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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT



PSALM 104

 

PSALM CIV.  (CONFITEMINI DOMINO.)

A thanksgiving to God, for his benefits to his people Israel.

 

Ver. 1.  Alleluia. This word occurs at the end of the preceding psalm in Heb. and means, "Praise ye the Lord," though it is also used as an exclamation of joy; for which reason it is left untranslated.  See Apoc. xx.  S. Aug. ep. ad Casulan.  C. --- It implies that we must praise God with all our power; and Catholic writers retain this (W.) and similar words in the original.  H. --- The first 15 verses of this psalm nearly agree with that which was composed by David, when the ark was to be removed from the house of Obededon.  1 Par. xvi. 8. 22.  H. --- But the last part seems to have been added by him, or by another afterwards, with some small alterations.  Bert. --- It was perhaps adapted to the dedication of the second temple, with the two following psalms.  C. --- Gentiles.  Their conversion is thus insinuated.  C. --- The apostles preached to all.  Euseb. --- How much more ought we not to celebrate the mysteries of Christ?  W.

 

Ver. 3.  Glory.  2 Cor. x. 17.  Euseb. --- Lit. "be praised," (H.) knowing to what an honor you have been raised, (Deut. xxx. 7.  Jer. ix. 23.) and live accordingly.

 

Ver. 4.  Evermore.  Be assiduous to obtain is favour, and present yourselves in his holy temple as often as you are able.  C.

 

Ver. 6.  His servant.  Or "servants."  Sept. Vulg. is ambiguous.  Heb. declared for servant here; but, his chosen, is certainly plural, and refers to all the people, and 1 Par. xvi. 13. we read, seed of Israel, his servants.  H.

 

Ver. 8.  Generations.  Or from the call of Abraham.  But this was to be understood if the Israelites continued faithful, (Deut. xxviii.) or the promise regards the spiritual children of Abraham, who are blessed for ever, (Bert.) and continue to the end of the world.  H.

 

Ver. 11.  Lot.  Lit. "line," with which land was measured.  C. -- The descendants of the patriarchs would never have lost this inheritance if they had observed the law.  The promise was therefore conditional; though it was absolute, in as much as all were to be blessed in their seed: as they had begun to be, when Jerusalem was destroyed by Titus.

 

Ver. 12.  Very few.  Heb. "as it were reduced to nothing," to avoid a tautology.  Bert. --- But this version is not necessary.  H. --- Jacob at this time was not married, (Bert.) and his parents had no part of the land.  This manifests the power of God, and the faith of the patriarchs, (C.) who doubted not but that he would realize what he had promises.  H.

 

Ver. 13.  People.  This seems to be a fresh obstacle to their possession of Chanaan.  C.

 

Ver. 15.  Prophets.  The word anointed is thus explained, as the patriarchs were not kings over any but their own families, though they were equal in riches to many kings.  They foresaw future events, and offered sacrifice to God, as priests, in which sense also they may be styled anointed.  No visible unction, but the divine appointment, might be requisite.  God protected them in a wonderful manner, and selected them for his peculiar people.  C.  Heb. xi. 8.

 

Ver. 16.  And.  The psalmist continues to mention the favours of God, till the Israelites entered the promised land, which the author of 1 Par. xvi. passes over.  H. --- Bread.  In time of famine, people are not strengthened with their food.  Euseb.  Ezec. iv. 16. and v. 16. --- God permitted, (W.) or caused the famine to rage.

 

Ver. 17.  He sent.  Drawing good from the malice of Joseph's brethren, (H.) in which he had no hand.  Bert. --- Who could have thought that this event would have tended to Joseph's exaltation, and to the safety of his father's house?

 

Ver. 18.  Fetters.  Heb. cebel, (H.) "a chain, or the stocks."  The meaning is not ascertained.  C. --- Soul.  Lu. ii. 35.  He was in great distress, (H.) and in danger of perishing.  Theod.

 

Ver. 19.  His word.  By which he foretold his own glory, or what should befall the king's two officers, which brought him into notice.  Gen. xxxvii. 9. and xl. 22.  His word, may also refer to God's decree.  C. --- Inflamed him.  He received the gift of prophecy, (H.) and being inflamed with the love of God, resisted the solicitations of Putiphar's wife.

 

Ver. 22.  Instruct.  Heb. "bind" by precepts or chains, (Bert.) as he had all power. --- Wisdom.  Joseph was considered as the oracle of Egypt, and the prime minister.  C. --- We cannot doubt but he would strive to undeceive the people with regard to many superstitions.  Theod.  S. Aug.

