Psalm cv. (Confitemini Domino.)
Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Alleluia. The word is repeated in some copies. (St. Jerome) — But Hebrew has only one at the end of the preceding psalm: of which this appears to be a sequel. As in the former, God’s favours were specified, so here the ingratitude of his people is acknowledged. (Calmet) — It may refer to the Jews during, (Eusebius; Vatable) or after the captivity, (Calmet) and to all in the state of sin. (St. Jerome) (Berthier) — The 47th and 48th verses agree with the three last, which were sung at the translation of the ark, 1 Paralipomenon xvi. 34. (Haydock) — Hence that canticle now makes a part of our Psalm civ., xcv., and cv., with various alterations made by the prophet. (Berthier) — Give glory. Literally, “confess” (Haydock) your sins, to obtain mercy, (St. Chrysostom) or rather praise God, (Theodoret) who is the source of all good. (Worthington) — This was the usual prayer of the Israelites, in ceremonies of thanksgiving, 2 Paralipomenon v. 13. (Calmet)
Ver. 2. Powers. See Ecclesiasticus xliii. 29. No one can sufficiently praise God’s power or mercy. (Berthier)
Ver. 3. Times. He only who perseveres to the end shall be crowned, Matthew xxiv. 13., and Ezechiel xxxiii. (Haydock) — Such as these can alone worthily sound forth God’s praises, (Berthier) being so happy as to preserve their innocence, or at least to repent. (Worthington)
Ver. 4. Us. Hebrew, “me.” But Aquila, Syriac, &c., agree with the Septuagint. Some of the Jews were already returned, and pray for the liberation of their brethren. (Calmet) — The Fathers explain it of Christian converts. (St. Chrysostom) — People. According to thy gracious promises, that we may enjoy the blessings of thy elect. (Worthington)
Ver. 6. Sinned. Here commences the confession of sins. The just man first accuses himself, Proverbs xviii. 17. (Calmet) — The same prayer is repeated, Judith vii. 19., and Daniel ix. 5., as it might be applicable to the captives. (Berthier) — We have injured ourselves, our neighbours, and our God. (Worthington)
Ver. 7. Going up. Or proceeding. The banks of the sea were more elevated than the country from which the Israelites came, (Calmet) and the land of Chanaan was still higher. See Psalm cvi. 23., and Genesis xii. 9. (Haydock) — Sea even. Is not in the Septuagint. (Calmet)
Ver. 8. Known. Isaias lxiii. 12. He might justly (Worthington) have abandoned them to the Egyptians, Exodus xiv. 11.
Ver. 9. Rebuked. Commanding with power, Nahum i. 4. (Calmet) — Wilderness. Or plain country. (Haydock)
Ver. 10. Redeemed. What price was given? This is a figure of baptism, in which the fruits of Christ’s blood are applied to our souls. All sins are there destroyed, as the Egyptians were in the Sea. (St. Augustine, Ser. xlii. de Temp.) (Worthington)
Ver. 11. Left. Manetho and Lorin assert, that Pharao reigned afterwards. But this is contrary to the Scripture. All who came to attack Israel perished. (Calmet) — They supposed that the waters were enchanted. (St. Irenĉus iv. 48.)
Ver. 12. Words. And Moses his servant, Exodus xiv. 31., and xv. 1.
Ver. 13. Counsel. Three days after the passage of the sea, God laid injunctions upon them at Mara, which they would not observe, Exodus xv. 22. (Calmet) — They coveted unnecessary things. (Worthington)
Ver. 14. Desire. Or they greedily sought for flesh meat, (Haydock) at Sin, or Pharan, Exodus xvi. 13., and Numbers xi. 31. Chronological order is not observed. (Calmet)
Ver. 15. Fulness. Or disgust: plesmone. Septuagint probably read zore, (as Numbers xi. 20.) instead of razon. Hebrew, “leanness,” (Calmet) which is a natural consequence of immoderate repletion. (Haydock)
Ver. 16. Holy one. By his function (Worthington) of priest. Core wished to take his place, as the rest did to supplant Moses in the civil government, Numbers xvi. (Calmet)
Ver. 17. Abiron. With Core, though his children were preserved. (Calmet) — God presently resented the injury done to his ministers. (Eusebius)
Ver. 18. Wicked. Two hundred and fifty accomplices, (Numbers xv. 35.; Calmet) and fourteen thousand seven hundred murmurers. (Menochius)
Ver. 19. Graven. Hebrew, “molten.” The image must first be graven. (Berthier) (Exodus xxxii. 3.)
