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ALEPH. Blessed are the undefiled in the way, who walk in the law of the Lord.

PSALM CXVIII.  (BEATI IMACULATI.)

Of the excellence of virtue, consisting in the love and observance of the commandments of God.


Ver. 1.  Alleluia.  There is no title in Heb.  But (H.) this psalm contains the praises of the Lord, and of his holy law, under fourteen different names, (W.) of way, testimony, &c. repeated in every verse, except the 122d, (Muis.) with surprising variety, so as to avoid tautology, and to give a most perfect system of moral doctrine.  It is written according to the order of the Heb. alphabet, (H.) that we may learn it from our infancy.  S. Hil.

 

--- Eight verses begin with each of the twenty-two letters.  S. Jerom (ad Paulam Urb. & Proem. in Lam.) moralizes on the signification of these letters, which he renders, 1. Aleph, &c. "the doctrine

 

---2. of the house; 3. the plenitude, 4. of the tables (or holy scripture)

 

---5. This 6. and 7. this 8. of life

 

---9. a good 10. beginning

 

---11. the hand 12. of discipline (or the heart)

 

---13. from them 14. everlasting 15. help

 

---16. the fountain (or eye) 17. of the mouth 18. of justice

 

---19. the calling 20. of the head 21. of teeth 22. the signs."  By thus connecting the letters, he forms sentences to shew that the holy Scriptures bring us to the knowledge of the Church, and of Christ, &c.  See W.  Thus every thing serves to excite the devotion of the saints, though the proud may deride their ingenuity.  The sacred writers have certainly found some pleasure and utility in writing so frequently in the alphabetical order, though we may not perceive the advantages of it.  H.

 

--- David is supposed to have written this psalm for the instruction of Solomon in his youth, (Bert.) though others believe that he composed it while he himself was young, and persecuted by Saul.  Muis.  Bossuet, &c.

 

--- It seems very probable, that David wrote it for the consolation of the captives.  C.  Dan. ix. 2.

 

--- Origen and Ven. Bede refer it to those times; though it seems in reality to appertain to all who desire to live piously, (H.) and it is only a conjecture that any other but David was the author, to whom it is generally attributed.  Its excellency cannot be denied, and the Church has adopted it for her daily office, dividing it into eleven psalms.  Bert.

 

--- S. Aug. has written thirty-two, and S. Amb. twenty-two sermons on the contents; and S. Basil observes, that David has here composed in one psalm the sum of all that he has written in the rest.  Among other points of morality and doctrine, we  may remark, that the psalmist insists on the necessity of God's grace, and the co-operation of free will, (W.) and overturns the Prot. system of justification.  D.

 

--- The Israelites might recite this psalm on their journey, three times a-year, to the temple, as the fifteen gradual canticles which follow, were to be sung on the steps leading to the house of God.  Bellar.  M.

 

--- Lord.  Such only are happy here, (W.) or hereafter.  H.

 

--- All aim at happiness, but only the virtuous take the proper means to attain it.  S. Aug.

 

--- The way may here designate this life, (W.) or the law, (S. Aug.) or Jesus Christ.  Jo. xiv. 6.  S. Amb.  The psalmist evidently presupposes, that some can and do keep the law. W.


2 Blessed are they who search his testimonies: that seek him with their whole heart.

Ver. 2.  His testimonies.  The commandments of God are called his testimonies, because they testify his holy will unto us.  Note here, that in almost every verse of this psalm, (which in number are 176) the word and law of God, and the love and observance of it, are perpetually inculcated, under a variety of denominations, all signifying the same thing.  Ch.

 

--- We must search the law, not out of curiosity, but to practise it; (H.) otherwise we shall become more guilty.  W.  Jam. iv. 17.


3 For they that work iniquity, have not walked in his ways.

Ver. 3.  Ways.  They may, however, repent.  The just are subject to fall.  1 Jo. i. 8.  But venial faults are not incompatible with justice.  C.

 

--- Heb. "They also do no iniquity: they walk in his ways."  Prot.  Bert.


4 Thou hast commanded thy commandments to be kept most diligently.

Ver. 4.  Diligently.  Nimis.  Lit. "too much."  But this is a Heb. idiom, to imply the greatest diligence.  H.

 

--- Some would refer it to "God's strong injunction;" which is not necessary.  The psalmist henceforward speaks to God.  Bert.



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5 O! that my ways may be directed to keep thy justifications.

Ver. 5.  O! that.  Conscious of his own insufficiently, he prays for grace to be justified.  W.

 

--- Moses acknowledged, that man could not observe the law, without Christ.  Deut. xxx 11.  Rom. x. 6.


6 Then shall I not be confounded, when I shall look into all thy commandments.

Ver. 6.  All.  At the day of judgment, it will not suffice to have observed only some of the commandments.  See S. Jer.  S. Amb. &c. who all seem to follow Origen.  C.

 

--- The breach of any law brings confusion.  W.


7 I will praise thee with uprightness of heart, when I shall have learned the judgments of thy justice.

Ver. 7.  Justice.  That all thy ordinances are most equitable, (W.) and when I shall have faithfully put them in practice.  Eccli. xv. 9.  Theod.


8 I will keep thy justifications: O! do not thou utterly forsake me.

Ver. 8.  Utterly.  Heb. nimis, as v. 4.  H.

 

--- It may be advantageous to us to be left awhile, that we may know our own weakness.  S. Greg. Mor. xx. 21.  W.

 

--- He does not beg never to be tempted, or in tribulation; (H.) but only that he may not yield to sin.  S. Hil.

 

--- He may always at least have recourse to prayer.  1 Thes. v. 17.

 

--- The neglect of this duty occasions so many falls.  Bert.


9 BETH. By what doth a young man correct his way? by observing thy words.

Ver. 9.  Correct.  Sym. "illustrate."  C.

 

--- The observance of the law is the only method to preserve innocence, or to regain it.  H.

 

--- The Holy Ghost gives this direction to youth, and to all who are exposed to the dangers of pleasure, (W.) as David might do to his son, 2 K. ii. 3.  Bert.

 

--- In the same sense as we pray, Lead us not into temptation.


10 With my whole heart have I sought after thee: let me not stray from thy commandments.

Ver. 10.  Let.  Lit. "do not cast me off."  H.

 

--- God rejects none but the negligent.  S. Hil. S. Amb. &c.

 

--- The just, or the Church in general, here confess (W.) that perseverance is a gift of God.  H.

 

--- Deprived of grace, we should fall, no less than if God "made us err," as the Heb. strictly implies.  Bert.


11 Thy words have I hidden in my heart, that I may not sin against thee.

Ver. 11.  Heart.  To guard against the temptations of vanity.  C.

 

--- Christians formerly concealed the mysteries of religion with the utmost care.  S. Hil. and S. Amb.

 

--- Moses had given the letter of the law only, insinuating, that it must be kept with all the heart, as David here more fully explains.  Bert.


12 Blessed art thou, O Lord: teach me thy justifications.

Ver. 12.  Justifications.  He considers himself as placed at the feet of his divine Master.  C.

 

--- Though just, he wished to increase in virtue.  Apoc. xxii.  W.


13 With my lips I have pronounced all the judgments of thy mouth.

Ver. 13.  Mouth.  I have concealed them in my heart.  Now I am not ashamed to publish them.  C.


