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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT



PSALM 68

 

PSALM LXVIII.  (SALVUM ME FAC DEUS.)

Christ, in his passion, declareth the greatness of his sufferings, and the malice of his persecutors, the Jews; and he foretelleth their reprobation.

 

Ver. 1.  Changed.  A psalm for Christian converts, to remember the passion of Christ; (Ch.) whose sentiments this and the 21st psalm express in the most energetic language.  Bert. --- It may have been composed by a captive Levite, (C.) or David may allude to their sufferings at Babylon, or to his own, though he had those of the Messias principally in view.  See Ps. xlv.

 

Ver. 2.  Save me from affliction.  Lu. xxii. 42.  Christ could not be lost.  M. --- Waters of afflictions and sorrows.  My soul is sorrowful even unto death.  Matt. xxvi.  Ch.  See Jo. iii. 6.

 

Ver. 3.  Standing, upostasiV, "subsistence:" there is no bottom.  H.

 

Ver. 4.  Hoarse.  This might be literally true, as Christ had suffered the greatest torments, and recited this and the 21st psalm on the cross; looking up towards heaven, so that his eyes were weakened, as well as by shedding many tears.  Hope.  Thus the blasphemy of heretics, who pretend that he gave way to despair, is refuted.  Bert. --- Christ was not presently delivered from tribulation: neither ought his followers to expect better treatment.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  Cause.  The captives had not injured Babylon, and Christ had even bestowed the greatest favours upon his enemies.  He suffered for our sins.  Is. liii. 4.  C. --- Away.  Christ in his passion made restitution of what he had not taken away, by suffering the punishment due to our sins, and so repairing the injury we had done to God.  Ch. --- The expression was proverbial.  Jer. xxxi. 29.  Lam. v. 7. --- Many of the captives were very innocent.  C. --- But Christ was without sin; (W.) though made a curse and a sin-offering.  Gal. iii. 13. and 2 Cor. v. 21.  C.

 

Ver. 6.  My foolishness and my offences; which my enemies impute to me: or the follies and sins of men, which I have taken upon myself.  Ch. --- My cross is foolishness to the Gentiles, 1 Cor. i. 23.  S. Aug.

 

Ver. 7.  For me.  If I rise not again, my disciples will take me for a mere man.  If the captivity continue much longer, many will despair, v. 11.  C. --- Suffer not the weak to be scandalized in my passion.  W.

 

Ver. 8.  Reproach.  Because I would not adore idols.  Christ undertook to expiate our offences, and to satisfy the justice of his Father.  Rom. xv. 3.  C.

 

Ver. 9.  Mother.  This might be true with respect to some apostate Jews.  But it was more fully accomplished in Christ, who was betrayed by Judas, &c.  C. --- His own received him not.  Jo. i.  Bert.

 

Ver. 10.  Upon me.  The disciples remembered that this had been written concerning Christ, who drove out the profaners of his temple, (Jo. ii. 17.) and will not be less severe on those who dishonour the Church by their scandalous lives, or by propagating erroneous opinions.  C. --- S. Paul (Rom. xv. 3.) doubted not but this passage was literally applicable to Christ, who has taught us to prefer the glory of God, and our neighbour's salvation before our own temporal advantages.  Bert. --- Those who have less zeal, are not so much persecuted.  W.

 

Ver. 11.  Covered.  Retiring from society.  Bert. --- Sept. Rom. and Houbig. "I humbled."  Heb. "I bewailed my soul in fasting," (Aquila) as if death were inevitable; and this practice was derided, as the fasts of the Church, (H.) and mortification, (W.) are still by unbelievers.  H. --- The Jews seemed to scoff at the thirst of Christ, when they gave him vinegar; and the devil took occasion from his 40 days' fast to tempt him.  Bert.

 

Ver. 12.  Hair-cloth.  The sacred humanity, which being torn, let out the price of our redemption.  S. Aug.  M. --- I mourned for my country, &c.  C. --- Christ was clothed in derision, with a soldier's straight purple garment.  Bert.

 

Ver. 13.  Song.  Both judges and common people (W.) derided me over their cups of shecar, (H.) or strong drink, and palm wine.  Lam. iii. 14.  C. --- Thus the soldiers made Christ their jest, while they drank on the long night of his passion.  Bert.

 

Ver. 14.  Pleasure.  Which is seasonable, and appointed for pardon.  Ps. xxxi. 6. and ci. 14. --- Father, forgive them, &c.  The term of the captivity is at hand.  I seek no revenge; but commit my cause to thee.  C.

 

Ver. 15.  Waters.  Beneath which the Hebrews supposed hell was placed.  Job xxvi. 5.  S. Hil.  v. 39. --- He prays to be delivered from misery, (v. 2.) and for a glorious resurrection.  C. --- Christ could not be detained in limbo or in the grave.  W.

 

Ver. 19.  Enemies.  That they may insult no longer over me, (C.) being converted or covered with shame, (M.) that they do no more hurt.  W.

 

Ver. 20.  Shame, (reverentiam.)  S. Aug. &c. read verecundiam.  C. --- Christ was covered with all sorts of reproach.  H.  Euseb.

 

Ver. 21.  Misery.  For which I ardently longed, as the Fathers explain it. --- None.  I expected that my brethren would at least condole with me: but I was deceived.  Christ drank the bitter chalice to the dregs, and found no consolation even from his Father.  C.

