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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT



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.

 

 








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