14 I have been delighted in the way of thy testimonies, as in all riches.

Ver. 14.  Riches.  I give thy law the preference.  Ps. xviii. 9.  C.


15 I will meditate on thy commandments: and I will consider thy ways. 16 I will think of thy justifications: I will not forget thy words. 17 GIMEL. Give bountifully to thy servant, enliven me: and I shall keep thy words.

Ver. 17.  Give.  Heb. "avenge."  Ps. xii. 6. and cxxxvii. 9.  Draw me from this state of oppression, (C.) or rather, give me abundant grace, (Bert.) and eternal life.  S. Hil.

 

--- I cannot fulfil the law, without thy grace.  W.

 

--- Enliven me.  So the Sept. of Aldus reads, though the Roman and Heb. have, "I shall live."  Deut. xxx. 19.  Bert.


18 Open thou my eyes: and I will consider the wondrous things of thy law.

Ver. 18.  Law.  In rewarding, punishing, &c.  This thou wilt enable me to perceive, (W.) as thy law is too much above my comprehension.  C.


19 I am a sojourner on the earth: hide not thy commandments from me.

Ver. 19.  Earth.  At Babylon, or in the world, which is a pilgrimage, (C.) and I am unacquainted with the roads.  M.

 

--- The latter sense is much better.  2 Cor. v. 6. and Heb. xi. 10.  Bert.


20 My soul hath coveted to long for thy justifications, at all times.

Ver. 20.  Coveted.  Heb. "burns, (Aquila; Houbig.) or is bruised, (Bert.) and faints through the desire of thy laws," (C.) or "judgments."  S. Jer.

 

--- If I have but a short time to live, I ardently seek for instruction, (W.) and wish to advance daily in virtue.  C.

 

--- His humility makes him fear, lest his desire should not be sincere.  Bert.


21 Thou hast rebuked the proud: they are cursed who decline from thy commandments.

Ver. 21.  Cursed.  Becoming victims of hell.  Matt. xxiv.  Bert.  Deut. xxvii. 26.  M.


22 Remove from reproach and contempt: because I have sought after thy testimonies. 23 For princes sat, and spoke against me: but thy servant was employed in thy justifications.

Ver. 23.  Princes.  Thus Daniel, (vi. 5.) was treated.  C.

 

--- All who would live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution.  2 Tim. iii. 12.  H.

 

--- The servant of God will adhere to his duty, though his adversaries may be very powerful.  W.


24 For thy testimonies are my meditation: and thy justifications my counsel.

Ver. 24.  Counsel.  Heb. "the princes of my counsel." (Houbig.) in opposition to those who endeavoured to make him fall, v. 23.  H.

 

--- The laws of God afford the best advice.  An ancient king observed, that the dead were the best counsellors, as they will not flatter, &c.  C.

 

--- In every trial, we must reflect on the rewards and punishments held out.  W.


25 DALETH. My soul hath cleaved to the pavement: quicken thou me according to thy word.

Ver. 25.  Pavement.  Heb. "dust," (Bert.) weighed down by concupiscence, (S. Aug.) and infected by the union with the body.  S. Amb.

 

--- The just, in great distress, beg to be delivered, conformably to God's promise.  W.  Wisd. ix. 15.  Rom. vii. 24.


26 I have declared my ways, and thou hast heard me: tech me thy justifications.

Ver. 26.  Ways.  Or sins, (Theod.) or miserable condition, v. 25.  C.


27 Make me to understand the way of thy justifications: and I shall be exercised in thy wondrous works. 28 My soul hath slumbered through heaviness: strengthen thou me in thy words.

Ver. 28.  Slumbered.  Enustaxen, for which Origen, thinking it a mistake of copyists, substituted estaxen, "has melted," (C.) or "distilled," (Aquila, &c. Heracleot.) as more conformable to the original, though the sense is much the same.  Loss of blood often causes people to slumber.  Bert.

 

--- S. Hil. would not abandon the Sept.  C.

 

--- Heaviness, being such anxiety, as to be almost distracted.  W.

 

--- Chal. "has been in an agony."  Sleep is often put for death.  C.

 

--- My soul perishes through grief.  Houbig.

 

--- Hence the three apostles slept.  Lu. xxii.  H.

 

--- Akhdia, or torpor of mind, hinders the persecution of any business.  M.


29 Remove from me the way of iniquity: and out of thy law have mercy on me.

Ver. 29.  Iniquity.  Heb. "lying."  Let me not imitate the wicked.  H.

 

--- Remit the punishment of my sins, (Ps. cvi. 17.  C.) also original sin, and its effects.  S. Hill.

 

--- Protect me from falling.  W.


30 I have chosen the way of truth: thy judgments I have not forgotten. 31 I have stuck to thy testimonies, O Lord: put me not to shame. 32 I have run the way of thy commandments, when thou didst enlarge my heart.

Ver. 32.  Heart.  Man runs, but God must impart grace.  W.

 

--- An enlarged heart sometimes denotes the capacity of understanding.  3 K. iv. 29.  C.

 

--- But it is a singular mercy of God to make us love his commands.  S. Aug.


33 HE. Set before me for a law the way of thy justifications, O Lord: and I will always seek after it.

Ver. 33.  Always.  Heb. hekeb, means also, "for the reward," (Pagn.  H.  v. 112.) or step by step.  S. Jer.  C.

 

--- Make me love thy commandments.  W.


34 Give me understanding, and I will search thy law; and I will keep it with my whole heart.

Ver. 34.  Heart.  Enable me to keep and to understand thy law, v. 1. 2.  W.

 

--- We must observe what we know, that we may receive greater lights.  H.


35 Lead me into the path of thy commandments; for this same I have desired.

Ver. 35.  Desired.  Free-will concurs with grace.  W.

36 Incline my heart into thy testimonies and not to covetousness.

Ver. 36.  Covetousness.  Either of money, or any unlawful object.  1 Tim. vi. 10.  H.  The word is very comprehensive.  Bert.

 

--- Batsah is rendered mammon by the Chal.  C.


37 Turn away my eyes that they may not behold vanity: quicken me in thy way.

Ver. 37.  Vanity.  Idols, worldly prosperity, &c. (Ps. xxxvi. 1. 7.  C.) shews, (S. Amb.) and all dangerous objects.  H.

 

--- We must pray that God will take away the occasions of sin, and help us to advance in virtue.  W.


38 Establish thy word to thy servant, in thy fear. 39 Turn away my reproach, which I have apprehended: for thy judgments are delightful.

Ver. 39.  Reproach.  Hidden sins of thought, (S. Amb.) or the sarcasms of the Babylonians.  C.

 

--- Sin is odious, because it is contrary to God's law, which is most delightful.  W.

 

--- The saints have been often ridiculed.  Jer. xx. 7.  Acts xxvi. 24.  H.


40 Behold I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy justice.

Ver. 40.  Quicken.  The just prays for greater perfection, and for perseverance.  W.


41 VAU. Let thy mercy also come upon me, O Lord: thy salvation according to thy word.

Ver. 41.  Salvation.  The Messias, foretold by the prophets, (Gen. xlix.  Rom. iii. 23.  Tit. ii. 13.  Bert.) or grace, freely promised to all who ask for it.  W.


42 So shall I answer them that reproach me in any thing; that I have trusted in thy words.

Ver. 42.  In any thing.  Lit. "the word" that I, &c.  Thus he stops their mouths, by professing his confidence in God.  H.

