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HAYDOCK CATHOLIC BIBLE COMMENTARY ON THE OLD TESTAMENT



PSALM 91

 

PSALM XCI.  (BONUM EST CONFITERI.)

God is to be praised for his wondrous works.

 

Ver. 1.  Day.  The Jews say, that Adam sung this at his creation, (Chal.) or that it refers to the reign of the Messias, which shall lost one thousand years after this world is ended.  Kimchi. --- Others think it is a thanksgiving after the defeat of Sennacherib, (Ven. Bede.) or Absalom.  Ferrand. --- It might be sung by the sons of Moses, who expected to be shortly delivered from Babylon, (C.) or by the people on the sabbath, (Bert.) though many of the Fathers think, that this word denotes "the repose of the life to come."  The occasion or author of this psalm cannot be clearly ascertained.  C. --- When we enjoy rest from labour, we ought particularly to praise God's works.  W.

 

Ver. 2.  Praise.  Lit. "to confess," (H.) as we must be free from sin before we can worthily proclaim God's praises.  Euseb.  S. Jer. --- But here to confess means to praise, (C.) or give thanks.  W.

 

Ver. 3.  Night.  Of adversity, and at all times, (Bert.) as well as in prosperity.  W. --- Morning and evening prayer must not be neglected.  H. --- These times were particularly pointed out.  Ps. liv. 18.

 

Ver. 4.  Strings, upon.  Heb. "on the hasor, and on the nabel, on the higaion with the cinnor."  Yet the ten stringed instrument seems to have been  the same with the psaltery, or nobol.  H. --- Bellarmin thinks and is redundant, and was not in the copies of the Sept. or it is only explanatory, as we know that the psaltery had ten strings.  Ps. xxxii. 2. and cxliii. 9.  M. --- The matter is of small consequence.  Bert. --- Eusebius seems to insinuate, that instruments were not used in the Church of his time.  C. --- The observance of the commandments, and mortification, signified by the harp are requisite.  W.

 

Ver. 5.  Rejoice.  Admiring thy providence, (C.) or the Messias.  "What are all things compared with thee, O Lord!"  S. Aug.  Conf. x. 4.

 

Ver. 6.  Deep.  We cannot easily explain thy ways, (M.) in exalting some, and depressing thy people.  C.  Rom. xi. 33.

 

Ver. 7.  Things.  Pretended sages hence take occasion to blaspheme whatsoever things they  know not.  Jude 10.  The wise adore God in silence, (H.) and confess, that the misery of the just here proves a future life, while the wicked prosper, to be more tormented.  Euseb. --- Carnal men, who think only of present things, see not this.  M.

 

Ver. 8.  Appear.  Heb. "flourish."  Still they are but as grass, (H.) short-lived, and of small utility.  The just resembles the palm-tree, v. 13.  C.

 

Ver. 10.  Enemies.  The Babylonians, (C.) or all the wicked at the last day.  Bert. --- This shews God's power, and insures the exaltation of the just.  M.

 

Ver. 11.  Mercy.  Heb. and some copies of the Sept. have "oil," an emblem of mercy.  Prov. xxi. 20. Bert. --- "I shall be anointed with fresh oil."  Prot. --- "My old age shall be like a verdant olive."  Houbig.  Sym. --- Those who have a good conscience, expect final happiness.  W.

 

Ver. 12.  Me.  I shall live to hear of the vengeance which God will take.  Ps. cxi. 9.  C. --- The just pray for sinners here; but must approve of God's judgment.  Bert.

 

Ver. 13.  Palm-tree.  Sept. foinix, means also a "Phœnician, or the Phœnix" bird, of which the ancients have said so much, Job xxix. 18. (C.) and of which Tertullian, (de Res. xiii.) and S. Ambrose, (de fid. Res.) seem to understand this passage.  Amama. --- But it must be explained in the sense of the Vulg. as the Heb. Tamar evinceth.  This tree, and the cedar, were the most famous in those countries; the former for its fruit, and the latter for buildings and duration.  The palm-tree will shoot forth again, after it has been cut down or burnt, (Pliny xiii. 14.) so the just will rise up from oppression.  C.

 

Ver. 14.  Courts.  In the Church triumphant, as well as in the militant.  W. --- The piety of the faithful induces strangers to embrace the truth.  Bert.

 

Ver. 15.    Well treated.  Or affected.  W. --- Bene patientes, eupaqounteV, "flourishing," (Grot.) tranquil, (S. Aug.) or in a prosperous condition.  Bert. --- Erasmus, to shew the utility of consulting the originals, informs us, what a multiplicity of authors he consulted in vain, to know the import of this word.  Amama. --- "They shall be fat and covered with leaves," (S. Jer.) alluding to the aforesaid comparison.

 

Ver. 16.  In him.  The general judgment will set this in the clearest light.  At present, the ways of Providence may be mysterious, v. 6.  H.

 

 








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