to God’s protection.  v. 18.

 

Ver. 20.  Waiteth.  Heb. “longeth.”  H. Protector.  Heb. “shield.”  Infidels deride the confidence of the just, as an effect of pride, supposing it is beneath the dignity of God to take notice of so small a creature, which he governs so many worlds.  But if there be other worlds besides this, God is sufficient for all; (Bert.) and he will not neglect the work which his hands have deigned to form.  H.

Ver. 22.  Thee.  All-perfect Being, shew thy protection to all who trust in thee.  W. He who wishes to receive much, ought to increase his hopes.  C. “Who is so full of hope as boldly to say, by my hope measure thy mercy?”  Theod,

PSALM 33

PSALM XXXIII.  (BENEDICAM DOMINUM.)

An exhortation to the praise and service of God.

Ver. 1.  Achimelech.  So Clem. VIII. corrects what Sixtus V. had printed Abimelech, conformably to the Heb. &c.  Some editors have since pretended that the word, (C.) which is retained in Berthier and Calmet, though we should think such changes improper, unless they were made by proper authority.  H. Many of the ancients suppose that Achimelech (who is also styled Abimelech, the high priest at Nobe) is here meant, from whom David concealed his real design.  Euseb.  S. Athan.  S. Jer. &c. Others rather think  that the psalm was composed after David had escaped the great danger at the court of Achis, by counterfeiting madness.  1 K. xxi. 13.  S. Aug.  Muis, &c. Achis alone is styled king among the Satraps.  Those who ruled over the Philistines, generally bore the title of Abimelech, as the Egyptian monarchs had that of Pharao.  Bert.  Gen. xxi. 22.  C.  W. This psalm is alphabetical.  The last verse beginning with p, is supernumerary, and may belong to the next psalm.  See Ps. xxiv.  C. There seems also to be something wanting in v. 6. (Houbig.) unless e and v have each only one hemistic.  H. From the change of names, and of David’s countenance, S. Aug. gathers the vocation of the Gentiles, the real presence, &c.  W.  See 1 K. xxi.  H.

Ver. 2.  Mouth.  The just praise God in adversity, as well as in prosperity.  W. David had lately been delivered in a wonderful manner.  C.

 

Ver. 3.  Praised.  Heb. “glory.”  Ps. xxxi. 11.  H. Others, seeing my treatment will give praise to thee, the Author of all good, (C.) and I shall be praised while I serve thee.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  Together, (in idipsum).  “If you love God, draw all to the love of God.”  S. Aug. The multitude will not diminish his attention to you.  C.

 

Ver. 5.  Troubles.  Heb. “fears or straits;” angustiis.  S. Jer.  H. The Vulg. adopts the Alex. Sept. qliyewn:  the Vatican copy has, paroikiwn, “habitations,” at Nobe, Geth, &c.  Seek the Lord, while he may be found.  Is. lv. 6.  Those who entertain doubts about religion, who are in sin, or tend to perfection, must all strive to find the Lord.  The matter is of the utmost importance.  Bert.

 

Ver. 6.  Come, “by faith and good works.”  S. Jer. Enlightened.  Heb. also, “flow together.”  S. Jer. You need not be afraid of impoverishing him.  C. The points would require, (Bert.) “They looked…and were lightened, (Prot.) or flowed unto him.”  Marg.  H. But the Sept. &c. knew nothing of them, and Houbigant agrees with our version.  Bert. And.  Here v comes in its proper place, though for only half of the verse.  H.

 

Ver. 7.  This.  I myself, whom you beheld in the midst of afflictions.  H. Poverty is a great inducement for God to shew mercy.  Bert. The poorest may approach without fear.  W.

 

Ver. 8.  Encamp.  Lit. “send.”  H. This is explained of Jesus Christ, by S. Aug. and S. Jerom.  C. Heb. and Sept. (parembalei) intimate that the angel himself shall encamp round God’s servants, so that no evil shall come near them.  H. This has often been verified.  Gen. xxxii. 1. and xlviii. 16. and 4 K. vi. 16. &c.  C. One angel is here represented as equal to a great army.  A Prot. commentator observes, that David attributed his escape to the protection of an angel, and was very thankful for it.  We see, therefore, what advantages we may derive from the blessed spirit?  What then should hinder us from addressing our prayers to them?  Bert.

 

Ver. 9.  Taste, in the blessed Eucharist, (S. Athan.  S. Aug.  Theod.) or by experience.  C.  1 Pet. ii. 3.

Ver. 10.  Want.  In the old law, God was more particularly engaged to defend his servants from distress.  Though, as they were sometimes under oppression, they knew that they were to look for more substantial blessings from heaven.  Hence they would not have exchanged their condition for that of the richest worldling.  Such ought to be still more our sentiments, since we have beheld Christ dying naked on the cross, and his martyrs rejoicing under the most excruciating torments.  C.

Ver. 11.  Rich of this world, (1 Tim. vi. 17.  M.) are often poor in spiritual gifts.  W. Those who are poor in both respects, are truly miserable, (H.) since they cannot satisfy their craving appetite.  But the prophet admires those who are poor in spirit, whether they have many possessions or not.  Bert. The fear of the Lord is his treasure.  Is. xxxiii. 6.  The saint is content under every dispensation of Providence.  H. Lazarus was truly rich even here; and in heaven his is covered with glory.  Lu. xvi. 20.  S. Jer.  C. Heb. “the lions have wanted.”  S. Jer. This may have been the case: yet those who fear God shall be filled; or, the rich may be designated by the name of lion’s whelps, on account of their power and avidity.  C. The same term, cephirim, is often applied to men in power.  Ezec. xix 2.  Job iv. 10.  Bert. Good.  If the saints be sometimes deprived of provisions, they know that it is better for them; as God directs all for their good.  H.

Ver. 12.  Children; docile and free from pride and hypocrisy.

 

Ver. 13.  Good days.  S. Peter (1 ep.  iii. 10.) adopts this sense, though the Heb. is rendered, “and desireth days, that he may see good.”  The apostles shews that heaven is here principally meant, though a virtuous life is the best to procure even present happiness.  Bert. Many of David’s followers probably confined their views to the latter.  C. Every one desireth to be happy, but only the virtuous are really so.  W.

 

Ver. 14.  Guile.  He very properly begins with regulating the tongue, as this member may prove very dangerous.  Prov. xviii. 21.  Jam. iii. 5.  By detraction, it wounds three people; and it causes no less evil by flattery.  C.

 

Ver. 15.  Good.  It will not suffice to refrain from criminal actions.  Ps. xxxvi. 27. Peace, both private and public.  Jer. xxix. 7.  C. A person may, notwithstanding,  have much to suffer.  But S. Peter prevents this objection, by proclaiming those happy who suffer for justice sake.  v. 14.  Bert. Good works are necessary as well as faith.  W.

Nam frustra vitium vitaveris illud

                        Si te alio pravum detorseris.  Hor. ii. sat. 2.

 

Ver. 16.  Eyes.  S. Basil understands the angels.  God protects his servants, (H.) while he treats the wicked with severity.  C.

 

Ver. 17.  To cut, &c.  S. Peter leaves this out; perhaps because temporal punishments would not be so often inflicted upon the wicked under the new law; as God tries his faithful, and teaches them to wait till judgment, when all will be treated according to their deserts.  Bert. He sees all men’s actions, and will reward them accordingly.  W.

 

Ver. 18.  Just.  This word is omitted in Heb. but it is supplied by al the versions; which shews that the original is not quite perfect.  Bert. If this were left out, the passage would refer to the wicked, v. 16.  Yet S. Jerom found the Heb. in this state.  H. Troubles.  Many experienced the divine protection in a wonderful manner, and though others fell victims to persecution, (Heb. xi. 36.) yet they were perfectly resigned to God’s will, (Bert.) and thus obtained their wishes, receiving a better reward in eternity.  C.

 

Ver. 19.  Them.  Heb. “broken-hearted;” to the humble and distressed.  H. God is very near to such.  C.  Ps. l. 19. and xc. 15.  See S. Polyc. ad Phil. ii.

Ver. 20.  Many.  David was too well informed to promise that the just would experience no affliction? but it will not last for ever.  C.  Heb. xii. 6. If God seem to forsake them for a time, he gives them interior strength, and will at last crown his own gifts.  W.

Ver. 21.  Broken.  Their virtue which is denoted by the bones, (M.) shall not sink under torments.  So Christ encouraged his disciples, by assuring them that a hair of their head should not perish.  Mat. x. 30.  S. Aug.  C. The elements of our bodies cannot be divided or destroyed by human force, so as to prevent their resurrection.  The identical bodies shall rise again, though they may have been subject to many changes, reduced to ashes, or consumed by wild beasts.  This mystery has often offended incredulous philosophers.  Jesus Christ is the just, by excellence; and this prediction was fulfilled in his person, as S. John (xix. 36.) does not confine himself to the type of the paschal lamb.  Bert.

Ver. 22.  Evil, or “bad.”  Chal.  Heb. also, “malice shall slay the wicked.”  They can attribute their misfortunes only to their own misconduct.  Bert. Guilty, and shall be treated as criminals; a fate which the just shall never experience, v. 23.  The death of Saul seems to be foretold.  C. The wicked are forced to quit the world and their bodies which they have idolized, and are hurled into everlasting fire.  S. Bern. In punishment of former transgressions, they are suffered to fall into more sins; while those who place their confidence in God’s grace, will be preserved.  W. “Death in not indeed the last, but those torments destined for the profligate in hell, occupy the last place.”  Plato, Leg. ix.

 

Ver. 23.  Redeem.  This verse greatly resembles that which is placed, in like manner, out of the alphabetical order, at the end of Ps. xxiv.  Heb. in both, “Redeem, O Lord,” &c.  H.

PSALM 34

PSALM XXXIV.  (JUDICA DOMINE NOCENTES ME.)

David, in the person of Christ, prayeth against his persecutors: prophetically foreshewing the punishments that shall fall upon them.

Ver. 1.  David.  Some of the Greek copies add, “psalm,” and “unto the end.”  It was composed during the persecutions of Saul, &c. and is applied by the Fathers to Jesus Christ, who quotes v. 19, (Jo. xv. 25.  C.) and it seems to be in the same state with several others, which speak of his sufferings.  Bert. The expressions are very animated, and though vengeance was not so strictly forbidden under the old law, (Matt. v. 44.) yet we may explain them as predictions.  Theod. David always evinces the greatest moderation, (Ps. vii. 5.) and treated even Saul with the utmost respect.  What he says, therefore, was dictated by a sincere desire of their conversion, and that they might prevent eternal torments.  Asterius.  C. His name implies one “beloved,” &c. inasmuch as he is a figure of Christ, the conqueror of death and hell.  S. Aug.  W. Judge.  Heb. “plead.”  I do not wish them to be condemned unheard.  C. A vindictive person does not thus commit his cause to God.  Jesus Christ was all mildness.  But in the spiritual warfare, we may well address these words to God, (Bert.) who is often represented as a mighty warrior.  Ex. xv. 3.  C.

Ver. 2.  Arms.  Heb. magen, “buckler,” of a smaller size (1 K. xvii. 6, 7.) than the shield, (tsinna) which was used to cover the whole body.  S. Jerom renders the latter word by hastam, “the spear.”  C. But this text speaks of defensive weapons.

 

Ver. 3.  The way.  This may be implied by the word conclude, which Houbigant rejects, observing that S. Jerom has præoccupa, (Bert.) as it is in the Par. ed. 1583.  H. But I fiind præcipita.  Bert. “Prevent” the designs, stop the passage, or “hurl my persecutors headlong.”  H. Take offensive weapons.  He foretells the ruin of those who persecuted the Church.  W. Salvation, though my enemies deny it.  Ps. iii. 2.

 

Ver. 4.  Let them.  So most people render the Heb. though it may be understood in the future, (Bert.) as Montanus translates.  H. Me.  The wicked shall be confounded in the end, when the just shall triumph.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  Dust.  Heb. mots, small “chaff.”  Ps. i. 4.  Vatab. Angel.  The evil spirits are employed to punish the wicked, as good protect the just.  Ps. xxxiii. 8.  Some Fathers have supposed that every man was attended by a good and a bad angel.  Hermes ii.  Orig. xxxv. in Lu.  S. Greg. Nys. vit. Mos.  Cassian viii. 17. and xiii. 12. But the Church admits the power of the wicked spirits only against those who take part with them, or “as far as God allows them” (S. Jer.) to tempt.  The devil is like a dog chained down, which can bite none but those who come within its reach.  S. Aug. Both good and bad angels are ministers of God’s justice.  H.

 

Ver. 6.  Slippery.  The systems of infidels, who deny a future existence are of this nature.  If they were even true, the just would have lost nothing by pursuing a virtuous course.  Bert.

 

Ver. 7.  Their.  Lit. “the destruction of their net.”  H. Some would translate shachath, “the pit of,” &c.  But the Sept. is preferable; and chapheru means the have “covered with shame,” as well as dug for my soul.  Bert. Pit ought to be removed to the latter part of the verse.  Saul laid many falsehoods to the charge of David, (C.) and insidiously sought his ruin.  H.

 

Ver. 8.  Fall.  He foretells the destruction of Saul, and his own glory.  C.

 

Ver. 9.  Salvation.  In the midst of troubles he is not devoid of hope, and after his deliverance he looks for eternal happiness.  W.

Ver. 10.  Lord.  Some Latin copies repeated this, while others in the original passed over the word entirely.  S. Jer. ad. Sun. Be thou my life whom I always seek.”  S. Aug. Poor, in general, or David, who was supplied by Abimelech with food, 1 K. xxi. 3.  C.

Ver. 11.  Not.  Accusing me of disloyalty, &c.  Flaminius. We must not imagine that David was cited to the bar.  This is admirably explained of Jesus Christ at the tribunal of Pilate, (C.) and of the high priests.  H.  Mat. xxvi. God knows not what cannot be; (W.) and therefore Christ could not acknowledge what was falsely laid to his charge.  H. The martyrs, &c. have often been exposed to the shafts of calumny.  Bert.

Ver. 12.  Depriving, sterilitatem.  H. Heb. denotes the condition of one who has lost a husband or father. I had exposed my life for the welfare of the state, and of those who now seek my ruin.  C. Yet David was not slain.  This was verified in our Saviour.  W. Sept. have ateknian, “loss of children;” as Christ was abandoned by his disciples.  M.

 

Ver. 13.  To me.  Heb. also signify, “when they were sick,” which manifests a more heroic charity; though yet it is more natural to suppose that David would assume these robes of penance when he was under affliction, as S. Jerom intimates, cum infirmarer ab eis.  Bert. Our Saviour’s life was a continual penance, though he stood in no need of it for himself.  W. David was aware that the best method of avoiding the attacks of his enemies, was to make God his friend, by sentiments of humility, and by penance.  S. Aug.  C. Bosom.  I shall reap the advantage from my prayer, if it be of no service to my enemies.  Geneb.  Lu. x. 6.  M. May what I wish for my enemies fall to my own lot.  I have prayed for them in secret and with the utmost fervour.  C. I have repeatedly urged my request, (Houbig.) or I am confident  my prayer will be of some service, at least to myself.  Bert.

 

Ver. 14.  Please, complacebam, “treat lovingly.”  H. Vulg. follows the regimen of the Sept. euhrestoun, which may govern an accusative case.  Heb. is plainer, I walked,” (Bert.) or “behaved myself as though he had been my friend or brother.”  Prot.  H. So.  Sept. seem to have explained am, “truly,” instead of mother; as the points would determine the Heb. “like one who bewails his mother;” (Bert.) or, “like a mother mourning, I bowed down in grief.”  S. Jer. An ancient Greek interpreter has, “like one mourning for a brother born of the same mother.”  I felt the affliction of my enemies and sympathized with them, endeavouring to alleviate their distress as much as possible.  C. Such was the conduct of David, the figure of the Messias; so that the expressions which seem too strong, must not be taken for imprecations.  Bert. Christ was the good Samaritan who relieved the wounded man.  Luke x.  W. S. Paul admonishes us to weep with those who weep.  Rom. xii. 15.  M.

 

Ver. 15.  Against me.  Heb. “in my distress,” (Houbig.) or “infirmity.”  S. Jer. Thus was my kind attention repaid.  H. My enemies became only the more insolent, and stood beside me, to shew their contempt.  C. Scourges.  Heb. also, “vile men.”  Mont.  H. The Rom. psalters have “and they were ignorant,” ignoraverunt.  C. David could not think that he had given any offence: much less had our Saviour.  H. He knew no just cause why the Jews persecuted him, as they were actuated by malice.  W. David knew not personally those who afflicted him.  M.

 

Ver. 16.  Separated, and could not agree in their testimonies.  This may be one meaning of charak, as it has several.  Bert. “They did tear me, and ceased not, (16)  with hypercritical  mockers in feasts, they gnashed,” &c.  Prot.  H. Many of their attempts have been frustrated by thy Providence, yet they do not enter into themselves.  Theod.

 

Ver. 17.  One.  Sept. “daughter.”  Aquila, “solitary,” monachn.  Prot. “darling,” or my soul which is so desolate.  Ps. xxi. 21.  H. So Christ said, Why hast thou abandoned me? (Mat. xxvii.) not affording me such consolation as other saints enjoy in their agony.  W.

 

Ver. 18.  Strong, gravi.  Heb. hatsum, numerous, (1 Mac. i. 1.  M.) and “weighty,” (H.) which is the consequence of great numbers, (Bert.) and of virtue.  S. Aug. understands the Church, which is not carried away like chaff before the wind.  Amama dislike this.  H. The resurrection is foretold, (v. 17.) and here the Catholic Church is signified.  W.

 

Ver. 19.  Wrongfully.  Heb. “liars,” (S. Jer.  H.) alluding to Saul, &c.  C.  Christ explains this of himself.  Jo. xv.  W. Who.  Some supply a negation.  Bert. Neither let them wink with the eye who.”  Prot.  This sign might indicate friendship, or evil machinations.  Prov. vi. 13. and x. 10.  C. “They pretended by their looks what they did not entertain in their hearts.”  S. Aug.  M.

Ver. 20.  Spoke.  Heb. adds lo, “not.”  But it may be better explained as an interrogation.  “Have they not spoken?” &c. as the enemies used deceit.  Houbig.  Bert. Earth.  This word is omitted in the Sept. Rom. S. Aug. &c.  But Theodoret reads it, and it is in all the other Greek interpreters, and in the Arab. and Syriac.  C. Heb. “they devise deceitful matters against them that are quiet (righe, divided, &c.) in the land.”  Prot. or “in the plunder of the earth they devise deceit.”  S. Jer.  H. They appear friendly, but when alone they talk to the earth, like people in deep study and full of passion.  C. This terrestrial anger is the source of much evil.  Bert. The Jews and Herodians said, Master, &c. designing to inveigle our Saviour.  Mat. xxi.  The priests and Pharisees also accused him boldly, and instigated the people to demand his crucifixion.  W. They were split into parties, and invaded those who were the reverse of passionate.  M.

Ver. 21.  Done, euge.  Heb. heach.  H. This term occurs ten times in Scripture, and here denotes the joy felt in the destruction of an enemy.  Thus the Jews insulted over Christ expiring on the cross.  Bert. Seen.  No farther reserve is necessary: he is fallen, or we have accused him of nothing but what we have seen.  C.

Ver. 22.  Silent.  I have chosen thee for my judge and protector.  C. Pronounce sentence if they be in the right; and if not, rescue me from their fury.  H.

 

Ver. 23.  Attentive.  Heb. “watch over.”  He implores present assistance.  Bert.

 

Ver. 24.  Thy.  Many copies read “my,” with S. Aug. Euthym. &c.  But thy agrees with the Rom. (C.) and Alex. Sept. and Heb.  H.

 

Ver. 25.  It is well, occurs only once in Heb. which may be imperfect, as many versions supply the second.  Bert. Mind, as we could have desired.  Prot. “Oh, (marg. adds ah) so would we have it.”  H. Things go on well according to our mind.  M.

 

Ver. 26.  Great.  S. Aug. reads, “malicious.”  C. At the day of judgment the wicked will be condemned.  W. If this judgment were not to take place, religion would be a fable: as impiety is not always punished in this world.  Bert.

 

Ver. 27.  Them.  The blessed in eternal glory.  W. Justice. Or wish that sentence may be pronounced in my favour.  C. Delight.  Heb. “who delights.”  S. Jer.  H. But the Greek interpreters read as we do.  Bert.

 

Ver. 28.  Meditate.  Heb. word is used to signify speaking with refection.  C.

PSALM 35

PSALM XXXV.  (DIXIT INJUSTUS.)

The malice of sinners, and the goodness of God.

Ver. 1.  Himself.  Psalm is understood.  It is expressed in S. Amb. and S. Jerom, (C.) and is the Alex. Sept.  H. Eusebius improperly assigns the cause of the omission to the piece being of a moral nature.  Many suppose it refers to Saul, who had promised that he would give ear no more to the detractors of David, when the latter restored to him his spear and cup.  1 K. xxvi.  Theod. &c. But it seems rather to express the sentiments of the captives at Babylon, like the Psalms x. xi. xiii. and lii.  C. David gloried in the title of servant of the Lord, though he bore the sceptre.  Ps. xvii.  Bert.  Ps. cxv. 16.  M. He applies this instruction to himself, and to all in the lowest stations.  W.

Ver. 2.  Himself.  Heb. libbi, “in my heart.”  But this is visibly incorrect, and we should substitute lobu, as S. Jer. Chal. Syr. &c. have done.  C. Yet Sym. translates, “concerning the disorder of the impious within, my heart has said, there,” &c.  Heb. may also signify, “the transgression of the wicked saith within my heart.”  Prot.  H. I am inwardly convinced how great the malice of the wicked may be.  It touches me to the very heart.  Both senses are good.  The wicked are bent on evil, and this fills the virtuous with grief.  Bert. Eyes.  They sin publicly, (Ps. xiii. 1.  C.) and on purpose, preferring vice before virtue, (W.) and constantly bent on doing evil, so that they become odious to all.  M.

 

Ver. 3.  Unto hatred.  That is, hateful to God (Ch.) and man; (H.) or that he may be able to hurt, as Hebrew also may insinuate.  Bert. Sept. “to find and hate his iniquity.”  But he acts not with sincerity.  He wishes to defend his evil ways.  S. Aug. &c. He still flatters himself with impunity.  Ps. ix. 25. or x. 11. To find, often means to punish.  Gen. xliv. 16. &c.  C. God frequently abandons those who sin through malice.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  Well, to those in distress.  Ps. xl. 2.  Though wise enough in worldly concerns, he seemed quite ignorant when any virtuous actions were proposed.  C. Sometimes ignorance is excusable when a person does his best to obtain knowledge.  But when he is negligent, the ignorance is gross, and sinful in proportion to the  importance of the thing.  If one desire to be ignorant to prevent remorse, this only increases the guilt, and God often leaves such destitute of the ordinary graces which he gives to others; so that they fall into a reprobate sense, and into more horrible sins.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  Set  himself, “persevering” in wickedness.  S. Aug.

 

Ver. 6.  Clouds.  The mercy of God is great, and his fidelity indisputable.  Some think these were concealed till the coming of the Messias; (Ps. lxxxiv. 11.  S. Bern.) and many of the Fathers accuse Aristotle of confining Providence to the regions above the moon, by perverting this text.  S. Clem. strom. 5. &c. But Gesner has produced 30 passages from that author which prove both a general and particular Providence.  C. God does not leave the most wilful sinner without some good motions, and sufficient grace, that they may repent if they do not harden their own hearts.  He has promised such helps, and is most faithful and desirous to receive again the penitent sinner.  W.

 

Ver. 7.  Of God.  A title which is often given to things of superior excellence.  So divine condimenta of Plautus, (Pseudol.) denote ragouts or sauces of the best quality; (H.) and sacra fames of Virgil, means great hunger.  See Jon. iii. 3.  Cant. viii. 6. Deep.  After praising the mercy of God, the psalmist expresses his admiration of his inscrutable justice.  Rom. xi. 33.  C. Preserve, salvabis.  The latter are designed only for man’s benefit, and will end with time.  H. But man is destined for eternal happiness, v. 9.  C. God wishes the salvation of both the learned and of the stupid, (S. Jer.  W.) of the Jew and Gentile, (Arnob.  1 Tim. iv. 10.) of good and bad.  He makes his sun to shine on both.  Mat. v. 45.  Euseb.  Piscat.  C.

Ver. 8.  O how.  So the Heb. and Sept. read; quemadmodum may also (Bert.) signify “as.”  God has given such proofs of his great mercies to all.  H. Of men.  People must lay aside their stupidity and resemblance with brutes, to obtain the eternal joys which are prepared for men.  W.

 

Ver. 9.  House.  In the temple, (C.) or in the Church of God.  S. Amb. The pleasures enjoyed by this communion of saints, (H.) is but a foretaste of what may be expected in heaven.  C.

Ver. 10.  With thee, Lord, is the fountain of life, Jesus Christ. See light, of the Holy Ghost.  S. Amb.  Theod. We shall see thee, Father of light, in thy Son.  Orig.  Prin. i. 1.  C. The saints behold in the light of God all that they can desire to know; and of course they will not be unacquainted with our wants and petitions, though they have not the asses’ ears of Calvin.  H. Light and life denote all happiness.  C. The psalmist might have a sublime idea of these pleasures.  Bert. But none will presently understand their excellence till they are put in possession of them.  H.

Ver. 11.  Mercy and justice, are  here of the same import.  Bellar.  Muis. Deliver us from captivity, and extend thy mercies to all thy people.  C. Heart.  Many who have sufficient learning, are destitute of this better quality.  The right of heart are always more knowing than those who are only learned in speculation, and puffed up with pride.  Bert.

Ver. 12.  Sinner.  Heb. and Sept. “sinners,” who are always striving to supplant the just by pride and evil example.  Bert. Let me not listen to their wicked advice.  S. Aug. Let not the enemy invade our country any more.  C. The just may pray that no bad example or pride may place an obstacle to his salvation.  W.

 

Ver. 13.  There.  The devil fell by pride, and man by his persuasion.  Neither could escape punishment.  W. There, in heaven, (S. Jer.) and in paradise, pride proved fatal; (C.) while it will be punished in hell.  S. Amb. Pride and injustice will entail destruction upon our persecutors.  Babylon shall shortly fall a prey to Cyrus.  C. Stand.  Heb. “kum,” “rise again.”  The proud are seldom converted, (Bert.) and the rebel angels had no redress.  M.

PSALM 36

PSALM XXXVI.  (NOLI ÆMULARI.)

An exhortation to despise this world; and the short prosperity of the wicked; and to trust in providence.

Ver. 1.  Himself.  Heb. has simply, “for David,” (C.) as well as the Greek of the Vat.  “It is a mistake in Bellanger to say in general that the Greek adds “a psalm,” since this is true only with respect to the edit. of Aldus and Comp. says Berthier.  But he is not quite accurate, as Erasmus inserts “a psalm” in his edition of S. Jerom’s Sept.; and the Alex. copy, which is equally famous with that of the Vatican, has [unto the end, a psalm] for David.  Grabe has indeed marked all but the last word as a peculiarity, or not to be found in Origen’s copy.  But he has published his edition with such accuracy, that we may distinguish what his MS. contained from other interpolations.  It were to be wished that the same attention had been paid to the Vatican copy.  But hitherto all the editors have taken the liberty to make alterations without specifying where; so that we can  have no security that we ever quote the real MS. of the Vatican.  The learned prefect, Zacagni, gives abundant proof of this in his letter to Grabe, which has been published by Kennicott, Diss. 2.  Yet any of these editions may be quoted as the Greek or Sept. as we have yet no copy perfectly authentic: and the learned are not even agreed which standard ought to be followed.  If that which presents the greatest number of Origen’s corrections be preferable, the Alex. MS. must bear away the psalm .  If the reverse, the glory must be given to its rival in the Vatican, which approaches the nearest to the koinh, or to the edition of S. Lucian.  See Kennicott.  These remarks may be of service, as Berthier often seems inclined to place the Vat. edit. on the same level as the Latin Vulg.  H. This psalm is alphabetical.  The Syriac, Sept. &c. read, (v. 28) the unjust, &c. ávilim; a word which seems now to be deficient in the Heb. which has no ver. beginning with á.  C. Some other derangement has taken place.  Houbig. The verses might be so divided as to begin every second verse with a fresh letter, and so to retain 42 verses.  See v. 7. and 20.  The matter is of no great importance.  The prophet has comprised several duties in alphabetical order, to help the memory, (Bert.) and to excite attention.  W. He may predict the death of Saul, (Rabbins) or hint at the rebellion of Absalom in his old age; (v. 25. Ferrand) or rather he may comfort the captives at Babylon, promising them liberty, and denouncing the fall of their oppressors, above ten times. He admonishes them not to be scandalized at the distress of the just, and the prosperity of the wicked.  C. Emulous.  Heb. “Fret not thyself.”  Prot.  “Mingle not with;” (Bert.  Pagnin) “contend not.”  S. Jer.  H. Envy.  Their splendour is deceitful.  C. Be not, therefore, seduced (H.) to imitate the wicked (M.) nor offended, that they should prosper here.  W.

Ver. 2.  Wither.  Heb. “be cut down.”  C. Fall.  Heb. “wither.”  S. Jer.  H. This admirably describes the transient glory of sinners.   Is. xl. 6.  Jam. i. 10.  C. All life is short.  W.  1 Pet. i. 24.  M.

 

Ver. 3.  Riches.  Sept. and Houb. read emuné, “abundance.”  Heb. begins with a.  The sense is much the same.  Bert. “Thou shalt feed on faith,” (S. Jer.) or “incessantly.”  Sym. The Jews entertained the greatest desire of the promised land.  C. It may here denote our soul, (Orig.) the Church, (S. Aug.) the Scriptures, (S. Athan.) or heaven.  S. Jer. &c.  C. Trust in God and be content.  He will give thee what is requisite.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  Heart.  Provided they be rational.  S. Aug. He will enable thee to repose in peace, and to taste innocent pleasures in the Lord.  C.

 

Ver. 5.  Commit.  Lit. “lay open.”  Heb. “roll.”  H. This expresses the most unbounded confidence.  Ps. liv. 23.  Prov. xvi. 3. Do it.  Whatever may be proper.  He will display thy justice, (v. 6.) and free thee from anxiety, (C.) taking care of thee.  1 Pet. v. 7.  M.

 

Ver. 6.  Day.  This will appear at the last judgment.  S. Aug.

 

Ver. 7.  Be.  Heb. dom, begins only this verse with d.  The other letters occupy two verses, (Bert.) the second of which may commence with any of the letters.  H. “Be silent to the Lord; wait upon Him.”  S. Jer.  H. If he should suffer thee to be afflicted, envy not those who are in a more prosperous condition, nor give way to indignation.  v. 8.  C. None can be truly subjected to God, who do not comply with his laws and pray.  Orig.  S. Aug. We must wait patiently for his aid.  Lam. iii. 26.  Is. xxx. 15.  “Allow the gods to judge what’s best for us.”  Juv. Sat. 13.  H.

 

Ver. 8.  Evil.  Repining (M.) at the ways of Providence, &c.  C.  v. 1. Reflect on God’s will.  H. Laboras; sed in via Dei.  S. Aug. Heb. “be not angry nevertheless (ac, a word which Houbig. deems useless) to do evil;” (Mont.) or “against the wicked,” (Prin. dis.) as lehareah may be perhaps signified; though it is more usually taken for a verb, as the points decide.  Bert.

 

Ver. 9.  Land of the living.  W. David knew that many truly pious people would never obtain riches in the land of Chanaan, even though they might have remained there, if the nation had been faithful.  He therefore comforts them with the prospect of a better land.  If this were not the meaning, the Church would put these canticles in the mouth of her children to little purpose.  Bert.

Ver. 10.  While.  Till the day of judgment.  Orig.  S. Amb. And shalt.  Heb. “and it shall not be.”  Prot. “it, or he shall not subsist.”  S. Jer.  H. The state of the wicked is not therefore so enviable.  The captives witnessed the fall of the great Colossus, the empire of the Babylonians.  C.

Ver. 11.  Meek.  Heb. hanavim, also means “the afflicted.”  Bert. Captives, ye shall be reinstated in your dear country.  Our Saviour alludes to this text, (Mat. v. 4.) and the Fathers beautifully explain it of heaven.  Euseb.  S. Aug.  C. What is now become of those who have heretofore filled the world with tumult and bloodshed to obtain dominion!  They are confined to the land where everlasting horror and on order dwells.  They would wish they had never existed, as our Saviour mentions; while those who passed through life unknown, or despised, but always seeking God, are now arrived at the summit of all their wishes.  H. O holy religion! thou explainest all these things.  The just have ceased to exist: but their better part has inherited the land of the living.  Yet a little while, and all will be in order, and in its proper place; though that of the wicked deserves not the name.  Bert.

Ver. 12.  Watch.  Heb. “plot against.”  H. Teeth.  In rage to destroy him, (C.) whose virtue is a continual censure of his impiety.  H.

 

Ver. 13.  Laugh.  This expression is often used to denote the triumph of divine justice, whose day will set all right: that day (2 Tim. iv. 8.) which ought to be constantly before our eyes.  Bert. God cannot indeed mock at any one.  C. But the wicked “deserve scorn and vengeance.”  H. Digni sunt ut irrideantur in vindictâ.  S. Jer. The day of their judgment or condemnation is at hand, (Ezec. xxi. 21.  1 K. xxvi. 10.  H.) when they will be sought for in vain (v. 10.  C.) by their foolish admirers.  They will seek to hide themselves from the indignation of the Lamb.

 

Ver. 14.  Heart.  Heb. “of way.”  Prot. “such as be of upright conversation.”  Only those whose heart is pure, will observe the right path.  H.

 

Ver. 15.  Broken.  In the form of imprecation, he foretells the event.  W. Heb. is in the future, to imply as much.  Bert.

 

Ver. 16.  Wicked.  Heb. “of many wicked,” or “of the impious great ones.”  H. What the just man hath, is preferable to the immense riches of sinners, acquired by injustice.  In this sense Hesiod and Psittacus said, “half is more than all.”  The wicked are never satisfied.  Eccle. iv. 6.  Prov. xiii. 25.  Riches are a dangerous temptation, (C.) and the sentence is generally true, “every rich person is either unjust or the heir of one who has been such,” (H.) aut hæres injusti.  S. Jer. It is difficult for the rich to enter heaven; and the unjust are certainly excluded.  Yet if we confined our views to this world, it is evident that the rich may better procure the sweets of life.  Bert.

 

Ver. 17.  Arms of the body, brachia.  All that they have admired perishes in death, (C.) while the just then possess true riches.

 

Ver. 18.  Days, or “ways,” according to some copies of Sept.  S. Aug. &c.  God approves the conduct of the just.  He takes notice of the time of their sufferings, and comforts them during life, (C.) yea, for ever.

 

Ver. 20.  Because.  Only this verse begins with c, as the seventh does with d.  H. Smoke.  All their riches shall vanish, and their works be disregarded by God.  But they will not be annihilated, as they would desire; otherwise the justice of God would not be executed on them.  Bert. There is a continual antithesis between the good and bad.  The latter shall shortly lose all their splendour.  “I fear, lest offending the gods, I may receive glory among men,” said the poet Ibicus, (C.) conformably to our Saviour’s declaration concerning the vain-glorious, they have received their reward.  Mat. vi. 6.  Heb. “shall be as the fat of lambs, consumed and  reduced to smoke.”  H. S. Jerom seems to have read differently, “boasting like unicorns, they shall be consumed, as smoke, they shall be consumed.”  Syr. and Chal. intimate that they shall be like victims, “fattened” for slaughter, and burnt.  C.

Ver. 21.  Give.  Having both the will and the power to be liberal.  H. “He shall lend without expecting any advantage, while the wicked falls into such misery as not to be able to pay his debts.  This is not always the order of Providence.  C. But the just is often enabled by economy to relieve his brethren, at the same time that the libertine wastes his estate, (Bert.) or at least unjustly defers to pay his debts.  M.

Ver. 22.  Bless him.  The just, (v. 21.  Prin. disc.) or rather the Lord, v. 20.  Bert. “Are blessed of him,” &c.  S. Jer.  Chal.  H.

 

Ver. 23.  With.  Or by the decrees of the Lord.  The Heb. and Sept. have, “By,” para.  Bert. God gives grace to do all good, (Prov. xvi. 9.  C.) and likes the way which He points out.  The just also find the greatest consolation in virtue.  H.

 

Ver. 24.  Him.  To break the fall.  Heb. “the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.”  Prot.  H. The just man is like a courageous wrestler, who may slip, but yields not.  Orig.  Euseb. His fall is not mortal, (C.) though he may be guilty of venial sin.  Prov. xxiv.  W.

 

Ver. 25.  Seeking, in vain.  H. Rom. and Gothic Ps. read, “wanting.”  This does not condemn the mendicant orders.  M. Nothing was more unusual under the old law than the extreme distress of the just: yet Job and Lazarus were reduced to it.  They were not, however, discontent.  C. They found the bread of life in conformity to God’s will.  Jo. iv. 34.  H. Their souls were enriched with grace, which was never wanting, as the Fathers explain this passage.  Bert.  Amos viii. 11. It is certain that there were poor among the Jews; (Deut. xv. 11.) and who would assert that they were all wicked, or the children of such?  Yet the prophet had not witnessed (C.) any person renowned for virtue reduced to this condition, (H.) though he does not deny but it might be possible.  C. The proposition may be restrained to those who have been very charitable, and who are not often thereby reduced to want.  Dan. iv. 24.  Genebrard.  M. But the word just is more comprehensive; and S. Paul gives several instances of persecuted saints (Heb. xi.) which is confirmed by the parable, or rather by the history, of Lazarus.  Bert. At any rate, the Church is never deprived of the word of God.  S. Aug.  W.

 

Ver. 26.  Lendeth.  “To receive interest,” daneizei, from God.  Prov. xix. 17.  S. Aug. &c.  C. He maketh know the divine word.  Orig.

Ver. 27.  Dwell in the land of the living, rather than in that of promise, from which many just people were banished during the captivity.  Bert. He who complies with these two conditions, will inherit heaven.  W.

 

Ver. 28.  Saints.  Heb. “merciful ones.”  He will free them from captivity.  C. Punished.  This sentence seems to be improperly omitted in Heb. which otherwise neglects the letter á, as the Chal. Syr. and S. Jer. do as well as a few copies of the Sept.  The Rom. edit. with the Arab. and Ethiopic, reads amwmoi ekdikhqhsontai, “the innocent shall be avenged,” (C.) or “punished;” which is inaccurately put for anomoi ekdiwcqhsontai, the wicked shall be punished, or “expelled;” (Bert.) though Grabe prefers the former verb.  H. S. Cyril acknowledges both readings.  C.

 

Ver. 31.  Supplanted.  The devil shall have no advantage over the just, (C.) who aim constantly at perfection.  Orig.

Ver. 32.  Death, mortificare.  Some read perdere, or occidere.  The wicked are constantly laying snares for destruction, (C.) and to draw others into mortal sin.  W.

 

Ver. 33.  Judged, “by him.” Illi seems to be superfluous; (Bert.) or it implies that God will revise the sentence of wicked judges.  H. The just have nothing to fear.  God will pass an equitable sentence, and the condemnation of men shall do no harm.  Orig. The mistakes of human tribunals prove the necessity of a general judgment.

 

Ver. 34.  See the truth of these maxims.  C. While the wicked enjoy power they often conceal their injustice, which appears as soon as the veil is removed by death, when people cease to fear them.  H.

 

Ver. 35.  Cedars, &c.  Sept. have read differently from the present Heb. and present a more beautiful sense.  C. Prot. “and spreading himself like a green bay-tree, (marg. or “a green tree that groweth in his own soil,”) yet he passed away, and lo,” &c.  H. Ezrach, denotes an evergreen, (Rabbins) “a laurel covered with verdure.”  C. Houbigant has “a cedar,” ezrach.

 

Ver. 36.  I passed.  This is better than the Heb. “it has passed,” transivit, as a tree changes not its place, and all the ancient interpreters agree with us.  Bert. His place, is not expressed in Heb.  But it implies that every vestige of the proud is soon lost.  This might serve to curb the violence of those who disturb mankind!  H. The wicked may here refer to Nabuchodonosor, the devil, Judas, &c.  C. We may behold the riches of sinners with our bodily eyes: but if we consider them with the eyes of faith, they presently vanish.  S. Amb.  S. Aug.

 

Ver. 37.  Remnants, or rewards.  W. Heb. acharith, “the reward,” (Pag.) “the last end of man is peace,” (Mont.  H.) or “the posterity (v. 38.) of such a man shall be happy.”  C. “There are future things for the peaceful.”  Sym. The expectations of the just are not confined to this world.  They have something laid up for heaven, whereas the wicked have nothing.  H. These lose all by death; and the thought makes them take refuge in the foolish hope of being annihilated.  Bert.

 

Ver. 38.  Together.  At the last day, (H.) or all without exception shall perish; the wicked, with their posterity and riches.  W.

 

Ver. 39.  Salvation.  This is an effect of God’s grace.  W.

PSALM 37

PSALM XXXVII.  (DOMINE NE IN FURORE.)

A prayer of a penitent for the remission of his sins.  The third penitential psalm.

Ver. 1.  For a remembrance, viz. of our miseries and sins; and to be sung on the sabbath-day.  Ch. This sabbath might also allude to the indolent rest which occasioned the fall of David.  2 K. xi. 1.  H. Heb. mentions not the sabbath; and it is not known (C.) why the Sept. made this addition.  The prophet may have Christ suffering for our sins in view, (Bert.) though he probably composed this psalm, when he was afflicted with an illness after this fall.  Rab. Muis, &c.  C. It contains an excellent model for penitents, (C.) to enable them to regain peace of conscience, (S. Greg.) and paradise, from which they are banished by sin.  S. Aug. This remembrance (W.) is most essential.  H.

Ver. 2.  Wrath.  God is  incapable of passion: but man deserves to be treated with the utmost rigour; and this David deprecates, begging that God would act rather like a physician in his regard.  Theod.  C. The same petition occurs in psalm vi.; and this ought to caution people not to make imprecations, since God’s judgments are so terrible.  Bert. S. Aug. and S. Greg. explain this text of the fire of hell, and of purgatory.  1 Cor. iii. 15.  H. Though some be saved by the latter, “yet is that fire more grievous than whatever man can suffer in this life.”  S. Aug. “I esteem that transitory fire more intolerable than all present tribulation.”  S. Greg.  W. We may therefore pray, “Here burn,” &c. with the same S. Aug. who assures us, (Gen. con. Man. ii. 20.) that “he who cultivates not the field of his soul, will, after this life, experience either the fire of purgatory or eternal punishment.”  H.

 

Ver. 3.  Arrows.  Afflictions, (W.) or the word of God, which convert the sinner.  S. Aug. The admonition of Nathan had made the deepest impression on David.  He was also visited by sickness, like Job vi. 4. and xix. 21.

 

Ver. 4.  Sins.  These occasion  my great affliction, when I reflect on thy justice.  W. I chastise myself.  Euseb. S. Aug. explains all this of original sin.  C. Jesus bore the weight of all our sins, which are above our comprehension, v. 5.  Bert.

 

Ver. 5.  Me.  They press upon me like a deluge or huge weight.  C. The sin of David had many aggravations.  Bert. His punishment was also great.  C. His spirit was almost overwhelmed, as the sins which are not bewailed, bring on other transgressions.  W. It is not so much sin as the neglect of penance, which destroys men.  Bert. This folly is here acknowledged by David.  H.

 

Ver. 6.  Foolishness, or sin.  Shame has made me conceal the state of my soul; and hence evil has increased.  S. Jer. &c.  C. The poisoned wound has infected other parts which were sound: (W.) chaburoth denotes sores, or “wounds still fresh or mortifying,” (H.) rather than scars.  M. All sin is properly styled foolishness, as no prudent man should commit any.  Orig.

 

Ver. 7.  End.  Heb. “exceedingly,” while a person feels his state is not desperate.  Bert. Sorrowful.  Heb. “in black,” which may refer either to the mourning attire, (C.) or to the “countenance.”  Sym. Grief will allow me to take no rest.  Orig. I dare not look up to heaven, (C.) nor can I walk straight, to perform any good work (W.) of myself.  H.

 

Ver. 8.  Loins.  Yoai, as the Alex. and Comp. Sept. read, though the Vat. has yuch, soul, (H.) with the Arab. &c. Illusions.  Heb. nikle, “burning.”  Pagn.  “shameful ulcer.”  Houb.  “Ignominy.”  S. Jer.  H. David acknowledges that the irregular motions of concupiscence were an effect of his transgression.  The Jews and Greeks place these sensations in the loins.  3 K. viii. 10.  Plato triplicem finxit animan, cujus principatum in capite, iram in pectore, cupiditatem subter præcordia locavit.  Cicero, Tusc. 1.  C. Flesh.  Concupiscence striving in me.

 

Ver. 9.  Heart.  I give vent to my inward grief by loud lamentations.

Ver. 10.  Desire, to be restored to thy favour.  W. Thou alone canst heal me.  C.

Ver. 11.  Troubled.  Heb. “beats,” palpitat.  Houb. Itself.  Heb. “even they are,” &c.  H. I was no  longer endued with the spirit of prophecy, (S. Bas.) till my conversion, (S. Aug.) nor an object of favour.  H. I was abandoned to myself, (C.) quitting thy light.  S. Amb. My eyes have been hurt by weeping (H.) and maladies, (C.) while my heart is become so corrupt, that I do not relish or discern spiritual things.  H. The beauty of virtue, and the enormity of vice, do not strike me.  M.

Ver. 12.  Have.  Heb. “over-against my wound (H.) or leprosy.”  C.  Prot. “stand aloof from my sore.”  H. But the original means rather “near to.”  Sept. may have read u for i, in nighi.  Bert. But Sym. and S. Jerom translate, “stood against my leprosy, (H.) and my neighbour stood at a distance;” as if they  had been afraid of the contagion.  Job (xix. 13. 19.) makes the same complaints.  C. These manners of worldlings may be seen in every age, and ought not to fill us with surprise.  Bert.  Jo. xv. 18. David was abandoned by Achitophel, and by most of the tribe of Juda, (Theod.) as our Saviour was by his disciples.  S. Aug.

 

Ver. 13.  Violence.  Heb. “laid snares.”  This treatment might be expected from enemies, since friends proved so treacherous.  H. They would willingly have slain David.  The will is often put for the deed.  C. Things.  Endeavouring to engage me again in sin, being displeased because I have quitted their evil company; (W.) or they raise their fortune, by causing dissensions in the state.  This might be well applied to the Pharisees, who persecuted Christ.

 

Ver. 14.  Mouth.  I utterly renounce all sin.  W. David would make no reply to Semei, (Theod.) nor our Saviour to Pilate.  C. Silence is often the best defence.  H. Eagerness to justify one’s self, causes trouble and disedification.  Bert. The prophet joins the deaf and dumb; as those who have naturally the former defect, are also afflicted with the latter.  Pliny x. 69.  H.

 

Ver. 16.  Hoped.  This was the reason of his silence.  Bert. He knew that God was in a manner engaged to defend those (C.) who rely (W.) wholly on Him; and he declared such to be his disposition.  H. Hear me.  The same term thahane means, “wilt answer” (Mont.) as a judge and advocate.  H. God will one day manifest the justice of his elect.  Bert.

 

Ver. 17.  For.  On this account I turn to thee, and entreat thee not to suffer my enemies to gain the victory.  W. My humble and earnest prayer is another motive of confidence. My enemies is not expressed in Heb.  C. I decline saying any thing in my own defence, lest I should offend God.  M.

 

Ver. 18.  Scourges.  Prot. to “halt,” letselah.  H. S. Jer. ad plagas.  Chal. “for calamity.”  (Bert.)  See Ps. xxxiv. 15.  I speak not through impatience, as I know that my sins deserve still more.  C. I resign myself to thee.  W. This was admirably verified in Jesus Christ, the victim for our sins.  C. Before me.  I cannot forget my transgression.  H.

 

Ver. 19.  Sin.  Though Thou knowest all things, I will confess that I may be saved; and will meditate on what I have deserved.  W. He goes to the source of his malady.  C. “Be not secure after confession of thy sin, as being always ready to confess and to offend.  Declare thy iniquities in such a manner as to take care on account of thy sin.”  S. Aug. Confession without repentance is only a mockery.  H.

Ver. 20.  Stronger.  Heb. “strong, and they,” &c.  H. Art thou deaf to my cries?  C.

Ver. 21.  Detracted me, by insinuating that my repentance is hypocrisy.  Another mode of detracting is by making known secret faults, (W.) as calumny imputes false ones.  H. Goodness.  Sept. “justice.”  Many Greek and Latin copies add: “They have rejected me, the beloved, (Theod.  Arab.) as one dead, as an abomination.” Forsake, v. 22.  S. Amb.  C.

Ver. 23.  Attend.  Heb. “hasten;” which is the sense of prosceV, “attend.”  Sept.  H.

PSALM 38

PSALM XXXVIII. (DIXI CUSTODIAM.)

A just man’s peace and patience in his sufferings; considering the vanity of the world, and the providence of God.

Ver. 1.  Idithun was one of the four chief masters of music, called Ethan, 1 Par. vi. 44. and Idithun ib. xvi. 41.  Some think that he was the author of this psalm; but it was rather given to him by David to sing.  C. The title shews that the psalms were designed for the public service of the Church, and not for David alone.  Bert. This refers to the Christian Church, though some explain it of the Jews in captivity, (W.) with R. Salomon, while others think that it was composed during some of David’s persecutions.  It is connected with the preceding, and with the two next psalms.  C.

Ver. 2.  Tongue.  The matter is very delicate and important.  James iii. 2.  Prov. xviii. 21.  Is. xxxii. 17.  Eccli. xxii. 33. and xxviii. 28. Me, and was treating me with injustice and calumny.  H. Chilo, the sage, said: “I know how to bear ill treatment,” (Laert. 1.) and this is a proof of “the greatest wisdom and virtue.”  H. OutoV kratistoV.  Menand.  C. Weak men seek revenge; but the wise resolve to govern their tongues, and do not stand up in their own just defence, though they be, therefore, more persecuted.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  Renewed.  I was conscious of no offence against my enemies, (H.) but I reflected that I had forfeited my virtue, (Euseb.) and therefore gave vent to my grief.  H. Being afraid of saying anything amiss, I refrained from saying what was good.  But I perceived that this was wrong.  S. Aug. I deprived  myself of all pleasure.  C. The seven first verses detail the arguments used by philosophers to comfort men, which all prove of little service.  We must have recourse to God, v. 8.  Bert.

 

Ver. 4.  Out.  This alludes to his sorrow for his sins, (Orig.) or to the fire of charity, which is enkindled by meditation on the last end, &c. (v. 5.) or rather it means, that while he repressed his tongue, he could not but feel an inward zeal and indignation, (C.) in consequence of grief suppressed.  W. See Jer. xx. 9.  M.

 

Ver. 5.  End, as I desire to die, like Elias, 3 K. xix.  W. The just have frequently expressed such sentiments, to move God to pity, (Job vii. 1.  Ps. ci. 4.) though they wished to live, that they might praise God on earth, (C.) if it were his will.  H. This text may indicate the impatience (Bert.) of the mere philosopher, (H.) or David desires to know to what a decree of perfection he must arrive.  Orig.  S. Amb.

 

Ver. 6.  Measurable.  Heb. “of a hand’s breadth.”  H. Sym. “a spithame, or twelve fingers’ breadth,” perhaps in allusion to the Greek proverb, a “spithame of life;” which denotes one very short.  Drus. The Gr. copies vary: some read, (C.) with the Vat. palaiaV, “ancient;” and others of the palestra with the Alex. palaistaV, or “contentious.”  I am obliged always to wrestle with my adversaries.  Grot. My days are short, and spent in conflicts.  H. S. Chrys. S. Amb. &c. mention both.  The former word is adopted by the Arab. Ethiop, &c.; but the Heb. has tephachoth, “of a palm,” or four fingers’ breadth; (C.) and S. Jer. breves, “short.”  H. Substance.  S. Jer. “life.”  Heb. “age.” Living.  Heb. “standing,” how well soever he may seem to be established.  Prot. “at his best estate, is altogether vanity.  Selah.”  H. The wisest of men confirms this at large, Eccli. i. 1.  C.  Jam. iv. 14. “What is this long while which has an end?”  Cic. pro. Marcel.  M.

 

Ver. 7.  Image, “of God.”  S. Greg. &c.  Heb. “in a shadow or darkness,” where the fall of a leaf affrights him.  Life is so short and miserable, why should we strive to heap up riches?  C. For whom.  Heb. “who shall gather,” &c.  H. The term is used respecting harvest rather than money.  C. Heb. has disquieted in the plural, and the rest of the words in the singular; but S. Jerom agrees with us, conturbatur…& ignorat cui dimittat ea.  H. The prophet still utters complaints.  One step farther is necessary to ensure peace.  Bert. He acknowledges that his life is but a shadow, and what we ought not to grieve for temporal losses.  W.

 

Ver. 8.  Substance.  Sept. hypostasis.  Heb. “hope.”  H. I can depend only on thee.  C.

 

Ver. 9.  Thou hast.  Heb. lo, “do not;” ne, or nonne; or “hast thou not made?” &c. as the following verse intimates.  Bert. Thou hast suffered me to be reproached by the foolish, who prosper in this world.  W. The fool may denote the devil, (S. Jer.  Orig.) and all the lovers of iniquity.  Flam.  C.

Ver. 10.  It.  S. Aug. reads “me,” conformably to some copies of the Sept. Arab, &c.  C. He is at a loss to explain the reason of the prophet, and suggests that this perhaps ought to be referred to the following sentence, “Because thou hast made me, remove,” &c.  H. Such is the inconvenience of having incorrect copies.  Amama. The Alex. and Vat. Sept. both have me, (H.) which his omitted in Complut.  C. David knew that he was scourged by divine Providence.  W.

Ver. 11.  In (thy) rebukes, belongs to the next verse in Heb. and Sept. referring to man in general, unless the prophet mean himself.  Bert.

Ver. 12.  Spider.  S. Jer. “moth.”  Sym. “thou dissolvest like corruption his desirable thing;” (H.) which means the soul, (Bert.) or “beauty.”  Prot.  Remorse of conscience and God’s judgments make a man pine away. Disquieted is obelized in the Sept.  S. Jer. ad Sun.  C. It is not found in the Alex. and Comp. edit. (H.) and seems to be taken from v. 7.  It does not alter the sense.  Bert. “Man is vanity always.”  S. Jer. As a spider which has consumed its moisture, so he decays.  W.

 

Ver. 13.  Were.  1 Par. xxix. 15.  I can expect aid from no other but thee.  C. Heaven is our home.  W. “Life is a travelling from home.”  Plato in Axiocho.

 

Ver. 14.  More.  In a state to do good.  W. Grant me relief.  Eccle. ix. 10.  Job vii. 8.  C.

PSALM 39

PSALM XXXIX.  (EXPECTANS EXPECTAVI.)

Christ’s coming, and redeeming mankind.

Ver. 1.  Psalm.  Prot. intimate that this was not in the Heb.; but we find mizmor, “canticle,” which is equivalent.  H. David speaks of his own restoration to health as a figure of Jesus Christ, who is principally intended, Heb. x. 7.  The end of the psalm is nearly the same with the 69th.  C. Some arbitrarily (Bert.) explain the words with relation to the revolt of Absalom. Bossuet. Others think it may refer to the captives, (Ven. Bede) to Daniel, or Jeremias, rescued from prison.  See Theodoret, who explains it of men waiting for the general resurrection.  It may express the sentiments of the Church, when the persecutions ceased.  Euthym. Christ sometimes speaks in his own name, and sometimes in that of his members.  S. Amb.  S. Aug.  C. It is certain that David had Christ in view; and if he alludes to himself, it is only as the figure of him.  Bert.

Ver. 2.  Expectation, or patience.  H. God has, at last, granted my request.

 

Ver. 3.  Misery.  Heb. “confusion,” (Bert.) or “noise,” (S. Jer.  H.) from the greatest danger.  Theod. Dregs.  Mud.  Jer. xxxviii. 6.  S. Aug. &c. explain this of the Christian saved by faith from the sink of his sins.  C.

 

Ver. 4.  New.  Excellent.  H. I was before uttering complaints, now I give thanks with joy, for my health and conversion.  C. Song.  Heb. “Praise.”  The penitent changes his language, which is no longer understood by worldlings.  Bert. Many.  S. Aug. reads, the just, who take part in the welfare of their brethren, (Ps. xxxi. 11.) while the wicked are filled with alarm, at the ways of God; who humbles or exalts people as he pleases.  C.

 

Ver. 5.  Vanities.  Heb. “the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.”  Prot.  H. All the world is vanity, (Ps. xxxviii. 6. &c.  C.) though idolatry may be here meant.  S. Cyr.

 

Ver. 6.  Thoughts, or designs, “over us,” as Heb. adds.  No one can fathom the counsels of the Lord.  It is folly, therefore, to attack his mysteries.  H. Like.  Prot. “and thy thoughts which are to usward, they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee.”  Lit. non ordinare apud te.  Mont.  H. But haroc means also æquiparare, which corresponds with the Vulg.  Bert. Syr. “none is comparable to thee.”  C. Number.  Christ and his apostles preached, so that many followed their doctrine.  W. David also had many witnesses of his gratitude.  They crowded round him.  Some would improperly make multiplicati sunt, agree with mirabilia, dialogismoiV, which is in the masculine.  Bert. “I find no order before thee; if I would declare and number, they are more (wonders) than can be counted.”  S. Jer.  H. I am at a loss how to express myself, and must be content with the interior sentiments of gratitude.  See Ps. lxx. 15.  C.

 

Ver. 7.  Sacrifice and oblation.  Neither bloody nor unbloody sacrifices of the law will do.  M. Pierced ears.  Sept. and S. Paul read, a body thou hast fitted to me.  Heb. x. 5.  H. Nobilius mentions, that he found the reading of the Vulg. in one Gr. MS. in Eus. &c. The Arab. has both.  “Thou hast prepared a body for me, and opened my ears.”  C. Both are, in effect, of divine authority.  The version adopted by S. Paul, cannot be rejected, no more than the Heb. confirmed by the Vulg.  James Pierce asserts, that the Heb. is incorrect, oznaim being put for az zip, “then a body,” as the letters are not unlike.  The dissertation is ingenious: the author is, however, suspected of Socinianism.  We know not the reason why the Vulg. here abandons the Sept.  The sense is much the same; the prophet noticing the entire obedience of the Messias, (Bert.) and the apostle comprising his whole person.  M. His body was miraculous, (H.) and the incarnation the work of God.  C. Nothing could come up to his submission.  “Thou has dug ears for me,” (S. Jer.  H.) alluding to the custom of making slaves for ever, (Ex. xxi. 5.) or “thou hast fitted, (C.) opened, (Prot.) my ears,” enabling me to hear, and to obey.  H. The sacrifice of Christ was never interrupted, from the first moment of his incarnation.  C. He was always doing the will of his Father.  H. This sacrifice is the most essential.  God rejected all such as were destitute of this condition, or were not offered by people determined to observe the whole law.  1 K. xv. 22.  Is. i. 11.  Jer. vii. 22.  Porphyr.  Abs. ii.  C. No sacrifice of the Old Testament was sufficient to satisfy God’s justice for sin.  Christ, by the ear of obedience, performed the redemption of man by his death, as was determined from eternity.  See Heb. x.  W. And is omitted in the Latin version of S. Paul, holocautomata pro peccato, inadvertently, or rather to intimate, that he was speaking of the holocaust of expiation.  Heb. x. 6.  8. and xiii. 11. and Lev. xvi. 27.  Bert. S. Aug. also admits only one species of sacrifice, “holocausts likewise for sin.”  But others distinguish them from the victims designed to expiate the sins of individuals, (Lev. v. &c.) of which the prophet also speaks.  C.

 

Ver. 8.  Head, or beginning, (Gen. i.  Jo. i. and viii. 25.  S. Jer. &c.) or at the commencement of this book of Psalms, (S. Aug.) or rather in the whole Bible.  C. Kephalis denotes a volume, (Suidas) or stick, on which books were formerly rolled, being written on parchment.  The Jews still observe the same custom in their synagogues.  C.  Lu. iv. 17. 20. Heb. “In the volume of the book,” means, in the book, (Amama) or the Bible, which is the book by excellence, where the incarnation and death of Christ, for man’s redemption, are clearly specified.  H. This is the sum of the Scriptures.  W. They bear witness to Christ.  Jo. v. 39.  Luke xxiv. 27.  H. The apostle uses the word capitulum, for the sum.  Hebrews viii.  Whatever sense be chosen, we should meditate on this head, or volume.  But Christ signed, as it were, this solemn engagement, from all eternity.  If we adopt the passage to David, we may translate, “I come, having on me the volume of thy Scriptures.”  See 4 K. xi. 12.  C.

 

Ver. 9.  Heart.  So the Vat. Sept. reads; while other editions have koiliaV, “belly.”  S. Jer. ad Sum. Heb. “bowels.”  H. The sense is the same.  Bert. I love the law so much, that I would hide it in my bowels, (C.) or in the most secret place.  Theod.

Ver. 10.  Thy, is not expressed in Heb. or Gr. but understood.  Bert. Church, in the tabernacle, (Theod.) or rather in the Catholic Church; the propagation of which, (H.) and the preaching of the gospel throughout the world are foretold.  W. The justice, or mercies of our Saviour, are every where proclaimed.  S. Jer.  C.

Ver. 11.  Thy.  Some copies of the Sept. have, my justice, as well as the Ethiopic version.  Eus.  S. Aug. &c.  C. But the Vulg. is more correct.  Bert. Council.  Christ conceals not his mercy and truth from the greatest and wisest congregations.  He spoke boldly before Annas and Caiphas, as S. Paul did at Athens, &c.  W. David testifies his gratitude, and invites all to praise God with him.  C. But we must particularly learn from our Saviour, a horror of sin; the knowledge of his mysteries; confidence in his mercy; and a conviction, that we can never be saved but by his grace.  He has announced these things, and then he finishes his career, by suffering for us, and pours forth his supplications to God.  Bert.

Ver. 12.  Withhold not.  The prophet now speaks in the name of Christ’s mystical body, the Church, praying to be made a partaker of mercy, and to be delivered from evils, (W.) or Christ speaks as the victim for our sins.  H. Uphold me.  This might be also rendered as a prayer, “May thy,” &c. with the Heb. and some copies of the Sept.  Bert.

 

Ver. 13.  My iniquities.  That is, the sins of all mankind, which I have taken upon me.  Ch.  C. The sins even of those who believe, are so numerous, that they cannot be seen in particular.  We may faint at the sight of so many sins committed by Christians.  W. Forsaken me in the agony.  C. Christ had all the sins of mankind laid upon him.  Bert. He did not suffer to release those who were already damned; though they had received sufficient graces, in consequence of the merits of his future death.  H. Christ knew the number and enormity of sin.  M. But he would not disclose his knowledge.  H.  Mar. vi. 5.  M.

 

Ver. 14.  Be pleased.  The rest is nearly transcribed.  Ps. lxix.  C. The Church prays for her weak members.  W.

 

Ver. 15.  Backward, as those who came to seize Christ were twice.  Jo. xviii. 6. He prays for their conversion.  S. Shame might have proved very salutary to them.  Theod. The reprobate will be confounded.  W.

 

Ver. 16.  ‘Tis well.  The Hebrew here is an interjection of insult and derision, like the Vah.  Matt. xxvii. 40.  Ch. As S. Jerom here expresses it, Vah, Vah.  See Mark xv. 29.  M. The Jews have now become objects of contempt, (C.) a just punishment (H.) of scoffers, who wish evil to the good.

 

Ver. 17.  Magnified.  Thus may those speak, who sincerely love God.  W.

 

Ver. 18.  Beggar.  King David might assume this title, as well as all mankind.  S. Aug. The same may be applied to Christ, according to his human nature, as the end of this psalm, and the following, belong to him, more than to David.  C. He speaks in the name of penitents, whose sins he had undertaken to wash away.  W. Careful.  Heb. “will think of me.”  H. Slack.  The faithful prayed for the coming of our Saviour, as they still entreat him to hasten the reward of the good.  W.

PSALM 40

PSALM XL.  (BEATUS QUI INTELLIGIT.)

The happiness of him that shall believe in Christ; notwithstanding the humility and poverty in which he shall come: the malice of his enemies, especially the traitor Judas.

Ver. 1.  Himself; implying, that David composed this psalm, though the word is not expressed in Heb. or Gr.  Berthier.  T. iii. The same articles, however, occur, which have been thus rendered before.  H. Some explain this psalm of the sickness of Ezechias, (Ven. Bede) or of that of David, a little before the revolt of Absalom.  Rab. Muis.  Bossuet. This may be described as a figure of our Saviour’s sufferings.  C. For it would be rash not to acknowledge, that He is here the principal object in view, (Theod.) since he has applied (v. 10.) to the traitor’s conduct, (C.) and all the rest may properly allude to the same events.  The psalmist speaks of the Messias in the six first verses, and introduces him, in the remainder, uttering his own sentiments, (Bert.) respecting his passion and resurrection.  W.  Isai. liii. 4.  M.

Ver. 2-3.  Understandeth.  Believing with eagerness, (H.) or reflecting seriously on Jesus Christ, (Bert.) who was pleased to be poor for our sakes.  H. And the poor, is not in the ancient Sept. (Eus.) nor Heb. &c.  But it only expresses the same idea as the word needy, (Bert.) being added to show the extreme misery to which our Saviour was reduced.  H. The Fathers explain the passage in this sense, though some would suppose, that David speaks of his own conduct, (C.) or of those who adhered to him in his distress, while most followed Absalom.  Flam. Day of death or judgment.  Happy the man, who makes the life of Christ his constant  meditation, (Bert.) and endeavours to imitate his example, and divine charity!  H. The Church recites this psalm for the sick.  Those who assist them may hope for similar treatment.  But such as are not scandalized at Christ, on account of his poverty and afflictions, may be pronounced blessed, (Lu. vii.23.) as He will deliver them from distress, if they place their confidence in Him.  W. The sick are relieved, when they think on Christ’s sufferings.  M. Preserve.  Heb. “will preserve…and thou wilt not deliver him unto the will of his enemies.”  Prot. But S. Jerom has, “and he will not,” &c.  H. Sixtus V. reads, “into the hands of his enemy,” after S. Aug. &c.  Others add, “he will purify his soul from, or on the earth.”  C. Our Lord will give to such servants more grace in this life, and glory in the next, nor will he suffer them to yield to temptation.  W. He will defend them and heal them, when sick.  C.

 

Ver. 4.  His bed.  Lit. “on the bed of his sorrow.”  His, seems to have been formerly in Hebrew, (Houb.) though it be now omitted, (Bert.) as it was in the time of Sym. “the bed of misery,” (S. Jer.) of infirmity. Thou hast.  Heb. “thou wilt make.”  Prot. “turn,” (marg.  H.) “change, or take away.”  In the east, the bed was removed entirely, (Jo. v. 8.) and this expression may denote, (C.) that the sick man should be cured, and no longer be confined to his bed, (S. Chrys.) or that God would take him by the hand, to support him, and turn his bed, like a tender mother, to make it more comfortable.  Geneb.  C. When the just are sick unto death, Christ will give them greater consolation.  W. He will withdraw their affections from all terrestrial things, and remove whatever has been dangerous to them.  S. Greg. Mor. xxiii. 15.  The ineffable name has been thrice repeated in these verses, to insinuate, that all good is wrought by the blessed Trinity.  Bert.

 

Ver. 5.  Thee.  Christ prays for his members, acknowledging their sins, (W.) which he had undertaken to expiate.  The Fathers explain this of his prayer in the garden.  C. Have we ever reflected on sin, which reduced the Lord of all, to such poverty and distress?  Bert.

 

Ver. 6.  Perish?  When shall we have a change, and see Absalom ont he throne?  When shall we get rid of this man, who reproves our conduct?  So were the Jews animated to destroy Christ.  Theod. The rest of the psalm more visibly relates to him.  C. His enemies were greatly disappointed.  H. For after they had put him to death, he rose again, and his name and kingdom became more glorious.  W.

 

Ver. 7.  If he, any one among my enemies.  H. The Scriptures often pass from the plural to the singular, (Bert.) to comprise every one distinctly.  H. Yet S. Aug. &c. read “they came,” &c. omitting if, as some of the Sept. edit. do likewise: though inaccurately, according to S. Jer. and Sun.  C. It occurs in the Rom. copy, and Grabe inserts it in a smaller type.  The sense is not altered.  H. The conspirators affected to shew David some marks of civility, to obtain their ends.  The Jews often strove to entangle Jesus, by their questions, (Matt. xix. 3. and xxii. 17. 24. and Jo. viii. 3.) while Judas continued in his company, to gratify his own avarice, and to betray him.  C. Such were their vain projects.  H. Those who came maliciously to hear Christ, blamed him as an enemy to the law, or as one who cast out devils by Beelzebub.  W.

 

Ver. 8.  To me, seems useless, though it be added conformably to the Heb. (Bert.) or rather it intimates, that the enemies made no secret of thier plots.  H.

 

Ver. 9.  Word of affecting the regal power, &c.  S. Amb. No more?  Jesus Christ speaks.  They have unjustly condemned me: But can I not rise again? or the words may be put in the mouth of his enemies.  Shall we have any thing to fear from the dead?  If we were to confine him only, he might perhaps escape.  C. Heb. “an evil disease, say they, cleaveth fast unto him: and now that he lieth, he shall rise up no more.”  Prot. “The word of the devil they poured out against themselves; he who hath slept, shall rise no more.”  S. Jer. Yet lo may be explained, an non, “shall not he,” &c.  Sept. have seen this insulting interrogation of the Jews who ridiculed what Christ had said of his future resurrection.  Bert. They determined to put him to death; but they could not prevent his glorious (W.) appearance again on the third day.  H. Those who explain this of David, say, that the sleep denotes a mortal illness, or a geievous fault, for which it was expected, that the king would die.  Kimchi.  Munster. &c.

Ver. 10.  Bread.  This characterizes the traitor, who had recieved the holy Communion, and had been intrusted with the purse by our Saviour, yet betrayed him with the sign of peace.  C. To violate the laws of hospitality was greatly resented by the very pagans.  Plut. Symp. vii. 4. Supplanted me, or kicked like a wild colt, as Plato complained that Aristotle had done, when he set up another school.  H.  HmaV apelaktise.  Laert.  Elian iv. 9. David might allude to Absalom, though the Holy Ghost speaks of Judas.  C. Our Saviour himself says, (W.) that the Scriptures may be fulfilled, he that eateth bread with me, shall lift up his heel against me: Qui manducat mecum panem levabit contra me calcaneum suum: ephren ep eme thn pternan autou, “has lifted up,” &c. as the Heb. expresses it here.  Judas had attempted to betray Christ already, and would do it more effectually hereafter; so that both the present and future might agree with him.  We also find the psalm translated qui edebat panes meos, &c.  But the difference is very small.  H. To lift up the heel, is the posture of one who attempts to supplant his adversary.  M.

Ver. 11.  Them.  No one is ignorant of the destruction of Jerusalem, and of the miserable condition of the Jews (M.) throughout the world.  C. Christ will render every one according to his deserts.  W.

Ver. 12.  Over me.  Thus the divinity of Christ was proved, since he rose victorious, in spite of his enemies.  C.

 

Ver. 13.  Innocence.  Jesus was the spotless lamb incapable of sin.  He effaced it by his blood, and is therefore crowned with glory.  Heb. ii. 9.  Phil. ii. 9.  C. This innocence made him a fit victim for sin.  W.