 

--- The Babylonians insultingly ask, Where is their God?  If thou free me from captivity, I may reply that my hopes were not vain.  C.

 

--- This answer I will give boldly, if I obtain thy grace, which will strengthen my weakness.  W.


43 And take not thou the word of truth utterly out of my mouth: for in thy words have I hoped exceedingly.

Ver. 43.  Mouth.  Let those who preach the truth, live up to it.  S. Hil. and S. Amb.

 

--- Though the psalmist may be under some fear, he prays that he may not omit to make open profession of his faith.  W.

 

--- God never hinders his servants from doing this, though he sometimes suffers them to fall.  But the Church will never cease to proclaim the truth.  She will not give up one article of faith, though all heretics would thus embrace every other part of her doctrine.  She will never open her bosom to those who would alter one point, nor say that such can enter heaven.  Bert.


44 So shall I always keep thy law, for ever and ever.

Ver. 44.  Ever.  Heb. "and after."  The sanction of the law will remain after this world is at an end.  These expressions relate to the Church.  Bert.


45 And I walked at large: because I have sought after thy commandments.

Ver. 45.  Large.  The Jews could not practise the law out of their country, (C.) as to the ceremonial part.  H.

 

--- He hopes to be soon set at liberty.  The verb should be explained in the future, as S. Jerom has them, (C.) though this is immaterial.  Bert.

 

--- David had already observed this line of conduct, which he resolved always to pursue, (H.) or he speaks in the person of all confessors, as he had not to be tried by any kings.  Bert.

 

--- Those who suffer for the faith, receive great joy.  W.


46 And I spoke of thy testimonies before kings: and I was not ashamed.

Ver. 46.  Of thy, (de, &c.) but the true reading is, in testimoniis, "conformably to," &c. as in the Heb. Sept. and Vulg.  H.  Bert.

 

--- Ashamed.  Thus many even of the female sex have professed their faith boldly, with S. Agnes, S. Catharine, S. Winefrid, &c. answering the reproachful objections that were put to them, as if it were dishonourable to be a Christian, Catholic or Papist.  No.  These are most glorious titles, importing the true service of Christ, in unity with the Catholic Church, and under the Vicar of Jesus Christ, the Pope.  W.

 

--- But as Prot. mean an undue attachment to the Pope by the last title, we shew, that in that sense it is unjustly and illiberally applied to us, (H.) and no gentlemen or scholar would not make use of it.  Nightingale.

 

--- See N.G.'s letters to J. Slack, Whitby, 1813.  H.

 

--- Daniel spoke with great freedom to Nabuchodonosor, &c.  c. ii. 27. and v. 17. and vi. 22.


47 I meditated also on thy commandments, which I loved. 48 And I lifted up my hands to thy commandments, which I loved: and I was exercised in thy justifications.

Ver. 48.  Hands.  To pray, labour, or rather to swear an eternal fidelity.  C.

 

--- Confessors rejoice in meditation on God's words, which they shew forth in all their actions.  W.


49 ZAIN. Be thou mindful of thy word to thy servant, in which thou hast given me hope.

Ver. 49.  Mindful.  He does not intimate that God can forget, but shews his fervour, (S. Aug.) and begs that he may be worthy to receive the effects of God's promises.  S. Hil.

 

--- Though his decrees be most certain, means must be employed, which the just pray may not be wanting.  W.


50 This hath comforted me in my humiliation: because thy word hath enlivened me.

Ver. 50.  This hope, hæc, though some would suppose it is put for hoc.  Bert.

 

--- "This is my consolation in my distress."  S. Jer.  H.

 

--- Word.  The expectation of thy promises has given me courage.  W.


51 The proud did iniquitously altogether: but I declined not from thy law.

Ver. 51.  Did.  Heb. "greatly derided me."  H.

 

--- But I continued to observe thy law (C.) with patience, notwithstanding their provocations.  W.


52 I remembered, O Lord, thy judgments of old: and I was comforted.

Ver. 52.  Of old.  Upon the rebel angels, and sinful men, whom thou wilt punish for ever.  This encourages me to adhere to the cause of virtue.  W.

 

--- In many dangers our ancestors have been protected by God.  Is his arm shortened, or are we no longer his people?  C.  1 Pet. iv. 12.


53 A fainting hath taken hold of me, because of the wicked that forsake thy law.

Ver. 53.  Fainting.  So much was the psalmist grieved at the sight of sinners!  Bert.

 

--- He would have died through zeal, if he had not seen God's justice.  W.

 

--- Apostates particularly filled him with horror.  C.


54 Thy justifications were the subject of my song, in the place of my pilgrimage.

Ver. 54.  Song.  Here on earth I am comforted with singing the praises of thy law, which makes the observers just.  W.

 

--- The captives would not give holy things to dogs: but, among themselves, they sung canticles.  Ps. cxxxvi.  C.  Col. iii. 16.  1 Par. xxix. 15.  Heb. xi. 16.

 

--- These pious exercises were opposed to the scandalous discourses of sinners.  Bert.


55 In the night I have remembered thy name, O Lord: and have kept thy law.

Ver. 55.  Night.  Of tribulation, (W.) and captivity.  C.


56 This happened to me: because I sought after thy justifications.

Ver. 56.  This.  Hæc facta est mihi.  The feminine is put for the neuter, (C.) which the Heb. have not.  Bert.

 

--- We may also understand, This night of calamity, v. 55.  H.


57 HETH. O Lord, my portion, I have said, I would keep the law.

Ver. 57.  Portion.  With the just tending to perfection, I desire no other inheritance.  W.

 

--- "He who possesses God, has all things."  S. Amb.


58 I entreated thy face with all my heart: have mercy on me according to thy word. 59 I have thought on my ways: and turned my feet unto thy testimonies.

Ver. 59.  My ways.  Many read, "thy ways."  Sept. Arab.

 

--- But this is the true sense of the Heb. &c.  The consciousness of having adhered to thy commands, makes me hope that thou wilt not abandon me.  C.

 

--- I have bewailed my past transgressions, and am resolved henceforward to live piously.  S. Amb.

 

--- I have reflected on my former actions, and taken up this firm determination, trusting in thy mercy, v. 58.  W.


60 I am ready, and am not troubled: that I may keep thy commandments.

Ver. 60.  And am.  Heb. "and delay not."  For cursed is he who does the work of God negligently, (Sept.) or with deceit.  Jer. xlviii. 10.  C.


61 The cords of the wicked have encompassed me: but I have not forgotten thy law.

Ver. 61.  Cords.  Temptations of the devil, (S. Aug.) and of the wicked, who strive by force, or by caresses, to ensnare the virtuous, v. 110.  C.


62 I rose at midnight to give praise to thee; for the judgments of thy justification.

Ver. 62.  Midnight.  Under tribulation, (S. Aug.) or to avoid the malice of those who pried into my conduct.  I was so delighted with thy law, that I meditated on it both in the day-time, and at night.  C.

 

--- This pious custom was observed by S. Paul, (Acts xvi.) as it is still by many religious orders, v. 164.  W.


63 I am a partaker with all them that fear thee, and that keep thy commandments.

Ver. 63.  Partaker.  Heb. "a friend."  I do not fear to approve of their conduct, (C.) and condole with them.  S. Hil.

 

--- The true living members of Christ enjoy the great benefit of partaking in the prayers and good works of the whole Church militant and triumphant, in the communion of saints.  W.