 

Ver. 22.  Food.  Tert. reads "drink;" which agrees better with gall.  Yet it might be mixed with food, (C.) with wine and myrrh, which were given to our Saviour, when he arrived at Calvary, as vinegar was offered to him on the cross.  Matt. xxvii. 34.  Jo. xix. 28.  This was the last prophecy which regarded our Saviour, while living; and was the last instance of the Jewish malice, by which they requited him for the thirst which he had for the salvation of mankind.  Greg. Naz. &c.  Bert. --- Jeremias (viii. 14. and xxiii. 15. and Lam. iii. 15.) uses the same expressions, in a metaphorical sense, to describe the afflictions of the captives.  C.

 

Ver. 23.  Let their table, &c.  What here follows in the style of an imprecation, is a prophecy of the wretched state to which the Jews should be reduced, in punishment of their wilful obstinacy; (Ch.) or it may be a sentence pronounced on them by Jesus Christ.  They are driven from their own country, and the sacred books (C.) being misunderstood, (M.) prove their ruin.  Our Saviour and S. Paul confirm this prediction.  The latter adheres to the Sept. (Rom. xi. 9.) though some would translate lishlomim, "for peace"-offerings, instead of recompenses, as it also means.  Bert. --- "Let their sacrifices become a scandal to them;" (Chal.) or rather, May their table, the symbol of friendship, be a snare for them, that they may be destroyed, or betrayed by their dearest friends.  C. --- The overthrow of the Jews, when they were assembled to eat the paschal lamb, is here foretold.  W.

 

Ver. 24.  Always.  The Babylonians were ordered by Cyrus to look upon the Persians as their masters.  Xenoph. vii. --- Nothing could more strikingly point out the present condition of the Jews than this passage.  They are every where kept under, and see not the sense of the Scriptures, (C.) and the truth of Christ's doctrine; but are bent on worldly gain.  W.  2 Cor. iii.  M.

 

Ver. 25.  Thy wrathful.  Lit. "the fury of thy anger."  H. --- The first term denotes expedition; the second, perseverance.  Quickly destroy them, without redress.  Theod.  C.

 

Ver. 26.  Desolate.  Babylon gave place to Susa, and "was reduced to a solitude by the vicinity of Seleucia."  Pliny vi. 26.  Isai. xlvii. --- But the fall of Jerusalem was more sudden and memorable within 40 years after the death of Christ.  Ps. lviii. 7.  C. --- The Jews, and particularly the traitor, lost their country.  Acts i. 20.  Bert. --- He (the traitor) indeed hath possessed a field of the reward of iniquity...and burst asunder.  H.

 

Ver. 27.  Wounds.  The enemy persecuted Christ even after his death, opening his side, spreading false reports, and guarding his tomb.  C. --- God ordained his death for the good of man: but they sought it out of malice.  W.

 

Ver. 28.  Iniquity.  The first term may denote the crime; and the second, the punishment.  C. --- Peccatum pæna peccati est.  S. Aug. --- God permits people to fall; (W.) but he does not force them.  H. --- Let the Babylonians become victims of thy indignation: but save thy people.  Very few of the Jews embraced the faith of Christ.  C.

 

Ver. 29.  Living.  Let them die.  Grot. --- If we understand the book of the predestinate to life eternal, and not merely to present and mutable justice, (T.) God never blots any out.  But though they fall, he brings them to repentance.  S. Aug.  E.  Bellarm. --- The reprobation of the obstinate Babylonians (C.) and Jews, is predicted.  H. --- The latter were effaced from the book of the living of the Old Testament, and were never written in that of the just, belonging to the New.  S. Jer. --- At death, the unbelieving Jews (H.) shall not find their expectations will founded.  W. --- Only the faithful are truly just.  M.

 

Ver. 30.  Up.  The cross is now triumphant, (H.) an object of veneration.  Bert. --- Christ submitted to die upon it, and rose again.  W. --- He was exposed naked, and was truly a man of sorrows.  M.

 

Ver. 32.  Hoofs.  They were to be three years old.  Kimchi. --- So Virgil says, (Æn. ix.) Jam cornu petat & pedibus qui spargat arenam.  Ec. iii.  C. --- Our prayers are therefore offered through our Lord Jesus Christ.  Heb. xiii. 15.  Bert. --- Devout prayer is more acceptable than victims of the best description, though they were also good, (W.) and, cæteris paribus, of a higher dignity.  H.

 

Ver. 33.  See, my deliverance, or thy just vengeance on the wicked.  C.

 

Ver. 34.  Prisoners.  Martyrs, (M.) and those who suffer for the faith, will be rewarded.  W.

 

Ver. 35.  Therein, the fish.  Our admiration of creatures causes us to praise God.  S. Aug.  S. Hil.

 

Ver. 36.  Sion.  The Catholic Church.  The cities of Juda, &c. her places of worship, which shall be established throughout the world.  And there, viz. in this Church of Christ, shall his servants dwell, &c.  Ch.  W. --- It matters not whether a person live in the Church of God, which is at Corinth, or at Philippi, provided he be a member of the Catholic Church.  But those who adhere to separate congregations, and style themselves "the Church of England," or "the Kirk of Scotland," &c. cannot be written with the just, (v. 29.) nor have any part in this prediction.  H. --- It alludes to the restoration of the captives, (C.) or rather to the propagation of the gospel, (H.) of which the former was a figure, (Euseb.  S. Aug.) as the Jews were never quietly settled again in their country, and were expelled by Titus; where as the Church of Christ remains to the end of the world.  Bert.

 

Ver. 37.  Therein.  The succession of the Catholic Church is uninterrupted.  W. --- Those who adhere to Christ by faith, hope, and charity, will be saved.  M.

 

 








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