Psalm xxiv. (At te Domine levavi.)
Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. David. This word alone occurs in Hebrew. Septuagint and St. Jerome add also Psalm. (Haydock) — St. Augustine and Theod.[Theodotion or Theodoret?] agree with the Vulgate. (Calmet) — These variations prove that we cannot depend much on the titles; and the learned do not look upon them as the word of God. The psalm may have been composed, when David was persecuted by his son, (Berthier) or by Saul. It may also allude to the captives. This is the first of the seven alphabetical psalms. The 33d, 35th, 110th, 111th, 118th, and 144th, are of the same description, being written in this manner (Calmet) on account of their importance, (Kimchi) or to help the memory, (Berthier) or for copies, to teach young people to write. (Grotius) — Each verse forms a distinct sentence, not much connected with the rest. We perceive some derangement in the present Hebrew copies of this psalm, as the letters are not in proper order, though it might easily be restored by altering the divisions, &c. The Jews have been less attentive to preserve these divine canticles (Calmet) than their Thalmudical songs. (Pellican in Psalm lxxxv. 9.) — The Septuagint and St. Jerome seem to have had better copies. Christ, the Church, (Calmet) or any pious soul, may address this fervent prayer to God under affliction. — Lifted up in the true spirit of prayer, (Berthier) with fervour and confidence, Deuteronomy xxiv. 15., and Lamentations iii. 41. (Calmet) — Attention is requisite to obtain a petition, (Worthington) as well as fervour, &c. (Haydock)
Ver. 2. In thee. Hebrew bec. Thus the second verse will properly begin with b, (Capel; Houbigant) though the Jews place my God first, as it is in the Vulgate, Deus meus, in te, &c. (Haydock) Ashamed. Septuagint Compl. adds, “for ever.”
Ver. 3. Laugh. Saying scornfully where is their God? (Calmet) — Wait. This is often urged (Isaias xlii. 23.) as comprising all the science of a spiritual life. We must neither despair nor omit the means of salvation. (Berthier) — Those who hope for the accomplishment of God’s promises, will not be disappointed. (Calmet)
Ver. 4. All, is not expressed in Hebrew or some copies of the Septuagint. (Berthier) — Cause. No one can have reason to do so. But those who injure their harmless brethren, are more reprehensible, (Haydock) and the psalmist foretells that they will be put to shame. (St. Jerome) — This manner of praying frequently occurs in the psalms, to signify the event, and the approbation of the just. (Worthington) — Shew. The forth verse ought to begin here with d, as in Hebrew. (Haydock) — Paths. The mysterious ways of Providence, (Eusebius) or the law which is unknown to many, (St. Athanasius) and practised by still fewer. (Calmet)
Ver. 5. And teach. If the verse were to commence thus, (Calmet) v would not be out of its place. (Haydock) — Without God’s direction, we cannot walk in the narrow path. (Berthier) — Long. We must never cease to desire the knowledge of true doctrine. (Worthington)
Ver. 6. World. God’s truth or fidelity in performing his promises, and his tender mercies towards his people, are the motives most frequently urged. (Calmet)
Ver. 7. Ignorances. Hebrew, “defects,” as youth is more apt to omit duties than to act very wickedly. Yet it is difficult to decide how grievous such sins may be. (Berthier) — Passion and ignorance then concur to lead the inexperienced astray. (Haydock) — From the first use of reason, many are careless, and neglect to learn their duty. (Worthington) — Ignorance is sometimes a sin, though it may be more pardonable, 1 Timothy i. (Menochius)
Ver. 8. Righteous. Though he is always ready to receive the penitent, he will punish the obstinate with severity. (Calmet; Worthington) — Yet he points out the means of obtaining his favour. (St. Augustine) — A law. Hebrew, “will instruct.” (Calmet)
Ver. 9. Mild. Only rebels are made the victims of justice. (Haydock)
Ver. 10. Seek. Hebrew, “keeps.” But no one seeks after the law, who does not strive to keep it. (Berthier) — Jesus Christ shewed mercy at his first coming, and he will display truth at his second, judging all with equity. (St. Augustine) — Testimonies. When God gave the law to manifest his will, he attested heaven and earth, that all might observe it carefully. (Calmet) — The law is God’s covenant, and the testimony of his will. He mercifully preventeth us with his grace, and will reward with truth and justice. (Worthington)
Ver. 11. Great. “Original sin is common to all, and will not be washed away, except God be pleased to destroy it in baptism.” (St. Jerome) — David had committed adultery; and all must acknowledge their manifold guilt. (Calmet) — Though the guilt had been remitted, the punishment due to David’s crime was to be endured in this life, and he ought daily to pray for pardon. (Berthier) — The aversion from God in sin is great, and standeth in need of his gracious remission. (Worthington)
Ver. 12. He hath. This may be understood either of God, or of man, who has chosen a state of life. (Berthier) — Provided he be guided by the fear of the Lord, (Calmet) all things will turn to his advantage. (Haydock)
Ver. 13. Dwell. Hebrew intimates, “all night” at rest; yet so that he must only enjoy temporal goods like a traveller. (Berthier) — We ought to look up to heaven as to our true country, (Calmet) of which Palestine was only a figure, Psalm lxviii. (Menochius) — The land, is not expressed in Hebrew, “his seed shall receive (good) for an inheritance.” (Haydock) — Five blessings are here promised to those who fear the God: instruction, a supply of necessities, a progeny to imitate his virtues, protection, and heaven. (Worthington)
Ver. 14. Firmament, or strong support. (Haydock) — Hebrew, “the secret of the Lord is for them,” &c. He conceals nothing from his friends. (Calmet) — Both these senses are good, (Berthier) and the Hebrew words are nearly allied. (Robertson) — All who fear God, ought to interest themselves, and pray that he would enlighten the ignorant, and convert sinners. (Berthier) — The uncertain and hidden things of thy wisdom thou hast made manifest to me, Psalm l. 8. (Menochius)
Ver. 15. Lord. Our prayers are not heard, because they are not like this: fervant, incessant, and humble. We have all to fear from our passions, which are the most dangerous snares. (Berthier)
Ver. 16. Alone. Desolate, (Psalm xxi. 21.) without any assistant. (Haydock) — Such is man destitute of God’s grace. (Worthington)
Ver. 17. Multiplied. Hebrew, “enlarged.” So in the gradual for the second Sunday of Lent, we read dilatatæ. (Berthier) — Afflictions must be endured. (Worthington; Sen.[Seneca?] ep. 12.)