 

--- See S. Aug. Conf. iv. 4.


64 The earth, O Lord, is full of thy mercy: teach me thy justifications. 65 TETH. Thou hast done well with thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word. 66 Teach me goodness and discipline and knowledge; for I have believed thy commandments.

Ver. 66.  Goodness to others (M.) in want.  W.

 

--- Discipline, or patience under chastisement.  S. Aug.  Theod.

 

--- Heb. "wisdom," or discernment how to act, and knowledge of what regards thy law and revealed truths.  Bert.


67 Before I was humbled I offended; therefore have I kept thy word.

Ver. 67.  Humbled.  S. Jer. "before I heard, I was ignorant."  He speaks of the gift of prophecy: or "before I was afflicted, I went astray."  C.

 

--- Therefore, chastisements are very salutary.  Bert.  v. 71. and Jer. x. 24. and 31. 19.  C.

 

--- Before, I often fell; but sorrow has made me understand.  W.


68 Thou art good; and in thy goodness teach me thy justifications.

Ver. 68.  Goodness, or sweetness, denoting the unction of grace.  S. Aug.


69 The iniquity of the proud hath been multiplied over me: but I will seek thy commandments with my whole heart.

Ver. 69.  Iniquity.  Heb. "the proud have forged lies against me," (H.) which was verified in Daniel, (C.) and David, &c.  H.


70 Their heart is curdled like milk: but I have meditated on thy law.

Ver. 70.  Curdled.  Grown hard, like milk that is curdled and turned to cheese.  Ch.

 

--- Heb. "like fat."  They have no compassion or wisdom.  Is. vi. 10.  C.

 

--- Without the points, cheleb means also milk.  Bert.

 

--- The wicked combine together for my ruin: but I will still be faithful.  W.


71 It is good for me that thou hast humbled me, that I may learn thy justifications.

Ver. 71.  Humbled me.  "It is good for the proud to fall into some open sin, (C.) whence they may be displeased at themselves."  S. Aug.

 

--- A patient thanks his physician for having used a necessary severity.  Theod.  C.


72 The law of thy mouth is good to me, above thousands of gold and silver.

Ver. 72.  Silver, above all the world.  W.


73 JOD. Thy hands have made me and formed me: give me understanding, and I will learn thy commandments.

Ver. 73.  Hands.  Power (Bert.) and love.  Theodoret

 

--- We may confidently pray to our Creator for light, (W.) and that he may perfect his work.  M.


74 They that fear thee shall see me, and shall be glad: because I have greatly hoped in thy words.

Ver. 74.  See me advance in virtue.  W.

 

--- The angels rejoice at the conversion of a sinner, (Lu. xv. 10.) as the Church does at her children's progress.  S. Jer.

 

--- All the just will be glad to see me delivered.  C.


75 I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are equity: and in thy truth thou hast humbled me.

Ver. 75.  Truth.  Though we may not discern the particular causes of our suffering, we must be convinced that they are right.  W.

 

--- Sinners are afflicted that they may amend, and the just for their advancement.  C.


76 O! let thy mercy be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant.

Ver. 76.  Mercy.  Jesus Christ, according to S. Jerom.


77 Let thy tender mercies come unto me, and I shall live: for thy law is my meditation. 78 Let the proud be ashamed, because they have done unjustly towards me: but I will be employed in thy commandments.

Ver. 78.  Ashamed.  Lit. "confounded," not accomplishing their wicked designs.  C.

 

--- Thus may they be induced to entertain that shame for sin which bringeth life, (H.) and cease to offend.  Theod.

 

--- Let them be converted: though it be also (H.) lawful to desire that obstinate sinners may undergo just punishment.  W.

 

--- The saints pray thus out of zeal for their good.  It may also be a prediction, as the Heb. word (Bert.) yebshu is in the future.  H.

 

--- Done.  Heb. "falsely perverted," (Mont.) in desire; (C.) or "having wished to pervert me without cause."  Pagn.

 

--- But to pervert, means also to treat ill; and hivvethuni has that sense here, (H.) according to the best authors.  Bert.


79 Let them that fear thee turn to me" and they that know thy testimonies.

Ver. 79.  Turn to me.  Let the wicked (W.) among those who adore the true God, enter into themselves, that we may form a holy league to support each other.  H.

 

--- May we all obtain our liberty, (C.) or may they imitate my constancy.  S. Amb.


80 Let my heart be undefiled in thy justifications, that I may not be confounded. 81 CAPH. My soul hath fainted after thy salvation: and in thy word I have very much hoped.

Ver. 81.  Salvation.  All the saints sighed after our Saviour's coming, (Matt. xiii. 17.) as they still do, 2 Tim. iv. 8.  W.

 

--- The deliverance from Babylon was a figure of redemption.  The next verse is of the same import.  C.


82 My eyes have failed for thy word, saying: When wilt thou comfort me? 83 For I am become like a bottle in the frost: I have not forgotten thy justifications.

Ver. 83.  Like a bottle in the frost.  In the Hebrew, like a bottle in the smoke.  That is, I am become, through my sufferings in this mortal pilgrimage, as a leathern bottle, shrunk up because of being exposed to the frost or smoke.  Ch.

 

--- So the bodies of the just are exposed to mortification, that they may become like new bottles, capable of containing the new wine of the gospel doctrine.  Matt. ix. 17.  W.

 

--- Goats' skins, with the hair inward, are still used in some places to contain liquors.  C.

 

--- They were hung over the smoke, to make the wine old, or fit for drinking sooner.  Colum. i. 6.

Amphoræ fumum bibere institutæ,

Consule Tullo. Hor. 3. Od. 8.  C.


84 How many are the days of thy servant: when wilt thou execute judgment on them that persecute me?

Ver. 84.  Servant.  The just may lawfully desire the term of their sufferings, with submission to God's will, (W.) and to be freed from the power of persecutors, (Heb. "the proud."  Bert.) and from exile, after their enemies are punished.  Ps. xxxviii. 5.  C.


85 The wicked have told me fables: but not as thy law.

Ver. 85.  Fables.  Idle tales, not agreeable to God's law.  W.

 

--- Such were the theology and histories of the pagans.  C.

 

--- Such are still the false maxims of the world, and many books designed to corrupt the morals of the age.  H.

 

--- The Jews confined themselves to their own divine books.  Heb. Chal. &c. "The proud have dug pits for me, which is not conformable to thy law," (C.) but forbidden expressly.  H.

 

--- The Sept. seem to have followed a better reading.  C.

 

--- Houbigant rejects the word pits, and in effect, we may understand the Heb. in the sense of the Vulg.  "They have prepared (or told me) vain discourses."  Bert.


86 All thy statutes are truth: they have persecuted me unjustly, do thou help me.

Ver. 86.  Help me.  He does not pray to be exempted from trials, but that he may have grace to gain the victory.  S. Hil.


87 They had almost made an end of me upon earth: but I have not forsaken thy commandments.

Ver. 87.  Earth.  Babylon; (C.) though this is never styled simply the earth.  It refers to all the enemies of salvation, particularly to our own passions.  Bert.


88 Quicken thou me according to thy mercy: and I shall keep the testimonies of thy mouth. 89 LAMED. For ever, O Lord, thy word standeth firm in heaven.

Ver. 89.  In heaven.  In the faithful angels, (S. Aug.) or Jesus Christ.  Bellanger.

