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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT



PSALM 71

 

PSALM LXXI.  (DEUS JUDICIUM TUUM.)

A prophecy of the coming of Christ, and of his kingdom: prefigured by Solomon and his happy reign.

 

Ver. 1.  Psalm.  Some copies add, "of David."  But the Heb. has only Lishlomo, "to Solomon;" (S. Jer.  H.) or, composed by Solomon.  The former sense is more generally adopted, (Bert.) though the Chal. and Eusebius look upon the latter as most plausible.  David, however, seems to have written this last most beautiful piece, when he placed his son upon the throne; (3 K. i. 47.) and being transported with a divine enthusiasm, he described the reign of the Messias, (C.) to whom alone many of the passages can be applied, (S. Aug.  W.) as the Jews, Chal. Kimchi, &c. confess, though they will not allow Jesus to be the Christ, v. 5. 11. 17.  C.

 

Ver. 2.  Son.  Solomon, (Bert.) or Cyrus, (Pr. disc.) or the Messias.  Most blessed Trinity, enable the Son of man, or of David, to judge the world.  W.  Is. x. 3.  Jo. v. 22. --- Judgment.  Equity is the duty of governors, as obedience is that of subjects.  Solomon acts with the greatest sagacity.  1 Par. xxii. 10. and xxix. 23. and 2 Par. i. 10.  The psalmist inculcates the obligation of defending the rights of the poor, who are under God's protection.  To him even judges and monarchs must give an account.  Deut. i. 17.  2 Par. xix. 6.

 

Ver. 3.  Justice.  These blessings shall be so common; (Ps. xxxv. 6. and Joel iii. 18.) or, let princes pursue the paths of justice and peace.  Mic. vi. 1.  Solomon was to enjoy a perpetual peace, (1 Par. xxii. 9.) as he was a figure of Jesus Christ, who has procured a more solid one for us.  Eph. ii. 14.  Jo. xiv. 27.  Is. lii. 7.  C. --- Heb. has "by righteousness," as this is the source of true peace.  Rom. xiv. 17.  These virtues are publicly enforced in the Church, as from a mountain.  Is. ii. 2.  Bert. --- Christ, the rock, (H.) and his ministers, the hills, preach reconciliation.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  Oppressor.  Lit. "calumniator."  Christ has chained down the devil, the accuser of our brethren.  Apoc. xii. 10. and xx. 2.  M. --- He hath taken away his spoils, (Jo. viii. 44.) and undertaken the defence of the humble.  Is. xi. 4.  Solomon was also the reverse of those wicked princes, who received bribes, and neglect the poor.  Is. i. 23.  C.

 

Ver. 5.  Before.  Or, in the presence of the moon, as the Heb. indicates, (Bert.) though S. Jerom translates, ultra, "beyond, or after."  H. --- Yea, Christ existed before all the creation, (Ps. cix. 3.  C.) and these comparisons do not insinuate that he will ever cease to be.  Theod. --- The kingdom of David and Solomon is described in the same poetic language, (Ps. lxxxviii. 28. and 37.  C.) as it will remain for ever in the hands of the Messias.  H. --- Heb. makes a sudden address to the king, "they shall fear thee with the sun," which Houbigant dislikes.  Some letters may have been changed, though the sense is not bad.  Bert. --- "They shall fear thee at the rising of the sun, and shall pray to they by the light of the moon,"  Chal. both day and night.  C. --- Solomon, as a figure of Christ, was good for some time; but no king, except our Saviour, will reign for ever.  W. --- The mind of the prophet is now raised to behold him.  M.

 

Ver. 6.  Fleece.  Or, "new cut grass," as the original term also signifies.  Yet the explanation given by the Vulg. seems preferable, (Bert.) as an allusion is made to what happened to Gideon, (Judg. vi. 37.  Houbig.) prefiguring the miraculous conception of our Saviour.  He shall call both the strayed sheep of the house of Israel, and the inhabitants of all the earth: as Solomon gave the greatest satisfaction to his people, during the early part of his reign, (H.) and spoke with the utmost eloquence.  3 K. iv. 34.  C. --- Some supply His justice, (v. 7.) or rather, "his word" shall come.  Deut. xxii. 2.  C. --- The incarnation was effected sweetly, and in silence.  W.