Ver. 18. See. The word kum, “arise,” may be wanting, as the verse should begin with k, (Calmet) unless it be lost. Manuscript 2, repeats the former verse, perhaps to fill up the space. (Kennicott) — Forgive. Hebrew or “bear.” (Berthier; St. Jerome; Menochius) — If the cause be removed, the affliction will have an end. (Worthington)
Ver. 19. Unjust. Hebrew also, “cruel,” (Haydock) or “violent.” But St. Jerome agrees with the Septuagint. Our spiritual enemies are the most dangerous and unrelenting, and we are too often off our guard. (Berthier) — The wicked, through hatred of God, (Haydock) seek to draw others into sin. (Worthington)
Ver. 20. Soul. David was most concerned for it; (Berthier) and those who sincerely place their confidence in God, will never be confounded. (Worthington)
Ver. 21. Adhered. Hebrew, “innocence, &c., have kept me.” (Calmet) — Those faithful subjects, who have accompanied me in my flight, stand guard to protect me. Requite them, O Lord, and grant peace to all my people. (Haydock) — My example encourages them to follow thy law, and they will be staggered, if thou grant not my request. (Menochius)
Ver. 22. Deliver. Hebrew pede, “redeem.” All the 22 (Haydock) letters of the alphabet are complete without this supplication for all Israel, or for the Church. (Worthington) — It might form a part of the last verse, or belong to the next psalm; unless it be a conclusion like that of Psalm xxxiii., (Calmet) out of the alphabetical order. (Houbigant) — Israel. St. Augustine and some ancient psalters read, “Me, O God of Israel, from all my tribulations.” (Calmet)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
A prayer for grace, mercy, and protection against our enemies.
1 Unto the end. A psalm for David.
To thee, O Lord, have I lifted up my soul.
2 In thee, O my God, I put my trust; let me not be ashamed.
3 Neither let my enemies laugh at me: for none of them that wait on thee shall be confounded.
4 Let all them be confounded that act unjust things without cause.
Shew, O Lord, thy ways to me, and teach me thy paths.
5 Direct me in thy truth, and teach me; for thou art God, my Saviour; and on thee have I waited all the day long.
6 Remember, O Lord, thy bowels of compassion; and thy mercies that are from the beginning of the world.
7 The sins of my youth and my ignorances do not remember.
According to thy mercy remember thou me: for thy goodness’ sake, O Lord.
8 The Lord is sweet and righteous: therefore he will give a law to sinners in the way.
9 He will guide the mild in judgment: he will teach the meek his ways.
10 All the ways of the Lord are mercy and truth, to them that seek after his covenant and his testimonies.
11 For thy name’s sake, O Lord, thou wilt pardon my sin: for it is great.
12 Who is the man that feareth the Lord? He hath appointed him a law in the way he hath chosen.
13 His soul shall dwell in good things: and his seed shall inherit the land.
14 The Lord is a firmament to them that fear him: and his covenant shall be made manifest to them.
15 My eyes are ever towards the Lord: for he shall pluck my feet out of the snare.
16 Look thou upon me, and have mercy on me; for I am alone and poor.
17 The troubles of my heart are multiplied: deliver me from my necessities.
18 See my abjection and my labour: and forgive me all my sins.
19 Consider my enemies, for they are multiplied, *and have hated me with an unjust hatred.
20 Keep thou my soul, and deliver me: I shall not be ashamed, for I have hoped in thee.
21 The innocent and the upright have adhered to me: because I have waited on thee.
22 Deliver Israel, O God, from all his tribulations.
19: John xv. 25.