Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Day. Under the law of grace, Christians sing this and such like canticles. (Worthington) — Sion. This word is not in Hebrew, &c., though it be understood. (Calmet) — Other nations have their respective cities. All Christians admit this one. (Worthington) — The captives continue to return thanks. Yet the Holy Ghost speaks chiefly of the Church, and of the general resurrection. (Calmet) — Bulwark. Faith and good works. (Worthington)
Ver. 2. Truth. The Jews who returned from Babylon, were more virtuous than their ancestors, as the prophets intimate; though they have Christians principally in view.
Ver. 3. Away: condemning the virtuous, as if they were fools. (Menochius) — Symmachus, “our work, or fiction, is taken away.” Hebrew may have other meanings. (Haydock)
Ver. 4. You, people of Juda.
Ver. 5. High: Nabuchodonosor and his empire.
Ver. 6. Needy. The Jews shall behold the ruin of the city by Cyrus, (Calmet) who was of a contemptible nation. (Haydock)
Ver. 7. In. God will remove every obstacle, at their return.
Ver. 9. Night of distress.
Ver. 10. Justice. Clemency would therefore be ill placed. If the Israelites had not been led away captives, would they ever have been reformed?
Ver. 11. Not see. Let them perish, or live to witness the glory of the Jews.
Ver. 12. Works, both in punishing and rewarding. (Calmet) — God crowns his own gifts. (Estius)
Ver. 13. Lords of Babylon, (Calmet) and our own passions. (Haydock)
Ver. 14. Giants; the proud emperors of Babylon, whom thou wilt destroy. Septuagint, “physicians;” as Rephaim has also this meaning.
Ver. 15. Nation of the Jews. (Calmet) — Septuagint, “add evils to them, O Lord; add evils to the nobles of the land.” (Haydock) — Hebrew may have the same sense. — Ends: princes, or the Chaldeans, sending them also into captivity; or thou hast propagated thy Church over the world.
Ver. 16. They. Septuagint, “We,” &c. (Calmet) — Affliction is a wholesome medicine. (Haydock)
Ver. 18. Wind. Our expectation of aid from others has been disappointed. (Calmet) — Septuagint, “the spirit of thy salvation, which thou hast wrought on the earth. We shall not fall, but the inhabitants of the earth shall fall.” (Haydock) — Their copies must have been different from ours. — Fallen. The Chanaanites are left for our trial and punishment. (Calmet)
Ver. 19. Dead: a civil death, shall regain their liberty; and those who have left this world in a state of virtue, shall be happy. — Ruin. Cyrus liberated the Jews, having conquered Babylon.
Ver. 20. Away, and Cambyses be destroyed, Ezechiel xxxviii. 11. (Calmet)
Ver. 21. Shall cover her stain no more. This is said with relation to the martyrs, and their happy resurrection. (Challoner) — The blood of the saints shall demand vengeance. (Calmet)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
A canticle of thanks for the deliverance of God’s people.
1 In that day shall this canticle be sung the land of Juda. Sion, the city of our strength, a Saviour, a wall, and a bulwark, shall be set therein.
2 Open ye the gates, and let the just nation, that keepeth the truth, enter in.
3 The old error is passed away: thou wilt keep peace: peace, because we have hoped in thee.
4 You have hoped in the Lord for evermore, in the Lord God, mighty for ever.
5 For he shall bring down them that dwell on high; the high city he shall lay low. He shall bring it down even to the ground; he shall pull it down even to the dust.
6 The foot shall tread it down; the feet of the poor, the steps of the needy.
7 The way of the just is right; the path of the just is right to walk in.
8 And in the way of thy judgments, O Lord, we have patiently waited for thee: thy name, and thy remembrance are the desire of the soul.
9 My soul hath desired thee in the night: yea, and with my spirit within me, in the morning early, I will watch to thee. When thou shalt do thy judgments on the earth, the inhabitants of the world shall learn justice.
10 Let us have pity on the wicked; but he will not learn justice: in the land of the saints he hath done wicked things, and he shall not see the glory of the Lord.
11 Lord, let thy hand be exalted, and let them not see: let the envious people see, and be confounded: and let fire devour thy enemies.
12 Lord, thou wilt give us peace: for thou hast wrought all our works for us.
13 O Lord, our God, other lords besides thee have had dominion over us, only in thee let us remember thy name.
14 Let not the dead live, let not the giants rise again: therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and hast destroyed all their memory.
15 Thou hast been favourable to the nation, O Lord, thou hast been favourable to the nation: art thou glorified? thou hast removed all the ends of the earth far off.
16 Lord, they have sought after thee in distress; in the tribulation of murmuring thy instruction was with them.
17 As a woman with child, when she draweth near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs, so are we become in thy presence, O Lord.
18 We have conceived, and been as it were in labour, and have brought forth wind: we have not wrought salvation on the earth, therefore the inhabitants of the earth have not fallen.
19 Thy dead men shall live, my slain shall rise again: awake, and give praise, ye that dwell in the dust: for thy dew is the dew of the light: and the land of the giants thou shalt pull down into ruin.
20 Go, my people, enter into thy chambers, shut thy doors upon thee, hide thyself a little for a moment, until the indignation pass away.
21 *For behold the Lord will come out of his place, to visit the iniquity of the inhabitant of the earth against him: and the earth shall disclose her blood, and shall cover her slain no more.
21: Micheas i. 3.