Psalm cxvii. (Confitemini Domino.)
Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Alleluia is borrowed from the end of the former psalm in Hebrew. Our Saviour and the apostles determine us to explain this solely of the Messias, though some would also see another literal sense, applicable to the victories of David, or of the captives, at their return, over God or Cambyses. (Berthier) — This supposition seems very probable, 2 Esdras vi. 16. Yet the Jews saw that some passages belonged to the Messias, and were accustomed to use ver. 26., in praying for his manifestation. This psalm is very pompous, and in the dramatic style, (Calmet) though this is not certain. (Berthier) — Praise. Or “confess,” and praise God for his great mercies. (Worthington)
Ver. 2. That he is good, is not here in Hebrew. The Septuagint insert the words in the two next verses. The people, priests, and all who fear God among the Gentiles must praise him (Psalm cxiii. 11.; Calmet) particularly now under the new law, since they have received greater benefits. (Worthington) — Our Saviour seems to allude to this passage, observing that God alone is good, (Luke xviii. 28.) to intimate that the man who gave him that title, must also acknowledge his divinity. (St. Augustine) (Berthier)
Ver. 5. Trouble. Both spiritual and temporal. (Worthington) — Enlarge me, or set me at liberty in a spacious place. (Calmet)
Ver. 7. My helper. Hebrew, “to me among the helpers,” (Montanus) or most powerful, (Houbigant) and the mover of all, who lend assistance. Jesus Christ prayed with tears, and was heard for his reverence, Hebrews v. 7. We must expect afflictions, (Job xxxiii.) and must have recourse to God.
Ver. 9. Princes. For vain is the salvation of man, Psalm lix. 31., and Jeremias xvii. 5. (Calmet) — So neither can man hurt those whom God protects, Romans viii. 31. (Haydock)
Ver. 10. Revenged. Hebrew, “I have broken them,” (Calmet) or “will render to them.” (Houbigant) — This may relate to David, Nehemias, Christ, and his martyrs. (Calmet) — The Church, or any just man in the midst of enemies, confidently hopes for victory. (Worthington) — None shall prevail against Christ and his Church. (Berthier)
Ver. 12. Bees. Septuagint add, “do a honeycomb.” But this is not in the original. — Burned. Hebrew, “were extinguished.” The Septuagint and Chaldean seem to have read better, as it would then be useless to add, as is the former verse, “but….I will destroy them;” and therefore Protestants and Duport here put, “for,” &c., (Berthier) though the ci be still used. (Haydock) — The rage of the enemy is well described by the similitudes of bees and fire. (Calmet) — Christ was attacked with mortal hatred by the Jews. (St. Augustine) — The fury of the multitude was fierce, but short-lived, as in God I have overcome them all. (Worthington)
Ver. 13. Fall. I was very near falling. Hebrew, “pushing thou hast pushed me that,” &c. (Menochius) — “My sin has strongly pushed me.” (Chaldean) (Calmet) — Those who stick to the Hebrew suppose, that the psalmist addressed the chief of his enemies. But a letter or two may have been added, as St. Jerome, Felix, &c., admit not the second person. Houbigant prefers, “they have pushed me.” (Berthier) —By God’s grace I was prevented from yielding to the force of temptation. (Worthington)
Ver. 15. Just. Such were the Jews by their vocation, though many answered very ill the designs of God. (Calmet) — Christians thank God for their redemption, and confessors are full of joy in their prisons and torments, Acts xvi. 25. (Berthier)
Ver. 16. Me is not in Hebrew. All salvation is from God. (Berthier) — Right hand, repeated thrice, insinuates the blessed Trinity, as the word Lord is applied to Christ, who effected man’s redemption with singular efficacy. (Worthington)
Ver. 17. Live. The captives were dying daily, so that this rather belongs to the Church of Christ. (Berthier) (John viii. 51.)
Ver. 18. Chastised me, severely. (Haydock) — Septuagint may also signify, “has instructed me,” (Calmet) by means of tribulation. (Haydock) — God chastiseth as a parent, that his children may not perish eternally. (Worthington)
Ver. 19. Justice. Of the temple, where the undefiled Israelites alone can enter, (Psalm xiv. 1.) or the land of Judea, Isaias xxvi. The Fathers explain it of the Church, and of heaven, to which none can be admitted, who have not departed in the communion of saints, (St. Chrysostom; St. Augustine) having walked in the narrow path. (Eusebius) — Christ styles himself the way, (Haydock) and the gate. (Berthier) (Apocalypse xxii. 14.) — Formerly penitents were not allowed to be present during all the Mass; and heretics, &c., are cut off from the bosom of the Church. (Calmet) — The just here beg for instruction, which they promise to follow. (Worthington)
Ver. 22. Corner. This was a sort of proverb, and is applied to David, Zorobabel, or the Jewish nation; but they can only be considered as figures of Christ, in whom this prediction was fulfilled, when he established his Church, and made one people of those who were before divided, Isaias xxviii. 16., Matthew xxi. 42., and Acts iv. 11. (Calmet) — He was rejected by most of the Jews; yet he chose some of them, who, with the Gentiles, formed his Church. (Haydock) — This all Christians now confess. (Worthington) — The Pharisees pretended to build for the glory of God, when they opposed the designs of Christ, which, nevertheless, succeeded. They could not object to his application of this text, as they would have done, if it had been already verified in David, &c. (Berthier) — He has laid the foundation. We must be living stones, if we would co-operate in this heavenly building, 1 Peter ii. 5.
