Psalm c. (Misericordiam & judicium.)
Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Himself. He describes the conduct which he was resolved to follow in ruling, (Calmet) or alluding to the pious king Josias. (Theodoret) (4 Kings xxii.) The sentiments are not confined to rulers alone, (Berthier) though this psalm might be styled, “the mirror of princes.” (Muis) — Mercy and judgment. The chief qualifications of a king. (Calmet) — Whether I am treated with clemency or with rigour, I will praise thee. (Chaldean) — No one should presume, since there is judgment, nor despair, since mercy goes before. (St. Jerome) (St. Augustine) — I will sing, and I will understand. Piety is one of the best means to acquire the intelligence of these heavenly hymns, and of the whole scripture. (Haydock) — We might translate the Hebrew (Calmet) and Vulgate, Mercy and judgment I will sing, to thee, Lord, will I sing psalms. (Haydock)
Ver. 2. I will understand, &c. That is, I will apply my mind, I will do my endeavour, to know and to follow the perfect way of thy commandments: not trusting in my own strength, but relying on thy coming to me by thy grace. (Challoner) — I will watch over my conduct. — When thou. So St. Jerome and Houbigant read, though Septuagint have “when wilt thou come to me?” (Berthier) — He is impatient of having the ark: but is well apprized that God will not dwell in a polluted soul, or in a wicked city: therefore he promises to remove such obstacles. — I walked. Or “will walk.” All the other verbs should be in the future; (Calmet) though that is of no consequence. (Berthier) — David had studied to regulate his interior and his family before, as much as he did afterwards. (Haydock) — His fall was most likely (Berthier) subsequent to this event, 1 Kings vi. 11. (Haydock) — He acknowledges that he had done what he here mentions, by God’s assistance. (Worthington)
Ver. 3. Thing. Or Hebrew, “word of Belial.” I will neither suffer an evil word or action to pass without reproof. (Calmet)
Ver. 4. Know. I looked upon them with such contempt, (Eusebius) or I highly disapproved of their conduct, (St. Augustine) and would have no society with them. (Calmet) — David was, in a manner, forced to tolerate Joab; but he shewed sufficiently his displeasure, and ordered his successor to punish him, as soon as it could be done with safety to the state. (Menochius)
Ver. 5. Persecute. Or abhor (Worthington) with a perfect hatred. We must shew our displeasure if we hear detraction, (Haydock) that we may not partake in the crime. (St. Jerome) — The court is most likely to be infected with this vice, as people are continually endeavouring to supplant their rivals. (Calmet) — Secret thoughts of resentment must be stifled in their birth. (Eusebius) — Heart. Hebrew, “wide heart,” which is sometimes taken in a good sense, 3 Kings iv. 29. But here it denotes the ambitious and misers, Proverbs xxviii. 25. (Calmet)
Ver. 6. Faithful. A prince cannot do every thing himself. But he ought to make choice of the most virtuous and skilful ministers. (Calmet)
Ver. 7. Prosper. Hebrew, “shall not be pleasing,” (St. Jerome; Haydock) or “maintain himself.” (Calmet)
Ver. 8. Morning. Without delay, (Worthington; Jeremias xxi. 12.; Haydock) and with a mind composed. (St. Isidore, Pelus i. ep. 321.) — The Jews explain this of the judgment of zeal, by which a person might kill a notorious criminal, without any trail, (Calmet) in imitation of Phinees and Mathathias, 1 Machabees ii. 24. (Haydock) — God alone will punish all malefactors at the last day. (St. Augustine) — The Fathers admonish us to resist temptations at the beginning. (Calmet)
Principiis obsta; sero medicina paratur
Cum mala per longas convaluere moras. (Ovid)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
The prophet exhorteth all, by his example, to follow mercy and justice.
1 A psalm for David himself.
Mercy and judgment I will sing to thee, O Lord: I will sing, 2 and I will understand in the unspotted way, when thou shalt come to me.
I walked in the innocence of my heart, in the midst of my house.
3 I did not set before my eyes any unjust thing: I hated the workers of iniquities.
4 The perverse heart did not cleave to me: and the malignant, that turned aside from me, I would not know.
5 The man that in private detracted his neighbour, him did I persecute.
With him that had a proud eye, and an unsatiable heart, I would not eat.
6 My eyes were upon the faithful of the earth, to sit with me: the man that walked in the perfect way, he served me.
7 He that worketh pride shall not dwell in the midst of my house: he that speaketh unjust things did not prosper before my eyes.
8 In the morning I put to death all the wicked of the land: that I might cut off all the workers of iniquity from the city of the Lord.