Psalm cix. (Dixit Dominus.)
Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. David. It is of faith that he wrote this psalm on the Messias. The Jews, in our Saviour’s time, were convinced of it, (Matthew xxii. 42.) so that their posterity (Berthier) in vain attempts to explain it of Abraham, David, Solomon, Ezechias, or Zorobabel. (St. Chrysostom) — Even some of them candidly own that it can relate to no other, (Thalmud) and Christians are universally of this belief. (Calmet) — The Lord. Hebrew Jehova, (Haydock) the Father. (Menochius) — To my Lord. Hebrew Ladoni, (Haydock) the Son incarnate, (Menochius) Lord of all, though the son of David. (Worthington) — Who else could be David’s superior? as Christ argues. (Haydock) — The title Adonoi is given to God, (ver. 5., &c.; Calmet) as my is never united with the ineffable name. — Hand. In equal power (Berthier) as God, and in the highest dignity as man, after the ascension. (Calmet) — This thought should encourage us to suffer patiently, (Colossians iii. 1.) as Christ was to suffer, and thus to enter into his glory. The saints did not strive to divide him. But we would suffer nothing, and yet be glorified at the hour of our death! (Berthier) — Until. This word does not always mark the term of a thing. When all shall be subdued, then Christ will continue to sit with greater majesty, (1 Corinthians xv. 25.; Calmet) for ever. (Worthington) (Hebrews x. 13.) — Footstool. As was customary with conquerors, Josue x. 24.
Ver. 2. Sion. Whence the empire of Christ extended over all the earth, Isaias ii. 3., and Luke xxiv. 47. (Calmet) — In spite of opposition, he reigns in the Church, and will one day make all submit. (Berthier) — On Whitsunday the new law was promulgated, to continue unto the end of time. (Worthington)
Ver. 3. Principality. Christ says, All power is given to me, Matthew xxviii., and this he will display (Haydock) in the day of judgment. (St. Chrysostom) — Arche is used in this sense by Xenophon, &c., (Calmet) as principium is by Suetonius, (in Aug.) yet it may also signify, This is the “origin,” or source of thy authority, from the womb,” &c. (St. Chrysostom) (Berthier) — The consubstantiality of the Son is hence manifest, and this ensures every perfection. (Haydock) — The Father and the Son are both principals. (St. Jerome) — Christ was in the beginning, (John i.) and the very beginning. His eternal birth is here mentioned, though some have explained it of his temporal nativity, which took place before the rising of the day-star. (Calmet) — This, however, would seem a trivial circumstance, (Berthier) whereas the birth of Christ before the whole creation is of great consequence. — Saints. Or “holy places,” sanctorum. Hebrew, “In the beauties (behadre.; Haydock) St. Jerome has read berri, in the mountains, (Calmet) of holiness, (Montanus) or of the sanctuary.” Christ will come to judge surrounded by his angels, (Calmet) and saints. (Haydock) (St. Augustine) — I begot thee. This expresses the sense more clearly (Haydock) than the Hebrew tibi ros emissio (Hebrew tal.) nativitatis tuæ. St. Jerome’s version must be deemed inaccurate, and the Hebrew points, (Berthier) which render the modern versions so very different from ours, may be safely rejected. (Haydock) See Muis. (Genebrard) (Calmet) — Robertson mentions fourteen different translations of this text, and many more might be given. (Haydock) — But ours is clear, and beautiful. (Calmet) — Protestants, “Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness, from (Marginal note, more than) the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.” (Haydock) — Thy offspring shall be very numerous, (Isaias xlviii. 1., and xlv. 8.) and people shall willingly join thy banners, or rather come to offer victims in the sanctuary. (Calmet) — The eternal birth of Christ, (Micheas v. 2.) from his father’s substance, establishes his principality, so that he rises triumphant, &c. (Worthington) — The present Hebrew text seems to be purposely rendered obscure, or unintelligible by the Jews, both in this verse, and in the following. (Du Hamel)
Ver. 4. Repent. Not that He can ever do so, or give way to error: but the sacred writer expresses himself thus, to give us the greatest security. (Calmet) — The order. Hebrew dibrathi, “my order,” Melchisedech. The i has been perhaps designedly inserted, to render the argumentation in the epistle to the Hebrews of no weight, “as the force of the text sinks into just nothing.” (Kennicott) — Protestants and Pagnin here abandon the Hebrew. But Montanus corrects the latter, and substitutes “upon my word,” which is more honest, as he deemed the Hebrew text unerring, though here it be not so unquestionably, as the Almighty would thus address Melchisedech, unless that title be here given to Christ. St. Jerome takes no notice of my, no more than the apostle, &c. (Haydock) — This