 

Ver. 14.  So be it.  Chal. “Amen.”  This word, at the beginning of a discourse, implies an affirmative oath; (Matt. vi. 13.) and at the end, it is a mark of approbation.  Num. v. 22. Here the Jews terminate the first book of the psalms, which they divide into five.  C. S. Jerom rejects this division, as our Saviour mentions only the psalms, and the last psalm has no such conclusion.  W. It has Alleluia.  All the rest have Amen.  See Ps. lxxii. lxxxix. and cvi.  Heb.  Bert. The observations which have been made in this first part, will serve to explain many other passages, on which we shall therefore be shorter, as well as in specifying the variations from the original, which are for the most part only apparent, as the intelligent reader may be convinced, by the preceding remarks.  H.

PSALM 41

PSALM XLI.  (QUEMADMODUM DESIDERAT.)

The fervent desire of the just after God: hope in afflictions.

Ver. 1.  Understanding.  See Ps. xxxi.  M. Core, who composed, (T.) or sung (M.) most of the psalms in this second part.  T. Pieces of a joyful nature were generally assigned to them, according to the Jews and S. Jer.  Ps. lxxxiv.  M. They were descendants of the famous schismatic, the miraculous preservation of whose innocent children teaches us, that the good will not be punished with the guilty, and that we must be raised above this earth, lest hell devour us.  Num. xvi. 31. and xxvi. 10.  W. The sentiments of the captives, (C.) and of every sincere Christian, are here expressed.  S. Aug. David may have been the author, (C.) as it is generally believed.  Bert.

Ver. 2.  Waters.  This was sung at the baptism of Catechumens, (S. Aug.) teaching them to thirst after heaven.  H. The hart being infected with poison, thirsts exceedingly, as sinners must do for pardon.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  Strong.  Most Bibles before Clement VIII. read “fountain.”  C. El signifies both God and strong.  Bert. The Levites desired earnestly to serve God in his temple; Christians must wish to appear before him in heaven, (C.) when they will be free from temptations.  Idols may destroy, but they cannot give life.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  Bread.  Ovid imitates this: Cura dolorque animi lachrymæque alimenta fuére.  Met. x. The tears of compunction obtain the remission of sin.  S. Jer. God.  Thus the idolaters derided those who could not point at their God.  H. The Babylonians had conquered all the surrounding nations, and despised their deities.  C. The wicked laugh at the just, who are for a time in distress, comforting themselves with weeping.  W. Those who saw David wandering (H.) in the mountains, at a distance from the tabernacle, might ask him what religion or God he followed.  M.

 

Ver. 5.  These sarcasms fill me with grief, (C.) while the solemn ceremonies of religion, which, I remember, where observed in the temple, cause my heart to overflow with joy.  Bert. I shall.  Prot. “I had gone with the multitude; I went with them to the house of God with the voice of joy and praise; with a multitude that kept holiday.”  Yet the holidays of the Catholic Church are now ridiculed by many.  Prot.  H. The original may have several other meanings.  The tabernacle may here designate the musach of Levites.  4 K. xvi. 18.  C. Feasting.  Some such religious feasts were prescribed.  Deut. xii. 12.  H. David was not permitted to build the temple, nor to enter the tabernacle: but he speaks of heaven.  W.

 

Ver. 6.  My countenance.  Heb. “his,” as Aquila, &c. read.  C. Yet as the words are repeated, (v. 12.) there seems to be a fault in the text, (Bert.) owing to v, “his” being taken in here, instead of explaining it by and, v. 7.  H. The arrangement of the letters in the Vulg. is preferable.  C.

 

Ver. 7.  Little hill of Sion.  I hope that I shall soon again behold the fertile regions along the Jordan.  C. But these hills of Hermon, &c. are nothing when compared with heaven: They serve only to remind us of our banishment.  Bert. The difficulties of our present abode, hemmed in on all sides, teach us to place our hopes in heaven.  W.

 

Ver. 8.  Flood-gates.  The Hebrews imagined there were immense reservoirs of water above, (C.) which might serve to drown the earth, as at the deluge.  Gen. vii. 11.  Both heaven and earth seemed to be armed against the psalmist.  H. One affliction succeeded another, (C.) and God appeared to have abandoned his servants to temptations.  But he enables them to come off with victory, and fills them with more joy in their trials: so that they may sing in heart, and pray.  W.

 

Ver. 9.  Night.  In affliction, as well as in prosperity, we must praise the Lord.  Rom. Sept. “in the night he will manifest it.” Mercy.  H. This is very beautiful, but not agreeable with the original.  Bert.

Ver. 11.  Whilst.  Prot. As, “with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me.”  H. Thus the martyrs were tortured and upbraided.  C.

Ver. 12.  Countenance.  To whom I look up with confidence.  M. The just are comforted with the hope of God’s sight.  W.

PSALM 42

PSALM XLII.  (JUDICA ME DEUS.)

The prophet aspireth after the temple and altar of God.

Ver. 1.  David.  Sept. add, “it has no title, in Heb.” being composed by the same author, and on the same subject, as the preceding.  C. David teaches the faithful how to begin a good work; and priests how they ought to officiate at Mass.  W. Holy.  Heb. “merciful.”  The Babylonians and their king, treated the Jews with great cruelty.  C. After we have proved ourselves, according to the admonition of S. Paul, (1 Cor. xi.) before approaching to the holy Eucharist, we may beg of God to judge and to protect us.  W.

Ver. 2.  Me.  Without thy assistance, I can do nothing.  My enemies seem too strong, while thou appearest to disregard my prayer.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  Light, your Messias, as the Jews confess, (Jarchi) truth, the holy Spirit.  S. Chrys. Both the titles may be applied to our Saviour.  Bert.  S. Jer. We are in the utmost distress; be pleased to send us relief.  C. As thou hast sent Christ into the world to impart these graces, grant that we may know, and comply with our duties, before we approach to they  holy altar. Holy hill, the Church, (W.) or tabernacle on Sion, where the Jews wished to be present.  C.

 

Ver. 4.  Youth.  S. Jer. “the God of my joy and exultation.”  H. Syr. and Arab. agree with us, and Gil means, (C.) a young man, in Arab. and Heb.  Hammond. People in youth, shew for the effects of joy.  Bert. Accompanied with light, and a pure intention, we may offer sacrifice to God, who changeth our corruptions into newness of life.  W. The Levites might sing near the altar, but could not offer victims.  C.

 

Ver. 5.  My God.  This word is sing.; but the former “Elohim,” is plural, to intimate one God in three persons.  W. Harp.  Heb. cinnor, which Sym. renders, “the psaltery.”  The sons of Core were chiefly door-keepers: but they also played on musical instruments.  C.

 

Ver. 6.  God.  Trust in God, whom I hope to see face to face.  W.

PSALM 43

PSALM XLIII.  (DEUS AURIBUS NOSTRIS.)

The Church commemorates former favours, and present afflictions; under which she prays for succour.

Ver. 1.  Understanding.  See Ps. xli.  M. David or the Corites composed this piece, to comfort the just under persecution.  Bert. It may allude to the situation of the Jews at Babylon, (C.) or under Antiochus Epiphanes, (Ven. Bede) though S. Paul, (Rom. viii. 36.) applies v. 22. to the persecutions of the primitive Christians, which seems to shew, that the whole psalm refers to them, (Bert.) as the Fathers have explained it.  Yet it may literally be understood of the Israelites (C.) also, (H.) as well as the Christian martyrs, since all things happened to the Israelites in figure.  W.

Ver. 2.  Old, in calling Abraham, and rescuing the Hebrews for the Egyptian bondage, &c.  W. God formerly protected our Fathers; but how are things changed?  C. Gideon uses nearly the same words.  Judg. vi.  M.

 

Ver. 3.  Plantedst them, thy people.  See Jer. ii. 21. and xii. 10.  Ezec. xvii. 6. Out, by means of insects, &c.  Wisd. xii. 8.  Jos. xxiv. 12.  C. The Hebrews were miraculously assisted, (W.) without any merit of their own, (C.) as all were wicked at first.  Yet Abraham was freely chosen, that the visible Church might be preserved.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  Saving (salutes) the manifold instances of protection.  H.

 

Ver. 6.  Horn, like bulls.  W. This we have done in former times.  C. Not man’s strength, but God’s favour, granteth the victory.  W.

 

Ver. 9.  We glory.  Lit. “be praised.”  H. We have always attributed our success to thee.  C.

Ver. 10.  Now.  He foretelleth divers states of the Jews, and of the Church.  W.

Ver. 11.  To.  Lit. “after,” post.  They were formerly defeated; now it is our turn.  H.

Ver. 12.  Nations.  Many never returned from captivity.  C.  See Deut. xxviii. 43.

 

Ver. 13.  Reckoning.  Prot. “thou dost not increase thy wealth by their price.”  H. Thou art eager to get quit of them, as of the vilest slaves.  Theod.  Grot.  Isai. l. 2. and lii. 3.  Exchange.  Some copies of the Sept. read allalagmasi, “jubilations,” with the Ethiopic.  S. Aug. &c. While others have more correctly allagmasi, like the Vulg.  There were none to purchase, so that thou hast given the people for nothing.  C. At the last siege of Jerusalem, the Jews, who had sold (W.) or bought Christ for thirty pieces of money, (H.) were themselves sold for the smallest price; thirty being given for one penny.  See Joseph. de B. Jud.  W.

 

Ver. 15.  Head, out of contempt.  M. The Gentiles propose us as an example of a people fallen a prey to the divine indignation.  4 K. xix. 21.  Lam. ii. 15.

 

Ver. 17.  Detracteth me.  S. Jer. “blasphemeth” God, while they upbraid us, as a faithless people.  C.

 

Ver. 18.  Covenant.  Till the passion of Christ, the Jews did not wholly fall from God, and then many were chosen from among them, to found the Christian religion.  W. The Corites speak in the name of their faithful brethren, whom no provocation had induced to follow the superstitious practices of Babylon.  C.

 

Ver. 19.  Neither.  Lit. “and or yet.”  H. But the negative particle is taken (W.) from the first part of the verse.  C. S. Jer. “Neither hast thou,” &c.  M. Yet many adhere to the Heb. &c. “And thou hast turned,” &c.  Though it may be taken in a dangerous sense, (C.) yet it may only signify, (H.) that God had removed his people from the country where his worship was observed, and had refused them his protection; hence their paths have been unfortunate.  Theodoret. This agrees better with the sequel.  Bert. It is no proof that God is the author of sin, in either sense.  T.

Ver. 20.  Affliction.  Heb. or “dragons,” (S. Jer.  M.) alluding to the deserts, to which the Jews retired, when the Assyrians invaded them.  The text may be more applicable to the first Christians, who might truly say, that they had not transgressed.  Houbig. To the martyrs, death was but like a shadow.  S. Greg.  Mar. iv. 17. Here it denotes great darkness and misery.  M.

Ver. 21.  If we.  This is a Heb. idiom, to express, we have not.  W.

Ver. 22.  Slaughter.  They will not suffer us to be quiet respecting our religion, striving to delude us: or, if we prove resolute, like Daniel, they expose us to torments.  C. This was more fully verified at the first propagation of the gospel, (Rom. viii. 36.) as it still continues to be among those, who cease not to persecute Catholics by artifice, as well as by open violence.  Christians in every age (H.) are persecuted, more than the prophets (W.) generally were.  H.

 

Ver. 23.  Sleepest thou, seeming not to attend to our sufferings.  M. End, shall  we never be restored to favour?  C.

 

Ver. 25.  Dust.  We are at death’s door, being oppressed with grief, as long as thou dost not assist us.  W. We petition in the most fervent (H.) and  humble posture.  Isai. xlix. 23.  Mic. vii. 17.  C.

PSALM 44

PSALM XLIV.  (ERUCTAVIT COR MEUS.)

The excellence of Christ’s kingdom, and the endowments of his Church.

Ver. 1.  For them that shall be changed, i.e. For souls happily changed, by being converted to God; (Ch.) or it may allude to the variety of speakers here introduced.  Bert. Prot. leave shoshannim, which some translate, “on the lilies,” (Aquila.  S. Jer.) or “instruments of six strings.”  C. The beloved, viz. our Lord Jesus Christ.  Ch. Heb. “of loves;” or of the young women, friends of the bride, (yedidoth) who sung the Epithalamium, as we see in the 18th Idyl of Theocritus.  The Jews formerly explained this psalm of the Messias, as well as all the Fathers after the apostles.  Heb. i. 8.  Many passages cannot refer to Solomon’s marriage with the daughter of Pharao, though some might be referred to that event, as a figure of Christ’s union with his Church.  C. The whole had better be understood of Christ, (Bert.) being intended for the instruction of all converts from paganism and schism.  W.

Ver. 2.  Uttered.  Heb. rachash, “boileth,” as  one unable to contain himself.  Bert. Speak, or “dedicate,” dico, (H.) though here it only means to speak.  C. He addresses the object of his praise,  instead of invoking the muses.  S. Jer. Swiftly.  I have not to meditate.  C. The Holy Ghost moves my tongue, (2 Pet. i. 21.) as fast as my hands can write.  Jer. xxxvi. 18. and 4 Esdras xiv. 39.  H. High mysteries, in honour of the great king, occupy my thoughts, and to him I refer this canticle.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  Beautiful.  The corporal beauty of Christ may be problematical.  H. But justice is the truest beauty.  S. Aug. All admired his eloquence, (Lu. iv. 22. and Jo. vii. 46.) and innumerable converts were made, by the preaching of his word.  S. Jer. The young women here address the spouse. Therefore, I say, (Rabbins) or “because” God hath chosen thee freely.  Solomon was styled the beloved, (2 K. xii. 25.) and was highly favoured.  Wisd. viii. 20. and 3 K. iv. 29. &c.  But this was only a figure of Jesus Christ, (C.) whose hypostatical union was an effect of gratuitous predestination, (S. Aug. præd. xv.) though his other graces were merited.  S. Chrys.  Sa.  C. He was most excellent in all sorts of gifts.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  Mighty.  (Potentissime) Erasmus (Apol. con. Sutor.) complains, that he could not learn, whether this was a noun or an adverb, without consulting the originals.  Amama.

 

Ver. 5.  Reign.  Devise, execute, and perfect the establishment of thy spiritual kingdom.  W. Solomon was no warrior; but he only wanted enemies to be so.  The sword of Christ is his word, (Heb. iv. 12.) anger, (Apoc. xix. 15.  C.) or human nature.  S. Jer. Some translate, “and ride,” because kings were mounted on chariots, and governed their people with the reins of justice, &c.  Robertson. Justice.  These titles are eagerly desired by monarchs; as martial prowess, clemency, and justice, (C.) render them objects of terror, and of love.  H. Christ conquered by his miracles, mildness, &c. (C.) propagating the truth, and punishing the rebellious.  W.  Ps. ii. 8.

 

Ver. 6.  Fall.  This seems to be placed too soon, in order to shew the rapidity of the conquest.  C. “Thy arrows are sharp, shot into the hearts,” &c.  H. Some explain in corde, (as the Heb. Sept. &c. read) of the voluntary submission of those who had formerly been enemies of the Messias.  S. Chrys. &c. “Thy sharp arrows, the people subject to thee, shall fall into,” &c. Men are sometimes represented as arrows.  Is. xlix. 2.  Bert.

 

Ver. 7.  O God,  O QeoV.  The Sept. thus mark the vocative case, (Ps. cxxxviii. 17.  H.) and it is clear, that the Messias is here styled God, (Heb. i. 8.) though some of the Jews would evade this proof by saying, “God is thy throne.”  1 Par. xxix. 23.  Even Munster translates, O Deus, and the Jew Agesila, w Qee.  Elohim is never addressed to any one by the prophets, but to the true God, (Bert.) and this title alludes to the judicial character of Christ, (Acts x. 42.  C.) of whose kingdom there shall be no end.  Luke i. 33. Calvin is very bold in asserting, that David spoke properly of Solomon, as if the apostle had applied the text to our Saviour only in the mystical sense; whereas many things cannot belong to the former, and the Chal. and Fathers expound this psalm of Christ and his Church. Solomon did not persevere in wisdom, and his beauty was equalled by that of Absalom, &c.  W. Crellius and Grotius in vain attempted to weaken this proof of Christ’s divinity, as a Jew, who disputed with Origen, did.  con. Cels. i.  D.  H.

 

Ver. 8.  God.  Sym. Qee.  Theophyl. Elohim is used in both places, (H.) with a singular verb, as being spoken of the Deity.  S. Iræn. iii. 6.  Bossuet.  D. “O Elohim, thy Elohim,” (H.) which implies more than one person in God.  Bert. Many king might be preferred to Solomon; but Christ was raised above all.  W. Fellows.  In consequence of the free gift of God, in uniting the human nature to the second person, the Messias advanced in glory; (H.) or rather the prophet speaks of his subsequent merits, which entitled him to the greatest felicity. The oil of gladness, alludes to the reward of his labours.  Dia touto seems to require this sense, though the Heb. may be rendered, “because.”  Bert. Either the cause or the effect may be meant.  M. Solomon was chosen before many of his elder brothers; but Christ was anointed by the Holy Ghost.  Acts x. 38.  C.

 

Ver. 9.  Perfume.  Lit. “from thy garments, from the ivory houses, out of which they have delighted thee, (10.) the daughters of kings, in thy honour.”  They esteem it an honour to wait upon thee, and perfume thy robes, which are placed in chests of ivory, with odoriferous herbs.  H. The ancients admired such garments.  Gen. xxvii. 27.  Amos iii. 15. They had been given, together with the ivory boxes, as a present to Solomon at his marriage, and might give him delight, (C.) as it was then deemed unpolite to refuse a present.  Odys. S. Stacte.  Lit. “the drop” gutta, (H.) distils from the myrrh, the wood of settim, (Num. xxiv. 6.) and may denote aloes, but not the plant.  C. Mortification and humility (W.) raise the soul on high.  2 Cor. ii. 16.  H. The blessed Virgin is here styled a house of ivory.  The Church, and all who observe purity, may be considered as God’s temples.  1 Cor. iii. 17.  C. The virtues of Christ are this precious perfume.  S. Aug. &c. Houses.  Sept. BareiV, a word which means “a tower.”  Some have not understood this, and have rendered it,  gravibus, “heavy,” (S. Jer. ad Prin.) which others have improperly correct by gradibus, “steps.”  C. Houbigant would change three words, and translate, “from ivory vessels, the vases of thy anointing.”

Ver. 10-11.  Clothing.  Heb. “in gold of Ophir.”  H. The Church is spotless.  Eph. v. 26.  The attendants of this glorious queen, are the nations converted, or Christian virgins.  They are not the maids of Pharao’s daughter, whose marriage was never commended.  Bert. House.  Paganism, and the observances of the old law.  Bert. The Church, and every faithful soul, may be styled the daughter, as well as the spouse of Christ.

Ver. 12.  Lord.  Heb. adonaiic, “thy master,” and worship him, (H.) like a dutiful wife.  1 Pet. iii. 6. and 3 K. i. 16. God is not found in the Sept.  The title belongs to Jesus Christ, the spouse, who has been twice called God before.  C.

 

Ver. 13.  Daughters of Tyre; the city, with her dependant villages.  Bossuet. Tyre might send presents on this grand occasion, or might even pay tribute.  2 Par. ix. 26.  C. Idolatrous nations submitted to Christ.  Bert.

 

Ver. 14.  Is within.  Rom. Sept. &c. have “of Hesebon,” by mistake, for Esothen.  C. Queens in the East, could not appear much abroad.  Kimchi. When they go out, they cannot be seen.  The beauty of the Church consists in virtue, and in the grace of God.  C. Borders.  Charity influences the exterior works of piety, (T.) and gives beauty to the ceremonies (S. Bas.) and decorations used by the Church, with such magnificence.  H.

 

Ver. 15.  Neighbours.  The Jews, as well as the Gentiles, shall embrace the faith.  C. Virginity became honourable only after the coming of Christ.  S. Chrys.

 

Ver. 16.  Temple.  Even virgins (H.) out of the Church, cannot please the king.  S. Aug.  W.

 

Ver. 17.  Sons.  Prot. “shall be thy children.”  H. This was the wish of those present.  But it does not appear that the daughter of Pharao had any children, (C.) and thus it seems improbable, that she is here spoken of, as the psalmist foretells the establishment and glory (Bert.) of the Church, by means of the apostles, (S. Chrys.) and their successors, who are made princes over all the world.  Let those who are cut off acknowledge this, and come to the unity, that they may be introduced into the temple of the king.  S. Aug.  W. Innumerable saints of all ranks, kings and emperors, acknowledge the Church for their mother, and submit to her.  C.

 

Ver. 18.  They.  Heb. Sept. of Ald. and Comp. and the Gr. Fathers, have “I will;” yet this is contrary to the Vat. and Alex. Sept. (Bert.) and seems less accurate.  Houbig. The prophet was not to life for ever, so that the fame of the Church was to be spread by others.  Bert. Ever.  There shall be pastors and faithful people to the end.  W.

PSALM 45

PSALM XLV.  (DEUS NOSTER REFUGIUM.)

The Church in persecution trusteth in the protection of God.

Ver. 1.  It may allude to the defeat of Sennacherib, (Houbig.) or might be sung by the Corites at the dedication of the second temple, when peace was restored to the world, after the death of Cambyses.  Ezec. xxxviii.  The Fathers explain it of the Christian Church, delivered from persecutions.  S. Chrys. &c.  C.

Ver. 2.  Troubles.  Those of English Catholics have been very great; yet they increase.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  Their.  Heb. S. Amb. &c. read, “its.”  C. Both sea and land may be in confusion; we shall fear nothing, having God for our protector.  H. Though many and noble personages have revolted from the faith in England, yet the Catholic Church will never fail, (W.) even if it should in these islands.  H.

 

Ver. 5.  Stream.  Jerusalem was surrounded by placid streams, which are here opposed to the great waters, as in Isai. viii. 6.  The Church, after persecution, is restored to peace, and adorned with all graces.  C. Tabernacle.  This is the source of our joy.  Apoc. xxi. M. and xxii. 1.  Ezec. xlvii. 1. The advantages of the virtuous, both here and in heaven, are great.  Bert.

 

Ver. 7.  Trembled.  We have witnessed the commotions in the East, under Cyrus, and his son; the latter of whom seems to be styled Gog, (Ezec. xxxviii. 19.) and perished in Judea, which he intended to plunder.  C.

 

Ver. 10.  Shields.  Heb. “the round things,” which some explain, “chariots,” without need.  Bert. Fire.  The Fathers apply this to the peace which reigned at the birth of Christ, or to that which Constantine gave to the Church.  C.

Ver. 11.  Still.  We have only to admire the work of God.  Bert. He will bring all to a happy issue for his elect, though the wicked may rage.  H.

PSALM 46

PSALM XLVI.  (OMNES GENTES PLAUDITE.)

The Gentiles are invited to praise God for the establishment of the kingdom of Christ.

This psalm appears to be a sequel to the former psalm, and is addressed to the Gentiles who were present at the dedication of the second temple, as Darius had ordered his governors to assist the Jews.  1 Esd. vi. 15.  See Esth. viii. 17. Many explain it of the translation of the ark: but the Fathers behold the establishment of Christianity, and the ascension of Christ, v. 6.  C.

Ver. 4.  Feet.  The Chanaanites were subdued by Josue, and others by David, &c.  The army of Cambyses became a prey to the Jews.  Ezec. xxxix. 10.  C. All who embrace the true faith, even kings, become subjects, and not heads of the Church.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  Beauty.  The temple.  Ezec. xxiv. 21.  Both Jews and Gentiles form the Church.

 

Ver. 6.  Trumpet.  Christ ascended, accompanied by choirs of angels.  His apostles proclaimed his truths.  C. They were not left desolate, but joyful; having the Paraclete sent the them.

 

Ver. 7.  King.  Christ is God, by his divine nature, and our king, by his humanity.  W.

 

Ver. 8.  Wisely.  Heb. mascil, which is so often rendered “understanding” in the titles.  No one can do well, what he does not understand.  C. The union of faith and good works, is singing wisely.  S. Chrys.  C. Concordent manus & lingua.  S. Aug.  D. Let each strive to know the mysteries of faith.  W.

 

Ver. 9.  Throne.  Christ reigns over the heart with all power.  Matt. xxviii. 18.

Ver. 10.  Gods.  Judges appointed by the king of Persia over the Jews, &c. (C.) or rather the apostles, who were more than men, (S. Jer.) and exercised a greater power than any earthly monarch.  C. The richest princes have submitted to the God of Abraham, whose seed was to prove a blessing to all.  Gen. xviii. 18.  Heb. as it is now pointed, “the princes of the people are gathered unto the people of the God of Abraham, for He is far elevated above the gods the shields of the earth,” as kings are often styled.  C. Prot. “for the shields of the earth belong unto God: He is greatly exalted;” or (Sept.) “the earthly potentates, who are of God, have been,” &c. We might explain the Vulg. in the same sense, if Dei were substituted for Dii, (H.) as it should be.  C. Dei sunt optimates terræ, & ipse summe elevatus est.  Houbig. S. Jer. agrees with the Vulg. (H.) which is the clearest, (Bert.) only he renders ham, “the people” of the God, as it may also signify, and retains the word shields, which we explain the strong gods, or the “strong ones of God.”  H. The blessed Trinity is not divided, but more distinctly professed in baptism than it was under the law.  W.

PSALM 47

PSALM XLVII.  (MAGNUS DOMINUS.)

God is greatly to be praised for the establishment of his Church.

Ver. 1.  On the, &c. is not in Heb. nor Euseb. &c.  It means Sunday, (S. Amb.  W.) or rather Monday, being sung on that day.  S. Jer. &c.  H. The subject of the former canticle is continued, in thanksgiving to God, for some signal victory, or for the peace which God afforded to his people, after the death of Cambyses.  C. The Fathers explain it of the propagation and peace of the Church.  H.

Ver. 2.  City, or temple, which lay to the north of old Jerusalem, on Sion.  C. Yet Genebrard, &c. place this mountain south of Salem.  M. The concourse of priests and people gave the appearance of a great city.  Ezec. xl. 2.  Is. xiv. 13. The Church is built upon a rock.  C. The Jews and Christians are under the greatest obligation of praising God.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  With.  Heb. “the beautiful situation, the joy of the whole earth, (M.) Sion, sides of,” &c.  Chal. “Sion, thou art beautiful as a bride.”  Christ’s Church is thus described.  Apoc. xxi. 2.  C. Its figure, (H.) the temple, was the glory of the whole country.  Ps. xxv. 8.  Lam. ii. 15.  C. But the Church alone extends to the sides of the north, or over the world.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  Houses.  Heb. “palaces;” Sept. “towers.”  Baresi, a word which has again been mistaken for gravibus or gradibus, as v. 14. and Ps. xliv. 9.  God is the defence of his people, (Prov. xviii. 10.) the Church, Mat. xvi. 18.  C. All particular houses, or churches, must come to the unity of faith, (W.) and to the seat of Peter.  S. Iræn. iii.

 

Ver. 5.  Earth is superfluous.  S. Jer. ad Sun.  C. Yet it is found in the Vat. Sept. &c.  H. The kings of the earth assembled against the Church, (Ps. ii. 2.) as many came to oppose Jerusalem, under Cambyses.  Ezec. xxviii. 2. 13.  C.

 

Ver. 6.  Saw.  They could not say, like Cæsar, Veni, vidi, vici.  For they no sooner came to invade the unsuspecting people, than they began to tremble.  Ezec. xxxviii. 11. &c.   Ps. xlv. 7.  H.

 

Ver. 7.  There, denotes the promptitude of vengeance, as well as the following allusion.  Is. xiii. 8.  1 Thes. v. 3.

 

Ver. 8.  Vehement.  Heb. “eastern.” Tharsis, such strong-built ships, as might go to Tarsus, in Cilicia, (Gen.  x. 4.  C.) or to India.  M. The merchants of Tharsis, the naval officers, shall say, &c.  There shall be a great commotion, &c.  Ezec. xxxviii. 13. 19. The same storm proved fatal to the land and sea-forces of Cambyses.  His navy is mentioned by Herodotus, (iii. 11. and 44.) and was probably stationed over against Acco, or Ptolemais, as the king perished at the foot of Carmel.  C. Nothing maketh a deeper impression than the sentiments of religion.  God’s grace enableth the soul to sustain all conflicts, and to overcome.  W.

 

Ver. 9.  Seen.  All the promises have been fulfilled.  How could any one have thought that we should have been permitted to dedicate this temple under the patronage of the king of Persia? (1 Esd. vi. 8.)  Who would not have feared, lest the Christian religion should perish, under such violent persecutions?  Converts admire its beauty and strength.  C. The completion of the prophecies is a wonderful confirmation and comfort of Christians, (W.) whose faith is founded indeed for ever.  H. The gates of hell shall not prevail.  M.

Ver. 10.  Temple.  Naou.  Sept. S. Amb. &c. though the Vat. and Alex. copies have Laou, “people,” with the Arab. Ethiop. S. Aug. &c.  H. In the Church we receive many graces, (C.) even Christ himself, (S. Amb.) to which those who refuse to be Catholics, can have no title.  W.

 

Ver. 11.  Earth.  all who hear of the wonders of God, must praise him; and who can be ignorant of what He has done, (C.) in the defeat of the enemies of his people, (H.) of Sennacherib, Cambyses, &c.?  Yet all the earth will be instructed only by the propagation of the Gospel.  C. Justice, against thy enemies, (H.) though this word may here imply “mercy,” in opposition to the judgments, v. 12.  C. These perfections are never at variance.  W.

Ver. 12.  Juda.  Sept. Sym. &c. have “Judea,” (C.) which would intimate, that the psalm was composed after the captivity.  But the Hebrew reads Yehuda, “Juda,” with S. Jerom.  H.

 

Ver. 13.  Surround.  Heb. “walk round, (H.) tell her towers.”  S. Jer.

 

Ver. 14.  Strength.  Perhaps the outward wall, (Ezec. xl. 5.) not seen in Solomon’s temple. Houses. Heb. “palaces.”  Sept. “houses built like towers.”  BareiV.  Jerusalem was not rebuilt or fortified, when the second temple was dedicated.  2 Esd. i. 3. C. The fortresses of the Church are the holy Fathers and Doctors, who watch in her defence.  Her pillars shall not fail.  The particular Churches are all united in the same faith, and these reflections ought to prevail on all to embrace the same.  W.

 

Ver. 15.  Our God.  Christ incarnate works all this.  He shall rule over the Church, not for three or four hundred years only, but as long as time shall last, and He shall have a Church triumphant in eternity.  W. Evermore.  Heb. hal-moth.  The letters being differently arranged, are rendered, “in death.”  S. Jer. “even unto death.”  Prot. (H.) “in youth,” (Chal.) or “in the secret” of Providence.  It may form a part of the following title, “over the young women,” as Ps. ix. and xlv.  C. But then it would probably come after lamnatseach.  The psalmist inculcates the perpetual duration of the Church under God’s conduct, by three terms.  In sæculum & ultra…usque ad mortem, “till death,” (Pagn.) or “incessantly.”  Sym.  H. This psalm  may also express the sentiments of a penitent, (Bert.) or of one who is put in possession of unchangeable felicity.  H.

PSALM 48

PSALM XLVIII. (AUDITE HÆC OMNES GENTES.)

The folly of worldlings, who live in sin, without thinking of death or hell.

Ver. 1.  Psalm.  S. Amb. adds, “of David.”  It is written in an enigmatical style, like the book of Ecclesiastes, and is very obscure.  But the drift is, to impress the captives with a contempt of worldly grandeur, which will end in death.  The redemption of mankind and the resurrection of Christ are foretold, v. 8. 16. &c.  C.

Ver. 3.  Earth-born.  Heb. “sons of Adam,” a title belonging to the meanest.  Progenies terræ.  Perseus vi. 56.  C. So Callimachus styles the giants, “mud-born.”  H. Yet Houbigant explains it of the rich, (Bert.) who have lands, and leave their names to them, v. 12.  H. Of men.  Heb. ish, noblemen.  M. Ye just and (S. Aug.) and polite.  S. Athan.

 

Ver. 5.  Proposition.  Heb. “riddle.”  Bert. The ancients delighted in parables, which required attention to discern the meaning, and thus people had the pleasures of ingenuity.  Music often accompanied their precepts.  Strabo i. 12.  C. Utile dulci.  H. The psalmist intimates, that he had attended the best masters, (C.) even the Holy Ghost.  S. Chrys. He delivers the instructions which he had received from God, on the instrument of ten strings, to imply that we must keep the ten commandments.  W. He listens if the instrument be in tune.  C.

 

Ver. 6.  The iniquity of my heel.  That is, the iniquity of my steps, or ways: or the iniquity of my pride, with which, as with the heel, I have spurned and kicked at my neighbours: or the iniquity of my heel, that is, the iniquity in which I shall be found in death.  The meaning of this verse is, why should I now indulge those passions and sinful affections, or commit now those sins, which will cause me so much fear and anguish in the evil day; when the sorrows of death shall compass me, and the perils of hell shall find me?  Ch. The old serpent is constantly laying snares for our heel.  Gen. iii. 15.  H. Original (S. Jer.) and actual sin, (Euseb.) particularly final impenitence, (Rabbins) and the punishment of our transgressions, (Abenezra) are much to be feared, (H.) as well as concupiscence.  S. Amb. All that will fill us with alarm in the day of vengeance, will be the having been supplanted, like wrestlers, by our iniquity, (C.) of which we have not repented.  H. Any such injustice must be dreaded, as it will bring on damnation.  W. Instead of heel, Sym. has “steps,” including all the unjust actions of life.  H.

 

Ver. 7.  They that trust, &c.  As much as to say, let them fear, that trust in their strength or riches; for they have great reason to fear: seeing not brother, or other man, how much a friend soever, can by any price or labour rescue them from death.  Ch. I address myself particularly to the rich, who are in the greatest danger.

 

Ver. 8.  No.  Prot. “none of them can by any means redeem his brother; nor, &c.  H. But the Sept. translate as well, and the sense is the same.  Matt. xvi. 26.  Bert. If Jesus Christ, thy brother, does not redeem thee, will any other do it? (S. Aug.) or though thy brother neglect, the man, Christ Jesus, will suffice.  S. Amb. But with respect to death, no redemption will be admitted.  It is appointed for all once to die.  H. A man shall be more precious than gold, says Isaias, (xiii. 12.) of the Babylonians, whom the enemy will not spare, for any consideration.  We must therefore make good use of our time.  Eccle. ix. 10.  Prov. xi. 4.  C.

 

Ver. 9.  And shall labour for ever, &c.  This seems to be a continuation of the foregoing sentence; as much as to say, no man can by any price or ransom, prolong his life, that so he may still continue to labour here, and live to the end of the world.  Others understand it of the eternal sorrows, and dying life of hell, which his the dreadful consequence of dying in sin.  Ch. The just, on the contrary, who have laboured for eternity, shall see the death of the wicked, or of the wise of this world.  Euseb. &c. It may also be a prediction of Christ’s life of sufferings and future glory, (Bossuet) or express the sentiments of infidels, who deny a Providence; because both good and bad perish alike.  Eccle. iii. 18.  S. Aug. Heb. “he rests for ever,” (S. Jer.) or “shall he be undisturbed?”  C. Both those who disbelieve a future state, and those who live as if they did, shall suffer.  W. This verse is included within a parenthesis by Prot. (For the redemption…is precious, and it, &c.)  H.

Ver. 11.  He shall not see destruction, &c. or shall he not see destruction?  As much as to say, however thoughtless may be of his death, he must not expect to escape: when even the wise and the good are not exempt from dying.  Ch. Strangers.  This is very distressing.  Pindar. Olym. x.  Eccles. ii. 18. The endeavours of the wicked to establish their families, will be vain, while they themselves shall never more return from the graves hither.  W.

Ver. 12.  Sepulchres.  Heb. Kobrom is better than the present Kirbam, their “interior,” and is adopted by the Chal. Syr. &c.  C. “Their inward thought is, that their houses shall continue for ever.”  Prot.  H. Called.  That is, they have left their names on their graves, which alone remain of their lands, (Ch.) or, they have called cities and countries by their own names, as Alexander and Romulus did, Alexandria, (H.) and Rome.  M. &c. They have spread their fame throughout the world.  C. Scarcely two translate the four last verses alike.  Bert.

 

Ver. 13.  Compared.  Heb. “he is like dumb, or perishable beasts.”  H. So much is man degraded by his attachment to riches and pleasures.  Theod.  C. Some explain this of Adam, (S. Chrys.) reduced to the necessity of labouring, and dying, like brutes. v. 21.  Eccle. iii. 18.  C. This is a very serious reflection, to think that man should so far neglect the gifts of reason, as to strive for temporal advantages only, like irrational creatures.  W.

 

Ver. 14.  They shall delight in their mouth.  Notwithstanding the wretched way in which they walk, they shall applaud themselves with their mouths, and glory in their doings, (Ch.) though it be to their shame.  Phil. iii. 10. Heb. their posterity shall applaud their maxims, (C.) as many of their followers contributed to keep them in the delusion, (H.) which the damned will deplore, when it is too late.  v. 15.  S. Jer. A thirst after worldly advantages has proved their ruin; yet they obstinately persist in their evil ways.  W.

 

Ver. 15.  In the morning.  That is, in the resurrection to a new life; when the just shall judge and condemn the wicked. From their glory.  That is, when their short-lived glory in this world shall be past, and be no more.  Ch. Sic transit gloria mundi.  H. Then the world shall be turned upside down.  C. The just shall have their day, (M.) when the beautiful palaces of the wicked shall be exchanged for darkness, and horrible torments.  H. “Their bodies shall grow old in hell, because they have stretched out their hand, and destroyed the habitation of the house of his majesty.”  Targum. Their figure shall be destroyed in hell, after his dwelling.  S. Jer. They can rescue themselves no more than sheep.  Those whom they oppressed shall be their judges.  All friends will forsake them.  W. Crowds shall be confined to those mansions, where the fire is not extinguished.  M.

 

Ver. 16.  Redeem.  Chal. and some Rabbins seem to understand this of purgatory.  “He will draw me from hell, and give me a place in his habitation.”  Geneb. Others explain it of Christ’s resurrection, or of the liberation of the patriarchs from limbo.  Cassiod. It seems a full solution of the enigma v. 6.  I repent, and shall have nothing to fear.  Bert.

 

Ver. 18.  Him.  “The glory of a man increases with his prosperity, but it does not go down with him when he descends” (S. Amb.) into the grave.  He there finds the same reception as the most ignoble.

 

Ver. 19.  To him.  The wicked are very selfish.  They will seem grateful to those who are in power, and will cringe to get riches.  H. Yea, they will seem to thank God for their prosperity, (W.) or rather, they will assume these appearances with men.  Heb. “he will bless his soul during life, (Bert.) with all pleasures.”  Lu. xii. 19.  Deut. xxix. 19.  C. To him, is not in Heb. which insinuates, that people are flattered during their prosperity.  H. Yet Houbigant would restore this word, “and he will praise thee when thou shalt have done him a kindness;” c may have been placed for i, as Sym. seems to have read autw.  H. The proper use of riches is to do good.  Luke xvi. 9.

Ver. 20.  Fathers.  Like them he shall die.  H. Heb. reads in the second person, with Syr. Aquila, &c.  C. Yet Prot. Mont. and others agree with us and the Sept. And he.  Heb. “they.”  The edit. however, has oyetai.  Each individual, as well as the whole collection of the damned, shall be deprived of light and comfort.  H. Chal. “the just shall live like his fathers, a long and happy life; but the wicked shall enjoy no light in the life to come.”

Ver. 21.  Understand.  Heb. yabin, though (v. 13.) we find yalin, “shall remain all night.”  C. But this is probably a  mistake, as the prophet concludes with repeating this important instruction: (Bert.) Remember, O man, not to degrade thy rational soul.  W. Thou wast honoured by all, and made to the likeness of God.  M.

PSALM 49

PSALM XLIX.  (DEUS DEORUM.)

The coming of Christ: who prefers virtue and inward purity before the blood of victims.

Ver. 1.  For Asaph.  The prep. L is placed before his name, as it is before David’s.  H. Yet whether he was the author of the psalm, (C.) or only set it to music, (W.) is uncertain.  M. The 72d, and ten following psalms, bear his name, and it is observed, that the style is not so flowing as those which are attributed to the royal prophet.  Moller. It is certain, that Asaph was a prophet, and chief musician in the days of David.  1 Par. vi. 39. and xxv. 2. and 2 Par. xxix. 30.  Bert. But the psalms that have this title relate to the captives, and may have been composed by some of his descendants. This and the following seem designed to shew, that something more than bloody victims is required by God; and thus the Israelites, who could not offer sacrifices at Babylon, were comforted; and the people taught by degrees, to look for something more excellent than the law of Moses.  C. The first and second coming of Christ are here described.  D. God’s angels, just men, judges, (C.) idols, &c.  W. Heb. El Elohim, Yehova, “the mighty God, the Lord.”  H. From these three titles, some of the Fathers have proved the blessed Trinity.  E. But this argument is not conclusive.  Bert. They ought, however, to fill us with awe, when he shall come to judge the earth, his chosen people, (v. 4.  C.) or all mankind.  Bert.  M. Christ will come, surrounded by many legions of angels.  H.

Ver. 2.  Beauty.  This may refer to God, or to Sion, (C.) where the Church of Christ began.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  Silence.  Christ displayed the light of truth from Sion, at his first coming.  But he would not judge any till the second.  Jo. iii. 17. and viii. 15.  S. Jer.  C. Before him, at the last day, (H.) or in hell.  S. Athan. Our Saviour appeared formerly with great mildness: but he will come with majesty and terror, after fire shall have destroyed all transitory things.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  Earth.  As if they were animated.  Deut. iv. 26. and xxxii. 1.  Is. i. 2.  Jer. ii. 12. Some understand the angels and apostles by heaven.  C. Judge.  Lit. “to divide,” discernere, (H.) the goats from the sheep.  Matt. xxv. 32.  C.  M. The whole earth, particularly the elect, will approve of God’s decree.  1 Cor. vi. 2.

 

Ver. 5.  His saints.  Heb. “my merciful ones,” (H.) the chosen people, (C.) particularly priests, (Theod.) who might have too high an opinion of the legal sacrifices, (S. Chrys.) or all the elect are meant.  Matt. xxiv. 30.  Euseb. The Hebrews were the only nation which then offered sacrifices to the true God, though some individuals might do it among the Gentiles.  C. Before, super, or, “who make a covenant with him respecting sacrifices.” Prot. “those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice.”  Mal. i. 12.  H. The Sept. seem to have read v for i, more accurately, as the prophet speaks till v. 7.  Bert. Judgment should begin at the house of God.  And if first at us, what shall be the end of them that believe not the gospel of God?  1 Pet. iv. 17.  Rom. ii. 9.  H. Those who believe not, are already judged.  Jo. iii. Sacrifice generally precedes a covenant.  Gen. xv. 17.  M.

 

Ver. 6.  Heavens.  Apostles, (S. Jer.) or angels.  Chal.  S. Athan. God is judge.  His sentence must therefore be just, (M.) and we ought to tremble.  1 Cor. iv. 4.  H.

 

Ver. 7.  Testify.  I will require thee to speak the truth, and attest the world.  Ps. lxxx. 9.  C.

 

Ver. 8.  Sight.  I complain of no neglect (M.) in these outward ceremonies.  H. God required no victims during the captivity; but he always demanded praise, (v. 14.  C.) a contrite heart.  Ps. l. 19. &c.  H. The prophets often admonished the people of this truth, (Is. i. 2.  Jer. vii. 20.  C.) that they might not set too high a value on sacrifices, (H.) which, though pleasing to God, are of no service to him; as all the world is his property.  W.

 

Ver. 10.  Oxen.  S. Jer. and Prot. “the cattle upon a thousand hills.”  But our version is very good, and adopted by the Syr. Ferrand, &c.  C. Aleph means an ox as well as a thousand; and i may have been added to the preceding word, instead of u, at the beginning of this.  Bert. We find u here improperly in either, “beast.”  Houbig. No mention is made of fishes, because they were not used as victims.  C.

Ver. 11.  I know your number, and have absolute dominion over all.  Is. xxxvii. 28.  C. Field.  Ripe fruits.  S. Cyr.  Alex. With God all things are present.  S. Aug.  Lombard, 1 dist. 35.  F.  Amama.

Ver. 13.  Goats?  Can any of you be so stupid?  M. Some of the pagans believed, that their idols delighted in the smell of victims.  H.

 

Ver. 14.  Vows.  A faithless promise is very displeasing.  Eccle. v. 3.  True religion must be interior, (C.) also 1 Cor. xiv. 15.  H. We must discharge, not only our general, (M.) but also our particular vows, (W.) and obligations.  H.

 

Ver. 15.  Call.  Prayer is a perfect act of religion, and a confession of God’s dominion.

Qui fingit sacros auro vel marmore vultus,

                        Non facit ille Deos: qui rogat, ille facit.   Mart. viii. v. 24.

To neglect prayer is, in some sense, to deny God.  C. He is pleased to exercise our confidence, (H.) and will have us to call upon him in distress.  M.

 

Ver. 16.  Sinner.  He is not blamed for praying: but his hypocrisy is condemned.  Bert. The world is full of such hypocrites, who have God in their mouths, but not in their hearts, and whose voice alone is the voice of Jacob.  Gen. xxvii. 22.  Is. xxix. 13.  Tit. i. 16. The wicked judges, who condemned Susanna, (Dan. xiii.) should have attended to these lessons.  C. Thou that teachest another, teachest not thyself.  Rom. ii. 21. It is surely to be expected, (H.) that those who undertake to teach others, should shew good example, and serve God with sincerity, (W.) and not content themselves with the glory of their vocation.  M.

 

Ver. 20.  Lay.  Heb. “slanderest.”  (Prot.)  But dophi occurs on where else.  Bert. The sinner sits to detract, or with pleasure, (M.) habitually offends.  H.

Ver. 21.  Silent, and deferred punishment, (S. Aug.) waiting for thy conversion.  Rom. ii. 4. Unjustly, is not expressed in Heb.  Bert. Face, judgment and hell, (Chal.) or all these things, (S. Jer.) and thy manifold transgressions.  The sight will be most intolerable.  C.

Ver. 22.  Lest he.  Heb. “I tear you in pieces.”  Prot.  H. Rapiat ut Leo.  S. Aug. It may be understood of death, (Theod.) or of God.  C.

 

Ver. 23.  Praise.  This king of improper sacrifice, and those of justice, and of a contrite heart, (Ps. iv. and l.) must accompany outward sacrifices, to make them acceptable.  The latter has always been obligatory, (W.) as well as the former.  H. This ps. proves, that the old victims should give place to one far more excellent, the body of Christ, the sacrifice of praise which the Church offers, S. Aug. con. advers. xx. orat. con Jud. vi. and ep. cxx. 18.  W. Eucharist means “good grace,” or thanksgiving, being intended to enable us to render that tribute of praise, which he requires.  H. There.  Heb. ” to him that ordereth his conversation aright, will I,” &c.  Prot. The difference consists only in the points.  Bert. Syr. “There I will shew him the way of his salvation,” or, according to S. Chrys. “even my salvation.”  C. By adoring God in spirit and truth, (H.) we may be saved.  M.

PSALM 50

PSALM L.  (MISERERE.)

The repentance and confession of David after his sin.  The fourth penitential psalm.

Ver. 2.  Bethsabee.  Sept. “Bersabee.”  Some copies add, “the wife of Urias.”  H. The rest of the title is in Heb. &c. so that it is one of the most authentic.  Nathan did not give the admonition till about a year had elapsed after the transgression, (2 K. xii.) when David was made to enter into himself, by a prophet inferior to himself.  Bert. After his departure, he is supposed to have composed this psalm, to testify his repentance to all the world.  C. He had also in view the state of the captives.  Theod. &c. The two last verses seem to have been added at Babylon, (Abenezra) as a similar addition has been made (Ps. cv. 47. and 1 Par. xvi. 35.  C.) by some inspired author.  H. David knew that something more than confession was requisite, and that he must submit to temporal punishments, even though the prophet had assured him that his sin was remitted.  He prays to be washed still more from evil habits, v. 4.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  Thy great mercy.  Such is the purport of the Heb. chasdec, though (H.) the Chal. and Syr. omit great.  My sin requires the deepest compunction.  I must strive to repair the scandal I have given.  C. Mercies.  I stand in need of many sorts, mitigation of punishment, true sorrow and perseverance, and that I may make some amends for my bad example, &c.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  Yet more, by baptism.  Euseb.  S. Amb. apol. The true penitent never ceases to deplore his sins, like David, S. Peter, and S. Paul.  Eccli. v. 5.  The psalmist prays, that all the remains of sin may be obliterated.  Jo. xiii. 10.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  Me.  I do not forget it, but am covered with shame.  C. Sin is our greatest enemy, and continually cries for vengeance.  H. While David did not confess, his sin lay heavy upon him.  W.

 

Ver. 6.  Only, or principally, who art the only God, (1 Tim. i. 17.  W.) the judge and witness of my crime.  H. David was a king, and acknowledged no judge among men.  S. Amb.  c. x. Soli Deo reus est.  Cassiod. Urias, whom he had injured, was no more.  S. Aug. The action had been done in secret: (2 K. xii. 12.) but many began to suspect, and to blaspheme.  H. Judged.  S. Paul reads thus, (Rom. iii. 4.) though the Heb. be, “when thou judgest.”  S. Jerom has also judicaberis, so that we might infer, that the Heb. is now incorrect, or that beshophtec means in judicare te.  Bert. Houbigant changes the order of the verse, “cleanse me from my sins, that thou mayst be blameless when thou comest into judgment: For I know,” &c.  H. Susanna was preserved from sinning by the thought of God’s presence.  Dan. xiii. 25. If David fell, he confessed his fault.  Bert. God is faithful to his promises, and desires the conversion of sinners, though some would represent him as cruel, and unconcerned about his creatures.  The psalmist prevents this unjust inference, (H.) and proves, that God is both just and merciful.  W. He acknowledges his ingratitude, as the captives confess, that their sins have brought on them this chastisement, though they had not injured the Babylonians.  Theod.  Flam.  C. God had often promised pardon to those who truly repent.  An appeal is made to his truth and mercy.

 

Ver. 7.  Sins.  Heb. “iniquity,…and in sin did my mother warm or conceive me.”  Original sin has a manifold deformity, and is the fatal root of other transgressions.  See S. Aug. Ench.  S. Tho. i. 2. q. 82. a. 2. est multiplex virtute.  H. The prophet speaks here undoubtedly of original sin.  Amama. No text could be more express, as the Fathers and the Jews agree.  Yet Grotius, whose opinions are almost always singular, and dangerous, maintains, that the expression is hyperbolical, and only implies, that David had been long subject to sin, even from his infancy, as Job was naturally of a merciful disposition.  Job xxxi. 18. Thus free-thinkers abuse the Scripture, and setting aside all authority, will only see what they think proper.  C. The weakness of man is a motive for pity: (M.) David pleads for it, yet allows, that the fault was entirely his own, and that he had grace sufficient to have avoided it.  C. The consideration of our sinful origin, ought to move us to beg, that we may be washed still more, and that we may not yield to our evil propensities.  W. We may resist them, and therefore David would not make vain excuses in sin, as God love the truth, and a sincere confession.  M.

 

Ver. 8.  Uncertain.  Heb. “in the interior,” I am full of sin, and thou requirest that I should constantly adhere to virtue.  See Job xiv. 1. To me.  This increases my crime, (C.) as I cannot plead ignorance.  M. Those who have true faith, are more easily converted.  But God gives to all some good, which he loves in them, and is ever ready to preserve his gifts, and to save his creatures.  W.

 

Ver. 9.  Hyssop, which was used in sprinkling lepers, &c. (Lev. xiv. 6.) not that the like ceremony, or even sacrifice, would suffice to heal the wound of the soul.  Sincere contrition, (v. 18, 19.) and the virtue of Christ’s blood, are necessary.  C.  Heb. ix. 19. The heat (Num. xix.) and operation of this sovereign medicine was shewn to the prophet.  Jo. xix.  W. The sprinkling of the priest might be of service, if the heart was contrite.  Heb. ix. 13.  M.

Ver. 10.  Rejoice, when thou givest me an assurance of pardon.  My bones, or virtue, shall then be restored.  Heb. “the bones which thou hast broken may exult.”  S. Jer.  H. God gives contrition, after which the whole interior is filled with joy.  Bert. When the affections are purified, the soul takes delight in God’s word, and revives.  W. The assurance of being pardoned, give her fresh alacrity in his service.  M.

Ver. 11.  Face.  Anger.  If the sinner consider his fault, God will forget it.  C. His justice requires that he should punish the impenitent.  W.

Ver. 12.  Create.  Heb. bera, a term never used but for a new production.  Whatever comes immediately from God must be pure, and as David had fallen into impurity, he earnestly implores this gift.  He prays for the new heart of flesh.  Ezec. xxxvi. 26.  H. Thou hast said, Behold, I make all things new.  Apoc. xxi.  Oh that I may be included, that I may sing a new canticle, having become a new man!  2 Cor. v. 17.  Eph. iv. 24.  Bert. Right.  Heb. “constant,” (H.) the Holy Spirit, thy inspiration, or that uprightness, of which I have been deprived.  C. Bowels, or interior.  W. These sentiments ought to animate priests, when they hear confessions.  W.

 

Ver. 13.  Spirit of prophecy, which is not withdrawn, except for some crime.  Orig.  Huet. p. 35. David had been without this privilege, till his repentance.  S. Athan. Yet S. Chrys. and Theodoret maintain the contrary.  C. He prays for final perseverance, which is due to none, (Bert.) and that he may fall no more.  W.

Ver. 14.  Salvation, or thy salutary joy, (Bert.)  “the joy of thy Jesus,” (S. Jer.) for whom he prays, (S. Aug.) knowing that He will save his people from their sins, and that there is salvation in no other name.  H. Perfect.  Lit. “principal.”  Sept. “conducting;” such a spirit as may suit one who is to command.  H. This may denote sound reason, (4 Mac.  Philo Nobil) which keeps the passions under, (S. Chrys.  Job xxx. 15.) or God himself, to whose Spirit all others shall be subservient.  Rancè often inculcated to his Monks, the importance of having this principal spirit, which includes every virtue, particularly of liberality, as the Heb. nediba, implies.  Bert. “Thy free Spirit.”  Prot. How earnest should we endeavour to be disentangled from all the chains of our passions!  H. David might also fear, lest he had forfeited the throne, like Saul, whom the Spirit left.  1 K. x. 9. and xvi. 14.  Kings affected to be styled liberal.  Lu. xxiii. 25.  C. He repeats his petition thrice, in allusion to the three persons in one God, (S. Aug. &c.) and prays, that the Messias may still spring from him, notwithstanding his sins, and that he may have a constant and willing spirit to fall no more.  W. Principal, or liberal, may refer to the Holy Ghost, the fountain of all grace, or to the king, who ought to be generous.  M.

 

Ver. 15.  Thee.  The sinner cannot testify his gratitude better, than by promoting the conversion of others.  W. This is a sort of satisfaction.  M. While engaged in sin, David could not well exhort his subjects to repentance.  His example was rather an inducement for them to transgress.  Bert. But when they saw his grief, and knew that God had pardoned him, they were no longer tempted to despair.  He also watched more carefully over their conduct.

 

Ver. 16.  Blood, from death, which I have deserved.  S. Athan. That of Urias, and his companions, (W.) cries to heaven for vengeance.  2 K. xi. 24.  H. Hence the word sanguinibus, is used.  Bert. Spare me, and my people. Justice, which has given place to mercy.  C. The latter word is here used by Sym. and justice may have this meaning.  Theod. Sixtus V. reads exaltabit, instead of exultabit, which Sept. agalliasetai, (C.) requires.  Heb. terannen, “shall sing aloud of.”  Prot. “shall praise thy justice.”  S. Jer. Extol agrees better with exaltabit, though both have nearly the same sense.  H. God’s justice will pardon the penitent, as he has promised.  W.

 

Ver. 18.  Sacrifice.  If my crime were of such a nature as the be expiated by certain victims, I would surely have offered them: but my heart has offended , and must do penance.  C. The legal victims were not of themselves sufficient to remit sin.  M.   Contrition was necessary.  Is. lxvi. 2.  Ezec. vi. 9.  Bert. The Scripture often prefers internal, before outward sacrifices.  This of the heart must precede those of justice, and of praise.  W. The heart must be broken, to make place for love.  Compunction is thrice urged.  The two first terms in Heb. are the same, “contrite,” (H.) broken, or disconcerted.  Kateklasqh filon htor.  Odyss.  M. The captives might adopt this prayer.  Dan. iii. 39.  C. External sacrifices are commended in the next verse, as they are good, (H.) being instituted by God.  M.

 

Ver. 20.  Deal.  These two verses have no necessary connexion with the preceding: they may have been added by some prophet at Babylon, (C.) or David foresaw the destruction of the city by the Chaldees.  S. Chrys. He might fear that his sin would draw ruin on the capital, as a much less offence did, and as in all ages, the sins of the rulers have fallen on their subjects.  2 K. xxiv.  H. Though the place was not destitute of fortifications, (C.) he might pray that they might be completed, (Bert.) as they were by Solomon, who built the temple and various walls, so that David might very will add this conclusion, (3 K. iii. 1. and ix. 15.  H.) alluding to the sacrifices which should be offered in the future temple.  Bert. He insinuates, that his pardon may prove beneficial to his people, and sues for it to be granted for their sakes.  M.

Ver. 21.  Justice; works of piety, (Ps. iv. 6.) or victims vowed or prescribed by the law; the same which are afterwards styled holocausts (C.) by two different terms, hola and calil.  H. The latter includes fruits, &c.  C.   While we are in sin, our good works are less acceptable.  M.

PSALM 51

PSALM LI.  (QUID GLORIARIS.)

David condemneth the wickedness of Doeg, and foretelleth his destruction.

Ver. 2-3.  Achimelech.  Sixtus V. Sept. &c. read Abimelech.  But the former is the true name.  See 1 K. xxii. 9. 20.  C. The word understanding  implies, that we ought to reflect on the misery of detraction, and bear our crosses with submission.  Bert. Doeg was but half a Jew, and persecuted the faithful.  W. Iniquity.  Heb. chesed, means also mercy, and some translate, “the mercy of God! or, the great mercy.”  Noble exploit!  C. But our version seems more natural.  El may be a preposition, as Sym. has Kaq.  Bert. If Doeg, who was the most powerful of the shepherds of Saul, (1 K. xxi. 7.) thought it his duty to give his master information of what had passed, he ought to have stated the matter fairly, instead of insinuating, that the high-priest was ill-affected.  H. Nothing could be more false, as he supposed he was acting agreeably to the interests of Saul, and of the state.  C.

 

Ver. 6.  Ruin.  Sept. katapontismou, “drowning,” or to make the innocent suffer “shipwreck.”

 

Ver. 7.  Thy, is not found in Heb.  Doeg would not dare to enter the tabernacle, after he had slain the priests.  C. Houbigant properly supplies thy.  Bert. Living.  The Jews inform us, that Doeg slew himself with his master at Gelboe, and that David punished his offspring with death.  C.

 

Ver. 8.  Laugh, at the last day, when they will have nothing to fear, nor the wicked to hope.  In this life, the just are full of compassion; but they cannot but approve of God’s judgments.  C.

 

Ver. 9.  The man.  Heb. hageber, “the hero.”

Ver. 10.  Fruitful.  David foretells his own prosperity on the throne, (W.) when this wretch shall be no more.  H. He was at this time in great perplexity, (C.) in banishment from the house of God.  M.

Ver. 11.  It punished the wicked, and asserted thy just providence.  H. Good.  Thy saints find the greatest comfort in thee.  C.

PSALM 52

PSALM LII.  (DIXIT INSIPIENS.)

The general corruption of man before the coming of Christ.

Ver. 1.  Maeleth, or Machalath.  A musical instrument, or a chorus of musicians: for S. Jerom renders it, per chorum; (Ch.) and Aquila, “for dancing.”  Sixtus V. &c. read incorrectly, “for Amalec.” The psalm is nearly the same with the 13th, (C.) except v. 6.  M. We know not the reason why David gave this second copy, omitting the name of Jehovah.  Bert. S. Aug. explains it of the dangers of the latter times.  W. It seems to speak of the return from captivity, v. 7.  C.

Ver. 6.  God hath scattered the bones, &c.  That is, God hath brought to nothing the strength of all those that seek to please men, to the prejudice of their duty to their Maker.  Ch. That.  Heb. “who besiege thee.  Thou hast confounded them, because,” &c.  Sept. seem to have read more correctly, as no one has been addressed before.  Bert.

 

Ver. 7.  Glad.  The Fathers explain this of Christ’s redemption.  The captives doubted not but that they should be speedily set at liberty, as the prophets had assured them.  C.

 

PSALM 53

PSALM LIII.  (DEUS IN NOMINE TUO.)

A prayer for help in distress.

Ver. 2.  Ziph lay to the south of Juda.  H. David was rescued from the most imminent danger, by an irruption of the Philistines.  He then composed this canticle, expressing his sentiments in danger, and his gratitude to God.  C. It may also be used by any person in distress.  W. The Church orders it to be said by her ministers at Prime, that they may be protected from all their spiritual enemies.  Bert. The Fathers apply it to Jesus Christ, (S. Hil.) or to his persecuted members.  S. Aug.

 

Ver. 3.  Name, which is a strong tower, (Prov. xviii. 10.  C.) event thyself.  Hence it is so criminal to take it in vain.  Bert. Judge.  Ancient psalters have, “deliver.”  Saul and the Zipheans persecute me unjustly.  I commit my cause to thee.  H. Defend me for the justice of my cause.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  Strangers.  Barbarous, (W.) enemies, though of the same tribe.  C. Hostis dicebatur quem nunc peregrinum dicimus.  Cic. Off. i. The devil and our passions, as well as the world, are such to us.  Bert.

 

Ver. 6.  Behold.  He admires how God delivered him, though Saul seemed to have only one step more to take.  Jesus Christ was secure amid the persecutions of the Jews, till he was pleased to deliver himself up.  Jo. x. 18.  C.

 

Ver. 7.  Truth.  To fulfil thy promises.  H. He foretells their destruction.

 

Ver. 8.  Freely, without being commanded.  W.  M.  Lev. iii. 1. Jesus Christ was offered, because he would.  Is. liii. 7.  Jo. x. 17.  S. Jer. Good, so to do, (D.) or sweet in itself.  Ps. li. 11.  C.

 

Ver. 9.  Enemies, from the hill which divided the armies.  I saw them retire, (H.) and in security beheld their chastisement.  M.

 

PSALM 54

PSALM LIV.  (EXAUDI DEUS.)

A prayer of a just man under persecution from the wicked.  It agrees to Christ persecuted by the Jews, and betrayed by Judas.

Ver. 1.  David.  It alludes to some of his persecutions, particularly to that of Absalom, as well as to that of the Church, and of Jesus Christ.  Bede explains it of Onias: who, being excluded from the high priesthood, retired into Egypt, and built the temple of Onion.  2 Mac. xiii.  C.

Ver. 3.  Hear me.  He repeats the same petition four times, (H.) to testify his fervour, and  humility.  Eccli. xxxv. 21. Exercise, among the wicked, (S. Aug.) or while I consider the sufferings of Christ.  Euseb. David was perplexed what course to take, when he first heard of his son’s revolt.  Our Saviour was sorrowful unto death.  Matt. xxvi. 37.  C. This life is a warfare.  W. Ldolescia.  Heb. sichi, denotes serious (H.) meditation.  Gen. xxiv. 63.  M.

 

Ver. 4.  Upon me.  When a person has fallen into distress, the world is ever ready to attribute it it some fault.  Absalom accused his father of neglecting to judge, &c.  2 K. xv. 2.  The Jews calumniated and sought the death of Christ, whose agony in the garden is well described, (v. 5.) as well as the consternation of David, at the sight of such a general revolt, (C.) which almost overwhelmed him.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  Troubled, like a woman in labour, (M.) as yachil implies, (C.) in Hiphel.  M.

 

Ver. 7.  Dove, which flies swiftly.  He now adored the judgments of God, which chastised him, as he had threatened; (2 K. xii. 11.) though, while innocent, he had rejected a similar proposal.  Ps. x. 1.  The event shewed, that he  acted wisely in retiring beyond the Jordan.  C. O that I could fly, and in the simplicity of the dove, be removed from these afflictions!  W. As I could not go to heaven, I retired into the wilderness.  M.

 

Ver. 9.  Storm.  The first fury of the rebels, which is most dangerous, is thus specified.  David was convinced, that his son’s party would dwindle away, when he was informed that he did not pursue him, following the advice of Chusai.  C. Heb. “I would hasten my escape from the  impetuous wind and tempest.”  But the Sept. may be equally correct.  Bert. God protected his weak servant in the greatest dangers.  W.

Ver. 10.  Cast down.  Heb. “swallow up,” as the earth did Dathan.  C. Sept. “drown.”  H. Tongues, as at Babel, that they may not know how to proceed.  C. Heb. “swallow up…the torrent of their tongue.”  Bate. Pallag, means also to “divide.”  Absalom was accordingly infatuated by David’s friend.  2 K. xv. 31. and xvii. 7.  M. City of Hebron, or even of Jerusalem, which caused the king to leave no garrison in it.  The city was still more abandoned in our Saviour’s regard.  C. Contradiction.  Their counsels agree not.  They have their troubles, yet will not amend; but strive to oppress the poor.  W.

 

Ver. 13.  From him.  But how shall we guard against a traitor?  C. The injury received from a friend is most cutting.  W.

 

Ver. 14.  Guide, the prime minister, (Bert.) and chief of the council.  M. Such was Achitophel, who had nevertheless been long (C.) secretly disaffected.  See 2 K. xv. 12. and xvi. 23.  He professed the same religion, and was trusted with the most important affairs, as Judas carried the purse.  H.

Ver. 15.  Consent, or with expedition, as the Rabbins order people to go to the temple, though they must return slowly.  All this designates Judas.  C. Dreadful lesson for all sacred ministers, who prove faithless! (Bert.) participating of the holy sacraments of the Catholic Church, (W.) and yet betraying themselves, and their master!  Achitophel had probably to attend David in the temple, as Naaman did Benadad.  4 K. v. 18.  H.

 

Ver. 16.  Let death, &c.  This, and such like imprecations, which occur in the psalms, are delivered prophetically; that is, by way of foretelling the punishments which shall fall upon the wicked from divine justice, and approving the righteous ways of God: but not by way of ill-will, or uncharitable curses, which the law of God disallows.  Ch. David shewed even too much tenderness towards the rebels, in the opinion of Joab, &c.  He would not hurt Saul.  His predictions were verified; as Achitophel became a suicide, Absalom perished miserably, suspended between heaven and earth, as an object of horror to both, while many of his accomplices were either slain, or fell into precipices.  2 K. xvii. 23. and xviii. 8.  H. Hell, by a sudden death, like Antiochus, Core, &c.  Num. xvi. 30.  They just are already dead to this world.  Bert. Those who sin on purpose, descend, as it were, alive into hell.  W.

 

Ver. 18.  Evening.  The Hebrew then began the day.  C.  Gen. i. 5.  H. They had three times allotted for prayer, (Dan. vi. 10.) as the Church had afterwards.  Const. Ap. vii. 25.  C. Evening song, matins, and the sacrifice of the mass, are the principal times for divine service.  W. David comprises all times, because his prayer was continual.  Bert.  C.

 

Ver. 19.  Among many, &c.  That is, they that drew near to attack me, were many in company, all combining to fight against me.  Ch. Or, many also joined themselves to me with Joab, and the holy angels, (4 K. vi. 16.) though almost all Israel followed Absalom.  2 K. xv. 13.  C. In many things, schismatics agree with the Church; but their crime is the breaking of unity.  S. Aug.

Ver. 20.  Change, or redemption for them, (Ps. xliii. 13.  Euseb.) or they will not amend, (W.) nor cease to blaspheme God, and to calumniate me.  C. Eternal.  Lit. “He who is before ages.”  H.

Ver. 21.  Repay.  Heb. bishlomaiv, “in his tribulations,” or “against his peaceable ones.”  Houbigant too arbitrarily translates, “they have sent forth their hand against, ”  &c.  Bert.

Ver. 22.  They are divided, &c.  Dispersed, scattered, and brought to nothing, by the wrath of God, who looks with indignation on their wicked and deceitful ways.  Ch. They are separated from the good, (S. Jer.) slain by a look.  2 Thess. ii. 8. Near, or fought, v. 19.  C. Some translate, “they have divided the butter, like words of his mouth.”  But this is less accurate, and the same idea is conveyed in the next words.  Bert. Prot. “The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart.  His words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords.”  H. My enemy has violated every law, under his appearance of friendship.  C. Darts.  Absalom kissed the men of Israel to delude them, (2 K. xv. 2.) and the traitor gave this sign to those who came to seize our Saviour.  Matt. xxvi. 48.  C. The words of God are most excellent in themselves, but they seem hard to the incredulous.  Thus the Capharnaites gave rise to the first heresy against the words of Christ, which S. Peter piously believed, though, as yet, he did not comprehend their meaning.  Jo. vi.  S. Aug.  W. His heart and words  may thus be understood of God: but they more probably relate to any one of David’s numerous enemies, who is thus singled out.  H.

 

Ver. 23.  Cast.  The prophet had experienced the happy effect of this conduct.  C. In all troubles and doubts, we must have recourse to God.  W.  1 Pet. v. 7.

 

Ver. 24.  Destruction; “into gehenna,” (Chal.) or “hell,” (S. Jer.) to which the judge sentences the reprobate, without promoting their crimes.  S. Aug.  C. Days.  It is rare that murderers and  notorious malefactors escape punishment in this world; but in the next, they will surely be requited.  Absalom perished in the flower of his age.  Bert. Achitophel, and may others, have been suddenly cut off.  God sometimes permits such to reign for a time, to exercise his servants, or that they may repent.  S. Aug. The Scripture often threatens sinners in this manner.  Job xxi. 21.  Is. lxv. 20.  C. Their days are indeed spent, when they die.  But if they had altered their conduct, they might have prolonged their life, (H.) according to the usual course of nature.  W.  M.

PSALM 55

PSALM LV.  (MISERERE MEI DEUS.)

A prayer of David in danger and distress.

Ver. 1.  Geth.  Before (Bert.) or after his escape to the cave of Odollam, (C.) he composed this psalm, to comfort his followers with the consideration of God’s protection.  H. See 1 K. xxii. and Ps. x.  The title is variously rendered.  S. Jer. “to the victor for the dumb dove,” &c.  Prot. “upon Jonath elem rechokim Michtam of David.”  This is to elude the difficulty, and we might as well adhere to the Sept. who seem to have only added, “from the sanctuary.”  The psalm may suit any one in distress, (Bert.) unable to attend the public service, (W.) or it may be understood of our Saviour’s passion.  Bert.

Ver. 2.  Man.  All combine against me.  C. The sins of every man oppressed Jesus Christ.  Bert. All who live piously, must suffer many attacks.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  The height of the day.  That is, even at noon day, when the sun is the highest, I am still in danger.  Ch. Heb. “many fight against me from an elevation, or from day-break.” Fear.  Many prefix a negation, which S. Jerom rejects, (ad Sun.) explaining this height of the divine majesty.  C. David felt the impressions of fear; but corrected them by his confidence in God.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  My words.  The words or promises God has made in my favour.  Ch. Praising God (H.) removed the dejection of David.  Euseb. Detested.  Prot. “wrest.”  They put an evil construction upon what I say, (H.) and make me their laughing-stock.  Ps. xxxvii. 13.  C. But I cease not to proclaim what God has declared in my favour, (H.) or what good I have been enabled to effect by his grace.  My enemies may meet to devise my ruin, and to supplant me: yet all in vain.  W.

