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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT



PSALM 85

 

PSALM LXXXV.  (INCLINA DOMINE.)

A prayer for God's grace to assist us to the end.

 

Ver. 1.  David.  He might compose this psalm under any affliction, though prayer is always necessary (Bert.) for any person.  W. --- Others apply it to Ezechias, (Theodoret) the captives, or the Church.  C. --- Jesus Christ prays during his passion, and foretells his resurrection, and the vocation of the Gentiles.  S. Aug. --- Needy.  Heb. "mild or afflicted."  Humility is requisite to pray well, as those who think themselves rich, ask not with fervour.  C. --- God "inclines his ear if thou dost not lift up thy neck."  S. Aug.

 

Ver. 2.  I am holy.  I am by my office and profession dedicated to thy service, (Ch.) as a Levite, (C.) or a member of the true Church.  H. --- He may also speak in the person of Christ, who prays for us and in us.  D. --- Syr. and Arab. read, "thou art good."  C. --- Our necessities, firm purposes of leading a virtuous life, and confidence in God, move him to shew mercy.  W.

 

Ver. 4.  Soul.  I ardently desire to serve in thy temple.  Jer. xxii. 27.  A holy importunity, (Lu. xviii. 2.  Tert. Apol. 39.  C.) and fervour in prayer, (H.) with perseverance, attention, and a sense of God's infinite perfections, are requisite.  W.

 

Ver. 7.  Heard me.  This gives me confidence that thou wilt do it again.  H. --- Thou art not like senseless idols.  C.

 

Ver. 8.  Gods, which have been set up by men; or among angels, &c. (C.) capable of working miracles by an independent power.  H.

 

Ver. 9.  Name.  This was partly verified after the captivity, and fully when the gospel was preached.  C. --- The Gentiles came by faith, and glorified God by good works.  Matt. v. 17.  W.

 

Ver. 10.  Alone.  Sept. Vat. Arab. &c. add, "the great."  C.  Acts xvii. 24.

 

Ver. 11.  Truth.  Let me see the justice of thy conduct in suffering the wicked  to prosper, (Ps. lxxii. 17.) or let me invariably observe thy holy law, which alone can give me true content. --- Rejoice.  Hebrew, as we read at present, "likewise fear," (C.) "unite," (Mont.) or "let my heart be one," solitary, disengaged from all, unicum, (S. Jer.) "to fear," &c.  C. --- This sense is very good.  But yached, means also rejoice.  Bert. --- Our joy must be mixed with fear.  D.

 

Ver. 13.  Hell of the damned, (W.) according to the Fathers: or out of captivity and dangers.  Bert. --- If it be understood of Christ, it must refer to limbo.  Bell.  M. --- It seems equivalent to the lower pit.  Ps. lxxxvii. 7.  H. --- The Jews admit seven regions in hell, (Geneb.) and our theologians four: 1. Of the damned; 2. of unbaptized infants; 3. of purgatory; and 4. of the saints in Abraham's bosom.  S. Aug. mentions the first and last here: but he speaks clearly of purgatory in other places.  De Gen. con. Manch. ii. 17. in Ps. vi.  C. --- David was rescued from the most imminent dangers, and Christ came out of limbo, (Ps. xv. 10.  D.) by his own power.  H.

 

Ver. 14.  Eyes.  The Babylonians oppress us most unjustly.  C.

 

Ver. 15.  True.  This title is also applied to Christ, who, of course, is God; since every man is liable to mistake.  Rom. iii. 4.  Apoc. xix. 1.  God authorized Moses and the prophets to address Him, as the psalmist does.  Ex. xxxiv. 6.  Joel ii. 13.  Bert.

 

Ver. 16.  Command.  Heb. "strength," (H.) to resist the enemy.  M. --- Order me as thou pleasest: I am entirely devoted to thee from my very birth.  Ps. cxv. 16.  Restore the throne of David.  C. --- The prophets frequently thus turn to the Church, the kingdom of the Messias, who was born of the handmaid of the Lord.  W.

 

Ver. 17.  Good.  Mark me for thy slave, (C.) which will be the highest honour.  H. --- Give me such a sign as the angel did when he was going to destroy the first-born of Egypt.  S. Athan. --- By some prodigy convince our oppressors that there is a God.  C.  Bert. --- The resurrection, prefigured by Jonas, was the great proof of Christ and his Church; and this serves either for the conversion or for the condemnation of mankind.  See S. Aug.  W.

                            Quod precor eveniet, sunt certa oracula vatum,

                            Nam Deus optanti prospera signa dedit.  Ovid. 2 de Ponto 1.

--- Comforted.  S. Cyprian was in sorrow while suffering, but was comforted when crowned.  "All the martyrs, with Christ, pray for us."  S. Aug.  D.

 

 








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