Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. The. Greek, “on dreams. The,” &c. (Haydock) — No dependence can be had on the pretended interpretation of dreams, which do not come from God; (Calmet) as some do, Matthew i., and Daniel ii. (Worthington)
Ver. 3. Man. When he turns away from the mirror, it appears no more, James i. 23.
Ver. 4. Unclean. This text has been abused, to prove that the sinner cannot confer grace in the sacraments. (Calmet) — But Christ does this by his ministry. (St. Augustine, Psalm x. n. 6.)
Ver. 5. Deceitful. Greek, “divinations, and auguries, and dreams, are vain.”
Ver. 6. Travail. Such things cannot be explained. Twenty people will all give different interpretations. — High, as those of Jacob, Joseph, &c., were. Yet it is difficult to make the discrimination. (St. Gregory, dial. iv. 48.) — Homer admits of two sorts of dreams. (Odyssey xix.)
Ver. 7. Them. The devil takes advantage of their weakness, and they have recourse to magic, &c. (Calmet)
Ver. 8. Law, which forbids attention to dreams, Leviticus xix 26., and Isaias viii. 20. (Cornelius a Lapide) — No part of the law shall perish; and some will always explain it truly. (Worthington)
Ver. 9. What. Greek, “A man who has travelled, knows much,” &c. (Haydock) — Thus Ulysses became so wise, (Homer) as well as the ancient philosophers, Pythagoras, &c. (St. Jerome, ad Paulin.) — The knowledge derived from books will not suffice. (Calmet)
Ver. 10. Experienced. Greek, “much abroad, shall abound with subtlety. (11.) I,” &c.
Ver. 12. And. Greek, “And I know more than I announce.” (Grabe’s edition)
Ver. 13. For. Greek, “On account of these things I have been saved:” (Haydock) by my great experience, which gives weight to my instructions.
Ver. 14. Is. Greek, “shall live. (15.) For….them. (16.) He,” &c. (Haydock)
Ver. 20. From falling, or when a person is fallen.
Ver. 21. Mockeries. Some Greek copies have “gifts.” Such unjust presents or sacrifices, God will abhor, Isaias xli. 8., and Deuteronomy xxiv. 15. (Calmet)
Ver. 22. Lord. Greek, (23.) “most….wicked, nor,” &c.
Ver. 26. Bread. Greek, “a livelihood, killeth his neighbour; and he sheddeth blood, who keepeth back the hire of the workman.” (Haydock)
Ver. 28. Labour? So, if your sacrifices be ill-gotten, they will not be received; and if you relapse, you will be as bad as ever. (Calmet)
Ver. 30. Dead. Literally, “is baptized by or from the dead;” baptizatur a mortuo. (Haydock) — St. Cyprian thought this text was peremptory against the baptism of heretics; and the Donatists were of the same opinion. They seem not to have read, if he touch him again, which entirely alters the meaning. St. Augustine admonishes them of this; though he explains it of the pagan rather than of the Jewish purifications, to which it refers, Numbers xix. 11. See St. Augustine, contra Cres. i. 24., and ii. 25., and contra Petil. i. 9., and St. Cyprian, ep. ad Quint. (Calmet)
Ver. 31. Prayer. A relapse makes the former repentance useless, Matthew xviii. 33. (Worthington)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
The vanity of dreams. The advantage of experience, and of the fear of God.
1 The hopes of a man that is void of understanding are vain and deceitful: and dreams lift up fools.
2 The man that giveth heed to lying visions, is like to him that catcheth at a shadow, and followeth after the wind.
3 The vision of dreams is the resemblance of one thing to another: as when a man’s likeness is before the face of a man.
4 What can be made clean by the unclean? and what truth can come from that which is false?
5 Deceitful divinations and lying omens, and the dreams of evil doers, are vanity.
6 And the heart fancieth as that of a woman in travail: except it be a vision sent forth from the Most High, set not thy heart upon them.
7 For dreams have deceived many, and they have failed that put their trust in them.
8 The word of the law shall be fulfilled without a lie, and wisdom shall be made plain in the mouth of the faithful.
9 What doth he know, that hath not been tried? A man that hath much experience, shall think of many things: and he that hath learned many things, shall shew forth understanding.
10 He that hath no experience, knoweth little: and he that hath been experienced in many things, multiplieth prudence.
11 He that hath not been tried, what manner of things doth he know? he that hath been surprised, shall abound with subtlety.
12 I have seen many things by travelling, and many customs of things.
13 Sometimes I have been in danger of death for these things, and I have been delivered by the grace of God.
14 The spirit of those that fear God, is sought after, and by his regard shall be blessed.
15 For their hope is on him that saveth them, and the eyes of God are upon them that love him.
16 He that feareth the Lord shall tremble at nothing, and shall not be afraid: for he is his hope.
17 The soul of him that feareth the Lord is blessed.
18 To whom doth he look, and who is his strength?
19 *The eyes of the Lord are upon them that fear him, he is their powerful protector, and strong stay, a defence from the heat, and a cover from the sun at noon.
20 A preservation from stumbling, and a help from falling; he raiseth up the soul, and enlighteneth the eyes, and giving health, and life, and blessing.
21 *The offering of him that sacrificeth of a thing wrongfully gotten, is stained; and the mockeries of the unjust are not acceptable. 22 The Lord is only for them that wait upon him in the way of truth and justice.
23 *The Most High approveth not the gifts of the wicked: neither hath he respect to the oblations of the unjust, nor will he be pacified for sins by the multitude of their sacrifices.
24 He that offereth sacrifice of the goods of the poor, is as one that sacrificeth the son in the presence of his father.
25 The bread of the needy is the life of the poor: he that defraudeth them thereof, is a man of blood.
26 He that taketh away the bread gotten by sweat, is like him that killeth his neighbour.
27 He that sheddeth blood, *and he that defraudeth the labourer of his hire, are brothers.
28 When one buildeth up, and another pulleth down: what profit have they but the labour?
29 When one prayeth, and another curseth: whose voice will God hear?
30 He that washeth himself after touching the dead, if he toucheth him again, what doth his washing avail?
31 *So a man that fasteth for his sins, and doth the same again, what doth his humbling himself profit him? who will hear his prayer?
19: Psalm xxxiii. 16.
21: Proverbs xxi. 27.
23: Proverbs xv. 8.
27: Deuteronomy xxiv. 14.; Ecclesiasticus vii. 22.
31: 2 Peter ii. 21.