 

Ver. 8.  For nothing shalt thou save them.  That is, since they lie in wait to ruin my soul, thou shalt for no consideration favour or assist them, but execute thy justice upon them.  Ch.

 

Ver. 9.  I have.  Prot. “thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle.  Are the not in thy book?”  S. Jer. “thou hast numbered my most secret things: place my tears in thy sight,” &c.  H. Sept. render the sense clearer.  Bert. God has promised to relieve the distressed, who confided in him.

 

Ver. 11.  To me.  This is almost a repetition of v. 5.  C. Elohim and Jehova are mentioned (H.) as “the power and eternity” of God gave David the greatest confidence.

Ver. 12.  To thee.  Lit. “thy vows.”  H. Houbigant chooses rather to follow the Syriac, “with thee, O God, are my vows:” which is clearer, though our version may be well explained, “I will perform my vows to thee,” (Bert.) the sacrifice of praises, in this psalm.  C. I will endeavour to comply with my engagements and vows.  W.

 

Ver. 13.  Living, in my own country, where I am no longer, as formerly during my banishment, in the region of the dead.  C. The Fathers explain this of Jesus Christ, or of eternal glory.  Theod.  C. In the true faith and good works, I will strive to please God.  W.

PSALM 56

PSALM LVI.  (MISERERE MEI DEUS.)

The prophet prays in his affliction, and praises God for his delivery.

Ver. 1.  Destroy not.  Suffer me not to be destroyed, (Ch.  M.) or I will not allow my men to destroy an implacable foe, (H.) as they entreat me to do.  This conduct is worthy of eternal memory.  W. The words may also be an admonition to the reader, not to alter this piece.  Apoc. xxii. 18.  C. Al tashcheth, (or thosseth.  H.) is supposed to be an instrument, or a favourite song, such as that of Moses, (Deut. ix. 26.) which begins thus.  But the point is uncertain.  The same words occur, Psalm lviii. lix. (Bert.) and lxxiv.  They are put in the mouth of Christ suffering, by S. Hilary, &c. Cave of Odollam, or rather of Engaddi.  C.

Ver. 2.  In thee.  This obliges God to take pity.  Ps. xlvi. 11. Wings, as a chicken retires to the hen.  Ruth ii. 12.  Matt. xxiii. 37.

 

Ver. 4.  Sent his mercy, &c. (C.) above the power of man.  W. Reproach.  Saul was forced to entreat David to preserve his family, as he had just spared his own life; which would, no doubt, mortify his pride, (1 K. xxiv. 18. 22.  C.) and seem a reproach to him.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  Lions.  Poetry gives life to all things.  It represents mercy and truth as God’s messengers; and Saul as a young lion.  He might have entered the cave with his men, and destroyed David: but Providence caused him to enter alone, so that David had an opportunity to cut off the hem of his garment, and to shew his clemency. Sword.  Thus were the Jews armed, to demand Christ’s death.  Euseb.  C. The persecutors use artificial weapons, and excite one another to fury.  1 K. xxii. 16.  W.

 

Ver. 7.  Down.  Heb. “my soul was bowed down,” (Bert.) or “to bow down my soul.”  S. Jer.  H. Saul strove many ways to destroy  his rival, sending him to fight the Philistines, who, nevertheless, proved the ruin of Saul.  1 K. xviii. 17. and xxxi. 1.  W.

 

Ver. 8.  My.  This and the following verses, from the 107th psalm.  C.

 

Ver. 9.  Glory.  Soul, tongue, or rather instruments of music, (C.) and spirit of prophecy.  S. Athan.

Ver. 10.  Nations.  the psalms are now recited, (W.) in every language, and the wonders wrought by Christ are proclaimed.  C.

Ver. 11.  Clouds.  They are exceedingly great.  H. Christ has mounted to the highest heavens, and his apostles have preached (C.) his saving truths, which, like clouds, render the earth fruitful in good works.  H.

Ver. 12.  Earth.  It is just thy mercy should be extolled.  M.  v. 6.

PSALM 57

PSALM LVII.  (SI VERE UTIQUE.)

David reproveth the wicked, and foretelleth their punishment.

Ver. 1.  Title.  This psalm is a sequel to the former, (W.) and refers to the malevolent speeches of Saul’s courtiers, (1 K. xxiv. 10. and xxvi. 7.  C.) and to the proceedings of the Jews against Christ.  S. Jer. It is an invective against hypocrites, (C.) and detractors.  Bert.

Ver. 2.  Men.  If you be consulted by Saul, and act as judges, do what is right.  Condemn not a man unheard.  C. Frew refuse to speak well.  W. Heb. also, “O assembly,” act not  hypocritically.

 

Ver. 3.  Heart.  Hence proceed evil thoughts, &c.  H. Quicquid vis & non potes, factum Deus computat.  S. Aug. Forge, as you endeavour to preserve the appearance of rectitude.  Heb. “weigh” in scales.  C. This double-dealing aggravates the fault.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  Womb.  Born in sin.  H. They have followed the same course through life, being always bent on wickedness.  C.

 

Ver. 5.  Madness; or “poison,” chamath.  M. Deaf asp.  This is the most dangerous species.  The ancients attempted to charm serpents.  But these courtiers were deaf to every proof of David’s innocence, (C. Diss.) and would receive no admonition, stopping their ears, like asps.  W. The prophet speaks conformably to the received opinion, (Bert.) without determining it to be true.  M.

 

Ver. 6.  Wisely.  “Cunningly.”  Many read, qui incantatur a sapiente.  C. He does not approve of the magical art.  M. Serpents may naturally be effected with music.  The torpid snake by incantation bursts.  Virg. Ec. viii.  Bochart v. 3. 385.  Parkhurst, chober.  H.

 

Ver. 9.  Wax.  Heb. shabbelul, occurs no where else, and this signification is surely preferable to that of the Rabbins, “a snail.”  Prot.  H. Fire.  Heb. “like the untimely birth of a woman, which has not seen the sun.”  Houbig. after S. Jerom. Sept. may not have read th at the end of esh, “fire.”  But both version imply, that the wicked shall perish, without resource (Bert.) or struggle.  This in enforced by a multiplicity of examples.  H.

Ver. 10.  Before your thorns, &c.  That is, before your thorns grow up, so as to become strong briers, they shall be overtaken and consumed by divine justice, swallowing them up, as it were, alive in his wrath.  Ch. You shall be cut off when you least think of it.  M.  Ps. liv. 24.  H. David probably alludes to the proposal mentioned, (Jud. ix. 14.) where the brier (rhammus) invites all the trees to come under its shade.  Before you, my followers, shall fall under the oppression of our cruel persecutors, they shall be suddenly destroyed.  Bert. “Before your pots can feel the thorns, he shall take them away, as with a whirlwind, both living, and in his wrath.”  Prot. This version of Pagnin is rejected by Montanus, who nearly follows the Vulg.  Sirothecem means, “your thorns, or pots.”  Eccles. vii. 7.  H.

Ver. 11.  Shall wash his hands, &c.  Shall applaud the justice of God, and take occasion, from the consideration of the punishment of the wicked, to wash and cleanse his hands from sin.  Ch. Hands.  Heb. “feet,” (though this is not certain.  Ps. lxxiii. 4.  Bert.) and all his body; the carnage shall be so great.  The just approve of God’s judgments, (C.) in or “over,” epi, to testify that he has no connexion with the wicked.  Theod. The just will purify himself still more at the sight of vengeance.  This interpretation is good, but no so literal.  Bert.

Ver. 12.  A God.  Heb. Elohim shophetim.  Both are in the plural, which has induced many to suppose that angels, &c. are meant; yet the plural is sometimes used, when speaking of the true God.  Gen. xx. 13.  Jos. xxiv. 19.  C. Houbigant translates, “gods,” which he explains of the pastors of the Church, or “judges.”  The reward of virtue, and punishment of vice, are very important truths.  Let us wait till the time of harvest, and all will be in its proper place.  Bert.

PSALM 58

PSALM LVIII.  (ERIPE ME.)

A prayer to be delivered from the wicked, with confidence in God’s help and protection.  It agrees to Christ and his enemies, the Jews.

Ver. 1.  Watched.  Heb. “they (the guards) watched.”  The psalm relates also to the resurrection of Christ, and vocation of the Gentiles, (Bert.) as well as to the reprobation, and future conversion of the Jews.  It seems to be most applicable to the times of Esdras and Nehemias: (2 Esd. iv. 1. and vi. 1.) one of whom may have composed it.  C. But this is only a conjecture, (Bert.) and Saul’s emissaries may be styled Gentiles, (M.) because they imitated their manners.  H. Saul sent repeatedly, and went himself to attack David.  He gave him Michol with the same design.  W. But God turned her heart another way.  H.

Ver. 4.  Caught.  Heb. “laid snares for.”  Sept. “hunted.”  The enemy wished eagerly to take David, or Nehemias, (H.  C.) and they seemed to have so surrounded the former, as to be sure of him.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  I ran.  Heb. “they,” &c.  But the Sept. would not have made such a mistake, (Bert.) and the Heb. appears to be incorrect, though we may understand “without iniquity in me, they have run.”  C. I gave them no offence.  W. All this may be well explained of Jesus Christ, who alone could use these expressions with propriety, being without sin.

 

Ver. 6.  No mercy.  Nehemias uses the like prophetic threats, 2 Esd. iv. 5.  C. “Every sin must be punished, either by the penitent, or by an avenging God.”  The prophet supposes that his enemies died impenitent.  S. Aug. When the gospel was first preached, God visited the world with various afflictions, to make people enter into themselves.  Euseb. The prophet prays that God would visit all nations with peace, and punish obstinate persecutors of the Catholic Church.  W.

 

Ver. 7.  Evening, when they came to take David.  But, out of regard for Michol, they providentially waited till he had escaped, 2 K. xix.  H. Nehemias was obliged to watch continually, 2 Esd. iv. 11, 23.  C. The Jews will embrace the faith at the end of the world, (S. Aug.) or they will be destroyed (S. Hil.) or banished by Titus and Adrian (A.D. 137); the latter of whom forbade them even to look at Jerusalem from an eminence.  They could not enter it in the time of Eusebius, (Ps. xlviii.) and S. Jer.  Soph. 1. They have a hunger for God’s word, of which they have lost the true sense.  S. Athan. Persecutors are never satiated, though they labour to destroy, all their lives.  W. They allow themselves no rest.  M.

 

Ver. 8.  Lips.  They seek my ruin, 2 Esd. iv. 2. &c. Heard.  Thus they deny Providence, Ps. (Heb.) x. 11.  C. This thought and the occasion of in have produced much wickedness.  “Whithersoever thou goest, thou art seen by Jesus Christ, who made, redeemed, and died for thee.”  S. Aug. Ser. 161. A serious consideration of God’s presence is the best preservative.  Bert. The wicked devise all sorts of cruelty, as if there were no God.  W.

 

Ver. 9.  Laugh.  Permitting them to become ridiculous.  C.

Ver. 10.  My.  Heb. “his,” which seems incorrect.  Chal. (C.) and S. Jerom agree with the Vulg.  Houbigant would also substitute, “My strength, I will sing to thee,” which affords a better sense, v. 17.  Bert. Yet our version is very plain; I will make all my powers serve thee, and acknowledge that all comes from thee.  H. Such was the admirable humility of Nehemias, who never assumed any glory to himself.  C. David and all just men entertain the same sentiments.  We are here assured (H.) that the Church and some virtuous souls will persevere, by God’s grace.  W.

Ver. 11.  His mercy.  Prot. “the God of my.”  Yet the text has “his;” i and v are easily confounded.  The Keri here allows “my,” which Pagnin translates.  S. Jer. “the mercy of my God;” (H.) or “my God, my mercy.”  Ep. ad. Sun.  C. All comes to the same end.  These words are most applicable to Jesus Christ.  Bert.

Ver. 12.  Over.  S. Jer. “my spies.”  H. Forget.  Let them suffer a long time, (M.) that their punishment may be a greater warning.  The ancients read, “thy law,” instead of people, and apply this to the Jews, (C.) who still preserve the law, and bear witness throughout the world that the prophecies were not a fabrication of Christians.  H. Their exemplary chastisement and continuance, may serve to caution all not to follow their example.  Judæi testes iniquitatis suæ et veritatis nostræ.  S. Aug.  Euseb. “If all the Jews had been converted, we should have had only suspicious witnesses; and if all had been exterminated, we hould have had none.”  God permits our spiritual adversaries to remain for our trial, (Tert.) that we may not forget ourselves in prosperity.  W. We may also translate Al, “O God, (as well as not) slay them, that they may attack my people no more;” (see 2 Esd. iv. 4.) for what reason could Nehemias have to beg that they might be spared?  C. God might have some.  H.

Ver. 13.  For, is not expressed.  Lit. “bring down…the sign,” &c.  Let not their haughty speeches take effect, or escape punishment.  The imprecations of the Jews against themselves, (H.) and against Christ, have brought on their destruction.  S. Aug. Thus nothing need be supplied. Of.  Heb. “shall relate;” which has little sense.  Laying aside the points, it may have the meaning of the Vulg.  This passage can hardly be applicable to David’s persecutors, though it might predict the disasters of Saul.  It alludes more to the enemies of Christ, (Bert.) who called down his blood upon themselves, (Mat. xxvii. 25.) and most falsely accused Him.  C. Hence they are become the reproach of men, and are no long a people.  They behold the reign of Christ propagated throughout the world, (v. 16.  H.) while they are wandering about and despised.  They once would not serve; boasting that they were children of Abraham.  Jo. viii. M.

 

Ver. 14.  Consumed.  At the destruction of Jerusalem, or for opposing Nehemias, 2 Esd. vi. 16. Earth.  The Jews who were preordained to life, embraced the gospel.  C. How can those know, who are no more?  Their condition will be worse than annihilation.  They will exist in hell, though no more visible to us.  Bert. They will know the truth, when it is too late; and when they are on the point of plunging into the abyss.  The measure of their crimes being full, they shall be accused and punished.  W.

 

Ver. 15.  City.  This is a sort of chorus, v. 7.  S. Jer. and Prot. “Let them bark.”  H. It insinuates, that the attacks of the enemies of Nehemias, (C.) David, and Christ, were unceasing.  H.

Ver. 16.  Murmur.  Heb. also, “shall tarry all night.”  Prot. “grudge.”  H. Finding no oil for their lamps, they will repent like Judas, and blaspheme in hell.  W.

 

Ver. 17.  Morning.  With earnestness, (H.) I will fulfil this duty (C.) at the resurrection, (W.) in the morning of a glorious immortality.  M.

 

Ver. 18.  Helper.  S. Jer. “my strength,” virtutem meam tibi cantabo, v. 10.  I will sing, that all I have comes from thy pure mercy.  H.

PSALM 59

PSALM LIX.  (DEUS REPULISTI NOS.)

After many afflictions, the Church of Christ shall prevail.

Ver. 1.  Changed.  Ps. xliv.  Title, Ps. xv. doctrine explaining what will be the progress of the Church.  M. It seems to have the same import as understanding, in other titles, but here is of little authority.  Bert. It has no connexion with the psalm, which seems to have been written before David had obtained the sovereignty over Israel, (Houbig.  v. 8) or it expresses the sentiments of the captives, (C.) and of Jesus Christ, and his Church.  S. Aug.

Ver. 2.  Set fire.  Heb. “fought against Syria of Mesopotamia, and Syria of Seba.”  S. Jer.  2 K. viii. 10.  H. Twelve.  Abisai slew 18,000, perhaps on another occasion; (1 Par. xviii. 12.) so that this title does not contradict history.  M.

 

Ver. 3.  Off.  Chastising thy people frequently under Moses, &c.  Bert. On us.  Redeeming mankind, which thou hadst condemned, for the fault of Adam, and giving us a more abundant grace.  Rom. v. 9.  S. Hil. Thou hast treated us like a good physician, (Deut. xxxii. 39.  C.) chastising us for our sins, that we might improve in virtue.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  Moved.  He personifies the earth, which had fallen into the hands of the Chaldees, (C.) or had experienced various commotions under Saul, &c. (H.) which he denotes by the mention of an earthquake.  M.

 

Ver. 5.  Sorrow.  Heb. “muddy,” such as is given to slaves or malefactors, (S. Matt. xxvii. 34.) mixed with myrrh, or venom.  Lit. “wine of trembling,” (C.) or soporiferous.  S. Jer.  H. All these expressions give the idea of something disagreeable.  Bert. The people became penitent, or were astonished.  M.

 

Ver. 6.  Warning, to amend, (W.) the sign of the cross (C.) in baptism, (S. Jer.) or confirmation.  Euseb. It was customary to erect a pole, on which some signal was placed, in case of invasion.  Is. v. 26. and xi. 12. &c.  C. Bow.  Heb. kossoth, (H.) as S. Jer. &c. have read, though the present Heb. end with t, less correctly, and is explained, “because of the truth.”  C.  Bert.

Ver. 7.  Save me.  The king praying for all.  M. S. Aug. reads, me, (C.) though the Vulg. does not here express it.  H. Heb. “save thy right hand,” the people, or man of thy, &c.  Ps. lxxix. 18.  C. Hear me.  Heb. “him.”  But the margin has, me.  H.

 

Ver. 8.  Holy one, Jesus Christ, (Euseb.) the prophet, (M.) the sanctuary, (C.) or oracle.  W. He had promised that the captives should return in seventy years time.  Jer. xxv. 11. and xxix. 10.  C. Sichem. (partibor Sichimam…metibor.)  These two verbs are sometimes used for partiar and metiar, in ancient authors. Tabernacles.  Heb. “succoth.”  Bert.  Gen. xxxiii. 17. It may also signify the Arabs, who lived in tents.  M. David’s dominion extended over these nations, (H.) and the captives at Babylon hoped to recover them, as the Machabees did.  The kingdoms of Juda and Israel were no more divided, (Is. xi. 13.  Jer. xxxi. 8.) to shew the unity of the Church.

 

Ver. 9.  Head.  This tribe was at the head of the kingdom of Israel, but submitted to David, (H.) and afforded excellent soldiers and captains.  C. His temporal kingdom was extended by God, who will crown his elect.  W. King.  Heb. “law-giver,” alluding to Gen. xlix. 10.  Sym. “my general.”  C. The word king implies all this.  H. Juda always swayed the sceptre.  Bert. After the captivity, Zorobabel was at the head of the people.  Jesus Christ sprung from this tribe, and is the true king of the people, whom he has redeemed, and put in possession of the land of promise.  C.

Ver. 10.  The pot of my hope; or my watering pot.  That is, a vessel for meaner uses, by being reduced to serve me, even i nthe meanest employments.  Ch.  W. Plautus (Mort. ii. scen. 1. 40) says, Ego vos pro matula habeo, &c.  Symmachus adopts the sense of the Sept. amerimniaV, as réts, in Syr. means “to trust,” (Dan. iii. 28.) and “to wash” in Heb.  It was customary to throw lots into a pot full of water, and that which came out last was most esteemed.  To this custom the psalmist may allude, (C.) or he hoped that the fruitful region of Moab would supply him with food.  It was subject to David, (2 K. viii. 2.  H.) and to the Machabees, 1 Mac. v. 6. Shoe, to be untied, or carried, as by the meanest slaves, (Matt. iii. 11.) or to take possession.  Deut. xi. 24.  Thus “Alexander threw a javelin, and danced on the shore of Asia, begging that those lands would not receive him unwillingly for king.”  Diod. Arrian. Justin. David conquered Idumea, (2 K. viii. 14.  H.) as Hyrcanus did afterwards.  Joseph. xiii. 17.  C. Foreigners, alienigenæ, or, “Allophyli.”  S. Aug. “Of another tribe.”  H. So the Philistines were called, who had no kindred with the Israelites; whereas the Edomites, Moabites, &c. were originally of the same family.  Ch. Subject, or “friends.”  Ps. cvii. 10.  C. Prot. “Philistia, triumph thou, because of me.”  Marg. insinuates this is spoken “by irony;” but (H.) Heb. properly means, “make an alliance with me;” or, Syr. “I will shout for joy over Palestine.”  This country was subdued by the Machabees, (1 Mac. iv. 15.  C.) as it had been tributary to David.  2 K. viii. 2.  Bert. “I will make a league against the Philistines.”  Houbig.

Ver. 11.  city.  The capital of the aforesaid counties, or Jerusalem; (C.) but more particularly Petra, (H.) the strongest place in Idumea.  M.  Abdias, 3.  Bert. The Fathers understand the Church.  Euseb.

Ver. 12.  Off?  God punishes and rewards.  W. And wilt; or, “yet thou wilt not,” &c.  H. Thou wilt not depend on our efforts for victory.  Bellar.  M. How can we expect to make such conquests, being in so forlorn a condition, when thou dost not lead forth our armies, as formerly?  All that man can do is vain, but thou wilt look down upon us, and through God we shall do mightily, v. 14.  C.

PSALM 60

PSALM LX.  (EXAUDI DEUS.)

A prayer for the coming of the kingdom of Christ, which shall have no end.

Ver. 1.  Hymns.  This denotes either the female musicians, or the instruments.  C. David, under persecution, (Ferrand) the captains, (Ven. Bede  C.)  or any one in the Church of Christ, (S. Aug.) may adopt this psalm, (Bert.) to thank God.  W.

Ver. 3.  Earth of Palestine, (Bert.) when David was at Mahanaim.  Ferrand.  2 K. xvii. 22.  H. The countries beyond the Euphrates may be so styled.  Ps. lxiv. 6. Rock, by inspiring Cyrus to grant us liberty, (C.) or by sending Jesus Christ.  Euseb. The church is firmly established; and, in all places, serves God.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  Tabernacle.  The words for ever seem to confine this to heaven, as the Fathers explain them, though they may also allude to a temporal protection (Bert.) in the temple.  C. Wings.  Chal. “of thy deity.”  Chal. I will continue a member of thy Church here, and be happy for ever.  M.

 

Ver. 6.  Inheritance.  David had both a temporal, and an eternal one in view.  Bert. The captives express their gratitude for their deliverance.  C.

 

Ver. 7.  King.  They wish long life to the king, expecting  that the predictions of the prophets insured to them temporal dominion.  But when they saw Zorobabel possess no such splendour, they were naturally taught to extend their thoughts to the Messias, of whom the Chal. and ancient Jews, as well as the Fathers, explain this passage.  C. Chal. “the days of the future world thou wilt add to the days of the king, the Messias.  His years shall be like the generations of this world, and the generations of the world to come.”  Eternity is clearly meant.  If David speaks of himself, and of his successors on the throne for many ages, he must be considered as a figure of Christ, who is also designated.  Bert. The Church will continue to the end, and be triumphant throughout eternity.  W.

 

Ver. 8.  Search?  Who can comprehend what thou hast prepared for this king?  He may allude to the promises made to David’s family, (Ps. lxxxviii. 30. 38.  C.) which should reign for ever, by means of Christ.  H. Who can explain the mercy of God in redeeming us; and his fidelity in granting his promised rewards?  W.

 

Ver. 9.  Day.  A Levite speaks, having dedicated himself by vow to serve God continually in his temple, after his return from Babylon, (C.) or David expresses his resolution to testify his gratitude, by sacrifice.  H. I will sing psalms, &c. in this life, and for ever.  W.

PSALM 61

PSALM LXI.  (NONNE DEO.)

The prophet encourageth himself and all others to trust in God, and serve him.

Ver. 1.  Idithun, to sing.  W. He was one of the chief musicians under David.  1 Par. xxv. 3.  The psalm may be explained of David, persecuted by Absalom, (C.) of the Machabees, (Theod.) &c.  or of Christ, and his Church.  C. S. Jer. considers it a piece of excellent morality, (C.) and this may suffice, without referring it to any historical fact.  Bert.

Ver. 2.  Subject.  The just is resigned, though he feel like other men.  David found a sort of resentment against the rebels, arising in his breast, which he presently repressed, by the thought of God’s will.  2 K. xii. 11.  C. He fears nothing, because his soul is subject to God.  W. Heb. “silent.”  H.

 

Ver. 4.  Fence.  This may refer to the persecutors, who resembled a leaning wall.  Bert.  Is. xxx. 13.  C. Prot. “ye shall be slain all of you, as a bowing wall shall ye be,” &c.  He threatens them with speedy destruction, (H.) or represents to them the baseness of attacking a man ready to fall.  C. He informs them, that their attempts will be in vain, though they be very numerous, and he himself apparently so weak.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  Price.  Sept. S. Hilary, &c. “my honour.”  They wish to dethrone me, and to represent me as unfit to govern. I ran.  Sept. edramon, “they ran” likewise, as Heb. implies, and as the Gr. Fathers generally explain it.  David thought proper to flee, that he might be at a distance from traitors, 2 K. xv. 14.  His enemies sought this destruction.  C. They wished to deprive him of the reward of his labours; but he ran more earnestly. Blessed.  Flattery is very dangerous.  W.

 

Ver. 8.  God.  The multiplicity of titles shews the prophet’s love.  See Apoc. v. 12.  S. Aug. Conf. i. 4.  Bert.

 

Ver. 9.  All.  Heb. “always, O people.”  Sept. seem to have read, adoth, for heth. For ever.  Here Selah is translated, (Bert.) though it is not in Sept. &c.  David exhorts his followers to address themselves to God, with compunction and confidence.  C.

Ver. 10.  Liars.  They are so vain and light, that if they are put into the scales, they will be found to be of no weight; and to be mere lies, deceit, and vanity.  Or, they are liars in their balances, by weighing thing by false weights, and preferring the temporal before the eternal.  Ch.  Prov. xi. 1. and xx. 10. They give false judgments; be not concerned; God is our protector.  C. God’s servants strive to draw others to the practice of virtue.  W. All sinners (H.) will not outweigh vanity itself.  M.

Ver. 11.  Them.  Let the rich assist their needy brethren; and you, my followers, beware of enriching yourselves, by unjust rapine, during this civil war.  C. Raise your thoughts to something better.  S. Aug.

Ver. 12.  Once, by the generation of  his word, (S. Aug.) or when he promulgated the law.  Ex. xx. 6.  Bert. God’s word is invariable, (W.  Job xxxiii. 14.  M.) and will be put in execution.  S. Amb.  T. This he has often inculcated.  Vatab.  Job xxxix. 35.  Amos (i. 3.) uses three and four, in the same sense.  C.

 

Ver. 13.  Works.  We must therefore refrain from every injustice.  H. God spoke once by Moses, and again by his own Son.  Both the Testaments confirm the certainty of rewards and punishments, (Bert.) as God is able and willing (W.) to execute his decrees.  Luther, followed by the Dutch, translates, “as he merits;” to which expression, concerning the just, Amama objects.  H.

PSALM 62

PSALM LXII.  (DEUS DEUS MEUS AD TE.)

The prophet aspireth after God.

Ver. 1.  Edom, (Idumææ.)  H. Several copies read Judææ; which agrees with the Heb. &c.  The Idumeans, after the captivity, occupied those deserts (C.) or Ziph, Haret, &c. (W.) where David had screened himself from the fury of Saul.  This psalm may express his sentiments, (Theod.  Muis.) or those of the captives, returning home, (C.) or it may agree with all those, who thirst after their heavenly country.  Bert. S. Jerom explains it of the coming of Christ, and it was used in the morning service.  S. Chrys.  Ps. cxl.  C. Catholics, who are imprisoned for their faith, and cannot approach the tabernacle, may here find comfort.  W.

Ver. 2.  Day.  The manna dissolved with the sun beams, and God will be served with diligence. Flesh.  The sensations of my soul affect all my body.  W. Thirst is more insupportable than hunger; and the psalmist could not express  his ardour better.  C. He loves God with all his strength, &c.  H. “The soul desires, but the end can be attained only by good works.”  Carnis laboribus pervenitur.  S. Jer. O how!  Prot. “longeth for thee in a dry,” &c.  But come is no Heb. verb, and occurring no where else, is little understood by the Jews.  It seems that comu, “as,” should be here, to correspond with the following so.  “As my flesh thirsts in this, &c. so in the,” &c.  I shall find no less pleasure in attending thy worship, than a thirsty traveller does in finding water.  C. Theodotion agrees with the Sept. in considering this as a compound word posaplwV, (C.) and we had best stick to the most ancient version.  Bert.

 

Ver. 3.  Land.  “O solitude,” cries out S. Ephrem, “ladder of heaven, mother of compunction,…and piety, thou art the guardian of the eyes,” &c. Glory.  The ark, (C.) or Jesus Christ, the desired of all nations.  S. Jer.  H. I have attended thy worship in spirit, not being able to be present at Jerusalem.  C.  M.  W. Thus people, who cannot hear mass, ought to act.  H.

 

Ver. 4.  Lives.  For these must perish, while heaven remains for ever.  S. Hil. This consolation is preferable to any worldly prosperity.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  Hands.  Doing good works, as the Fathers explain it.  This is the posture of people who pray, or take an oath.  Tert.  1 Tim. ii. 8.  C. I will, &c.  Comfort is proportioned to suffering for Christ.  2 Cor. i.  W.

 

Ver. 6.  Fatness.  With the most exquisite delights of the temple.  Jer. xxxi. 14.  C. Thy grace will enable me to give thee due praise (W.) with joy.  M.

 

Ver. 7.  Bed.  I will think on thee both when I retire to rest, and when I get up.  Bert. Thou art my first beginning, and last end.  H. At all times I will meditate on thy mercies (C.) in bed, and much more, when I arise, (W.) as I shall not then be so much oppressed with drowsiness.  M.

 

Ver. 10.  Earth.  To seek me out, (Houbig.) or they shall perish.  The Babylonians were exposed to many miseries under Cyrus, as the prophets assert, (Is. xiii. 1.  Jer. xxv. 12.) though profane history be silent.  C. David foretells the destruction of his persecutors, either temporal or spiritual.  W. The devils may be styled foxes.  Bert.  S. Hil. This may also be verified in the Jews, who persecuted Christ, and fell a prey to the Roman arms, &c.  Euseb.  C. Saul perished in battle, and his body was exposed on a gibbet to wild beasts.  1 K. xxxi.  W.

Ver. 12.  The king.  David, (Bert. &c.) or Zorobabel, for whom the Jews had the highest regard, though he was not an independent monarch, nor wore a crown.  Agg. ii. 24.  Zac. iii. 8.  It was customary to swear by the life of the king.  1 K. i. 26. and xx. 3.  The Fathers understand Jesus Christ to be meant, and this is the true and primary sense; as Zorobabel was only a figure of Him, and never really possessed the throne, that the Jews  might not think that the prophecies were fulfilled in his person. By him.  The king, (Du Pin.  C.) or God.  M.  Boss.  T. Those who follow the true religion, (Deut. vi. 13.  Is. xlv 23.  C.) and act accordingly (H.) shall be kings for ever.  Apoc.  Bert.  1 Pet. ii. 9.  H. As David came to the throne, on the death of his rival, so was Christ’s name exalted, after the Romans had destroyed the Jews.  W.

PSALM 63

PSALM LXIII.  (EXAUDI DEUS ORATIONEM.)

A prayer in affliction, with confidence in God that he will bring to nought the machinations of persecutors.

Ver. 1.  David, in distress.  Euseb. &c. It has no relation to any historical fact.  But it expresses the sentiments of any just man, surrounded with danger.  S. Hil. Yet many apply it to Daniel, in the lion’s den, (Muis.) to the captives, (C.) or to Jesus Christ and his Church.  S. Aug. &c.  H.

Ver. 3.  Malignant.  I am encouraged to hope by past experience.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  Thing, or discourse.  This describes the poisonous insinuations of heretics, (Euseb.) or the calumnies of the Jews against Christ.  Bert.

 

Ver. 6.  Them.  The snares.  H. Houbigant prefers “us,” with reason, (Bert.) after the Syr. Arab. Cassiod. &c.  Yet the Heb. &c. retain them, which is very easily explained.  H. The most wicked desire to preserve the reputation of honesty, (C.) and flatter themselves that no mortal is conscious of their deceit, and that even Providence does not regard things below.  Ps. x.  H.

 

Ver. 7.  Search.  Or, they have made the most diligent investigation, (Bert.) to no purpose.  H. Thus David and our Saviour were treated. Heart.  That is, crafty, subtle, deep projects and designs; which nevertheless shall not succeed; for God shall be exalted in bringing them to nought, by his wisdom and power.  Ch. Heb. “both the inward thought of every one of them, and the heart is deep.”  Prot.  H. But, without the points, the Sept. is accurate.  Bert. The Jews, with all their deep machinations to prevent the belief of Christ’s resurrection, bringing even sleeping witnesses, only made themselves ridiculous.  S. Aug.  H. Achitophel was forced to give way, (2 K. xvii.  W.) though he had been considered as an oracle.  H.

 

Ver. 8.  The arrows of children are their wounds.  That is, the wounds, stripes, or blows, they seek to inflict upon the just, are but like weak efforts of children’s arrows, which can do no execution; and their tongues, that is, their speeches against them, come to nothing.  Ch. Or, children themselves have wounded these crafty politicians, and exposed their folly.  H. Heb. is “very perplexed in the last three verses.  Let us adhere to the Vulg. and Sept. who generally read more correctly than the present Hebrew.”  C.  Bert. Yet S. Jerom gives a very good sense.  H. Wounds.  God hath chosen the weak things of this world to confound the strong, (W.) and he hath taken the wise in their craftiness.  M.

 

Ver. 10.  Afraid, at the sight of God’s judgments on the Babylonians, &c.  C.

Ver. 11.  Praised.  All will begin to esteem the chosen race.  C. Heb. “shall glory.”  The Jews and Christians (H.) shall esteem themselves honoured by the title of God’s people.  C. They shall be praised for rightly serving God, (W.) and shall be rewarded by Him (H.) with universal applause.  M.

PSALM 64

PSALM LXIV.  (TE DECET.)

God is to be praised in his Church, to which all nations shall be called.

Ver. 1.  Of the captivity.  That is, the people of the captivity of Babylon.  This is not in the Hebrew, but is found in the ancient translation of the Septuagint.  Ch. From the word canticle.  H. It is of little authority.  Jeremias and Ezechiel were never together.  C.  Bert. Perhaps the former might have put this psalm of David into the hands of the people, when they were going to Babylon, and Ezechiel might have exhorted them to recite it at their return.  H. It seems to have been composed by David, in thanksgiving for rain; (Ps. xxviii.  Muis.) or some of the Levites wrote it, after God had removed the scourge of drought, with which he had afflicted the people, in consequence of their neglecting to finish the temple.  Agg. i. 4.  Mal. iii. 9.  C. David predicts the return from captivity, (Bert.) and the vocation of the Gentiles, (S. Hil. &c.  M.) which the prophets Jeremias, &c. had insinuated, by the coming of the nations from Babylon, so as to forsake idolatry.  S. Aug. &c.  W.

Ver. 2.  Hymn.  Or Heb. “Praise is silent,” (H.) “waiteth,” (Prot.) or “silence is praise for thee, O God.”  Pagn.  Favete linguis.  Hor.  Grot. “We worship Him with pure silence.”  Porphyr. Abst. iii.  Zac. ii. 13.  H. In Jerusalem, is not in Heb. &c. though Houbigant thinks it was originally.  Bert. “Only the vows of ecclesiastical religion are useful.”  S. Hil. Praises of those who are out of the Church, are not acceptable to God.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  O.  Heb. “hearer of prayer,” (C.) or “graciously hear my prayer, till all,” &c.  S. Jer.  Houbig. Too thee.  At the last judgment, or (C.) at the vocation of the Gentiles.  Bert.  M.

 

Ver. 4.  Transgressions.  These are the words of the Christian converts, (Euseb.) or of the Jews, who acknowledge that they have been  justly punished with drought, for neglecting the temple and first fruits.  Agg. i. 4.  Mal. iii. 9.  C. Heb. “thou wilt expiate our transgressions,” which denotes Christ’s satisfaction.  Bert. Though the wicked threaten, we fear nothing, as long as thou wilt pardon our offences.  W. These have been the occasion of our past sorrows.  M.

 

Ver. 5.  To thee, by predestination. House, adorned with exterior graces.  S. Hil. Happy the man, whom thou hast ordained, by faith and good works, to eternal life!  David speaks in the name of the elect.  M.

 

Ver. 6.  Justice.  Because there thou wilt fulfil thy promises, and requirest the greatest composure and attention.  Eph. ii. 12. 22.  Bert. Nothing defiled can enter into heaven.  Apoc. xxi.  W. Off.  The Jews were dispersed into all countries, (Jer. xxxi. 8.) and all are called to the true faith.  C.

 

Ver. 7.  Strength, or rain.  The power (C.) and goodness of God, are described with regard to the captives, and converted nations, (Bert.) and the great works of the creation.  W.

 

Ver. 8.  Troublest.  Prot. “stillest the noise.”  H. Troubled.  The most obdurate are converted from all countries.  W.

 

Ver. 9.  Joyful.  People both of the east and west shall learn to fear thee; or thy chosen people shall dwell in peace, and attend the morning and evening service.  Euseb.  C. Both morning and evening afford delight, as people may labour, or take some rest, according to their different wants.

Ver. 10.  River.  Heb. “the division,” or all the seas and fountains (Bert.) of consequence, (M.) particularly the Jordan, which overflows, like the Euphrates, about Pentecost.  Jos. iii. 15.  Jer. xii. 5.  C. Its, the earth’s, after a plentiful rain.  H. God has wrought many wonders by water, and hath fed his people, (Ex. vii. 14. and xvi. 3. &c.) to prefigure the graces conferred in baptism, the holy Eucharist, &c.  W.

Ver. 11.  Showers.  This gives the sense, rather than the words of the Heb.  Bert. Pastors are still preserved to feed the faithful; and all the just receive the crown of justice, at the end of their life.  2 Tim. iv.  W.

Ver. 12.  Crown.  The crops shall succeed each other, and be abundant.  Lev. xxvi. 5. 10.  Amos ix. 13.  This fertility was foretold, Agg. ii. 20.  C. “By the blessing, the year shall roll along, and thy steps shall distil fatness.”  S. Jer.  H.

 

Ver. 13.  Wilderness.  Or, of such places are were not ploughed.  Little hay was collected, as cattle might almost always pasture. Hills, covered with vine-trees, &c.  Joel iii. 18.  Job xx. 17.  C. The most barren will bring forth fruit, and the perfect shall advance in merit.  W.

 

Ver. 14.  Clothed, with fleeces, (H.) or rather, shall be surrounded with sheep.  Heb. also, “the pastures shall be covered with sheep.”  Houbigant would read e for c, and translate, “the mountains shall be clothed with flocks.”  But such changes require some proof, and the sense is the same.  Bert. All nature (M.) praises God in its own manner, when it answers the designs of God.  Yet man is chiefly invited to sing.  H. The pastors, (W.) like rams, lead the way; but all the just, without exception, shall be happy in their celestial mansions, and with the utmost content, shall join the hymns of Sion.  H.

PSALM 65

PSALM LXV.  (JUBILATE DEO.)

An invitation to praise God.

Ver. 1.  Psalm.  Cassiodorus, &c. add, “of David.”  But it is thought, he was not the author of this and the following piece, as his name is not in the original.  C. This argument is, however, of small weight. Resurrection.  Heb. Origen’s Sept. &c. omit these words, (Bert. T. iii.) which seem to have been added by some Greek Christian, who thought he perceived some allusion to the resurrection of Christ, v. 9.  The Fathers have well explained it in this sense, though they also apply it literally to the return of the captives, (Theod.  C.) and to the general resurrection, the end of all the miseries of the elect, (Bellar.) as well as to the conversion of the Gentiles, (Geneb.) and the resurrection of a soul from the state of sin.  H.

Ver. 3.  Lie.  Prove faithless to thee, (Ps. xvii. 46. &c.) notwithstanding the evidence of thy wonders, and their deceitful professions.  Thus the Samaritans pretended they wished to assist the Jews to build the temple; yet soon after obtained an order from court to hinder it.  1 Esd. iv. 1. and viii. 36.  C. Pharao frequently promised to let the people go, but as often broke his word.  W. They had been moved with servile fear.  M. The sight of God’s judgments upon the world was enough to inspire terror.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  Men.  Choosing some, and rejecting others, (S. Jer.) calling the Gentiles, while he casts off the Jews.  S. Aug.

 

Ver. 6.  In him.  God, (H.) Jesus, (Euseb.) or “on it,” the river Euphrates, which we shall pass over with as much ease, as our ancestors did the Red Sea.  So the prophets frequently speak in a figurative sense.  Is. xi. 16. and l. 3. and Zac. x. 10. and 4 Esd. xiii. 41.  C. As Josue led the Israelites across the river Jordan on dry land, (H.) so wel shall extol thy wonders.  W. There, reflecting on these prodigies, both past and present, we shall rejoice.  M.

 

Ver. 7.  Provoke him.  The faithless Jews, or Gentiles; particularly those of Babylon; or those among God’s people, who neglected his service.  Agg. iv. and 1 Esd. ix. &c.  C. These often gave way to murmuring, and are therefore exhorted not to be proud, lest they should be brought low.

 

Ver. 8.  Gentiles.  By this invitation, he predicts their conversion.

 

Ver. 9.  Moved.  The apostles were most courageous.  Only those Jews returned, who had separated themselves from impure idols.  1 Esd. v. 21.  The Church never fails.  If some apostatize, others embrace the faith.  W.

Ver. 10.  Tried.  So Daniel was treated.  Dan. iii. 21.  The Babylonian captivity is compared to a furnace, as well as all severe trials of virtue.  Prov. xvii. 3.  Zac. xiii.  C.

Ver. 11.  Back.  Heb. “loins.”  The captives had experienced the greatest miseries, as the martyrs of Christ have done since.  C. The Church is put to the most severe trials.  W. Yet God brings no one into the net of sin.  This is solely the effect of man’s corruption.  H.

Ver. 12.  Fire and water, which the Egyptians considered as the emblem of purity, (Horus. xli.) and which here denote the greatest tribulations.  C. The just still overcome by God’s grace, (W.) notwithstanding all the efforts of tyrants who may be set over them.  M.

 

Ver. 14.  Uttered.  These were alone deemed obligatory by the Jews, (Lev. v. 4.  C.) yet the more enlightened knew that God discerns the secrets of hearts, whence the force of a vow proceeds.  H.

 

Ver. 15.  Marrow.  Malachy (i. 13.) reproaches some for presenting lean victims.  C. Offer.  Heb. ehese, “will make.”  Sept. use poihsw, in the same sense, and are followed by the writers of the New Testament. Do this, &c.  Bert. The best external victims of the old law are here specified.  Yet even then the internal sacrifice was most pleasing.  W.

 

Ver. 16.  My soul.  Every Israelite ought to cherish the same sentiments.  C.

 

Ver. 17.  Extolled, by meditation, (Muis.) or God has immediately granted my request.  Theod. Some Lat. Bibles read, “I have exulted under my tongue,” which my heart directs.  W.

 

Ver. 18.  Heart.  Being enslaved to any passion.  H. Iniquity and dissimulation hinder the effect of our prayers; and in some sense, it is true, that God does not hear sinners: (Jo. ix. 31.  2 Tim. ii. 9.) though He regards favourably such as wish to repent, like the publican.  Lu. xviii. 14.  C. Whosoever would be heard, must repent of his sins.  W.

PSALM 66

PSALM LXVI.  (DEUS MISEREATUR.)

A prayer for the propagation of the Church.

Ver. 1.  For David, is not in Heb. nor in some copies of the Sept.  C. Yet the psalm expresses the sentiments of the royal prophet, (Bert.) or it is a sequel to the two former, thanking God for liberty, and for rain.  The Fathers explain it of the coming of Jesus Christ, and the calling of the Gentiles, v. 5.  It many have been sung when the first-fruits were brought to the temple.  See Ps. lxxxiv.  C.

Ver. 2.  Upon us, to grant our requests; or may the Messias come.  Heb. i. 3. And may, &c. is in the Arab. and in most copies of the Sept. and Vulg. though it is omitted in Heb. &c. “and we shall live.”  Ethiop.  C. Perhaps it may be given to express the sense of Selah, which seems to have been a term of approbation.  It does not alter the sense.  Bert. God first forgives sins, and then bestows his manifold graces.  W. This was the form of solemn blessing.  Num. vi. 17. D.

 

Ver. 3.  Way.  The true religion.  M. Salvation.  Christ, who is the only way to be saved.  Jo. xiv. 6.  Matt. i. 21.  C. This way is new, leading to new heavens, &c.  Heb. x. 20. and 2 Pet. iii. 13.  Bert.

 

Ver. 5.  Earth.  Thou art the Father and ruler of thy people.  Let all submit to the sweet yoke of Christ.  Zac. viii. 21.

 

Ver. 7.  Fruit, after rain; or, in a spiritual sense, Jesus Christ, the root, or bud of Jesse, (Is. iv. 2.  C.) born in Judea, (Bert.) of the holy Virgin.  S. Jer. God.  The triple repetition of God’s name, insinuates the blessed Trinity, (H.  Fathers) and the prophet’s earnestness.  C. The faith of the Trinity is to be preached throughout the world, (H.) for the salvation of nations.  W.

Ver. 8.  Fear him.  With holy fear and obedience.  M. The blessings which God bestows upon his servants, and their piety, will induce many to embrace the truth.  H.

 

PSALM 67

PSALM LXVII.  (EXURGAT DEUS.)

The glorious establishment of the Church of the New Testament, prefigured by the benefits bestowed on the people of Israel.

Ver. 1.  Himself.  This is the most difficult of all the psalms, (C.) crux ingeniorum.  Muis. The prodigies wrought by God in favour of his people, when they came out of Egypt, and conquered the land of Chanaan, are described by David in this triumphal canticle, which was sung when the ark was removed.  Houbig. He had also in view the greater prodigies, which should attend Jesus Christ, and the propagation of the gospel.  The latter explanation is also literal, (Bert.) and is given by the Fathers, (C.) on the authority of S. Paul, v. 19.  Ephes. iv. 8.  H.

Ver. 2.  Arise.  These words were used when the Israelites decamped, (Num. x. 35.  C.) and in the exorcisms to expel devils, who are here styled enemies.  S. Athan. The Jews were confounded when Christ arose again.  S. Aug. The psalmist foretells the ruin of God’s enemies, in the form of a prayer.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  Feast.  This was done when the ark was removed.  1 Par. xv. and xvi. 3.  C. But believers may now receive God himself.  S. Amb.  Ps. xxxix.  Bert.

 

Ver. 5.  Who ascendeth upon the west.  Super occasum.  S. Gregory understands it of Christ, who after his going down, like the sun, in the west, by the passion and death, ascended more glorious, and carried all before him.  S. Jerom renders it, who ascendeth, or cometh up, through the deserts; (Ch.) which some explain of the coming out of Egypt, others of the progress of the gospel, in a western direction.  M. Baharaboth, means also, “in the remotest heavens,” (Mont.  H.) or, “in delights,” or “darkness,” and all these senses may have been in the prophet’s mind, as they are all beautiful.  Bert. Resist not God’s inspirations.  He triumphs over death, and is Lord of all.  W. Lord.  Heb. “in Yah is his name.”  H. The Word was with God.  Jo. i. But…presence.  These words seem to have been in the copy of the Sept. and shew the contrast between the just and their oppressors, at the presence of the ark, and of the Messias, (Bert.) before whom the latter must tremble.

 

Ver. 6.  The Father, (patris.)  Heb. pater, “the Father…God.”  He delights in these titles, (H.) and though he dwelleth on high, he looketh on the  low.  Ps. cxii. 5.  M.

Ver. 7.  Of one manner.  That is, agreeing in faith, unanimous in love, and following the same manner of discipline.  It is verified in the servants of God living together in his house, which is the Church.  1 Tim. iii. 15.  Ch. Heb. may signify, “He maketh those who were alone (steriles) to dwell in a house.”  Ps. cxii. 9.  He builds up their house, and grants them children.  Flamin.  Exod. i. 21. The Israelites under Pharao, (C.) saw their male issue destroyed, (H.) but God enabled them to multiply exceedingly.  Exod. i. 12.  C. Yechidim means “the solitary,” (S. Jer.) and “the united,” as the first Christians were.  Bert.  Acts ii. 44.  H. The Church preserves unity in faith, &c.  S. Cyp. ep. 76.  W. Bound.  The power and mercy of God appears, in his bringing out of their captivity, those who were strongly bound in their sins; and in restoring to his grace those whose behaviour had been most provoking; and who by their evil habits were not only dead, but buried in their sepulchres.  Ch. God’s grace moves even the rebellious and negligent will of man, so that it willingly embraces the right path.  W. In strength.  Houbig. “to walk freely.”  The Gentiles were, as it were, buried, before Christ delivered them, (Bert.) as he did those who were once incredulous in the days of Noe, (1 Pet. iii. 20. and iv. 6.  S. Athan.) and God rescued the Israelites from servitude, notwithstanding their repeated provocations, both before and after this mercy.  Some translate, (H.) Heb. “He delivers those who were bound in chains; but the rebels (Egyptians, or faithless Hebrews) have remained in the desert.”  C. Their bodies have there become a prey to beasts, and to corruption.  H. God permitted the rebellious Egyptians to pursue his people.  M.

 

Ver. 9.  Dropped.  The earthquake and rain are not mentioned by Moses.  But the prophets often supply omissions.  Debora and Habacuc speak in the same lofty strains.  Ex. xix. 16.  Judg. v. 4.  Hab. iii. 6.  C. Debora specifies some words, (H.) which seem to be here wanting, “the clouds also dropped water, the mountains melted” at, &c. Of Sinai, or, “Sinai at,” &c.  M. Heb. “this Sinai before God, (Judg. v. 5. Jehovah) the God of Israel.”  The old MS. 3. retains the word Jehovah at least six times, where it is not once printed, as that of Lambeth, 434, does here, &c.  Kennicott. S. Aug. and the ancient psalters read, A facie Domini; Mons Sinai, &c.  C. The mount itself seemed to melt amid thunder and rain.  H.

Ver. 10.  A free rain.  The manna, which rained plentifully from heaven, in favour of God’s inheritance, that is, of his people Israel: which was weakened indeed under a variety of afflictions, but was made perfect by God; that is, was still supported by divine Providence, and brought on to the promised land.  It agrees particularly to the Church of Christ, his true inheritance, which is plentifully watered with the free rain of heavenly grace; and through many infirmities, that is, crosses and tribulations, is made perfect, and fitted for eternal glory.  Ch. God came to redeem us, without any merit on our side.  He chose the weak, but made them strong.  W. The cattle stood in great need of water, as the Hebrews did of manna.  C. He will render the promised land most fertile.  Houbig.)

Ver. 11.  In it, &c.  That is, in this Church, which is thy fold, and thy inheritance, shall thy animals, thy sheep, dwell: where thou hast plentifully provided for them.  Ch. Those whom thou hast chosen shall enjoy this manna, or the blessed Sacrament.  W.

Ver. 12.  To them that preach good tidings.  Evangelizantibus.  That is, to the preachers of the gospel; who, receiving the word from the Lord, shall with great power and efficacy, preach thoughout the world the glad tidings of a Saviour, and of eternal salvation through him; (Ch.) with miracles following.  Mark xvi.  W.  Luke xxi. 15.  C. Heb. seems to speak of females, who used to sing canticles of victory, like Mary and Deborah, &c.  But the feminine is used at the beginning of Ecclesiastes, though Solomon be meant, and here the Chaldee paraphrases, “God gave the words of the law to his people, by the mediation of Moses and Aaron, who published the word of God.”  This passage has a striking analogy with Ephes. iv. 11. &c.  He gave some apostles…for the perfecting of the saints, &c. which S. Paul observes, just after quoting this psalm.  Bert.

 

Ver. 13.  The king of powers.  That is, the mighty King, the Lord of Hosts, is of the beloved, of the beloved; that is, is on the side of Christ, his most beloved Son; and his beautiful house, viz. the Church, in which God dwells for ever, shall by her spiritual conquests, divide the spoils of many nations.  The Hebrew (as it now stands pointed) is thus rendered: The kings of armies have fled, they had fled, and she that dwells at home (or, the beauty of the house) shall divide the spoils.  Ch. Yet Sym. comes nearer the Sept. and S. Jer. has in the same sense, (Bert.) “the kings of armies shall form leagues,” &c.  The great King, is the Lord (v. 12.) of hosts, who shall enable many to publish his wonders.  They are represented as women, to denote the particular Churches of Christ, which have risen on the ruins of idolatry, though they may also refer to the victories of the Israelites, under Debora, when mighty kings came to invade the country.  Judg. iv. and v. 19. 24.  H. The glory of that victory was given to her, and to Jahel, who slew Sisara.  C. Soon after the preaching of the gospel, the most potent monarchs (C.) submitted to its authority, and thus a glorious prey was rescued from the power of the devil.  W. Women sometimes promoted this great work.  M.

 

Ver. 14.  If you sleep among the midst of lots, (inter medios cleros, &c.) viz. in such dangers and persecutions, as if your enemies were casting lots for your goods and persons: or in the midst of the lots (inter medios terminos, as S. Jerom renders it) that is, upon the very bounds or borders of the dominions of your enemies: you shall be secure, nevertheless, under the divine protection; and shall be enabled to fly away, like a dove, with glittering wings, and feathers shining like the palest and most precious gold; that is, with great increase of virtue, and glowing with the fervour of charity; (Ch.) or, “if…in the borders of the dove,” &c. the ensign of Babylon.  Jer. xxv. 38. When, &c.  T. The tribe of Juda may be denoted by the dove, as it seems to be in the canticles, because it continued faithful longer than the ten tribes; (Bert.) or these words may be addressed to the tribes of Ruben and Gad, which neglected to come to the aid of Debora, and thus melted away like snow, as Jacob had threatened the former; (Gen. xlix.) or rather, that we may not interrupt the harmony of this solemnity by reproaches, we may (C.) adhere to the Vulg. which renders, they shall be, &c. v. 15.  H. The former stain has bee effaced by their subsequent good conduct.  C. While the pastors of the Church diligently propose the doctrines revealed in the two lots, of Testaments, to the prophets and apostles, the faith of the Church shines most conspicuously.  The other explanations maybe seen in Lorin. &c.  M.

 

Ver. 15.  Kings over her.  That is, pastors and rulers over his Church, viz. the apostles, and their successors.  Then by their ministry shall men be made whiter than the snow, which lies on the top of the high mountain Selmon, (Ch.) which is in the tribe of Ephraim, shaded with trees.  Judg. ix. 48.  W. Discern it, may also mean, “judgeth,” (H.) or “divideth,” as S. Jerom translates; and may intimate, that when God shall have exterminated the kings, who attacked his chosen race, it should appear more glorious.  H. In the first year of Cyrus, who had been commissioned by God, with Darius the Mede, to punish Babylon, (Dan. v.) the Jews were liberated.  T.

 

Ver. 16.  The mountain of God.  The Church, which (Is. ii. 2.) is called, The mountain of the house of the Lord upon the top of the mountains.  It is here called a fat and a curdled mountain; that is to say, most fruitful, and enriched by the spiritual gifts and graces of the Holy Ghost.  Ch. Fat.  Heb. “as the hill of Basha,” (Prot.) which was very fertile: the very name signifying “fat.”  S. Jer.  H. The psalmist apostrophizes the mountains of Chanaan, which were very high, and those of Basan, where Og ruled; (C.) or he insinuates, that the latter could not vie with Sion, where the ark was now to be placed.  Bert.

 

Ver. 17.  Why suspect ye curdled mountains?  Why do you suppose or imagine there may be any other such curdled mountains?  You are mistaken: the mountain thus favoured by God is but one; and this same he has chosen for his dwelling for ever.  Ch. They who are not of the Church, vainly imagine, that any other mountains are united, (W.) rich in grace, or beautiful.  H. Sects do not agree among themselves, but only in opposing the Catholic Church.  They have not the marks of truth, which are here given.  The Church of God is compared to a mountain, visible to all; fat, with the graces of the Holy Ghost; united and firm, like cheese; the perpetual residence of God, who will never suffer her to fall into error.  W. Why then do you deign to look at such conventicles of pride and perdition, as if they could be the one holy Catholic and Apostolic Church?  Heb. “why do ye contend, ye high mountains, against the mountain?” &c.  S. Jer.  H. There are several other interpretations.  But that of the Vulg. suspicamini, is the most followed, even by the Jews.  Bert.

 

Ver. 18.  The chariot of God, descending to give his law on Mount Sinai; as also of Jesus Christ, his Son, ascending into heaven, to send from thence the Holy Ghost, to publish his new law, is attended with ten thousands, that is with an innumerable multitude of joyful angels.  Ch. Lit. “with forty thousand.”  Bert. Innumerable hosts of Cherubim, (H.) seem to be the chariot of the most high.  Dan. vii.  W. But here the Israelites, who came to conquer Chanaan, are meant.  Deut. xxxiii. 2.  Zac. xiv. 5.  Hab. iii. 6.  C. The promulgation of the old and new law is contrasted.  God is the author of the beauty of his Church.  M.

 

Ver. 19.  Led captivity captive.  Carrying away with thee to heaven those who before had been the captives of Satan; and receiving from God the Father gifts to be distributed to men; even to those who were before unbelievers.  Ch. Yea, even these were the spoils which Christ presented to his Father.  H. S. Paul quotes this text rather in a different manner, ascending on high, he led captivity captive; he gave gifts to men; as the Heb. lakach means, “to give and to receive.”  Abenezra, Chal. Syr. &c. give it the former sense, with the apostle; S. Justin, (dial.) S. Hilary, and the ancient psalters of Rome and Chartres.  S. Aug. approves both readings.  C. So Samson said, “take this woman for a wife for me.”  Judg. xiv. 3.  The true God is here undoubtedly meant, and as S. Paul explains it of Christ, the Socinians, who admit the authority of the epistle to the Ephesians, ought to confess his divinity.  Bert. Those.  Prot. “gifts for men, (Marg. “in the man,”) yea, for the rebellious also, that the Lord God might dwell among them.”  Yet the construction of the Heb. and Vulg. would insinuate as well, that these faithless people were now become true subjects, and were the gifts here presented to the Almighty.  Christ came to save sinners.  He gratuitously sought after them, and filled them with graces, that they might become a suitable present for God.  H. He received gifts to be distributed among his servants, and merited grace for the conversion of innumerable souls.  At his ascension, he was accompanied by angels, and by the patriarchs, who had been retained in captivity.  W. The rebellious nations were forced to pay tribute, (Judg. iii. 15.  C.) or to submit to Josue, David, &c.  H. God in the flesh, or in his holy mountain, the Christian Church.  M.

Ver. 20.  To us.  so the Israelites might be filled with confidence in the desert, (H.) or the people pray that God would favour the pious design of their king.  C. Heb. “God will carry us, (S. Jer.) or loadeth us with benefits.”  Prot.  H.

Ver. 21.  The issues from death.  The Lord alone is master of the issues, by which we may escape from death.  Ch. He killeth and giveth life.  1 K. ii. 6.

Ver. 22.  Sins.  He will humble them, or will slay the proud.  Ps. lxxii. 18.  C. Though Christ died to save men, He will condemn the obstinate.  W. Sinners take pride in what ought to fill them with confusion.  S. Aug.  D.

 

Ver. 23.  I will turn them from Basan, &c.  I will cast out  my enemies from their rich possessions, signified by Basan, a fruitful country; and I will drive them into the depth of the sea: and make such a slaughter of them, that the feet of my servants may be dyed in their blood, &c.  Ch. Into.  Most translate from, and explain this of God’s people.  But it seems more naturally to refer to their enemies, and the preposition m, signifies in.  Ps. xxxvi. 15.  Bert. I will treat them like Pharao.  M.

 

Ver. 24.  Same.  Streams of blood shall flow, as was the case when Moses overcame Og, &c.  Num. xxi. 23.  C. The gospel was propagated without bloodshed, but no less effectually.  At the last day, the just shall triumph over the reprobate.  Bert.

 

Ver. 25.  Thy goings.  Thy ways, thy proceedings, by which thou didst formerly take possession of the promised land in favour of thy people; and shalt afterwards of the whole world, which thou shalt subdue to thy Son.  Ch. Many have now become acquainted with what Christ has done for the salvation of mankind; but the faithful consider this with most attention, and view him seated on his throne above, as our Mediator, through whom alone others can have access.  W. Eusebius and S. Hilary suppose, that Christ appeared and spoke to the patriarchs and prophets of the Old Testament.  C.

 

Ver. 26.  Princes.  The apostles, the first converters of nations: attended by numbers of perfect souls, singing the divine praises, and virgins consecrated to God.  Ch. S. Paul exhorts the faithful to sing hymns.  Ephes. v. 19.  Bert. Moses and Mary had sung a canticle, after the passage of the Red Sea.  Ex. xv.  M.

 

Ver. 27.  From the fountains of Israel.  From whom both Christ and his apostles sprung.  By Benjamin, the holy Fathers on this place understand S. Paul, who was of that tribe, name here a youth, because he was the last called to the apostleship.  By the princes of Juda, Zabulon, and Nephthali, we may understand the other apostles, who were of the tribe of Juda; or of the tribes of Zabulon and Nephthali, where our Lord began to preach.  Matt. iv. 13. &c.  Ch. The Jews were first invited.  Acts i.  W. All the tribes were present at the translation of the ark.  It is not known why these four alone are mentioned.  Bert.

 

Ver. 28. Mind.  Through excessive joy.  Heb. also, “containing (or ruling) them.”  S. Jer.  H. But this seems improper.  Hence Prot. have, “with their ruler,” though with is not in the original.  Bert. Rodem (Keri rode) “presided.”  Saul, indeed, had been the first king of Israel; but he throne afterwards continued in the tribe of Juda: an dat the time of the conquest of Chanaan, as well as at the translation of the ark, Benjamin could not be considered as the chief.  H. We may therefore better follow the Sept. and Deschamps, who has sopore corripitur.  Bert. S. Paul was in an ecstacy, rapt to the third heaven.  2 Cor. xii.  M.

 

Ver. 29.  Command thy strength.  Give orders that thy strength may be always with us.  Ch. Display thy power from thy holy temple.  H. Send the Messias, grant perseverance to the just, and defend thy Church against all attacks.  C. As she commenced by God’s power, so by the same she is continually preserved.  W. Heb. “Thy God hath commanded thy strength.”  (Prot.) or, “command thy God.”  Bert.

Ver. 30.  From.  Sym. For.  Kings shall reverence the temple, which David foresaw would be shortly erected; or, “with greater magnificence, than in the temple of Jerusalem, kings shall offer gifts to thee,” (Deschamps) which clearly refers to the Messias. Bert. “As soon as thy temples shall be,” &c.  Under Solomon, many kings became tributary, and at the preaching of the gospel, emperors submitted to Christ.  C. They have contributed to adorn the Church, (Is. lx. and lxvi.) where God is praised with the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and the virtues of penance and prayer.  M.

Ver. 31.  Rebuke the wild beasts of the reeds: or the wild beasts which lie hid in the reeds.  That is, the devils, who hide themselves in order to surprise their prey.  Or by wild beasts, are here understood persecutors, who, for all their attempts against the Church, are but as weak reeds, which cannot prevail against them, who are supported by the strength of the Almighty.  The same are also called the congregation of bulls, (from their rage against the Church) who assembled together all their kine, that is, the people, their subjects, to exclude, if they can, from Christ and his inheritance, his constant confessors, who are like silver tried by fire.  Ch. Symmachus nearly agrees with this version: “Rebuke the wild beasts.”  Yet most render the Heb. in the singular, to denote the chief of the enemies, (H.) particularly the devil, who dwells with the vain and luxurious, (Bellar.) being Behemoth, in Job xl. 16. (M.) and the old serpent, (H.) as he probably lay concealed, among the shrubs of Paradise, when he tempted our first parents.  Bert. It refers literally to the kings of Egypt, and of Ethiopia, who might be solicited to make war on David, by the Philistines.  Pharao is often called a dragon, (Ezec. xxix. 3.) as his officers, or the princes “of Chus,” may be styled bulls.  They shall be forced to submit, v. 32.  C. To exclude.  Heb. “trampling upon,” (Bert.) or “boasting of their pieces of silver,” (Mont.) which is so common among them.  3 K. x. 27.  H. The Egyptians even adorned their sandals with it.  Clem. Ped. ii. 11. The soldiers of Antiochus had mostly gold nails in their shoes.  Val. Max. ix. 2.  C. Houbigant proposes some alterations, and translates, “Keep down the beast of the reed, the collection of the strong, as also the chariots of the people, which run quickly on silver wheels.”  All the versions tend to shew the fury and insolence of the enemy against God’s people.  Bert. Tried.  Prot. “till every one submit himself with pieces of silver.”  H.

Ver. 32.  Ambassadors shall come, &c.  It is a prophecy of the conversion of the Gentiles, and by name of the Egyptians and Ethiopians, (Ch.) who were among the first converts.  Is. xix 9.  Soph. iii. 10.  Acts viii. 27. Ambassadors.  Heb. chashmannim occurs no where else.  But it denotes some people in authority, and seems to have the same import as “the Asmonean.” Ethiopia, comprises the country on both sides of the Red Sea, as well as that below Egypt, and on the Araxes.  This prediction was accomplished, when Solomon married the daughter of Pharao, and was visited by the queen of Saba.  But is was more fully verified by the propagation of the gospel, (C.) when many in Egypt became monks and nuns.  W.

 

Ver. 33-34.  Sing ye to God, is rejected by S. Jerom; but defended by S. Hil. &c.  It seems proper to connect the former sentence after Selah, (Bert.) or may be added instead, to express applause.  H. East.  From Mount Olivet, which is on the east side of Jerusalem.  Ch. God fills all places, v. 5.  Deut. xxxiii. 26.  C. Religion has gone westward, but will return to the east.  Apoc. xvi.  T. Power.  That is, he will make his voice to be a powerful voice; by calling from death to life, such as were dead in mortal sin: as at the last day he will, by the power of his voice, call all the dead from their graves.  Ch. He will come to judge with great majesty, (W.) and his thunder shall resound, as well as the last trumpet.  1 Cor. xv. 52.

 

Ver. 35.  For Israel.  Altering the stops, we might translate, “over Israel appears his magnificence;” (Bert.) agreeably to Heb. S. Aug. &c.  C.

 

Ver. 36.  Saints, or sanctuary.  Heb. lit. “thou art terrible, O God, from thy holy places.”  Mont. Yet Pagnin retains, “in his holy,” &c.  The tabernacle, or temple, (v. 30.) and the ark, were esteemed the bulwarks of Israel.  There God was pleased to grant his people’s requests more easily, to encourage public worship.  H. The sanctification of the faithful is a miracle of God.  C. They may justly be styled his sanctuaries. People.  Adorning his elect with immortality.  M.

PSALM 68

PSALM LXVIII.  (SALVUM ME FAC DEUS.)

Christ, in his passion, declareth the greatness of his sufferings, and the malice of his persecutors, the Jews; and he foretelleth their reprobation.

Ver. 1.  Changed.  A psalm for Christian converts, to remember the passion of Christ; (Ch.) whose sentiments this and the 21st psalm express in the most energetic language.  Bert. It may have been composed by a captive Levite, (C.) or David may allude to their sufferings at Babylon, or to his own, though he had those of the Messias principally in view.  See Ps. xlv.

Ver. 2.  Save me from affliction.  Lu. xxii. 42.  Christ could not be lost.  M. Waters of afflictions and sorrows.  My soul is sorrowful even unto death.  Matt. xxvi.  Ch.  See Jo. iii. 6.

 

Ver. 3.  Standing, upostasiV, “subsistence:” there is no bottom.  H.

 

Ver. 4.  Hoarse.  This might be literally true, as Christ had suffered the greatest torments, and recited this and the 21st psalm on the cross; looking up towards heaven, so that his eyes were weakened, as well as by shedding many tears.  Hope.  Thus the blasphemy of heretics, who pretend that he gave way to despair, is refuted.  Bert. Christ was not presently delivered from tribulation: neither ought his followers to expect better treatment.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  Cause.  The captives had not injured Babylon, and Christ had even bestowed the greatest favours upon his enemies.  He suffered for our sins.  Is. liii. 4.  C. Away.  Christ in his passion made restitution of what he had not taken away, by suffering the punishment due to our sins, and so repairing the injury we had done to God.  Ch. The expression was proverbial.  Jer. xxxi. 29.  Lam. v. 7. Many of the captives were very innocent.  C. But Christ was without sin; (W.) though made a curse and a sin-offering.  Gal. iii. 13. and 2 Cor. v. 21.  C.

 

Ver. 6.  My foolishness and my offences; which my enemies impute to me: or the follies and sins of men, which I have taken upon myself.  Ch. My cross is foolishness to the Gentiles, 1 Cor. i. 23.  S. Aug.

 

Ver. 7.  For me.  If I rise not again, my disciples will take me for a mere man.  If the captivity continue much longer, many will despair, v. 11.  C. Suffer not the weak to be scandalized in my passion.  W.

 

Ver. 8.  Reproach.  Because I would not adore idols.  Christ undertook to expiate our offences, and to satisfy the justice of his Father.  Rom. xv. 3.  C.

 

Ver. 9.  Mother.  This might be true with respect to some apostate Jews.  But it was more fully accomplished in Christ, who was betrayed by Judas, &c.  C. His own received him not.  Jo. i.  Bert.

Ver. 10.  Upon me.  The disciples remembered that this had been written concerning Christ, who drove out the profaners of his temple, (Jo. ii. 17.) and will not be less severe on those who dishonour the Church by their scandalous lives, or by propagating erroneous opinions.  C. S. Paul (Rom. xv. 3.) doubted not but this passage was literally applicable to Christ, who has taught us to prefer the glory of God, and our neighbour’s salvation before our own temporal advantages.  Bert. Those who have less zeal, are not so much persecuted.  W.

Ver. 11.  Covered.  Retiring from society.  Bert. Sept. Rom. and Houbig. “I humbled.”  Heb. “I bewailed my soul in fasting,” (Aquila) as if death were inevitable; and this practice was derided, as the fasts of the Church, (H.) and mortification, (W.) are still by unbelievers.  H. The Jews seemed to scoff at the thirst of Christ, when they gave him vinegar; and the devil took occasion from his 40 days’ fast to tempt him.  Bert.

Ver. 12.  Hair-cloth.  The sacred humanity, which being torn, let out the price of our redemption.  S. Aug.  M. I mourned for my country, &c.  C. Christ was clothed in derision, with a soldier’s straight purple garment.  Bert.

 

Ver. 13.  Song.  Both judges and common people (W.) derided me over their cups of shecar, (H.) or strong drink, and palm wine.  Lam. iii. 14.  C. Thus the soldiers made Christ their jest, while they drank on the long night of his passion.  Bert.

 

Ver. 14.  Pleasure.  Which is seasonable, and appointed for pardon.  Ps. xxxi. 6. and ci. 14. Father, forgive them, &c.  The term of the captivity is at hand.  I seek no revenge; but commit my cause to thee.  C.

 

Ver. 15.  Waters.  Beneath which the Hebrews supposed hell was placed.  Job xxvi. 5.  S. Hil.  v. 39. He prays to be delivered from misery, (v. 2.) and for a glorious resurrection.  C. Christ could not be detained in limbo or in the grave.  W.

 

Ver. 19.  Enemies.  That they may insult no longer over me, (C.) being converted or covered with shame, (M.) that they do no more hurt.  W.

Ver. 20.  Shame, (reverentiam.)  S. Aug. &c. read verecundiam.  C. Christ was covered with all sorts of reproach.  H.  Euseb.

