Psalm xiv. (Domine quis habitabit.)
Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. David. The word psalm being appropriated to some, while others are styled hymns, &c., does not hinder the latter from being also psalms or spiritual songs, to be set to music: so the insertion of David, “the beloved’s name,” in some of these divine canticles, is no proof that the rest were not written by him. (Worthington) — The author describes the perfection of priests, &c., contrasts the sanctity of those who shall inhabit Jerusalem with that of the wicked mentioned in the last psalm. Some copies have To the end in the title, while others omit it, with the Hebrew, St. Chrysostom, &c. — Hill. The Jews comforted themselves with the hopes of seeing Jerusalem rebuilt, Psalm cxxxi. 1. The prophets describe those who should return from captivity, as holy people, (Isaias xxvi. 3., and Sophonias iii. 13.; Calmet) a figure of the Church. (Haydock) — Heaven is also styled a tabernacle and mountain, (Apocalypse xv. 5., and Hebrews xii. 22.; Berthier) and is here chiefly (Haydock) meant. See ver. 5. (Worthington)
Ver. 2. Justice. These two things characterize the true Israelite. (Calmet) — We must avoid sin, and do good, in thought, word and deed, ver. 3. (Worthington)
Ver. 3. Heart, as he thinks. (Haydock) — Those who sincerely love truth, will not deceive others. (Calmet) — We must be attached to all revealed truths, and avoid all the disorders of the tongue. — Up, which would otherwise have fallen to the ground, &c. (Berthier) — Reproach. Rashly giving credit to injurious reports, (Calmet; St. Augustine; Exodus xxiii. 1.) or speaking with insult, (Theodoret) even in giving correction, (St. Hilary) or listening to detraction. (Worthington)
Ver. 4. Nothing. He despises all wickedness, though done by kings, whose power he considers as the means of destruction, 1 Kings xv. 26., and Luke xxiii. 9. The wicked dares not appear before an upright judge, like David, Psalm c. 2. Hebrew may be “the wicked is despised.” (St. Jerome) (Haydock) — Those who follow the Jews, have “he thinks meanly of himself,” which is very good; but the sense of the Vulgate seems more pointed, (Calmet) though the other contains a noble maxim of the gospel. (Berthier) — Protestants, “in whose eyes a vile person is contemned.” The sinner is the only person who is truly vile, in the opinion of the just, who forms not his opinion on outward appearances. (Haydock) — Lord. Glory is the reward of good works. (Worthington) — Neighbour. This sense is conformable to the Hebrew without points, (Geneb.) and more beautiful than that of the Rabbins, “against his own interest,” (Junius) “to do evil,” (Ainsworth) “friendship,” (Symmachus) or “to afflict himself.” (St. Jerome) — We find such vows strongly enforced, Number xxx. 3., and Deuteronomy xxiii. 21. (Calmet) — Protestants, “that sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not.” (Haydock) — It were to be wished that oaths were not necessary. (Calmet) — But when they are, the Lord must be the arbiter of truth, and not idols; as by swearing, we testify that we believe God is the sovereign truth, and thus honour his name. See Leviticus xix 12., and Matthew v. 33. (Haydock)
Ver. 5. Usury. This was always blameable, though Moses tolerated it with respect to the Jews lending to the Chanaanites, Deuteronomy xxiii. 19., and Luke vi. 35. The Roman law condemned the guilty to pay double as much as the thief, who was to restore twice the value of what he had stolen. (Cato 1.) — Under the semblance of kindness it does a real injury; (St. Hilary) etiam his invisa quibus succurrere videtur. (Columel. præf.) (Calmet) — Bribes, (munera) “presents.” Even these are dangerous, as they tend to prepossess the judge. (Haydock) — Both usury and doing wrong for bribes exclude from heaven. (Worthington) — A judge must shake such things from his hands, (Isaias xxxiii. 15.) as he cannot take them to give either a just or a wrong sentence. His duty requires him to give the former; so that the innocent would thus be purchasing what was his own. (Calmet) — The same maxims must be applied to all in authority, (Haydock) to witnesses, &c. (Calmet) — Those who have not failed in any of these respects, must be possessed of faith, and all other necessary virtues, before they can enter heaven. For when the scripture attributes salvation to any one virtue in particular, it does not mean to exclude the rest. — For ever. All terrestrial things are mutable; and of course, the psalmist speaks of heaven. If so great perfection was required, to appear in the tabernacle, how much more must be expected of the candidate for heaven! (Worthington) — The good Christian who has not yielded to temptation, may there enjoy undisturbed repose. Isaias (xxiii. 15.) uses similar expressions, when describing the state of Jerusalem, after the defeat of Sennacherib. (Calmet)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
What kind of men shall dwell in the heavenly Sion.
1 A psalm for David.
Lord, who shall dwell in thy tabernacle? or who shall rest in thy holy hill?
2 He that walketh without blemish, and worketh justice:
3 He that speaketh truth in his heart, who hath not used deceit in his tongue:
Nor hath done evil to his neighbour: nor taken up a reproach against his neighbours.
4 In his sight the malignant is brought to nothing: but he glorifieth them that fear the Lord.
He that sweareth to his neighbour, and deceiveth not; 5 he that hath not put out his money to usury, nor taken bribes against the innocent:
He that doth these things, shall not be moved for ever.