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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT



PSALM 79

 

PSALM LXXIX.  (QUI REGIS ISRAEL.)

A prayer for the Church in tribulation, commemorating God's former favours.

 

Ver. 1.  Testimony, or instruction, (C.) and proof of the psalmist's faith.  H. --- Psalm.  Vat. Sept. S. Aug. &c. add, "for (or against) the Assyrian:" whence some have inferred that it relates to the captivity of Israel.  But as Benjamin is also mentioned, it seems rather to speak  of the captives of Babylon, (C.) or of all Jews and Christians in distress.  Bert. --- The faithful pray for the coming of the Messias, v. 2. 4. 16.  H. --- Fathers.  C.

 

Ver. 2.  Joseph.  He mentions these two as persons dear to God.  All the tribes were equally led away captives, and the distinction of kingdoms was not regarded.  C. --- All Israel is denoted by Joseph, who composed two tribes, having a double portion; (W.  M.) and ruling in Egypt.  Bell.

 

Ver. 3.  Manasses.  These three tribes followed the ark in the desert, (Num. ii. 18.) and might better see the majesty shining over it.  W.  C. --- Let all be united once more in the divine service.  Muis. --- Samaria, and Jerusalem in part, were in the tribes of Ephraim and Benjamin, (M.) and Manasses occupied both sides of the Jordan.  H.

 

Ver. 4.  Saved.  This chorus occurs three (W.) or four times.  C. --- With God's grace, we shall be able to act virtuously.  S. Jer. --- Thou canst easily rescue us from our misery.  Be pleased to send us the Messias, thy substantial image, 2 Cor. iv. 4. and Col. i. 15.  If thou assist us, we may co-operate to obtain salvation.  W.

 

Ver. 6.  Measure.  Heb. shalish, "three-fold."  S. Jer. --- The capacity of this measure is not determined.  It might be the seah, or the third part of an epha, which would be very abundant, speaking of tears; though small to contain the earth.  Is. xl 12.  C. --- Penitents must eat little.  S. Jer. --- Yet their sorrow must be moderated by hope.  Euseb.  See Ose. ix. 4.  C. --- God punishes so as not to destroy us.  W.

 

Ver. 7.  At us.  See Ps. lxxviii. 4.  H. --- Such was the condition of Jeremias, xv. 10.  C. --- Heb. "have scoffed among themselves."  Chal. and S. Jerom agree with us.  Scorn is more difficult to bear than poverty.  Hence to comfort himself, the psalmist repeats, O God, &c.  Bert.

 

Ver. 9.  Vineyard.  Thy Church and people.  W.  Is. v. 1.  Os. x. 1.  Matt. xx. 2.

 

Ver. 10.  Sight.  Heb. "Thou didst dig before it," (Mont.) making the ground ready.  C. --- The cloud went before the Israelites.  W. --- Land of promise.  H.

 

Ver. 11.  God.  The highest cedars were surpassed by the branches, or even by the smallest shoots (arbusta) of this vine.  H. --- Most powerful nations were forced to submit to David.  Theod. --- The Israelites were exceedingly multiplied, (W.) and enjoyed the fruits of the country.  Mic. iv. 4.  C.

 

Ver. 12.  River Euphrates, from the Mediterranean, Red, and Indian seas.  H.  Deut. xi. 24.

 

Ver. 13.  It?  Thou hast withdrawn thy protection.  The temple is destroyed, and all plunder with impunity, because thy vineyard has not rendered good fruit.  Jer. ii. 21.

 

Ver. 14.  Singular.  The wild boar, which does not go with other beasts.  Nabuchodonosor is here designated, (C.) or Salmanasar, and all persecutors, (Bert.) particularly the devil, who goes about like a roaring lion, and stirs up his agents to disturb the world.  Hence the enemy becomes more cruel than any wild beast.  W.

 

Ver. 16.  And look down upon "the Messias," (Chal.) the true vine.  Jo. xv. 1.  Matt. xxi. 33.  C. --- Of man, is not in Heb. only, v. 18.  H. --- Some perfection was wanting in the Church of the Old Testament.

 

Ver. 17.  Things set on fire, &c.  So this vineyard of thine, almost consumed already, must perish if thou continue thy rebukes.  Ch. --- Things, would imply that incensa is in the neuter plural.  But this is not the case in Sept. or Heb.  Bert. --- S. Jerom has succensam, "Look down upon the vine or root, (17) burn up and without any branches.  Let them perish at," &c. who have thus treated it.  H.

 

Ver. 18.  The man of thy right hand.  Christ, (Ch.) where he sits, (C.) being as man in the highest place of heaven.  Matt. xxvi. 64. and xii. 32.  H. --- Who else could redeem Israel?  C. --- Zorobabel was only a figure of Him.  H. --- Christ's birth was miraculous, (M.) and he was appointed by the right hand of God to do great things; and, as man, is moved to take compassion on the distresses of his people.  Bert.

 

Ver. 19.  From thee.  This is our fixed determination for the future.  H. --- Will call.  Heb. "Shall be called by thy name," (S. Jer.  H.) thy people.  Sym.  C. --- But the Vulg. is equally correct, invocabimus.  Mont.  Prot.  H.

 

 








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