Ver. 21.  Misery.  For which I ardently longed, as the Fathers explain it. None.  I expected that my brethren would at least condole with me: but I was deceived.  Christ drank the bitter chalice to the dregs, and found no consolation even from his Father.  C.

Ver. 22.  Food.  Tert. reads “drink;” which agrees better with gall.  Yet it might be mixed with food, (C.) with wine and myrrh, which were given to our Saviour, when he arrived at Calvary, as vinegar was offered to him on the cross.  Matt. xxvii. 34.  Jo. xix. 28.  This was the last prophecy which regarded our Saviour, while living; and was the last instance of the Jewish malice, by which they requited him for the thirst which he had for the salvation of mankind.  Greg. Naz. &c.  Bert. Jeremias (viii. 14. and xxiii. 15. and Lam. iii. 15.) uses the same expressions, in a metaphorical sense, to describe the afflictions of the captives.  C.

Ver. 23.  Let their table, &c.  What here follows in the style of an imprecation, is a prophecy of the wretched state to which the Jews should be reduced, in punishment of their wilful obstinacy; (Ch.) or it may be a sentence pronounced on them by Jesus Christ.  They are driven from their own country, and the sacred books (C.) being misunderstood, (M.) prove their ruin.  Our Saviour and S. Paul confirm this prediction.  The latter adheres to the Sept. (Rom. xi. 9.) though some would translate lishlomim, “for peace”-offerings, instead of recompenses, as it also means.  Bert. “Let their sacrifices become a scandal to them;” (Chal.) or rather, May their table, the symbol of friendship, be a snare for them, that they may be destroyed, or betrayed by their dearest friends.  C. The overthrow of the Jews, when they were assembled to eat the paschal lamb, is here foretold.  W.

 

Ver. 24.  Always.  The Babylonians were ordered by Cyrus to look upon the Persians as their masters.  Xenoph. vii. Nothing could more strikingly point out the present condition of the Jews than this passage.  They are every where kept under, and see not the sense of the Scriptures, (C.) and the truth of Christ’s doctrine; but are bent on worldly gain.  W.  2 Cor. iii.  M.

 

Ver. 25.  Thy wrathful.  Lit. “the fury of thy anger.”  H. The first term denotes expedition; the second, perseverance.  Quickly destroy them, without redress.  Theod.  C.

 

Ver. 26.  Desolate.  Babylon gave place to Susa, and “was reduced to a solitude by the vicinity of Seleucia.”  Pliny vi. 26.  Isai. xlvii. But the fall of Jerusalem was more sudden and memorable within 40 years after the death of Christ.  Ps. lviii. 7.  C. The Jews, and particularly the traitor, lost their country.  Acts i. 20.  Bert. He (the traitor) indeed hath possessed a field of the reward of iniquity…and burst asunder.  H.

 

Ver. 27.  Wounds.  The enemy persecuted Christ even after his death, opening his side, spreading false reports, and guarding his tomb.  C. God ordained his death for the good of man: but they sought it out of malice.  W.

 

Ver. 28.  Iniquity.  The first term may denote the crime; and the second, the punishment.  C. Peccatum pæna peccati est.  S. Aug. God permits people to fall; (W.) but he does not force them.  H. Let the Babylonians become victims of thy indignation: but save thy people.  Very few of the Jews embraced the faith of Christ.  C.

 

Ver. 29.  Living.  Let them die.  Grot. If we understand the book of the predestinate to life eternal, and not merely to present and mutable justice, (T.) God never blots any out.  But though they fall, he brings them to repentance.  S. Aug.  E.  Bellarm. The reprobation of the obstinate Babylonians (C.) and Jews, is predicted.  H. The latter were effaced from the book of the living of the Old Testament, and were never written in that of the just, belonging to the New.  S. Jer. At death, the unbelieving Jews (H.) shall not find their expectations will founded.  W. Only the faithful are truly just.  M.

Ver. 30.  Up.  The cross is now triumphant, (H.) an object of veneration.  Bert. Christ submitted to die upon it, and rose again.  W. He was exposed naked, and was truly a man of sorrows.  M.

Ver. 32.  Hoofs.  They were to be three years old.  Kimchi. So Virgil says, (Æn. ix.) Jam cornu petat & pedibus qui spargat arenam.  Ec. iii.  C. Our prayers are therefore offered through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Heb. xiii. 15.  Bert. Devout prayer is more acceptable than victims of the best description, though they were also good, (W.) and, cæteris paribus, of a higher dignity.  H.

 

Ver. 33.  See, my deliverance, or thy just vengeance on the wicked.  C.

 

Ver. 34.  Prisoners.  Martyrs, (M.) and those who suffer for the faith, will be rewarded.  W.

 

Ver. 35.  Therein, the fish.  Our admiration of creatures causes us to praise God.  S. Aug.  S. Hil.

 

Ver. 36.  Sion.  The Catholic Church.  The cities of Juda, &c. her places of worship, which shall be established throughout the world.  And there, viz. in this Church of Christ, shall his servants dwell, &c.  Ch.  W. It matters not whether a person live in the Church of God, which is at Corinth, or at Philippi, provided he be a member of the Catholic Church.  But those who adhere to separate congregations, and style themselves “the Church of England,” or “the Kirk of Scotland,” &c. cannot be written with the just, (v. 29.) nor have any part in this prediction.  H. It alludes to the restoration of the captives, (C.) or rather to the propagation of the gospel, (H.) of which the former was a figure, (Euseb.  S. Aug.) as the Jews were never quietly settled again in their country, and were expelled by Titus; where as the Church of Christ remains to the end of the world.  Bert.

 

Ver. 37.  Therein.  The succession of the Catholic Church is uninterrupted.  W. Those who adhere to Christ by faith, hope, and charity, will be saved.  M.

PSALM 69

PSALM LXIX.  (DEUS IN ADJUTORIUM.)

A prayer in persecution.

Ver. 1.  Remembrance.  This is all that occurs in Heb. or in many Greek copies, though the following words were perhaps extant in the copy of the Sept. or were added to complete the sentence.  Several of the verses are found in Ps. xxxiv. and xxxix. and seem to have been used as a form of prayer in any danger.  Bert. David foresaw that Christ would pray for the safety of his natural and mystical body, and would be heard.  M. The following psalm is a sequel to this.  C.

Ver. 4.  ‘Tis well, ’tis well.  Euge, euge.  S. Jerom renders it, vah! vah! which is the voice of one insulting and deriding.  Some understand it was a detestation of deceitful flatterers.  Ch. In the New Testament, Well done, denotes applause.  S. Jer. in Ezec. vi. These predictions relate to the murderers of the Messias.  Bert. In the 39th psalm, the Church prays for aid; and here David, persecuted by Absalom, or any of the just, lays before God his particular wants.  W.

 

PSALM 70

PSALM LXX.  (IN TE DOMINE.)

A prayer for perseverance.

Ver. 1.  Of the sons of Jonadab.  The Rechabites, of whom see Jeremias xxxv.  By this addition of the seventy-two interpreters, we gather that this psalm was usually sung in the synagogue, in the person of the Rechabites, and of those who were first carried away into captivity.  Ch. This first captivity happened under Joakim, A.M. 3398, the second, under Jechonias, 3405, and the last, when the city was destroyed and Sedecias was taken, 3416.  Usher. The Rechabites entered Jerusalem a little before the first of these events, and set the people an example of obedience by submitting to Nabuchodonosor, as Jeremias directed.  Bellar.  M. S. Jerom considers their being confined within the walls, as their first captivity.  Ep. ad Paul. and ad Rust. But there is nothing in this title in Heb. Euseb. &c. and several copies of the Sept. acknowledge the same; (C.) so that it is of no great authority.  Bert. The psalm contains the sentiments of the captives, (Theod.) or of David, persecuted by his son: and in a  more sublime sense, of Jesus Christ, complaining of treason and cruelty.  C. All the saints, under persecution, may adopt the same language.  Bert. Hoped.  These three verses are almost exactly the same.  Ps. xxx.  Bias “being asked what was sweet to men, answered, hope.”  Laert. 1. Vain is the salvation of man.  But hope confoundeth not.  Ps. lix. 13.  Rom. v. 5.  C.

Ver. 2.  Justice.  Or mercy.  Ps. xxx. 1.  I have not injured Absalom, &c.  C. God avengeth the injuries done to his servants.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  Refuge.  The parallel passage seems more complete (C.) in Hebrew, some letters of which may have been altered, since the time of the Sept.  Yet the sense is nearly the same.  Bert. “Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort.  Thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress.”  Prot.  H.

 

Ver. 4.  Unjust.  Achitophel and Absalom.  C.

 

Ver. 5.  Patience.  Confiding on thee, I lost not patience; (S. Aug.  W.) or rather, (Amama) all my expectations are from thee.  Ps. lxi. 6.  C.

 

Ver. 6.  Art my.  Heb. “hast taken me,” (H.) or “cut the navel string.”  Ezec. xv. 4.  Thou hast acknowledged me for thy son, by taking me upon thy knee, as soon as I was born.  Gen. l. 22.  Ps. xxi. 11.

 

Ver. 7.  Wonder.  My exaltation, (C.) and present misery, (W.  M.) fill all with astonishment.  H.  Is. viii. 18. and xi. 10. God often made his prophets bear about the signs of his vengeance on others.  Is. xix. 20.  C. Christ was a sign of contradiction, which shall be contradicted.  Lu. ii. 34.  H. He was looked upon as a prodigy.  Euseb.  S. Aug. Helper.  He gives all the glory to God.  C. None can persevere without his grace.  W.

 

Ver. 9.  Old age.  Absalom rebelled when his father was grown old.  C. Against the dangers of our last conflict, (H.) Christ has instituted Extreme Unction.  W.

Ver. 10.  Watched.  My guards, (Ferrand) or rather my enemies.  C.

Ver. 11.  Him.  Thus the world commonly judges of those in distress.  It was known that David sinned; but none could tell that God was now punishing him rather than putting his virtue to the trial.  “Upbraid not the miserable,” said Thales.

Ver. 13.  Detract.  Heb. “are satans,” or “adversaries,” during my trial.  The Fathers say these are predictions.  Ps. xxxiv. 4.  C. David certainly wished to spare the chief of the rebels, and host probably speaks of his spiritual enemies.  Bert.

 

Ver. 14.  Praise.  To perform good works, and to praise God, is the best way to advance in virtue.  W.

 

Ver. 15.  Learning.  As much as to say, I build not upon human learning, but only upon the power and justice of God.  Ch.  W. I have not leisure to write a canticle at present, as the word known intimates.  Ps. xiii. 3. and lxxiii. 9.  But I will do it hereafter, and record the praises which I now proclaim.  Some would translate, “I know not the number” of thy mercies.  Bert. This sense is adopted by the Chal. Theod. &c.  See Ps. xxxix. 6.  Yet it seems more probable, that David acknowledges his inability to speak to God as he deserves, though he promises to do his best to shew the utmost respect.  So Solomon confessed his ignorance, (Prov. xxx. 2.) and Socrates asserted, that all his knowledge consisted in the conviction of his complete ignorance.  If this be true with respect to human science, how much more so is it, when we speak of God, (H.) and attempt to dive into the holy Scriptures?  Geneb. David meditated on the law continually.  Ps. i. 2.  C. Yet he admits, that he stands in need of a guide (H.) and must enter into the sanctuary, to penetrate such high mysteries.  Ps. lxxii. 17.  S. Aug. and Eusebius understand, that the letter of the Mosaic law is incapable of insuring salvation.  C. This text has been abused, to encourage ignorance, as Amama (p. 502.) complains with respect to the Prot. pulpits and colleges abroad.  Knox gives a dreadful picture, of their universities in England.  H. “With the unlearned Anabaptists and fanatics, such may perhaps conclude, that they will thus more easily approach to God,” (Tarnov.) and “may boast, that they have been instructed in the school of the holy Spirit,” qeodikatoi, “when they boldly ascend the pulpit, and adduce texts from Scripture, it matters not whether right or wrong.”  Amama. Is not this generally the case among those who broach new religions?  H. Sept. Vat. reads, pragmateiaV, “mercantile affairs.”  But the Vulg. follows the edition of Aldus, &c. grammateiaV.  Bert. A similar variation occurs, 1 Esd. viii.  The former reading is adduced by the Fathers, and by Gelasius, (dist. 88.) who hence condemns clergymen engaging in merchandise, (Amama) as it was contrary to their calling: and formerly at least, very dangerous for any honest man.  H. David had not received a polite education, and he disapproved of Achitophel’s worldly prudence.  M.

 

Ver. 17.  Till now.  Here the stop should be placed.  Bert.  C. The verb may also be explained in the past time, “till now I have declared.”  Bert.

 

Ver. 19.  The great things.  Thou hast even punished the rebel angels.  M.

Ver. 20.  Me.  Heb. “us.”  Yet Prot. &c. retain the singular, as the context requires.  Bert. Earth.  To which I seem to be consigned, (H.) being in the greatest distress.  It may be understood of Christ’s return from hell, and from the grave.  Ps. lxviii. 17.  C.

Ver. 21.  Thy.  Heb. and Syr. “my.”  Thou hast raised me to the highest honours.  S. Aug. &c. read “thy justice.”  C. Houbigant prefers the Vulg.  Bert.

Ver. 24.  Meditate.  Or, utter my most serious reflections.  C.

PSALM 71

PSALM LXXI.  (DEUS JUDICIUM TUUM.)

A prophecy of the coming of Christ, and of his kingdom: prefigured by Solomon and his happy reign.

Ver. 1.  Psalm.  Some copies add, “of David.”  But the Heb. has only Lishlomo, “to Solomon;” (S. Jer.  H.) or, composed by Solomon.  The former sense is more generally adopted, (Bert.) though the Chal. and Eusebius look upon the latter as most plausible.  David, however, seems to have written this last most beautiful piece, when he placed his son upon the throne; (3 K. i. 47.) and being transported with a divine enthusiasm, he described the reign of the Messias, (C.) to whom alone many of the passages can be applied, (S. Aug.  W.) as the Jews, Chal. Kimchi, &c. confess, though they will not allow Jesus to be the Christ, v. 5. 11. 17.  C.

Ver. 2.  Son.  Solomon, (Bert.) or Cyrus, (Pr. disc.) or the Messias.  Most blessed Trinity, enable the Son of man, or of David, to judge the world.  W.  Is. x. 3.  Jo. v. 22. Judgment.  Equity is the duty of governors, as obedience is that of subjects.  Solomon acts with the greatest sagacity.  1 Par. xxii. 10. and xxix. 23. and 2 Par. i. 10.  The psalmist inculcates the obligation of defending the rights of the poor, who are under God’s protection.  To him even judges and monarchs must give an account.  Deut. i. 17.  2 Par. xix. 6.

 

Ver. 3.  Justice.  These blessings shall be so common; (Ps. xxxv. 6. and Joel iii. 18.) or, let princes pursue the paths of justice and peace.  Mic. vi. 1.  Solomon was to enjoy a perpetual peace, (1 Par. xxii. 9.) as he was a figure of Jesus Christ, who has procured a more solid one for us.  Eph. ii. 14.  Jo. xiv. 27.  Is. lii. 7.  C. Heb. has “by righteousness,” as this is the source of true peace.  Rom. xiv. 17.  These virtues are publicly enforced in the Church, as from a mountain.  Is. ii. 2.  Bert. Christ, the rock, (H.) and his ministers, the hills, preach reconciliation.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  Oppressor.  Lit. “calumniator.”  Christ has chained down the devil, the accuser of our brethren.  Apoc. xii. 10. and xx. 2.  M. He hath taken away his spoils, (Jo. viii. 44.) and undertaken the defence of the humble.  Is. xi. 4.  Solomon was also the reverse of those wicked princes, who received bribes, and neglect the poor.  Is. i. 23.  C.

 

Ver. 5.  Before.  Or, in the presence of the moon, as the Heb. indicates, (Bert.) though S. Jerom translates, ultra, “beyond, or after.”  H. Yea, Christ existed before all the creation, (Ps. cix. 3.  C.) and these comparisons do not insinuate that he will ever cease to be.  Theod. The kingdom of David and Solomon is described in the same poetic language, (Ps. lxxxviii. 28. and 37.  C.) as it will remain for ever in the hands of the Messias.  H. Heb. makes a sudden address to the king, “they shall fear thee with the sun,” which Houbigant dislikes.  Some letters may have been changed, though the sense is not bad.  Bert. “They shall fear thee at the rising of the sun, and shall pray to they by the light of the moon,”  Chal. both day and night.  C. Solomon, as a figure of Christ, was good for some time; but no king, except our Saviour, will reign for ever.  W. The mind of the prophet is now raised to behold him.  M.

 

Ver. 6.  Fleece.  Or, “new cut grass,” as the original term also signifies.  Yet the explanation given by the Vulg. seems preferable, (Bert.) as an allusion is made to what happened to Gideon, (Judg. vi. 37.  Houbig.) prefiguring the miraculous conception of our Saviour.  He shall call both the strayed sheep of the house of Israel, and the inhabitants of all the earth: as Solomon gave the greatest satisfaction to his people, during the early part of his reign, (H.) and spoke with the utmost eloquence.  3 K. iv. 34.  C. Some supply His justice, (v. 7.) or rather, “his word” shall come.  Deut. xxii. 2.  C. The incarnation was effected sweetly, and in silence.  W.

 

Ver. 7.  Justice.  Heb. “the just,” who appear most under a good king, being animated by his example.  H. Away.  Chal. “till those who adore the moon be exterminated.”  This idolatry pervaded almost all the east.  Solomon’s reign was very peaceable, 3 K. iv. 25.  But this was only a feeble representation of the peace which Christ should bring.  At his birth, the whole world was at peace.  Angels proclaimed it to all the earth.  Lu. ii. 14.  Is. ii. 4.  C. It is certain, that the internal peace of Solomon’s reign did not continue to the end, (H.) much less till the moon should be taken away.  Bert.

 

Ver. 8.  To sea.  Solomon ruled from the Mediterranean, Red, and Indian Seas, to the Persian Gulph, and the Euphrates, having al Arabia tributary to him, (H.) and the countries as far as Syria; so that he enjoyed all that had been promised by God.  Gen. xv. 18.  Num. xxxiv. 3. and 2 Par. ix. 26. and 3 K. iv. 24. The earth, denotes this kingdom.  S. Jer. in Is. xiii. 4.  But if we explain it of Christ, his Church has no limits.  In spite of the corruption of the world, she still asserts her title of Catholic.  C. She is universal, both as to time and place, and always visible, v. 15.  W. Her divine head began to propagate this kingdom, after he had been baptized in the river Jordan, (Bert.) as the Fathers agree.  This unlimited dominion was promised, (Ps. ii. 7.  C.) and the prophet Zachary, (ix.) seems to quote this passage, when speaking of the Messias alone; so that it is best to understand it in this sense, as the Sept. have done, by oikoumenhV.  Bert.  Is. ix. 6.

 

Ver. 9.  Ethiopians.  So S. Jerom, Aquila, &c. translate Tsiim, (H.) which denotes any nations living at a distance from commerce, (Bert.) or islanders, and those who are accustomed to sail.  Is. xiii. 21.  People on the continent, as well as those in islands, and ships, shall submit to Solomon, 3 K. x. 11.) as all shall yield to Christ, (C.) at least at the day of judgment. Ground.  Prostrating to adore him.  Is. xlix. 23.  Bert. Thus the Persians approach their kings, (Val. Max. vii. 3.) as the Muscovites and Chinese do still.  C. The eunuch of the queen of Ethiopia was the first convert of those who did not live in the holy land.  Acts viii. 27.  M.

Ver. 10.  Tharsis.  Bordering on “the sea,” (Bert.) or in Cilicia, though we find not that Solomon ever claimed any authority there, or that the Mediterranean was under his control.  He sent his fleet indeed to Tharsis; (3 K. x. 22.) but Arabia and Saba brought presents, or tribute to him.  Under the name of islands, the Hebrews comprise all places, to which they had to go by water, as Asia Minor, &c.  Is. lxvi. 19.  C. The three kings were the first who verified this prediction concerning our Saviour; and afterwards Constantine and other potentates embraced his religion.  Among the islands, Britain, which is the greatest in Europe, was partly converted in the days of the apostles, (Theod. in Tim. &c.) and more under Eleutherius; though the English nation received the faith from S. Aug. and others, sent by Pope Gregory the Great, A.D. 596.  W. Saba.  Heb. Seba.  The preceding Arabia is sheba, (H.) and refers to some of those who people that country. Gifts, or tribute, 1 Par. xviii.  C. If the former term, presents, (Heb. mincha, “a sacrifice of flour,” &c.  H.) be taken in the strict sense, the text cannot be applicable to any but the true God, the Messias.  Bert. The wise men, who came from this country, adored and offered presents to Christ.  Matt. ii.  M.

Ver. 11.  Earth, is omitted in Heb. Rom. Sept. &c. so that this cannot regard Solomon, (Bert.) though he was reverenced by all the neighbouring kings.  3 K. x. 23.  Christ alone is the universal king, (Apoc. xix. 16. and Phil. ii. 10.  C.) to whom every knee shall bend, at least when all shall appear in judgment.  Many kings shall submit before.  Bert.

Ver. 14.  Usuries.  Heb. toc, (H.) means “fraud and usury.”  Eternal torment is the usury which God exacts for murder, &c. (S. Aug.) or a transient pleasure.  H. From this Christ has redeemed us, (Bert.) as well as from iniquity.  S. Aug. Original sin is the capital, for which the devil claims usury.  Bell. Name.  Heb. “blood.”  Sept. properly wrote aima, which has been changed for onoma.  The sense is not very different, as those who respect a person’s name, are careful to defend him from death.  Bert. Heb. “their blood is precious.”  Ps. cxv. 15. and 1 K. xxvi. 21.  Solomon repressed all injustice, so that usury was banished, and the poor was so much enriched, as not to be forced to borrow.  C. Yet, after his fall, he laid heavy burdens on his people.  H. How much has the name and blood of Christians cost!  Yet we fear not to scandalize those (Bert.) for whom Christ died!  The most beautiful qualification of all in power is, to protect the poor, and to promote the work of God, for which he lends them his authority.  H.

 

Ver. 15.  Arabia.  Heb. sheba, v. 10.  H. This was accomplished by the wise men.  Euseb. For him, (de ipso.)  They shall adopt the form of prayer which he has taught, (S. Aug.) or they shall adore him on his own account.  Bert. Through him we have access in  one spirit to the Father.  Eph. ii. 18.  Rom. v. 1.  People might pay a civil respect also to Solomon. He shall live.  The prolongation of the ruler’s life is sometimes (H.) a blessing.  Prov. xxviii. 2.  The poor shall live, and pay the taxes cheerfully, praying for his prince, &c.  C. They shall adore God, and offer their vows for him, (H.) as subjects would do for Solomon, and the crowds did for Jesus Christ, crying out, Hosanna, &c.  Matt. xxi.  M.

 

Ver. 16.  A firmament on the earth, &c.  This may be understood of the Church of Christ, ever firm and visible: and of the flourishing condition of its congregation.  Ch. The strength or staff of bread shall not fail.  Ps. civ. 16.  Is. iii. 1.  C. Prot. “there shall be a handful of corn in the,” &c.  H. Thus moderns follow the Rabbins, who greatly exaggerate the abundance which will take place under the Messias, as expecting that wheat will then grow as high as cedars.  The country was indeed very luxuriant and populous in the reign of Solomon.  But the fathers explain this of the Church, founded on Christ, the rock, and enriched with all virtues, (C.) and the most efficacious sacraments, particularly with the holy Eucharist, to which S. Jerom may allude: “there shall be memorable wheat,” &c.  H. By these hyperbolical allegories, the abundance enjoyed in the Church was denoted.  M.

 

Ver. 17.  Continueth.  Prot. marg. “shall be as a son, to continue his father’s name for ever.”  The Messias is the eternal son of God.  Heb. yinnin, (Keri.) might be rendered H. filiabitur, (Mont.) if this word were Latin.  The ancient Jews considered this as one of the titles of the Messias.  Chal. “before the sun was, his name was prepared.”  Bert. This is the third time that the glory of Christ is pronounced eternal, v. 5. and 7.  H. He is for ever blessed: but we cannot think of Solomon, without remembering his almost incredible fall.  C. Blessed.  This was spoken only of the Messias, (Bert.) who is the cause of salvation to all the elect.  None are saved who do not continue in Him, (M.) by faith and good works.

 

Ver. 18.  The God.  Hebrew repeats this word, (H.) as the Sept. of S. Jerom did.  Ep. ad Sun.  C. Alone.  Miracles can be wrought only by God’s power.  W.

 

Ver. 19.  So be it.  Heb. “And amen.”  See Ps. xl.  H. This glory of God was David’s most ardent wish.  W. It is suspected that the collector of the psalms added these two verses, (Muis.) as all the books end alike.  C.

Ver. 20.  Are ended.  By this it appears that this psalm, though placed here, was in order of time the last of those which David composed, (Ch.) as he died soon after.  M. The subject which he has here treated, (H.) concentrated all his thoughts and desires.  Euseb. “The prayers of David, son of Jesse, have been summed up.”  Theodot. and V. Edit.  H. It is probable that the collections of the psalms were made at different times; (Bert.) and though many were found after this second book was completed, it was not judged expedient to make any alteration.  The Syr. and Arab. pass over this sentence entirely, (C.) which might be added by Esdras.  W. The following psalms have the name of Asaph, &c. in the titles.  Flamin. Yet it is certain that David composed some at least, which are place after this.  See Ps. cix. &c.  H. The true David ceaseth not to sing new canticles in his Church.  S. Aug.  W.

PSALM 72

PSALM LXXII.  (QUAM BONUS ISRAEL DEUS.)

The temptation of the weak upon seeing the prosperity of the wicked, is overcome by the consideration of the justice of God, who will quickly render to every one according to his works.

Ver. 1.  Asaph.  See Ps.  xlix.  We shall not undertake to decide whether he composed or only sung this psalm; (Bert.) or whether he lived under David or Josaphat, or rather during the captivity.  Those who attribute all the psalms to David, get rid of many such inquires: but they are involved in other difficulties, (C.) which are not insurmountable.  H. How.  Heb. “Surely,” as if an answer was given to what had long troubled the author.  Bert. God is more excellent and beneficent (H.) than any tongue can express.  W.

Ver. 2.  Slipt.  I had almost yielded to temptation (M.) by denying Providence, (H.) and following the broad road.  W. Upon more mature reflection, (H.) I am perfectly convinced that God is not indifferent about those who serve him, though he may have treated Israel with severity.  C.

 

Ver. 3.  Zeal.  I was grieved, (M.) or even inclined to imitate the wicked; (see Matt. iii. 14.  Ps. xxxvi.  Jer. xii. and xxi. 7.) though the whole book is intended to clear up this difficulty respecting the treatment of the good and bad in this life.

 

Ver. 4.  Regard.  They are not restrained by the thoughts of death, (H.) which they banish (W.) as much as possible.  Prot. “There are no bands (“of pain.”  Munst.) in,” &c.  H. Stripes.  They quickly remove their light afflictions.  W. “And their halls are strong.”  S. Jer. “Their strength is firm;” (Prot.) “fat.”  Marg.  H. Sept. follow another derivation, which is equally accurate.  Bert. The wicked die with content and ease, in an advanced age, falling off like ripe apples, without being torn violently away or bound.  They look not on all sides to see if there be no escaping.  M. Having enjoyed all the luxuries of life unto satiety, they are resigned to die, little suspecting what will follow.  H. They are like victims fattened for slaughter.  Prov. vii. 22.  S. Aug. A noted English deist had the assurance to say on his death-bed, and to have place on his tomb-stone, Dubius, sed non improbus vixi: securus morior, haud perturbatus!  H.

 

Ver. 5.  Other men, who follow a more virtuous course (W.) than themselves.  Their prosperity encourages their pride, and they indulge in every excess.  W.

 

Ver. 7.  Fatness.  Abundance, and temporal prosperity, which have encouraged them in their iniquity; and made them give themselves up to their irregular affections.  Ch. This sense is better than the modern Heb. affords.  Bert. “Their eyes stand out with fatness.”  Prot.  H. Into.  Heb. “the thoughts of the heart,” or their utmost expectations; (H.) or “they have executed the devices of their heart;” which come to the same.  Bert. They have done what mischief they could.  W.

 

Ver. 8.  High.  With impudence; (M.) boldly despising others, (W.) from their exalted station.  Bert. They even dare to contend with the Almighty.  H.

 

Ver. 9.  Earth.  Attacking men as well as God.  Bert.

Ver. 10.  Return here; or hither.  The weak among the servants of God will be apt often to return to this thought, and will be shocked when they consider the full days, that is, the long and prosperous life of the wicked; and will be tempted to make the reflections against Providence which are set down in the following verses.  Ch. Prot. “his people return hither, and waters of a full cup are wrung out for them.”  S. Jerom saw nothing of waters.  “And who among them shall be found full?”  He also reads my people (H.) better.  It is difficult to understand the present Heb.: whereas the Sept. is plain; as they found imi, days, instead of ume, “and who,” or “the waters.”  Bert. We may explain this of the sentiments which the captives should entertain (C.) at their return.  Theod. Asaph, seeing the impiety of the Babylonians, concluded that they would surely be punished, and Israel, being converted, would be put again in possession of their delightful country.  C. The prosperity of the former will cause some to fall away, and their days will be full of misery, (W.) or they will ponder whole days on these things.  Bert.

Ver. 11.  They.  The weak, (W.  Bert.) under this perplexity, or the wicked, said.  C.

Ver. 13.  And I said, is added by the Sept. to connect the sentence.  Bert. Heb. “truly in vain.” Innocent.  Keeping company with them, and avoiding evil.  Ps. xxv. 6.

 

Ver. 14.  Mornings.  Every day, (M.) or it comes quickly upon me.  H.

 

Ver. 15.  If I said, &c.  That is, if I should indulge such thoughts as these.  Ch. I should.  Heb. “the generation of thy children will say, that I have prevaricated.”  Pagn. Or, “I should offend against the,” &c.  Prot.   H. I should not be in unison with Abraham.  S. Aug. I seem to declare them reprobates, and thy providence unjust.  C. It was not thus that  they thought and acted, when they were under trials; (H.) or God chastiseth every son whom he receiveth.  W. The psalmist begins thus to enter into himself, and to correct his mistake.  Bert.

 

Ver. 17.  Sanctuary.  The Church, which teaches all truth; or heaven, (M.) or the holy Scriptures, (Lyran.) or rather the counsels of God, which were disclosed to him, (v. 24.) when he was sensible that the question  was not to be answered satisfactorily by human reason.  C. The last judgment will explain all.  H. In this life, we cannot know the particular causes why the just are afflicted.  W. None but the high priest could enter into the Mosaic sanctuary.  C. Religion alone, or the future world, can unfold these mysteries.  There we shall learn, that the just require to be purified, and the the sinner’s conversion is expected to be the fruit of his reprieve, and of his temporal felicity, (Bert.) to which he may perhaps have had some title, for the few good works which he may have done.  H.

 

Ver. 18.  Thou hast put it to them.  In punishment of their deceits, or for deceiving them, thou hast brought evils upon them in their last end, which in their prosperity they never apprehended.  Ch. Sept. &c. add, “thou hast placed evils.”  S. Amb. reads, “goods.”  C. Dolos, seems to form part of both sentences, “for deceits thou hast put deceits.”  (Bert. With the perverse, thou wilt be perverted.  Ps. xvii. 27.  Prot. “surely thou didst set them in slippery places, thou callest them down into destruction;” (H.) or, “when they were lifted up.”  Do the rich think, that their prosperity may be an effect of God’s indignation?  C. We are here informed, in general, that evils are prepared to punish sins. W. The wicked have risen by their crimes to such a slippery situation.  M.

 

Ver. 20.  City.  In heaven.  C. Heb. also, “when thou shalt awake,” (Chal.  Houbig.  Bert.) and come to judge, after waiting a long time.  C. Image.  The splendour of worldlings is a mere phantom.  Death will shew its vanity.  H. Their felicity is only imaginary.  W.  Job xx. 8.  Is. xxix.  Ps. lxxv. 6.  C. Thou the wicked may live to a great age, (v. 4.  H.) yet all time is short.  M.

Ver. 21.  Changed.  S. Jer. “are like a fire smoking.”  I was indignant, (v. 3.  H.) and almost consumed with afflictions, and heavy laden.  But I depend on my protector.  W.

Ver. 22.  Nothing.  In point of knowledge.  Heb. Bahar means, “a foolish man.”  Bert. Knew not, the solution of this difficulty, which thou hast explained.  C.

 

Ver. 23.  With thee.  I endeavoured to fathom these things by my weak reason; but thou wast graciously pleased to bear with me, (Euseb.) as I was always convinced, indeed, that thy conduct could not be unjust.  I am willing to be led like a beast.  C. I still feared thee amid all my perplexities, and therefore thou hast delivered me from this temptation.  Bert. I am now filled with sentiments of my own past ignorance, and take thee for a guide.  H.

 

Ver. 24.  By thy will.  Heb. and Sept. “into thy council.”  Thou hast hindered me from yielding to my doubts, and hast revealed thy truths to me.  C. And.  Heb. “afterwards.” Glory.  Syr. and Houbig. supply thy glory.  Bert.

 

Ver. 25.  Earth?  I no longer envy the prosperity of the wicked, (C.) seeing that it is all a dream, and a snare, v. 18, 20.  H. Nothing can now give me content, but thyself.  C. This is all we should desire, both for soul and body, as our true inheritance.  The wicked, on the contrary, use their free-will to offend God, who destroys, or sentences them to eternal fire.  W.

 

Ver. 26.  Away.  I am ready to die for love, and gratitude.  H. I esteem not myself, if I am deprived of Thee.  We must love God with a most chaste, and disinterested affection, if we desire to enjoy him, (Bert.) GOD ALONE.  Boudon.

 

Ver. 27.  Disloyal.  The adherence to any creature is resented by God, as a fornication.  Bert.

 

Ver. 28.  Praises.  Lit. “tidings.”  Predicationes.  H. The ancient psalters read laudes, praises. In the gates, &c. was not in the most correct Sept. &c. being taken from Ps. ix. 15.  C.

PSALM 73

PSALM LXXIII.  (UT QUID DEUS.)

A prayer of the Church under grievous persecutions.

Ver. 1.  Understanding.  Ps. xxxi.  H. We behold here the destruction of the tabernacle by the Philistines, (Grot.) or rather of the temple, by Nabuzardan, (4 K. xxv. 8.  Jer. lii. 12.) though some understand the profanation of Epiphanes, or the final ruin by the Romans.  In the latter destruction, the Jews were no longer God’s inheritance, and he would never have inspired the prophet to pray for what would not be granted.  C. This psalm may be used by the just, under affliction; and why, He knew it, was on account of sin; but wishes to move God to mercy, and to put an end to the distress of his people.  Bert. In long persecutions, the weak begin to fear that God has abandoned them.  W. He acts externally as if He had.  M.

Ver. 2.  Mount.  S. Aug. reads montem, (C.) as the Heb. may also signify.  “This Mount Sion, thou hast dwelt in it.”  Mont.  H. What injury has it done?  C. The more enlightened are fully persuaded, that God will still preserve his Church.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  Hands.  Heb. “feet,” (Mont.  H.) or “strokes,” phehamec.  Bert. “The elevation of thy feet (thy foot-stool, or temple, C.) is destroyed unto the end;” (S. Jer.) or “for victory,” as Sym. renders netsach.  The Chaldees have boasted of their victory over thee, and violated thy most holy places.  H. This is what fills me with grief.  Bert. But thou wilt punish them.  The captives saw the overthrow of their empire.  C. God’s former wonders give reason to hope, that he will not fail to assist his Church, which he delivered from the hand of Pharao, and by Christ’s death, from the devil’s power.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  Made.  Heb. “have roared,” sending forth shouts of war, where thy praises alone ought to be heard.  C. Ensigns.  They have fixed their colours for signs and trophies, both on the gates, and on the highest top of the temple; and they knew not, that is, they regarded not the sanctity of the place.  This psalm manifestly foretells the time of the Machabees, and the profanation of the temple by Antiochus; (Ch.  1 Mac. i.  M.) or rather it seems to refer to the destruction under Nabuchodonosor; (Bert.) as under the former the temple was not burnt: (v. 7.  C.) yet the doors were.  1 Mac. iv.  M. For signs.  Lit. “yea, their signs,” signa sua signa.  H.

 

Ver. 5.  Going out.  Sept. “coming in.”  Both designate the same gates, (H.) or the ends of roads and streets.  Matt. xxii.  M. Top.  The doors of the temple were very lofty.  The idolatrous ensigns were fixed there, as on an eminence, to give notice of an invasion, (Is. xi. 12.) while the soldiers plundered all, before they set fire to the city and temple.  4 K. xxv. 9.  C. Prot. “a man was famous according as he had lifted up axes upon the thick trees.”  The text is very obscure, insomuch that S. Jerom’s version is unintelligible.  Bert. Yet it may signify, “they have placed their ensigns for a trophy, manifest upon the entrance aloft; their hatchets in the wood of trees; and now its sculptures together they have defaced with axe and hatchets, dolatoriis.”  Not content with these excesses, they at last set fire to the fabric, (H.) which was easily reduced to ashes, as there was so much wood about it, and in the very walls.  C. S. Chrys. contemplates the like havoc, which is made by sin.  Bert. In false religions, some external shew, festivals, and altars, are opposed to the true ones.  W.

 

Ver. 7.  Name.  That temple, which was the only one consecrated to thee.  H. All persecutors seek to destroy the places of true worship.  W.

 

Ver. 8.  Together.  And the infidel nations in that army.  Ps. cxxxvi. 7.  C. Days.  So the enemies of religion are always affected.  The servants of God ought to be more zealous to preserve the remains of ancient piety.  Prot. translates, synagogues, (H.  Aquila, Sym.) which Sigonius asserts were hardly known in the days of the Machabees, though they are clearly mentioned, (Est. iv. 16.) and must have existed at all times.  Acts xv. 21.  Matt. iv. 13.  C. Houbig. has “let all the congregations of God cease.”  Heb. lit. “they have burnt,” (Bert.) or ended.  C. Yet S. Jer. thinks that the Sept. read with the VI. edit. katakauswmen, “let us burn,” (Bert.) and Grabe has also substituted k for p, as that brings the Sept. nearer to the sense of the Heb. (H.) and is supported by some copies, (C.) though it seems less accurate, if we speak of days.  Bert.  Mohed, denoted, “a set time, or meeting.”  Parkhurst.

 

Ver. 9.  Our.  Some copies of the Sept. read “their,” as if the enemy still spoke.  But the people of God rather complain, that they are not so favoured with prodigies, as they had been formerly, and that the prophets did not publicly encourage them, (Bert.) or declare how long these miseries would continue; as the Hebrew may intimate.  C. Prot. “neither is there among us any that knoweth how long.”  H. Yet neglecting the points, our version is accurate, and any one, or God, may be understood, (Bert.) as taking no cognizance of his people.  H. It is natural for those in distress to exaggerate; for they know that many wonders were wrought, and that prophets were sent to instruct the captives.  But they were not so common, nor the prophets so popular, or complaisant, as they could have wished: nor could they be so easily consulted at Babylon, Daniel being generally at Susa, or at court, and Ezechiel in higher Mesopotamia.  C. They could not appear at the head of the people, to harangue in their defence, like Aaron.  Ex. vii. 1.  Dan. iii. 38.  Bert. The weak, therefore, complain, that they have no prophet to console (W.) them with miracles.  M. But the more perfect answer, that God both hath and will relieve his people, v. 12.  W.

Ver. 11.  Ever.  Why dost thou delay to heap favours on us, and destruction on thy adversaries?  We are most grieved at the injury done to thy name.  C.

Ver. 12.  Ages.  He is eternal, and hath long ago made choice of us.  M. Earth.  Publicly rescuing his people from Egypt, (Kimchi) and shewing his power over all the earth.  C. The Fathers understand this of Jesus Christ, who died on Calvary, (C.) near Jerusalem, (H.) which some assert, is the middle of the earth, though others more properly attribute this situation to the promised land, which was nearly the centre of the world, (Amama) then known to the Jews, as there were 60 degrees to the Ganges, and as many westward to the extremity of Spain.  Kimchi places it in the midst of the seven climates, (in Ps. xvi. 3.) and many others have explained this literally, as if Jerusalem was really the central point of the world, (S. Jer. in Ezec. v. 5. and xxxviii. 12.  S. Hil. &c.) in which sense Josephus styles it the navel.  C. As the world is nearly round, any place may be said to be in the middle.  Some have erroneously supposed, that Jerusalem was exactly under the line, (see de Locis. iii. in ven. Bede’s works) though it be about the 32 degree of N. lat.  H. Its situation was at least very commodious for having access to the different parts of the ancient world.  S. Jer. in Ezec. xxxviii.  C. The middle of the earth may here also relate to Egypt, where God formerly displayed his power, (Bert.) or to the wilderness, as the sequel seems to indicate.  The latter formed a part of the promised land, (H.) which was pitched upon to be the theatre of the true religion, and of the sufferings of Christ, as they were to be made known to all the world.  T.

 

Ver. 13.  The sea firm.  By making the waters of the Red Sea stand like firm walls, whilst Israel passed through; and destroying the Egyptians, called here dragons, from their cruelty,  in the same waters, with their king; casting up their bodies on the shore, to be stript by the Ethiopians, inhabiting in those days the coast of Arabia.  Ch. Isaias xxvii. 1. styles Pharao a dragon.  See Job xl. 20.  C.  Ezec. xxix. 3. Leviathan denotes a whale, or crocodile, and was an emblem of the devil, and of all tyrants, particularly of antichrist.  Bert.

 

Ver. 14.  Ethiopians.  Or to enrich the Arabs.  M. Heb. Tsiim, is understood of sailors, and “fishermen, &c.  Ps. lxxi. 9.  Some nations of Ethiopia are said to be cannibals; but they were too distant from the Red Sea.  The Ichnyophagi or Troglodytes on the western banks, might despoil the dead, (C.) and procure food, (H.) unless this be a description of a great fish, slain by the power of the Almighty, and really eaten.  C. Many explain these people, to mean wild beasts, which devoured the carcasses.  Euseb.  Muis.

 

Ver. 15.  Ethan rivers.  That is, rivers which run with strong streams.  This was verified in the Jordan. Jos. iii. and in the Arnon.  Num. xxi. 14.  Ch. Though the latter point is not so clear, God might divide the torrents, or rivers, at the station Ethan, as the Sept. here read.  Bert. Habacuc (iii. 9.) speaks of rivers.  But in poetry, the plural is often used for the singular, and the passage of the Jordan may be meant.  C. God had frequently supplied water from the rock, and gave a passage on dry land, through that river.  M.  W. Ethan means, “rapid,” as the Jordan does also.  H.

 

Ver. 16.  Morning.  Aurora.  Heb. “the light,” which existed before the sun.  Bert. Yet most understand the moon, (C.) or, in general, “the luminaries.”  S. Jer.  H.

 

Ver. 17.  Spring.  Heb. “and winter,” under which two the Jews comprised all the seasons, (Gen. viii. 22.) as the Africans and Danes are said to do still.  C. Yet choreph is used for youth, “the spring” of life.  Job xxix. 4.  Bert.

 

Ver. 18.  This.  “Congregation.”  Theod. Sept. add, “thy creature.”  Heb. is feminine.  But it is used instead of our neuter.  C. Consider this insolent language; the enemy, &c. v. 22.  H.

 

Ver. 19.  To thee.  S. Jer. “the soul intrusted in thy law.”  H. Heb. has now torec, which is rendered, “thy turtle dove.”  But the Sept. have read d, instead of r, better; (C.) and Houbigant rejects with disdain the present Heb. though that figurative expression would have the same meaning.  Bert.

Ver. 20.  The obscure of the earth.  Mean and ignoble wretches have been filled, that is, enriched, with houses of iniquity, that is, with our estates and possessions, which they have unjustly acquired.  Ch. Or the captives may thus complain, that they are forced to live among infidels, in constant danger of transgressing the law, (C.) while their children are brought up in sin, (Bert.) and ignorance.  H. Infidels are full of all sorts of iniquity, which they hide in their conscience.  W. Injustice is often the method of becoming rich.  H.

Ver. 21.  Humble.  Heb. “the contrite,” whether of Israel, or of any other nation.  Is. lxvi. 2.  Bert. The rich and presumptuous think not of thanking God.  M.

Ver. 23.  Enemies.  Sept. and S. Aug. read, “servants,” and the ancient psalters, “supplicants,” (C.) which seems to be a mistake of transcribers, (Bert.) as it is contrary to the Heb. Chal. and Syr.  C. The sense of both would be good.  Erasmus reads iketwn, quærentium, in his edit. of S. Jerom.  H. They blaspheme all holy things, and are hardened in wickedness.  W. Such are the times in which we live.  1 Tim. vi. 20.  Bert.

PSALM 74

PSALM LXXIV.  (CONFITEBIMUR TIBI.)

There is a just judgment to come: therefore let the wicked take care.

Ver. 1.  Corrupt not.  ‘Tis believed to have been the beginning of some ode or hymn, to the tune of which this psalm was to be sung.  S. Aug. and other Fathers, take it to be an admonition of the Spirit of God, not to faint, or fail in our hope; but to persevere with constancy in good: because God will not fail in his due time, to render to every man according to his works.  Ch. Sym. has, “concerning incorruption,” (H.) whence some have explained the psalm of the general resurrection.  Euseb. The Chaldee refers it to David, praying that the angel would cease to destroy, (2 K. xxiv.) while others suppose that he forbids Abisai to hurt Saul.  1 K. xxvi. 9.  S. Jer. This and similar difficult terms might resemble the anthems of Church music.  Geneb.  Bert.  Ps. lvi. The psalm is a sequel to the former, (C.) or a moral instruction, given by the Son of God, (v. 3.) after the author had admonished us to attend, and place ourselves in his presence.  It is not necessary to suppose that it is written in the form of a dialogue.  Bert.

Ver. 2.  Praise.  The repetition shews the certainty of the event.  Christ and his apostles, who sit as judges, praise the ways of Providence.  W. Heb. is more obscure.  C.

 

Ver. 3.  When I shall take time.  In proper times: particularly at the last day, when the earth shall melt away at the presence of the great judge: the same who originally laid the foundations of it, and, as it were, established its pillars.  Ch.  W. This is God’s answer to the longer prayer of Asaph, in the preceding psalm, which is here concluded.  C. A time.  Heb. Mohed, “congregation.”  Sym. When I shall have delivered my people.  Theod. Justices.  With the utmost rigour I will punish Babylon.  C. No mere creature knows the time of the general judgment, as Christ, the sovereign judge, does.  W. Then the just themselves will tremble.  H.

 

Ver. 4.  Melted.  Sym. and Houbig. “is strengthened.”  H. After the last fire the earth shall remain, though changed in quality.  W.  2 Pet. iii. 10. God destroys and establishes kingdoms.  C.

 

Ver. 5.  Wickedly.  This is an epitome of Christian doctrine.  W. God had severely punished Nabuchodonosor, Baltassar, and the priests of Bel.  Yet the people would not attend to these salutary admonitions. Horn.  By pride, (W.) which is the origin of all evil, (H.) and an offence pardoned by God with the greatest difficulty.

 

Ver. 6.  God.  Heb. tsauuar means, “neck.”  But the Sept. have not seen the a, and translate against God.  Lit. “the rock,” which is one of his titles; (Bert.) and this seems preferable to “speak not with a stiff neck;” (C.) or “with the old neck:” (S. Jer.) though this sense is not contemptible, as the sinner’s wonted pride rises against God.  H.

 

Ver. 7.  Hills.  Heb. harim, may also be considered as the nom. case; “not from the south are there heights” to which  they may flee for succour.  H. Yet most of the ancients agree with us; though is there “refuge,” must then be supplied.  Bert. None would be able to screen the Babylonians.  Jer. xxv. 15, 26. Take the cup of the wine of his fury…The king of Sesac (Babylon) shall drink after them.  H. The cup is so great that all shall taste, and the last will have the most bitter portion.  C.

 

Ver. 9.  Drink.  The just themselves shall suffer something.  But their part will be comparatively the clear wine, while sinners shall have the dregs.  Many suppose that God holds in his had two cups, which he mixes according to each one’s deserts.  So the Sept. Syr. S. Aug. &c. seem to intimate.  Jupiter is thus represented with two barrels of goods and evils near his throne.  Iliad xxiv. But most interpreters suppose that only one chalice is here specified, filled with red wine, the sediment being reserved for sinners, though it was usually thrown away at feasts.  Wine was mixed with water in those hot countries.  C. Yet here the mixture is of a different nature.  H. Fire, (Psalm x. 7.  M.) gall, brimestone, &c. compose the bitter chalice of the damned, who will never arrive at the term of their inexpressible misery.  In this life, sinners are frequently punished: but their sufferings do not end here.  They shall experience a variety of torments in heat and cold.  Job xxiv.  W.  Apoc. xiv. 10.  Is. li. 17.  Ezec. xxiii. 34.)

Ver. 10.  Declare.  Sept. “rejoice;” as S. Aug. &c. read, contrary to the Heb.  C. Jacob.  Christ did all for the glory of his Father.  Bert.

Ver. 11.  Just.  Zorobabel, (Theod.) the figure of the Messias.  The Jews were shortly after set at liberty by Cyrus, who was the scourge of their oppressors.  C. The virtuous, who use well their free-will, are thus rewarded.  W.

PSALM 75

PSALM LXXV.  (NOTUS IN JUDÆA.)

God is known in his Church: and exerts his power in protecting it.  It alludes to the slaughter of the Assyrians, in the days of King Ezechias.

Ver. 1.  Assyrians.  Sept. “against the Assyrian,” Sennacherib, 4 K. xix. 35.  H. David composed this after his victory over the Ammonites, and Ezechias used it when he was delivered from the Assyrians.  Grot. This part of the title is of no great authority, as it is not found in Heb. &c.  Bert. The psalm seems to speak of the victories of all the just; (M.) and instances one memorable example in the defeat of the Assyrians.  W. The Church triumphs over her persecutors.  S. Aug.

Ver. 2.  Judea.  Heb. “Juda.”  H. This shews that the psalm was composed after the separation of the tribes, (C.) though not invincibly; as the names of Juda and Israel were used in David’s time.  H. The divine worship was almost confined to the promised land till the birth of Christ; whose gospel has diffused light throughout the world.  S. Aug. C. &c. See Jer. lx. 23.  Bert. A Christian is the true Juda, or “Confessor.”  M. God was known to some philosophers, but not by such special benefits.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  Peace.  Heb. Shalem. Abode.  Heb. “tent or hut,” an expression which shews, how much the finest structure of the East was beneath God’s majesty.  C. He suffered the rest of the world to follow their own inventions, and false gods, reserving Israel for his Church.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  There.  In that favoured country.  The army of Sennacherib perished on its road to Pelusium.  4 K. xx. Powers.  Heb. “sparks,” (C.) or “burning arrows.”  Mont.  Ps. xii. 14. and cxix. 4.  H. All the opponents of the Church, or Sion, must perish.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  Hills.  Of Juda, which are styled eternal, on account of their stability.  Deut. xxxiii. 15.  Heb. seems to be incorrect.  C. “Thou art a light magnificently from (H.) or more than, (Bert.) the mountains of the captivity.”  S. Jer. Or, “of prey.”  Prot. “Thou art more terrible…than the richest  mountains.”  Theod. Yet this comparison hardly suits in this place, (C.) and Houbigant prefers the Vulg. and Sept. who may have read terem, “before,” or saraph, “of the seraph,” (alluding to God’s seat upon the ark) instead of tareph, “prey.”  Bert. God grants victory to his people, and enlightens them with the true faith.  W.

 

Ver. 6.  Troubled.  Heb. “plundered,” or “stupified.”  Bert. The haughty and blasphemous Sennacherib, Rabsaces, &c. were full of dismay, when the destroying angel slew 185,000 (C.) in the dead of the night.

“What dire astonishment, ye men

Of Media, sunk you to despair?”  Hymn on War, p. 52.  H.

Sleep in death.  Job xxvii. 19. Of riches, with which they are possessed, as with a fever, (Seneca, ep. cxix.) and of which they dream.  Is. xxix. 8.  C. Yet the most opulent must die, and are foolish in clinging to riches, since they can carry nothing away.  M. Hands.  Heb. “the men of the army have not found their hands.”  Bert. They could not use their arms against a spirit.  H. Christ has enlightened the mountains, his apostles; and fools despise their instructions, as the Athenians did S. Paul’s, being too much attached to the world.  S. Aug.  Bert. Though they may be troubled, they will not open their eyes to be convinced.  Hence, they have no oil of good works, when they awake in eternity.  W.

 

Ver. 7.  Mounted.  Heb. “the chariot and horse.”  C. But the riders are meant.  Bert. Rabsaces had boasted, that Ezechias could not find men to mount 2,000 horses, if he should give them to him.  4 K. xviii. 23.  C. But God chastised his vain boasting.  H. While he defends his people, their enemies seem to slumber.  W.

 

Ver. 8.  And.  Heb. “thou, and who shall subsist before thee in the moment of thy wrath?”  Houbigant rejects the second thou.  Bert. From. From the time that thy wrath shall bread out.  Ch. Ex tunc, often relates to a distant period.  We have long known the effects of thy indignation.  C.  Heb. x. 31. At the first notice of thy will the enemy is dejected, and fears thy potent anger.  W.

 

Ver. 9.  Heard.  Some edit. of the Sept. read, “thou hast darted judgment.”  S. Aug. Still.  All were filled with astonishment, and Sennacherib was glad to escape in the most private manner.  C. Persecutors will all be terrified when the signs of judgment begin to appear in heaven, when are here represented as past, on account of thier certainty.  W. The divine power will be again displayed.  M.

Ver. 10.  God.  After the signs of dissolution, the Son of God shall come to judge.  Bert. The earth is now full of bustle: but then all shall be silent.  S. Aug. Meek.  Ezechias had given large sums to preserve peace.  4 K. xviii. 14.  C. Judgment will take place for the sake of the just.  W.

Ver. 11.  To thee.  The enemy shall repress his resentment, when he beholds the fall of Sennacherib.  T. The people who had been delivered, express their constant sentiments of gratitude.  They revolve in mind the wonders of God, (H.) both in time and in eternity, and keep holidays in memory of such benefits.  Bert. Heb. “for the wrath of man shall confess to thee, thou shalt be girded  with the remains of wrath.”  S. Jer. The fury of the enemy shall only cause thy power to shine forth in his destruction.  H. Petau unites both these ideas, in his beautiful Greek verses, though it must be confessed, this passage is very obscure, both in the original and versions.  Bert. Men shall meditate on these benefits, and praise God with gladness, being moved to make vows, even of things left to their discretion, which they must perform.  W.

Ver. 12.  God.  Victims of thanksgiving, as was customary after a victory.  Psalm xxi. xxvi. xlix. and xiv.  He speaks to the people who had been spared, particularly to the priests, though it may be understood also of foreign nations, who complied with this invitation.  2 Par. xxxii. 22.  C. Vows, and their completion, ought not to be separated, even though the thing vowed may have been before a matter of choice, as virginity, &c.  S. Aug.  Bert. What says Luther?  H.

 

Ver. 13.  Away.  Heb. “he will cut off,” (Mont.) like grapes: which means rather to destroy, than to bereave of counsel.  Is. xix. 13.  This might be written after Sennacherib was slain.  4 K. xix. 37.  C. God is terrible, and will demand an account even of princes, respecting vows and other good works.  Great discretion is therefore requisite.  W.

PSALM 76

PSALM LXXVI.  (VOCE MEA.)

The faithful have recourse to God in trouble of mind, with confidence in his mercy and power.

Ver. 1.  Idithun.  Heb. “upon Idithun,” was not formerly in the text.  S. Jer. It may be the name of an instrument, (Bellar.) or tune, (Muis.) or this master of music and Asaph might sing alternately.  There is nothing certain; (M.) though some would hence conclude, that Asaph was the author.  The occasion of the psalm is also unknown, and may be applied to all the afflicted servants of God, (Bert.) or to the captives.  C.

Ver. 2.  To God.  These repetitions denote fervour, (C.) and that God alone must be the object of our desire.  S. Aug.

 

Ver. 3.  Deceived, in my expectations, as I prayed with mind and body continually.  W. Good works are a strong recommendation.  “They cry, though we be silent.”  Many have recourse to the great for assistance, and few to God.  Yet in isto invenio omnia.  S. Jer. Heb. is variously translated, and may have been altered.  “My hand fell in the night, and ceased not.”  Sym. and S. Jer. come near to the Vulg.  C. They have, “and does not cease,” which would be the case, if the person were deceived or rejected.  Bert. Prot. “my sore ran,” &c.  H. But this seems rather violent.  C. Comforted.  By any worldly advantages.  M. Joy can come from God alone.  Bert.

 

Ver. 4.  Delighted.  Heb. “cried out,” which many explain through sorrow.  But the Sept. seem rather to take it in a different sense, as well as the swooning, which might proceed from ecstatic joy (Bert.) at the thought of God.  The alternate sorrows and joys of the just are well described.  They are seldom allowed to continue long in the same state.  Prot. “I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed.  Selah.”  S. Jer. “I spoke within myself,” exercising myself in meditation.  H. I was sometimes in such distress, that nothing seemed capable of giving me any comfort.  But I relied on God, and was in an ecstacy.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  My eyes.  Sept. Vat. Arab. and S. Aug. read, “my enemies,” but our Vulg. follows the edition of Ald. and Comp. (Bert.) very frequently, which here agree better with the Heb. “I hindered my eyes from looking up;” (S. Jer.  Sym.) or, “thou hast kept the watches of my eyes,” (Aquila) hindering me from sleeping; (H.) so that I did not watch three hours only, like the sentinels, but all night.  C. The sudden address to God seems incorrect.  Bert. I rose before the usual time, yet did not utter my sentiments, (W.) being quite oppressed both with grief and joy.  H. I durst not speak, as I was convinced that thy judgments were right.  M.

 

Ver. 6.  Of old.  And the favours which had been heaped on the nation.  C. Years.  Both past and future times; (H.) yea, eternity itself, the great occupation of life.  S. Aug.  Bert.

 

Ver. 7.  Heart.  Sept. have read differently from the present.  Bert. Heb. “I recollected my canticle in the night, and communed with my own heart, and my spirit sought to the bottom;” or, “I swept, (or directed, scopebam) my spirit,” (S. Jer.) from all things unbecoming.  Sept. Eskallon.  “I dug and harrowed” it by earnest meditation, to extract the weeds, and make it fit to receive the divine seed, (S. Jer. hic. and ep. ad Sun.) and to bring forth fruit; (H.) or I swept to discover the precious jewel (Bert.) of salvation.  H. Scopebam, is not deemed a good Latin word; but seems to be derived from skopew, “I consider or direct my aim;” though some think it means rather,” I swept.”  Is. xiv. 23.  Hugo reads scopabam.  C. I diligently examined my conscience, (W.) and left nothing unturned, like the woman in the gospel who sought the groat.  M. Heb. yechapes, may also mean, “my spirit is set free,” to say what might seem too bold, Will God, &c.  C.

 

Ver. 9.  Ever.  Heb. adds, “is his word ineffectual?” which the Vat. Sept. neglects, (Bert.) though gamar omer be thus rendered in other editions.  “Has he completely fulfilled his word,” which may be the true sense, consumabitur verbum.  S. Jer.  H. “Will he execute this threat from generation?” &c.  C. God will never abandon his Church, (W.) though he may chastise his people.  H.

Ver. 10.  Mercies?  Turning the waters another way, (Muis.  C.) or going against his natural inclination.  Vincit illum misericordia sua.  S. Jer.

Ver. 11.  Begun.  By God’s grace, I now perceive that my thoughts were wrong.  W. I see that we are chastised on account of our sins; (Theod.) but now I hope for better things.  T.  Geneb. Heb. may have this (Bert.) and many other meanings.  C. Prot. “I said this is my infirmity.  But I will remember the years of right,” &c.  De Dieu, “To pray, this is mine; to change the right hand, is of the most High.”  C. All comfort and every good resolution must come from him.  Challothi is derived from eél, by the Sept. and from chala, (H.) “he is sick,” by others.  Who will assert that the former are not the most ancient and learned interpreters?  The sequel shews that the psalmist begins to entertain better hopes.  Bert. Now have I begun to follow wisdom, and to amend my life.  S. Anthony advised all to make this resolution every morning.  T.

Ver. 12.  Beginning.  In favour of Israel, or rather of all the just from Abel.  H.

 

Ver. 13.  Inventions.  Prot. “doings,” (H.) or the secrets of Providence, (C.) and his “affections.”  S. Aug. The just find an interest in all his works, (Bert.) as the work together for their salvation.  Rom. viii. 28.  H.

 

Ver. 14.  Holy “place,” or person.  S. Jer. Thy ways are inscrutable, (Muis.) but always holy.  Geneb. Heb. “in sanctity.”  M.

 

Ver. 16.  Arm.  Christ, (S. Jer.) or power.  Deut. v. 15. Joseph, who was in Egypt, while the rest of the family dwelt in Chanaan.  Bert.

 

Ver. 17.  Afraid.  S. Jer. “in labour.”  H. Troubled.  The dry land appearing, to let the Israelites pass.  Bert.  Ps. cxiii. 3. S. Jerom and the Jews understand this of the storm of Sinai.  But most people suppose that the catastrophe at the Red Sea is described, when Moses insinuates, that a dreadful tempest overwhelmed the Egyptians, as it is here specified.  See Joseph. ii. 7.  C.

 

Ver. 18.  Waters.  S. Jer. “the clouds poured out waters,” mayim, Sept. may have read hamim, “sounds,” and omit clouds, which come again in this verse.  Bert.

 

Ver. 19.  Wheel.  Prot.  H.  Heb. “a whirlwind,” (C.) or “wheel,” (Pagn.) in the air.  H. The noise of thunder is something similar to a wheel, rattling on the pavement.  H. Salmoneus foolishly tried to imitate it with his chariot.  Apoll. Bib. i. Trembled.  The preaching of the apostles was attended with success.  H.  Fathers.  C. Earthquakes were felt, and men were under a general alarm.  M.

Ver. 20.  Known.  The waters resumed their usual course.  Heb. iii. 15.  The wheels of the enemy might be discerned long after.  C.

Ver. 21.  Hand.  By the ministry (W.) of those, who acted in God’s place, in the desert.  H.

PSALM 77

PSALM LXXVII.  (ATTENDITE.)

God’s great benefits to the people of Israel, notwithstanding their ingratitude.

Ver. 1.  Asaph.  David composed this, to declare the rights of Juda to the throne, in preference to the tribe of Ephraim, (Lyran.) which had kept possession of the ark a long time; which was henceforth to be on Mount Sion.  H. It seems to relate to the times of Asa, who reunited several of the other tribes to his dominion, (2 Par. xv. 8.  C.) and contains a moral instruction, delivered in the person of Christ, (v. 2.  Euseb.  Bert.) and submitted to the attentive consideration of the faithful.  W. Law.  Given to Moses, (Bert.) and sanctioned by the divine authority.  H. The law, and the people were not David’s, but God’s, in whose name he speaks.  S. Greg. in Job ii.  W.

Ver. 2.  Propositions.  Deep and mysterious sayings.  By this it appears, that the historical facts of ancient times, commemorated in this psalm, were deep and mysterious; as being figures of great truths appertaining to the time of the New Testament.  Ch. S. Matthew, xiii. 35. has, things hidden from the foundation of the world.  Heb. minni kedem, “from of old.”  S. Jer. “ancient riddles.”  H. Mashal and chidoth, “parables and enigmas.” frequently denote things very plain, but spoken in a sententious poetic style.  Num. xxiii. 7.  C. The facts, &c. of the Old Testament, prefigured the mysteries of the New.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  Fathers.  Christ  might thus speak as man, and he enforces tradition in the strongest terms.  Bert. Only some things were written.  W. The most ancient and universal mode of instruction, was by word of mouth.  H.

 

Ver. 5.  Testimony.  The tabernacle, (Euseb.) or the law which notifies his will.  C.  M. He also thrice required the Israelites to perpetuate the memory of what he had done for them, by instructing their children.  Deut. iv. 9. and vi. 7. and xi. 19.  Both the written and the unwritten word must be carefully preserved.  2 Thes. ii. 14.  God had freely chosen Abraham, and given him the law of circumcision; as he directed his posterity by the mouth of Moses.  W.

 

Ver. 7.  That, &c.  This was the end of all the laws and monuments of religion, (C.) to increase our confidence, (W.) gratitude, and observance of our duty.  H.

 

Ver. 8.  Fathers.  Some were virtuous, like Moses, Josue, Samuel, &c.  v. 3. and 5.  Bert. But the majority proved faithless.  H. To God.  Or did not confide in him, or know that without God’s grace, no good can be done.  S. Aug.  Bert. Abraham instructed his house, (Gen. xviii.) and David his subjects, that they might avoid bad example.  The same advice regards Christians, 1 Cor. x.  W.

 

Ver. 9.  Battle.  Many of this tribe were cut off by the men of Geth, (1 Par. vii. 21.  Chal. Geier.) as they fought without God’s command.  Num. xiv.  W. They did not defend the ark against the Philistines, though they seemed more bound to do so than the rest, since it was brought from their city, Silo, and they also set the others a pattern of infidelity; (1 K. iv.  Abenezra.) whence they are singled out likewise by Osee.  Bert. The famous victory of Abia against Jeroboam may be also designated.  2 Par. xiii.  C. This had not yet taken place, no more than (H.) their captivity, under Salmanazar, which is enigmatically foretold.  After this reproach, the whole body of the Israelites is condemned.  v. 10.  Bert.

Ver. 12.  Taneos.  Heb. Tsohan, (H.) which means, “spreading,” either because the plagues spread from this capital, or because it was in a plain, (Bert.) or very extensive, (H.) on the eastern branch of the Nile, in the Delta.  C. Here Moses wrought his wonders.  W.

 

Ver. 13.  Vessel.  Lit. “bottle,” like walls on either side.

 

Ver. 14.  By day.  Lit. “of the day.”  H. But this is the real import of the Greek.  The same cloud (C.) was both luminous and obscure.  When the light side was turned towards Israel, the Egyptians were in darkness.  H. The eternal Son of God guided this pillar, and the Israelites tempted him, (v. 18. and 1 Cor. x.  Ex. xiii. 21.  Bert.) forgetting their baptism or initiation in the service of God.  H.

 

Ver. 15.  Deep.  Water was so abundant, and followed them in streams.  1 Cor. x. 4.  C. The first miraculous grant of water was at Horeb, the second at Cades.  v. 20.  Bert.

 

Ver. 18.  Desires.  Lit. “souls,” as if they were dying for hunger, though they had plenty of manna.  Num. xi. 4.  C.

 

Ver. 19.  Ill.  Heb. “against,” (Num. xi.  C.) still distrusting in God’s power.  M.

Ver. 20.  Bread.  Including all sorts of food.  W. Table.  Heb. “flesh.”  It is true we have water and manna, but we want something more solid and agreeable.  C.

Ver. 21.  Angry.  This is the sense of the Heb.  Distulit means, “he deferred” (H.) to put his threats, (Bert.) or promises, in execution.  M. The destroyer punished those who gave way to murmuring,. 1 Cor. x.  Num. xi. 1.  C. Their incredulity was punished (W.) for nearly forty years, and all the guilty who were twenty years old at the first numbering, were cut off in the desert.  H.

Ver. 23.  And.  Or “though he had.”  Bert. has mandavit.  “He commanded,” would be better rendered, this order being given before the complaints.  God had supplied them abundantly with manna from the clouds, as from his granaries.  C. Therefore they ought to have trusted in his power and goodness.  M.

 

Ver. 25.  Angels.  Heb. also, “of the strong ones.”  Aquila. Such is the blessed Eucharist, of which manna was only a figure, John vi.  The angels prepared this food.  C. It was an effect of the divine bounty, not of the power of Moses.  Jo. xi. 32.  How it could be inferior (Bert.) to the bread which Christ would give, was a riddle to the Jews, as it must be still to all who do not admit the real presence.  If both were figures, surely manna was better than common bread.  H.

 

Ver. 26.  West wind.  Lit. Africum, which blows “from Africa,” in this direction, with respect to Jerusalem.  H. The same wind may be styled the south wind.  Heb. Kadim, “strong, eastern,” &c.  Bert. These quails came from the banks of the southern ocean, or from the Red Sea, as the Israelites were still in Arabia, when they were furnished with them a second time, (Num. xi. 31.) for a whole month, (C.) though there were about three million people.  Bert. God changed the wind, so as to bring them into the camp.  Ex. xvi.  W. It was before blowing from the south-east.  M.

 

Ver. 31.  Israel.  S. Jerom applies this to those who receive unworthily, particularly if they be priests.  1 Cor. xi. 29.  C. God selected the most guilty (Bert.) having allowed them to feast for a whole month.  W. Then he brought down by death, or “hindered,” as it were, “by shackles,” (Sept.) the most valiant.  H.

Ver. 32.  Still.  Notwithstanding this instance of God’s severity, they fell shortly after into greater sins, and would have stoned Moses, &c. despairing of ever taking possession of the promised land, which highly displeased God, so that he swore, that none of the rebels should enter it.  Many were also slain in the sedition of Core, (Num. xiii. 17.) and the rest did not live about thirty-eight years.  C. Thus about 600,000 perished, (W.) having done nothing worthy of praise.  M.

 

Ver. 34.  Morning.  Those who were spared pretended to repent.  H. Afflictions are the source of much good.  But the Israelites are blamed for their inconstancy and deceit.  C. They came with apparent earnestness (H.) to offer the morning sacrifice (W.) under affliction.  M.

 

Ver. 38.  Their and them, is supplied also by Prot.  H. Heb. “he…will forgive sin,” &c.  This seems more beautiful.  Bert.

 

Ver. 39.  Flesh.  The inferior appetite wars against the spirit.  Gal. v. 17.  Matt. xxvi. 41.  H. Not, in the ordinary course.  This does not contradict the faith of the resurrection, which is elsewhere clearly expressed.  S. Jer.  C. Man may go astray, but cannot be converted by his own efforts.  Prov. ii. 19.  S. Aug.  Bert. God will never abandon the whole Church.  The Jews here mark the middle of the psalter, and the 1263d verse, (W.) or the division of the book.  H.

Ver. 40.  How often.  It would be difficult to specify.  God mentions ten times.  Num. xiv. 22.  W.

Ver. 41.  Grieved.  Heb. “set bounds to,” or “marked,” holding up to scorn.  Heb. vi. 6.  Genebrard thinks we might translate, “crucified,” hithvu, as this is the root of Thau, which formerly resembled a cross.  C. This would surely be one of the most striking enigmas.  S. Jerom agrees with us.  Bert. “They pushed on,” concitaverunt, as God’s wrath must be greatly excited by setting limits to his power and goodness.  H.

Ver. 42.  Not.  How could they so soon forget these prodigies?  We might ask, how came Adam to pay so little attention to God’s command?  How do many act contrary to their better knowledge?  Upon occasion of this forgetfulness, the psalmist repeats many of the chief miracles recorded.  Ex. vii. and xiii.  Bert.

 

Ver. 43.  Signs.  The turning the rod into a serpent.  The rest of the signs were also plagues.  W.

 

Ver. 44.  Showers.  Heb. “floods.”  H. Many have asserted that it does not rain in Egypt: but pretty heavy showers fall, even above Cairo, (Vansleb.  C.) though seldom.  W.

 

Ver. 45.  Flies.  Cænomyiam.  Many copies of the Sept. have kynomiam, “the dog-fly,” which S. Jerom, (C.) and S. Aug. properly correct.  Bert.  Ex. viii. 24.

