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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT



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.

 

 








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