 

--- The promises seem not to have their effect here; but they will in heaven.  Bert.

 

--- The word of God is as unchangeable as heaven.  C.

 

--- The psalmist praises God's works, which observe the order established by him.  W.

 

--- How then can we doubt but his law and promises shall be accomplished?  H.


90 Thy truth unto all generations: thou hast founded the earth, and it continueth.

Ver. 90.  All.  Lit. "unto generation and generation," which the fathers explain of the true faith, which has subsisted in the synagogue and in the Church of Christ alone.  S. Hil. S. Amb. &c.  C.

 

--- Those who did not belong to the former, in the first ages of the world, might still form a part of the latter, like Job, &c.  Without faith it is, and always was, impossible to please God.  Heb. xi. 6.


91 By thy ordinance the day goeth on: for all things serve thee.

Ver. 91.  Serve thee.  Except  man, (W.) and angels who rebel; and yet they also are forced to serve as victims of justice, if they have refused to accept of mercy.  H.


92 Unless thy law had been my meditation, I had then perhaps perished in my abjection.

Ver. 92.  Abjection.  Man cannot rise from sin without grace, and attention to the law.  W.

 

--- This supports him under the punishment of sin.  H.

 

--- Meditation alleviates his grief, which might otherwise have proved mortal.  Bert.


93 Thy justifications I will never forget: for by them thou hast given me life. 94 I am thine, save thou me: for I have sought thy justifications. 95 The wicked have waited for me to destroy me: but I have understood thy testimonies.

Ver. 95.  Understand.  Or "shall understand."  I am already able to encounter my enemies.  Phil. ii. 15.  C.


96 I have seen an end to all persecution: thy commandment is exceeding broad.

Ver. 96.  Perfection, of a worldly nature.  H.

 

--- All have their limits.  But God's law bindeth for ever, as the rewards and punishments are eternal.  W.

 

--- Broad.  Charity, which extends both to God and our neighbour.  S. Aug.

 

--- The law is above  my comprehension, though I am able to discern its superiority over all created things.  Some understand Jesus Christ, the end of the law; or martyrdom, the height of charity; or extreme distress, by the word perfection.  Bert.

 

--- Lit. "consummation."  H.

 

--- I have been exposed to the greatest misery: but thy law has set me at large.  Soph. i. 18.  C.


97 MEM. O how have I loved thy law, O Lord! it is my meditation all the day.

Ver. 97.  Loved.  Constraint takes away all merit.  S. Hil.

 

--- Son, give me thy heart.  Prov. xxiii. 26.  H.

 

--- The just man wonders that he should feel such love, as he knows it is not his own growth, but a gift of God.  W.


98 Through thy commandment, thou hast made me wiser than my enemies: for it is ever with me.

Ver. 98.  Enemies of salvation, (Bert.) or the Babylonians, whom Daniel far surpassed; thou we would not absolutely assert that it refers to him.  Dan. i. 19. and xiii. 1.  Ezec. xxviii. 3.  C.

 

--- David was no less enlightened (Bert.) by the prophetic spirit above his earthly instructor, how aged soever.  H.


99 I have understood more than all my teachers: because thy testimonies are my meditation.

Ver. 99.  Teachers.  Who do not follow the rules of virtue.  The ancients, (v. 100.) of the same description, must yield the palm to those who are less advanced in years, but more observant of God's law.  W.


100 I have had understanding above ancients: because I have sought thy commandments. 101 I have restrained my feet from every evil way: that I may keep thy words.

Ver. 101.  Every.  We cannot follow both the broad and the narrow path.  Theod.  Jam. ii. 10.


102 I have not declined from thy judgments, because thou hast set me a law. 103 How sweet are thy words to my palate! more than honey to my mouth.

Ver. 103.  Honey.  S. Amb. &c. add, "and the honeycomb."  Ps. xviii. 11.  Homer (Il. A.) compares the speech of Nestor with honey.  C.

 

--- See Prov. xvi. 24.  Ezec. iii. 3.  Apoc. x. 10.


104 By thy commandments I have had understanding: therefore have I hated every way of iniquity.

Ver. 104.  Hated.  We must come to the practice of the law, (C.) and hate sin.  W.

 

--- Iniquity.  Heb. "lying."  But every sin is contrary to truth.  Bert.


105 NUN. Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my paths.

Ver. 105.  Thy word.  Jesus Christ, (S. Hil.) who enlightens every man.  Jo. i.

 

--- Lamp, (2 Pet. i. 19.  Prov. vi. 23.) while sin is the light of the wicked.  Prov. xxi. 4. and xxiv. 20.  Bert.

 

--- The law of God, proposed by his prophets and pastors, in the ordinary method of instruction.  W.


106 I have sworn and am determined to keep the judgments of thy justice.

Ver. 106.  Sworn.  By the ceremony of circumcision, &c. as we now engage by vows in baptism, to observe all the commandments.  W.

 

--- Those who receive not the sacrament, are still under a strict obligation to obey the truth; as all were created only for this purpose.  H.

 

--- The psalmist means thus to express his firm determination to do all that God should require of him, (S. Aug.) and renews the solemn covenant entered into with the Deity by his ancestors.  C.  Jos. xxiv.


107 I have been humbled, O Lord, exceedingly: quicken thou me according to thy word.

Ver. 107.  Quicken.  This petition, with the praise of the law, is the subject of this psalm.  C.

 

--- All the godly must suffer, 2 Tim. iii. 12.  W.


108 The free offerings of my mouth make acceptable, O Lord: and teach me thy judgments.

Ver. 108.  Free offerings of praise and thanks, (S. Aug.) or the works of supererogation, (S. Hil.  Theod. &c.) which are not commanded, though acceptable to God, (W.) and undertaken for the sake of greater perfection.  C.

 

--- The evangelical counsels of voluntary poverty, &c. are of this nature.  Still we acknowledge that we are useless servants, (Lu. xvii. 10.) with regard to God.  We can give him nothing, which he has not first given us.  Our piety will redound to our own advantage.  H.

 

--- The psalmist may allude to his solemn engagement, (v. 106.  C.) which he made with perfect freedom and willingness, though it was not a matter of choice.  Bert.


109 My soul is continually in my hands: and I have not forgotten thy law.

Ver. 109.  My hands.  In danger of being thrown by, or of falling, (W.) ready to appear before God's tribunal.  I watch over myself, and strive to keep my soul tranquil.  The prophet might have all this in view.  Bert.

 

--- Most of the fathers read, "in thy hands," under God's protection.  This is denied by S. Jer. (ad Sun.) though the commentary which goes under his name, and was written in the same age, has thy.  The other reading is, however, more correct.  The Greeks made use of a similar expression, to shew the danger of losing a treasure.  Athen. xiii. 4.  C.

 

--- Such is our soul, which we must fear to lose.  S. Greg. Mor. vii. 6.  Bert.


110 Sinners have laid a snare for me: but I have not erred from thy precepts.

Ver. 110.  Snare, v. 67.  In such dangers, I still remain faithful.  C.


111 I have purchased thy testimonies for an inheritance for ever: because they are a joy to my heart.

Ver. 111.  Inheritance.  I will strive to imitate the faith of Abraham, &c.  H.

 

--- I will stick to the law as to my portion, through pure love.