 

Ver. 46.  Blast.  Heb. also “the bruchus,” (H.) a sort of locust, which does great damage in the East.  C. Chasil may signify both.  Bert. Ovid speaks of the blast:

Interea crescat scabræ rubiginis expers.  Fast. 1.

 

Ver. 47.  Vineyards.  Herodotus (i. 77.) says, the Egyptians use “ale, because they have no vines.”  But he is contradicted by Athenæus, &c. Trees.  Heb. shikmoth, is supposed to mean sycamore trees.  C.

 

Ver. 48.  Fire.  S. Jer. “who gave their pastures to the hail, and their cattle to the birds.”  Reshaphim is also rendered “coals,” by Pagnin.  It may denote the thunderbolts.  H.

 

Ver. 49.  Angels.  Heb. “messengers of evil,” (T.) as the Sept. may also signify the good angels.  Amama. He ordered Moses and Aaron to denounce his judgments, which he executed either by the devils, (Origen.  W.) or by the blessed spirits.  S. Amb.  Ex. xii. 29.  Wisd. xviii. 14. Hence from the effect, (Bellar.) they may have the appellation of evil.  Theod.  C. The other plagues are thus briefly mentioned.  M.  W.

Ver. 51.  Labour.  “The first-born,” (S. Jer.  Gen. xlix. 3.  Prov. v. 9.) and their best effects.  C. This was the tenth plague.  Cham was the father of Misraim, who peopled Egypt.  W.

Ver. 53.  Not, after they saw the Egyptians destroyed, whom they had feared greatly before.  In the desert they enjoyed rest, while their enemies were in the utmost confusion, (Bert.) having lost their king.  H.

 

Ver. 54.  Mountain.  Heb. “term.”  OroV, with the soft spirit, means a mountain, (Bert.) and the Vulg. has taken it in this sense in both places, as the Greek accents and spirits are not of greater antiquity or consequence than the Heb. vowel points.  H. The land of Chanaan was very different from that of Egypt, being full of mountains.  Deut. iii. 25.  Ezec. xxxvi. 2.  But Sion may be here meant. Line.  Thus were lands measured.  Jos. xiii. 8. and xvii. 5.  C. God had made a particular choice of this hilly country for his people, (W.) and for the chief seat of religion.  M.

 

Ver. 57.  The covenant, is omitted in many Greek and Latin copies, as well as in Heb.  S. Jer. ad Sun. Yet it is found in the Vatican edition, (C.) as well as in the Alex. hsunqethsan.  H. Bow, which hits not the mark.  It alludes to the faithless Israelites, (C.) particularly to Ephraim, v. 9.  Os. vii. 6.  Jer. ix. 3.  The bow of Jonathan was not such, 2 K. i. 22.  C. A bad bow misses the aim, or breaking, wounds the person who uses it.  M. These people hurt themselves by their treachery.  W.

 

Ver. 58.  Hills.  The high places, in which they imitated the pagans, and which brought on their ruin.  Lev. xxvi. 30.  With so  much difficulty are people taught to serve God in spirit and truth.  They foolishly imagined that they would be nearer the gods.  Bert. Things.  Prot. “images.”  They have not forgotten to insert this word as usual, to make the ignorant believe that all images are forbidden!  H.

 

Ver. 59.  Heard.  So he did the crimes of Sodom.  Gen. xviii. 20.  C. Reduced.  Heb. “abhorred exceedingly several in Israel.”  H. The people were not exterminated; but greatly reduced in the time of the judges.  W.

Ver. 60.  Silo.  Where it had remained about 350 years, (Bert.) before the ark was removed, never to be replaced there.  H. The tabernacle was afterwards at Nobe, and at Gabaon; whence it was probably removed to the treasury of the temple, (C.) and was hidden by Jeremias, 2 Mac. i.  Jos. xvii. 1.  Bert. God gave his oracles more particularly where the ark, (W.) or the tabernacle, was found.  H.

Ver. 61.  Their.  Heb. “his.”  Houb. The ark was an earnest of God’s protection, (H.) and the glory of Israel, 1 K. iv. 21.

Ver. 62.  Sword.  So that they could not escape. Despised.  Heb. hithhabar,is rendered distulit by S. Jerom, (v. 21. 59.  C.) or non distulit, “he did not delay” to punish, as Erasmus reads.  H.

 

Ver. 63.  Fire of God’s indignation, (M.  W.) or of war. Lamented.  S. Jer. “its virgins no one bewailed.”  H. He seems to have read eullu, with the Sept.  Others translate, (Bert.) “did not mourn,” though they were now deprived of the hopes of marriage, (C.) or “the virgins were not praised” in the canticles used at the marriage-feast, (Chal. &c.) non epithalamio celebratæ sunt, (Mont.) or “married.”  Pagnin.  H. There was no time to bewail the death of the young men, or the captivity of the women.  C. Each one was too solicitous for his own safety.  H.

 

Ver. 64.  Priests.  Ophni and Phinees, (1 K. iv. 11.  C.) the origin of this calamity, (H.) and the high priest himself broke his neck.  W. Mourn, plorabantur, intimates rather that the people did not mourn for him.  But the Heb. has this  meaning also, fleverunt, (Mont.) sunt fletæ.  S. Jer.  H. The widow of Phinees died on hearing  the sad news; and Eusebius seems to think that grief killed Ophni’s widow likewise.  C.

 

Ver. 65.  Surfeited.  S. Jerom, Chal. &c. agree in this sense.  But Heb. may admit another, not quite so harsh, (C.) “like a hero who shouts for (Mont.) or sing after wine;” (H.) dialalwn ex oinou, “rendered talkative by wine.”  Sym. God allowed the Philistines to prosper for a time; but, at last, he covered them with ignominy.  H. We must reflect that the Oriental languages are bolder in their expressions than ours, and that this is simply a comparison, not more astonishing than that used by our Saviour, when he says that he will come like a thief in the night.  Bert. If the Spirit of God had not consecrated such comparisons, no one durst have used them.  S. Aug. God rose to punish the infidels, and to preserve his Church.  W. The psalmist speaks of him as of a man invigorated by wine, and filled all with confusion.  M.

 

Ver. 66.  Parts.  As they were fleeing, (Bert.) or with emerods.  Chal. &c.  C.  1 K.  v. 10.

 

Ver. 67.  Ephraim.  Who had been preferred before his elder brother, and yet proved the most inclined to idolatry, v. 9.  H. This tribe was deprived first of the ark, and then of the tabernacle, which were its greatest glory, and this strongly indicated the divine displeasure.  C.

 

Ver. 68.  Sion.  The ark was removed from Cariathiarim, in the tribe of Juda, to the house of Obededom, for three months, and afterwards to the palace or tabernacle on Sion, (H.) which God had probably chosen for its fixed abode, towards the beginning of David’s reign.  C.

 

Ver. 69.  As of unicorns.  That is, firm and strong, like the horn of the unicorn.  This is one of the chief of the propositions of this psalm, fore-shewing the firm establishment of the one, true, and everlasting sanctuary of God, in his Church.  Ch.  M. It was preserved before Christ, and will remain till the end of time.  W. The temple was not built by David: but the spot was consecrated for it, (2 K. xxiv.) and the ark was placed on Sion; which was the land which he had founded for ever for this purpose.  Heb. ramim, means “unicorns, (Chal.  S. Jer.) heights, (Mont.) palaces,” (Pagn.) &c.  Santificium and sanctuarium, have the same import.  H. In the land.  Heb. “as the land.”  Sept. have read b for c, as well; (Bert.) and it is observable that Montanus translates the latter, though the former occur in the Heb. text below, edit. 1632: so easily may these letter be confounded!  H. The temple was to have the same stability as the earth, and was but one, like the horn of the unicorn, which is most solid and beautiful.  C. Yet this could not be understood of the material temple, which was the most magnificent structure in the world.  It was fulfilled in the Church of Jesus Christ, who is also the true David, v. 72.  H. The crowning of David, who was his figure, was a great blessing to Israel.  W.

Ver. 70.  Young.  Heb. also, “giving milk.”  David was actually with his father’s flocks, when he was sent for by Samuel.  Saul was also engaged in the pursuits of a country life when he was chosen king: and it would indeed have been difficult to find people of another description among the Israelites, as all followed some business.  Crœsus observed that he first of his race (Gyges) obtained his liberty and the throne at the same time, as he had kept the flocks of the preceding king.  Xenoph. vii.

Ver. 72.  Skilfulness.  Lit. “intelligences.”  Plural words are used to express the greatness of the thing.  David was very upright and intelligent.  H. This enhances the ingratitude of Ephraim, &c. who divided the kingdom.  C. Yet David had fallen into some grievous mistakes, so that this can only belong strictly to Jesus Christ, who is the good shepherd, without sin.  Bert. He has here detailed what may serve to illustrate the law and the gospel, and may fill us either with confidence or with alarm.  H. We are astonished at the repeated infidelities of the Israelites.  But if three million Christians were placed in the same circumstances, would they behave better?  Bert.

PSALM 78

PSALM LXXVIII.  (DEUS VENERUNT GENTES.)

The Church in time of persecution prayeth for relief.  It seems to belong to the time of the Machabees.

Ver. 1.  Asaph, who might live during the captivity.  C. If the ancient (H.) Asaph, or David, composed this psalm, it must be considered a prediction of the ruin caused by Nabuchodonosor, or by Epiphanes.  Bert.  T. v. The author of 1 Mac. (vii. 17.) accommodates it to the sufferings of those (C.) whom Alcimus destroyed; or rather the prophet had them also in view as well as Christian martyrs.  H. He cannot speak of the last ruin of Jerusalem, since it would have been improper to pray for its restoration.  S. Aug. Fruit.  A mean village, (M.) as Isaias (i. 8.) had threatened.  Heb. “a heap of stones,” (S. Jer.) in the field.  Mic. i. 6.  Such was the condition of Jerusalem under Nabuchodonosor (C.) and Ephiphanes.  1 Mac. i.  Bert. Catholics have been persecuted in every country, and forced to use mean houses for divine worship.  W.

Ver. 2.  Saints.  The Assideans, who were the most esteemed for piety, 1 Mac. ii. 42.  In the worst of times, there were always some pious Israelites, and the generality of them were less wicked than their enemies, who exercised a horrid barbarity in refusing them burial, after destroying vast numbers.  2 Par. xxxvi. 17.  C. This was done at least under Epiphanes.  1 Mac. vii. 16.  H. Persecutors have hung the bodies of martyrs on poles to be the food of birds, (W.) as the missionary priests were treated in England not long ago.  Heb. is here rather inaccurate, (H.) “to the wild beast of the earth itself;” (Mont.) lechaitho arets, being put forth léith, earts, (Houbig.) as Prot. themselves translate.  H.

 

Ver. 4.  Us.  The Idumeans, &c. are hence blamed by the prophets.  Ezec. xxv. 12.  Abd. 10.  C. Christ and his disciples have been treated with scorn, (Bert.) being styled Galileans, Papists, &c.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  Zeal, or jealousy, as God has the greatest affection for his people, and resents their infidelity as a kind of adultery.  C. Sin is the source of misery.  W.

 

Ver. 6.  Name.  Their ignorance was of course culpable.  Bert. This prayer is prophetical, (S. Aug.) or insinuates that those infidels were still more deserving of punishment.  Bert. By destroying Israel, the number of God’s worshippers would be lessened.  C. Yet this consideration would not hinder God from chastising them; and it is not absolutely true that pagans are always more guilty.  Those who know the will of their master, and do it not, shall suffer many stripes.  Having the true faith, they may, however, (H.) be sooner converted.  W.

 

Ver. 7.  They have devoured.  So Pagnin ventured to translate the Heb.  But Montanus substitutes the singular, though it be evidently incorrect, (H.) and contrary to all the ancient versions and the parallel passage, (Jer. x. 25.) as well as to MS. 3. Lambeth 435, &c. (Kennicott) v being lost at the end of acol.  Houbig. Place.  Heb. also, “beauty,” the ark or temple.  C.

 

Ver. 8.  Former iniquities, which we and our fathers have committed.  The Hebrews generally pray for the remission of their parent’s faults.  Lam. v. 7.  Bar. iii. 5.  Dan. ix. 5.  C. But here the penitents’ own transgressions may be meant.  Bert. God is ready to pardon such.  W.

 

Ver. 9.  Help.  The necessity of grace, and the co-operation of free-will, are here plainly asserted.  S. Aug.

Ver. 10.  Their God.  Let him rescue his people.  Cicero (pro Flacco) speaking of the Jewish nation, says, “How dear it was to the immortal gods, appears from its being overcome, enslaved,” &c. Shed.  He speaks not of revenge; (C.) but in order that chastisement may open the eyes of the infidels, that they may be converted.  Euseb. Let none suspect that thou disregardest thy people.  The event will evince the contrary.  W.

Ver. 11.  Put.  Chal. “consigned.”  C. Protect the successors of the martyrs.  W.

Ver. 12.  Bosom.  Punish them severely C. in this world.  S. Jer. Many of the surrounding nations were subdued by Nabuchodonosor, five years after he had conquered the Jews.  Joseph. x. 10.  Jer. xlix. 7. &c.

PSALM 79

PSALM LXXIX.  (QUI REGIS ISRAEL.)

A prayer for the Church in tribulation, commemorating God’s former favours.

Ver. 1.  Testimony, or instruction, (C.) and proof of the psalmist’s faith.  H. Psalm.  Vat. Sept. S. Aug. &c. add, “for (or against) the Assyrian:” whence some have inferred that it relates to the captivity of Israel.  But as Benjamin is also mentioned, it seems rather to speak  of the captives of Babylon, (C.) or of all Jews and Christians in distress.  Bert. The faithful pray for the coming of the Messias, v. 2. 4. 16.  H. Fathers.  C.

Ver. 2.  Joseph.  He mentions these two as persons dear to God.  All the tribes were equally led away captives, and the distinction of kingdoms was not regarded.  C. All Israel is denoted by Joseph, who composed two tribes, having a double portion; (W.  M.) and ruling in Egypt.  Bell.

 

Ver. 3.  Manasses.  These three tribes followed the ark in the desert, (Num. ii. 18.) and might better see the majesty shining over it.  W.  C. Let all be united once more in the divine service.  Muis. Samaria, and Jerusalem in part, were in the tribes of Ephraim and Benjamin, (M.) and Manasses occupied both sides of the Jordan.  H.

 

Ver. 4.  Saved.  This chorus occurs three (W.) or four times.  C. With God’s grace, we shall be able to act virtuously.  S. Jer. Thou canst easily rescue us from our misery.  Be pleased to send us the Messias, thy substantial image, 2 Cor. iv. 4. and Col. i. 15.  If thou assist us, we may co-operate to obtain salvation.  W.

 

Ver. 6.  Measure.  Heb. shalish, “three-fold.”  S. Jer. The capacity of this measure is not determined.  It might be the seah, or the third part of an epha, which would be very abundant, speaking of tears; though small to contain the earth.  Is. xl 12.  C. Penitents must eat little.  S. Jer. Yet their sorrow must be moderated by hope.  Euseb.  See Ose. ix. 4.  C. God punishes so as not to destroy us.  W.

 

Ver. 7.  At us.  See Ps. lxxviii. 4.  H. Such was the condition of Jeremias, xv. 10.  C. Heb. “have scoffed among themselves.”  Chal. and S. Jerom agree with us.  Scorn is more difficult to bear than poverty.  Hence to comfort himself, the psalmist repeats, O God, &c.  Bert.

 

Ver. 9.  Vineyard.  Thy Church and people.  W.  Is. v. 1.  Os. x. 1.  Matt. xx. 2.

Ver. 10.  Sight.  Heb. “Thou didst dig before it,” (Mont.) making the ground ready.  C. The cloud went before the Israelites.  W. Land of promise.  H.

Ver. 11.  God.  The highest cedars were surpassed by the branches, or even by the smallest shoots (arbusta) of this vine.  H. Most powerful nations were forced to submit to David.  Theod. The Israelites were exceedingly multiplied, (W.) and enjoyed the fruits of the country.  Mic. iv. 4.  C.

Ver. 12.  River Euphrates, from the Mediterranean, Red, and Indian seas.  H.  Deut. xi. 24.

 

Ver. 13.  It?  Thou hast withdrawn thy protection.  The temple is destroyed, and all plunder with impunity, because thy vineyard has not rendered good fruit.  Jer. ii. 21.

 

Ver. 14.  Singular.  The wild boar, which does not go with other beasts.  Nabuchodonosor is here designated, (C.) or Salmanasar, and all persecutors, (Bert.) particularly the devil, who goes about like a roaring lion, and stirs up his agents to disturb the world.  Hence the enemy becomes more cruel than any wild beast.  W.

 

Ver. 16.  And look down upon “the Messias,” (Chal.) the true vine.  Jo. xv. 1.  Matt. xxi. 33.  C. Of man, is not in Heb. only, v. 18.  H. Some perfection was wanting in the Church of the Old Testament.

 

Ver. 17.  Things set on fire, &c.  So this vineyard of thine, almost consumed already, must perish if thou continue thy rebukes.  Ch. Things, would imply that incensa is in the neuter plural.  But this is not the case in Sept. or Heb.  Bert. S. Jerom has succensam, “Look down upon the vine or root, (17) burn up and without any branches.  Let them perish at,” &c. who have thus treated it.  H.

 

Ver. 18.  The man of thy right hand.  Christ, (Ch.) where he sits, (C.) being as man in the highest place of heaven.  Matt. xxvi. 64. and xii. 32.  H. Who else could redeem Israel?  C. Zorobabel was only a figure of Him.  H. Christ’s birth was miraculous, (M.) and he was appointed by the right hand of God to do great things; and, as man, is moved to take compassion on the distresses of his people.  Bert.

 

Ver. 19.  From thee.  This is our fixed determination for the future.  H. Will call.  Heb. “Shall be called by thy name,” (S. Jer.  H.) thy people.  Sym.  C. But the Vulg. is equally correct, invocabimus.  Mont.  Prot.  H.

PSALM 80

PSALM LXXX.  (EXULTATE DEO.)

An invitation to a solemn praising of God.

Ver. 1.  For the wine-presses, &c. torcularibus.  It either signifies a musical instrument, or that this psalm was to be sung at the feast of the tabernacles after the gathering in of the vintage, (Ch.) or on the feast of trumpets, on the 1st of Tisri.  Lev. xxiii. 24.  Euseb. Pin. C.  See Ps. viii. From the grape some good wine is extracted, and the rest is thrown away: so in this psalm we find the just rejoice, while the wicked complain, during the persecutions of the Church.  S. Aug. Some Latin copies add, “on the 5th day of the week;” and Genebrard supposes that these additions are owing to the Jewish traditions, (C.) as they might sing this psalm on Thursday.  H. We need not attempt to ascribe this piece to any particular time, though some have thought that it regards the captives, the translation of the ark, or the vocation of the Gentiles, &c.  C. It is very beautiful.  Bert.

Ver. 4.  New moon of Tisri.  Lev. xxiii. 24. Noted.  Heb. “in the obscure, in the day of our solemnity.”  C. Prot. “in the time appointed, on our solemn feast-day.”  Cose may denote “obscure or appointed;” (S. Jer.) “in the middle of the month;” (H.) which alludes to the feast of tabernacles, when the Jews dwelt under the shade of tents, made of branches.  This was esteemed “the most holy and greatest” of their festivals.  Joseph. viii. 2.  Num. xxix. 12.  Prov. vii. 20.  C. It may also be explained of the new moon of Tisri, (M.) when the people were admonished of the beginning of the civil year, or of the three great festivals to be then celebrated, perhaps H. in memory of the world’s creation, at that season.  Bert. How carefully ought we not, therefore, to celebrate the Christian holidays, which are instituted to excite our gratitude for greater benefits!  H. The days of the new moons (Num. xxviii. 11.) were consecrated, to acknowledge God’s constant providence; and that of Tisri in particular, (ib. C. xxix. 1.) to thank him for the preservation of Isaac.  Gen. xxii. 18.  W. But the Lord’s day reminds us not only of the world’s creation, but also of its redemption, &c.  Rom. iv. 25.  Bert.

 

Ver. 5.  Jacob.  It is a duty which we owe to God, in obedience to his command.  Heb. may be, (H.) “a decree for the princes (gods) of Jacob.”  C. Prot. “a law of,” &c.

 

Ver. 6.  Joseph.  Who represents all the family of Israel, as he took care of it.  C.  Ps. lxxix. 2.  W. Not.  The Israelites heard the voice of God at Sinai, (S. Jer. &c.  C.) and for the last time, where forced to hear the insults of the Egyptians at their heels; (H.) whose language was barbarous to them, (Ps. cxiii. 1.  M.) and not well understood by all, as they had very little society together.  Joseph spoke to his brethren by an interpreter.  H. Some explain this of Joseph himself, when he first came into Egypt, (Chal.  Bos.) or of the Israelites, at their arrival there.  Vat. But this agrees not with the Vulg. or Heb. (H.) the latter of which is very confused and incorrect, though it be adopted (C.) by S. Jerom: “I heard a tongue which I knew not, I withdrew,” &c. (H.) or, making a small alteration, “God hast established this festival in Joseph, when He appeared in the land of Egypt to rescue his people: then said the Lord, I made him hear a language which he knew not, that I was the protector of my people, I will remove,” &c.  C. The authors of the Pin. disc. take this liberty, which would make the sense pretty clear.  But the Heb. means, “I heard,” &c.  Some not being able to understand this, have substituted, “He heard,” with the German version.  Bert. The ancient Greek interpreters seem to have read the same, as no variation is noticed.  C. If, however, we must explain the Heb. of S. Jerom, we must suppose that, “I knew not, means I condemned, as it often does; and God certainly reprobated the harsh language of the Egyptian task-masters, and came to deliver his people from oppression.  Ex. ii. 25. and iii. 8. and v. 14. H.

 

Ver. 7.  Baskets.  Heb. “brazen.”  Mont. “His hands shall pass from the pots.”  Prot. Dud, means also, “basket.”  H. The Hebrews were thus forced to carry mortar, (M.) straw, &c.  W.

 

Ver. 8.  In the secret place of tempest.  Heb. of thunder.  When thou soughtest to hide thyself from the tempest: or, when I came down to Mount Sinai, hidden from the eyes in a storm of thunder; (Ch.  Ex. xix. 16.) or when I afflicted Egypt, (ib. ix. 23.) and Pharao’s army.  Ps. lxxvi. 19. Contradiction, at Mara, or rather at Cades, where Moses betrayed some distrust.  Ex. xxiv. 25. and Num. xx. 12.  C. After so many benefits, they still contradicted God, and would not serve him.  W.

 

Ver. 9.  Testify.  Instruct, or call heaven to witness our covenant.  C. Man has free will, and may choose whether he will obey or not.  W.

Ver. 10.  New God.  Who must of course be false.  H. Heb. “strange.”  Ex. xx. 2.  Jer. xxiii. 23.  C. An express law on this head was a great benefit, (W.) as most people had gone astray.  H.

Ver. 11.  Fill it.  I will grant all thy just requests, if thou be faithful.  Euseb.  C.  W. God uses the title of Jehovah, “the Eternal self-existent Being.”  Bert.

Ver. 13.  Inventions.  Ancient psalters read, “wills.”  This is the greatest (C.) of God’s judgments.  Rom. i. 24.  M. He sometimes permits a person to go on, that he may be disgusted with sin.  Ut saturati vitiis vel sic agant pœnitentiam.  S. Jer. We ought all to dread this root of bitterness, (Heb. xii. 15.) which may cause us to resist God’s grace, and to be abandoned by him, as the Israelites seemed to be, before their ruin came on.  Bert.

 

Ver. 15.  Soon.  Forsitan, “perhaps,” (H.) does not here imply a doubt, (M.) but rather the ease and liberty (W.) with which God could have rescued his people (Heb.) “in a moment.”  C.  Bert.

 

Ver. 16.  Enemies.  The faithless Israelites, (C.) or infidel nations.  Bos. &c. Ever.  Impenitent sinners shall suffer for ever.  Ch. The Jews will scarcely be converted at last.  M. For a long time God bore with their infidelities, and heaped favours upon them.  H.

 

Ver. 17.  And.  Or “though.”  This increases their ingratitude. Filled.  Heb. “I will fill thee;” which reading few admit.  S. Jerom agrees with us.  Bert. Prot. (16.) “the haters of the Lord should have submitted (marginal note, lied) to him; but their time should have endured for ever.  (17) He should have fed them, (v rather signifies “him,” H.) also with the finest of wheat, and with honey out of the rock, should I have satisfied thee.”  This sudden change seems rather abrupt, though God may have spoken either in the first or third person, from v. 6.  H. Rock.  He fed them in the desert with manna, and the water seemed most delicious, as they were thirsty; unless he speaks of real honey.  M. The promised land was very fruitful; but all this prefigured the favours which God bestows upon his servants, in the blessed Eucharist, 1 Cor. x. 4.  C. How many, like Judas, partake of them, and prove faithless!  S. Aug.

PSALM 81

PSALM LXXXI.  (DEUS STETIT.)

An exhortation to judges and men in power.

Ver. 1.  Asaph.  Josaphat gave the like instructions to his judges, 2 Par. xix. 6.  Kimchi.  C. God rejected the Jews in the preceding psalm, and here the reason is assigned.  Theodoret. Congregation, or church of the Jews, who were gathered together like cattle, and sought after temporal advantages (S. Aug. in Ps. lxxii. 23.) alone.  Catec.  Trid.  Symb. This is not exactly true of all, (Heb. xi. 14.) though it might be of the people in general, who seldom raised their thoughts to spiritual delights.  H. Of gods.  Heb. “of God,” who presides in his own council, and gives authority to others.  Amama. Yet Syr. has, “the angels;” Chal. “the just;” Prot. “the mighty;” and Aquila, “the powerful ones.”  H. Gods here are put for judges, who act in God’s name.  Deut. i. 17.  Ex. xxii. 28.  To decide affairs of consequence, the priests and other judges met in the temple; and the Romans did the like, each senator offering incense and wine to the god who was honoured in that place.  Suet. in Aug. xxxv.  C. All magistrates ought to be equally careful in what they determine, as if they heard God present giving them the following instructions.  W. Judgeth gods, or “God, our Saviour, is judged.”  Houbig. This bringeth on the reprobation of the Jews, v. 5. &c.  Bert.

Ver. 2.  Wicked.  Contrary to the law.  Deut. i. 17.  Lev. xix. 15.

 

Ver. 3.  Do justice.  This is the sense of justificate, “justify,” as the poor must not be screened from justice, any more than the rich.  H. They are in greater danger of being neglected.  Is. i. 23.  Jer. v. 28.  H.

 

Ver. 5.  Moved.  The ignorance, inapplication, and injustice of those in power overturn the state, which is supported by justice.  Prov. xiv. 34.  They draw down God’s curse upon the land, (S. Jer.  C.) and expose it to all the miseries of anarchy.  This regards pastors also.  Bert. By gross ignorance judges walk in darkness, and throw all into confusion.

 

Ver. 6.  Gods.  The people look upon you as such, and treat you with respect.  But entertain not sentiments of pride on that account.  C. If judges, even those whom God condemns, may be styled gods without blasphemy, how much more might Jesus Christ, who was holy and did the works of God?  He uses this argument to make the fury of the people abate: but then he continues to prove that he was God in a very different and proper sense, insomuch that the Jews, clearly perceiving his meaning, which Socinians would now mistake, took up stones to throw at him.  Jo. x. 34.  H. If he had not been God, He would surely have told them plainly, as S. Paul did when people would have offered sacrifice to him, and as S. John Baptist confessed that he was not the Christ.  The sons of Seth, priests, the just, and all the Israelites, were styled sons of God, as well as the angels and judges.  Gen. vi. 2.  Ps. xxviii. 1.  Wisd. v. 5.  Job i. 6.  But no individual is called the Son, except Jesus Christ the true God.  Bert. This passage may be understood of all the faithful, (S. Aug.) particularly of bishops: and Constantine the Great was hence deterred from judging them (S. Greg. i. dec. Grat. p. 2. c. 11. q. 1.) or the clergy; (S. Melchiades. c. 12. q. 1.) though this name seems inaccurate, as the died before (Glossa) the council of Nice.  Amama restrains the text to men in power.  H. Their elevated station make their ignorance and misconduct less excusable.  M.

 

Ver. 7.  Men.  Heb. Adam, or “like a man” (Mont.  H.) of the meanest rank. Princes.  Among men, (C.) or like Lucifer, the first of the rebel angels.  Euseb.  S. Just. dial. Most tyrants come to a miserable end.  M. At death, judges themselves are brought to the bar, and their case is then more terrible, as the mighty in guilt shall suffer more.  Wisd. vi.  W. They are forced to taste od death; while Jesus Christ was master of it.  Jo. x. 17. 28.  This comparison evinces Christ’s divinity.  But Socinians blind themselves by looking at the sun, and attempting to fathom all by the weak light of reason.  Bert.

 

Ver. 8.  Nations.  Those whom thou hast appointed judges, prevaricate.  Gen. xviii. 25.  C. Come, therefore, thyself, Lord Jesus, (Apoc. xxii. 20.) to whom all nations were promised for an inheritance.  Bert.  Ps. ii. 7. His appearance at the last day is described in the 49th psalm; and most of the Fathers here discover a clear prediction of the conversion of the Gentiles.  C.

PSALM 82

PSALM LXXXII.  (DEUS QUIS SIMILIS.)

A prayer against the enemies of God’s Church.

Ver. 1.  Asaph.  This psalm alludes to the wars of David, (2 K. viii.  Bert.) against Ammon, (Bos.) or of the Jews returned from captivity, (2 Esd. iv.  Ezec. xxxviii.  Theod.) or of the Machabees; (1 Mac. v. and 2 Mac. x.  Bell.) or rather of Josaphat.  2 Par. xx.  Kimchi.  Hammond.  C. All in danger are taught to have recourse to God.  Bert.

Ver. 2.  To thee?  Heb. “be not silent to thyself.”  Pagn. But domi also implies “like;” (Bell.) and there would otherwise be a sort of tautology.  Bert. Christ on earth was like other men: but when he shall come to judgment, non will be comparable to Him.  S. Aug. Amama says this exposition is groundless: but others are of a contrary opinion.  H. The ancient Greek interpreters seem not to have varied from the Sept. though S. Jerom adopts the present Heb. “be not silent.  Hold,” &c. which may express the utmost fervour and want of protection.  Thy own cause is now at stake: the enemy wishes to destroy religion.  C.

 

Ver. 3.  Noise.  Like the boisterous ocean.  H. Head.  To revolt, 4 K. iii. 9. and 2 Par. xx.

 

Ver. 4.  Saints.  Heb. “hidden ones;” (Prot.  H.) the people under God’s protection, (M.  Bert.) or the treasures of the temple.  C.

 

Ver. 5.  Nation.  That there may be no more of this religion, or Catholics.  W. Israel delighted most in being styled the chosen nation of God.  Bert.

 

Ver. 7.  Agarenes descended from Agar, though they took the name of Saracens, as if they had sprung from Sara, (W.) or they dwelt at Agra, otherwise called Petra, in Arabia; or on the east of Galaad, 1 Par. v. 10.  C.

 

Ver. 9.  Assyrian, or “Assur,” sprung from Dedan, (Gen. xxv. 3.) and dwelt near the Ammonites.  C. Come.  Heb. “an arm to,” &c.  H. All infidels conspire against Catholics, (W.) and are will to forget their private quarrels.  H.

Ver. 10.  Madian: 120,000 of whom were defeated by Gedeon with 300 men, (H.  Judg. vii.) as Sisara was routed by Debora, at Cisson, and slain by Jahel.  ib. iv. C.

Ver. 11.  Endor.  Near this place the Madianites fell upon one another. All their princes of Madian, (C.) or treat all the princes of the people, who now attack us, like them.  M. Both senses are good.  Bert.

Ver. 15.  Mountains.  The prayer or prediction was not in vain.  The enemies of Josaphat, (2 Par. xx. 11. 24.  C.) and of David, &c. were destroyed.  H. The trees on the mountains, (M.) or the mountain itself, might burn like Etna and Vesuvius.  Geneb. The destruction of the wicked is thus described.  W.

 

Ver. 16.  Tempest.  During the night, a tempest probably arose, which threw the enemy into confusion, who supposing that the Israelites had broken into the camp, fell upon each other in the dark.  C. S. Paul reminds us of God’s indignation, which Christians as well as Jews ought to dread.  Heb. xii. 25. 29.  Deut. iv. 24.  Bert.

 

Ver. 17.  Name.  This was the desire of the prophet; (S. Jer.  C.  Bert.) and for this end, God sends afflictions.  The impenitent must perish for ever, v. 18.  W.

 

Ver. 19.  Lord.  He who is.  Ex. iii. 14. and vi. 3.  W. The name of the Lord is Himself.  Bert.

PSALM 83

PSALM LXXXIII.  (QUAM DILECTA.)

The soul aspireth after heaven: rejoicing, in the mean time, in being in the communion of God’s Church upon earth.

Ver. 1.  Core.  See Ps. viii. xli. and lxxx.  H. The Corites were musicians, as well as porters in the temple, 1 Par. xxvi.  They here represent the faithful upon earth, (S. Aug.  W.) who sigh after the heavenly Sion.  David was animated with these sentiments, more than with the desire of revisiting Jerusalem, during the revolt of his son.  Bert. This psalm might have been written by him under the persecution of Saul, (Grot.) or it may refer to the captives.  Theod.  C. Yet, at those times, the tabernacle was not subsisting on Sion, as it seem to have been when this beautiful piece was composed.  Bert. The Jews are said to recite it every night, in hopes of seeing Jerusalem rebuilt, and it might very well be used by all Israelites, when they went to celebrate the three great festivals.  C.

Ver. 3.  Fainteth.  The eager desire of heaven sometimes deprives people of external satisfaction, and the body partakes of the inward joy.  W. Living.  The idols of Babylon have no life.  Euseb.

 

Ver. 4.  Turtle.  Moderns prefer to render “swallows,” without reason.  Bochart. Thy altars.  They can rest in the ruins of the temple; (Kimchi.  Muis.) but in that supposition, the altars were destroyed.  H. It seems rather that this is an exclamation, (Bert.) which the enraptured psalmist is unable to conclude, giving us to understand that he desired his asylum and place of rest to be near God’s altars, (H.) with the angels above.  Is. vi.  W. The faithful soul seeks to dwell in heaven, and in the mean time keeps in the Catholic Church, laying up store of good works.  For, out of it, whatever good pagans and heretics may seem to do, by feeding the hungry, &c. as these things are not laid in the next, they will be trodden under foot, conculcabuntur.  S. Aug.  W.

 

Ver. 6.  In his heart, he disposed to ascend by steps, &c. ascensiones in corde suo disposuit.  As by steps men ascends toward the eternal temple by certain steps of virtue disposed or ordered within the heart.  And this whilst he lives as yet in the body, in this vale of tears, the place which man hath set: that is, which he hath brought himself to: being cast out of paradise for his sin.  Ch. There is no standing still.  “As the saint daily advances, so the sinner daily decreases.”  S. Jer.  C. Heb. of these three following verses is variously rendered.  The Sept. are the most ancient, and very exact.  Bert. Heart.  “The more you  love, the higher will you ascend.”  S. Aug. Heb. “the paths are in his heart.  Passing in the vale of tears, they shall place (or deem) it a fountain.  The teacher shall be clothed with benediction.  They shall go from strength to strength: they shall appear before God in Sion.”  S. Jer.  H. Three words occasion the difference: abri, “passing,” means also, “disposing.”  Sept. have only used it as a singular, to agree with man, Main, “a fountain,” may have been read maun, “for the place.” Al, means, “the God,” and “to.”  Bert. Amama says the points are different.  But we have often shewn the futility of that objection; which might regulate the versions of the Masorets, but could have no influence on those who lived many ages before their invention.  They are neglected here by the authors of Prin. disc. “the God almighty shall appear in Sion.”  H.

 

Ver. 7.  Tears.  Prot. “Baca.”  Marg. “of mulberry-trees,” near Jerusalem.  Judg. ii. 5.  1 K. v. 23.  H. It was perhaps used proverbially for any dry place.  The Lord had promised to relieve the captives with water.  Is. xxxv. 5. &c.  C. Place.  The temple or tabernacle, (H.) which the Lord hath appointed.  C.

 

Ver. 8.  Blessing.  Abundance of water, and other necessaries, (2 Cor. ix. 6.) as well as (H.) spiritual graces, which help those who continue in the true Church to arrive at the vision of God.  W. Virtue, or “company,” in which manner the Israelites went to the temple.  C. God.  And not merely the temple, &c. as here on earth.  M.

 

Ver. 10.  Christ.  Chal. “the Messias,” (Bert.) through whom we address all our petitions.  W. Protect thy people, (S. Jer.) and raise up the throne of David.  C.

Ver. 11.  Thousands elsewhere, (C.) among sinners.  He is so much affected, as to leave the sentence imperfect, v. 4.  But the meaning is clear.  Temporal must yield to eternal happiness.  Eternity is all as one point: it has no division of time, which has a thousand parts.  H. Heaven is represented as a palace, (Bert.) in which the blessed enjoy perpetual felicity.  H. With respect to future rewards, one day in the Church is better than thousands out of it.  W.  v. 4. Abject.  Prot. “door-keeper.”  Marg. “on the threshold.”  H. This was the office of the Corites, (C.) and they prefer it before the finest occupations among sinners.  Heb. “the tents of wickedness.”  H. The poorest condition in the Catholic Church, is better than the highest dignities which the wicked can bestow.  W. Indeed poverty, and attention to God’s service, is the most secure road to heaven, and gives even present content to those who are actuated by the divine spirit.  H.

Ver. 12.  Truth.  He is merciful, and always performs what he has promised: (M.) whereas sinners are noted for cruelty and deceit.  Heb. “the Lord God is a sun and shield.”  H. This sense is very good.  But Theodotion agrees with the Sept. who have read differently, unless they have substituted the thing signified for the figure.  Bert. Glory, in the next world, (W.) or even in this.  He will restore us to happiness, and cause even our persecutors to esteem us.  C. Donator est indulgentiæ, debitor coronæ…promittendo.  S. Aug.

 

Ver. 13.  Innocence.  After the remission of sin.  W.

PSALM 84

PSALM LXXXIV.  (BENEDIXISTI DOMINE.)

The coming of Christ, to bring peace and salvation to man.

Ver. 1.  Psalm.  It resembles the 66th, and seems to have been sung when the first-fruits were brought to the temple.  Most people explain it of the captives delivered, (Theod.  Du Pin) and of Christ’s redemption.  Euseb.  S. Aug.  C. David foresaw the afflictions and captivity of his people; and was aware of the miseries of mankind, to be removed by the Messias alone.  Bert.

Ver. 2.  Blessed.  Heb. “taken into favour,” or “hast rendered fruitful.”  Judea.  C. God had bestowed many benefits upon his people, rescuing them from the Egyptian bondage, and not punishing them as much as they deserved.  W. Others explain it of the captivity at Babylon, or under the devil.  M. David speaks of the former event by the prophetic spirit, and the latter misfortune was always deplorable, and to be terminated only by the Messias.  Bert. The redemption of man was prefigured by the liberation of the Jews.  D.

 

Ver. 5.  Convert.  Bring back the remnant of thy people, dispersed through the world.  Only a few returned under Cyrus; the rest came back by degrees principally during the reigns of Hystaspes and Alexander the Great.  C.  Diss. While we continue unconverted, we are objects of God’s wrath.  Bert.  Lam. v. 21. Our Saviour.  Sept. “of our salvations.”  S. Jer.  “our Jesus.”  H. Saviour of mankind, mitigate thy wrath against us.  W.

 

Ver. 6.  Ever.  The Pythagoreans settled their differences before sunset.  Plut. “Cherish not, mortals, an immortal wrath.”  Arist. Rhet. ii. 21.  H. As long, O God, as we see not our brethren restored, we shall think that thou art not perfectly reconciled us.  C.

 

Ver. 7.  Turn, conversus.  The ancient psalters read convertens.  “Converting, O God, thou wilt bring us to life,” free us from captivity, and redeem us from sin by Jesus Christ, the conqueror of death.  C. Before their conversion sinners lie dead in guilt.  W. O God, thou wilt again restore us to life.  D.

 

Ver. 8.  Salvation.  By Cyrus, or rather by the Messias, whose time drew near.  C.

 

Ver. 9.  Hear.  Hitherto the prophet had been distracted by the thought of his people’s misery.  S. Aug. In me, is not expressed in Heb. Heart.  Some of the ancients add, “to him.”  C. The Sept. seem to have had a copy different from the present Heb. “But let them not turn again to folly;” (Prot.  H.) though the sense is much the same.  They may have read lobom lie, “their heart to God,” (Bert.) or lobsle, (C.) “the heart, Sela;” instead of lecisla, “to folly.”  H. Those Israelites who had given away to idolatry, were little inclined to return to their own country, at the invitation of Cyrus.  Though Christ came to save all, only men of good will obtained his peace.  Lu. ii. 4.  Jo. i. 5.  C. There is no peace for the wicked.  Is. xlviii. 22.  Phil. iv. 9.  Bert. The redemption of the world was here revealed.  W.  M.

Ver. 10.  Land.  After the captivity, Judea flourished by degrees.  But the glory of the second temple consisted in the presence of the Messias.  Agg. ii. 8.  C. Those who were moved with godly fear, embraced the gospel, in order to be saved, while many rejected it through their own fault.  W.

Ver. 11.  Kissed.  Or, “embraced,” like friends, as the ancient psalters read.  The people practised these virtues after the captivity, and more particularly in the Church of Christ.  C. At the time appointed, He reconciled sinners to his Father, having satisfied his justice, (Bert.) and displayed his own mercy.  M. Thus justice is strictly observed, and peace made between God and man.  W. The justice of the Father and the mercy of the Son kiss each other.  D.  H.

Ver. 12.  Earth.  Good men preserve a clear conscience.  W. Virtues of every description (M.) are become common among God’s people, (C.) particularly Christians, though our Saviour may here be styled justice.  M. He was born of a pure virgin.  S. Jer.  Lyran. Jam redit et virgo; redeunt saturnia regna.  Virg. Ec. iv.  H.

 

Ver. 13.  Fruit.  By imitation, (C.) “we may give birth to Jesus Christ,” says S. Jerom.  God bestows grace, and so men yield fruit.  W.

 

Ver. 14.  Him.  The holy Baptist shall prepare the way of the Lord.  Lyr.  Muis. Heb. “each one’s justice,” &c.  Sym. After the captivity religion shall reign.  If we wish to enter heaven, we must follow virtue.  C.

PSALM 85

PSALM LXXXV.  (INCLINA DOMINE.)

A prayer for God’s grace to assist us to the end.

Ver. 1.  David.  He might compose this psalm under any affliction, though prayer is always necessary (Bert.) for any person.  W. Others apply it to Ezechias, (Theodoret) the captives, or the Church.  C. Jesus Christ prays during his passion, and foretells his resurrection, and the vocation of the Gentiles.  S. Aug. Needy.  Heb. “mild or afflicted.”  Humility is requisite to pray well, as those who think themselves rich, ask not with fervour.  C. God “inclines his ear if thou dost not lift up thy neck.”  S. Aug.

Ver. 2.  I am holy.  I am by my office and profession dedicated to thy service, (Ch.) as a Levite, (C.) or a member of the true Church.  H. He may also speak in the person of Christ, who prays for us and in us.  D. Syr. and Arab. read, “thou art good.”  C. Our necessities, firm purposes of leading a virtuous life, and confidence in God, move him to shew mercy.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  Soul.  I ardently desire to serve in thy temple.  Jer. xxii. 27.  A holy importunity, (Lu. xviii. 2.  Tert. Apol. 39.  C.) and fervour in prayer, (H.) with perseverance, attention, and a sense of God’s infinite perfections, are requisite.  W.

 

Ver. 7.  Heard me.  This gives me confidence that thou wilt do it again.  H. Thou art not like senseless idols.  C.

 

Ver. 8.  Gods, which have been set up by men; or among angels, &c. (C.) capable of working miracles by an independent power.  H.

 

Ver. 9.  Name.  This was partly verified after the captivity, and fully when the gospel was preached.  C. The Gentiles came by faith, and glorified God by good works.  Matt. v. 17.  W.

Ver. 10.  Alone.  Sept. Vat. Arab. &c. add, “the great.”  C.  Acts xvii. 24.

Ver. 11.  Truth.  Let me see the justice of thy conduct in suffering the wicked  to prosper, (Ps. lxxii. 17.) or let me invariably observe thy holy law, which alone can give me true content. Rejoice.  Hebrew, as we read at present, “likewise fear,” (C.) “unite,” (Mont.) or “let my heart be one,” solitary, disengaged from all, unicum, (S. Jer.) “to fear,” &c.  C. This sense is very good.  But yached, means also rejoice.  Bert. Our joy must be mixed with fear.  D.

Ver. 13.  Hell of the damned, (W.) according to the Fathers: or out of captivity and dangers.  Bert. If it be understood of Christ, it must refer to limbo.  Bell.  M. It seems equivalent to the lower pit.  Ps. lxxxvii. 7.  H. The Jews admit seven regions in hell, (Geneb.) and our theologians four: 1. Of the damned; 2. of unbaptized infants; 3. of purgatory; and 4. of the saints in Abraham’s bosom.  S. Aug. mentions the first and last here: but he speaks clearly of purgatory in other places.  De Gen. con. Manch. ii. 17. in Ps. vi.  C. David was rescued from the most imminent dangers, and Christ came out of limbo, (Ps. xv. 10.  D.) by his own power.  H.

 

Ver. 14.  Eyes.  The Babylonians oppress us most unjustly.  C.

 

Ver. 15.  True.  This title is also applied to Christ, who, of course, is God; since every man is liable to mistake.  Rom. iii. 4.  Apoc. xix. 1.  God authorized Moses and the prophets to address Him, as the psalmist does.  Ex. xxxiv. 6.  Joel ii. 13.  Bert.

 

Ver. 16.  Command.  Heb. “strength,” (H.) to resist the enemy.  M. Order me as thou pleasest: I am entirely devoted to thee from my very birth.  Ps. cxv. 16.  Restore the throne of David.  C. The prophets frequently thus turn to the Church, the kingdom of the Messias, who was born of the handmaid of the Lord.  W.

 

Ver. 17.  Good.  Mark me for thy slave, (C.) which will be the highest honour.  H. Give me such a sign as the angel did when he was going to destroy the first-born of Egypt.  S. Athan. By some prodigy convince our oppressors that there is a God.  C.  Bert. The resurrection, prefigured by Jonas, was the great proof of Christ and his Church; and this serves either for the conversion or for the condemnation of mankind.  See S. Aug.  W.

Quod precor eveniet, sunt certa oracula vatum,

                        Nam Deus optanti prospera signa dedit.  Ovid. 2 de Ponto 1.

Comforted.  S. Cyprian was in sorrow while suffering, but was comforted when crowned.  “All the martyrs, with Christ, pray for us.”  S. Aug.  D.

PSALM 86

PSALM LXXXVI.  (FUNDAMENTA EJUS.)

The glory of the Church of Christ.

Ver. 1.  Mountains.  So far the Jews extend the title, supposing that the subject of this canticle was concerning Sion, Moria, &c.  Others think that, thereof, refers to a part of the psalm which has been lost, (C.) or to the temple or city which occupied the prophet’s thoughts; or it is sufficiently explained by the word Sion, which follows, as the relative sometimes comes first.  D.  See Prov. xiv. 3. This psalm might be composed (Bert.) by some of the Corites, during, or after the captivity, when Jerusalem received strangers within her walls, as a figure of the Christian Church; (Is. ii. 2.  Zac. viii. 20.  C.) or David (Bert.) might write it when he had removed the ark to Sion, which was to be the seat of the true religion.  Ferrand. Mountains.  The apostles and prophets; (Eph. ii. 20.  Ch.) on which the Church is founded.  H. The city was styled holy, from the temple built on Moria.  Several other mountains were included within its walls.  C.

Ver. 2.  Jacob.  Jerusalem belonged to some of his children.  Hence the psalmist clearly speaks of something better, even of the Church of Christ, (Bert.) which God has chosen for his spouse, having abandoned the synagogue, (Apoc. xxi. 9.  C.) which was only intended to be a pedagogue.  H.

 

Ver. 4.  Rahab.  Egypt, &c.  To this Sion, which is the Church of God, many shall resort from all nations.  Ch. Christ gives his apostles command to preach to all.  Matt. xxviii.  Lu. xxiv. 27.  W. Some have supposed that Rahab, who received the spies, is here put, to signify the Chanaanites.  But her name is written Réb; and the word before us is Rahab, (H.) signifying “pride,” (M.) or Egypt; particularly the Delta, which is still called Rib.  C. Me.  I will receive into my Church not only the Jews, but also the most abandoned nations.  H. Foreigners.  Philistines.  Ps. lxxxii. 8.  M. Were.  Heb. “this man was born there.”  H. In Christ there is no distinction of nations.  Rom. x. 12.  The Jews will never shew us the completion of this prophecy any where but in the Church.  C. It is spoken of as past, to denote the certainty of the event.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  Shall not Sion say, &c.  The meaning is, that Sion, viz. the Church, shall not only be able to commemorate this or that particular person of renown born in her, but also to glory in great multitudes of people and princes, of her communion; who have been foretold in the writings of the prophets, and registered in the writings of the apostles.  Ch. We might also translate, “shall it not be said of Sion?”  W. Some may have read dicetur, instead of dicet.  “Shall not a man say to Sion, yea, a man is born in her?”  H. Sept. have, “mother,” mhtrh, which S. Jerom says should be mhti, shall not.  Other nations may have produced some great men.  But Sion has given birth to the Man God, who was brought into the world in its vicinity, and preached and rose again there.  Bert. She has had many heroes, and has been founded by the Highest.  M. Christ, both God and man, is the builder of his Church, and people, in admiration, recount how many great personages have embraced her communion.  W. The baptist, a man sent by God, announced the Messias; who, according to his humanity, was born of a virgin, among the people of Sion; while, by his divine nature, He was the most High.  Carthus.  Bell.  See Amama. Sion, or Jerusalem, shall be the mother of an infinite multitude, (Is. xlix. 18.) the metropolis of Judea.  Sept. Arab. &c. read, “mother,” in this sense.  People deemed it an honour to be born there.  C. Christ “became man for our sakes, being God before us.  How do we know this?  The Lord has told us in the writings of peoples.”  S. Aug.  D.

 

Ver. 6.  Writings.  He alone can number the inhabitants: or He will enroll all nations as citizens of Sion.  C. The New Testament explains the vocation of the Gentiles, and the incarnation of Christ.  Bert. The Scriptures are the books of all mankind, as well as of princes.  All are equally interested in their contents, and ought to become acquainted with them.  Heb. “the Lord has numbered, writing down peoples: He was born in it for ever.”  S. Jer. This refers to Jesus Christ, whose birth is also specified in the preceding verse, (Bert.) as ennobling Sion, far more than that of Home, Alexander, or Cæsar could do any of the pagan cities, Egypt, &c. v. 4.  H. The mystery of the incarnation will shine forth at the last day, as well as the glory of the elect.  But these things are already consigned in part to all nations, in the writings of the apostles, (Bert.) and in ecclesiastical history.  M. Princes, is not here in Heb.  Bert.

 

Ver. 7.  The dwelling, &c.  Heb. “the singers, like people dancing, (for joy) all my fountains are in thee.”  S. Jerom reads, “strong ones,” and (H.) others, “my thoughts,” instead of “fountains;” which shews that they have read differently.  Vesharim, may signify and princes, taken from the line above, though of this we ought to have some proofs from MSS. &c.  Bert. The authority of the Sept. may perhaps suffice, (H.) as they have read more correctly máuni, “habitation,” rather than mahyanai, as we have at present.  Bert. If we adopt this sense, (H.) the fountains may denote the nations which shall spring from Sion.  Ps. lxvii. 27.  Hammond. All the inhabitants shall be filled with joy in the heavenly Jerusalem.  Apoc. xvii. 15.  C. This short, but difficult psalm, allegorically describes the mystery of Christ, and of the Church.  Bert. Catholics may taste pure delights, having peace of conscience, &c.  But the blessed enjoy the most perfect content in the Church triumphant.  W.  M.

PSALM 87

PSALM LXXXVII.  (DOMINE DEUS SALUTIS.)

A prayer of one under grievous affliction: it agrees to Christ in his passion, and allude to his death and burial.

Ver. 1.  Maheleth.  A musical instrument, or chorus of musicians, to answer one another, (Ch.) in doleful music.  W. See Ps. xli. and lii.  M. Heb. may imply, “on infirmity, (Mont.) or sorrow,” from ele.  Bert. The subject is very mournful, and relates to the captives, and to Christ’s suffering.  C. Understanding.  Or a psalm of instruction, composed by Eman, the Ezrahite, or by David, in his name.  Ch. We read of Eman, a descendant of Juda by Zara, (1 Par. ii. 6.  C.) and if he composed this piece, as the Jews and Lightfoot improbably suppose, it must be the most ancient (C.) writing extant.  H. There was a son of Joel, and a seer of king David, of the same name.  1 Par. vi. 33. and xxv. 1.  But they are not styled Ezrahites.  This person was probably the brother of Ethan, the Ezrahite, who might be young under David, and a man of consummate wisdom under his successor.  3 K. iv. 31.  The psalm may express the sentiments of David, or of any other under tribulation, as well as those of Jesus Christ, (Bert.) who speaks herein, (Houbigant) and who expects that we should answer him by an imitation of his virtues.  S. Aug.  W. The Ezrahite.  Heb. haezrachi.  H. Sept. &c. read incorrectly, “Israelite,” (C.) and some copies have “Aitham,” or Ethan, as in the following psalm, instead of Eman.  H.

Ver. 2.  Thee.  The psalm 21st is nearly similar to this.  My prayer is continual.  C.

 

Ver. 3.  Prayer.  It represented as a person prostrated before God.  Homer (Iliad ix.) says, that “supplications are the daughters of Jupiter, lame…with the eyes downcast, and following after injuries,” which admirably shews the conditions requisite for prayer.  C.

 

Ver. 4.  Hell.  The grave, or captivity.  C. Our Saviour said, My soul is sorrowful unto death.  David, Jeremias, or the captives, were not reduced to this extremity.  Bert.

 

Ver. 5.  Pit.  Like a  slave confined every night in prison.  Ex. xii. 29.

 

Ver. 6.  Free.  Heb. also “separated” from society.  4 K. xv. 5. and 2 Par. xxvi. 21.  C. Christ, after enduring the greatest miseries was still free.  He could resign his life, and take it up again.  Jo. x. 18.  H. The Fathers adopt this explanation, which is very striking.  C. Hand.  Thou actest as if thou hadst forgotten the corpse in the dust, till the time of the resurrection.  S. Aug.  Bert. In the mean while, those who formerly made such a noise in the world, are effaced from the book of life, or from God’s register.  He is often represented as a great monarch, keeping an account of his troops.  C. He cannot forget any of  his creatures, (Bert.) though he may not restore them to life as yet.  M. Christ possessed infinite power among the dead, (W.) who are free from the cares of this world.  M.

 

Ver. 7.  They.  Heb. “thou hast.” Shadow.  Heb. “in the depths,” seem to have read a, v, and m, in those two places, which are now wanting.  Houbig. The Chal. has, the shadow of death, as well as the Vulg.  All this regards Jesus Christ, though it may be applied to any in distress.  Bert. The wicked endeavour to kill the soul by sin, as well as the body.  W. Great difficulties entangle the psalmist: Christ descends into hell.  M.

 

Ver. 8.  Waves.  Of afflictions.  Christ bore our iniquities.  H.

 

Ver. 9.  Delivered up, to prison.  Bert. The disciples abandoned our Saviour; S. Peter, with a curse, denied that he ever knew him, (Mar. xiv. 71.  H.) and Judas betrayed him.  It is not so easy to explain this of the captives in general, though it might refer to the psalmist.  C. At Babylon, the Israelites were not imprisoned, but left to multiply.  Jer. xxix. 5.  Bert.

Ver. 10.  Poverty.  Or “affliction.”  Sym. To thee, for aid, (Ps. xxvii. 2.) or to implore pardon for sinners.  Thus Jesus prayed for us on the cross, (C.) with his hands stretched out ready to receive the penitent.  H. Sept. have read rupaim ikimu for ropaim ikumu, “shall the dead arise?”  Amama.

Ver. 11.  Physicians.  S. Jer. “will the giants rise again?”  H. These were heroes of great renown.  C. But they were consigned to hell, whence there was no redemption.  Job xxv. 5.  Prov. ix. The author insinuates that if the true adorers be cut off, God’s external glory will be diminished.  H. This argument is often pressed.  Is. xxxviii.  Ps. cxiii. Rephaim (H.) denotes physicians, as well as giants.  Gen. l. 2. and 2 Par. xvii. 12.  The Thalmud sentences “the best of them to hell.”  Amama. Their power does not extend to the dead.  Bert. The psalmist prays to be preserved from death, not expecting to be raised again miraculously.  W. Yet Christ contemplates his future glorious resurrection.  H.

Ver. 13.  Of, &c.  Sept. “forgotten land.”  Securos latices & longa oblivia potant.  Æn. vi.  C. When dead, I shall not be able to sound forth thy praises before men: much less shall those do it, who are confined to the regions of darkness.  W.

 

Ver. 15.  Prayer.  Some copies of the Sept. read “soul,” with the Heb. &c.  C. Why dost thou neglect to grant my request, which I urge with all the earnestness of my soul?  H. This may relate to Jesus in the garden.  C. His prayer prevents, or is presented early, (M.) and with the truest fervour to the Lord, who moves us to pray.  H.

 

Ver. 16.  Exalted.  On the cross, or arrived at the years of manhood, (Bert.  W.) I have experienced the greatest contradictions.  David was brought up in poverty, like our Saviour, and the exaltation of both attested with great trials.  Bert. The life of Christ was a continual martyrdom.  M. He had all his sufferings in view from his first conception.

 

Ver. 17.  Troubled me.  The enemy has laid waste the country.  This agrees with Christ in his agony.  C. Unhappy the sinner, upon whom the wrath of God remains, (Jo. iii. 36.) and does not merely come; lit. pass, transierunt.  Bert.

 

Ver. 19.  Misery.  Heb. “darkness.”  Thou hast permitted my friends to abandon me, and hast exposed me to disgrace.  C. They were afraid lest they might be involved in my calamities, (M.) if they appeared in my defence, (H.) or seemed to know me.  D.

PSALM 88

PSALM LXXXVIII.  (MISERICORDIAS DOMINI.)

The perpetuity of the Church of Christ, in consequence of the promises of God: which notwithstanding, God permits her to suffer sometimes most grievous afflictions.

Ver. 1.  Ezrahite.  Sept. &c. “Israelite,” as in the former psalm.  The Jews think that Ethan or Eman lived during the Egyptian bondage.  But this psalm was rather composed by one of the captives at Babylon who bewails the destruction of the kingdom of Juda, under Sedecias.  After he had detailed the promises of God, (v. 39.  C.) David might write it in the person (H.) of Ethan, or Idithun.  1 Par. xxv. and 3 Kings. iv. 31.  W. Most of the Fathers explain it of Christ’s kingdom.  See Ps. cxxxi. 11.  Jer. xxxiii. 17.  C. The sceptre or administration of affairs was to continue in the tribe of Juda till his coming, as it really did, though kings were not always at the head of the people.  Bert.

Ver. 2.  The.  Sept. and Houbig. “Thy mercies, Lord.” Truth.  Notwithstanding our distress, I know thou wilt perform thy promises.  C.

 

Ver. 3.  For thou.  Heb. “I.”  Yet S. Jerom agrees with the Sept. (Bert.) though he is quoted by Calmet as conformable with Aquila, &c. Dixi. Heaven and earth shall pass away sooner than God’s word.  H. If we do not see how his promises are accompanied we must confess our ignorance, or throw the blame on the sins of the nation: but never call in question the divine mercy.  C. Truth.  I will perform what I have promised to thee.  M. The apostles, represented by the heavens, have, by their preaching, established by the Church for ever.  W. In them, is not in the Sept. S. Aug. &c.  C. Houbigant would remove Dixisti, “for thou,” &c. to v. 4.  H.

 

Ver. 4.  Elect.  Abraham, and the whole body of the people to whom the Messias had been promised.  David was assured that he should spring from his family, v. 52.  C.

 

Ver. 5.  Generation.  David’s posterity occupied the throne for a long time, (H.) and subsisted till the coming of Christ; so that if any conqueror of that family had then appeared, the Jews would not have hesitated to admit, that this prediction was fulfilled.  It is there misfortune to understand the text in this sense, whereas God spoke of the spiritual kingdom of his Son, which is to be perpetual.  They can never answer the argument which the Fathers urged in the 4th century, and which has attained fresh strength from the longer duration of misery under which the royal family of David has been depressed.  It is plain, that it has enjoyed no power from many ages, and as God’s word is invariable, He could not have promised an everlasting earthly dominion.  Bert. The temporal kingdom of David decayed at the captivity, and is now wholly destroyed.  But Christ was of this family, and established the Church, his spiritual kingdom, which shall continue unto the end.  W. His ministers exercise a power, which is founded on truth and justice.  See 2 K. vii. 9.  C.

 

Ver. 6.  Saints.  These alone, (H.) the heavens or angels, worthily proclaim thy praises.  H. Preachers announce the same in the Church, (S. Aug.) “the communion of saints,” as none are found out of her society.  H.

 

Ver. 7.  Sons.  Angels (C.) to God the Son.  None is like him.  S. Jer. Lucifer fell by aiming at it.  I will be like to the Most High.  Is. xiv. 14.

 

Ver. 8.  About.  God eclipses every created beauty.  H. The angels themselves tremble before him.  C.

 

Ver. 9.  Truth.  He often praises this attribute, as if to excuse himself for asking, why God had debased the throne of David?  C. God cannot be divested of this perfection.  D.

Ver. 10.  Power.  Heb. “pride.”  Thou canst raise a storm, or restore a calm.  C.

Ver. 11.  Proud one.  Heb. Rahab, Egypt or Pharao, Ps. lxxxvi. 4.  Is. li. 9.  C.  He alludes to the plagues inflicted on the Egyptians, &c.  W.

Ver. 13.  Sea.  Heb. “the right,” (C). which here denotes the south, (Ps. cvi. 3.  M.) as Hermon may do the east, (D.) with reference to Thabor, which lies to the west, though this seems unusual.  C.  Bert. The north, &c. more probably refers to the limits of the promised land, from Libanus to the Indian or Mediterranean sea; and from Hermon, on the north-eastern part, to Thabor, on the west.  H. These two mountains were particularly fertile, and seemed to rejoice.  Bert. They “shall praise thy name,” eufhmhsousi.  Sym.  H.

 

Ver. 14.  Might.  Others can make no resistance with all their armies.

 

Ver. 15.  Preparation.  Heb. “basis.” Face.  Like guards.  M. He extols the mercy, and still more the fidelity of God.  C. Whether he punished, or reward, all tends to promote his glory, and is perfectly just.  W.

 

Ver. 16.  Jubilation.  Heb. “how to sound the trumpet,” which was the office of priests.  They marched near the ark, as it were under the eyes of God.  C. Those who consider, and adore the ways of Providence, are blessed, (W.) and secure.  M.

 

Ver. 18.  Horn.  Power and kingdom.  W. He speaks like a virtuous Levite, who acknowledges that all good came from the Lord.  H. He cannot speak of temporal blessings alone.  Bert.

 

Ver. 19.  Israel.  The Lord our king, (1 K. viii. 7.) will protect us, (H.) or He will defend our King David, and his posterity, as he then promised to him, v. 5. 20.  These verses may be thus connected, as the psalmist had been led to praise the wonderful works of God, and now returns to his promises.  Bert.

Ver. 20.  Then, may relate to a distant time, when God chose Israel.  M. Saints.  Heb. “merciful ones.”  Samuel, or Nathan, Sept. Arab. &c. have “sons.”  The rest read “saints.”  S. Jer. People.  As Moses had written.  Deut. xvii. 15.  C. This regards David, as a figure of the Messias, (Lu. i. 32.  Ezec. xxxiv. 23.  Bert.) in whom it was more fully verified, 2 K. v.  Acts xiii. 22.  W.

Ver. 21.  Oil.  Sept. Vat. has, “mercy,” and is followed by S. Jerom in Ezec. lv. 3.  C. But is a mistake, eleei being put for elaiw.  Bert.

Ver. 23.  Him.  The Jews contributed to the glory of Christ, and the redemption of mankind.  The enemies of David fell before his feet.  C.

 

Ver. 26.  Rivers.  Of his kingdom there shall be no end.  Lu. i. 33.  Zac. ix. 10.  H. Every nation shall adore him.  David extended his conquests over all Arabia, and from the Pelusium to the Euphrates.  C. In this sense, the text may be applied to him, though it belongs more to Christ.  M.

 

Ver. 27.  Father.  We never find that David used this title; (D.) but Christ did frequently, insomuch that the Jews were convinced, that he claimed the divine nature: though, as man, he called God his support.  Bert.  Is. lxiii. 16.

 

Ver. 28.  First-born.  Or favourite.  Ex. iv. 22. and Jer. xxxi. 9.  What king could be preferred to David for piety, riches, &c.?  Yet he was only a feeble type of our Saviour, who surpasses all kings, as much as the reality does a shadow.  C.  Col. i. 15.  Rom. viii. 29.  Apoc. i. 5.  Bert. High.  Heb. helyon, which is one of the titles of God, and belongs to Christ, (H.) who is King of kings, and heir of all.  Heb. i.  M.

 

Ver. 30.  Heaven.  This can only be verified in Christ, who rules over all, and gives power to his Church unto the end.  The family of David has been confounded with the rest of the nation for nearly 2,000 years.  C. The temporal dominion of those princes has ceased in Jechonias, (D.) like that of other monarchs; so that God had in view a different throne, (Bert.  v. 5.) and the Messias, who would render the kingdom of David perpetual, (M.) in a spiritual sense.  H.

Ver. 31.  And if.  God foresaw the prevarications of the Israelites and Christians: But he speaks this to shew their free-will, and that he would treat them as children, (Bert.) and not with the utmost severity, (C.) unless they proved obstinate.  2 K. vii. 14.  H. Some shall always continue faithful, and shall be glorified, while the bad shall be cast away.  S. Aug. Christ will never lose his Church.  W.

Ver. 34.  From him.  David.  Many ancient psalters read, “from them.”  C. God, by degrees, punished the Jews, by depriving them of their kings; though the family of David was preserved, and some share of power remained till Christ’s coming.  Bert.

 

Ver. 36.  Holiness. Or by myself , having nothing greater.  Heb. vi. 13.  C. I will not.  Lit. “if I lie,” which is a Heb. idiom, (Bert.) implying as much. W. I have sworn irrecoverably, once for all.  M.

 

Ver. 38.  Witness.  Which may refer to the throne, or to the sun, (C.) or to the rainbow.  Bert.  D. As long as the stars subsist, so long shall his throne be established.  C.  The Church shines like the sun, and is easily known.  Bert. God, (Euseb.) or Christ, attests the promises.  S. Jer.  Is. lv. 4.  Apoc. i. 5. The rainbow was assigned as a memorial, that the world should no more be drowned.  Gen. ix.  The other covenants made God  have no less stability.  H. Christian souls may shine in virtue, like the sun, or full moon, (W.) particularly (H.) after the resurrection, when they will be perfect, and not liable to change.  S. Aug.

 

Ver. 39.  Rejected.  In all kingdoms, there are some interruptions, and God did not fail in his promises.  He still maintained the sceptre in Juda, though not with the same splendour at all times.  Bert. Angry.  Or Lit. “hast deferred.”  Distulisti.  H. The Israelites ardently wished for the coming of the Messias.  The psalmist here contrasts the present forlorn condition of the people with the preceding promises; and bewails the fate of Sedecias, who was slain at a distance from home.  Distulisti.  See Ps. lxxvii. 21. and lxii.  C. Thou hast been angry with thy Christ, (king Sedecias) and even with our Redeemer, in some sense, (C.) as He was treated thus, in consequence of the sins of mankind.  Euseb. &c. The promises were not fulfilled in David, that we may look farther.  Solomon seemed to answer all his expectations.  But he fell, and God had not him but Christ in view.  The kingdom and sacrifices of the Jews are no more.  Christ was not taken from them, but deferred.  Some Jews and many Gentiles believed in him, v. 47. &c.  S. Aug.  W. Anointed.  Thou hast despised us, and delayed the coming of the Messias.  We cannot accuse the psalmist of impatience, as a late commentator has done, his words being dictated by the Holy Ghost.  He expostulates with love and confidence, (Bert.) and comforts himself with the thought, that the coming of the Messias is only delayed.  W.

Ver. 40.  Overthrown the covenant, &c.  All this seems to relate to the time of the captivity of Babylon, in which, for the sins of the people and their princes, God seemed to have set aside for a while the covenant he made with David.  Ch. Yet he did not in effect, v. 39.  H. Sanctuary.  The temple, (Theod.) or according to the Heb. “the diadem,” by which the king was “set apart” from the common people, and rendered sacred.  Ps. cxxxi. 18.  Bert. The psalmist speaks in the person of the weak, who complained, (W.) that the kingdom ws a prey to invaders, and the Church oppressed by infidels.  W.  T.

Ver. 41.  Fear.  All this forts can afford no refuge.  The country is like an abandoned vineyard.  The Assyrians and Chaldees have ruined it, and the neighbouring nations of Samaria and Edom take possession of it.  C. Thou leadest on their armies, and renderest our efforts useless.  M. This conduct of God proceeded from mercy.  This severe chastisement awakened his people, who after the captivity were more tractable.  Chal.  Bert.  C.

Ver. 45.  Cease.  The priests are absent; and he cannot be purified in the temple. Purification may here denote the royal ornaments.  Pagn.  C.   M.

 

Ver. 46.  Time.  Heb. &c. “youth.”  S. Jer.  H. Joachim was only seventeen years old when he came to the throne, which he occupied  three months.  Amama. The four last kings of Juda reigned but a short while, and most of them came to an untimely end.  Instead of cronou, the Rom. Sept. S. Aug. &c. read qronou, “of his throne,” or reign.  C. The Vulg. seems more natural, as the throne of David had subsisted above 400 years, so that it was not overturned in “its youth,” or commencement, though the number of ages, promised to it, seemed now to be abridged.  Bert.

 

Ver. 47.  How long.  Here the third part, or the prayer of the psalmist, begins.  C. Away.  Another interrogation might then commence, “shall it be unto the end?”  H. In this prayer he foretells that God will regard our weakness, and preserve his Church.  W.

 

Ver. 48.  Remember what.  Heb. ani, “I.”  As this seems odd, Houbigant substitutes, adni, “Lord.”  Bert. Substance is.  That Christ will assume our nature, (S. Aug. de Civ. Dei. xvii. 9. 11.) or “how long I shall live.”  Mont. Even the world “passes” like a shadow.  1 Cor. vii.  Amama. “Be mindful of me from the depth: else why hast thou in vain created the sons of men?”  S. Jer.  H. In vain.  To spend their days in misery? or rather, “are not all created subject to vanity?”  If thou do not succour us, we shall presently perish, and who will glorify thy name on earth?  Ps. cxliii. 4.  C. Will thy providence take no care of us?  Bert. If the Messias come not, we cannot be saved, and we shall appear to have been created in vain.  M.

 

Ver. 50.  David.  He was a man according to thy own heart, and thy promises to him were absolute.  Ethan speaks not of the other kings, or of the people, who might have justly irritated the Lord.  He excuses their failings, by the consideration or their mortal and frail nature, v. 49.  C.

