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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT



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.

 

 








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