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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT



PSALM 76

 

PSALM LXXVI.  (VOCE MEA.)

The faithful have recourse to God in trouble of mind, with confidence in his mercy and power.

 

Ver. 1.  Idithun.  Heb. "upon Idithun," was not formerly in the text.  S. Jer. --- It may be the name of an instrument, (Bellar.) or tune, (Muis.) or this master of music and Asaph might sing alternately.  There is nothing certain; (M.) though some would hence conclude, that Asaph was the author.  The occasion of the psalm is also unknown, and may be applied to all the afflicted servants of God, (Bert.) or to the captives.  C.

 

Ver. 2.  To God.  These repetitions denote fervour, (C.) and that God alone must be the object of our desire.  S. Aug.

 

Ver. 3.  Deceived, in my expectations, as I prayed with mind and body continually.  W. --- Good works are a strong recommendation.  "They cry, though we be silent."  Many have recourse to the great for assistance, and few to God.  Yet in isto invenio omnia.  S. Jer. --- Heb. is variously translated, and may have been altered.  "My hand fell in the night, and ceased not."  Sym. and S. Jer. come near to the Vulg.  C. --- They have, "and does not cease," which would be the case, if the person were deceived or rejected.  Bert. --- Prot. "my sore ran," &c.  H. --- But this seems rather violent.  C. --- Comforted.  By any worldly advantages.  M. --- Joy can come from God alone.  Bert.

 

Ver. 4.  Delighted.  Heb. "cried out," which many explain through sorrow.  But the Sept. seem rather to take it in a different sense, as well as the swooning, which might proceed from ecstatic joy (Bert.) at the thought of God.  The alternate sorrows and joys of the just are well described.  They are seldom allowed to continue long in the same state.  Prot. "I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed.  Selah."  S. Jer. "I spoke within myself," exercising myself in meditation.  H. --- I was sometimes in such distress, that nothing seemed capable of giving me any comfort.  But I relied on God, and was in an ecstacy.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  My eyes.  Sept. Vat. Arab. and S. Aug. read, "my enemies," but our Vulg. follows the edition of Ald. and Comp. (Bert.) very frequently, which here agree better with the Heb. "I hindered my eyes from looking up;" (S. Jer.  Sym.) or, "thou hast kept the watches of my eyes," (Aquila) hindering me from sleeping; (H.) so that I did not watch three hours only, like the sentinels, but all night.  C. --- The sudden address to God seems incorrect.  Bert. --- I rose before the usual time, yet did not utter my sentiments, (W.) being quite oppressed both with grief and joy.  H. --- I durst not speak, as I was convinced that thy judgments were right.  M.

 

Ver. 6.  Of old.  And the favours which had been heaped on the nation.  C. --- Years.  Both past and future times; (H.) yea, eternity itself, the great occupation of life.  S. Aug.  Bert.

 

Ver. 7.  Heart.  Sept. have read differently from the present.  Bert. --- Heb. "I recollected my canticle in the night, and communed with my own heart, and my spirit sought to the bottom;" or, "I swept, (or directed, scopebam) my spirit," (S. Jer.) from all things unbecoming.  Sept. Eskallon.  "I dug and harrowed" it by earnest meditation, to extract the weeds, and make it fit to receive the divine seed, (S. Jer. hic. and ep. ad Sun.) and to bring forth fruit; (H.) or I swept to discover the precious jewel (Bert.) of salvation.  H. --- Scopebam, is not deemed a good Latin word; but seems to be derived from skopew, "I consider or direct my aim;" though some think it means rather," I swept."  Is. xiv. 23.  Hugo reads scopabam.  C. --- I diligently examined my conscience, (W.) and left nothing unturned, like the woman in the gospel who sought the groat.  M. --- Heb. yechapes, may also mean, "my spirit is set free," to say what might seem too bold, Will God, &c.  C.

 

Ver. 9.  Ever.  Heb. adds, "is his word ineffectual?" which the Vat. Sept. neglects, (Bert.) though gamar omer be thus rendered in other editions.  "Has he completely fulfilled his word," which may be the true sense, consumabitur verbum.  S. Jer.  H. --- "Will he execute this threat from generation?" &c.  C. --- God will never abandon his Church, (W.) though he may chastise his people.  H.

 

Ver. 10.  Mercies?  Turning the waters another way, (Muis.  C.) or going against his natural inclination.  Vincit illum misericordia sua.  S. Jer.

 

Ver. 11.  Begun.  By God's grace, I now perceive that my thoughts were wrong.  W. --- I see that we are chastised on account of our sins; (Theod.) but now I hope for better things.  T.  Geneb. --- Heb. may have this (Bert.) and many other meanings.  C. --- Prot. "I said this is my infirmity.  But I will remember the years of right," &c.  De Dieu, "To pray, this is mine; to change the right hand, is of the most High."  C. --- All comfort and every good resolution must come from him.  Challothi is derived from eél, by the Sept. and from chala, (H.) "he is sick," by others.  Who will assert that the former are not the most ancient and learned interpreters?  The sequel shews that the psalmist begins to entertain better hopes.  Bert. --- Now have I begun to follow wisdom, and to amend my life.  S. Anthony advised all to make this resolution every morning.  T.

 

Ver. 12.  Beginning.  In favour of Israel, or rather of all the just from Abel.  H.

 

Ver. 13.  Inventions.  Prot. "doings," (H.) or the secrets of Providence, (C.) and his "affections."  S. Aug. --- The just find an interest in all his works, (Bert.) as the work together for their salvation.  Rom. viii. 28.  H.

 

Ver. 14.  Holy "place," or person.  S. Jer. --- Thy ways are inscrutable, (Muis.) but always holy.  Geneb. --- Heb. "in sanctity."  M.

 

Ver. 16.  Arm.  Christ, (S. Jer.) or power.  Deut. v. 15. --- Joseph, who was in Egypt, while the rest of the family dwelt in Chanaan.  Bert.

 

Ver. 17.  Afraid.  S. Jer. "in labour."  H. --- Troubled.  The dry land appearing, to let the Israelites pass.  Bert.  Ps. cxiii. 3. --- S. Jerom and the Jews understand this of the storm of Sinai.  But most people suppose that the catastrophe at the Red Sea is described, when Moses insinuates, that a dreadful tempest overwhelmed the Egyptians, as it is here specified.  See Joseph. ii. 7.  C.

 

Ver. 18.  Waters.  S. Jer. "the clouds poured out waters," mayim, Sept. may have read hamim, "sounds," and omit clouds, which come again in this verse.  Bert.

 

Ver. 19.  Wheel.  Prot.  H.  Heb. "a whirlwind," (C.) or "wheel," (Pagn.) in the air.  H. --- The noise of thunder is something similar to a wheel, rattling on the pavement.  H. --- Salmoneus foolishly tried to imitate it with his chariot.  Apoll. Bib. i. --- Trembled.  The preaching of the apostles was attended with success.  H.  Fathers.  C. --- Earthquakes were felt, and men were under a general alarm.  M.

 

Ver. 20.  Known.  The waters resumed their usual course.  Heb. iii. 15.  The wheels of the enemy might be discerned long after.  C.

 

Ver. 21.  Hand.  By the ministry (W.) of those, who acted in God's place, in the desert.  H.

 

 








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