instance “may perhaps put all serious Christians upon deliberating—whether they should any longer maintain the absolute integrity of the present Hebrew text.” See Psalm xv. 10. (Kennicott, Dis. i. p. 219.) — Melchisedech. Christ is declared king and priest for ever, (Worthington) like Melchisedech, who united in his person both dignities, and presided not over a particular people, nor stood in need of any stated place. His succession is not recorded, and his sacrifice consisted of bread and wine; in all which respects he differed from the Levitical priests, and prefigured Christ, who is immolated under the same species throughout the world, Malachias i. 11. (Menochius) — We read in Scripture of three orders of priesthood: 1st, of kings, 2d, of the first-born, and 3d, of Aaron. Melchisedech, in quality of king, exercised the priestly office, as both functions were formerly united: and hence the word Cohen signifies both a temporal and spiritual prince. This light of nations ensured to his order a perpetual duration, while that of Aaron was to have an end. Thus Christ offered to his Father from all eternity the sacrifice of his obedience, and future sufferings; and in time, he presented that of his own life, which he continues to offer in the Catholic Church, (Calmet) by priests who are only his ministers, 1 Corinthians iv. (Worthington) — The apostle does not specify the oblation of bread and wine, as it was unnecessary, the sacrifice of Christ on the cross having put an end to the sacrifices of the old law, which could only be offered by the children of Aaron, from whom he did not spring. This was enough for his purpose. But as Melchisedech offered bread and wine, Christ must also have done the same, to be of his order. St. Cyprian, and the other Fathers, with great unanimity observe, that the sacrifice of Melchisedech was a figure of that of Jesus Christ, in bread and wine; and of course (Berthier) our sacred mysteries must contain the substance. (Haydock) — By their application, Christ still pacifies his Father in behalf of sinners: so that the effects of his priesthood do not cease, as those of all the priests in the Old Testament did by their death. (Worthington)
Ver. 5. The Lord. He speaks to God the Father concerning the Messias, (Menochius) or God assisted the sacred humanity. (St. Chrysostom) — In the Godhead the persons are equal. The Father is at the right of the Son, as He is at his Father’s, ver. i. (St. Augustine) (Calmet) — Yet it seems more probable, that the discourse is addressed to the first person. (Berthier)
Ver. 6. Ruins. Hebrew and Septuagint, “with dead bodies,” (Calmet) or he will fill up the places of the fallen angels. (Jansenius) — Implevit valles. (St. Jerome) — Christ was placed for the fall and for the resurrection of many. — Of many. Hebrew, “the head in an extensive territory.” We might render the Vulgate, “he shall crush the heads of many in the land.” (Haydock) — Rebellious kings, with their populous kingdoms shall be destroyed. (Worthington) — The power of the devil, and of all his agents, shall be crushed, though they may fill the greater part of the world, (Haydock) in terra quam multi occupant. (Berthier)
Ver. 7. Way. By the torrent Cedron, the passion of Christ is insinuated. (Houbigant) — During life, he and his faithful servants shall be exposed to many sufferings, for which they will be amply rewarded. (Worthington) (Philippians ii. 9.) — A torrent often denotes affliction, Psalm xvii. 5., and Isaias xxx. 28. Yet here it may signify, that Christ will supply every thing requisite to establish his Church. To find water for an army was of the greatest consequence, Jeremias xxxi. 9., Psalm lxxvii. 20., and 4 Kings iii. 9. (Calmet) — Like a valiant conqueror, Christ seeks for no delicacies. (Muis) (Calmet) — Those who come nearest to this divine pattern, will obtain the highest place in heaven. (Berthier)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Christ’s exaltation, and everlasting priesthood.
1 A psalm of David.
The *Lord said to my Lord: Sit thou at my right hand:
*Until I make thy enemies thy footstool.
2 The Lord will send forth the sceptre of thy power out of Sion: rule thou in the midst of thy enemies.
3 With thee is the principality in the day of thy strength; in the brightness of the saints: from the womb before the day-star I begot thee.
4 The Lord hath sworn, and he will not repent: *Thou art a priest for ever, according to the order of Melchisedech.
5 The Lord at thy right hand hath broken kings in the day of his wrath.
6 He shall judge among nations, he shall fill ruins: he shall crush the heads in the land of the many.
7 He shall drink of the torrent in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head.
1: Matthew xxii. 44. — ** 1 Corinthians xv. 25.; Hebrews i. 13. and x. 13.
4: John xii. 34.; Hebrews v. 6. and vii. 17.