Ver. 51.  Nations.  Who continually insult us, and blaspheme thy name.  H. This fills me with the most poignant grief.  C. Which, &c.  Aquila and S. Jer. “For I have carried in  my bosom all the iniquities of peoples.”  If we should read kul, “voice,” for col, “all,” which seems useless before rabim, “many,” (H.) we might translate, “I bore in my bosom the discourse of many peoples.”  C.

Ver. 52.  Wherewith.  Or “because,” quod.  H. Change.  Heb. also, “the supplanting or retardment.”  Why does not your Messias come?  How are your kings fallen! though God had promised them an eternal kingdom!  Boast no more of his power or veracity.  This impious language disturbs me.  C. They deride the ignominious life of the Messias.  Euseb. Sedecias had “exchanged” the promised crown for irons, which was a cutting reproach.  Bert. Christ appeared to have left his people.  W. Infidels objected, that David’s piety was ill requited by God, and that the anointed had made a bad exchange; antallagma.  Matt. xvi. 26.  M.

 

Ver. 53.  So be it.  Some suppose, that these words were added by the collector of the psalms into five books.  C. Here the third ends.  H. The psalmist loses not hope, under adversity.  Bert. He begins and finishes with God’s praises.  C. We beg that all may praise thee, O Lord.  W. This is the only reply which he makes to the sarcasms of infidels, being convinced of God’s providence.  C.

PSALM 89

PSALM LXXXIX.  (DOMINE REFUGIUM.)

A prayer for the mercy of God; recounting the shortness and miseries of the days of man.

Ver. 1.  God.  This characterizes the Jewish legislator.  Bert.  Deut. xxxiii. 1.  D. David composed it in his name, (M.) or it bears some analogy with his writings.  S. Jerom maintains, that he was the author of the nine following psalms, (C.) which have no title in Heb.  T. But S. Aug. thinks they would then have formed a part of the pentateuch.  C. The life of man was longer in the days of Moses than seventy or eighty years.  Bell. v. 10. Moses cannot be the author of the 94th and 95th psalms.  W. In the xcviii. 6. Samuel is mentioned, and it is not necessary to haver recourse to the prophetic spirit.  One of the descendants of Moses, during the captivity, may have been the author, (C.) or David may have predicted that event.  H.

Ver. 2.  Formed.  Heb. “brought forth.”  Job xxxviii. 8.  C. Here Origen improperly concluded the sentence.  S. Jer. Ep. ad Cypr. God, is not in Sept. Syr. or ancient Latin psalters.  C. Al signifies both God, and not, and seems to be twice explained in the Vulg. as Heb. omits not, v. 3.  H. The sentence would be very striking, if God were left out, as it is done by Houbigant.  The eternity of matter is refuted by this text.  Bert.  W. God’s eternity is contrasted with man’s short life.  C. New gods must of course be false.  M. Plato asserted, that “the creator of all must be unbegotten and eternal.”  Plut. Conviv. viii.

 

Ver. 3.  Turn not man away, &c.  Suffer him not quite to perish from thee, since thou art pleased to call upon him to be converted to thee.  Ch. God wills not the death of the sinner.  W. Give him grace not to yield to his base passions.  S. Aug. Heb. “thou humblest man,” (H.) that he may enter into himself.  C.

 

Ver. 4.  For, &.  This thought naturally tends to convert the sinner. Watch.  Consisting of three hours, (Bert.) which were of unequal length, according to the seasons.  C. A thousand years seem not so long to God.  H. What them must be the short life of man?  See Job vii. 8.  C. None ever lived one thousand years.  Yet what would that be, compared with eternity?  W.

 

Ver. 5.  Their years be.  Heb. “thou strikest, (C.) or inundatest them: they are a dream.”  But our version is accurate.  Bert.

 

Ver. 6.  Fall.  Heb. “it is cut down and dries.”  The heat of the climate caused the flowers to decay ver soon.  Is. xl. 6.  Man’s youth touches on old age.  C. The present moment is all we can call our own.  Bert. “A young man may die soon: an old man cannot live long,” says an English proverb.  W.

 

Ver. 8.  Life.  Lit. “age.”  Thou clearly discernest all our proceedings.  H. Man is condemned for Adam’s sin.  The Israelites who were fit for arms, and gave way to murmuring, were sentenced to die in the desert.  He may allude to this event.  Bert. Heb. may signify also, “our hidden things,” or “youth,” (C.) or “mistakes,” (Houbig.) or “negligences.”  S. Jer. From these we should always pray to be delivered.  Ps. xxiv. 7.  H. Sin occasions the shortness of life, (W.) as man was created to be immortal.  H. Before the deluge, men lived indeed longer.  M.

 

Ver. 9.  As a spider.  As frail and weak as a spider’s web; and miserable withal, whilst, like a spider, we spend our bowels in weaving webs to catch flies.  Ch. Meditabuntur is here used in a passive sense.  T. Heb. “we have spent our years like one speaking a word.”  S. Jer. When he has done, the sound is no more: so their memory has perished with a sound.  Ps. ix. 8.  H. Heb. Chal. &c. do not mention the spider: Yet it seems to have been originally in the text, as it is recognized by the Syr. Sept. and the other Greek interpreters, and makes the sense more complete.  C. The transcribers might more easily omit than the Sept. &c. could insert this word.  Bert.

Ver. 10.  In them.  Years, (C.) “in the world.”  Chal. “together.”  Sym. years.  This was the usual term of man’s life in David’s time, (H.) and about the captivity, when this was written.  Many lived above one hundred years when Moses wrote.  C. Yet this proves nothing, as there are still instances of equal longevity, though it is true, that people in general seldom live above seventy, or eighty, or if they do, their days ar a burden to them.  The same might be the case under Moses.  He probably alludes to those warriors, who were cut off in the wilderness, few of whom would survive 80.  Bert. The author of Ecclesiasticus, (xviii. 8.) gives one hundred, for the utmost limits of life.  The pagan sages speak in the same style as the psalmist.  C. Strong.  Sept. “in dominion.”  But here it means in a vigorous constitution.  Bell. Princes lived no longer than others.  Heb. and Vulg. may be “the prime, or most of them,” as even a great part of the time before seventy, as well as after, (H.) is usually spent in misery.  Gen. xlvii. 9.  C. Mildness.  God’s mildness corrects us: in as much as he deals kindly with us, in shortening the days of this miserable life; and so weaning our affections from all its transitory enjoyments, and teaching us true wisdom.  Ch. Heb. “we pass quickly and fly away, (S. Jer.) like birds of passage, (C.) or “it is cut down soon,” (Mont.) “in silence,” (Drusius) tacitisque senescimus annis.  H. S. Jerom wonders, that the Sept. should have translated as they have done: But they are followed by Theodotion, and the Sext. edit. who may have had different copies, equally good.  Bert. Corrected (corripiemur) or “hurried away,” Geneb. But this is not the sense of the Sept.  Amama. “We grow tired.”  Houbig. It is a mercy of God to shorten men’s lives, (M.) as many would sin more, if they had a probability of continuing upon earth.  W.

Ver. 11.  Anger?  God must punish actual sin severely, since he thus condemns mankind on account of original sin.  W.

Ver. 12.  Thy right hand.  Your Messias, to liberate and instruct us.  S. Aug. “Make us know how to number our days thus, and we shall come to thee with a wise heart.”   S. Jer.  Eccli. vii. 40.  H. Sept. have read iminoc for yamenu, “our days.”  Amama. Make us truly wise, (Sa.) or acquainted with teachers of truth.  Bellar.  M.

 

Ver. 14.  We are.  Heb. “Fill us.”  Mont. But the psalmist feels interiorly, that his petition has been granted.  Bert. The prospect of a glorious immortality fills us with hope in proportion to our sufferings for the truth.  W.

 

Ver. 17.  Yea, the work.  Each in particular.  Sept. Rom. &c. omit this sentence, which Houbigant improperly deems useless.  Bert. Charity must direct all.  S. Aug.  W.

PSALM 90

PSALM XC.  (QUI HABITAT.)

The just is secure under the protection of God.

Ver. 1.  David.  Sept. add, “it has no title in Heb.” and hence the Jews refer it to the preceding author, with S. Jer. &c.  But this rule is very uncertain.  C.  Bert. Some suppose that Moses composed it when he led the Israelites out of Egypt, or in the wilderness; while others think that it is the work of David under some imminent danger.  The Fathers apply it to Jesus Christ.  Yet it may be considered simply as a moral instruction, (C.) superior in elegance to any Greek or Latin poem.  Muis Aid.  Heb. “secret place.”  Of heaven.  Is not in Heb. shaddai, which means, (H.) “the almighty self-sufficient, or destroying God.”  C. We must keep close to God by mental prayer, if we would enjoy the divine protection.  S. Greg. Mor. vii. 7.  Bert.

Ver. 3.  Delivered me.  Heb. and Sept. “shall deliver thee.” Yet the Alex. copy has me.  H. The psalmist addresses his own soul.  Bert. Word, verbo: we sometimes find “sword,” printed by mistake.  Heb. dabar, signifies “word, thing, pestilence, &c.”  H. The devil employs human respect to draw many into his nets.  S. Aug.  Bert. Neither subtle craft, nor the cruelty of tyrants will disturb those who trust in Providence.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  With.  Sept. “upon.”  S. Aug. “between,” as the Lord carried Israel.  Deut. xxxii. 11.  C. Heb. “he will cover thee with his feathers,” (H.) like an eagle.  M.

 

Ver. 5.  Shield.  God’s fidelity, or word, affords the best protection.  Prov. xxx. 5.  C. Having the spirit of faith, a man is secure.  But he whose heart is hardened, (Bert.) is covered with the buckler of God’s affliction, (Lam. iii. 64.  H.) abuses every thing, and seems bewitched with self-love.  Gal. i.  Bert. Night. Devils, spectres, &c. (Cant. iii. 7.  C.) and treacherous insinuations, that people are not bound to confess the truth, in time of danger.  W.

 

Ver. 6.  Day.  Neither open attacks, nor unforeseen accidents prevail.  C. Business.  Heb. dabar, “thing,” v. 3. “the pestilence.”  S. Jer.  H. The Hebrews suppose, that one angel presides over death in the daytime, and another during the night; or that various demons send maladies at these different times. Invasion.  Sept. and old Italic, have, “ruin.” S. Jer. after Aquila, “from the bite of him who rageth, damonizontoV, at noon.  Keteb, (H.) according to the ancient tradition of the Jews, denotes one of the bolder devils, who attacks in open day, and seeks no aid from nocturnal craft.  Geneb.  The psalmist may allude to those popular notions, (Theod.  S. Jer.) which were prevalent among the pagans.  Theocrit. Idyl. i.  Lucan iii.  C. Thou shalt fear no danger of the day or night, (Bellar.) nor any which disturbs the life of man.  Scalig. ep. i. p. 95. This author mistakes, when he supposes that Keteb is rendered devil.  Amama. He might also ask how the Chal. Aquila, and Symmachus came to discover, that the devil is here mentioned, as well as the Sept.?  Bert. These seem to have read ussod, “and the devil,” instead of issud, “from destruction which ravages,” (Amama) vastabit.  Mont.  H. But allowing that the Sept. &c. are accurate what is meant by this devil?  S. Peter seems to explain the idea, when he exhorts us to sobriety.  1 Pet. v. 8.  Bert. Violent temptations of sloth, (S. Athan.) or impurity, (Theod.) or the persecutions against the faithful, may be meant.  Four different sorts of attacks seem to be designated.  1. Such as assult the ignorant with the fears of the night, tempting them to secure their temporal estates, while they think not of eternal woe impending.  2. Others are attacked with the arrows in the day, and threatened with death, which they know they ought rather to endure, than abandon their faith.  3. The business, &c. imitates some grievous but latent temptation, as when the faithful are persuaded to take some unlawful oath.  4. But the greatest and most manifest attack, is styled, invasion, &c. when persecutors assail those who adhere to the true faith with a succession of torments, and subtle arguments, which have been the occasion of the fall of many, who had resisted the former attacks.  Yet none of these yield, but by their own fault, trusting in themselves, and not in God.  S. Aug.  W. Noon day.  Grotius explains this of the heat of the sun, which is very dangerous to travellers in Palestine.  C.

 

Ver. 7.  Fall.  Or “attack,…but shall not come nigh to thee.”  Euseb.  C. How great soever may be the number of thy adversaries, they shall not be able to do thee any harm.  They shall at thy feet, and their dart shall not reach thee.  H. More forsake God in prosperity, than under adversity.  W.

 

Ver. 9.  Because.  Saying, Thou, &c.  W.  v. 1.  C. High.  Heb. helyon is a title of God, (C.) not the adjective to refuge, (Bert.) as Chal. Aquila, &c. have taken it.  “Thou hast placed thy dwelling most high.”  So that there, &c. v. 10.  It is evident that the following promises relate not to the Lord, (C.) but to the just man.  Prot. “because thou hast  made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most high thy habitation.”  This transposition is not authorized by the text.  H.

Ver. 10.  Scourge.  Aquila has Afh, “the leprosy,” (C.) or any stroke of distress.  H. What the saints have suffered were not real evils, and they will be amply rewarded in heaven.  They never complain, having God with them, (C. v. 15.  H.) and his holy angels.  M.

Ver. 11.  Angels.  Many seem to be assigned to the just, to whom S. Hil. &c. would restrain this privilege.  But it is more generally believed, that each person has an angel guardian.  This was the opinion even of the pagans.  Porphyr. Ap. ii.  S. Clem. Strom. v.  C. To keep.  Instead of this, the tempter substituted and, (Matt. iv. 6.) finding it would not answer his purpose, (H.) and shed that the question was about walking, and not about precipitating oneself.  S. Bern. ser. xv. p. 90. To attempt such unusual courses, is the way of Lucifer, (W.) and tempting God, as our Saviour replied.  Bert. From the father of lies, heretics have learnt how to curtail and misapply the holy Scriptures.  H. God has highly favoured man, by intrusting him to the care of these sublime ministers of his court, (S. Bern.) and surely it is lawful for us to implore their assistance, as we may apply to our fellow-creatures for redress in our temporal necessities.  To refuse to do so, on the plea that we expect all immediately from God, would be going contrary to his appointment.  Else why has God given them for our guardians, since He could have done all without them?  In vain is it objected, that this invocation is a religious worship.  It may be so styled, because they are blessed, and help us to obtain salvation.  But we only honour in the the gifts of God.  Bert. They protect us by his ordinance, (W.) and the very form of praying, shews in what light we regard them.  Who durst say to God, pray for us?  M.

Ver. 12.  Stone.  He alludes to nurses.  C. All these expressions are metaphorical, to shew the assistance given by angels, to remove the obstacles which impede our progress towards heaven.

 

Ver. 13.  Asp.  Which kills in eight hours time at farthest, making the blood congeal. Basilisk.  “The little king” of serpents.  What is related of it seems fabulous.  Pliny viii. 21.  Solin xxx.  C. Yet there might be some species known by this name, possessing fascinating qualities like the rattle-snake.  Bert. The sight of it alone could not destroy a man; otherwise how could any account o it have been given?  Heb. ssel means a lion in Job, (Bert.) and phethen, “an asp,” (C.) or basilisk.  Bochart Dragon.  Crocodile.  C. The most noxious animals, both of sea and land, shall prove quite harmless to the true servants of God, when he intends to prove the truth of his religion, as he did in the cases of Daniel, and of the disciples of Christ.  Mar. xvi.  If they be suffered to kill the saints here, it is in order that they may be glorified in heaven, ver. 15.  H. The devil is styled an asp, &c.  Bert. He sometimes attacks the Church, by craft, and at other times by open violence.  But she remains secure, (S. Aug.) and her children can only be preserved by continuing in her bosom.  To know which is the true Church; “see, says S. Greg. (Mor. xx. 29.) which are the most recent sects.”  Bert. Methodists may now wrest this honour from the rest of Protestants.  H.

 

Ver. 14.  Because.  God speaks the rest.  W. Known.  In practice.  C.

 

Ver. 15.  Tribulation.  The just are not exempt from it. Glorify him, with eternal salvation.

 

Ver. 16.  Days.  Eternity alone can satisfy the heart. Salvation.  Or Jesus, who promised to manifest himself.  Jo. xiv. 21. 25.  Bert. Abraham saw him afar off; Simeon at hand.  Jo. viii. 56.  Lu. ii. 30.  God insures the just a long life in this world, and an eternal one in the next.  C. That life is long enough which ends in happiness.  H.

PSALM 91

PSALM XCI.  (BONUM EST CONFITERI.)

God is to be praised for his wondrous works.

Ver. 1.  Day.  The Jews say, that Adam sung this at his creation, (Chal.) or that it refers to the reign of the Messias, which shall lost one thousand years after this world is ended.  Kimchi. Others think it is a thanksgiving after the defeat of Sennacherib, (Ven. Bede.) or Absalom.  Ferrand. It might be sung by the sons of Moses, who expected to be shortly delivered from Babylon, (C.) or by the people on the sabbath, (Bert.) though many of the Fathers think, that this word denotes “the repose of the life to come.”  The occasion or author of this psalm cannot be clearly ascertained.  C. When we enjoy rest from labour, we ought particularly to praise God’s works.  W.

Ver. 2.  Praise.  Lit. “to confess,” (H.) as we must be free from sin before we can worthily proclaim God’s praises.  Euseb.  S. Jer. But here to confess means to praise, (C.) or give thanks.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  Night.  Of adversity, and at all times, (Bert.) as well as in prosperity.  W. Morning and evening prayer must not be neglected.  H. These times were particularly pointed out.  Ps. liv. 18.

 

Ver. 4.  Strings, upon.  Heb. “on the hasor, and on the nabel, on the higaion with the cinnor.”  Yet the ten stringed instrument seems to have been  the same with the psaltery, or nobol.  H. Bellarmin thinks and is redundant, and was not in the copies of the Sept. or it is only explanatory, as we know that the psaltery had ten strings.  Ps. xxxii. 2. and cxliii. 9.  M. The matter is of small consequence.  Bert. Eusebius seems to insinuate, that instruments were not used in the Church of his time.  C. The observance of the commandments, and mortification, signified by the harp are requisite.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  Rejoice.  Admiring thy providence, (C.) or the Messias.  “What are all things compared with thee, O Lord!”  S. Aug.  Conf. x. 4.

 

Ver. 6.  Deep.  We cannot easily explain thy ways, (M.) in exalting some, and depressing thy people.  C.  Rom. xi. 33.

 

Ver. 7.  Things.  Pretended sages hence take occasion to blaspheme whatsoever things they  know not.  Jude 10.  The wise adore God in silence, (H.) and confess, that the misery of the just here proves a future life, while the wicked prosper, to be more tormented.  Euseb. Carnal men, who think only of present things, see not this.  M.

 

Ver. 8.  Appear.  Heb. “flourish.”  Still they are but as grass, (H.) short-lived, and of small utility.  The just resembles the palm-tree, v. 13.  C.

 

Ver. 10.  Enemies.  The Babylonians, (C.) or all the wicked at the last day.  Bert. This shews God’s power, and insures the exaltation of the just.  M.

Ver. 11.  Mercy.  Heb. and some copies of the Sept. have “oil,” an emblem of mercy.  Prov. xxi. 20. Bert. “I shall be anointed with fresh oil.”  Prot. “My old age shall be like a verdant olive.”  Houbig.  Sym. Those who have a good conscience, expect final happiness.  W.

Ver. 12.  Me.  I shall live to hear of the vengeance which God will take.  Ps. cxi. 9.  C. The just pray for sinners here; but must approve of God’s judgment.  Bert.

 

Ver. 13.  Palm-tree.  Sept. foinix, means also a “Phœnician, or the Phœnix” bird, of which the ancients have said so much, Job xxix. 18. (C.) and of which Tertullian, (de Res. xiii.) and S. Ambrose, (de fid. Res.) seem to understand this passage.  Amama. But it must be explained in the sense of the Vulg. as the Heb. Tamar evinceth.  This tree, and the cedar, were the most famous in those countries; the former for its fruit, and the latter for buildings and duration.  The palm-tree will shoot forth again, after it has been cut down or burnt, (Pliny xiii. 14.) so the just will rise up from oppression.  C.

 

Ver. 14.  Courts.  In the Church triumphant, as well as in the militant.  W. The piety of the faithful induces strangers to embrace the truth.  Bert.

 

Ver. 15.    Well treated.  Or affected.  W. Bene patientes, eupaqounteV, “flourishing,” (Grot.) tranquil, (S. Aug.) or in a prosperous condition.  Bert. Erasmus, to shew the utility of consulting the originals, informs us, what a multiplicity of authors he consulted in vain, to know the import of this word.  Amama. “They shall be fat and covered with leaves,” (S. Jer.) alluding to the aforesaid comparison.

 

Ver. 16.  In him.  The general judgment will set this in the clearest light.  At present, the ways of Providence may be mysterious, v. 6.  H.

PSALM 92

PSALM XCII.  (DOMINUS REGNAVIT.)

The glory and stability of the kingdom; that is, of the Church of Christ.

Ver. 1.  Founded.  Sept. “inhabited.”  This title occurs not in Hebrew (Theodoret) nor are the copies of the Sept. uniform, which shews that it is a  later insertion, intimating perhaps, that it was sung on Friday, when the works of creation were completed, (Bert.) and the world redeemed.  W. It seems to refer to the translation of the ark, (Muis.  1 Par. xvi. 30.) and the establishment of the Church, the house of God, though the universe may be so styled, (Bert.) or it speaks of the return from captivity, (Ven. Bede) as well as the preceding and following psalms. Himself.  As if to perform some great work, the liberation of his people from the captivity of Babylon, and of the devil, (C.) or to create the world.  Bert. Established.  “Weighed.”  Houbig. Moved, or disturbed in the order established by him.  H. This does not prove that the earth moves not on its own axis daily, and round the sun every year.  Bert. The Church shall not fail, (M.) which Christ has redeemed by his own blood, and with great power.  In it He reigns, and will draw all to himself.  Jo. xii. 31.  W.

Ver. 2.  Of old.  Lit. “that time,” ex tunc, (W.) alluding to some distant period.  Is. xvi. 13.  C. God’s throne is established over creatures, as soon as they exist.  H. Yet he is eternal, (M.) as Christ is likewise.  At his ascension, He placed his sacred humanity on the throne.  C. His kingdom, the Church, continues for ever.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  Floods.  The apostles, (Euseb.  S. Aug.) or persecutors.  W. Waves.  This sentence is not in the Rom. Sept. &c.  C. But it is in the Alex. and Aldine editions.  Storms and tides fill all with awe and astonishment.  C. The motion of waters, when they were first confined to their channels, and the persecutions of the Church, and rebellions against God, are described.  M.

 

Ver. 4.  On high.  In heaven, more to be admired than all the phenomena of nature, and more powerful than all the vast armies of the Babylonians.  Is. xl. 15.  C. The conversion of many nations, (Apoc. xvii. 5.) is the work and glory of God, (H.) and his preserving the Church in the midst of the most violent attacks, shews his power. W.

 

Ver. 5.  Credible.  S. Jer. “faithful.” Prot. “very sure.”  H. A person must shut his eyes not to see the prophecies fulfilled concerning Christ, and his Church.  Euseb. The majesty of God should strike us with a holy fear, and teach us to observe his commandments, and to behave with the utmost respect in his house, (C.) which is the whole world, or the society of the faithful.  Bert. Articles of faith are perfectly credible to those whose hearts are moved by grace, (W.) though they cannot be understood.  H. All the members of the Church should carefully approve themselves to God, who is her spouse, (W.) and protector, (M.) to the end of the world.  W. Days.  Since thy power and fidelity are so great, suffer not thy temple to be any longer in ruins, or profaned.  C.

PSALM 93

PSALM XCIII.  (DEUS ULTIONUM.)

God shall judge and punish the oppressors of his people.

Ver. 1.  Himself.  This intimates, that he was inspired to write. Week.  Wednesday, on which day Judas sold our Saviour, and his punishment is here foretold.  W. “The title is not in Heb.” and has been added since the times of the Sept.  Theod. It refers to the persecutions of David, (Jans.) or to the captives, (C.) or it contains an important instruction on Providence, and on the judgment which Christ will pronounce.  Bert. Freely.  Heb. “Lord God of vengeance, God of vengeance, shine forth.”  H. This agrees better with the sequel.  To appear or act freely have the same meaning.  Bert. God executes judgment publicly, and without restraint.  M. To Him revenge belongs.  Deut. xxxii. 35.  Rom. xii. 20.  Nah. ii.  H. It is time to punish the haughty Babylon.  C. God more usually take the title of merciful.  But he is equally just, and will respect no dignity or power, but the merits of each one.  W.

Ver. 6.  Fatherless.  Sept. places this after widow, and have here the stranger, or “proselyte,” (H.) including those who were circumcised, or had only renounced idolatry. Jeremias and Ezechiel describe the cruelty of the Chaldees.  C. Similar acts of impious rage are but too visible in all ages.  H.

 

Ver. 7.  Of Jacob.  A wretched people in captivity.  This is spoken insultingly, he knows not, or cannot hinder, their distress, Ps. xiii. 1. and lxxii. 6.  C. The insolence and cruelty of infidels are reprobated.

 

Ver. 8.  Fools.  Who talk in this manner, (H.) whether you really believe, that God is thus ignorant and inactive; or you only act as if you did.  Bert. There are but few of the former description.  But very many, even among Christians, act as if they admitted no Providence.  W.

 

Ver. 9.  Consider?  He does not say, “hath he not eyes?” lest any might attribute members to God.  S. Jer.

“In evil works, mankind thou mayst deceive,

Thy hidden thoughts the gods above perceive.”  Theognis.

Ou lhseiV de QeouV oude logizomenoV.

Thales being asked, if the actions of men were unknown to the gods, replied, “not even their thoughts.”  Val. Max. vii. 2.  H. It seems those whom the psalmist attacks, denied the interference of God in human affairs, though they allowed that he created all.  H. Hence he justly stigmatizes them as fools, and inconsistent.  Bert. It is impossible that God should be ignorant of our actions, since he knows our most secret thoughts.  W.

Ver. 13.  Rest from the evil days.  That thou mayst mitigate the sorrows to which he is exposed, during the short and evil days of his mortality; (Ch.) or mayst protect him, while the wicked are overwhelmed.  C. The pious bear afflictions with greater resignation, (M.) meditating on the law and the holy Scriptures, where the ways of Providence are justified.

 

Ver. 15.  Until justice be turned into judgment, &c.  By being put in execution: which will be agreeable to all the upright in heart.  Ch. They will be round the tribunal, and sit as judges with Christ. Heb. ci had, “For to,” may have been originally ad ci, “Until.”  H. This does not imply that the just will not be protected afterwards.  Cyrus was a figure of the Messias, and all his counsellors, or the Jews, attached themselves to him, when he punished the Babylonians.  Is. xli. 2. and liii. 11.  C. The Church will never be rejected by a just God, whose judgments must take place, and be pleasing to the righteous.  W.

 

Ver. 17.  Almost.  Or shortly, as the Heb. means, (Bert.) “within very little.”  W. Hell.  Heb. “silence,” which is often put for the grave.  1 K. ii. 9.  C.

 

Ver. 18.  Me.  I was no sooner in danger, than I was relieved.  C. Feeding and complaining of my misery, I obtained thy aid.  W.

 

Ver. 19.  Sorrows.  Heb. “afflicting thoughts.”  Bert. Soul.  Our future joy will bear proportion with the sufferings which we endure for the sake of justice, 1 Cor. xi. 13, and 2 Cor. i. 3.  H.

Ver. 20.  Doth the seat of iniquity stick to thee? &c.  That is, wilt thou, O God, who are always just, admit of the seat of iniquity; that is, of injustice, or unjust judges, to have any partnership with thee?  Thou, who framest, or makest labour in commandment; that is, thou who obligest us to labour with all diligence to keep thy commandments; (Ch.) as faith alone is not sufficient, (W.) and who art pleased that we should find therein some difficulty or repugnance of nature, that we may be the more entitled to consolation, v. 19.  H. Commandment, or “instruction.”  S. Aug. observes, that the sufferings of this life are for our instruction, to admonish us of future punishments and rewards.  This idea is very luminous.  Bert. Christ was first to suffer, and so to enter into his glory.  Lu. xxiv. 26.  H. Nemo dormiens coronatur.  S. Jer. Yet the yoke of Christ is really sweet.  The devil tempts us to look upon it as  insupportable.  S. Bern. Framest, fingis. Sept. S. Aug. &c. Fingit, which may refer to the seat, or to unjust judges, who tyrannize over others, as the Babylonians did, (C.) and as the Jews conspired against the soul of the just.  “Should the tribunal of perversity have any commerce with thee, which, under the name of law, forms  impious machinations?”  Houbigant.

Ver. 22.  Help.  Heb. “rock.”  Bert. Sufferings force us to have recourse to God, whom few remember in the days of prosperity.  S. Aug.

 

Ver. 23.  Will destroy them.  Heb. yatsmithem, occurs twice, to denote the certainty of the event, though the Sept. &c. omit the repetition.  H. Cyrus overturned the cruel empire of Babylon.  C. The wicked at the last day shall seek to hide themselves, and will for ever be removed from the sight of the just, afaniei autouV.  We may say of each of them, it had been better if he had never been born.  Matt. xxvi. 24.  H. The retribution of the good and bad is eternal.  W.

PSALM 94

PSALM XCIV.  (VENITE EXULTEMUS.)

An invitation to adore and serve God, and to hear his voice.

Ver. 1.  Himself, as David wrote it by inspiration.  W. Sept. Comp. “It is without a title in Heb..”  S. Paul (Heb. iv. 7.) quotes it as the work of David.  But this is only done incidentally, and it may have been written by the descendants of Moses, (Ps. lxxxix.  C.) as the apostle only says, in David, (H.) referring to the psalter, which the common opinion attributed to him.  C. This opinion, it must be owned, acquires hereby great authority, (H.) as an inspired writer could not mistake; and Calmet himself, on the epistle to the Heb. doubts not but as the drift of the apostle requires, he attributed this psalm to David.  Bert.  T. vi. It might be used in the removal of the ark (Muis.) and contains an exhortation to the Jews to return to the service of God, under king Josias, (Theod.) or after the captivity, (C.) or at the preaching of the gospel.  Euseb. The Church adopts the version of the Roman psalter in her office books, as they were corrected by S. Pius V. and this psalm was considered as a hymn at the beginning of matins, though the Vulg. is retained in other parts.  C. The variations are not material.  H. But this shews that the Church does not condemn every deviation from the Vulgate.  Bell.  Diss. Saviour.   S. Jer. “to the rock, our Jesus.”  H. He who created us, has also been our Saviour.  W.

Ver. 2.  Come.  Earlier than usual, (M.) before the day be far spent; præoccupemus, to shew our diligence in prayer, (H.) and to obtain God’s favour, as Amam was first at the palace of Assuerus.  Est. vi. 4. This sentence has probably determined the Church to place it at the beginning of matins.  C. Let not others get before us in performing this duty.  H. We cannot prevent God’s grace by an good works, since without it we can do nothing (W.) as we ought.  Con. Trid. Thanksgiving.  S. Jer. lit. “in confession.”  H. The same word, exomologhsei, is used for sacramental confession; (Bert.) and this, or at least contrition, (H.) ought to go before our expressions of praise.  Eccli. xv. 9.  Theod.  S. Jer. The prophet exhorts us both to lament and to praise.  S. Aug.  Bert. Psalms and music.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  Gods.  Sept. Comp. “the earth.”  But the best editions agree with us, and God must be acknowledged superior to all angels, &c.  Some copies of the Sept. S. Aug. &c. add, “for the Lord will not cast off his people,” (C.) which seems to be taken from Ps. xciii. 14.  Bert.

 

Ver. 4.  Ends.  Heb. “depths.” Are his.  This is grandeur, that “he beholds,” as in the Rom. psalter.  Bert.  Is. xl. 15. and xlv. 18. Virgil (Geor. 4.) says:

Deum, namque ire per omnes

                        Terrasque et tractusque maris, cœlumque profundum.

Ver. 5.  Formed.  Like a potter, plasmaverunt, (S. Jer.  C.) or “have laid the foundations of the dry land.”  S. Aug.  Brev. Rom.  H.

 

Ver. 6.  And weep.  Heb. also, “bend the knee;” though this sense would seem less proper, after he had mentioned prostration.  Tears of contrition and tenderness  may accompany our canticles.  Bert. Kneeling in prayer is a posture pleasing ot God.  Phil. ii.  W.

 

Ver. 7.  The Lord is not in the Heb. or Sept.  Bert. The people.  Rom. Psal. and Syriac, “his people, and the sheep of his pasture, taken from Ps. xcix. 3.  C. God is the only shepherd, who creates his sheep.  Bert. He feedeth us, and it is most just that we should adore him.  W.

 

Ver. 8.  To-day.  S. Paul beautifully illustrates this passage, Heb. iv.  H. He follows not the present Heb. punctuation, which would join half this verse with the preceding. His.  God speaks of the Messias according to the apostle, who intimates that to-day comprises all the life of man.  Heb. xxxvii. 13.  Bert. Harden not.  Man is the author of his own obduracy, (Theod.) which God only permits.  S. Aug.  C. We have free will, and may resist God’s grace, as we may also consent to it, and thus co-operate to our first justification.  Trid. Ses. vi. 5.  W. The captives (C.) and first Christians were exhorted not to imitate the depravity of the ancient Jews.  H. Though a  man may have frequently resisted the Holy Ghost, he may still repent.  W.

 

Ver. 9.  Provocation, (irritatione.)  Rom. Brev. exacerbatione.  Heb. meriba, “contradiction,” (S. Jer.  H.) at Raphidim; (Ex. xvii. 7.) unless this be styled temptation, (Massa) and the former provocation was that at Cades, Num. xx. 13.  C. The Israelites  murmured frequently.  But that rebellion which too place at the return of the spies, and which causes God to swear that the guilty should never enter the land of promise, seems to be chiefly meant.  Num. xiv.  Bert. They murmured on account of the desire of what and flesh-meat, though they were abundantly supplied with manna, which answered every purpose.  Thus some require to communicate under both kinds, as if one did not contain as much as both.  W. Proved me; to know by experience if I were so powerful as to work miracles; and I condescended to gratify them, (C.) or I have done it already.  M.

Ver. 10.  Offended.  Heb. and Sept. “disgusted.”  Rom. Psal. S. Aug. &c. “I was very near to;” (C.) ready to punish, and eye-witness of their infidelity.  S. Paul reads proswcqisa, infensus fui, “I was against, or disgusted with,” and seems to refer the forty years to the Jews, who saw God’s works.  H. But there is a variation in the Greek copies, as some omit, For which cause; and Heb. iii. 10. and v. 17, intimates, that the indignation of God was roused for forty years, at intervals, as often as the people rebelled.  Bert. The apostle also plainly shews, that this psalm was written long after that period, and consequently not by Moses, as the Jews would now assert.  He limiteth a certain day, saying in David: To-day, after so long a time, &c. Heb. iv. 7. W. Always.  Heb. “a people of those who err in the heart are they.”  Mont.  H.

Ver. 11.  So.  Psalter Rom. and Milan, “to whom.”  Both occur in S. Paul, and answer the Heb. asher, (Bert.) quibus.  S. Jer. Not.  Lit. “if they shall.”  The Israelites were excluded from a settled abode in Chanaan, on account of their repeated transgressions, particularly at Cades; (Num. xiv.) and Christians, who do not continue faithful to the law of Jesus Christ, can never expect to enter heaven.  Heb. iii. and iv.  W. David made the like observation to his subjects; and clearly speaks of the heavenly repose to which the virtuous alone are entitled.  H. S. Paul takes great pains to inculcate this truth, and shews that the return from captivity could not answer the import of the promises made by David in God’s name.  Bert.  H.

PSALM 95

PSALM XCV.  (CANTATE DOMINO.)

An exhortation to praise God for the coming of Christ and his kingdom.

Ver. 1.  When the house was built, &c.  Alluding to that time, and then ordered to be sung; but principally relating to the building of the Church of Christ, after our redemption from the captivity of satan.  Ch. Captivity.  The greater canticle of David, (1 Par. xvi.) was probably divided, on that occasion, (C.) into three.  This forms the second part, from v. 23; as the psalm civ. to v. 16, does the first.  The three last verses of David’s canticle, (v. 34.) occur Ps. cv. 1. 47.  But in reality, there are so many variations, that it seems most probable, (H.) that he revised that work, and left us the three psalms in their present form.  This perhaps relates to the establishment of the Church, though it might be also sung at the return from Babylon.  Bert. Modern Jews understand it of their future re-union under the Messias.  Kimchi.  C. The rebuilding of the temple is foretold, as a figure of man’s redemption.  W. New canticle.  As the blessed do, (Apoc. v. 9. and xv. 4.) and those who receive the Messias.  Is. xlii. 10.  Bert. Love sings the new canticle.  S. Aug. Earth.  And not Judea alone, v. 7.  Bert.

Ver. 2.  Lord…his name.  As v. 7. and 8.  The plural and singular denote the Trinity.  W. Shew forth.  Sept. “evangelize,” bene nuntiate.  S. Aug. “Tell the glad tidings” of salvation incessantly.  This preaching shall continue for ever.  H.

 

Ver. 5.  Devils.  Heb. elilim, “diminutive gods, (H.) nothings, (C.) vain things.”  Mont.  1 Par. We have idols, as Prot. read here.  These were in fact, either devils, or vain imaginations of men.  S. Paul says, we know that an idol is nothing in the world.  1 Cor. viii. 4.  They cannot claim self-existence, and if the true God were not to support those creatures, the sun, &c. which have been the objects of adoration, they would presently cease to be.  H. This most plausible species of idolatry is therefore refuted, since the Lord made the heavens.  C. The Creator alone can be considered as God; the devils prompt the people to adore other things.  W. It would appear but a small praise for the Lord to be feared above all gods, (H.) if they were “nothing.”  Hence the Sept. have used the word devils, to signify, that these potent, but maleficent beings, which the pagans adored, were infinitely beneath God, and worse than nothing.  Bert.

 

Ver. 6.  Before him.  At his disposal; whereas the idols can bestow nothing.  C. Sanctuary, or “sanctification.”  W.  1 Par. in his place.  H.

 

Ver. 7.  Kindreds; patriæ, or families, as it is expressed.  1 Par. xvi.  H.

 

Ver. 8.  Sacrifices.  Heb. Mincha, “the oblation” of flour, &c. (H.) which denotes the blessed Eucharist, and the spiritual sacrifices of prayer, &c.  M. Victims shall cease, but the pure oblation shall continue among the Gentiles.  Mal. i. 11.  Bert. Courts.  This shews that their conversion is predicted, since they could not otherwise come thither.  C.

 

Ver. 9.  Moved.  Heb. “in labour,” (Is. xxvi. 17.  Theod.  C.) or “fear ye before him all the earth.”  Houbig. In Par. the sentences are in a different order.  H.

Ver. 10.  Reigned.  S. Bernard says, “the kingdom of Jesus is in the wood.”  D. S. Justin (dial.) accuses the Jews of retrenching apo tou xulou, “from the wood,” which all the Latin Fathers, except S. Jerom, acknowledge in their copies.  That ancient author, being born among the Samaritans, could hardly be so ignorant of the Hebrew text, and his antagonist does not attempt to refute the charge; so that it seems probable, that they were in the original, (Bert.) and since erased by the Jews, from the Sept. who added them, (W.) by the spirit of prophecy.  Tournemine. But how came Christians to permit this to be done in their Heb. Greek, and Latin copies?  The words in question may have been, therefore, a marginal gloss, which had crept into the text.  Faber, Justiniani, &c. They do not occur in the parallel passage, (1 Par.) nor in the Vulg. though they be retained in the Rom. breviary.  C. Lindan objects this perfidy of the Jews to the Reformers, not reflecting, that he thus condemns the Vulg.  Genebrard is of opinion, that “the Sept. were inspired to add these words, which some half-learned critics have thought proper to expunge with an impiety which is now but too common.”  The Popes have not, however, thought that the cross stood in need of this support.  Amama. The Chaldee and Syriac, as well as all the copies of the Sept. extant, and the Arab. and Ethiop. versions taken from it, and all the Greek interpreters and Fathers, (except S. Justin) with S. Jerom, both in his versions from the Heb. and Sept. omit these words, which are found in the Rom. Gothic, and other psalters.  Origen’s Hexapla seem to have most enabled the Greeks to discern the interpolation, which the Latins retained longer, not having such easy access to that work.  Whatever may be the decision on this important matter, it is certain that the reign of Christ was propagated from the wood, in a wonderful manner, as he there began to draw all to himself, and the prophet seems evidently to allude to the times when Christ proclaimed, the kingdom of God is at hand, and when the conversion of the Gentiles, and the institution of the blessed Eucharist (v. 8.) would fill all the world with rapture.  H. The positive testimony of S. Justin, and the Italic version used by the Latin Fathers, (Bert.) Tertullian, S. Aug. &c. (W.) seems of more weight to prove the authenticity of the words, than the simple omission in the copies of Origen, and S. Jerom, &c. to evince the contrary.  Bert. Corrected.  Evil morals and idolatry, (M.) rather than the physical order of the globe.  Ps. xcii. 1.  Bert. Heb. “he hath balanced,” (Houbig.) or established.  H. The Christian faith shall not be abolished, (M.) or corrected.  H. “Faith is not to be reformed.”  Tert. Justice.  Ancient psalter add, “and the Gentiles in his wrath,” v. 13.  Ps. xcviii. 8.

Ver. 11.  Fulness.  Its raging billows, (C.) fishes, (M.) those who live upon the water.  H. Let all testify their joy.  Every thing is animated by the psalmist.  C.

Ver. 13.  Judge.  Or “rule,” as he invites all to rejoice.  C. But this will be done by all nature, when God shall punish the wicked.  H. He now judges by his ministers, and will pass sentence at the last day.  W. This verse is added,  instead of the last there in 1 Par. xvi. which occur in Ps. cv.  H.

PSALM 96

PSALM XCVI.  (DOMINUS REGNAVIT.)

All are invited to rejoice at the glorious coming and reign of Christ.

Ver. 1.  Same.  Huic.  The title is the same as usual in the Sept.  M. It occurs not in Heb.  The psalm may refer to David’s establishment on the throne, after the death of Saul, or Absalom, or to the return from captivity, and to the first and second coming of Christ.  C. This last seems to be the most literal sense.  Bert. To him.  Christ’s body on the third day, and many souls were restored to life. Islands.  We have great reason to rejoice in being educated in the true faith, and we may hope that the Catholic religion will once more flourish in these isles.  W. The Son of man shall have dominion over all.  Dan. vii. 14.  His Church is persecuted, as the waves beat against an island.  Euseb.  C.

Ver. 2.  Clouds.  We could not bear the blaze of the divine majesty.  Ps. xvii. 12.  Christ veiled himself in our human nature, (Theod.) in the womb of the blessed Virgin.  S. Jer.  C. God gave the law with terror; and so he will come to judge with integrity.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  A fire.  Preceding the last judgment.  2 Pet. iii. 12.  Dan. vii. 10.  Wisd. v. 22.  M.

 

Ver. 5.  All.  Which is conformable to the Heb. &c. though the Vulg. terra, means, “all the earth” melted.  H.

 

Ver. 6.  Heavens.  Apostles.  Ps. xviii.  The judge appears publicly.  C.

 

Ver. 7.  Idols.  Heb. Elilim.  Ps. xcv. 5.  H. Angels.  Heb. Elohim, means also, all who have power.  Chal. “idols.”  S. Paul, (Heb. i. 6.) quotes this in the third person; Let all the angels, (C.) or rather he alludes to the Sept. (Deut. xxxii. 43.) which clearly speaks of the Messias, and may therefore have been altered in the Heb. text, which S. Jerom translated.  The psalmist expresses the same idea as Moses had done.  Bert. Both those who adore idols of their own imagination, and their graven things, are condemned.  W.

 

Ver. 9.  Gods.  Princes or angels, elohim, v. 7.  H.

Ver. 11.  Light.  Prosperity.  The Babylonians are punished.  C.

Ver. 12.  Holiness.  Or sanctuary.  Praise for ever his adorable name, (C.) since he is holiness itself, and sanctifies others.  W.

PSALM 97

PSALM XCVII.  (CANTATE DOMINO.)

All are again invited to praise the Lord, for the victories of Christ.

Ver. 1.  David.  His name occurs not in Heb. though the psalm is worthy of him.  Bert. It may refer to the return from captivity, as a figure of the world’s redemption. Things.  In rescuing his people from slavery, and in the incarnation.  C. For him.  Or alone.  M. Christ raised himself by his own power.  C.  Is. lxii. 5. He redeemed mankind for his own glory, sibi.  Bert.

Ver. 2.  Salvation.  Cyrus, or the Messias, whose gospel is preached every where, (C.) and who has saved the world.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  Israel.  The prophets foretold the liberation of the Jew, and of mankind.  The blessed Virgin seems to allude to this passage.  Lu. i. 55.  C. Some Jews were converted.  Rom. xi.  W.

 

Ver. 6.  Cornet.  This was a crooked horn; the trumpets were of metal.  Num. x. 2.  C.

 

Ver. 8.  Hands.  These strong oriental expressions hardly suit our language.  C. They contain a metaphor, and denote the inhabitants of the world, (H.) or those rivers, which spring from Jesus Christ, and mountains, which are raised to heaven by his grace, to praise the Redeemer.  S. Aug. Then the just are exhorted to lift up their heads.  M.

PSALM 98

PSALM XCVIII.  (DOMINUS REGNAVIT.)

The reign of the Lord in Sion: that is, of Christ in his Church.

Ver. 1.  Himself.  There is no title in Heb.  Hence  many have attributed it to Moses, with the preceding psalms.  But the name of Samuel destroys this pretension, and most people suppose that David wrote it at the removal of the ark.  C. Others refer  it to the return from captivity, (Theod.) or to the dedication of the second temple, (C.) and the reign of the Messias.  Bert. Angry.  Though many enemies rage, and the whole earth be stirred up to oppose the reign of Christ, he shall still prevail.  Ch.  Ps. ii. His will shall be done, (W.) for He sitteth on the Cherubim.  H. Ferrand infers from this expression, that the psalm cannot regard the times after the captivity, as the ark existed no more.  But this is not clear; and, at any rate, this idea might still be retained, as God is represented on a chariot drawn by Cherubim.  Ezec. x. 1.  Dan. iii. 55.  C.

Ver. 4.  Loveth judgment.  Requireth discretion.  Ch. Heb. “the king’s strength loveth judgment.”  He does nothing unjustly, as the enemy is forced to confess.  C. This is the highest glory of a king.  Theod. God requires that we should honour him, by correcting our fault.  S. Aug. Directions.  Most right and just laws to direct men.  Ch. Jacob.  There God principally instructed mankind, and punished the perverse.  Other nations he seemed to have left to themselves.  H.

 

Ver. 5.  Adore his foot-stool.  The ark of the covenant was called, in the Old Testament, God’s foot-stool: over which he was understood to sit, on his propitiatory, or mercy-seat, as on a throne, between the wings of the Cherubim, in the sanctuary: to which the children of Israel paid a great veneration.  But as this psalm evidently relates to Christ, and the New Testament, where the ark has no place, the holy Fathers understand this text of the worship paid by the Church to the body and blood of Christ in the sacred mysteries: in as much as the humanity of Christ is, as it were, the foot-stool of the divinity.  So S. Ambrose, l. 3. de Spiritu Sancto, c. 12. and S. Augustin upon this psalm.  Ch. The last mentioned holy Doctor inculcates the obligation of adoring Jesus Christ in the blessed Eucharist, and refutes the Capharnaites, &c.  Jo. vi.  W. The Jews adored God, shewing a relative honour, by prostrating themselves before the ark, in the same manner as Catholics do before holy images.  Bert. It is.  Sept. and some psalters, “he is holy.”  C. Heb. is ambiguous.  Bert. “I discover how I may adore the foot-stool,…without impiety.  Christ took flesh of Mary,…and give it us to eat for our salvation.  But none eats that flesh, till he have first adored it.”  S. Aug.

 

Ver. 6.  Moses and Aaron among his priests.  By this it is evident, that Moses also was a priest, and indeed the chief priest, in as much as he consecrated Aaron, and offered sacrifice for him.  Lev. viii.  So that his pre-eminence over Aaron makes nothing for lay church headship.  Ch.  W. Samuel is only mentioned as a Levite.  See 1 K. xxv. 1.  C.

 

Ver. 7.  Cloud.  As he did to Samuel in the night.  Bert. Them.  By their example, the psalmist insinuates, that priests in the new law shall pray for the people.  W.

 

Ver. 8.  All their inventions.  That is, all the enterprizes of their enemies against them, as in the case of Core, Dathan, and Abiron.  Ch. Num. xvi.  W.  Syr. “injuries.”  The failings of these great men were punished in mercy.  C. Thou hast made them harmless in all their works.  Houbig.

 

Ver. 9.  Mountain.  On Sion, or in the Catholic Church.  Bert. “Those who do not adore on this mountain, are not heard unto eternal life.”  S. Aug.

PSALM 99

PSALM XCIX.  (JUBILATE DEO.)

All are invited to rejoice in God, the Creator of all.

Ver. 1.  Praise.  Theodoret reads, “A psalm of David for confession, with a title in Heb.”  But now that text and the Sept. agree with us.  The psalm refers to the same events as the preceding.  C.

Ver. 2.  Earth.  Both Jews and Gentiles, (W.) converted to the faith of Christ.  H. Gladness.  God loves a cheerful giver.  M. He hears our prayers in all places.  Yet appoints the temple more peculiarly for that duty.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  Not.  S. Jerom seems to have read lu for lo, and translates, “and we are his,” which Houbigant follows.  But the Vulg. gives a very necessary instruction, as some might perhaps forget that God preserves their life every instant, (Bert.) and some have foolishly imagined, that the collection of things might give existence, or be eternal.  Bert.

 

Ver. 5.  Truth.  This is commonly joined with mercy.  C. God faithfully executes what he has promised (W.) for the liberation of his people, and the conversion of the Gentiles.  C.

PSALM 100

PSALM C.  (MISERICORDIAM & JUDICIUM.)

The prophet exhorteth all, by his example, to follow mercy and justice.

Ver. 1.  Himself.  He describes the conduct which he was resolved to follow in ruling, (C.) or alluding to the pious king Josias.  Theod.  4 K. xx. ii.  The sentiments are not confined to rulers alone, (Bert.) though this psalm might be styled, “the mirror of princes.”  Muis. Mercy and judgment.  The chief qualifications of a king.  C. Whether I am treated with clemency or with rigour, I will praise thee.  Chal. No one should presume, since there is judgment, nor despair, since mercy goes before.  S. Jer.  S. Aug. I will sing, and I will understand.  Piety is one of the best means to acquire the intelligence of these heavenly hymns, and of the whole scripture.  H. We might translate the Heb. (C.) and Vulg. Mercy and judgment I will sing, to thee, Lord, will I sing psalms.  H.

Ver. 2.  I will understand, &c.  That is, I will apply my mind, I will do my endeavour, to know and to follow the perfect way of thy commandments: not trusting in my own strength, but relying on thy coming to me by thy grace.  Ch. I will watch over my conduct. When thou.  So S. Jer. and Houbigant read, though Sept. have “when wilt thou come to me?”  Bert. He is impatient of having the ark: but is well apprized that God will not dwell in a polluted soul, or in a wicked city: therefore he promises to remove such obstacles. I walked.  Or “will walk.”  All the other verbs should be in the future; (C.) though that is of no consequence.  Bert. David had studied to regulate his interior and his family before, as much as he did afterwards.  H. His fall was most likely (Bert.) subsequent to this event.  1 K. vi. 11.  H. He acknowledges that he had done what he here mentions, by God’s assistance.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  Thing.  Or Heb. “word of Belial.”  I will neither suffer an evil word or action to pass without reproof.  C.

 

Ver. 4.  Know.  I looked upon them with such contempt, (Euseb.) or I highly disapproved of their conduct, (S. Aug.) and would have no society with them.  C. David was, in a manner, forced to tolerate Joab; but he shewed sufficiently his displeasure, and ordered his successor to punish him, as soon as it could be done with safety to the state.  M.

 

Ver. 5.  Persecute.  Or abhor (W.) with a perfect hatred.  We must shew our displeasure if we hear detraction, (H.) that we may not partake in the crime.  S. Jer. The court is most likely to be infected with this vice, as people are continually endeavouring to supplant their rivals.  C. Secret thoughts of resentment must be stifled in their birth.  Euseb. Heart.  Heb. “wide heart,” which is sometimes taken in a good sense.  3 K. iv. 29.  But here it denotes the ambitious and misers.  Prov. xxviii. 25.  C.

 

Ver. 6.  Faithful.  A prince cannot do every thing himself.  But he ought to make choice of the most virtuous and skilful ministers.  C.

 

Ver. 7.  Prosper.  Heb. “shall not be pleasing,” (S. Jer.  H.) or “maintain himself.”  C.

 

Ver. 8.  Morning.  Without delay, (W.  Jer. xxi. 12.  H.) and with a mind composed.  S. Isid.  Pelus i. ep. 321. The Jews explain this of the judgment of zeal, by which a person might kill a notorious criminal, without any trail, (C.) in imitation of Phinees and Mattathias.  1 Mac. ii. 24.  H. God alone will punish all malefactors at the last day.  S. Aug. The Fathers admonish us to resist temptations at the beginning.  C.

Principiis obsta; sero medicina paratur

                        Cum mala per longas convaluere moras.  Ovid.

PSALM 101

PSALM CI.  (DOMINE EXAUDI.)

A prayer for one in affliction: the fifth penitential psalm.

Ver. 1.  Poor.  Heb. “afflicted.”  This may refer to some of the captives, who were returning, (v. 14.  C.) or to Jesus Christ, (S. Aug.) to whom S. Paul applies v. 26. 28. and whose redemption was prefigured by the former event.  C. David might have both in view.  H. Yet most believe that the psalm was written by Daniel, or Jeremias, &c.  C. It may have two literal senses, like many others.  Bert.

Ver. 2.  Cry.  Fervent petition, though only in the heart.  Ex. xiv. 15.

 

Ver. 3.  Turn not.  We first abandon God, but must humbly beg for grace.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  Fire.  Cremium denotes any combustible matter.  Colum. xii. 19.  S. Jer.  C. While in mortal sin, our best actions, alms, &c. avail nothing.  1 Cor. xiii.  W.

Ver. 5.  Bread.  Through excessive sorrow, (H.) I am fainting in captivity.  C. The human race is relieved by the bread of life, the holy Eucharist.  S. Aug.  Bert. Sinners have no relish for spiritual food.  W.

 

Ver. 6.  Flesh, or “skin.”  S. Jer. The necessary moisture is consumed.  Euseb.  W.

 

Ver. 7.  A pelican, &c.  I am become, through grief, like birds that affect solitude and darkness.  Ch. Kaath comes from a root that signifies to vomit (H.) as this bird lives chiefly on shell-fish, which it swallows, and when the heat of its stomach has caused the shells to open, it throws them up again, and eats the fish.  Bochart.  Parkhurst in ka.  H. It seems to be the onocratalus, which resembles the heron.  What many of the ancients have related concerning its giving life again to its young, by its blood, &c. must be accounted fabulous.  The Fathers have not expressed these facts as certain, (C.) though they have beautifully accommodated them to the tenderness and grace, which Christ has shewn to lost man.  See Euseb. and S. Aug.  H. Raven.  Owl, or rather another species of pelican, so called from having a bag under its chap, “to inclose” fish, &c.  Parkhurst in cose. With its prey it retires to solitary places.  So the distressed love solitude and silence.  H.

 

Ver. 8.  Sparrow.  Heb. Tsippor means any “quick moving” bird, &c. (Idem.) and as the sparrow is not a solitary bird, it may here signify the owl.  Bochart.  C. But these etymological reasons are not very certain, nor important.  H. We may adhere to the Sept. as  many interpreters do.  Bert. The sparrow having lost its mate, mourns in or near its nest.  W.

 

Ver. 9.  Against me.  To kill me, (Acts xxiii. 12.) or to prove my guilt.  C. They are my sworn enemies, (W.) who formerly seemed my friends.  H.

Ver. 10.  For. Or “therefore.” Weeping.  These figurative expressions denote excessive grief.  Ps. lxxix. 6.  C. Meat and drink gave me no more satisfaction than ashes.  W. Rolling on the ground, through grief, my food was spoiled.  M.

Ver. 13.  Memorial.  Thou wilt be remembered by us with gratitude for all eternity, (H.) or wilt thou punish for ever such short-lived creatures?  C. S. Paul understands this of Jesus Christ, (Heb. i. 11.  Bert.) or he rather refers to v. 26.  H. The hope of the Messias gives me comfort.  W.

 

Ver. 14.  Come.  Pointed out; (Jer. xxix. 10.  C.) or David wishes to repair the ravages caused by Absalom, or foretells the return from captivity, (H.) and the grace granted to the Church, and to every faithful soul.  W.

 

Ver. 15.  Thereof.  They had a great regard for the very soil.  4 K. v. 17.  C. Heb. “dust,” as it was then uncultivated.  Bert. Esdras, &c. repaired the ruins of Sion, as Christ and his apostles established the Church.  M.

 

Ver. 16.  Glory.  The conversion of nations is often predicted as about to take place after the captivity; yet not so fully, till the time of Christ.  C. His glory is so manifest, that all kings know it, although, they be not converted.  W.

 

Ver. 17.  Seen.  Dwelling with us.  Jo. i.  H. Jerusalem had attained its ancient splendour before the coming of the Messias.  C.

 

Ver. 18.  Humble.  Patriarchs, priests, and all true penitents.  W.

 

Ver. 19.  Generation.  Lit. “in another,” by the subsequent writers of the Old and New Testaments.  H. Let all posterity become acquainted with this psalm, and know under what obligations we have been to the Lord. Created.  The Jews after the captivity, and, in a higher sense, (C.) Christians, the new creature.  2 Cor. v. 17.  C.  W. This interpretation seems much the better, as kings and nations were converted only by the Messias, and his apostles.  Bert.

Ver. 22.  That.  The faithful in the Church endeavour to serve Christ.  W.

 

Ver. 23.  Kings.  This did not take place till the gospel was preached, (C.) though some kings offered sacrifice before, yet without being converted.  See Zac. ii. 10.  H.

 

Ver. 24.  He answered him in the way of his strength.  That is, the people mentioned in the foregoing verse, or the penitent, in whose person this psalm is delivered, answered the Lord in the way of his strength: that is, according to the best of his power and strength; inquiring after the fewness of his days: to know if he should live long enough to see the happy restoration of Sion, &c.  Ch. The sense of the Vulg. is as good as that of the present Heb. “he hat weakened (afflicted.  Mont.) my strength, in the way; He hath shortened my days.  I said, my God, make me not depart in the midst,” &c. The captives, or those who were set free, address God, though the psalmist himself may express what prayers he had poured forth in his bonds.  C. The variation of the Sept. and Heb. originates in the points; and the text has, his force, very properly, though the Jews would substitute “my.”  Bert. The stability of the Church is hence proved by S. Aug.  H.

 

Ver. 25.  Days.  Allow me time to grow in virtue.  W.  If I be cut off in my youth, I may not be prepared.  M.

 

Ver. 27.  Perish.  Or be changed in their qualities, (W.) as well as all other things, like a garment.  This does not convey the idea of annihilation; and the Fathers are divided on this subject.  2 Pet. iii. 10.  Apoc. xxi. 23.  C.

 

Ver. 28.  Fail.  This regards Christ, (Heb. i.) who has established his Church, (C.) to be perpetual (W.) in this world, (H.) and triumphant in eternity, ver. 29.  C. The psalm must therefore be understood literally of Him; unless it  may have two senses, which those to whom S. Paul wrote must have known, otherwise it would not prove Christ’s divinity.  The Socinians are greatly puzzled how to evade this argument.  Bert.

PSALM 102

PSALM CII.  (BENEDIC ANIMA.)

Thanksgiving to God for his mercies.

Ver. 1.  Himself.  All agree that David wrote this psalm as a model of resignation.  The occasion is not known.  Bert. It may express the sentiments of the captives, (C.) or of converts to Christianity, (Euseb.) and is written with inimitable sweetness.

Ver. 3.  Diseases.  He had described captivity as an illness.  Ps. ci.  C. God graciously forgives sin, and removes bad habits.  He preserves us from falling, and grants us the victory, with all our reasonable requests.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  Eagle’s.  Which get fresh feathers every year, like other birds.  Is. xl. 31.  C. The eagle retains its vigour for a long time, (H.) though  many fabulous accounts have been given of its renovation.  Bert. The new birth in baptism, (Theod.) or by faith, (Euseb.) or the resurrection of Christ are thus insinuated, (S. Leo, ser. i.) as well as (H.) our resurrection and state of grace.  The one is necessarily connected with the other, and both senses are good.  W.

 

Ver. 6.  Mercies.  Heb. “Justice” in protecting the innocent.

 

Ver. 9.  Ever.  He executes his threats, but soon pardons us.  C. Heb. “he will not plead always, nor watch to surprise us for ever;” (C.) or “retain” his anger.  Bert. He is inclined to pity us, and only inflicts a temporal punishment on the penitent, as Christ has paid their ransom.  W.

Ver. 10.  Iniquities.  Which deserved eternal reprobation.

Ver. 11.  Earth.  There is no proportion between God’s mercy and our crimes.  C. Sins are perfectly washed away, (W.) and not barely covered, as the east cannot be the west.  Bert. Sin remitted “sets for ever.”  S. Aug.

Ver. 14.  He remembereth.  Rom. Sept. and psalter, &c. “Remember.”  Other copies agree with us.  C. God compassionates the frailty of those who fear him.  Origen falsely inferred from v. 9. that the devils and the damned would one day be saved.  But this is contrary to Scripture.  v. 17.  Matt. xxv.  Apoc. xx. &c.  W.

 

Ver. 16.  In him.  Or “over it;” the flower.  Or the spirit of God’s indignation will overwhelm him.  The soul of man departs, and cannot naturally be reunited with the body, though it greatly desire that union.  C. The longest life is but like the duration of a flower, (Is. xl. 6.  H.) and the splendour of the noblest families is not better in the sight of God.  S. Aug.

 

Ver. 17.  Justice.  In protecting the oppressed, (C.) and rendering to every one according to his deserts abundantly.  H. God never punishes more than a person’s crimes have merited.  Ex. xx. 5. and xxxiv. 6.  C.

 

Ver. 19.  All.  When Christ shall sit in judgment, (Bert.) and the wicked be suffered no longer to disturb the order of things, and the joy of the elect.  H.

Ver. 20.  His angels.  You who have executed the orders of God for our delivery, help us to return him thanks.  C. Hearkening.  Lit. “to hear,” (H.) or that all may learn to obey God’s mandates when they perceive how carefully the angels put them in execution.  Bert.

Ver. 21.  Hosts.  Sun, &c. which never deviate from their regular course.

Ver. 22.  Soul.  In vain should we behold all nature praising God, if we neglected that duty.  Bert. All the works of the Most High praise him, being under his dominion.  W.

PSALM 103

PSALM CIII.  (BENEDIC ANIMA.)

God is to be praised for his mighty works, and wonderful providence.

Ver. 1.  Himself.  Sept. Comp. adds, “a psalm of the creation,” (H.) as this is the subject; but there is no title in the original.  Bert.  The psalm contains “a divine and natural philosophy,” (Euseb.) respecting the creation and providence.  Plato has written something similar in his Timæus, (C.) though this comparison is indecent.  Bert. The imitation is no disparagement, however, to this divine word, and we may surely notice the concord between the inspired and profane writers.  H. This psalm seems to be a continuation of the preceding one.  C. Great.  Lit. “magnified,” in the same sense as we say, hallowed be thy name, praying that God may be honoured by all his creatures; (H.) though He cannot increase in holiness, &c.  S. Aug. We become acquainted with his greatness, by considering his works.  C. Praise.  Lit. “confession,” (H.) Heb. “glory.”  C. Thou art entitled to all praise.  W.

Ver. 2.  Light.  In this manner he always appeared.  1 Tim. vi. 16.  Ex. iii. 2.  C. Christ only once assumed such a glorious form at this transfiguration, because he came to instruct our mind and heart.  Bert. Stretchest.  Heb. and Sept. have the verbs in the third person, till v. 6. as the Vulg. has here extendens.  But S. Jerom and others agree with us, though S. Paul quotes according to the Heb.  v. 4.  H. Pavilion.  The idea of the heavens resting like a tent upon the earth was very prevalent.  Job ix. 8.  Is. xl. 22.

 

Ver. 3.  Water.  The Fathers are not agreed about the nature or situation of these waters.  Some take them to be angels.  S. Jer.  Gen. i. 7. Others suppose that the waters in the clouds, (C.) or the crystalline substance in the region of the stars are designated.  W. These waters are represented as the roof of God’s palace.  Euseb. Winds.  With surprising velocity, his providence being every where.  Theod. The psalmist accommodates himself to our capacity, to shew that God does all with the utmost ease.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  Fire.  The elements execute his will, (C.) or rather, as the apostle, and Chal. &c. intimate, the angels do this (Bert.) with zeal and activity, (Heb. i. 7.  H.) and ease.  W. Some would attribute to the angels some sort of light bodies, and Grotius attempted to revive this opinion, which never could prevail over the contrary one, which is universally received.  C.

 

Ver. 5.  Ever.  The established order shall subsist, though the earth may move.  Ps. ci. 27.  Bert. It is fixed by its own gravity in the centre.  W.

 

Ver. 6.  The deep.  Heb. “thou hast covered it with the abyss.”  This proves that there was no pre-existent matter, otherwise God would not have begun with the plunging his work in the abyss, and in confusion.  But he chose to bring this beautiful world out of a state of disorder in the space of six days, as Moses and the psalmist relate.  Bert. At first, all was created, covered with the waters.  Gen. i.

 

Ver. 7.  Fear.  Heb. “retire precipitately” to their beds, at thy counsel, (H.) on the third day.  C. Some think that a storm or the deluge are here described, (S. Chrys.) which is less probable.  Bert.  C. The waters would naturally cover the earth; but are confined to their proper channels by God.  W.

 

Ver. 8-9.  The…descend.  This sho8uld be within a parenthesis, (Bert.) as the sequel speaks of the waters.  H. Earth.  This seemed miraculous to those who supposed that the earth was flat.  S. Amb.  Hex. iii. 22.  Job vii. 12.  Amos v. 8.  C. Providence points out the place for every thing.  H.

Jussit et extendi campos, &c.  Ovid, Met. i.

God derogated from this law, which he had appointed for the waters, when he brought them again to overwhelm the guilty earth.  H.

 

Ver. 10.  Pass, to supply the wants of all creatures.  Springs and rain afford the necessary moisture.

Ver. 11.  Except, waiting for one another, as all cannot drink at the fountains at the same time.  The Chal. has the same idea, though the Heb. is explained, “shall break” (Houbig. “shall satisfy”) their thirst.  Bert.)

Ver. 13.  Rooms, with rain, v. 3.  C. Earth, or its inhabitants.  T.

 

Ver. 14.  Service.  Cattle, or beasts of burden, are thus fed for man’s service, though he may also eat legumes, &c.  C. Bring.  God gives the increase.  1 Cor. iii. 7.  H.

 

Ver. 15.  Oil.  This was an article of food, (Bert.) and deeded almost as requisite for anointing the body, as bread and wine to support nature.  Pliny xiv. 22.  Hence it was prohibited in days of fasting.  C. These three things are put for all sorts of food.  W.

 

Ver. 16.  Field.  Heb. “of Jehova.”  Houbigant would substitute ssodi, “field,” (H.) as this name of God is never used to denote “high” trees, &c.  Bert. God provides for the wants of all the creation, even of those things which seem less necessary to us.  C.

 

Ver. 17.  Sparrows, or “birds” (Ps. ci. 8.  H.) in general.  Bert. Highest; or, literally, “the tribe of the heron is their leader,” (H.) first making their nests.  Sept. seem to have read better than the present Heb. “the stork, the fir-trees are its house.”  Bert.

 

Ver. 18.  Irchins.  S. Aug. reads also, “hares.”  These desert places are not useless.  C.

 

Ver. 19.  Seasons and festivals, which it points out: mohadim.  H. During the night wild beasts seek their prey, as men and cattle may  labour in the day-time.  The sun, &c. were made for man’s use, (C.) and not to be adored.  Euseb. These bodies move with the same regularity as if they had intelligence.  Heracleot.

Ver. 21.  God, like all other creatures.  Ps. cxliv. 15. and cxlvi. 9.  C.

Ver. 24.  Riches.  Lit. “possession.”  H. Heb. “The fulness of the earth is thy possession.”  Sept. and ancient psal. “creature;” ktisewV.  The other interpreters read kthsewV, (C.) which the Vulg. adopts.  H. The world derided Jesus Christ, the wisdom of God, and Creator of all.  S. Aug.

 

Ver. 25.  Arms.  Man acts thus to denote something very extensive.  H. The sea is frequently put for the same purpose.  Job xi. 9.  Lam. ii. 13.  Arms is omitted in the Sept. and the ancient psalters. Creeping.  Fishes, (Gen. i. 20.  C.) and all animals without feet (W.) in the waters.  H. Nothing multiplies so fast as fishes.  Arist. Anim. ix. 17.  W.

 

Ver. 26.  Go.  The sea, which seems to be placed as a barrier, tends, by means of navigation, to the general convenience of nations.  C. Dragon.  Leviathan, a huge fish, (Job xl. 20.  W.) which Bochart takes to be the crocodile; though that monster is found rather in rivers.  Bert. It designates here all whales, and other great fishes which play in the sea without experiencing any fear like mortals.  Some translate “to play with it,” (C.) as autw cannot agree with Qalassa.  Bert. The prodigious size of these fishes costs God nothing.  C. The whole creation is but a plaything for him, ludens in orbe terrarum.  Prov. viii. 31.  H. Some Jews impiously pretend that God plays three hours a day with the leviathan, and that he only created two; one of which he killed to make a feast for the elect, and the other causes the tides, by turning itself, &c.  See 4 Esdras, written at least in the second century.  S. Jer.  Muis.  C. Though this monster be too strong for man, it cannot defend itself out of water; (W.) and even in its own element man gains the victory by his skill.  H.

 

Ver. 28.  All, is not in Heb. Sept.  C. But the sense is the same.  H.

 

Ver. 30.  Thy.  Chal. adds, “holy;” and the Fathers explain it of a spiritual renovation, or of the resurrection of the body.  Bert. Animals are still preserved by Providence.  Euseb.  C.

Ver. 31.  Works.  Seeing that they are good.  Gen. i. 31.  May all continue to answer the end for which they were created.  C.

Ver. 32.  Smoke.  Exod. xix. 18. and xx. 18.  God is terrible as well as clement.  C.

 

Ver. 35.  No more.  So S. Paul pronounced sentence on those who did not love the Lord Jesus, (1 Cor. xvi. 22.) yet without any animosity.  Bert. The saints thus pray for the conversion of all, (S. Athan.) or express the approbation of God’s sentence against the damned.  W.

PSALM 104

PSALM CIV.  (CONFITEMINI DOMINO.)

A thanksgiving to God, for his benefits to his people Israel.

