Psalm cxlix. (Cantate Domino.)
Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Alleluia. Theodoret repeats this word here and in the following psalm. The author of this psalm is unknown. It was sung after the captivity, to thank God for the favours and peace granted to his people, and to foretell the conquests gained under the Machabees, and more fully under the Messias. (Origen) — The Jews still looked for them in vain. Why do they not open their eyes, to see all accomplished by the propagation of the gospel? Muis refers the psalm to the beginning of David’s reign over Israel, when the people entertained the strongest expectations of victory; and this opinion is very plausible, though we prefer that of the Fathers. (Calmet) — The prophet undoubtedly invites the faithful to praise God. (Berthier) — New, and excellent; (Calmet) nova carmina, (Virgil, Ec. 3.) is explained magna miranda, by Servius. This psalm deserves the title, as it speaks of the new covenant. (St. Chrysostom) — Saints of Israel, dedicated to God’s service, Exodus xxii. 31. (Calmet) — Though all creatures are bound to praise the Lord, he accepts only praises of those who live in the Church. (Worthington)
Ver. 2. In him. Hebrew, “them.” The plural is used out of respect, (Rabbins; Calmet) or rather to insinuate the blessed Trinity, as in Genesis i., Job xxxv. 10., and Isaias liv. 5. (Berthier) — King David, or the Lord, who was the true king of Israel, 1 Kings viii. 7.
Ver. 3. Choir. A musical instrument, though it imply also a dance, &c.
Ver. 4. Unto. Hebrew, “in Jesus,” (St. Jerome) or “he will adorn the meek with salvation,” as with a precious robe, Psalm cxxxi. 9, 16. — The captives shall be restored to glory. (Calmet)
Ver. 5. Beds. In eternal rest. (Worthington) — The prosperity of the Israelites but feebly represents the happiness of the elect. (Calmet)
Ver. 6. Hands. He seems to allude to the regulation of Nehemias, (2 Esdras iv. 17.; Haydock) or to the Machabees, who were priests and soldiers. They shall proclaim God’s praises, and defend the nation. In the spiritual sense, Catholics employ the two-edged sword of the Old and New Testament against heretics, and exercise the power of Christ in excommunicating the wicked. (St. Jerome) — Our Saviour enables the saints to judge at the last day, Matthew xix. 28. (Calmet) — This chiefly regards such as have left all things, like the apostles, and those who embrace a monastic life, Matthew iv. 20., and xix. 27., Acts iv. 34., and 1 Corinthians vi. 3. — They shall judge whether people have made good or bad use of their possessions. (St. Augustine) (Ven. Bede) — All the blessed will approve of God’s sentence; and their example in overcoming difficulties, will evince the baseness of the wicked, who have yielded to less temptations. (Worthington)
Ver. 8. Iron. These poetical expressions denote victory. The Machabees made great conquests, and the Jews expect greater under the Messias. But this has been verified in the conversion of nations to Christ, Isaias xlix. 23., and lx. 14. (Calmet) — The victories of the Machabees were of short duration. (Berthier)
Ver. 9. Written. In God’s decrees. (Worthington) (Job xxxi. 35., and Daniel vii. 10.) (Calmet) — This judicial power is part of the glory of the saints. (Worthington) (1 Corinthians vi. 2., and Wisdom iii. 7.) (Haydock) — All shall judge the wicked who have imitated the disinterestedness of the apostles. (Calmet)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
The Church is particularly bound to praise God.
Sing ye to the Lord a new canticle: let his praise be in the church of the saints.
2 Let Israel rejoice in him that made him: and let the children of Sion be joyful in their king.
3 Let them praise his name in choir: let them sing to him with the timbrel and the psaltery.
4 For the Lord is well pleased with his people: and he will exalt the meek unto salvation.
5 The saints shall rejoice in glory: they shall be joyful in their beds.
6 The high praises of God shall be in their mouth: and two-edged swords in their hands:
7 To execute vengeance upon the nations, chastisements among the people:
8 To bind their kings with fetters, and their nobles with manacles of iron.
9 To execute upon them the judgment that is written: this glory is to all his saints. Alleluia.