Psalm cii. (Benedic anima.)
Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Himself. All agree that David wrote this psalm as a model of resignation. The occasion is not known. (Berthier) — It may express the sentiments of the captives, (Calmet) or of converts to Christianity, (Eusebius) and is written with inimitable sweetness.
Ver. 3. Diseases. He had described captivity as an illness, Psalm ci. (Calmet) — God graciously forgives sin, and removes bad habits. He preserves us from falling, and grants us the victory, with all our reasonable requests. (Worthington)
Ver. 5. Eagle’s. Which get fresh feathers every year, like other birds, Isaias xl. 31. (Calmet) — The eagle retains its vigour for a long time, (Haydock) though many fabulous accounts have been given of its renovation. (Berthier) — The new birth in baptism, (Theodoret) or by faith, (Eusebius) or the resurrection of Christ are thus insinuated, (St. Leo, ser. i.) as well as (Haydock) our resurrection and state of grace. The one is necessarily connected with the other, and both senses are good. (Worthington)
Ver. 6. Mercies. Hebrew, “Justice” in protecting the innocent.
Ver. 9. Ever. He executes his threats, but soon pardons us. (Calmet) — Hebrew, “he will not plead always, nor watch to surprise us for ever;” (Calmet) or “retain” his anger. (Berthier) — He is inclined to pity us, and only inflicts a temporal punishment on the penitent, as Christ has paid their ransom. (Worthington)
Ver. 10. Iniquities. Which deserved eternal reprobation.
Ver. 11. Earth. There is no proportion between God’s mercy and our crimes. (Calmet) — Sins are perfectly washed away, (Worthington) and not barely covered, as the east cannot be the west. (Berthier) — Sin remitted “sets for ever.” (St. Augustine)
Ver. 14. He remembereth. Roman Septuagint and psalter, &c., “Remember.” Other copies agree with us. (Calmet) — God compassionates the frailty of those who fear him. Origen falsely inferred from ver. 9., that the devils and the damned would one day be saved. But this is contrary to Scripture, ver. 17., Matthew xxv., and Apocalypse xx., &c. (Worthington)
Ver. 16. In him. Or “over it;” the flower. Or the spirit of God’s indignation will overwhelm him. The soul of man departs, and cannot naturally be reunited with the body, though it greatly desire that union. (Calmet) — The longest life is but like the duration of a flower, (Isaias xl. 6.; Haydock) and the splendour of the noblest families is no better in the sight of God. (St. Augustine)
Ver. 17. Justice. In protecting the oppressed, (Calmet) and rendering to every one according to his deserts abundantly. (Haydock) — God never punishes more than a person’s crimes have merited, Exodus xx. 5., and xxxiv. 6. (Calmet)
Ver. 19. All. When Christ shall sit in judgment, (Berthier) and the wicked be suffered no longer to disturb the order of things, and the joy of the elect. (Haydock)
Ver. 20. His angels. You who have executed the orders of God for our delivery, help us to return him thanks. (Calmet) — Hearkening. Literally, “to hear,” (Haydock) or that all may learn to obey God’s mandates when they perceive how carefully the angels put them in execution. (Berthier)
Ver. 21. Hosts. Sun, &c., which never deviate from their regular course.
Ver. 22. Soul. In vain should we behold all nature praising God, if we neglected that duty. (Berthier) — All the works of the Most High praise him, being under his dominion. (Worthington)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Thanksgiving to God for his mercies.
1 For David himself.
Bless the Lord, O my soul: and let all that is within me bless his holy name.
2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and never forget all he hath done for thee.
3 Who forgiveth all thy iniquities: who healeth all thy diseases.
4 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction: who crowneth thee with mercy and compassion.
5 Who satisfieth thy desire with good things: thy youth shall be renewed like the eagle’s.
6 The Lord doth mercies, and judgment for all that suffer wrong.
7 He hath made his ways known to Moses: his wills to the children of Israel.
8 *The Lord is compassionate and merciful: long-suffering and plenteous in mercy.
9 He will not always be angry: nor will he threaten for ever.
10 He hath not dealt with us according to our sins: nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.
11 For according to the height of the heaven above the earth: he hath strengthened his mercy towards them that fear him.
12 As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our iniquities from us.
13 As a father hath compassion on his children, so hath the Lord compassion on them that fear him: 14 for he knoweth our frame.
He remembereth that we are dust: 15 man’s days are as grass, as the flower of the field so shall he flourish.
16 For the spirit shall pass in him, and he shall not be: and he shall know his place no more.
17 But the mercy of the Lord is from eternity and unto eternity upon them that fear him:
And his justice unto children’s children, 18 to such as keep his covenant,
And are mindful of his commandments to do them.
19 The Lord hath prepared his throne in heaven: and his kingdom shall rule over all.
20 Bless the Lord, all ye his angels: you that are mighty in strength, and execute his word, hearkening to the voice of his orders.
21 Bless the Lord, all ye his hosts: you ministers of his that do his will.
22 Bless the Lord, all his works: in every place of his dominion, O my soul, bless thou the Lord.
8: Exodus xxxiv. 6.; Numbers xiv. 8.