Ver. 1.  Alleluia. This word occurs at the end of the preceding psalm in Heb. and means, “Praise ye the Lord,” though it is also used as an exclamation of joy; for which reason it is left untranslated.  See Apoc. xx.  S. Aug. ep. ad Casulan.  C. It implies that we must praise God with all our power; and Catholic writers retain this (W.) and similar words in the original.  H. The first 15 verses of this psalm nearly agree with that which was composed by David, when the ark was to be removed from the house of Obededon.  1 Par. xvi. 8. 22.  H. But the last part seems to have been added by him, or by another afterwards, with some small alterations.  Bert. It was perhaps adapted to the dedication of the second temple, with the two following psalms.  C. Gentiles.  Their conversion is thus insinuated.  C. The apostles preached to all.  Euseb. How much more ought we not to celebrate the mysteries of Christ?  W.

Ver. 3.  Glory.  2 Cor. x. 17.  Euseb. Lit. “be praised,” (H.) knowing to what an honor you have been raised, (Deut. xxx. 7.  Jer. ix. 23.) and live accordingly.

 

Ver. 4.  Evermore.  Be assiduous to obtain is favour, and present yourselves in his holy temple as often as you are able.  C.

 

Ver. 6.  His servant.  Or “servants.”  Sept. Vulg. is ambiguous.  Heb. declared for servant here; but, his chosen, is certainly plural, and refers to all the people, and 1 Par. xvi. 13. we read, seed of Israel, his servants.  H.

 

Ver. 8.  Generations.  Or from the call of Abraham.  But this was to be understood if the Israelites continued faithful, (Deut. xxviii.) or the promise regards the spiritual children of Abraham, who are blessed for ever, (Bert.) and continue to the end of the world.  H.

 

Ver. 11.  Lot.  Lit. “line,” with which land was measured.  C. The descendants of the patriarchs would never have lost this inheritance if they had observed the law.  The promise was therefore conditional; though it was absolute, in as much as all were to be blessed in their seed: as they had begun to be, when Jerusalem was destroyed by Titus.

Ver. 12.  Very few.  Heb. “as it were reduced to nothing,” to avoid a tautology.  Bert. But this version is not necessary.  H. Jacob at this time was not married, (Bert.) and his parents had no part of the land.  This manifests the power of God, and the faith of the patriarchs, (C.) who doubted not but that he would realize what he had promises.  H.

 

Ver. 13.  People.  This seems to be a fresh obstacle to their possession of Chanaan.  C.

 

Ver. 15.  Prophets.  The word anointed is thus explained, as the patriarchs were not kings over any but their own families, though they were equal in riches to many kings.  They foresaw future events, and offered sacrifice to God, as priests, in which sense also they may be styled anointed.  No visible unction, but the divine appointment, might be requisite.  God protected them in a wonderful manner, and selected them for his peculiar people.  C.  Heb. xi. 8.

 

Ver. 16.  And.  The psalmist continues to mention the favours of God, till the Israelites entered the promised land, which the author of 1 Par. xvi. passes over.  H. Bread.  In time of famine, people are not strengthened with their food.  Euseb.  Ezec. iv. 16. and v. 16. God permitted, (W.) or caused the famine to rage.

 

Ver. 17.  He sent.  Drawing good from the malice of Joseph’s brethren, (H.) in which he had no hand.  Bert. Who could have thought that this event would have tended to Joseph’s exaltation, and to the safety of his father’s house?

 

Ver. 18.  Fetters.  Heb. cebel, (H.) “a chain, or the stocks.”  The meaning is not ascertained.  C. Soul.  Lu. ii. 35.  He was in great distress, (H.) and in danger of perishing.  Theod.

 

Ver. 19.  His word.  By which he foretold his own glory, or what should befall the king’s two officers, which brought him into notice.  Gen. xxxvii. 9. and xl. 22.  His word, may also refer to God’s decree.  C. Inflamed him.  He received the gift of prophecy, (H.) and being inflamed with the love of God, resisted the solicitations of Putiphar’s wife.

Ver. 22.  Instruct.  Heb. “bind” by precepts or chains, (Bert.) as he had all power. Wisdom.  Joseph was considered as the oracle of Egypt, and the prime minister.  C. We cannot doubt but he would strive to undeceive the people with regard to many superstitions.  Theod.  S. Aug.

 

Ver. 23.  Cham.  Who resided there, and was worshipped under the name of Jupiter Ammon.  Bochart, Phaleg. iv. 1.  C. Misraim was his son, and peopled the land.  Gen. x. 13.  W.

 

Ver. 24.  Exceedingly.  In 215 years, 600,000 warriors sprung from seventy people, (C.) or from seventy-five, as Sept. and S. Stephen read, comprising eight wives, Jacob, and sixty-six of his descendants.  Seventy might naturally produce two million and a half in such a space of time.  But the Hebrews had been cruelly oppressed.  God’s blessing enabled them to increase as they did.  Bert.

 

Ver. 25.  He turned their heart, &c.  Not that God (who is never the author of sin) moved the Egyptians to hate and persecute his people; but that the Egyptians took occasion of hating and envying them, from the sight of the benefits which God bestowed upon them.  Ch.  S. Aug. He permitted the malice of the Egyptians, (Theod.) and employed them to chastise his people, who had adored idols.  Euseb.  Acts vii. 43.  Felix, Prot. &c. translate the Heb. “their heart was turned.”  Bert. The perversity of the Egyptians came from themselves, though it was turned to a good account.  W.

 

Ver. 27.  He gave.  Heb. “they placed in them the words of their signs.”  C.  Houbig. But the Chal. and S. Jerom are conformable to the Sept.  Bert.

 

Ver. 28.  Grieved not his words.  That is, he was not wanting to fulfil his words: or he did not grieve Moses and Aaron, the carriers of his words: or he did not grieve his words, that is, his sons, the children of Israel, who enjoyed light whilst the Egyptians were oppressed with darkness.  Ch. He performed what he had threatened without reluctance.  W. We may also translate, “he added no threat (H.) before this ninth plague was inflicted.”  Heb. “and they did not irritate (or transgress) his word.”  The envoys of God were obedient to him.  The copies of the Sept. are not uniform; (C.) some omit the negation, which would give a very good sense; though it must be allowed to be inaccurate, unless the Heb. be read with an interrogation, “did they not resist his word?” alluding to the Egyptians.  Bert. Almost all the ancients have the plural exacerbaverunt, except S. Jerom, in his commentary.  C.

 

Ver. 29.  Blood.  In reality, so that the fishes were killed.  S. Athan.

Ver. 30.  Land.  Including the rivers.  Ex. vii. 1. and viii. 3. Kings, or noblemen.  Bert.

Ver. 31.  Flies.  This was revealed to David, or known by tradition, as it is not recorded by Moses.  W. Some copies of the Sept. have, “the dog-fly,” cinifes (Ex. viii. 16.) gnats, (H.) which are very common and tormenting in Egypt.  The Jews understand lice.  Joseph and the Chal.  C.

Ver. 32.  Rain.  Which fall in Egypt, though less frequently.  C.  Wisd. xvi. 17.

 

Ver. 34.  Bruchus.  An insect of the locust kind, (Ch.) or a worm which spoils corn, &c.  W.

 

Ver. 36.  Labour.  This explains the first part of the verse.  Gen. xlix. 3.  Ps. lxxvii. 51.  H. The fifth and sixth plagues are not specified.  W.

 

Ver. 37.  Gold.  Which the Egyptians gave to get quit of them, (Ex. xi. 1.) and that with joy, (v. 38.) though they might at first only intend to lend.  S. Aug.  Bert. Feeble.  This refutes the notion which the enemies of the Jews had propagated, saying that they were banished on account of the leprosy.  They felt none of the inconveniences which fell on the Egyptians, and God removed every obstacle which might retard their flight.  C. According to the course of nature, out of two million and a half, 150 people die daily.  Bert.

 

Ver. 40.  Asked.  Chal. and ancient psalters add, “for meat.”  Heb. “he (Moses or all the people) asked, and the quail came,” at Sin.  Ex. xvi. 13.

Ver. 41.  Rivers.  The waters from the rock were so abundant.  C.  Ex. xvii. 6.  Bert.

Ver. 44.  People.  Whose crimes have deserved death.  Num. xxxiii. 51.  Deut. vii. 5. C.

 

Ver. 45.  His justifications.  That is, his commandments: which here, and in many other places of the Scripture, are called justifications, because the keeping of them make men just.  The Protestants render it by the word statutes, in favour of their doctrine, which does not allow good works to justify.  Ch. The design of God in granting Chanaan to the Israelites, was to encourage them to preserve the true religion.  C.

PSALM 105

PSALM CV.  (CONFITEMINI DOMINO.)

A confession of the manifold sins and ingratitude of the Israelites.

Ver. 1.  Alleluia.  The word is repeated in some copies.  S. Jer. But Heb. has only one at the end of the preceding psalm: of which this appears to be a sequel.  As in the former, God’s favours were specified, so here the ingratitude of his people is acknowledge.  C. It may refer to the Jews during, (Euseb.  Vatab.) or after the captivity, (C.) and to all in the state of sin.  S. Jer.  Bert. The 47th and 48th verses agree with the three last, which were sung at the translation of the ark.  1 Par. xvi. 34.  H. Hence that canticle now makes a part of our Ps. civ. xcv. and cv. with various alterations made by the prophet.  Bert. Give glory.  Lit. “confess” (H.) your sins, to obtain mercy, (S. Chrys.) or rather praise God, (Theod.) who is the source of all good.  W. This was the usual prayer of the Israelites, in ceremonies of thanksgiving.  2 Par. v. 13.  C.

Ver. 2.  Powers.  See Eccli. xliii. 29.  No one can sufficiently praise God’s power or mercy.  Bert.

 

Ver. 3.  Times.  He only who perseveres to the end shall be crowned.  Matt. xxiv. 13.  Ezec. xxxiii. H. Such as these can alone worthily sound forth God’s praises, (Bert.) being so happy as to preserve their innocence, or at least to repent.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  Us.  Heb. “me.”  But Aquila, Syr. &c. agree with the Sept.  Some of the Jews were already returned, and pray for the liberation of their brethren.  C. The Fathers explain it of Christian converts.  S. Chrys. People.  According to thy gracious promises, that we may enjoy the blessings of thy elect.  W.

 

Ver. 6.  Sinned.  Here commences the confession of sins.  The just man first accuses himself.  Prov. xviii. 17.  C. The same prayer is repeated, Judith vii. 19. and Dan. ix. 5. as it might be applicable to the captives.  Bert. We have injured ourselves, our neighbours, and our God.  W.

 

Ver. 7.  Going up.  Or proceeding.  The banks of the sea were more elevated than the country from which the Israelites came, (C.) and the land of Chanaan was still higher.  See Ps. cvi. 23.  Gen. xii. 9.  H. Sea even.  Is not in the Sept.  C.

 

Ver. 8.  Known.  Is. lxiii. 12.  He might justly (W.) have abandoned them to the Egyptians.  Ex. xiv. 11.

 

Ver. 9.  Rebuked.  Commanding with power. Nah. i. 4.  C. Wilderness. Or plain country.  H.

Ver. 10.  Redeemed.  What price was given?  This is a figure of baptism, in which the fruits of Christ’s blood are applied to our souls.  All sins are there destroyed, as the Egyptians were in the Sea.  S. Aug.  Ser. xlii. de Temp.  W.

Ver. 11.  Left.  Manetho and Lorin assert, that Pharao reigned afterwards.  But this is contrary to the Scripture.  All who came to attack Israel perished.  C. They supposed that the waters were enchanted.  S. Iræn. iv. 48.

Ver. 12.  Words.  And Moses his servant.  Ex. xiv. 31. and xv. 1.

 

Ver. 13.  Counsel.  Three days after the passage of the sea, God laid injunctions upon the at Mara, which they would not observe.  Ex. xv. 22.  C. They coveted unnecessary things.  W.

 

Ver. 14.  Desire.  Or they greedily sought for flesh meat, (H.) at Sin, or Pharan.  Ex. xvi. 13.  Num. xi. 31.  Chronological order is not observed.  C.

 

Ver. 15.  Fulness.  Or disgust: plesmonh.  Sept. probably read zore, (as Num. xi. 20.) instead of razon.  Heb. “leanness,” (C.) which is a natural consequence of immoderate repletion.  H.

 

Ver. 16.  Holy one.  By his function (W.) of priest.  Core wished to take his place, as the rest did to supplant Moses in the civil government.  Num. xvi.  C.

 

Ver. 17.  Adiron.  With Core, though  his children were preserved.  C. God presently resented the injury done to his ministers.  Euseb.

 

Ver. 18.  Wicked.  Two hundred and fifty accomplices, (Num. xv. 35.  C.) and fourteen thousand seven hundred murmurers.  M.

 

Ver. 19.  Graven.  Heb. “molten.”  The image must first be graven.  Bert.  Ex. xxxii. 3.

Ver. 20.  Grass.  This enhances their folly.  God is often styled the glory of his people.  C. Osee (x. 5.) contemptuously calls the golden calf, the glory of Samaria.  H. This idolatry was truly blameable, (Rom. i. 23.) and not the veneration paid by Catholics to the images of Christ, &c.  W. Those who pretend that the Hebrews meant to adore the true God, and not the idol Apis, are here clearly refuted; they forgot God, &c.  Acts vii. 40.  Bert.

Ver. 23.  Breach.  Like a valiant captain, (C.) or pastor.  H. God complains of those who neglected this duty.  Ezec. xiii. 5. and xxii. 30.  The psalmist alluded to the conduct of Moses, after the people had adored the calf, (Ex. xxxii. 10.) or when they had joined with Core.  Num. xvi. 44.  C. The intercession of the saints is useful, (S. Aug.) still more after their victories.  S. Jer. ad Vig. ii. 2  Mac. xv. 14.  Bert. God spared the people for the sake of Moses.  W.

 

Ver. 24.  Word.  Which Moses, Josue, &c. announced.  Num. xiii. and xii. 29.  C.

 

Ver. 26.  Over them.  Swearing C. to destroy them, (H.  Ezec. xx. 23.) and scatter them, as they now experienced.  Lev. xxvi. 31. and Deut. xxviii. 36. 64.

 

Ver. 28.  Dead idols, without life, (Ch.) particularly Adonis (C.) whose death is bewailed by the poets, &c.  H. Idols kill their votaries.  W.

 

Ver. 29.  Multiplied.  All who had murmured perished, or this may relate to the 24,000.  Num. xxv. 9.  C. Ezec. xx. 23.  S. Paul (1 Cor. x. 8.) speaks of those 23,000 slain by the Levites.  The Heb. which has only 3,000 must be inaccurate.  Temporal chastisements were intended to prefigure those which are eternal, as the Jews knew that such rewards and punishments were to be considered (Matt. xix. 16.  Bert.) as the spiritual sense of the law.  Grot. Jur. ii. 20, 39.

Ver. 31.  Evermore.  Phinees thus by his pious zeal, merited (W.) God’s favour, and the high priesthood (Num. xxv. 13.  C.) for his posterity, for 900 years, though the latter promise seems to have been conditional.  Bert.

Ver. 33.  He distinguished with his lips.  Moses, by occasion of the people’s rebellion and incredulity, was guilty of distinguishing with his lips; when, instead of speaking to the rock, as God had commanded, he said to the people, with a certain hesitation in his faith, Hear ye rebellious and incredulous: Can we from this rock bring out water for you?  Num. xx. 10.  Ch. For thus doubting of God’s will, he was temporarily punished,. Deut. i. 37.  W. The death of his sister, and the ingratitude and rebellion of the people disturbed him.  Theod.  See Is. lxiii. 10.  Houbigant follows the Arab. “he delayed or hesitated.”  Yebatte means, “he spoke rashly.”  Some refer this, (Bert.) to God.  “He reproached…that they,” &c. (M.) which is not necessary, (Bert.) or he sentenced Moses to die.  Kimchi.

 

Ver. 34.  Them.  Commanding no idolatrous government to be left in the land, nor any Chanaanite to be permitted to live, who should make opposition.  The law of extermination must probably be thus restricted.  The Jews neglected these ordinances, and hence became so often infected with idolatry, (Bert.) even to the end of the republic, when many still adored the sun.  Joseph. Bel. ii. 8.  Ex. xxiii. 32.  Jos. xiii. 13.

 

Ver. 38.  Chanaan.  These unnatural sacrifices were perhaps practised under the judges, or at least under the kings.  W. Some pretend that the children were only made to pass over or between fires.  But this is refuted by facts.  Lev. xviii. 21. and 4 K. xvi. 3.  Jer. vii. 30 Polluted.  Infecta: efonoktanhqh is used by Sept. in this sense, though it signifies also, “was slain;” interfecta, as most Latin Bibles and Fathers read, before the correction of Clem. VIII.  The former expression is more natural and conformable to the Heb.  C.

 

Ver. 39.  And was.  Heb. “and they were defiled.”  S. Jer. Inventions.  Idols of their imaginations, (H.) and lusts.  C.

Ver. 45.  Repented.  Ceased to punish, (Euseb.) when the people repented.  S. Jer. God then regarded them in mercy, having given them grace to repent.  W.

 

Ver. 46.  Mercies.  He inspired their enemies with pity for them.  Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes shewed them favour.  Ps. lxxxiii. 12.  C.

 

Ver. 47.  Save.  These verses, which may be well recited in times of schism, (W.) occur, 1 Par. xvi. being probably inserted by Esdras, or some other prophet.  But here they are in their proper place, as many of the Israelites are still in captivity.  C. yet as this is only a system, we may rather suppose, that David wrote this conclusion.  He had to encounter various nations, who might have made captives; and he may beg that all may be united in the same faith, and avoid the society of the wicked.  Bert.

 

Ver. 48.  So be it.  The second Amen occurs not in Heb.  But Alleluia is placed instead, which the Vulg. makes the title of the next psalm.  H. This conclusion of the fourth book seems to be added by the collector.  Ps. xl.  C. Yet this is uncertain.  H.

PSALM 106

PSALM CVI.  (CONFITEMINI DOMINO.)

All are invited to give thanks to God for his perpetual providence over men.

Ver. 1.  Alleluia.  S. Aug. repeats this word.  But it occurs in the Heb. &c. at the end of the preceding psalm, of which this is a continuation, shewing how God pardoned his people, and delivered them from captivity, (C.) and mankind from sin.  H.  Fathers  Bert. Glory.  Lit. “confess” your sins, thay you may praise God, (Ps. cv.  H.) and adore his mercy and providence. W.

Ver. 2.  Countries.  The Jews from Babylon, and all who were redeemed by Christ.  C. He was promised immediately after the fall.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  Sea.  Heb. miyam, for which we should read imim “the right,” denoting the south.  C. But the sea, or ocean, is properly used in the same sense.  Bert. The Ammonites, Philistines, Syrians, and Idumeans, from these four quarters, often reduced the Israelites to servitude, under the judges.  Houbig. From all parts, the Jews of the ten tribes returned in the reigns of Darius and Alexander.  C.  Diss. But the texts which are applied to this event speak rather of the conversion of the Gentiles, which the prophet has here in view.  Bert. None are excluded from the benefits of this redemption, but by their own fault.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  Habitation.  So were the Jews distressed at Babylon, (C.) as many are forced to wander in the world, and all are involved in sin.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  Hungry.  As both Jews and Gentiles were for the word of God, (Amos viii. 11.) when Christ appeared.  H. Their wants cried aloud, (S. Aug.) though they sought him not.  Isai. lxv. 1.  Bert. Those who call upon God are relieved by him, in the manner which is most for their welfare.  W.

 

Ver. 8.  Mercies.  We are unworthy to open our mouths.  This chorus is repeated, (v. 15. 21. 31.) by the people, after the Levites had sung the intermediate sentences.  C. The v. 6. 9. 13. 19. are of the same nature, and refer to different sorts of calamities.  Bert. All the benefits of God, proceeding from his mercy, and not from man’s deserts, praise him.  W.

 

Ver. 10.  Darkness.  This second allegory represents the condition of the captives, and of mankind, before Christ’s coming.  C. The former enjoyed some liberty, Jer. xxix. 5. But the latter were most miserable, (Matt. ix. 15.  Lu. iv. 18.) and of these the words are most naturally explained.  Bert.

Ver. 11.  Exasperated.  Heb. “changed, or frustrated.”  This is the source of all misery, (C.) as calamities are commonly inflicted on account of sin.  W.

Ver. 12.  Labours.  There were slaves of various descriptions: some were confined to hard labour, and chained down at night.  C.

 

Ver. 14.  Bonds.  Of their passions.  See S. Aug.  Conf. viii. 11.  H.

 

Ver. 17.  Iniquity.  Making them alter their conduct.  Hebrew seems less correct: “they are foolish on account of their way, and they,” &c.  Illness is sent to punish sin.  Job xxxiii. 19.  Matt. ix. 2.  Jo. v. 14.  C.

 

Ver. 20.  Word.  Jesus Christ, according to the prophetical sense, adopted by the Fathers, (S. Atha. or. 3. &c.) though it literally implies, that at God’s command the sick were healed.  Matt. viii. 7. This allegory again represents the state of captivity.  C.

Ver. 22.  Praise.  Instead of victims.  Ps. xxvi. &c.

 

Ver. 23.  Down to the sea, &c.  Captivity is here compared to a tempest.  C. The apostles carry the tidings of salvation to all places.  Persecutions are raised; but God grants peace to his Church under Constantine.  Euseb.

 

Ver. 24.  Deep.  The fury of tempests.  Various nations, and the treasures of the deep.  M.

 

Ver. 26.  Heavens.  So Virgil says:

Tollimur in cælum curvato gurgite & iidem

                        Subductâ ad Manes imos descendimus undâ.  Æn. iii.

 

Ver. 27.  Up.  They knew not how to proceed.  Ambiguis ars stupet ipsa malis.  C.

 

Ver. 29.  Breeze.  Heb. “silence, or calm.”

Ver. 30.  For.  Even to Jerusalem.  C.

Ver. 31.  Men.  We must thank God for having enabled us to repent, v. 8.  W.

Ver. 33.  Wilderness.  God caused his people to pass through the Red Sea, and the Jordan, to possess the fruitful country of Chanaan, part of which had been cursed for the crimes of the Sodomites.  H. He has punished Babylon, (Jer. xxv. 12.) made a straight road from his people, (Is. xxxv. 8.) and enabled them to cultivate their country again, v. 41.  C. The synagogue has been abandoned, and the Church chosen.  Bert. The power of God is displayed, who caused the land of promise to be more fertile for his people, which is now very barren.  W.

 

Ver. 34.  Barrenness.  Or “saltness.”  H. He alludes to the environs of Sodom.  Gen. xiii. 10. and xix. 24.  W.

 

Ver. 37.  Of birth.  A plentiful crop, facient fruges germina.  S. Jer.  C. Abundance of fruit shall grow in some places, while others are punished on account of sin.  W.

 

Ver. 40.  Princes.  Jochonias was humbled, (H.) and exalted, with Daniel, &c.  4 K. xxv. 27.  Others explain it of Nabuchodonosor and Baltasar, who were reduced to the state of ignominy and death.  C. The Jews experienced the greatest  miseries at the last siege of Jerusalem.  Bert.

Ver. 41.  Sheep.  The Gentiles took the place of the obstinate Jews.  S. Aug.

Ver. 42.  Mouth.  The psalmist saw Babylon before its ruin, (C.) at least in spirit.  God’s judgment strengthen virtue, and repress the wicked.  H.  The propagation of the gospel put to silence the oracles of the pagans.  Bert.

 

Ver. 43.  Lord.  This is the part of wisdom, and deserves our serious consideration, (H.) as Osee (xiv. 10.) and our Saviour admonish.  Matt. xi. 15. and xiii. 9.  Mar. iv. 9. &c.

PSALM 107

PSALM CVII.  (PARATUM COR MEUS.)

The prophet praiseth God for benefits received.

Ver. 1.  Himself.  By repeating here what occurs in Ps. lvi. and lix.  David teaches us to excite our fervour by such sentiments as have formerly made an impression upon us.  Bert. He spoke before of his own victories: now he considers those of Christ, and of his Church, (Geneb.) as well as the state of the captives.  Theod.  C.

Ver. 2.  My heart, &c.  Is not repeated in Heb.  But it is, Ps. lvi. 8.

 

Ver. 3.  Arise, my glory.  Is found also in this psalm, though not here in Heb. &c.  S. Jerom (ad Sun.) thinks some copyist has inserted it.  C. But it seems to be here in its proper place.  Bert.

 

Ver. 4.  Nations.  David made various conquests, which prefigured those of Christ, to whom the rest of the psalm belongs.  S. Aug.  W.

 

Ver. 7.  That.  See Ps. lix. 7.  W.

 

Ver. 8.  Holiness.  Or holy one, sancto: (H.) meaning Jeremias xxv. 11. who foretold the end of the captivity, (C.) or David himself, and the Messias, his son, in whom he will rejoice.  H.

PSALM 108

PSALM CVIII.  (DEUS LAUDEM MEAM.)

David, in the person of Christ, prayeth against his persecutors; more especially the traitor Judas; foretelling and approving his just punishment for his obstinacy in sin and final impenitence.

Ver. 1.  David.  S. Peter attributes it to him, and gives us the key to this psalm, by applying (v. 8.) to the traitor Judas.  Acts i. 16, 20.  Bert. T. vii. Our Saviour seems to allude to it, when he styles Judas, the son of perdition.  Jo. xvii. 8.  It may also have a reference to Doeg, or Achitophel, who were his forerunners.  Ven. Bede thinks it was composed by the Machabees, against apostates.  The Church used it in the deposition of bishops, and against usurpers of ecclesiastical goods: (Grot.) and, in times of ignorance, some thought hereby to discover thieves.  The style is very vehement, (C.) containing the sentence pronounced by the sovereign judge against the reprobate.  H.

Ver. 2.  Praise.  Heb. “God of my praise,” (C.) whom I always adore, under every dispensation of Providence.  H. Yet the original may agree with the Vulg. and Christ desires to be glorified, (Jo. xii. 23. and xvii. 5.  Bert.) and styles his passion, his praise.  Theod. David appeals to God’s judgment.  C. Man.  The Pharisees, &c. endeavoured to entangle Christ.  Matt. xxii.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  Cause.  Or provocation.  H. So Catiline gratuito potius malus quam crudelis erat.  Sallust. The sanctity of Jesus Christ could not be overwhelmed, or hidden, (H.) even with the torrent of abuse thrown upon him.

 

Ver. 4.  Detracted.  Heb. and Sept. “calumniated,” as v. 20. and 29.  C. Prayer.  Jesus Christ prayed for his enemies, (Lu. xxiii. 34.  Flam.) and did many good works for the benefit of all.  Jo. x. 32.  Acts x. 38.  David had also signalized himself in the defence of his country, and yet was banished.  He shews that he was animated with the perfect spirit of the gospel, though the law permitted retaliation.  Ex. xxi. 24.  C.

 

Ver. 6.  Set thou the sinner over him, &c.  Give to the devil, that arch-sinner, power over him: let him enter into him, and possess him.  The imprecations contained in the thirty verses of this psalm, are opposed to the thirty pieces of silver for which Judas betrayed our Lord: and are to be taken as prophetic denunciations of the evils that should befall the traitor, and his accomplices, the Jews; and not properly as curses.  Ch. The devil entered into Judas, (Jo. xiii. 2.  C.) who hung  himself in despair.  W. The Jews were abandoned over to cruel masters, as Doeg and Achitophel presently perished.  Ps. li. 5.  It was customary at trials, for a satan, or “adversary,” to be stationed at the right hand of the accused.  Zac. iii. 1.  C.

 

Ver. 7.  Prayer.  Or may his supplication to judges for pardon irritate them, (C.) and let it not move God to mercy any more than a sin.  M. God rejects such prayers as are destitute of the proper conditions, as he did those of Antiochus, (S. Aug.  C.) and they are a fresh sin.  Bert. Yet the prayer of a sinner is not so, when he acts sincerely.  H.

 

Ver. 8.  Bishopric.  Episkophn, “inspection or pre-eminence” of any kind.  Judas lost his spiritual office, and the Jews all dominion in a very short time.  S. Peter quotes this passage, and only the Socinians will assert that he does not adhere to the literal sense.  Bert. The apostleship (W.) was given to S. Matthias.  C. The priesthood of Aaron was forced to give place to that of Melchisedech.  M.

 

Ver. 9.  Wisdom.  Judas was married, (S. Aug.) and stole for his family; (Lyran.) though as the Scripture is silent, S. Chrys. believes the contrary.  M. The synagogue being rejected, the Jews are in a manner orphans.  C. The posterity of persecutors prosper not long.  W. All sorts of imprecations are used that some may fall upon the guilty.  Geneb.  M.

Ver. 10.  Out.  Heb. “seek.”  S. Jer. “be sought after,” which implies that the are rejected.  Houbig. The being reduced to beg, is terrible to one who has been brought up in a better manner. Dwellings.  Sept. (M.) and S. Jer. “ruins.”  The Jews were forbidden to weep over the ruins of Jerusalem, and are become vagabonds.  C.

Ver. 11.  Usurer.  The Romans forced the miserable Jews to pay taxes, and Domitian banished them from Rome, to live in a wood, where their furniture was only a basket and some hay, and their wives came to beg.

Cophino fænoque relicto

                        Arcanam Judæa tremens mendicat in aurem.  Juv. Sat. xi. 540.  C.

At the last siege, some of their bodies were ripped open, to discover the gold which they might have swallowed.  Joseph. Bel. vi. 15.  See Deut. xxiv. 10.  M.

Ver. 13.  In one.  Heb. “another.”  Let none remember them.  The ruin of Jerusalem took place within forty years time.  C. Arch-heretics are not long followed; their disciples make fresh discoveries.  W.

 

Ver. 14.  Out.  As children derive great advantages from the piety of their parents, so they also feel the punishment of their crimes, when they imitate them.  Deut. xxiv. 16.  Ezec. xviii. 20.  If they share in the afflictions of their family, and are free from sin, this must be considered as a trial, and they will be amply rewarded in a future world.  God is the arbiter of the life and death of all.  External miseries may afflict both the just and sinners; but the motive for their being sent is very different.  The Jews prayed, Let his blood be upon us, and upon our children; (Matt. xxvii. 25.) and they became chargeable with all the crimes of their ancestors.  Matt. xxiii. 35.  C.

 

Ver. 15.  They.  Iniquities, (H.) or may the sinners be “against the Lord,” and He against them.  Lev. xxvi. 21.  C.

 

Ver. 16.  Mercy.  Therefore he, the chief, and each of his adherents, can expect to find no mercy.  Jam. ii. 13.  H. By the most crying injustice, the Jews put to death, the man of sorrows, (C.) who had been pleased to assume our nature, and had not where to lay his head.  Lu. ix. 58.  M.

 

Ver. 18.  Bones.  This strikingly describes the malediction of a person who has swallowed iniquity like water.  Job xv. 16.  Prov. iv. 17.  The Jews had spoken ill of Christ, and of his disciples.  Matt. xxvii. 25.  Jo. ix. 17.  C. Let all who delight in cursing, attend to this sentence.  W. They like those things, which bring both temporal and eternal misery.  M.

 

Ver. 20.  Work.  They effect their own ruin.  H. The Jews pretended to act for the glory of God, being influenced with a zeal with knowledge.  Some translate, “let such be the recompense;” which is not amiss.  Bert.

Ver. 21.  With me.  Many ancient psalters supply, “thy mercy,” with the Arab.  C. Grace must always accompany our endeavours.  1 Cor. xv. 10.  Bert.

Ver. 22.  Within me.  In the garden.  Christ did penance for sin all his life.  He wept over Jerusalem.  Lu. xix. 41.  H.

Ver. 23.  Locusts.  David was forced to wander about.  Christ continually sought after the lost sheep, (C.) and was hurried to different tribunals.  M. S. Jerom applies this to the Jews, and S. Aug. to Christians under persecution.  C.

 

Ver. 24.  For oil, propter oleum.  The meaning is, my flesh is changed, being perfectly emaciated, and dried up, as having lost all its oil, or fatness.  Ch. Or, “on account of the privation of perfumes,” (Bert.) which the Jews looked upon as necessary.  David and Jesus Christ were exposed to many inconveniences.

 

Ver. 25.  Heads, and saying, Vah, &c. (Matt. xxvii. 40.) as Semei insulted David, (2 K. xvi. 5.  C.) though he is not said to have shaken his head, for which reason the prophecy may rather relate solely to Christ.  Bert. “To pay our ransom, he was crucified; to be crucified, he was despised; and to be despised, he appeared in a state of abjection.”  S. Aug. These three steps were requisite, as the Jews would never have dared to lay hands on him, if he had appeared in glory.  Bert.

 

Ver. 27.  It.  My suffering, (Bert.) or deliverance.  C. Jesus Christ prays for a glorious resurrection, and that his enemies may be covered with all possible confusion.  W.

 

Ver. 29.  Cloak.  DiploiV, means the outward robe.  Heb. mehil.  H.  Gal. iii. 13. “The cross of Jesus Christ shall be the glory of believers, and the confusion of infidels.”  S. Leo, ser. xviii. de pas. A salutary and inward shame may be of great advantage.  H. Christ prays that his enemies may feel such a sorrow, and be converted.  S. Jerom “He speaks not against, but in favour of, the Jews.”  S. Aug.  C.

Ver. 30.  Many.  In the Catholic Church, (H.) till the end of the world.  C.

Ver. 31.  My.  Heb. “his soul from the judges,” Pilate and the Jews, (C.) particularly the Sanhedrim.  How many still continue to persecute Christ, and do not tremble!  Bert.

PSALM 109

PSALM CIX.  (DIXIT DOMINUS.)

Christ’s exultation, and everlasting priesthood.

Ver. 1.  David.  It is of faith that he wrote this psalm on the Messias.  The Jews, in our Saviour’s time, were convinced of it, (Matt. xxii. 42.) so that their posterity (Bert.) in vain attempts to explain it of Abraham, David, Solomon, Ezechias, Zorobabel.  S. Chrys. Even some of the candidly own that it can relate to no other, (Thalmud.) and Christians are universally of this belief.  C. Lord.  Heb. Jehova, (H.) the Father.  M. To my Lord.  Heb. Ladoni, (H.) the Son incarnate, (M.) Lord of all, though the son of David.  W. Who else could be David’s superior? as Christ argues.  H. The title Adonoi is given to God, (v. 5. &c.  C.) as my is never united with the ineffable name. Hand.  In equal power (Bert.) as God, and in the highest dignity as man, after the ascension.  C. This thought should encourage us to suffer patiently, (Col. iii. 1.) as Christ was to suffer, and thus to enter into his glory.  The saints did not strive to divide him. But we would suffer nothing, and yet be glorified at the hour of our death!  Bert. Until.  This word does not always mark the term of a thing.  When all shall be subdued, then Christ will continue to it with greater majesty, (1 Cor. xv. 25.  C.) for ever.   W.  Heb. x. 13. Footstool.  As was customary with conquerors.  Jos. x. 24.

Ver. 2.  Sion.  Whence the empire of Christ extended over all the earth.  Is. ii. 3.  Lu. xxiv. 47.  C. In spite of opposition, he reigns in the Church, and will one day make all submit.  Bert. On Whitsunday the new law was promulgated, to continue unto the end of time.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  Principality.  Christ says, All power is given to me.  Matt. xxviii. and this he will display (H.) in the day of judgment.  S. Chrys. Arch is used in this sense by Xenophon, &c. (C.) as principium is by Suetonius, (in Aug.) yet it may also signify, This is the “origin,” or source of thy authority, from the womb,” &c.  S. Chrys.  Bert. The consubstantiality of the Son is hence manifest, and this ensures every perfection.  H. The Father and the Son are both principals.  S. Jer. Christ was in the beginning, (Jo. i.) and the very beginning.  His eternal birth is here mentioned, though some have explained it of his temporal nativity, which took place before the rising of the day-star.  C. This, however, would seem a trivial circumstance, (Bert.) whereas the birth of Christ before the whole creation is of great consequence. Saints.  Or “holy places,” sanctorum.  Heb. “In the beauties (behadre.  H.) S. Jer. has read berri, in the mountains, (C.) of holiness, (Mont.) or of the sanctuary.”  Christ will come to judge surrounded by his angels, (C.) and saints.  H.  S. Aug. I begot thee.  This expresses the sense more clearly (H.) than the Heb. tibi ros emissio (Heb. tal.) nativitatis tuæ.  S. Jerom’s version must be deemed inaccurate, and the Heb. points, (Bert.) which render the modern versions so very different from ours, may be safely rejected.  H.  See Muis.  Geneb.  C. Robertson mentions fourteen different translations of this text, and many more might be given.  H. But ours is clear, and beautiful.  C. Prot. “Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness, from (Marg. more than) the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.”  H. Thy offspring shall be very numerous, (Is. xlviii. 1. and xiv. 8.) and people shall willingly join thy banners, or rather come to offer victims in the sanctuary.  C. The eternal birth of Christ, (Mic. v. 2.) from his father’s substance, establishes his principality, so that he rises triumphant, &c.  W. The present Heb. text seems to be purposely rendered obscure, or unintelligible by the Jews, both in this verse, and in the following.  D.

 

Ver. 4.  Repent.  Not that He can ever do so, or give way to error: but the sacred writer expresses himself thus, to give us the greatest security.  C. The order.  Heb. dibrathi, “my order,” Melchisedech.  The i has been perhaps designedly inserted, to render the argumentation in the epistle to the Hebrews of no weight, “as the force of the text sinks into just nothing.”  Kennicott. Prot. and Pagnin here abandon the Heb.  But Montanus corrects the latter, and substitutes “upon my word,” which is more honest, as he deemed the Heb. text unerring, though here it be not so unquestionably, as the Almighty would thus address Melchisedech, unless that title be here given to Christ.  S. Jerom takes no notice of my, no more than the apostle, &c.  H. This instance “may perhaps put all serious Christians upon deliberatingwhether they should any longer maintain the absolute integrity of the present Hebrew text.”  See Ps. xv. 10.  Kennicott, Dis. i. p. 219. Melchisedech.  Christ is declared king and priest for ever, (W.) like Melchisedech, who united in his person both dignities, and presided not over a particular people, nor stood in need of any stated place.  His succession is not recorded, and his sacrifice consisted of bread and wine; in all which respects he differed from the Levitical priest, and prefigured Christ, who is immolated under the same species throughout the world.  Mal. i. 11.  M. We read in Scripture of three orders of priesthood: 1st, of kings, 2d, of the first-born, and 3d, of Aaron.  Melchisedech, in quality of king, exercised the priestly office, as both functions were formerly united: and hence the word Cohen signifies both a temporal and spiritual prince.  This light of nations ensured to his order a perpetual duration, whilst that of Aaron was to have an end.  Thus Christ offered to his Father from all eternity the sacrifice of his obedience, and future sufferings; and in time, he presented that of his own life, which he continues to offer in the Catholic Church, (C.) by priests who are only his ministers.  1 Cor. vi.  W. The apostle does not specify the oblation of bread and wine, as it was unnecessary, the sacrifice of Christ on the cross having put an end to the sacrifices of the old law, which could only be offered by the children of Aaron, from whom he did not spring.  This was enough for his purpose.  But as Menchisedech offered bread and wine, Christ must also have done the same, to be of his order.  S. Cyprian, and the other Fathers, with great unanimity observe, that the sacrifice of Melchisedech was a figure of that of Jesus Christ, in bread and wine; and of course (Bert.) our sacred mysteries must contain the substance.  H. By their application, Christ still pacifies his Father in behalf of sinners: so that the effects of his priesthood do not cease, as those of all the priests in the Old Testament did by their death.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  The Lord.  He speaks to God the Father concerning the Messias, (M.) or God assisted the sacred humanity.  S. Chrys. In the Godhead the persons are equal.  The Father is at the right of the Son, as He is at his Father’s.  v. i.  S. Aug.  C. Yet it seems more probable, that the discourse is addressed to the first person.  Bert.

 

Ver. 6.  Ruins.  Heb. and Sept. “with dead bodies,” (C.) or he will fill up the places of the fallen angels.  Jans. Implevit valles.  S. Jer. Christ was placed for the fall and for the resurrection of many. Of many.  Heb. “the head in an extensive territory.”  We might render the Vulg. “he shall crush the heads of many in the land.”  H. Rebellious kings, with their populous kingdoms shall be destroyed.  W. The power of the devil, and of all his agents, shall be crushed, though they may fill the greater part of the world, (H.) in terra quam multi occupant.  Bert.

 

Ver. 7.  Way.  By the torrent Cedron, the passion of Christ is insinuated.  Houbig. During life, he and his faithful servants shall be exposed to many sufferings, for which they will be amply rewarded.  W.  Phil. ii. 9. A torrent often denotes affliction.  Ps. xvii. 5.  Is. xxx. 28.  Yet here it may signify, that Christ will supply every thing requisite to establish his Church.  To find water for an army was of the greatest consequence.  Jer. xxxi. 9.  Ps. lxxvii. 20. and 4 K. iii. 9.  C. Like a valiant conqueror, Christ seeks for no delicacies.  Muis.  C. Those who come nearest to this divine pattern, will obtain the highest place in heaven.  Bert.

PSALM 110

PSALM CX.  (CONFITEBOR TIBI DOMINE.)

God is to be praised for his graces, and benefits to his Church.

Ver. 1.  Alleluia.  This psalm consists of praise, and is alphabetical, (Bert.) the sixteen first letters being found at the head of each hemistic, to v. 8; and in the 9th and 10th, we find the six last Heb. letters, which is also the case in the following psalm.  H. In some Latin copies, we also find the same title in both, as they may relate to the captives.  C. The Church thanks God for the institution of the Eucharist, &c.  S. Aug.  Euseb. Praise.  Lit. “confess to.”  H. Congregation.  Where there are few or many together, (C.) in private for my own sake, and in public for edification.  W.

Ver. 2.  Sought out.  Exquisite, or designed for our benefit.  He saw that all was good, (Gen. i. 31.) though He could have made them better.  C.

 

Ver. 3.  Is praise.  Or worthy of praise, and magnificent.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  Remembrance.  He has delivered us from captivity, as he did our ancestors from the Egyptians bondage.  Is. lxiii. 11.  C.

 

Ver. 5.  Food.  Manna in the desert, and what is necessary for us who were in distress in Babylon.  Ps. cvi. 5.  In the spiritual sense, (C.) He has given us Jesus Christ, (S. Aug.) or the holy Eucharist.  W. S. Chrysostom understands the word of God, (C.) which profits those only who fear the Lord, (Bert.) and serve him with love.  H. Covenant.  God has not acted contrary to the covenant with Abraham, in proposing the gospel, which was all along foretold, as S. Paul shews.  Bert. He will for ever protect his Church, and shew forth the powerful operation of his death, and all his mysteries.  W.

 

Ver. 7.  Gentiles.  Under Josue, or rather in the days of the gospel.  Bert.  1 Pet. i. 3. Judgment.  He will perform his promises, and chastise the guilty.  C.

 

Ver. 8.  Equity.  Here we have the conditions of a just law.  Bert. Those who keep God’s commandments are justified.  W.

 

Ver. 9.  Redemption.  Under Moses, Cyrus, and Jesus Christ, of whose redemption the former were figures.  C. Christ redeemed man, in order that he might be able to observe the law.  W. Terrible.  Holy to the just, and terrible to sinners.  S. Jer. Most are lost by too  much security.  S. Chrys. hom. xix. The Hebrews treat the name of God with a respect, which might appear superstitious, (C.) as they will not blot it out, or lean upon the book where it is written, &c.  Schikard, Jus. ii.  Theor. v. 6. The Turks have nearly the same regard for the Koran, which should make Christians ashamed of their irreverence and want of faith.

Ver. 10.  Fear.  Heb. “is the chief part of wisdom.”  Jan. This fear intimates the virtue of religion, to which the Israelites gave the preference over prudence, &c.  Joseph. con. App. 2. This distinguished them from other nations.  Deut. iv. 8.  C. Fear is the beginning, charity the end of wisdom.  Euseb. Beginning with fear, we ascend to true wisdom, which are the first and last of the gifts of the Holy Ghost.  W. Do it.  Act conformably to this fear.  H. Speculative wisdom is good, but not sufficient.  Rom. xi. 13.  S. Chrys. &c. Many read ea, “those things,” with the Heb. while the Sept. have eam, this wisdom.  But Houbigant adheres to the Vulg.  Bert. His.  God’s, (S. Chrys.) though some would refer ejus to intellectus.  Bert. He shall be praised for ever who has been so well informed as to adopt the fear or wisdom of the Lord for his guide.  H.

PSALM 111

PSALM CXI.  (BEATUS VIR.)

The good man is happy.

Ver. 1.  Of the returning, &c.  This is in the Greek and Latin, but not in the Hebrew.  It signifies, that his psalm was proper to be sung at the time of the return of the people from their captivity: to inculcate to them, how happy they might be, if they would be constant in the service of God.  Ch. Yet all Greek copies have not this title, (H.) but only Alleluia, with the Heb. Syr. &c. It might be composed by Aggæus, &c. as it relates to the captivity, (v. 4.) and to the overthrow of Babylon, (v. 10.  C.) or David might thus describe the happiness of the virtuous, (Bert.) and give the captives to understand, that sin was the source of all temporal as well as spiritual miseries.  W. Delight.  We must love God for his own sake.  S. Chrys. Those who sincerely fear God, will take great delight in keeping his commandments.  W.

Ver. 2.  Earth.  Temporal rewards were proposed to the carnal Jews; but the more enlightened knew what was to be most desired.  They sought after the riches, mentioned by the apostle.  1 Cor. i. 5.  1 Tim. vi. 18.  C. The just and their seed shall prosper, (W.) at least in the next world.  H.

 

Ver. 3.  Justice.  Or mercy shall be for ever remembered by en, and rewarded by God.  C.

 

Ver. 4.  Darkness.  Christ appeared when the world was most corrupt.  S. Aug. God rescued his people from captivity. He is.  S. Aug. and S. Chrys. add, “The Lord God is,” &c. in which sense this is commonly explained, (C.) though it may also refer to the just man.  H.

 

Ver. 5.  Acceptable.  Lit. “joyful.”  Crhstos, “beneficent.”  H. Give, and it shall be given to you.  M. Judgment.  And by liberal alms, prepared for the great accounting day.  S. Chrys. He will say nothing indiscreetly, nor throw pearls before swine; (Matt. vii. 6.  S. Jer.) neither will he condemn others rashly, (C.) but give prudent advice to the afflicted.  W.

 

Ver. 7.  Hearing.  Though detraction may assail him, he shall not fear, (C.) since God is the judge.  H. He shall have no cause to apprehend being condemned, (S. Jer.) nor be disturbed about “news,” because his goods are in a place of safety, (S. Chrys. &c.) where thieves cannot steal.  H.

 

Ver. 8.  Until.  Not that he will be disturbed afterwards, (Ps. cix. 1.  C.) when his enemies shall be punished.  H. The captives saw the fall of Babylon.  C.

 

Ver. 9.  Poor.  We must know whom we ought to relieve.  Though we may be allowed to retain what is necessary, (2 Cor. viii. 13. and ix. 11.) yet the saints have often very laudably stripped themselves, to clothe others, abandoning perishable goods, that they might obtain heaven.  C. Justice.  Works of mercy are so called, because they concur to man’s justification.  W. Horn.  Power, &c.  Cyrus, and the best of his successors, honoured the Jews.  C. The liberality of the just towards the indigent, is far more glorious than that which prompts the vain to give shews, &c.  S. Chrys. The praise of the latter is presently at an end.  Bert.

Ver. 10.  The wicked.  The devil, enraged to see the converts to Christianity, (S. Athan.) or the Jews, (S. Chrys.) instigated by him.  H. All the damned shall rapine at the happiness of the elect, (S. Aug.) as the Babylonians did, when they beheld the prosperity of those who had been captives.  C.

PSALM 112

PSALM CXII.  (LAUDATE PUERI.)

God is to be praised, for his regard to the poor and humble.

Ver. 1.  Alleluia.  The Jews style this, and the five following psalms, “the great Alleluia,” which they sing after eating the paschal lamb.  Eusebius adds, “a psalm of Aggæus and Zacharias,” as it seems to speak of the captives, who return thanks for their deliverance; (Is. xlv. 6. &c.  C.) or David has left this model of thanksgiving for all.  Bert. Children.  Heb. “slaves.”  M. The Greek and Latin may signify both.  H. He addresses the Levites, who were addicted to God’s service, or the new converts, who were become docile like little children, (1 Peter ii. 2.  Ps. viii. 3.  C.) and in a word, (H.) all God’s servants.  W.

Ver. 3.  Same.  All the day long, (C.) or rather in all places.  Muis.  Mal. i. 10.  S. Chrys.

 

Ver. 6.  Earth.  Providence watches over all.  Ps. cxxxvii. 6.  H. With respect to God, even those who are in heaven are low.  W.

 

Ver. 7.  Poor.  Jesus Christ and his servants, as well as Joseph, Mardochai, &c.  1 K. ii. 8.  Lu. i. 51.  C.

 

Ver. 9.  Children.  Anna and Elizabeth, who were naturally barren, were blessed with what they so eagerly desired, by the divine power.  H. It may be understood of the Gentile world, after it had embraced the faith, (S. Jer.  Gal. iv. 17.  S. Chrys.) or of the captives, (Is. lvi. 1. and xlix. 21.  Ps. lxvii. 7.  C.) though Isaias may also refer to the Church.  H. Joseph was wonderfully advanced in glory, and Sara, Rebecca, &c. were made fruitful.

PSALM 113

PSALM CXIII.  (IN EXITU ISRAEL.)

God hath shewn his power in delivering his people: idols are vain.  (The Hebrews divide this into two psalms.)

Ver. 1.  Alleluia.  This word is placed at the end of the preceding psalm in Heb. though it seems to have been there originally, (H.) as v. 2 we find his, with reference to “the Lord,” who has not been otherwise mentioned before.  Houbig. The psalm may be joined with the former to v. 9, when the Heb. begins a fresh one, relating to the captives, with the two which follow.  C. The division is of no great importance, (Bert.) and we cannot easily decide whether it be here necessary.  H. The Heb. copies have not been always uniform, no more than the Greek in this place.  C. Barbarous.  Cruel, (Bert.) or which spoke a language unknown to them.  Sym. and Aquila. Barbarus his ego sum, quia non intelligor ulli.  Ovid de Pont.  1 Cor. xiv. 11. The Greeks styled all others barbarians, (Fest.) as the Egyptians did.  Herod. ii. Joseph at first did not understand the language of the latter, (Ps. lxxx. 6.) and spoke to his brethren by an interpreter.  Gen. xlii. 22.  Lohez, denotes one who speaks an unknown tongue, which Chal. expresses by the word borbra, “a stranger, or desert.”  C. Infidels, and those who persecute the true religion, are styled barbarous, though otherwise the Egyptians were very polite and learned.  W.

Ver. 2.  Judea.  Heb. “Juda,” though the sense of the Vulg. is very good, (Bert.) as that country which had been so abandoned, became holy, when God’s people dwelt there.  S. Chrys. After the departure from Egypt, the Israelites were more known as God’s inheritance, over whom he reigned.  W.  Ex. xix. 6. Hence He complains, when they asked for a king, (1 K. viii. 7.) though the throne is still called the Lord’s.  1 Par. xxix. 23.  The distinction of Juda and Israel insinuates that the kingdom had been divided.  C. But this had taken place for a time, after the death of Saul.  H.

 

Ver. 3.  Saw.  He speaks in a poetical manner.  All creatures obey God’s will.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  Skipped.  Through joy, exultaverunt, (H.) or rather through fear, v. 7.  C. There was an earthquake, not specified by Moses; or the psalmist speaks of what took place at Ar, (Num. xxi. 15.  W.) unless he alludes to the waters of the Jordan, rising up like mountains.  M.

 

Ver. 8.  Waters.  They are mentioned twice, as referring to different miracles.  Ex. xvii. 6. and Num. xx. 8.  Inanimate things are introduced, giving this reply; or the psalmist gives it himself.  Bert. He uses the figure prosopopeia, as if senseless things could understand.  W.

 

Ver. 9. or Hebrew Psalm cxv. Ver. 1.  Not.  Some Jews here commence the 115th psalm.  H. But S. Augustin shews, that this part is well connected with the preceding, the true God being known by his works, while idols are senseless, and therefore can have no pretensions to divine worship.  W. It seems that the psalmist would not break off so abruptly, without praising God for his wondrous works, and the Fathers are silent about the present division of the Heb. (Bert.) though Eusebius and S. Athanasius had occasion to examine the text, as some Gr. copies end here, and others at v. 12, the idols, &c. Glory.  We claim no share in these miracles; or we confess our unworthiness, but do thou deliver us.  C. Thou hast done these wonders to fulfil thy gracious promises, and to prevent blasphemy.  W.

Ver. 11. or Hebrew Psalm cxv. Ver. 3.  Heaven.  Sept. add, “and on earth,” which S. Augustin joins with the following words, he, &c.  We cannot indeed point God out, as we might do idols.  But then what sore of gods are they?  C. Viler than insects.  Theod.

 

Ver. 12. or Hebrew Psalm cxv. Ver. 4.  Men.  All Catholics agree, that idolatry is the “giving of divine honour to any creature.”  S. Justin, (con. Gent.) S. Aug. in the ten first books of the City of God, and other Fathers, refute al the species of idolatry.  The Platonists adored the angels, or devils, intelligentias separatas.  Others worshipped dead or living men renowned for their achievements, like Jupiter and Hercules; while some paid the same sovereign respect to animals, or even to inanimate things, both in themselves and in their images.  The psalmist here derides the most gross species of idols, which are made by men, and are incapable of any vital action, being thus beneath the very beasts.  Yet some were so absurd as to confide in them, (v. 16.  W.  or v. 8.  H.) and thereby neglected the light of reason, becoming slaves of the devils, who were either the objects of adoration, as in the compacts made by sorcerers, or at least seduced mankind to pay such worship to creatures.  Hence all the gods of the Gentiles are styled devils.  Ps. xcv. 5.  W. How unjustly do heretics apply these words to the holy images used in the Church! though they must know (H.) that Catholics do not consider them as gods, no more than the saints and angels, whom they reverence only as the friends of God: treating their pictures with a relative honour, and endeavouring thus to excite themselves to the pursuit of virtue, by the memory of what they had done.  Bert.

 

Ver. 15. or Hebrew Psalm cxv. Ver. 7.  Throat.  Rom. and Milan Psal. add, neither is there any breath in their mouths, which occurs, (Ps. cxxxiv. 17.) instead of this sentence.  H. Juvenal (Sat. 13.) laughs at the silence of Jupiter’s statue.  C.

 

Ver. 16. or Hebrew Psalm cxv. Ver. 8.  Let.  Zeal prompts him to make this imprecation, (C.) or prophecy.  Heb. they “are or shall be.”  The pagans (H.) could not well find fault with this wish, (M.) as it would be a great honour to resemble real gods.  Yet none of their statuaries would be willing to become such statues, or be charged with the wicked conduct of Jupiter, &c.  S. Chrys.  Bert. The psalmist justly conforms his will to God’s decree; and still would rejoice if he should give the idolaters grace to repent.  W.

 

Ver. 17. or Hebrew Psalm cxv. Ver. 9.  The house, is not now in Hebrew.  But it occurs in the parallel passage, (Ps. cxxxiv.) where the imperative is used, as the Hebrew is here pointed.  C. “Israel trusts…house of Aaron, trust ye in the Lord,” (Mont.) which is much in favour of this text, though S. Jerom, &c. agree with the Sept.  C. Houbigant rejects the Heb. reading, and the house of Israel occurs, v. 12.  Bert. All the people, the priests, and converts from paganism, are invited to praise the Lord.  S. Chrys.  Acts ii. 5. and x. 2. and xiii. 16.  C. The Church always comprised two distinct orders, the clergy and the laity.  M.

 

Ver. 20. or Hebrew Psalm cxv. Ver. 12.  Hath.  Heb. “will be,” which seems better.  Let him bless us.  C. Both versions are true.  Bert.  Eph. i. 3.

Ver. 24. or Hebrew Psalm cxv. Ver. 16.  Of heaven.  Or the highest heaven, in which God displays his glory, though he fill every place.  H. His benefits to man claim a return of gratitude, and we are not dispensed from shewing our adoration, as deists would hence unreasonably infer.  Bert. Worldly men say this in their hearts, abandoning their pretensions to heaven.  W.

 

Ver. 25. or Hebrew Psalm cxv. Ver. 17.  The dead.  People who are thus affected, give no praise to God, when they die, but descend into hell.  W. Criminals are therefore said to be dead, while the saints only sleep.  S. Chrys. Hell.  Heb. “silence,” or the tomb, (Bert.) where none can sound God’s praises, (H.) though the soul in a state of separation may adore him.  Bert.  See Ps. vi. 6. and xxix. 10.

 

Ver. 26. or Hebrew Psalm cxv. Ver. 18.  Live.  In the state of justice, and aspiring to God’s kingdom.  While we use this world only as the means to ascend thither, we shall praise him for evermore.  W.

PSALM 114

PSALM CXIV.  (DILEXI.)

The prayer of a just man in affliction, with a lively confidence in God.

Ver. 1.  Alleluia occurs in Heb. at the end of the foregoing psalm, (H.) with which this and the following have an intimate connexion, alluding to the liberation of the captives.  Hammond discovers some Chaldeisms, which confirms the supposition that it was composed about that time.  C. Yet this does not deter Muis, &c. from ascribing the psalm to David, reigning in peace, (H.) though others think he alludes to some of his persecutions, and it certainly appears to be of the same nature with the 55th, which was written after his escape from Achis.  C. The sentiments of our Saviour, or of his Church under persecution, (S. Aug.) or those of a saint entering into glory, are here expressed.  S. Jerom. The faithful sigh after their heavenly country.  Bert. Christ speaks here as in the 21st psalm.  Houbigant. Prayer.  He always hears me, which prompts me to love.  W. Because.  Heb. ci maybe rendered “therefore,” as in the next psalm, v. 1.  Lu. vii. 47.  C.

Ver. 2.  Days.  All my life.  W. Faith, hope, and charity, (S. Aug.) as well as gratitude, are here commended.  Bert. Love and confidence are necessary conditions of prayer; and increase the more it is employed.  C.

 

Ver. 3.  Sorrows.  Heb. “bands.” Perils.  Heb. “the straitness of the grave, (C.) the fortifications of hell.”  S. Jer.  H. I am like one buried after the manner of the Egyptians, who bound up the dead, and laid them in small holes cut out of a rock.  David uses similar expressions to denote the dangers to which he had been exposed, 1 K. xxi. 12.  Ps. xvii. 6.  C. They may be applicable to all the just.  Bert. When I offended, death and hell, which are due to sin, threatened me unawares; affliction opened my eyes, and I thereupon prayed to thee.  W.

 

Ver. 6.  Little ones.  In their mother’s womb, and infancy.  S. Chrys. Heb. “the simple.”  Bert. He delights to protect those who have no dependence on any other.  C. Humbled.  Or afflicted, (W.) and “brought low.”  S. Jer.

 

Ver. 7.  Rest.  The peace of the soul, which must precede eternal happiness. Bountiful to.  Heb. “rewarded.”  The Chaldee termination i, occurs twice in this verse, whence some would prove that it was written after the captivity.  This argument is weak, as such things have been observed in the books which were certainly written before.  It would only follow, that Esdras might make such alterations, (Bert.) or they may be attributed to some negligent transcriber.  H.

 

Ver. 8.  He.  Heb. “thou hast.”  Yet S. Jerom and the Chal. read like the Vulg.  Bert.

 

Ver. 9.  Living.  In Judea, which is opposed to Babylon, the region of tears and of death, v. 8.  Ps. lv. 13.  In a spiritual sense, the Fathers understand heaven, where the blessed cannot forfeit their felicity.  C. I will strive to please God among the faithful, who live in grace and glory.  W. Christ here promises the propagation of the gospel.  Houbig.  2 Cor. v. 8.  Bert.

PSALM 115

PSALM CXV.  (CREDIDI.)

This, in the Hebrew, is joined with the foregoing psalm, and continues to express the faith and gratitude of the psalmist.

Ver. 1. or Hebrew Psalm cxvi. Ver. 10.  Alleluia is not in Heb.  There seems no necessity to join this psalm with the preceding, as the subject is not so much alike as that of many others, which are distinct pieces.  S. Paul quotes two passages in their literal sense, (Bert.) as applicable to all who thirst after a future life.  It may relate also (H.) to the captives returning, (S. Chrys.  C.) to Ezechias, (Ven. Bede) or to the Machabees.  Theodoret. Exceedingly.  We must not be deterred from professing our faith by any danger.  S. Aug.  2 Cor. iv. 13. I never ceased to publish that I trusted entirely in thy promises, that we should be delivered (C.) in due time.  H. I believed that God woud help me, and, as I ought to do, make profession of my faith, under the greatest tribulations.  W. With the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  H. I confess that there is a future world, (v. 9.) though I do not see it, but remain in distress.  M.

Ver. 2. or Hebrew Psalm cxvi. Ver. 11.  Excess.  Sept. “ecstacy.”  Enlightened from above.  If he had spoken thus by his own spirit, any one might have replied, that no dependance could be placed in what he said.  We are all liable to mistake.  S. Jer. Many explain it of David’s “flight” before Absalom.  Heb. “in my precipitation,” (C.) or “astonishment.”  S. Jer. Liar.  Weak and inconstant of his own corrupt nature, (H.) though not always guilty of lying.  C. S. Paul contrasts this natural weakness with the veracity of God, (Bert.) and the preaching of his apostles.  Rom. iii. 4. and 2 Cor. i. 17.  H. In the midst of my afflictions, I professed that all man’s help is vain, and I had recourse to God.  W.

 

Ver. 3. or Hebrew Psalm cxvi. Ver. 12.  To me.  I have deserved chastisement; how, therefore, shall I express my gratitude for God’s innumerable benefits?  W.

 

Ver. 4. or Hebrew Psalm cxvi. Ver. 13.  Chalice.  I will submit to any afflictions, (S. Aug.) seeing they procure such an ample reward.  I will unite my sufferings with those of Jesus Christ, (H.) and accept the great benefit of his blood, shed for mankind.  W. Chaldee seems to have had this in view, calicem redemptionis levabo mundo venturo, and Houbigant explains it of Christ, who prayed that the chalice might be taken from him, (Bert.) but presently resigned himself to God’s will.  It may also H. imply, the cup of thanksgiving, which was used in pacific sacrifices.  Ps. xxi. 27.  Our Saviour followed this custom, when he instituted the blessed Eucharist, as (C.) the Jews do on solemn occasions.  Leo. iii. 7. and ix. 2.  The pagans had something very similar.  Homer speaks of the “free bowl, or cup of liberty,” (Iliad 2.) and Athenæus (i. 23. and ii. 2. and xv. 5.) of “the cup of Jupiter, the Saviour,” in which, after tasting a little wine, water was mingled, with invocations of Jupiter, and all drank what they pleased.  C. The custom of drinking healths might originate in the same jovial humour.  H.

 

Ver. 5. or Hebrew Psalm cxvi. Ver. 14.  Pay.  Heb. adds, “now or surely.”  Bert. Vows.  Voluntarily, (W.) which I could not do at Babylon.  Ps. lxv. 13.  S. Aug. and the ancient psalters omit this, perhaps supposing it to be taken from v. 18.

 

Ver. 6. or Hebrew Psalm cxvi. Ver. 15.  Precious.  I am ready even to make a sacrifice of my life, if God’s glory should require it; for he esteems the death of the saints.  W.  Bert. He will not easily abandon them to destruction in this world, as the Heb. implies, (T.  C.) though this meaning is not certain, nor verified by facts; the just being often slain by the wicked.  Bert. God rewards the sufferings of his servants; (C.) the psalmist will not therefore be deterred from paying his vows by the fear of death.  M.

 

Ver. 7. or Hebrew Psalm cxvi. Ver. 16.  Handmaid.  To be blessed, we must be in a state of grace, and children of the Church.  W. Out of it, death itself endured for Christ would profit nothing, (S. Aug.) but only be “a punishment of perfidy.”  S. Cyp. No worship can please God, unless we be joined in communion with her, as the Fathers observe.  Bert. The psalmist glories in being a servant of God for ever.  C. Bonds.  Of slavery, (C.) and sin.  W.  1 Cor. vii. 22.

 

Ver. 8. or Hebrew Psalm cxvi. Ver. 17.  Praise.  Or thanksgiving.  Ps. xxvi. 6.  Lev. vii. 12.  C. Lord.  There is but one, as there is but one faith.  Without the latter, it is in vain to call upon God.  Eph. iv. 4.  Bert. “Whosoever eats the lamb out of this house, (the Church) is profane.”  S. Jer. ep. 57. ad Dam.

PSALM 116

PSALM CXVI.  (LAUDATE DOMINUM.)

All nations are called upon to praise God for his mercy and truth.

Ver. 1.  Alleluia.  This word is found at the end of the last psalm, in Heb.  H. The captives invite all to thank God for their delivery, which was a most striking figure of the world’s redemption, in which sense the apostle (Rom. xv. 11.) quotes this psalm, with the holy Fathers, though Ven. Bede puts it in the mouth of Ezechias, after the retrogradation of the sun.  Kimchi allows that it regards the times of the Messias.  C. Praise him.  S. Paul reads, magnify him, as the Heb. means, “extol” by your praises.  Bert. All are invited to praise, as the redemption is sufficient, (W.) and designed for all the posterity of Adam.

Ver. 2.  Remaineth is not in Heb.  Mercy and truth confirm us.  H. The psalmist acknowledges that he also stands in need of them, and S. John assures us, that grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.  Bert. No promise had been made to the Gentiles (W.) by the law; though they were all included in the original promise.  Gen. iii. 15.  H. God hath withdrawn them from idolatry, to impart to them his mercies.  C.

 

PSALM 117

PSALM CXVII.  (CONFITEMINI DOMINO.)

The psalmist praiseth God for his delivery from evils; putteth his whole trust in him; and foretelleth the coming of Christ.

Ver. 1.  Alleluia is borrowed from the end of the former psalm in Heb.  Our Saviour and the apostles determine us to explain this solely of the Messias, though should would also see another literal sense, applicable to the victories of David, or of the captives, at their return, over God or Cambyses.  Bert. This supposition seems very probable, 2 Esd. vi. 16.  Yet the Jews saw that some passages belonged to the Messias, and were accustomed to use v. 26. in praying for his manifestation.   This psalm is very pompous, and in the dramatic style, (C.) though this is not certain.  Bert. Praise. Or “confess,” and praise God for his great mercies.  W.

Ver. 2.  That he is good, is not here in Heb.  The Sept. insert the words in the two next verses.  The people, priests, and all who fear God among the Gentiles must praise him (Ps. cxiii. 11.  C.) particularly now under the new law, since they have received greater benefits.  W. Our Saviour seems to allude to this passage, observing that God alone is good, (Lu. xviii. 28.) to intimate that the man who gave him that title, must also acknowledge his divinity.  S. Aug.  Bert.

 

Ver. 5.  Trouble.  Both spiritual and temporal.  W. Enlarge me, or set me at liberty in a spacious place.  C.

 

Ver. 7.  My helper.  Heb. “to me among the helpers,” (Mont.) or  most powerful, (Houbig.) and the mover of all, who lend assistance.  Jesus Christ prayed with tears, and was heard for his reverence.  Heb. v. 7.  We must expect afflictions, (Job xxxiii.) and must have recourse to God.

 

Ver. 9.  Princes.  For vain is the salvation of man.  Ps. lix. 31.  Jer. xvii. 5.  C. So neither can man hurt those whom God protects.  Rom. viii. 31.  H.

Ver. 10.  Revenged.  Heb. “I have broken them,” (C.) or “will render to them.”  Houbig. This may relate to David, Nehemias, Christ, and his martyrs.  C. The Church, or any just man in the midst of enemies, confidently hopes for victory.  W. None shall prevail against Christ and his Church.  Bert.

Ver. 12.  Bees.  Sept. add, “do a honeycomb.”  But this is not in the original. Burned.  Heb. “were extinguished.”  The Sept. and Chal. seem to have read better, as it would then be useless to add, as is the former ver. “but…I will destroy them;” and therefore Prot. and Duport here put, “for,” &c. (Bert.) though the ci be still used.  H. The rage of the enemy is well described by the similitudes of bees and fire.  C. Christ was attacked with mortal hatred by the Jews.  S. Aug. The fury of the multitude was fierce, but short-lived, as in God I have overcome them all.  W.

 

Ver. 13.  Fall.  I was very near falling.  Heb. “pushing thou hast pushed me that,” &c.  M. “My sin has strongly pushed me.”  Chal.  C. Those who stick to the Heb. suppose, that the psalmist addressed the chief of his enemies.  But a letter or two may have been added, as S. Jerom, Felix, &c. admit not the second person.  Houbigant prefers, “they have pushed me.”  Bert. By God’s grace I was prevented from yielding to the force of temptation.  W.

 

Ver. 15.  Just.  Such were the Jews by their vocation, though many answered very ill the designs of God.  C. Christians thank God for their redemption, and confessors are full of joy in their prisons and torments.  Acts xvi. 25.  Bert.

 

Ver. 16.  Me is not in Heb.  All salvation is from God.  Bert. Right hand, repeated thrice, insinuates the blessed Trinity, as the word Lord is applied to Christ, who effected man’s redemption with singular efficacy.  W.

 

Ver. 17.  Live.  The captives were dying daily, so that this rather belongs to the Church of Christ.  Bert.  John viii. 51.

 

Ver. 18.  Chastised me, severely.  H. Sept. may also signify, “has instructed me,” (C.) by means of tribulation.  H. God chastiseth as a parent, that his children may not perish eternally.  W.

 

Ver. 19.  Justice.  Of the temple, where the undefiled Israelites alone can enter, (Ps. xiv. 1.) or the land of Judea.  Is. xxvi.  The Fathers explain it of the Church, and of heaven, to which none can be admitted, who have not departed in the communion of saints, (S. Chrys.  S. Aug.) having walked in the narrow path.  Euseb. Christ styles himself the way, (H.) and the gate.  Bert.  Apoc. xxii. 14. Formerly penitents were not allowed to be present during all the Mass; and heretics, &c. are cut off from the bosom of the Church.  C. The just here beg for instruction, which they promise to follow.  W.

Ver. 22.  Corner.  This was a sort of proverb, and is applied to David, Zorobabel, or the Jewish nation; but they can only be considered as figures of Christ, in whom this prediction was fulfilled, when he established his Church, and made one people of those who were before divided.  Is. xxviii. 16.  Matt. xxi. 42.  Acts iv. 11.  C. He was rejected by most of the Jews; yet he chose some of them, who, with the Gentiles, formed his Church.  H. This all Christians now confess.  W. The Pharisees pretended to build for the glory of God, when they opposed the designs of Christ, which, nevertheless, succeeded.  They could not object to his application of this text, as they would have done, if it had been already verified in David, &c.  Bert. He has laid the foundation.  We must be living stones, if we would co-operate in this heavenly building.  1 Pet. ii. 5.

 

Ver. 24.  Day.  Of grace.  W. The Church often repeats this during the paschal time, though God is equally the author of all days.  H.  See Eph. iv. 30.  Jo. viii. 56.

 

Ver. 25.  Save me.  The person is not expressed in Sept.  Or, (C.) Heb. hoshiha na, “salvifica nunc.”  Mont. Na means likewise, “I beg.”  H. Quæso, Domine, salvum fac, obsecro: Quæso, Domine, fac prospere agere, obsecro.  This formed the acclamations of the Jewish children, Hosanna, Matt. xxi. 9.  The branches which were carried at the feast of tabernacles, were also styled Hosannas.  C. When Christ entered Jerusalem, the children sung his praises, holding palms.  W.

 

Ver. 26.  We.  The Levites, (C.) or Christ and his ministers pronounce this blessing, (W.) or the psalmist gives it, after having expressed his thanks for the graces brought by the Messias.  Bert.

