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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT



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.

 

 








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