112 I have inclined my heart to do thy justifications for ever, for the reward.

Ver. 112.  Inclined.  He had said, (v. 36.) incline, as the work proceeds from grace and free-will.  S. Aug.

 

--- Reward.  S. Jer. "for the eternal reward."  All agree, that the Heb. may have this sense.  He is influenced by hope, though the motive of charity is place first.  Whether both motives can produce the same act, is an useless inquiry.  The Scriptures frequently propose reward, the second, though less excellent motive.  Matt. v. 12.  Gen. xv. 1.  Rom. viii. 18.  Bert.

 

--- This text evidently shews, that the keeping of the commandments merits a reward, for which we may labour.  W.

 

--- Prot. evade this, by reading, "always, even unto the end;" because hekeb is ambiguous, and means also, the end.  H.

 

--- "As if the Sept. were not sufficient to determine the same...But...they are resolved to take their liberty, though contrary to S. Jerom, and the ancient Fathers."  Ward's Errat. p. 75.

 

--- God authorizes us to aim at the reward, though he would not have this to be they only motive, v. 33.  C.


113 SAMECH. I have hated the unjust: and have loved thy law.

Ver. 113.  Unjust.  Inasmuch as they oppose thy law.  Bert.

 

--- So Christ orders us to hate our parents, when they are an obstacle to our salvation.  We must love their persons and welfare, (S. Aug.) but hate their iniquity.  W.

 

--- Heb. "the turbulent."  S. Jer. "vain thoughts," and inconstant men.  The meaning of sehaphim is not well ascertained.  C.

 

--- But the psalmist might have all these senses (H.) in view, as they are all good; and hence we may admire the copiousness of the Hebrew language.  Bert.


114 Thou art my helper and my protector: and in thy word I have greatly hoped.

Ver. 114.  Helper.  Heb. "asylum and buckler."  We must keep in his presence, (H.) and avoid the society of the wicked, if we would search the law, v. 115.  W.


115 Depart from me, ye malignant: and I will search the commandments of my God. 116 Uphold me according to thy word, and I shall live: and let me not be confounded in my expectation.

Ver. 116.  Live.  S. Aug. (tr. 124. in Joan.) beautifully describes the life of the just here and in heaven.  Bert.

 

--- We may thus pray for grace, and spiritual life with confidence, if we be resolved to keep the commandments.  Yet we must not fail to entreat God not to suffer us to be confounded, which will not be the case, if we entertain hope, and charity be poured on our hearts.  Rom. v. 5.  W.


117 Help me, and I shall be saved: and I will meditate always on thy justifications. 118 Thou hast despised all them that fall off from thy judgments; for their thought is unjust. 119 I have accounted all the sinners of the earth prevaricators: therefore have I loved thy testimonies.

Ver. 119.  Prevaricators.  For though they be not acquainted with revelation, (H.) they have the natural law written in their hearts by God.  Rom. ii. 12.  S. Aug.

 

--- There is no such thing as the philosophic sin, (Bert.) which abstracts from every offence of the Deity, though it be allowed to be contrary to reason.  H.

 

--- Sept. seem to have read differently éssbothi, "I have," &c. instead of hishbatta, "thou hast destroyed."  Sigim, scorias, may have been sugim in their copies, though both may be derived from sug, "he departed."  Bert.

 

--- "Thou hast accounted as dross, or froth," &c.  S. Jer.

 

--- Calmet says, that S. Jerom and Heb. read in the first person, which is inaccurate.  Bert.

 

--- The just entertain the same sentiments of the wicked as God does.  W.


120 Pierce thou my flesh with thy fear: for I am afraid of thy judgments.

Ver. 120.  Afraid.  Servile fear is therefore profitable, though perfect charity expel it, and move us to do well for the love of God.  1 Jo. iv.  W.

 

--- Yet fear sometimes returns, that the just may not give way to presumption.  C.


121 AIN. I have done judgment and justice: give me not up to them that slander me.

Ver. 121.  Justice.  This he declares out of zeal, praying to be freed from calumniators, (W.) particularly the devil.  Apoc. xii. 9.  The Babylonians probably laid falsehoods to the charge of the Jews, in order to oppress them, as they frequently accused Daniel.


122 Uphold thy servant unto good: let not the proud calumniate me.

Ver. 122.  Uphold.  Heb. "answer for," (S. Jer.) as a bondsman.

 

--- Unto good.  Thus the law is insinuated, though it is not here expressed.  Bert.

 

--- In attacking the devil, who is so experienced, we must take God with us, or we shall surely be overcome.  S. Aug. tr. 4. in Joan.


123 My eyes have fainted after thy salvation: and for the word of thy justice.

Ver. 123.  Salvation.  The Messias, (S. Hil.  v. 41.) or liberty.  v. 82.  I have been fatigued with looking up to heaven for aid, like a woman who looks for the return of her husband to port.  C.


124 Deal with thy servant according to thy mercy: and teach me thy justifications.

Ver. 124.  Mercy.  When we have been most diligent, there still remains much to be done, and in many things we offend.  S. Amb.


125 I am thy servant: give me understanding that I may know thy testimonies. 126 It is time, O Lord, to do: they have dissipated thy law.

Ver. 126.  To do.  Our best, since so many prove rebellious, (Heb. iv. 11.  Eccli. v. 8.  Bert.) or we stand in the utmost need of the Messias, since even the Jews give erroneous explanations of the law.  S. Amb.

 

--- Heb. &c. "it is time for the Lord to act," by punishing the guilty; or, "to act for the Lord," faciendi Domino, by striving to repair the injuries done to his name and worship.  C.


127 Therefore have I loved thy commandments above gold and the topaz.

Ver. 127.  Topaz.  Heb. paz, which denotes "the purest gold" of Phison.  Gen. ii. 11.  C.

 

--- The topaz was discovered only in the reign of Ptolemy, father of Philadelphus.  S. Hil.  Pliny xxvii. 8.

 

--- Yet S. Jerom and others have the topaz, (Bert.) which S. Amb. represents as the finest of precious stones.  C.

 

--- The more the law is despised by the wicked, the more are the just in love with it.  W.


128 Therefore was I directed to all thy commandments: I have hated all wicked ways.

Ver. 128.  Directed.  In my steps.  Bert.

 

--- Pagn. "I judged all, yea all thy precepts to be right."  H.

 

--- The hatred of the wicked made the love of the beauty of the law increase in my breast.  W.


129 PHE. Thy testimonies are wonderful: therefore my soul hath sought them.

Ver. 129.  Wonderful.  Under the letter, I discovered many mysteries, which makes me study them diligently.  C.

 

--- God's works and laws deserve our most serious attention.  W.


130 The declaration of thy words giveth light: and giveth understanding to little ones.

Ver. 130.  Declaration.  By God's ministers renders them intelligible, though so wonderful in themselves.  Heb. styles this "the door of opening."  Bert.

 

--- The Scriptures are full of difficulties, and Daniel (ix. 2.) made them his study.  Since the coming of Christ, the mysteries and prophecies have been more developed.  But those who refuse to acknowledge him, grope at mid-day.  Matt. xi. 25. and xviii. 5. and 1 Cor. xiv. 20.  C.

 

--- The first entrance into the knowledge of holy Scripture illuminates the understanding of the humble, whence they proceed to  know more.  W.


131 I opened my mouth and panted: because I longed for thy commandments.

Ver. 131.  Panted.  Like one afflicted with the asthma, (Bert.) or most eager to obtain something.  W.