 

Ver. 27.  Us.  Christ, who comes in the name of the Lord, “is himself God,” our instructor.  S. Aug.  Tit. ii. 11.  Bert. Day.  The feast of tabernacles, for which this psalm was probably composed.  The Jews dwelt under tents.  C.  Lev. xxiii. 40. and 2 Esd. vii. 15. Altar.  Heb. “Bind a festival with cords unto the horns,” &c.  To make sense, the Chal. inserts, bind the lamb for the festival.  But this Houbigant ridicules, and he believes that the solemn entrance of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem is here foretold.  Scarcely any prediction in the Old Testament is more clearly verified in the new.  Matt. xxi. 8.  Heb. Bahabothim certainly means, “in ramis opacis,” and S. Jerom translates, “frequent the solemnity in shady boughs.”  Bert. The victims were never tied to the altar, but slain in the porch of the northern gate.  Ezec. xl. 39.  C.

 

Ver. 28.  I will, &c.  This might be in the copies of the Sept.  It occurs v. 26. (Bert.) though it was here retrenched in the Hexapla.  C.

 

Ver. 29.  For ever.  Praise is our first and last duty.  v. 1.  W.

PSALM 118

PSALM CXVIII.  (BEATI IMACULATI.)

Of the excellence of virtue, consisting in the love and observance of the commandments of God.

Ver. 1.  Alleluia.  There is no title in Heb.  But (H.) this psalm contains the praises of the Lord, and of his holy law, under fourteen different names, (W.) of way, testimony, &c. repeated in every verse, except the 122d, (Muis.) with surprising variety, so as to avoid tautology, and to give a most perfect system of moral doctrine.  It is written according to the order of the Heb. alphabet, (H.) that we may learn it from our infancy.  S. Hil. Eight verses begin with each of the twenty-two letters.  S. Jerom (ad Paulam Urb. & Proem. in Lam.) moralizes on the signification of these letters, which he renders, 1. Aleph, &c. “the doctrine2. of the house; 3. the plenitude, 4. of the tables (or holy scripture)5. This 6. and 7. this 8. of life9. a good 10. beginning11. the hand 12. of discipline (or the heart)13. from them 14. everlasting 15. help16. the fountain (or eye) 17. of the mouth 18. of justice19. the calling 20. of the head 21. of teeth 22. the signs.”  By thus connecting the letters, he forms sentences to shew that the holy Scriptures bring us to the knowledge of the Church, and of Christ, &c.  See W.  Thus every thing serves to excite the devotion of the saints, though the proud may deride their ingenuity.  The sacred writers have certainly found some pleasure and utility in writing so frequently in the alphabetical order, though we may not perceive the advantages of it.  H. David is supposed to have written this psalm for the instruction of Solomon in his youth, (Bert.) though others believe that he composed it while he himself was young, and persecuted by Saul.  Muis.  Bossuet, &c. It seems very probable, that David wrote it for the consolation of the captives.  C.  Dan. ix. 2. Origen and Ven. Bede refer it to those times; though it seems in reality to appertain to all who desire to live piously, (H.) and it is only a conjecture that any other but David was the author, to whom it is generally attributed.  Its excellency cannot be denied, and the Church has adopted it for her daily office, dividing it into eleven psalms.  Bert. S. Aug. has written thirty-two, and S. Amb. twenty-two sermons on the contents; and S. Basil observes, that David has here composed in one psalm the sum of all that he has written in the rest.  Among other points of morality and doctrine, we  may remark, that the psalmist insists on the necessity of God’s grace, and the co-operation of free will, (W.) and overturns the Prot. system of justification.  D. The Israelites might recite this psalm on their journey, three times a-year, to the temple, as the fifteen gradual canticles which follow, were to be sung on the steps leading to the house of God.  Bellar.  M. Lord.  Such only are happy here, (W.) or hereafter.  H. All aim at happiness, but only the virtuous take the proper means to attain it.  S. Aug. The way may here designate this life, (W.) or the law, (S. Aug.) or Jesus Christ.  Jo. xiv. 6.  S. Amb.  The psalmist evidently presupposes, that some can and do keep the law. W.

Ver. 2.  His testimonies.  The commandments of God are called his testimonies, because they testify his holy will unto us.  Note here, that in almost every verse of this psalm, (which in number are 176) the word and law of God, and the love and observance of it, are perpetually inculcated, under a variety of denominations, all signifying the same thing.  Ch. We must search the law, not out of curiosity, but to practise it; (H.) otherwise we shall become more guilty.  W.  Jam. iv. 17.

 

Ver. 3.  Ways.  They may, however, repent.  The just are subject to fall.  1 Jo. i. 8.  But venial faults are not incompatible with justice.  C. Heb. “They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways.”  Prot.  Bert.

 

Ver. 4.  Diligently.  Nimis.  Lit. “too much.”  But this is a Heb. idiom, to imply the greatest diligence.  H. Some would refer it to “God’s strong injunction;” which is not necessary.  The psalmist henceforward speaks to God.  Bert.

 

Ver. 5.  O! that.  Conscious of his own insufficiently, he prays for grace to be justified.  W. Moses acknowledged, that man could not observe the law, without Christ.  Deut. xxx 11.  Rom. x. 6.

 

Ver. 6.  All.  At the day of judgment, it will not suffice to have observed only some of the commandments.  See S. Jer.  S. Amb. &c. who all seem to follow Origen.  C. The breach of any law brings confusion.  W.

 

Ver. 7.  Justice.  That all thy ordinances are most equitable, (W.) and when I shall have faithfully put them in practice.  Eccli. xv. 9.  Theod.

 

Ver. 8.  Utterly.  Heb. nimis, as v. 4.  H. It may be advantageous to us to be left awhile, that we may know our own weakness.  S. Greg. Mor. xx. 21.  W. He does not beg never to be tempted, or in tribulation; (H.) but only that he may not yield to sin.  S. Hil. He may always at least have recourse to prayer.  1 Thes. v. 17. The neglect of this duty occasions so many falls.  Bert.

 

Ver. 9.  Correct.  Sym. “illustrate.”  C. The observance of the law is the only method to preserve innocence, or to regain it.  H. The Holy Ghost gives this direction to youth, and to all who are exposed to the dangers of pleasure, (W.) as David might do to his son, 2 K. ii. 3.  Bert. In the same sense as we pray, Lead us not into temptation.

Ver. 10.  Let.  Lit. “do not cast me off.”  H. God rejects none but the negligent.  S. Hil. S. Amb. &c. The just, or the Church in general, here confess (W.) that perseverance is a gift of God.  H. Deprived of grace, we should fall, no less than if God “made us err,” as the Heb. strictly implies.  Bert.

Ver. 11.  Heart.  To guard against the temptations of vanity.  C. Christians formerly concealed the mysteries of religion with the utmost care.  S. Hil. and S. Amb. Moses had given the letter of the law only, insinuating, that it must be kept with all the heart, as David here more fully explains.  Bert.

Ver. 12.  Justifications.  He considers himself as placed at the feet of his divine Master.  C. Though just, he wished to increase in virtue.  Apoc. xxii.  W.

 

Ver. 13.  Mouth.  I have concealed them in my heart.  Now I am not ashamed to publish them.  C.

 

Ver. 14.  Riches.  I give thy law the preference.  Ps. xviii. 9.  C.

 

Ver. 17.  Give.  Heb. “avenge.”  Ps. xii. 6. and cxxxvii. 9.  Draw me from this state of oppression, (C.) or rather, give me abundant grace, (Bert.) and eternal life.  S. Hil. I cannot fulfil the law, without thy grace.  W. Enliven me.  So the Sept. of Aldus reads, though the Roman and Heb. have, “I shall live.”  Deut. xxx. 19.  Bert.

 

Ver. 18.  Law.  In rewarding, punishing, &c.  This thou wilt enable me to perceive, (W.) as thy law is too much above my comprehension.  C.

 

Ver. 19.  Earth.  At Babylon, or in the world, which is a pilgrimage, (C.) and I am unacquainted with the roads.  M. The latter sense is much better.  2 Cor. v. 6. and Heb. xi. 10.  Bert.

Ver. 20.  Coveted.  Heb. “burns, (Aquila; Houbig.) or is bruised, (Bert.) and faints through the desire of thy laws,” (C.) or “judgments.”  S. Jer. If I have but a short time to live, I ardently seek for instruction, (W.) and wish to advance daily in virtue.  C. His humility makes him fear, lest his desire should not be sincere.  Bert.

Ver. 21.  Cursed.  Becoming victims of hell.  Matt. xxiv.  Bert.  Deut. xxvii. 26.  M.

Ver. 23.  Princes.  Thus Daniel, (vi. 5.) was treated.  C. All who would live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution.  2 Tim. iii. 12.  H. The servant of God will adhere to his duty, though his adversaries may be very powerful.  W.

 

Ver. 24.  Counsel.  Heb. “the princes of my counsel.” (Houbig.) in opposition to those who endeavoured to make him fall, v. 23.  H. The laws of God afford the best advice.  An ancient king observed, that the dead were the best counsellors, as they will not flatter, &c.  C. In every trial, we must reflect on the rewards and punishments held out.  W.

 

Ver. 25.  Pavement.  Heb. “dust,” (Bert.) weighed down by concupiscence, (S. Aug.) and infected by the union with the body.  S. Amb. The just, in great distress, beg to be delivered, conformably to God’s promise.  W.  Wisd. ix. 15.  Rom. vii. 24.

 

Ver. 26.  Ways.  Or sins, (Theod.) or miserable condition, v. 25.  C.

 

Ver. 28.  Slumbered.  Enustaxen, for which Origen, thinking it a mistake of copyists, substituted estaxen, “has melted,” (C.) or “distilled,” (Aquila, &c. Heracleot.) as more conformable to the original, though the sense is much the same.  Loss of blood often causes people to slumber.  Bert. S. Hil. would not abandon the Sept.  C. Heaviness, being such anxiety, as to be almost distracted.  W. Chal. “has been in an agony.”  Sleep is often put for death.  C. My soul perishes through grief.  Houbig. Hence the three apostles slept.  Lu. xxii.  H. Akhdia, or torpor of mind, hinders the persecution of any business.  M.

Ver. 29.  Iniquity.  Heb. “lying.”  Let me not imitate the wicked.  H. Remit the punishment of my sins, (Ps. cvi. 17.  C.) also original sin, and its effects.  S. Hill. Protect me from falling.  W.

Ver. 32.  Heart.  Man runs, but God must impart grace.  W. An enlarged heart sometimes denotes the capacity of understanding.  3 K. iv. 29.  C. But it is a singular mercy of God to make us love his commands.  S. Aug.

 

Ver. 33.  Always.  Heb. hekeb, means also, “for the reward,” (Pagn.  H.  v. 112.) or step by step.  S. Jer.  C. Make me love thy commandments.  W.

 

Ver. 34.  Heart.  Enable me to keep and to understand thy law, v. 1. 2.  W. We must observe what we know, that we may receive greater lights.  H.

 

Ver. 35.  Desired.  Free-will concurs with grace.  W.

 

Ver. 36.  Covetousness.  Either of money, or any unlawful object.  1 Tim. vi. 10.  H.  The word is very comprehensive.  Bert. Batsah is rendered mammon by the Chal.  C.

 

Ver. 37.  Vanity.  Idols, worldly prosperity, &c. (Ps. xxxvi. 1. 7.  C.) shews, (S. Amb.) and all dangerous objects.  H. We must pray that God will take away the occasions of sin, and help us to advance in virtue.  W.

 

Ver. 39.  Reproach.  Hidden sins of thought, (S. Amb.) or the sarcasms of the Babylonians.  C. Sin is odious, because it is contrary to God’s law, which is most delightful.  W. The saints have been often ridiculed.  Jer. xx. 7.  Acts xxvi. 24.  H.

Ver. 40.  Quicken.  The just prays for greater perfection, and for perseverance.  W.

Ver. 41.  Salvation.  The Messias, foretold by the prophets, (Gen. xlix.  Rom. iii. 23.  Tit. ii. 13.  Bert.) or grace, freely promised to all who ask for it.  W.

Ver. 42.  In any thing.  Lit. “the word” that I, &c.  Thus he stops their mouths, by professing his confidence in God.  H. The Babylonians insultingly ask, Where is their God?  If thou free me from captivity, I may reply that my hopes were not vain.  C. This answer I will give boldly, if I obtain thy grace, which will strengthen my weakness.  W.

 

Ver. 43.  Mouth.  Let those who preach the truth, live up to it.  S. Hil. and S. Amb. Though the psalmist may be under some fear, he prays that he may not omit to make open profession of his faith.  W. God never hinders his servants from doing this, though he sometimes suffers them to fall.  But the Church will never cease to proclaim the truth.  She will not give up one article of faith, though all heretics would thus embrace every other part of her doctrine.  She will never open her bosom to those who would alter one point, nor say that such can enter heaven.  Bert.

 

Ver. 44.  Ever.  Heb. “and after.”  The sanction of the law will remain after this world is at an end.  These expressions relate to the Church.  Bert.

 

Ver. 45.  Large.  The Jews could not practise the law out of their country, (C.) as to the ceremonial part.  H. He hopes to be soon set at liberty.  The verb should be explained in the future, as S. Jerom has them, (C.) though this is immaterial.  Bert. David had already observed this line of conduct, which he resolved always to pursue, (H.) or he speaks in the person of all confessors, as he had not to be tried by any kings.  Bert. Those who suffer for the faith, receive great joy.  W.

 

Ver. 46.  Of thy, (de, &c.) but the true reading is, in testimoniis, “conformably to,” &c. as in the Heb. Sept. and Vulg.  H.  Bert. Ashamed.  Thus many even of the female sex have professed their faith boldly, with S. Agnes, S. Catharine, S. Winefrid, &c. answering the reproachful objections that were put to them, as if it were dishonourable to be a Christian, Catholic or Papist.  No.  These are most glorious titles, importing the true service of Christ, in unity with the Catholic Church, and under the Vicar of Jesus Christ, the Pope.  W. But as Prot. mean an undue attachment to the Pope by the last title, we shew, that in that sense it is unjustly and illiberally applied to us, (H.) and no gentlemen or scholar would not make use of it.  Nightingale. See N.G.’s letters to J. Slack, Whitby, 1813.  H. Daniel spoke with great freedom to Nabuchodonosor, &c.  c. ii. 27. and v. 17. and vi. 22.

 

Ver. 48.  Hands.  To pray, labour, or rather to swear an eternal fidelity.  C. Confessors rejoice in meditation on God’s words, which they shew forth in all their actions.  W.

 

Ver. 49.  Mindful.  He does not intimate that God can forget, but shews his fervour, (S. Aug.) and begs that he may be worthy to receive the effects of God’s promises.  S. Hil. Though his decrees be most certain, means must be employed, which the just pray may not be wanting.  W.

Ver. 50.  This hope, hæc, though some would suppose it is put for hoc.  Bert. “This is my consolation in my distress.”  S. Jer.  H. Word.  The expectation of thy promises has given me courage.  W.

Ver. 51.  Did.  Heb. “greatly derided me.”  H. But I continued to observe thy law (C.) with patience, notwithstanding their provocations.  W.

Ver. 52.  Of old.  Upon the rebel angels, and sinful men, whom thou wilt punish for ever.  This encourages me to adhere to the cause of virtue.  W. In many dangers our ancestors have been protected by God.  Is his arm shortened, or are we no longer his people?  C.  1 Pet. iv. 12.

 

Ver. 53.  Fainting.  So much was the psalmist grieved at the sight of sinners!  Bert. He would have died through zeal, if he had not seen God’s justice.  W. Apostates particularly filled him with horror.  C.

 

Ver. 54.  Song.  Here on earth I am comforted with singing the praises of thy law, which makes the observers just.  W. The captives would not give holy things to dogs: but, among themselves, they sung canticles.  Ps. cxxxvi.  C.  Col. iii. 16.  1 Par. xxix. 15.  Heb. xi. 16. These pious exercises were opposed to the scandalous discourses of sinners.  Bert.

 

Ver. 55.  Night.  Of tribulation, (W.) and captivity.  C.

 

Ver. 56.  This.  Hæc facta est mihi.  The feminine is put for the neuter, (C.) which the Heb. have not.  Bert. We may also understand, This night of calamity, v. 55.  H.

 

Ver. 57.  Portion.  With the just tending to perfection, I desire no other inheritance.  W. “He who possesses God, has all things.”  S. Amb.

 

Ver. 59.  My ways.  Many read, “thy ways.”  Sept. Arab. But this is the true sense of the Heb. &c.  The consciousness of having adhered to thy commands, makes me hope that thou wilt not abandon me.  C. I have bewailed my past transgressions, and am resolved henceforward to live piously.  S. Amb. I have reflected on my former actions, and taken up this firm determination, trusting in thy mercy, v. 58.  W.

Ver. 60.  And am.  Heb. “and delay not.”  For cursed is he who does the work of God negligently, (Sept.) or with deceit.  Jer. xlviii. 10.  C.

Ver. 61.  Cords.  Temptations of the devil, (S. Aug.) and of the wicked, who strive by force, or by caresses, to ensnare the virtuous, v. 110.  C.

Ver. 62.  Midnight.  Under tribulation, (S. Aug.) or to avoid the malice of those who pried into my conduct.  I was so delighted with thy law, that I meditated on it both in the day-time, and at night.  C. This pious custom was observed by S. Paul, (Acts xvi.) as it is still by many religious orders, v. 164.  W.

 

Ver. 63.  Partaker.  Heb. “a friend.”  I do not fear to approve of their conduct, (C.) and condole with them.  S. Hil. The true living members of Christ enjoy the great benefit of partaking in the prayers and good works of the whole Church militant and triumphant, in the communion of saints.  W. See S. Aug. Conf. iv. 4.

 

Ver. 66.  Goodness to others (M.) in want.  W. Discipline, or patience under chastisement.  S. Aug.  Theod. Heb. “wisdom,” or discernment how to act, and knowledge of what regards thy law and revealed truths.  Bert.

 

Ver. 67.  Humbled.  S. Jer. “before I heard, I was ignorant.”  He speaks of the gift of prophecy: or “before I was afflicted, I went astray.”  C. Therefore, chastisements are very salutary.  Bert.  v. 71. and Jer. x. 24. and 31. 19.  C. Before, I often fell; but sorrow has made me understand.  W.

 

Ver. 68.  Goodness, or sweetness, denoting the unction of grace.  S. Aug.

 

Ver. 69.  Iniquity.  Heb. “the proud have forged lies against me,” (H.) which was verified in Daniel, (C.) and David, &c.  H.

Ver. 70.  Curdled.  Grown hard, like milk that is curdled and turned to cheese.  Ch. Heb. “like fat.”  They have no compassion or wisdom.  Is. vi. 10.  C. Without the points, cheleb means also milk.  Bert. The wicked combine together for my ruin: but I will still be faithful.  W.

Ver. 71.  Humbled me.  “It is good for the proud to fall into some open sin, (C.) whence they may be displeased at themselves.”  S. Aug. A patient thanks his physician for having used a necessary severity.  Theod.  C.

Ver. 72.  Silver, above all the world.  W.

 

Ver. 73.  Hands.  Power (Bert.) and love.  Theodoret We may confidently pray to our Creator for light, (W.) and that he may perfect his work.  M.

 

Ver. 74.  See me advance in virtue.  W. The angels rejoice at the conversion of a sinner, (Lu. xv. 10.) as the Church does at her children’s progress.  S. Jer. All the just will be glad to see me delivered.  C.

 

Ver. 75.  Truth.  Though we may not discern the particular causes of our suffering, we must be convinced that they are right.  W. Sinners are afflicted that they may amend, and the just for their advancement.  C.

 

Ver. 76.  Mercy.  Jesus Christ, according to S. Jerom.

 

Ver. 78.  Ashamed.  Lit. “confounded,” not accomplishing their wicked designs.  C. Thus may they be induced to entertain that shame for sin which bringeth life, (H.) and cease to offend.  Theod. Let them be converted: though it be also (H.) lawful to desire that obstinate sinners may undergo just punishment.  W. The saints pray thus out of zeal for their good.  It may also be a prediction, as the Heb. word (Bert.) yebshu is in the future.  H. Done.  Heb. “falsely perverted,” (Mont.) in desire; (C.) or “having wished to pervert me without cause.”  Pagn. But to pervert, means also to treat ill; and hivvethuni has that sense here, (H.) according to the best authors.  Bert.

 

Ver. 79.  Turn to me.  Let the wicked (W.) among those who adore the true God, enter into themselves, that we may form a holy league to support each other.  H. May we all obtain our liberty, (C.) or may they imitate my constancy.  S. Amb.

Ver. 81.  Salvation.  All the saints sighed after our Saviour’s coming, (Matt. xiii. 17.) as they still do, 2 Tim. iv. 8.  W. The deliverance from Babylon was a figure of redemption.  The next verse is of the same import.  C.

Ver. 83.  Like a bottle in the frost.  In the Hebrew, like a bottle in the smoke.  That is, I am become, through my sufferings in this mortal pilgrimage, as a leathern bottle, shrunk up because of being exposed to the frost or smoke.  Ch. So the bodies of the just are exposed to mortification, that they may become like new bottles, capable of containing the new wine of the gospel doctrine.  Matt. ix. 17.  W. Goats’ skins, with the hair inward, are still used in some places to contain liquors.  C. They were hung over the smoke, to make the wine old, or fit for drinking sooner.  Colum. i. 6.

Amphoræ fumum bibere institutæ,

                        Consule Tullo. Hor. 3. Od. 8.  C.

 

Ver. 84.  Servant.  The just may lawfully desire the term of their sufferings, with submission to God’s will, (W.) and to be freed from the power of persecutors, (Heb. “the proud.”  Bert.) and from exile, after their enemies are punished.  Ps. xxxviii. 5.  C.

 

Ver. 85.  Fables.  Idle tales, not agreeable to God’s law.  W. Such were the theology and histories of the pagans.  C. Such are still the false maxims of the world, and many books designed to corrupt the morals of the age.  H. The Jews confined themselves to their own divine books.  Heb. Chal. &c. “The proud have dug pits for me, which is not conformable to thy law,” (C.) but forbidden expressly.  H. The Sept. seem to have followed a better reading.  C. Houbigant rejects the word pits, and in effect, we may understand the Heb. in the sense of the Vulg.  “They have prepared (or told me) vain discourses.”  Bert.

 

Ver. 86.  Help me.  He does not pray to be exempted from trials, but that he may have grace to gain the victory.  S. Hil.

 

Ver. 87.  Earth.  Babylon; (C.) though this is never styled simply the earth.  It refers to all the enemies of salvation, particularly to our own passions.  Bert.

 

Ver. 89.  In heaven.  In the faithful angels, (S. Aug.) or Jesus Christ.  Bellanger. The promises seem not to have their effect here; but they will in heaven.  Bert. The word of God is as unchangeable as heaven.  C. The psalmist praises God’s works, which observe the order established by him.  W. How then can we doubt but his law and promises shall be accomplished?  H.

Ver. 90.  All.  Lit. “unto generation and generation,” which the fathers explain of the true faith, which has subsisted in the synagogue and in the Church of Christ alone.  S. Hil. S. Amb. &c.  C. Those who did not belong to the former, in the first ages of the world, might still form a part of the latter, like Job, &c.  Without faith it is, and always was, impossible to please God.  Heb. xi. 6.

Ver. 91.  Serve thee.  Except  man, (W.) and angels who rebel; and yet they also are forced to serve as victims of justice, if they have refused to accept of mercy.  H.

Ver. 92.  Abjection.  Man cannot rise from sin without grace, and attention to the law.  W. This supports him under the punishment of sin.  H. Meditation alleviates his grief, which might otherwise have proved mortal.  Bert.

 

Ver. 95.  Understand.  Or “shall understand.”  I am already able to encounter my enemies.  Phil. ii. 15.  C.

 

Ver. 96.  Perfection, of a worldly nature.  H. All have their limits.  But God’s law bindeth for ever, as the rewards and punishments are eternal.  W. Broad.  Charity, which extends both to God and our neighbour.  S. Aug. The law is above  my comprehension, though I am able to discern its superiority over all created things.  Some understand Jesus Christ, the end of the law; or martyrdom, the height of charity; or extreme distress, by the word perfection.  Bert. Lit. “consummation.”  H. I have been exposed to the greatest misery: but thy law has set me at large.  Soph. i. 18.  C.

 

Ver. 97.  Loved.  Constraint takes away all merit.  S. Hil. Son, give me thy heart.  Prov. xxiii. 26.  H. The just man wonders that he should feel such love, as he knows it is not his own growth, but a gift of God.  W.

 

Ver. 98.  Enemies of salvation, (Bert.) or the Babylonians, whom Daniel far surpassed; thou we would not absolutely assert that it refers to him.  Dan. i. 19. and xiii. 1.  Ezec. xxviii. 3.  C. David was no less enlightened (Bert.) by the prophetic spirit above his earthly instructor, how aged soever.  H.

 

Ver. 99.  Teachers.  Who do not follow the rules of virtue.  The ancients, (v. 100.) of the same description, must yield the palm to those who are less advanced in years, but more observant of God’s law.  W.

Ver. 101.  Every.  We cannot follow both the broad and the narrow path.  Theod.  Jam. ii. 10.

Ver. 103.  Honey.  S. Amb. &c. add, “and the honeycomb.”  Ps. xviii. 11.  Homer (Il. A.) compares the speech of Nestor with honey.  C. See Prov. xvi. 24.  Ezec. iii. 3.  Apoc. x. 10.

 

Ver. 104.  Hated.  We must come to the practice of the law, (C.) and hate sin.  W. Iniquity.  Heb. “lying.”  But every sin is contrary to truth.  Bert.

 

Ver. 105.  Thy word.  Jesus Christ, (S. Hil.) who enlightens every man.  Jo. i. Lamp, (2 Pet. i. 19.  Prov. vi. 23.) while sin is the light of the wicked.  Prov. xxi. 4. and xxiv. 20.  Bert. The law of God, proposed by his prophets and pastors, in the ordinary method of instruction.  W.

 

Ver. 106.  Sworn.  By the ceremony of circumcision, &c. as we now engage by vows in baptism, to observe all the commandments.  W. Those who receive not the sacrament, are still under a strict obligation to obey the truth; as all were created only for this purpose.  H. The psalmist means thus to express his firm determination to do all that God should require of him, (S. Aug.) and renews the solemn covenant entered into with the Deity by his ancestors.  C.  Jos. xxiv.

 

Ver. 107.  Quicken.  This petition, with the praise of the law, is the subject of this psalm.  C. All the godly must suffer, 2 Tim. iii. 12.  W.

 

Ver. 108.  Free offerings of praise and thanks, (S. Aug.) or the works of supererogation, (S. Hil.  Theod. &c.) which are not commanded, though acceptable to God, (W.) and undertaken for the sake of greater perfection.  C. The evangelical counsels of voluntary poverty, &c. are of this nature.  Still we acknowledge that we are useless servants, (Lu. xvii. 10.) with regard to God.  We can give him nothing, which he has not first given us.  Our piety will redound to our own advantage.  H. The psalmist may allude to his solemn engagement, (v. 106.  C.) which he made with perfect freedom and willingness, though it was not a matter of choice.  Bert.

 

Ver. 109.  My hands.  In danger of being thrown by, or of falling, (W.) ready to appear before God’s tribunal.  I watch over myself, and strive to keep my soul tranquil.  The prophet might have all this in view.  Bert. Most of the fathers read, “in thy hands,” under God’s protection.  This is denied by S. Jer. (ad Sun.) though the commentary which goes under his name, and was written in the same age, has thy.  The other reading is, however, more correct.  The Greeks made use of a similar expression, to shew the danger of losing a treasure.  Athen. xiii. 4.  C. Such is our soul, which we must fear to lose.  S. Greg. Mor. vii. 6.  Bert.

Ver. 110.  Snare, v. 67.  In such dangers, I still remain faithful.  C.

Ver. 111.  Inheritance.  I will strive to imitate the faith of Abraham, &c.  H. I will stick to the law as to my portion, through pure love.

Ver. 112.  Inclined.  He had said, (v. 36.) incline, as the work proceeds from grace and free-will.  S. Aug. Reward.  S. Jer. “for the eternal reward.”  All agree, that the Heb. may have this sense.  He is influenced by hope, though the motive of charity is place first.  Whether both motives can produce the same act, is an useless inquiry.  The Scriptures frequently propose reward, the second, though less excellent motive.  Matt. v. 12.  Gen. xv. 1.  Rom. viii. 18.  Bert. This text evidently shews, that the keeping of the commandments merits a reward, for which we may labour.  W. Prot. evade this, by reading, “always, even unto the end;” because hekeb is ambiguous, and means also, the end.  H. “As if the Sept. were not sufficient to determine the same…But…they are resolved to take their liberty, though contrary to S. Jerom, and the ancient Fathers.”  Ward’s Errat. p. 75. God authorizes us to aim at the reward, though he would not have this to be they only motive, v. 33.  C.

 

Ver. 113.  Unjust.  Inasmuch as they oppose thy law.  Bert. So Christ orders us to hate our parents, when they are an obstacle to our salvation.  We must love their persons and welfare, (S. Aug.) but hate their iniquity.  W. Heb. “the turbulent.”  S. Jer. “vain thoughts,” and inconstant men.  The meaning of sehaphim is not well ascertained.  C. But the psalmist might have all these senses (H.) in view, as they are all good; and hence we may admire the copiousness of the Hebrew language.  Bert.

 

Ver. 114.  Helper.  Heb. “asylum and buckler.”  We must keep in his presence, (H.) and avoid the society of the wicked, if we would search the law, v. 115.  W.

 

Ver. 116.  Live.  S. Aug. (tr. 124. in Joan.) beautifully describes the life of the just here and in heaven.  Bert. We may thus pray for grace, and spiritual life with confidence, if we be resolved to keep the commandments.  Yet we must not fail to entreat God not to suffer us to be confounded, which will not be the case, if we entertain hope, and charity be poured on our hearts.  Rom. v. 5.  W.

 

Ver. 119.  Prevaricators.  For though they be not acquainted with revelation, (H.) they have the natural law written in their hearts by God.  Rom. ii. 12.  S. Aug. There is no such thing as the philosophic sin, (Bert.) which abstracts from every offence of the Deity, though it be allowed to be contrary to reason.  H. Sept. seem to have read differently éssbothi, “I have,” &c. instead of hishbatta, “thou hast destroyed.”  Sigim, scorias, may have been sugim in their copies, though both may be derived from sug, “he departed.”  Bert. “Thou hast accounted as dross, or froth,” &c.  S. Jer. Calmet says, that S. Jerom and Heb. read in the first person, which is inaccurate.  Bert. The just entertain the same sentiments of the wicked as God does.  W.

Ver. 120.  Afraid.  Servile fear is therefore profitable, though perfect charity expel it, and move us to do well for the love of God.  1 Jo. iv.  W. Yet fear sometimes returns, that the just may not give way to presumption.  C.

Ver. 121.  Justice.  This he declares out of zeal, praying to be freed from calumniators, (W.) particularly the devil.  Apoc. xii. 9.  The Babylonians probably laid falsehoods to the charge of the Jews, in order to oppress them, as they frequently accused Daniel.

Ver. 122.  Uphold.  Heb. “answer for,” (S. Jer.) as a bondsman. Unto good.  Thus the law is insinuated, though it is not here expressed.  Bert. In attacking the devil, who is so experienced, we must take God with us, or we shall surely be overcome.  S. Aug. tr. 4. in Joan.

 

Ver. 123.  Salvation.  The Messias, (S. Hil.  v. 41.) or liberty.  v. 82.  I have been fatigued with looking up to heaven for aid, like a woman who looks for the return of her husband to port.  C.

 

Ver. 124.  Mercy.  When we have been most diligent, there still remains much to be done, and in many things we offend.  S. Amb.

 

Ver. 126.  To do.  Our best, since so many prove rebellious, (Heb. iv. 11.  Eccli. v. 8.  Bert.) or we stand in the utmost need of the Messias, since even the Jews give erroneous explanations of the law.  S. Amb. Heb. &c. “it is time for the Lord to act,” by punishing the guilty; or, “to act for the Lord,” faciendi Domino, by striving to repair the injuries done to his name and worship.  C.

 

Ver. 127.  Topaz.  Heb. paz, which denotes “the purest gold” of Phison.  Gen. ii. 11.  C. The topaz was discovered only in the reign of Ptolemy, father of Philadelphus.  S. Hil.  Pliny xxvii. 8. Yet S. Jerom and others have the topaz, (Bert.) which S. Amb. represents as the finest of precious stones.  C. The more the law is despised by the wicked, the more are the just in love with it.  W.

 

Ver. 128.  Directed.  In my steps.  Bert. Pagn. “I judged all, yea all thy precepts to be right.”  H. The hatred of the wicked made the love of the beauty of the law increase in my breast.  W.

 

Ver. 129.  Wonderful.  Under the letter, I discovered many mysteries, which makes me study them diligently.  C. God’s works and laws deserve our most serious attention.  W.

Ver. 130.  Declaration.  By God’s ministers renders them intelligible, though so wonderful in themselves.  Heb. styles this “the door of opening.”  Bert. The Scriptures are full of difficulties, and Daniel (ix. 2.) made them his study.  Since the coming of Christ, the mysteries and prophecies have been more developed.  But those who refuse to acknowledge him, grope at mid-day.  Matt. xi. 25. and xviii. 5. and 1 Cor. xiv. 20.  C. The first entrance into the knowledge of holy Scripture illuminates the understanding of the humble, whence they proceed to  know more.  W.

Ver. 131.  Panted.  Like one afflicted with the asthma, (Bert.) or most eager to obtain something.  W. He asked and obtained the holy Spirit, (S. Aug.) enabling him to understand the law, (H.) and to comply with it.  See Ezec. iii. 2.  Ps. lxxx 11.  C.

Ver. 132.  Judgment.  Or custom, (C.) as thou art wont to treat such.  W. Let us not be looked upon as criminals.  C. The just are persuaded, that God will not reject the humble, (Bert.) according to the opinion (sententiam) of, &c.  Chal.

 

Ver. 134.  Calumnies.  That they may not cause me to abandon virtue.  S. Aug. A person must be well grounded not to yield on such occasions, when he is exposed to ridicule, &c. v. 122.  C. Even the psalmist dreaded this situation.  Bert.

 

Ver. 135.  Shine.  (v. 133.)  Let  me never go astray.  Bert. But shew me favour.  W.

 

Ver. 136.  Law.  This shews that David composed this psalm, as he fell by seeing Bethsabee. They.  Men.  Duport.  Sept. “I.”  But this is unnecessary.  The eyes and all our senses lead to our ruin.  Rom. vii. 18. 24.  Bert. True repentance requires lamentation, as well as a firm purpose of amendment, (W.) commissa diluere & abluta non interare.  S. Jer.

 

Ver. 137.  Right.  He therefore makes people just indeed, and does not barely impute justice to them.  W.

 

Ver. 138.  Truth.  Thy laws are just and true in all respects, though we may not be able to discern it always.  Rom. ix. 20. and xi. 33.  Bert. God punishes the wicked in his justice, and rewards the just in his truth, or according to his promises.  Theod.

 

Ver. 139.  My.  Sept. “thy zeal.”  The just are animated with the zeal of God, like S. Paul.  The enemies here mentioned were the Israelites, who attacked David, and not the Babylonians, who never knew God’s law, or apostate captives, since we do not find that they attempted to injure Daniel, &c.  Bert. Many, however, both at Ninive and Babylon prevaricated.  Tob. i. 12.  C.

Ver. 140.  Refined.  Lit. “fire.”  H. Pure as any thing which has passed through the fire.  W. “It consumes sin, and enlightens the penitent.”  S. Jer.

Ver. 141.  Young.  The Fathers explain this of David, who was preferred before his brothers; and of the Gentiles, who were chosen by Jesus Christ.  W. It may refer to Daniel, who was enabled to prophesy very soon, or to the disciples, for whom this psalm was composed, (C.) whether Solomon, or any of the faithful.  Bert. The just are often judged to be ignorant by the worldly wise; but they follow the law, the true wisdom.  W.

Ver. 143.  Trouble.  Such is the portion of the just.  Rom. v. 3. Mediation.  Heb. “joy.”  Sym.  C. The sense is the same.  Sept. generally give the former meaning, as they render by seeking what moderns would restrain to signify observing.  v. 145. &c.  Bert.

 

Ver. 144.  Live.  In justice, as thy law enjoins.  W. Christ is the life.  Bert.

 

Ver. 145.  Cried.  With requisite fervour, (W.) and attention.  S. Aug.

 

Ver. 147.  The.  Lit. “in maturity.”  Some think that we should read immaturitate, awria, (S. Aug.) “in the dead of the night.”  The psalmist not only rose at midnight, but before sun-rise to meditate.  H. Kimchi says, he only indulged sleep the first three hours.  But others believe, that he arose in the third and last watch.  v. 148.  C. He got up before the ordinary time, and prayed with earnestness.  W. S. Amb. encourages people to come early to the church, to offer the first-fruits of their hearts, and voice to God; (C.) and S. Aug. informs us, that such was the practice of S. Monica.  Conf. ix. 7.  You are not in a higher station than the holy king who said, I rose, &c.  v. 22.  S. Chrys. ser. 42. ad pop.  Bert.

 

Ver. 148.  Morning.  Both night and morning, I prevented the usual hours of prayer.  W. To thee, is not in Heb. “my eyes prevented the watches.”  H.

 

Ver. 149.  Judgment.  Or wonted mercy.  W.

Ver. 150.  Law.  There is no medium between faith and infidelity.  If we do not observe the law, we sin.  Not to advance is to go back.  C. Shall we hesitate whether to follow the narrow or the broad road?  Bert.

Ver. 151.  Near.  To reward or punish.  We wander from thee, yet there is no place between.  S. Aug. x. 26. 27.  Bert. God is ever ready to hear our just requests.  W. His law may be easily known.  Deut. xxx. 11.  C.

Ver. 152.  Ever.  God’s law is always the same in substance.  W. That of Moses receives its perfection in Christianity.  C. Though after this life we can no longer observe them, the reward of our past virtue will remain for ever.  Bert.

 

Ver. 153.  Humiliation.  Or “humility,” as S. Aug. understands it of that virtue.  C.

 

Ver. 155.  Sinners.  Such cannot expect to be liberated.  C. Yet, as the captivity was fixed for seventy years, and many who were almost ignorant of the law, and had married strange wives, returned, this verse overturns that system, and shews that eternal salvation is meant.  Bert.

 

Ver. 157.  Many.  the Babylonians on one hand, and false brethren on the other, attack me: but I am grieved most to see God offended.  C. All the earth is stained with the blood of martyrs, whom the Church honours with festivals, and whose intercession heals many sick.  S. Aug.

 

Ver. 158.  Transgressors.  Sept. “fools,” asunetountaV.  If o were placed before e, the exact meaning of the Heb. would be preserved, though the wicked are often styled fools.  H. The prevaricating Jews are here designated.  v. 136.  C.

 

Ver. 159.  Behold.  A person may profess his innocence without arrogance.

Ver. 160.  Truth.  Hence all such commandments are immutable.  W. The threats of God have been put in execution, and we cannot doubt but the promised liberation  will soon take place.  C.

Ver. 161.  Princes.  Of darkness, or the chiefs of the Philistines, &c.  Bert. Daniel was much exposed to the fury of the Babylonian princes, but he was more afraid of the terrors of the law, (Lev. xxvi.) than of all that they could do against him.  C. Thus the martyrs despised the threats of tyrants.  S. Aug. Cause.  The powerful men of this world have no just reason to persecute the just, nor can they make them abandon virtue.  W. S. Basil answered Valens with great intrepidity, shewing how little he apprehended what the emperor could take from him, as we read in S. Greg. Naz. (or. 20.) who says, (or. 6.) let us fear only one thing, which is, to fear any person more than God.  Bert.

Ver. 162.  Spoil.  Having just mentioned fear; lest any should think that he entertained any secret dislike for the law; he adds, that it gives him more content than the greatest treasures or conquests can the miser or the hero.  v. 14. 72. and 127.  C. He rejoiceth thus in keeping the commandments, how difficult soever they may be.  W.

 

Ver. 163.  Iniquity.  Heb. “lying.”  The Babylonians have attempted to draw me over to their false religion; but I perceived its vanity, (C.) and stick closer to the truth, (H.  v. 85.) and to thy holy law.  C.

 

Ver. 164.  Seven.  Often, (W.) as the word signifies, Prov. xxiv. 16. &.  Vat. Yet here it may determine the precise number, as the Church seems to have taken it, by instituting the seven canonical hours of the day, and matins and lauds for the night, in imitation of the psalmist.  Bert. v. 147 R. Solomon understands it literally, prescribing prayer twice before the reading of the decalogue, and once after in the morning; and in the afternoon, twice before and after the same lecture.  The Church has enjoined matins to be said at night, lauds in the morning, prime, tierce, sext, none, vespers and complin, in the course of the day.  S. Ben. reg. 8. and 16.  C. This ecclesiastical office consists of hymns, psalms, &c.  S. Isid. Against it some have risen up, particularly against that part which was said in the night, pretending that God had made the night for rest; and  hence they were called nuctazontes, or “drowsy” heretics.  S. Isid. Of. i. 22. S. Jerom styles Vigilantius Dormitantius, for the same reason; as if it were better to sleep than to watch.  Wycliff (Wald. iii.  Tit. iii. 21.) and Luther have oppugned the same holy practice, though it be so conformable to Scripture and to the fathers.  S. Bas. reg. fus. 37.  S. Greg. dial. iii. 14.  Ven. Bede. Hist. iv. 7. &c. S. Clement, as many suppose, (W.) or at least some author before the fourth century, (H.) explains the reason why we should pray at these set times; but cautions us not to join with heretics, neither in the Church nor at home.  Const. Apost. viii. 40. For what society is there between light and darkness?  2 Cor. vi.  S. Cyprian, (or. Dom.) S. Jerom, (ep. ad Eust.) and S. Aug. (ser. 55. de Temp.) mention several of these hours, and exhort the faithful to be diligent in attending these public prayers.  W.

 

Ver. 165.  Peace, in their own conscience, (W.) and prosperity, without fear of danger.  Not even death can disturb those who belong to God.  Rom. viii. 38.  C. But all things work together for their good.  ib. 28.  H. The perfect are not moved to imitate bad example, and the weak are not excused for so doing, as they ought to be constant.  W. The virtuous man is neither scandalized at the law, though he may not understand it perfectly nor at the fall of those who had been most eminent for sanctity.  S. Aug.

 

Ver. 166.  Loved.  Heb. &c. “performed.”  C. The difference is but small.  Bert. He is actuated by real charity.  W.

 

Ver. 168.  Sight, whom I would not offend.  W. The presence of God ought to deter us most effectually from sin.  H.  Tit. ii. 13.

 

Ver. 169.  Supplication.  Heb. “cry.”  Eusebius reads axiwma, “dignity,” which S. Amb. thinks has been substituted for axiwsiV, “prayer;” though all our copies of the Sept. have dehsiV, (C.) a word of the same import.  H.

Ver. 171.  A hymn.  Heb. also, “praise.”  H. Like a spring sending forth a copious stream.  C.

Ver. 173.  Save me.  Though a person be endued with grace, he requireth  more grace to resist temptations.  W. Actual grace is requisite.  H.

 

Ver. 175.  Live in grace and glory.  To serve God, it was not requisite that one should be at Jerusalem.  Daniel, Tobias, &c. were saints elsewhere.  Bert. Yet it was more easy to worship God in his temple, where every thing moved to piety; (H.) and this the psalmist desires, deeming it a new life.  C.

 

Ver. 176.  Lost.  I am in captivity.  C. All men have been involved in sin, and Christ came to save them; but only such as keep the law will obtain salvation.  W. The conclusion contains a confession of misery in the name of all, and an allusion to Christ, the good shepherd.  The prophet admits that notwithstanding his love of the law, he may have still many ways transgressed; and that without faith in the Messias, he could not belong to his fold, or escape the many dangers of the world, 1 Cor. iv. 4. and ix. 27.  Bert. Seek.  S. Hilary and some Greek copies have read incorrectly “quicken.”  C.

PSALM 119

PSALM CXIX.  (AD DOMINUM.)

A prayer in tribulation.

Ver. 1.  A gradual canticle.  The following psalms, in number fifteen, are called gradual psalms or canticles, from the word gradus, signifying steps, ascensions, or degrees; either because they were appointed to be sung on the fifteen steps, by which the people ascended to the temple; or that in the singing of them the voice was to be raised by certain steps or ascensions: or that they were to be sung by the people returning from their captivity, and ascending to Jerusalem, which was seated amongst mountains.  The holy Fathers, in a mystical sense, understand these steps, or ascensions, of the degrees by which Christians spiritually ascend to virtue and perfection; and to the true temple of God in the heavenly Jerusalem.  Ch. Both these last interpretations seem more plausible and literal, as given by S. Chrysostom, &c.  Bert. The allusion to the steps of the temple (Ezec. xl.) is very uncertain, as well as the raising of the voice in higher notes during each psalm.  C. They might be sung on a pulpit, 2 Esd. ix. 4. and 2 Par. xx. 19.  M. The authors seem to have lived at the close of the captivity, (C.) though David might well compose these canticles during some of his trials, or foreseeing this event.  Bert. They contain a consoling assurance of mankind’s redemption, prefigured by the liberation of the Jews, and also that the power and fury of persecutors shall cease.  W. Shir, hamahaloth, may denote a very excellent canticle.  Jun.  Muis.  H. Trouble.  No time is more proper for prayer.  S. Chrys.  C. Heard.  I am encouraged by past experience to hope for redress.  W.

Ver. 2.  Tongue.  From the Babylonians, who seek to delude me, (C.) and from detraction, which is most dangerous.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  Added.  This is an usual form of denouncing vengeance.  Ruth i. 17.  The Babylonians are threatened with God’s judgments, v. 4.  Some place these words in the mouth of God, answering the captives.  How shall you be screened from the shafts of detraction?  Fear not.  The sharp, &c.  C. What punishment is great enough for this sin?  W.

 

Ver. 4.  Waste.  Heb. “of juniper” or thorn trees.  Job xxx. 4.  The former is said to retain its heat a long time, and the latter is easily inflamed.  Ps. cxvii. 12.  Such fiery weapons have been often used.  Ps. vii. 14. and lxxv. 3.

Spiculaque et multâ crinitum missile flammâ.  Stat. Theb. v.

How will God punish detraction?  He will hurl his darts against the guilty.  Hab. iii. 11.  C. This is their reward, (Bert.) and what they deserve.  W. Charity and good example will best counteract their baneful influence.  S. Aug.

 

Ver. 5.  Is prolonged.  Heb. “is Meshec.”  H. But Houbigant rejects this as a place unknown; and the word may have the former signification, given by the Sept. and S. Jerom.  C.  Bert. Moses speaks of Meshec, (Gen. x. 2.) or of the mountains separating Cholcis from Armenia, where the Jews might be dispersed, (4 K. xvii. 23. and 1 Esd. ii. 59. and viii. 15.) as well as in Cedar, or Arabia Petrea, (Is. xlii. 11.) where the Saracens afterwards inhabited, according to S. Jerom.  (Loc. Heb.)  C. Inhabitants.  Heb. “tents,” in which the people chiefly dwelt.  Bert. From Cedar, the son of Ismael, sprung Mahomet, whose tyranny has been long felt.  Cedar denotes the “darkness” of sin and error.  The Jews bewailed their absence from the temple, and Christians their being unable to meet for the divine worship, and their banishment W. from heaven.  S. Chrys.

 

Ver. 7.  Peaceable.  Heb. “I spoke peaceable, and they warlike things.  S. Jer. Lit. “I was peace, and when I spoke, they flew to war.”  H. Cause.  This is easily understood from the context, (Bert.) though not expressed in the original.  H.

PSALM 120

PSALM CXX.  (LEVAVI OCULOS.)

God is the keeper of his servants.

Ver. 1.  Canticle.  David wrote this during his flight from Absalom; (Grot.) and de Muis judges from the martial air, that it was composed in the midst of danger.  It relates to the captives, (Orig.  C.) and to all in the pilgrimage of this world.  Bert. Mountains.  Jerusalem, and heaven, whence all our help must come.  God most readily hears the prayers which are poured forth in places appointed by him.  W. Jerusalem was situated among mountains, and the Jews turned towards it in prayer.  Dan. vi. 10.  They did not depend on human aid.  Jer. iii. 22.

Ver. 3.  May.  Heb. “he will not.”  Many have read in the second person, both in the Heb. and Sept. “Suffer not thy,” &c.  Aquila,  S. Aug. &c.  C.

 

Ver. 4.  Israel.  The Church militant.  W. These figurative expressions shew that God will never cease to protect his people.  Bert.

 

Ver. 5.  Hand.  Always ready.  Ps. xc. 4. and xv. 8.  H.

 

Ver. 6.  Night.  Neither prosperity nor adversity shall hurt thee, (S. Jer.) or the Church.  W. Cold is said to burn or parch up.  Gen. xxxi. 40.  Justin (2) writes of the Scythians, Quanquam continuis frigoribut urantur, as the effects of extreme heat and cold are similar.  The Jews were protected from both at their return; (Is. iv. 6. and xlix. 10.  C.) though we may doubt of this explanation, as the text is applied to those in heaven.  Apoc. vii. 16.  Bert.

 

Ver. 7.  Keepeth.  Heb. also, “shall or may.”  The words of a prophet are always true, and the tenses are varied at pleasure by S. Jerom, &c.  Bert. Soul, or spiritual life.  W.  1 Pet. i. 4.

 

Ver. 8.  Coming in.  Heb. has, “going out,” first.  Bert. Yet Pagnin agrees with us.  H. This expression denotes all the occurrences of life.  Deut. xxviii. 6.  C. We may discover a beautiful progression in this psalm; God protects us from each and from every danger.  Bert. He is not like earthly friends, who have not always the will or the power to do it.  S. Chrys.

PSALM 121

PSALM CXXI.  (LÆTATUS SUM IN HIS.)

The desire and hope of the just for the coming of the kingdom of God, and the peace of his Church.

Ver. 1.  Canticle.  Hebr. Chal. and Syr. add, “of David,” (C.) who saw in spirit the glory of the temple under Solomon, or the return of the captives, and the felicity of souls in heaven.  Bert. See Ps. xli. What is said of the earthly Jerusalem, is beautifully applied to heaven by S. Aug. &c.  The captive Levites might write this psalm.  C. Lord.  Many prophets assured the Jews of their speedy deliverance, as preachers still set before the people the joys of heaven; all which filled the psalmist with rapture.  W. The  motive for this joy is disinterested and edifying.  The captives had begged for redress in the former psalms.  C. Before they had been chastised, they profane the temple.  S. Chrys.

Ver. 2.  Were.  Heb. also, “shall,” &c.  Yet many of the Levites had officiated in the temple, 1 Esd. iii. 12. Courts, or gates, where justice was administered.  C. We may better (H.) rejoice in the Church, (W.) and in the prospect of heaven.  H. “At the news, it seemed as if our feet had been,” &c.  Bert.

 

Ver. 3.  Together.  Well built and inhabited.  The Jews throughout the world considered it as their most dear country.  C. The participation of spiritual graces (Ps. cxviii. 63. &c.) is a great comfort to Catholics, (W.) who look upon the chair of S. Peter at Rome as the centre of unity.  H. David established order in Jerusalem, when he had made the conquest, and various families contributed to the rebuilding of it.  Bert. All the tribes were united under the dominion of David.  Houbig.

 

Ver. 4.  The.  This was the testimony, (H.) or ordinance of the Lord, (C.) which Israel had solemnly engaged to perform.  H. All were obliged to repair thither thrice in the year; (Ex. xxiii. 17.  M.) and this contributed most to the splendour of the city.  C. Houbigant would translate “the congregations of Israel;” or juxta may be understood, “according to the testimony.”  Bert. The tribes shall be all united, (C.) and come to Jerusalem, as all mankind should embrace the true faith in the Catholic Church.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  Upon.  Or “over.”  H. The Jews made their sanhedrim superior to the kings, as the Chal. here insinuates.  But the text rather means that both the ecclesiastical and civil courts shall be re-established, and bring an immense concourse of people to the city.  C. The Church is empowered to pass sentence, (W.) and the apostles shall judge both men and angels.  H.

 

Ver. 6.  Pray.  Sept. “ask Jerusalem for,” &c. (H.) as if she were to give it.  C. And may there be abundance.  Heb. “those who love thee shall be at rest.”  H. Christ encourages us to ask; as Catholics exhort each other to pray for the Church.  W.

 

Ver. 7.  Strength.  Fortifications, (Bert.) or army. Towers, or “palaces.”  Heb.  Jer. xxxi. 23.  C. He insists so much on the blessing of peace, because he foresaw that Jerusalem would one day neglect it.  Lu. xix. 42.  Charity dwells in the towers or saints, (Bert.) and makes us resemble God.  S. Chrys. de Laud. S. Paul. iii.

 

Ver. 8.  I.  Heb. adds, “I will now;” (Mont.) or rather, “I have now spoken.”  Bert. I was forbidden to beg for the peace of Chanaan.  Deut. vii. 3.  But Jeremias (xxix. 7.) exhorts the captives to desire this blessing for the city, to which they were going, as it would redound to their own advantage.  C. Christ leaves his peace to his apostles, and to their successors; and in heaven, all good thing are prepared for the elect.  W.

PSALM 122

PSALM CXXII.  (AD TE LEVAVI.)

A prayer in affliction, with confidence in God.

Ver. 1.  Canticle.  Heb. adds, “of David.”  H. Syriac also attributes to him, though Zorobabel, &c. might recite it at their return.  It may also refer to the captives groaning under oppression, (C.) and to every Christian, who must live in expectation of a better country.  S. Aug.  Berthier.  T. viii.

Ver. 2.  Masters.  Expecting liberty, or rather food; though it may also imply that they are ready to run at the first sign, which they observe with attention.  Thus Menelaus had his eyes on Agamemnon.  Homer.  C. As servants, and particularly handmaids, are very attentive, and hope to receive sustenance, so we ought to pray with all earnestness to God for what is necessary.  W. All must come from Him. Until.  Or “waiting for his having mercy on us.”  We shall not cease to look up to Him afterwards.  Bert. “Take care not to turn thine eyes away from mine.”  Terent. Adelph. ii. 1.

 

Ver. 4.  A reproach.  Heb. “with the reproach of those at ease,” &c. (H.) or “let reproach fall upon,” &c.  We are treated with too much scorn.  Lam. iii. 30.  C. Yet God will not permit his friends to be overcome, but encourages them to hope for speedy redress, when their sufferings are great.  W.

PSALM 123

PSALM CXXIII.  (NISI QUIA DOMINUS.)

The Church giveth glory to God for her deliverance from the hands of her enemies.

Ver. 1.  Canticle.  Heb. &c. with some Lat. copies add, “of David,” (C.) who might write it after being delivered from some danger.  It may also be applicable to the martyrs, and to all who have been freed from temptation.  Bert. The captives might compose it in thanksgiving for the leave to return, (C.) or when they had been delivered from the assaults of the neighbouring nations.  Orig.  C.

Ver. 3.  Perhaps.  This word is here affirmative.  Heb. “Then.”  Sept. “Surely.”  C. He modestly leaves it to others to judge what would have been the event if God had not sent help.  The weak would have been destroyed, as soon as if they had been a prey to wild beasts, as Jonas was swallowed up.  W. See Prov. i. 12.  M.

 

Ver. 5.  Insupportable.  Without bottom, or beyond our strength, anupostaton.  C. Heb. “Then the swelling waters it had passed over our soul.”  Mont.  C. S. Jerom has, “perhaps they,” &c. which is more correct.  See Ps. lxviii. 3.  H. A torrent implies sudden great troubles.  W.

 

Ver. 7.  Sparrow.  Heb. “bird.”  This comparison shew at once the dangers to which the Jews had been exposed, and their miraculous deliverance.  C. Man may deceive others: but they cannot impose on God.  W. Grace preserves the soul from the most imminent dangers of temptation, sin, &c.  Bert. We must therefore fly; but who will give us wings except God?  S. Amb.

PSALM 124

PSALM CXXIV.  (QUI CONFIDUNT.)

The just are always under God’s protection.

Ver. 1.  Canticle of thanksgiving, relating to the times of the Messias, (Abenezra) or to the Jews, who overcame the attempts of the nations at their return, 2 Esd. iv. and vi.  Ven. Bede, &c.  C. It exhorts all to confide in God.  Bert. Trust.  The Jews complied not with this condition, and are become vagabonds; but the faithful inherit this promise, (Heb. x. 19.  Bert.) which is verified in the Catholic Church.  S. Aug. To be secure, like Sion, which is defended by other mountains, we must belong to her society.  W. The situation of Jerusalem was very advantageous.  It was difficult to bring any cavalry against it, except by the way of Idumea.  A handful of men might defend the passes leading to the north, as we see in the history of the Machabees.

Ver. 2.  About it.  Coming from Joppe, travellers cannot see the city till they are very near it, though with respect to Judea, it is very elevated.  Hence Josephus styles it “the navel of the land.”  Bel. iii. 2. or 4. The construction of the Vulg. is very natural.  C. For the promise regards the inhabitants, rather than the place, as Heb. would insinuate. Lord.  Zac. ii. 5.  Heresiarchs have in vain risen up against the Church, though they were able men, like mountains.  S. Aug.

 

Ver. 3.  Rod.  Sceptre, or violent dominion.  Is. x. 5. That, Or “therefore.”  Interp. in S. Chrys.  God always concludes his threats with promises of pardon to the penitent, 1 Cor. x. 13.  C. He tries his servants for their good, and will not abandon them.  W. The captivity lasted only 70 years: the ten persecutions of the Christian Church were terminated in 300 years; and though the wicked should even put the just to death, then their rod remains no longer upon them.  If the virtuous were always suffering, the temptation might be too strong.  But those who are sincere, at last emerge from the cloud, and force their enemies to applaud their conduct.  Bert.

 

Ver. 4.  Heart.  This God will certainly perform.  W. He asks not for himself alone, and leaves all to the divine disposal.  H.

 

Ver. 5.  Bonds, obligationes.  “Knots,” as straggaliaV, also means, (Bert.) rather than duties.  Bell. Some suspect that obligationes was put originally, as Heb. means “crooked ways,” (C.) “embarrassments.”  Aquila. He may allude to the dark machinations of false brethren, who endeavoured to thwart the pious designs of Nehemias. vi. 14.  Apostles shall be treated like infidels, (C.) or rather worse, as we shall be if we act not up to the lights, (H.) and graces which we have received.  C. Those who enter into any covenant, &c. to uphold a false religion, though they may despise it in their hearts, must expect to be punished, while the Church shall have peace.  W. Israel.  S. Paul adds, of God, to shew who may be entitled to this blessing.  Bert. Heretics can neither give nor receive this peace.  S. Aug.

PSALM 125

PSALM CXXV.  (IN CONVERTENDO.)

The people of God rejoice at their delivery from captivity.

Ver. 1.  Sion.  It cannot be doubted but this regards the captives of Babylon: but still David might compose it, as he was a prophet; and herein the redemption of mankind may also be described.  Bert. The captives pray for the return of the rest of their brethren.  C. Comforted.  Heb. “dreaming.”  C. They could hardly believe their own eyes, like S. Peter.  Acts xii. 9.  This extraordinary joy is felt by devout souls, when freed from sin.  W. The Greek cities which the Romans declared free, could scarcely believe that they had understood the herald.  Majus gaudium fuit, &c.  Livy xxxiii. Thus were the Jews affected.  C.  Ps. xiii. 2. Chal. “we were like convalescents,” which comes nearer to the sense of the Sept.  Bert.

Ver. 2.  Shall.  Or “did;” (C.) though the future is here well employed.  Bert. The prophet uses both tenses, shewing the certainty of the event.  W. It would require some time before the Gentiles would become sufficiently acquainted with the concerns of the Jews.  Bert. As soon as they did, they expressed their admiration, while the former were careful not to imitate the conduct of those who murmured at leaving Egypt.  S. Chrys.

 

Ver. 4.  South.  As the Egyptians hope for the overflowing of the Nile; (Hammond) or as the south wind melts the snow, so as to make the Jordan overflow its banks.  Theod. The return of our brethren will be as agreeable to us as water to a thirsty soil.  Chal.  Muis. make them come quickly, and in great numbers.  Is. lx. 3. and lxvi. 12.  C. Esdras brought back some, and Nehemias others, from Babylon.  Bert. The ten tribes returned from Assyria later, and by degrees, (C. Diss.) if at all.  Those who arrived first at Jerusalem pray for the rest.  Bert. The prophet foreseeing this event, desireth its perfect and speedy accomplishment, (W.) though it were scarcely to be expected, no more than (H.) a copious torrent in the south.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  Joy.  This was the case of the martyrs, &c. (Lu. vi. 21.  Jo. xvi. 20.) as well as of the captives.  Jer. xxxi. 9.  Is. lxvi. 10.  Bar. v. 6.  C. Tribulation commonly attends the virtuous in this life.  Their reward is reserved for the next.  S. Aug.  W. Sowing, we know not whether we shall ever reap.  H. This is a sort of proverb, which is applied to the captives.  Bert.

 

Ver. 6.  They.  Heb. “he,” which must be taken distributively for all.  Bert.

PSALM 126

PSALM CXXVI.  (NISI DOMINUS.)

Nothing can be done without God’s grace and blessing.

Ver. 1.  Of.  Or “for” Solomon.  This word is not in the Sept.  Bert. Some suppose that David put the psalm into his hands, to teach him that all depends on God.  Muis. He was to undertake various important works during his reign, (H.) particularly the temple, at the dedication of which this might be sung.  W. The chiefs of the captives might also appropriate it to their use, (Bert.) when they were rebuilding the temple, 2 Esd. iv. and vi.  C. It seems to refer to the times of the Messias.  Bert. House, or temple, and grant children.  Ex. i. 21.  Gen. xxx. 2.  Without God’s assistance, all your endeavours to rebuild the temple and city will prove fruitless. It.  Nehemias had ordered the citizens to watch the attempts of Sanaballat.  C. But still depended more on Providence than on his own industry.  H. David, Solomon, Esdras, &c. may have held this language.  Bert. Yet inactivity is not encouraged.  We must labour, and still expect success from God alone.  S. Chrys.  Eph. ii. 16. God must be the principal agent, (W.) and all the glory must be given to Him.  H.

Ver. 2.  Light.  That is, your early rising, your labour and worldly solicitude, will be vain, that is, will avail you nothing, without the light, grace, and blessing of God.  Ch. Nehemias divided the people into companies, to prevent their being too much fatigued.  C. Without light it is impossible for man to work.  Jo. ix. 4.  H. The labours of those who live by the robbery of the distressed, are vain.  Chal. Rise ye, is not in Heb.  H. Sitten.  Allow yourselves proper time for rest, after your labours and sorrows: for his beloved, whom he favours with his grace, shall sleep and rest under his wing, and yet abound with offspring, and all blessings.  Ch. Sorrow.  S. Jer. “of idols.”  This worship of God is odious. Beloved.  Solomon.  Houb. Yet some explain the Heb. in the plural, as it is applicable to all the people.  The Jews were under great alarms: but were encouraged to hope that God would protect them, and give them a numerous progeny; though, as the country was probably never so well peopled as under Solomon, this may rather refer to the elect, who after the sleep of death (Bert.) shall behold those whom Christ shall acknowledge for his children, (H.) and obtain an eternal reward.  S. Hil. Whatever people may think they have done well, without God’s grace, is all useless, and they must begin again; whereas those who are guided by it, perform all with as much ease as they would sleep, and yet merit a reward, which is promised in heaven to the true children who are born to God in the Catholic Church.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  As arrows, &c.  The offspring which God shall give his servants, that have been shaken and tossed about, (as the children of Israel were in their captivity) shall be like arrows in the hand of the mighty, which shall prosper and do great execution.  Ch. The patient sufferer will obtain a glorious recompense.  W. Children defend their parents. Of them, &c.  Heb. “of youth.”  S. Jer. Such may be able to assist their aged parents, whereas those who are born in their old age must frequently be left orphans, (H.) and distressed.  C. Yet the Heb. may well admit the sense of the Vulg. as children will be more animated to revenge the wrongs of those, from whom they have received their life.  The Jews are here represented in the state of persecution.  Bert.

 

Ver. 5.  Desire.  Who has as many children as he could wish.  Heb. “his quiver.”  They are like arrows for his defence.  C. The Sept. may have put the thing signified instead of the figure; or ashpatho may not be confined to the formal sense. He shall.  Heb. “they,” father and son: yet the Chal. &c. retain he. The children of Christ, and of his martyrs, who have been persecuted, are declared to be very powerful protectors; (Bert.) while such as imitate them, (H.) shall easily answer the objections which shall be put to them at the day of judgment, and be happy.  W. Gate.  The enemies’ envoys were not admitted into the city.  4 K. xviii. 17.  Orig. &c. In law-suits, children will prove excellent assistants.  C.  Eccli. xxx. 4.

PSALM 127

PSALM CXXVII.  (BEATI OMNES.)

The fear of God is the way to happiness.

Ver. 1.  Canticle.  Being a sequel to the former, (C.) and similar to the 111th, as both promise felicity to the captives at their return, if they prove faithful, 2 Esd. ix. 38.  Ferrand. It is a sort of epithalamium.  Moller. Both temporal and spiritual blessings are set before us.  Bert. Ways.  Many saints have not received temporal rewards; and this confirms our faith that there is a world to come.  C. In effect, no temporal advantages are here specified, as they are below.  Bert.

Ver. 2.  Hands.  The idle are not entitled to blessings, which God will bestow on the industrious who fear him, preserving them from evils. Lev. xxvi. 16. and Deut. xxviii. 30.  C.  2 Cor. iii. 10. Some have explained karpwn, “fruits:” though it here means hands.  Bert.

 

Ver. 3.  Sides.  Against which vines were planted.  C. The married people who fear God, shall commonly have a numerous posterity; or their souls shall produce many good works in the Church, which springs from our Saviour’s side.  Children denote such good works.  W. Plants.  Ps. cxliii. 12.  Hom. Odys. vi. 163.

 

Ver. 5.  Sion.  Where he displayed his bounty.  C. Jerusalem.  In heaven.  1 Cor. xv. 19.  Bert. Mayst thou live happily in the holy city, after thy long captivity.  C.

 

Ver. 6.  Israel.  This is best secured by a well-regulated and numerous people.  Bert. The good works, performed on earth, will be rewarded in heaven.  W. We shall rejoice in the spiritual children, whom we shall have begotten.  M.

PSALM 128

PSALM CXXVIII.  (SÆPE EXPUGNAVERUNT.)

The Church of God is invincible: her persecutors come to nothing.

Ver. 1.  Canticle.  In which David, (H.) or the Jews, at their return, after they had got the better of their enemies, render thanks to God.  S. Chrys.  C. It may suit the Church, Jesus Christ, and every person: as none can escape trouble.  Bert. Fought against.  Heb. “afflicted.” Expugnaverunt might seem to imply that they had obtained the victory.  But this was not the case, at least eventually, though the people of God might sometimes be oppressed, and yield to sin.  H. Youth.  Since the Israelites left Egypt.  Os. ii. 15.  Jer. ii. 2.  C. From the beginning, the just Abel, Seth, Abraham, &c. have been persecuted.  W.

Ver. 2.  But.  Or “for,” etenim.  On this account they repeated their attacks.  H. But the psalmist testifies that they will not succeed.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  Back.  Heb. “labourers have laboured on my neck,” (S. Jer.) or “back.”  They have made me bear the yoke, or have ploughed up my back.  This proverbial expression shews the cruelty of the Babylonians, (C.) and of the enemies of Christ, (Is. l. 6.) and the martyrs.  Theod. Heb. charash, means also to work like a blacksmith.  Gen. iv. 22.  Bert. The Church bears patiently all crosses.  Sinners build on her, or even on God’s back, when they go on in their wicked ways, presuming that they will be saved at last by the sacraments, &c.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  Necks.  Heb. “collars,” (Theodot.) “snares,” (Sym.) or “bands,” with which they have oppressed us.  Cyrus abandoned the Babylonians to be slaves of those Persians who had taken them, and made them till the land, &c.  Zenoph. vii.  C.

 

Ver. 5.  Back.  By a sincere conversion.  C. God will cover the presumptuous with eternal confusion, so that none shall bless them, v. 8.  W.

 

Ver. 6.  Houses.  Which were flat, so that grass might grow, but the heat of the climate would not suffer it to come to perfection. Up.  S. Jer. Chal. “flourish,” as some copies of the Sept. read.  Yet Hammond, &c. declare for our version.  The precise import of the Heb. is not known.  The same comparison occurs, (4 K. xix. 26.  C.) and Plautus says, Qualis solstitialis herba paulisper fui, &c.  Pseud. i.  H.

 

Ver. 8.  Upon you.  Chal. adds, “and they did not reply.” We, &c.  H. The custom of blessing reapers continued in the days of S. Aug.  Ruth ii. 4.  C. The wicked render themselves incapable of deriving benefit from the good wishes of others.  Bert.

PSALM 129

PSALM CXXIX.  (DE PROFUNDIS.)

A prayer of a sinner trusting in the mercies of God.  The 6th penitential psalm.

Ver. 1.  Canticle.  David might compose it after his sin, though it might suit the captives, and all sinners, as well as the souls in purgatory.  Bert. It has long been recited in their behalf.  W. Depths of the prison of expiation, or from this vale of misery, (Bert.) captivity, (C.) and from the bottom of my heart.  S. Chrys.

Ver. 3.  Mark.  Heb. “observe or keep.” It.  Heb. “who shall stand upright, (C.) or make opposition.”  H. We all stand in need of mercy, as none can stand before the rigours of divine justice.  W.

Si quoties homines peccant, sua fulmina mittat

                        Jupiter, exiguo tempore inermis erit.  Trist. ii.   H.

 

Ver. 4.  Law.  That promises of pardon contained therein.  W. Heb. is now different from what the ancient interpreters read.  C. “Therefore shalt thou be feared.”  Mont.  H. Sym. and Theodotion agree with us.

 

Ver. 5.  Word.  And promises that the captivity should end, (C.) and sin be remitted.  H.

 

Ver. 6.  From.  Or Heb. “more than the morning watch; yea, more than the morning watch.”  I expect my deliverance with greater eagerness than sentinels do the return of morning.  All the day and night long I am filled with these sentiments.  C. The hope of penitents resembles the watches of the day, which are more comfortable than those of the night.  W.

 

Ver. 7.  Redemption.  Our Saviour affords the greatest consolation.  W. He will save the people.  Matt. i. 21. and 1 Jo. ii. 2.  Bert.

PSALM 130

PSALM CXXX.  (DOMINE NON EST.)

The prophet’s humility.

Ver. 1.  Of David, is not in Sept.  But he probably composed this psalm to exculpate himself from the accusation of pride.  Bert. It may agree with Esther, Nehemias, &c.  2 Esd. v. 15.  C. David proposes his own humility to the imitation of others, without any evil intention.  W. Sometimes the saints may speak their own praises, as S. Paul, did, particularly when they are inspired.  Bert. Above me.  This deportment is admirable in the great.  C. We must neither undertake nor pry into things above our ability.  M.

Ver. 2.  So reward, &c.  The meaning is, that according to his disposition with regard to humility, so he expected a reward in his soul to return to him, and stick as close to him as the child just weaned, which would willingly never be separated from the mother.  Ch. If I was not humble, may my soul be treated like an infant, &c.  Heb. “If I did not render (or humble and silence) my soul, like an infant weaned from his mother, let my soul be to me as a