 

Ver. 7.  Justice.  Heb. "the just," who appear most under a good king, being animated by his example.  H. --- Away.  Chal. "till those who adore the moon be exterminated."  This idolatry pervaded almost all the east.  Solomon's reign was very peaceable, 3 K. iv. 25.  But this was only a feeble representation of the peace which Christ should bring.  At his birth, the whole world was at peace.  Angels proclaimed it to all the earth.  Lu. ii. 14.  Is. ii. 4.  C. --- It is certain, that the internal peace of Solomon's reign did not continue to the end, (H.) much less till the moon should be taken away.  Bert.

 

Ver. 8.  To sea.  Solomon ruled from the Mediterranean, Red, and Indian Seas, to the Persian Gulph, and the Euphrates, having al Arabia tributary to him, (H.) and the countries as far as Syria; so that he enjoyed all that had been promised by God.  Gen. xv. 18.  Num. xxxiv. 3. and 2 Par. ix. 26. and 3 K. iv. 24. --- The earth, denotes this kingdom.  S. Jer. in Is. xiii. 4.  But if we explain it of Christ, his Church has no limits.  In spite of the corruption of the world, she still asserts her title of Catholic.  C. --- She is universal, both as to time and place, and always visible, v. 15.  W. --- Her divine head began to propagate this kingdom, after he had been baptized in the river Jordan, (Bert.) as the Fathers agree.  This unlimited dominion was promised, (Ps. ii. 7.  C.) and the prophet Zachary, (ix.) seems to quote this passage, when speaking of the Messias alone; so that it is best to understand it in this sense, as the Sept. have done, by oikoumenhV.  Bert.  Is. ix. 6.

 

Ver. 9.  Ethiopians.  So S. Jerom, Aquila, &c. translate Tsiim, (H.) which denotes any nations living at a distance from commerce, (Bert.) or islanders, and those who are accustomed to sail.  Is. xiii. 21.  People on the continent, as well as those in islands, and ships, shall submit to Solomon, 3 K. x. 11.) as all shall yield to Christ, (C.) at least at the day of judgment. --- Ground.  Prostrating to adore him.  Is. xlix. 23.  Bert. --- Thus the Persians approach their kings, (Val. Max. vii. 3.) as the Muscovites and Chinese do still.  C. --- The eunuch of the queen of Ethiopia was the first convert of those who did not live in the holy land.  Acts viii. 27.  M.

 

Ver. 10.  Tharsis.  Bordering on "the sea," (Bert.) or in Cilicia, though we find not that Solomon ever claimed any authority there, or that the Mediterranean was under his control.  He sent his fleet indeed to Tharsis; (3 K. x. 22.) but Arabia and Saba brought presents, or tribute to him.  Under the name of islands, the Hebrews comprise all places, to which they had to go by water, as Asia Minor, &c.  Is. lxvi. 19.  C. --- The three kings were the first who verified this prediction concerning our Saviour; and afterwards Constantine and other potentates embraced his religion.  Among the islands, Britain, which is the greatest in Europe, was partly converted in the days of the apostles, (Theod. in Tim. &c.) and more under Eleutherius; though the English nation received the faith from S. Aug. and others, sent by Pope Gregory the Great, A.D. 596.  W. --- Saba.  Heb. Seba.  The preceding Arabia is sheba, (H.) and refers to some of those who people that country. --- Gifts, or tribute, 1 Par. xviii.  C. --- If the former term, presents, (Heb. mincha, "a sacrifice of flour," &c.  H.) be taken in the strict sense, the text cannot be applicable to any but the true God, the Messias.  Bert. --- The wise men, who came from this country, adored and offered presents to Christ.  Matt. ii.  M.

 

Ver. 11.  Earth, is omitted in Heb. Rom. Sept. &c. so that this cannot regard Solomon, (Bert.) though he was reverenced by all the neighbouring kings.  3 K. x. 23.  Christ alone is the universal king, (Apoc. xix. 16. and Phil. ii. 10.  C.) to whom every knee shall bend, at least when all shall appear in judgment.  Many kings shall submit before.  Bert.