 

--- He asked and obtained the holy Spirit, (S. Aug.) enabling him to understand the law, (H.) and to comply with it.  See Ezec. iii. 2.  Ps. lxxx 11.  C.


132 Look thou upon me, and have mercy on me, according to the judgment of them that love thy name.

Ver. 132.  Judgment.  Or custom, (C.) as thou art wont to treat such.  W.

 

--- Let us not be looked upon as criminals.  C.

 

--- The just are persuaded, that God will not reject the humble, (Bert.) according to the opinion (sententiam) of, &c.  Chal.


133 Direct my steps according to thy word: and let no iniquity have dominion over me. 134 Redeem me from the calumnies of men: that I may keep thy commandments.

Ver. 134.  Calumnies.  That they may not cause me to abandon virtue.  S. Aug.

 

--- A person must be well grounded not to yield on such occasions, when he is exposed to ridicule, &c. v. 122.  C.

 

--- Even the psalmist dreaded this situation.  Bert.


135 Make thy face to shine upon thy servant: and teach me thy justifications.

Ver. 135.  Shine.  (v. 133.)  Let  me never go astray.  Bert.

 

--- But shew me favour.  W.


136 My eyes have sent forth springs of water: because they have not kept thy law.

Ver. 136.  Law.  This shews that David composed this psalm, as he fell by seeing Bethsabee.

 

--- They.  Men.  Duport.  Sept. "I."  But this is unnecessary.  The eyes and all our senses lead to our ruin.  Rom. vii. 18. 24.  Bert.

 

--- True repentance requires lamentation, as well as a firm purpose of amendment, (W.) commissa diluere & abluta non interare.  S. Jer.


137 SADE. Thou art just, O Lord: and thy judgment is right.

Ver. 137.  Right.  He therefore makes people just indeed, and does not barely impute justice to them.  W.


138 Thou hast commanded justice thy testimonies: and thy truth exceedingly.

Ver. 138.  Truth.  Thy laws are just and true in all respects, though we may not be able to discern it always.  Rom. ix. 20. and xi. 33.  Bert.

 

--- God punishes the wicked in his justice, and rewards the just in his truth, or according to his promises.  Theod.


139 My zeal hath made me pine away: because my enemies forgot thy words.

Ver. 139.  My.  Sept. "thy zeal."  The just are animated with the zeal of God, like S. Paul.  The enemies here mentioned were the Israelites, who attacked David, and not the Babylonians, who never knew God's law, or apostate captives, since we do not find that they attempted to injure Daniel, &c.  Bert.

 

--- Many, however, both at Ninive and Babylon prevaricated.  Tob. i. 12.  C.


140 Thy word is exceedingly refined: and thy servant hath loved it.

Ver. 140.  Refined.  Lit. "fire."  H.

 

--- Pure as any thing which has passed through the fire.  W.

 

--- "It consumes sin, and enlightens the penitent."  S. Jer.


141 I am very young and despised; but I forgot not thy justifications.

Ver. 141.  Young.  The Fathers explain this of David, who was preferred before his brothers; and of the Gentiles, who were chosen by Jesus Christ.  W.

 

--- It may refer to Daniel, who was enabled to prophesy very soon, or to the disciples, for whom this psalm was composed, (C.) whether Solomon, or any of the faithful.  Bert.

 

--- The just are often judged to be ignorant by the worldly wise; but they follow the law, the true wisdom.  W.


142 Thy justice is justice for ever: and thy law is the truth. 143 Trouble and anguish have found me: thy commandments are my meditation.

Ver. 143.  Trouble.  Such is the portion of the just.  Rom. v. 3.

 

--- Mediation.  Heb. "joy."  Sym.  C.

 

--- The sense is the same.  Sept. generally give the former meaning, as they render by seeking what moderns would restrain to signify observing.  v. 145. &c.  Bert.


144 Thy testimonies are justice for ever: give me understanding, and I shall live.

Ver. 144.  Live.  In justice, as thy law enjoins.  W.

 

--- Christ is the life.  Bert.


145 COPH. I cried with my whole heart, hear me, O Lord: I will seek thy justifications.

Ver. 145.  Cried.  With requisite fervour, (W.) and attention.  S. Aug.


146 I cried unto thee, save me: that I may keep thy commandments. 147 I prevented the dawning of the day, and cried: because in thy words I very much hoped.

Ver. 147.  The.  Lit. "in maturity."  Some think that we should read immaturitate, awria, (S. Aug.) "in the dead of the night."  The psalmist not only rose at midnight, but before sun-rise to meditate.  H.

 

--- Kimchi says, he only indulged sleep the first three hours.  But others believe, that he arose in the third and last watch.  v. 148.  C.

 

--- He got up before the ordinary time, and prayed with earnestness.  W.

 

--- S. Amb. encourages people to come early to the church, to offer the first-fruits of their hearts, and voice to God; (C.) and S. Aug. informs us, that such was the practice of S. Monica.  Conf. ix. 7.  You are not in a higher station than the holy king who said, I rose, &c.  v. 22.  S. Chrys. ser. 42. ad pop.  Bert.


148 My eyes to thee have prevented the morning: that I might meditate on thy words.

Ver. 148.  Morning.  Both night and morning, I prevented the usual hours of prayer.  W.

 

--- To thee, is not in Heb. "my eyes prevented the watches."  H.


149 Hear thou my voice, O Lord, according to thy mercy: and quicken me according to thy mercy.

Ver. 149.  Judgment.  Or wonted mercy.  W.


150 They that persecute me have drawn nigh to iniquity; but they are gone far off from the law.

Ver. 150.  Law.  There is no medium between faith and infidelity.  If we do not observe the law, we sin.  Not to advance is to go back.  C.

 

--- Shall we hesitate whether to follow the narrow or the broad road?  Bert.


151 Thou art near, O Lord: and all thy ways are truth.

Ver. 151.  Near.  To reward or punish.  We wander from thee, yet there is no place between.  S. Aug. x. 26. 27.  Bert.

 

--- God is ever ready to hear our just requests.  W.

 

--- His law may be easily known.  Deut. xxx. 11.  C.


152 I have known from the beginning concerning thy testimonies: that thou hast founded them for ever.

Ver. 152.  Ever.  God's law is always the same in substance.  W.

 

--- That of Moses receives its perfection in Christianity.  C.

 

--- Though after this life we can no longer observe them, the reward of our past virtue will remain for ever.  Bert.


153 RES. See my humiliation and deliver me: for I have not forgotten the law.

Ver. 153.  Humiliation.  Or "humility," as S. Aug. understands it of that virtue.  C.


154 Judge my judgment and redeem me: quicken thou me for thy word's sake. 155 Salvation is far from sinners; because they have not sought thy justifications.

Ver. 155.  Sinners.  Such cannot expect to be liberated.  C.

 

--- Yet, as the captivity was fixed for seventy years, and many who were almost ignorant of the law, and had married strange wives, returned, this verse overturns that system, and shews that eternal salvation is meant.  Bert.


156 Many, O Lord, are thy mercies: quicken me according to thy judgment.
157 Many are they that persecute me, and afflict me; but I have not declined from thy testimonies.

Ver. 157.  Many.  the Babylonians on one hand, and false brethren on the other, attack me: but I am grieved most to see God offended.  C.

