Psalm xx. (Domine in virtute.)
Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. David, after his victory over the Ammonites; (Du Pin; Calmet) though many passages relate only to the Messias, as the Chaldean and even some of the modern Jews confess, (Kimchi; Muis) with the holy Fathers, who explain all of Him. (Calmet) — Those who overcome the devil, are here concerned. (Worthington)
Ver. 2. King. Chaldean adds, “the Messias shall reign; and how shall he rejoice when thou shalt have delivered him!” The people had promised to return thanks in the former psalm. (Haydock) — Christ our king as man, having by his divine power overcome his enemies, rejoiceth. (Worthington)
Ver. 3. Will. Hebrew aresheth, “the proof or request,” (Haydock) which manifests the will. The term occurs no where else. (Berthier) — Our Saviour’s greatest desire was the glory of his Father, (Haydock) in man’s redemption. (Worthington)
Ver. 4. Sweetness. Hebrew, “of goodness,” the effects of thy mercy. (Haydock) — Thou hast made David a king according to thy own heart, and granted him victory, and many favours, even before he had asked for them. The humanity of Jesus Christ was still more glorified, (Calmet) by a gratuitous predestination. (St. Augustine, Prędest. 30., Persev. 24., &c.) — Stones. Hebrew, “fine gold or the topaz,” Psalm xviii. 11. (Berthier) — David took the crown of Melchom, weighing a talent, 2 Kings xii. 30. (Calmet) — God gave him the victory on every occasion, Ecclesiasticus xlvii. 7. (Haydock) — He crowned Jesus Christ, the martyrs, and all those who have been ready to suffer for him. (Worthington)
Ver. 5. And ever. David was much favoured, and reigned a long time, as well as his posterity, 2 Kings vii. 12, 29. But this was literally verified only in the Messias, (Calmet) who was his son; (Haydock) and founded his Church on a rock, to endure unto the end. (Calmet) — What do we ask for on earth? All will be lost if we have not life; and this we cannot obtain for ever, without rising again. Therefore Jesus said, I am the resurrection and the life, John xi. 25. — We must live in him by faith, (Berthier) and suffer before we can expect a crown.
Ver. 7. To be, (in benedictionem.) Thou shalt inebriate him with a torrent of thy blessings. (Haydock) — Blessing shall take hold of him, if we may so speak, (Berthier) and embrace him for ever. (Haydock) — All the saints receive glory. But Christ alone can impart it to others, as all are blessed in him, Genesis xxi., and John i. (Worthington) — When people wish any happiness to their friends, they need only desire that they may be like David. See Genesis xviii. 18., and xlviii. 20., and Galatians iii. 16. (Calmet)
Ver. 9. Thy hand. O king, Messias, or God. No earthly monarch can always punish his enemies. But none can escape the hand of the Almighty. He will bring all to judgment. (Berthier) — The just approve of God’s decree in punishing. This is all a prediction. (Worthington) — Let thine enemies find thy power, so as to return to good. (St. Jerome) — To find, often means to attack, (Judges i. 5., and 3 Kings xiii. 24.) or to accomplish with ease, Deuteronomy xxxiii. 1.
Ver. 10. Anger. Literally, “face;” (vultus.; Haydock) which sometimes intimates favour, ver. 7. This passage may allude to the vengeance (Calmet) which David exercised upon the Ammonites, whom he burnt in kilns, (2 Kings xii. 31.; Geier.; Vat.) or to the destruction of Sodom, Genesis xix. 28., and Lamentations iv. 6. (Calmet) — It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of an angry God, who will punish his enemies in a fire; to which St. Paul (Hebrews x. 27.) attributes rage, (Haydock) or emulation, as it will seem to strive to surpass all others. O that we may meditate on this fire! that the love of God may consume all our defects! — Trouble. Hebrew, “swallow up;” which is more energetic.
Ver. 11. Fruit of the womb, or all their possessions. The family of Herod was presently extirpated. (Berthier) — The works of the wicked must burn. (St. Augustine) — The severity shewn to the Ammonites was perhaps without example, ver. 10. (Calmet) — But this will be more fully verified in the judgment of the wicked, whose schemes against Christ and his Church will fail. (Worthington)
Ver. 12. Intended. Hebrew, “turned aside,” like a torrent. The Ammonites had violated the law of nations, and had attempted to raise up very powerful enemies to invade David. (Calmet) — Establish. Hebrew leaves the sentence imperfect, to shew the utter weakness or impotence of God’s enemies. (Berthier)
Ver. 13. In thy remnants thou shalt prepare their face: or thou shalt set thy remnants against their faces. That is, thou shalt make them see what punishment remain for them hereafter from thy justice. Instead of remnants, St. Jerome renders it funes, that is cords or strings: viz., of the bow of divine justice, from which God directs his arrows against the faces of his enemies. (Challoner) “Thou wilt strengthen thy cords against their faces;” (St. Jerome) or “thou wilt prepare thy arrows on thy bow-strings,” &c. But as bemetharic (Haydock) may also have the sense of the Vulgate, in thy remnants, we need not abandon this version; as it implies that after God shall have put his enemies to flight, he will turn their faces to receive “the last” of his arrows or blows; (Berthier) or He will meet them everywhere. (Haydock) — There seems to be some transposition in Hebrew and the Vulgate, as if we should read in reliquis eorum pręparabis vultum tuum. “Thou wilt execute thy vengeance upon their children;” (Calmet) or, as this transposition is unnecessary, “thou shalt make them look at thy children;” (Haydock) the elect, to increase their rage. (Bellarmine; Jansenius) — To behold the glory of the just, which might so easily have been their own, will greatly mortify the reprobate at the last day. (Haydock)
Ver. 14. Exalted. God can receive no increase; but he manifests what he has. (Theodoret) — Power. Literally, “powers.” (Haydock) — While the wicked perish, the just sing God’s praises. (Worthington) — We must beg that the kingdom of righteousness may spread over the world, (Haydock) and never cease to acknowledge the divine favours. (Berthier)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Praise to God for Christ’s exaltation after his passion.
1 Unto the end. A psalm for David.
2 In thy strength, O Lord, the king shall joy; and in thy salvation he shall rejoice exceedingly.
3 Thou hast given him his heart’s desire: and hast not withholden from him the will of his lips.
4 For thou hast prevented him with blessings of sweetness: thou hast set on his head a crown of precious stones.
5 He asked life of thee: and thou hast given him length of days for ever and ever.
6 His glory is great in thy salvation: glory and great beauty shalt thou lay upon him.
7 For thou shalt give him to be a blessing for ever and ever: thou shalt make him joyful in gladness with thy countenance.
8 For the king hopeth in the Lord: and through the mercy of the most High he shall not be moved.
9 Let thy hand be found by all thy enemies: let thy right hand find out all them that hate thee.
10 Thou shalt make them as an oven of fire, in the time of thy anger: the Lord shall trouble them in his wrath, and fire shall devour them.
11 Their fruit shalt thou destroy from the earth: and their seed from among the children of men.
12 For they have intended evils against thee: they have devised counsels which they have not been able to establish.
13 For thou shalt make them turn their back: in thy remnants thou shalt prepare their face.
14 Be thou exalted, O Lord, in thy own strength: we will sing and praise thy power.