 

Ver. 23.  Cham.  Who resided there, and was worshipped under the name of Jupiter Ammon.  Bochart, Phaleg. iv. 1.  C. --- Misraim was his son, and peopled the land.  Gen. x. 13.  W.

 

Ver. 24.  Exceedingly.  In 215 years, 600,000 warriors sprung from seventy people, (C.) or from seventy-five, as Sept. and S. Stephen read, comprising eight wives, Jacob, and sixty-six of his descendants.  Seventy might naturally produce two million and a half in such a space of time.  But the Hebrews had been cruelly oppressed.  God's blessing enabled them to increase as they did.  Bert.

 

Ver. 25.  He turned their heart, &c.  Not that God (who is never the author of sin) moved the Egyptians to hate and persecute his people; but that the Egyptians took occasion of hating and envying them, from the sight of the benefits which God bestowed upon them.  Ch.  S. Aug. --- He permitted the malice of the Egyptians, (Theod.) and employed them to chastise his people, who had adored idols.  Euseb.  Acts vii. 43.  Felix, Prot. &c. translate the Heb. "their heart was turned."  Bert. --- The perversity of the Egyptians came from themselves, though it was turned to a good account.  W.

 

Ver. 27.  He gave.  Heb. "they placed in them the words of their signs."  C.  Houbig. --- But the Chal. and S. Jerom are conformable to the Sept.  Bert.

 

Ver. 28.  Grieved not his words.  That is, he was not wanting to fulfil his words: or he did not grieve Moses and Aaron, the carriers of his words: or he did not grieve his words, that is, his sons, the children of Israel, who enjoyed light whilst the Egyptians were oppressed with darkness.  Ch. --- He performed what he had threatened without reluctance.  W. --- We may also translate, "he added no threat (H.) before this ninth plague was inflicted."  Heb. "and they did not irritate (or transgress) his word."  The envoys of God were obedient to him.  The copies of the Sept. are not uniform; (C.) some omit the negation, which would give a very good sense; though it must be allowed to be inaccurate, unless the Heb. be read with an interrogation, "did they not resist his word?" alluding to the Egyptians.  Bert. --- Almost all the ancients have the plural exacerbaverunt, except S. Jerom, in his commentary.  C.

 

Ver. 29.  Blood.  In reality, so that the fishes were killed.  S. Athan.

 

Ver. 30.  Land.  Including the rivers.  Ex. vii. 1. and viii. 3. --- Kings, or noblemen.  Bert.

 

Ver. 31.  Flies.  This was revealed to David, or known by tradition, as it is not recorded by Moses.  W. --- Some copies of the Sept. have, "the dog-fly," cinifes (Ex. viii. 16.) gnats, (H.) which are very common and tormenting in Egypt.  The Jews understand lice.  Joseph and the Chal.  C.

 

Ver. 32.  Rain.  Which fall in Egypt, though less frequently.  C.  Wisd. xvi. 17.

 

Ver. 34.  Bruchus.  An insect of the locust kind, (Ch.) or a worm which spoils corn, &c.  W.

 

Ver. 36.  Labour.  This explains the first part of the verse.  Gen. xlix. 3.  Ps. lxxvii. 51.  H. --- The fifth and sixth plagues are not specified.  W.

 

Ver. 37.  Gold.  Which the Egyptians gave to get quit of them, (Ex. xi. 1.) and that with joy, (v. 38.) though they might at first only intend to lend.  S. Aug.  Bert. --- Feeble.  This refutes the notion which the enemies of the Jews had propagated, saying that they were banished on account of the leprosy.  They felt none of the inconveniences which fell on the Egyptians, and God removed every obstacle which might retard their flight.  C. --- According to the course of nature, out of two million and a half, 150 people die daily.  Bert.

 

Ver. 40.  Asked.  Chal. and ancient psalters add, "for meat."  Heb. "he (Moses or all the people) asked, and the quail came," at Sin.  Ex. xvi. 13.

 

Ver. 41.  Rivers.  The waters from the rock were so abundant.  C.  Ex. xvii. 6.  Bert.

 

Ver. 44.  People.  Whose crimes have deserved death.  Num. xxxiii. 51.  Deut. vii. 5. C.

 

Ver. 45.  His justifications.  That is, his commandments: which here, and in many other places of the Scripture, are called justifications, because the keeping of them make men just.  The Protestants render it by the word statutes, in favour of their doctrine, which does not allow good works to justify.  Ch. --- The design of God in granting Chanaan to the Israelites, was to encourage them to preserve the true religion.  C.

 

 








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