 

--- All the earth is stained with the blood of martyrs, whom the Church honours with festivals, and whose intercession heals many sick.  S. Aug.


158 I beheld the transgressors, and I pined away; because they kept not thy word.

Ver. 158.  Transgressors.  Sept. "fools," asunetountaV.  If o were placed before e, the exact meaning of the Heb. would be preserved, though the wicked are often styled fools.  H.

 

--- The prevaricating Jews are here designated.  v. 136.  C.


159 Behold I have loved thy commandments, O Lord; quicken me thou in thy mercy.

Ver. 159.  Behold.  A person may profess his innocence without arrogance.


160 The beginning of thy words is truth: all the judgments of thy justice are for ever.

Ver. 160.  Truth.  Hence all such commandments are immutable.  W.

 

--- The threats of God have been put in execution, and we cannot doubt but the promised liberation  will soon take place.  C.


161 SIN. Princes have persecuted me without cause: and my heart hath been in awe of thy words.

Ver. 161.  Princes.  Of darkness, or the chiefs of the Philistines, &c.  Bert.

 

--- Daniel was much exposed to the fury of the Babylonian princes, but he was more afraid of the terrors of the law, (Lev. xxvi.) than of all that they could do against him.  C.

 

--- Thus the martyrs despised the threats of tyrants.  S. Aug.

 

--- Cause.  The powerful men of this world have no just reason to persecute the just, nor can they make them abandon virtue.  W.

 

--- S. Basil answered Valens with great intrepidity, shewing how little he apprehended what the emperor could take from him, as we read in S. Greg. Naz. (or. 20.) who says, (or. 6.) let us fear only one thing, which is, to fear any person more than God.  Bert.


162 I will rejoice at thy words, as one that hath found great spoil.

Ver. 162.  Spoil.  Having just mentioned fear; lest any should think that he entertained any secret dislike for the law; he adds, that it gives him more content than the greatest treasures or conquests can the miser or the hero.  v. 14. 72. and 127.  C.

 

--- He rejoiceth thus in keeping the commandments, how difficult soever they may be.  W.


163 I have hated and abhorred iniquity; but I have loved thy law.

Ver. 163.  Iniquity.  Heb. "lying."  The Babylonians have attempted to draw me over to their false religion; but I perceived its vanity, (C.) and stick closer to the truth, (H.  v. 85.) and to thy holy law.  C.


164 Seven times a day I have given praise to thee, for the judgments of thy justice.

Ver. 164.  Seven.  Often, (W.) as the word signifies, Prov. xxiv. 16. &.  Vat.

 

--- Yet here it may determine the precise number, as the Church seems to have taken it, by instituting the seven canonical hours of the day, and matins and lauds for the night, in imitation of the psalmist.  Bert. v. 147

 

--- R. Solomon understands it literally, prescribing prayer twice before the reading of the decalogue, and once after in the morning; and in the afternoon, twice before and after the same lecture.  The Church has enjoined matins to be said at night, lauds in the morning, prime, tierce, sext, none, vespers and complin, in the course of the day.  S. Ben. reg. 8. and 16.  C.

 

--- This ecclesiastical office consists of hymns, psalms, &c.  S. Isid.

 

--- Against it some have risen up, particularly against that part which was said in the night, pretending that God had made the night for rest; and  hence they were called nuctazontes, or "drowsy" heretics.  S. Isid. Of. i. 22.

 

--- S. Jerom styles Vigilantius Dormitantius, for the same reason; as if it were better to sleep than to watch.  Wycliff (Wald. iii.  Tit. iii. 21.) and Luther have oppugned the same holy practice, though it be so conformable to Scripture and to the fathers.  S. Bas. reg. fus. 37.  S. Greg. dial. iii. 14.  Ven. Bede. Hist. iv. 7. &c.

 

--- S. Clement, as many suppose, (W.) or at least some author before the fourth century, (H.) explains the reason why we should pray at these set times; but cautions us not to join with heretics, neither in the Church nor at home.  Const. Apost. viii. 40.

 

--- For what society is there between light and darkness?  2 Cor. vi.  S. Cyprian, (or. Dom.) S. Jerom, (ep. ad Eust.) and S. Aug. (ser. 55. de Temp.) mention several of these hours, and exhort the faithful to be diligent in attending these public prayers.  W.


165 Much peace have they that love thy law, and to them there is no stumbling block

Ver. 165.  Peace, in their own conscience, (W.) and prosperity, without fear of danger.  Not even death can disturb those who belong to God.  Rom. viii. 38.  C.

 

--- But all things work together for their good.  ib. 28.  H.

 

--- The perfect are not moved to imitate bad example, and the weak are not excused for so doing, as they ought to be constant.  W.

 

--- The virtuous man is neither scandalized at the law, though he may not understand it perfectly nor at the fall of those who had been most eminent for sanctity.  S. Aug.


166 I looked to thy salvation, O Lord: and I loved thy commandments.

Ver. 166.  Loved.  Heb. &c. "performed."  C.

 

--- The difference is but small.  Bert.

 

--- He is actuated by real charity.  W.


167 My soul hath kept thy testimonies: and hath loved them exceedingly. 168 I have kept thy commandments and thy testimonies: because all my ways are in thy sight.

Ver. 168.  Sight, whom I would not offend.  W.

 

--- The presence of God ought to deter us most effectually from sin.  H.  Tit. ii. 13.


169 TAU. Let my supplication, O Lord, come near in thy sight: give me understanding according to thy word.

Ver. 169.  Supplication.  Heb. "cry."  Eusebius reads axiwma, "dignity," which S. Amb. thinks has been substituted for axiwsiV, "prayer;" though all our copies of the Sept. have dehsiV, (C.) a word of the same import.  H.


170 Let my request come in before thee; deliver thou me according to thy word. 171 My lips shall utter a hymn, when thou shalt teach me thy justifications.

Ver. 171.  A hymn.  Heb. also, "praise."  H.

 

--- Like a spring sending forth a copious stream.  C.


172 My tongue shall pronounce thy word: because all thy commandments are justice. 173 Let thy hand be with me to save me; for I have chosen thy precepts.

Ver. 173.  Save me.  Though a person be endued with grace, he requireth  more grace to resist temptations.  W.

 

--- Actual grace is requisite.  H.


174 I have longed for thy salvation, O Lord; and thy law is my meditation. 175 My soul shall live and shall praise thee: and thy judgments shall help me.

Ver. 175.  Live in grace and glory.  To serve God, it was not requisite that one should be at Jerusalem.  Daniel, Tobias, &c. were saints elsewhere.  Bert.

 

--- Yet it was more easy to worship God in his temple, where every thing moved to piety; (H.) and this the psalmist desires, deeming it a new life.  C.


176 I have gone astray like a sheep that is lost: seek thy servant, because I have not forgotten thy commandments.

Ver. 176.  Lost.  I am in captivity.  C.

 

--- All men have been involved in sin, and Christ came to save them; but only such as keep the law will obtain salvation.  W.

 

--- The conclusion contains a confession of misery in the name of all, and an allusion to Christ, the good shepherd.  The prophet admits that notwithstanding his love of the law, he may have still many ways transgressed; and that without faith in the Messias, he could not belong to his fold, or escape the many dangers of the world, 1 Cor. iv. 4. and ix. 27.  Bert.

 

--- Seek.  S. Hilary and some Greek copies have read incorrectly "quicken."  C.


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