Ver. 24. Day. Of grace. (Worthington) — The Church often repeats this during the paschal time, though God is equally the author of all days. (Haydock) See Ephesians iv. 30., and John viii. 56.
Ver. 25. Save me. The person is not expressed in Septuagint. Or, (Calmet) Hebrew hoshiha na, “salvifica nunc.” (Montanus) — Na means likewise, “I beg.” (Haydock) — Quæso, Domine, salvum fac, obsecro: Quæso, Domine, fac prospere agere, obsecro. This formed the acclamations of the Jewish children, Hosanna, Matthew xxi. 9. The branches which were carried at the feast of tabernacles, were also styled Hosannas. (Calmet) — When Christ entered Jerusalem, the children sung his praises, holding palms. (Worthington)
Ver. 26. We. The Levites, (Calmet) or Christ and his ministers pronounce this blessing, (Worthington) or the psalmist gives it, after having expressed his thanks for the graces brought by the Messias. (Berthier)
Ver. 27. Us. Christ, who comes in the name of the Lord, “is himself God,” our instructor. (St. Augustine) (Titus ii. 11.) (Berthier) — Day. The feast of tabernacles, for which this psalm was probably composed. The Jews dwelt under tents. (Calmet) (Leviticus xxiii. 40., and 2 Esdras vii. 15.) — Altar. Hebrew, “Bind a festival with cords unto the horns,” &c. To make sense, the Chaldean inserts, bind the lamb for the festival. But this Houbigant ridicules, and he believes that the solemn entrance of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem is here foretold. Scarcely any prediction in the Old Testament is more clearly verified in the new, Matthew xxi. 8. Hebrew Bahabothim certainly means, “in ramis opacis,” and St. Jerome translates, “frequent the solemnity in shady boughs.” (Berthier) — The victims were never tied to the altar, but slain in the porch of the northern gate, Ezechiel xl. 39. (Calmet)
Ver. 28. I will, &c. This might be in the copies of the Septuagint. It occurs [in] ver. 26., (Berthier) though it was here retrenched in the Hexapla. (Calmet)
Ver. 29. For ever. Praise is our first and last duty, ver. 1. (Worthington)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
The psalmist praiseth God for his delivery from evils; putteth his whole trust in him; and foretelleth the coming of Christ.
Give praise to Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
2 Let Israel now say, that he is good: that his mercy endureth for ever.
3 Let the house of Aaron now say, that his mercy endureth for ever.
4 Let them that fear the Lord now say, that his mercy endureth for ever.
5 In my trouble I called upon the Lord: and the Lord heard me, and enlarged me.
6 The Lord is my helper: I will not fear what man can do unto me.
7 *The Lord is my helper: and I will look over my enemies.
8 It is good to confide in the Lord, rather than to have confidence in man.
9 It is good to trust in the Lord, rather than to trust in princes.
10 All nations compassed me about: and in the name of the Lord I have been revenged on them.
11 Surrounding me, they compassed me about: and in the name of the Lord I have been revenged on them.
12 They surrounded me like bees, and they burned like fire among thorns: and in the name of the Lord I was revenged on them
13 Being pushed, I was overturned, that I might fall: but the Lord supported me.
14 *The Lord is my strength and my praise: and he is become my salvation.
15 The voice of rejoicing and of salvation is in the tabernacles of the just.
16 The right hand of the Lord hath wrought strength: the right hand of the Lord hath exalted me: the right hand of the Lord hath wrought strength.
17 I shall not die, but live: and shall declare the works of the Lord.
18 The Lord chastising, hath chastised me: but he hath not delivered me over to death.
19 Open ye to me the gates of justice: I will go into them, and give praise to the Lord. 20 This is the gate of the Lord, the just shall enter into it.
21 I will give glory to thee, because thou hast heard me: and art become my salvation.
22 *The stone which the builders rejected; the same is become the head of the corner.
23 This is the Lord’s doing: and it is wonderful in our eyes.
24 This is the day which the Lord hath made: let us be glad, and rejoice therein.
25 O Lord, save me: O Lord, give good success. 26 Blessed be he that cometh in the name Lord.
We have blessed you out of the house of the Lord. 27 The Lord is God, and he hath shone upon us.
Appoint a solemn day, with shady boughs, even to the horn of the altar.
28 Thou art my God, and I will praise thee: thou art my God, and I will exalt thee.
I will praise thee, because thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation.
29 O praise ye the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.
7: Hebrews xiii. 6.
14: Exodus xv. 2.
22: Isaias xxviii. 16.; Matthew xxi. 42.; Luke xx. 17.; Acts iv. 11.; Romans ix. 33.; 1 Peter ii. 7.