 

Ver. 14.  Usuries.  Heb. toc, (H.) means "fraud and usury."  Eternal torment is the usury which God exacts for murder, &c. (S. Aug.) or a transient pleasure.  H. --- From this Christ has redeemed us, (Bert.) as well as from iniquity.  S. Aug. --- Original sin is the capital, for which the devil claims usury.  Bell. --- Name.  Heb. "blood."  Sept. properly wrote aima, which has been changed for onoma.  The sense is not very different, as those who respect a person's name, are careful to defend him from death.  Bert. --- Heb. "their blood is precious."  Ps. cxv. 15. and 1 K. xxvi. 21.  Solomon repressed all injustice, so that usury was banished, and the poor was so much enriched, as not to be forced to borrow.  C. --- Yet, after his fall, he laid heavy burdens on his people.  H. --- How much has the name and blood of Christians cost!  Yet we fear not to scandalize those (Bert.) for whom Christ died!  The most beautiful qualification of all in power is, to protect the poor, and to promote the work of God, for which he lends them his authority.  H.

 

Ver. 15.  Arabia.  Heb. sheba, v. 10.  H. --- This was accomplished by the wise men.  Euseb. --- For him, (de ipso.)  They shall adopt the form of prayer which he has taught, (S. Aug.) or they shall adore him on his own account.  Bert. --- Through him we have access in  one spirit to the Father.  Eph. ii. 18.  Rom. v. 1.  People might pay a civil respect also to Solomon. --- He shall live.  The prolongation of the ruler's life is sometimes (H.) a blessing.  Prov. xxviii. 2.  The poor shall live, and pay the taxes cheerfully, praying for his prince, &c.  C. --- They shall adore God, and offer their vows for him, (H.) as subjects would do for Solomon, and the crowds did for Jesus Christ, crying out, Hosanna, &c.  Matt. xxi.  M.

 

Ver. 16.  A firmament on the earth, &c.  This may be understood of the Church of Christ, ever firm and visible: and of the flourishing condition of its congregation.  Ch. --- The strength or staff of bread shall not fail.  Ps. civ. 16.  Is. iii. 1.  C. --- Prot. "there shall be a handful of corn in the," &c.  H. --- Thus moderns follow the Rabbins, who greatly exaggerate the abundance which will take place under the Messias, as expecting that wheat will then grow as high as cedars.  The country was indeed very luxuriant and populous in the reign of Solomon.  But the fathers explain this of the Church, founded on Christ, the rock, and enriched with all virtues, (C.) and the most efficacious sacraments, particularly with the holy Eucharist, to which S. Jerom may allude: "there shall be memorable wheat," &c.  H. --- By these hyperbolical allegories, the abundance enjoyed in the Church was denoted.  M.

 

Ver. 17.  Continueth.  Prot. marg. "shall be as a son, to continue his father's name for ever."  The Messias is the eternal son of God.  Heb. yinnin, (Keri.) might be rendered H. filiabitur, (Mont.) if this word were Latin.  The ancient Jews considered this as one of the titles of the Messias.  Chal. "before the sun was, his name was prepared."  Bert. --- This is the third time that the glory of Christ is pronounced eternal, v. 5. and 7.  H. --- He is for ever blessed: but we cannot think of Solomon, without remembering his almost incredible fall.  C. --- Blessed.  This was spoken only of the Messias, (Bert.) who is the cause of salvation to all the elect.  None are saved who do not continue in Him, (M.) by faith and good works.

 

Ver. 18.  The God.  Hebrew repeats this word, (H.) as the Sept. of S. Jerom did.  Ep. ad Sun.  C. --- Alone.  Miracles can be wrought only by God's power.  W.

 

Ver. 19.  So be it.  Heb. "And amen."  See Ps. xl.  H. --- This glory of God was David's most ardent wish.  W. --- It is suspected that the collector of the psalms added these two verses, (Muis.) as all the books end alike.  C.

 

Ver. 20.  Are ended.  By this it appears that this psalm, though placed here, was in order of time the last of those which David composed, (Ch.) as he died soon after.  M. --- The subject which he has here treated, (H.) concentrated all his thoughts and desires.  Euseb. --- "The prayers of David, son of Jesse, have been summed up."  Theodot. and V. Edit.  H. --- It is probable that the collections of the psalms were made at different times; (Bert.) and though many were found after this second book was completed, it was not judged expedient to make any alteration.  The Syr. and Arab. pass over this sentence entirely, (C.) which might be added by Esdras.  W. --- The following psalms have the name of Asaph, &c. in the titles.  Flamin. --- Yet it is certain that David composed some at least, which are place after this.  See Ps. cix. &c.  H. --- The true David ceaseth not to sing new canticles in his Church.  S. Aug.  W.

 

 








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