Ver. 20. Grass. This enhances their folly. God is often styled the glory of his people. (Calmet) — Osee (x. 5.) contemptuously calls the golden calf, the glory of Samaria. (Haydock) — This idolatry was truly blameable, (Romans i. 23.) and not the veneration paid by Catholics to the images of Christ, &c. (Worthington) — Those who pretend that the Hebrews meant to adore the true God, and not the idol Apis, are here clearly refuted; they forgot God, &c., Acts vii. 40. (Berthier)
Ver. 23. Breach. Like a valiant captain, (Calmet) or pastor. (Haydock) — God complains of those who neglected this duty, Ezechiel xiii. 5., and xxii. 30. The psalmist alluded to the conduct of Moses, after the people had adored the calf, (Exodus xxxii. 10.) or when they had joined with Core, Numbers xvi. 44. (Calmet) — The intercession of the saints is useful, (St. Augustine) still more after their victories. (St. Jerome ad Vig. ii.) (2 Machabees xv. 14.) (Berthier) — God spared the people for the sake of Moses. (Worthington)
Ver. 24. Word. Which Moses, Josue, &c., announced, Numbers xiii., and xii. 29. (Calmet)
Ver. 26. Over them. Swearing (Calmet) to destroy them, (Haydock; Ezechiel xx. 23.) and scatter them, as they now experienced, Leviticus xxvi. 31., and Deuteronomy xxviii. 36, 64.
Ver. 28. Dead idols, without life, (Challoner) particularly Adonis (Calmet) whose death is bewailed by the poets, &c. (Haydock) — Idols kill their votaries. (Worthington)
Ver. 29. Multiplied. All who had murmured perished, or this may relate to the 24,000, Numbers xxv. 9. (Calmet) — Ezechiel xx. 23. St. Paul (1 Corinthians x. 8.) speaks of those 23,000 slain by the Levites. The Hebrew which has only 3,000 must be inaccurate. Temporal chastisements were intended to prefigure those which are eternal, as the Jews knew that such rewards and punishments were to be considered (Matthew xix. 16.; Berthier) as the spiritual sense of the law. (Grotius, Jur. ii. 20, 39.)
Ver. 31. Evermore. Phinees thus by his pious zeal, merited (Worthington) God’s favour, and the high priesthood (Numbers xxv. 13.; Calmet) for his posterity, for 900 years, though the latter promise seems to have been conditional. (Berthier)
Ver. 33. He distinguished with his lips. Moses, by occasion of the people’s rebellion and incredulity, was guilty of distinguishing with his lips; when, instead of speaking to the rock, as God had commanded, he said to the people, with a certain hesitation in his faith, Hear ye rebellious and incredulous: Can we from this rock bring out water for you? Numbers xx. 10. (Challoner) — For thus doubting of God’s will, he was temporarily punished, Deuteronomy i. 37. (Worthington) — The death of his sister, and the ingratitude and rebellion of the people disturbed him. (Theodoret) See Isaias lxiii. 10. Houbigant follows the Arabic, “he delayed or hesitated.” Yebatte means, “he spoke rashly.” Some refer this, (Berthier) to God. “He reproached….that they,” &c., (Menochius) which is not necessary, (Berthier) or he sentenced Moses to die. (Kimchi)
Ver. 34. Them. Commanding no idolatrous government to be left in the land, nor any Chanaanite to be permitted to live, who should make opposition. The law of extermination must probably be thus restricted. The Jews neglected these ordinances, and hence became so often infected with idolatry, (Berthier) even to the end of the republic, when many still adored the sun. (Josephus, Jewish Wars ii. 8.) (Exodus xxiii. 32., and Josue xiii. 13.)
Ver. 38. Chanaan. These unnatural sacrifices were perhaps practised under the judges, or at least under the kings. (Worthington) — Some pretend that the children were only made to pass over or between fires. But this is refuted by facts, Leviticus xviii. 21., and 4 Kings xvi. 3., and Jeremias vii. 30 — Polluted. Infecta: ephonoktanethe is used by Septuagint, in this sense, though it signifies also, “was slain;” interfecta, as most Latin Bibles and Fathers read, before the correction of Clement VIII. The former expression is more natural and conformable to the Hebrew. (Calmet)
Ver. 39. And was. Hebrew, “and they were defiled.” (St. Jerome) — Inventions. Idols of their imaginations, (Haydock) and lusts. (Calmet)
Ver. 45. Repented. Ceased to punish, (Eusebius) when the people repented. (St. Jerome) — God then regarded them in mercy, having given them grace to repent. (Worthington)
Ver. 46. Mercies. He inspired their enemies with pity for them. Cyrus, Darius, and Artaxerxes shewed them favour, Psalm lxxxiii. 12. (Calmet)
Ver. 47. Save. These verses, which may be well recited in times of schism, (Worthington) occur, 1 Paralipomenon xvi., being probably inserted by Esdras, or some other prophet. But here they are in their proper place, as many of the Israelites are still in captivity. (Calmet) — Yet as this is only a system, we may rather suppose, that David wrote this conclusion. He had to encounter various nations, who might have made captives; and he may beg that all may be united in the same faith, and avoid the society of the wicked. (Berthier)
Ver. 48. So be it. The second Amen occurs not in Hebrew. But Alleluia is placed instead, which the Vulgate makes the title of the next psalm. (Haydock) — This conclusion of the fourth book seems to be added by the collector, Psalm xl. (Calmet) — Yet this is uncertain. (Haydock)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
A confession of the manifold sins and ingratitudes of the Israelites.
