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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT



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.

 

 








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