Give *glory to the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
2 *Who shall declare the powers of the Lord? who shall set forth all his praises?
3 Blessed are they that keep judgment, and do justice at all times.
4 Remember us, O Lord, in the favour of thy people: visit us with thy salvation.
5 That we may see the good of thy chosen, that we may rejoice in the joy of thy nation: that thou mayst be praised with thy inheritance.
6 *We have sinned with our fathers: we have acted unjustly, we have wrought iniquity.
7 Our fathers understood not thy wonders in Egypt: they remembered not the multitude of thy mercies:
And they provoked to wrath, going up to the sea, even the Red Sea.
8 And he saved them for his own name’s sake: that he might make his power known.
9 *And he rebuked the Red Sea, and it was dried up: and he led them through the depths, as in a wilderness.
10 And he saved them from the hand of them that hated them: and he redeemed them from the hand of the enemy.
11 *And the water covered them that afflicted them: there was not one of them left.
12 And they believed his words: and they sang his praises.
13 They had quickly done, they forgot his works: and they waited not for his counsel.
14 *And they coveted their desire in the desert: and they tempted God in the place without water.
15 *And he gave them their request: and sent fulness into their souls.
16 And they provoked Moses in the camp, Aaron, the holy one of the Lord.
17 *The earth opened and swallowed up Dathan: and covered the congregation of Abiron.
18 And a fire was kindled in their congregation: the flame burned the wicked.
19 *They made also a calf in Horeb: and they adored the graven thing.
20 And they changed their glory into the likeness of a calf that eateth grass.
21 They forgot God, who saved them, who had done great things in Egypt, 22 wondrous works in the land of Cham: terrible things in the Red Sea.
23 *And he said that he would destroy them: had not Moses, his chosen, stood before him in the breach:
To turn away his wrath, lest he should destroy them.
24 And they set at nought the desirable land.
They believed not his word, 25 and they murmured in their tents: they hearkened not to the voice of the Lord.
26 *And he lifted up his hand over them: to overthrow them in the desert:
27 And to cast down their seed among the nations, and to scatter them in the countries.
28 They also were initiated to Beelphegor: and eat the sacrifices of the dead.
29 And they provoked him with their inventions: and destruction was multiplied among them.
30 *Then Phinees stood up, and pacified him: and the slaughter ceased.
31 And it was reputed to him unto justice, to generation and generation for evermore.
32 *They provoked him also at the waters of contradiction: and Moses was afflicted for their sakes: 33 because they exasperated his spirit.
And he distinguished with his lips. 34 They did not destroy the nations, of which the Lord spoke unto them.
35 And they were mingled among the heathens, and learned their works: 36 and served their idols, and it became a stumbling-block to them.
37 And they sacrificed their sons, and their daughters, to devils.
38 And they shed innocent blood: the blood of their sons and of their daughters, which they sacrificed to the idols of Chanaan.
And the land was polluted with blood, 39 and was defiled with their works: and they went aside after their own inventions.
40 And the Lord was exceedingly angry with his people: and he abhorred his inheritance.
41 And he delivered them into the hands of the nations: and they that hated them had dominion over them.
42 And their enemies afflicted them: and they were humbled under their hands: 43 many times did he deliver them.
But they provoked him with their counsel: and they were brought low by their iniquities.
44 And he saw when they were in tribulation: and he heard their prayer.
45 *And he was mindful of his covenant: and repented according to the multitude of his mercies.
46 And he gave them unto mercies, in the sight of all those that had made them captives.
47 Save us, O Lord, our God: and gather us from among the nations:
That we may give thanks to thy holy name, and may glory in thy praise.
48 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting: and let all the people say: So be it, so be it.
1: Judith xiii. 21.
2: Ecclesiasticus xliii. 35.
6: Judith vii. 19.
9: Exodus xiv. 22.
11: Exodus xiv. 27.
14: Exodus xvii. 2.
15: Numbers xi. 31.
17: Numbers xvi. 32.
19: Exodus xxxii. 4.
23: Exodus xxxii. 10.
26: Numbers xiv. 32.
30: Numbers xxv. 7.
32: Numbers xx. 10.
45: Deuteronomy xxx. 1.