Psalm xxviii. (Afferte Domino.)
Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Finishing. Septuagint, exodiou or exodou, may also signify “the going out;” (Haydock) as if the sacred ministers exhorted their successors to perform their duty in the ensuing week, or on the last day of the feast of tabernacles, Leviticus xxiii. 36. (Calmet) — Hebrew has only “A canticle of David,” (Haydock) and the rest was not in the Hexapla in the time of Theodoret, so that many pay no attention to it. The author seems to have supposed that the psalm was composed when David had finished the tabernacle, on Sion. (Calmet) (2 Kings vi., and 1 Paralipomenon xvi.) — But the psalmist had in view things of far greater importance, the propagation of Christianity among many great potentates. (Worthington) — The Fathers explain it in this sense, though it may literally allude (Calmet) to the storm procured by the prayer of Elias, 3 Kings xviii. 1, 41. (Haydock) — It might be composed in a thunder-storm, and used on similar occasions, (Muis) when a person had to go from home. (Haydock) — The seven voices may allude to the seven sacraments, or trumpets, Apocalypse x. 3. (Berthier) — God. Septuagint seemed to have read Aleim, or they have taken elim in the same sense, as it signifies “the mighty” as well as “rams.” On account of this ambiguity, a double translation is given either by the Septuagint, or rather by some later writer, who may have inserted the explanation, O ye children of God, bring ye to the Lord; (Haydock) which has crept from the margin into the text. (Amama) — It is marked as superfluous by Grabe, (Haydock) not being found in the best Greek copies; or at least have an obel, (Eusebius) to insinuate that it was not in Hebrew, in which state it appears in the Gal. Psalter, published in St. Jerome’s works. (Calmet) — It is not contrary to the original, though more explicit, (Berthier) as the address is made to all the faithful, (Menochius) or to the priests and nobility. (Haydock) — The apostles are styled rams, because they beat down error with the two Testaments; whence bishops’ mitres have two horns. (Lombard; Amama) — “Give praise to the Lord, ye troops of angels; render to the Lord glory and strength.” (Chaldean) (Calmet) — Be grateful for the favours which are here recounted. (Worthington) — Most people now translate, “sons of the mighty.” Yet St. Jerome and Houbigant have, “offspring of rams;” filios arietum. Bring lambs to the Lord, as the original may certainly mean; though many who are attached to the Hebrew allow also sons of God. (Berthier) — Montfaucon says that Origen marked with a lemniscus, what he judged “a better reading,” and thus obelized the first of these versions, and added the second with an asterisk. This liberty has been attended both with good and bad consequences. (Kennicott)
Ver. 2. Honour. Hebrew, “strength,” which we must acknowledge. (Haydock) — The first design of sacrifice is to adore God in spirit. (Worthington) — Holy court. Hebrew, “in the holy beauty,” 1 Paralipomenon xvi. 29. Even the priests were obliged to remain in the court, where they adored God, as sitting upon the Cherubim, in the most holy place (Calmet) in the Catholic Church. (Worthington) — External worship must be observed. (Berthier)
Ver. 3. Voice. Separating the waters from the earth at the beginning, as the six other voices may denote the other works of the creation; or all these voices may signify the various effects of thunder, or may allude to the terrors preceding the last judgment, (Apocalypse x. 3.) or attending the establishment and liberation of the Jewish and Christian Churches. The first voice was heard when Jesus was baptized, (Matthew iii. 17.) as the rest may intimate the instruction and efficacy of the other sacraments. It is evident that something posterior to the reign of David is prefigured; (Berthier) and the Fathers have generally understood the psalm of the propagation of the gospel by the apostles, two of whom are styled sons of thunder, Mark iii. 17. (Calmet) — The psalmist speaks of greater things than attended the translation of the ark. He represents our Saviour preaching with great power and majesty, (Matthew vii. 29.) and subjecting the most powerful monarchs to his dominion. (Worthington) — Thunder is often styled the voice of God, and is occasioned by the collision of the clouds, (Haydock) which Moses calls the waters above. (St. Basil) (Calmet)
Ver. 4. Power and magnificence. The sacraments of confirmation, and the blessed Eucharist, or the wonderful propagation of the Church, amid violent persecutions. (Berthier)
Ver. 5. Libanus. Which were the most famous. (Haydock) — Storms often tear up trees by the roots. (Calmet) — The effects of the gospel and of penance, may be described, or the terrors of the last day, when Jesus Christ will destroy the proud. (Berthier)
Ver. 6. Shall reduce them to pieces, &c. In Hebrew, shall make them to skip like a calf. The psalmist here describes the effects of thunder, (which he calls the voice of the Lord) which sometimes breaks down the tallest and strongest trees; and makes their broken branches skip, &c. All this is to be understood mystically, of the powerful voice of God’s word in his Church; which has broke the pride of the great ones of this world, and brought many of them meekly and joyfully to submit their necks to the sweet yoke of Christ. (Challoner) — Calf, or “branch,” as the Greek word also implies. But Hebrew seems more naturally to signify “a calf; Libanus and Sirion, (or Sarion.; Deuteronomy iii. 9.) as the son of the unicorn.” These two mountains are represented jolting together. (Calmet) — The violence of an earthquake has sometimes produced such effects. (Pliny, [Natural History?] ii. 83.) See Psalm cxiii. 4., Judges v. 5., and Habacuc iii. 10. (Calmet) — And as. The construction & dilectus, seems rather to make this another nominative, “the Lord shall, &c., and the beloved, (Haydock) the Messias, like the son of the unicorn,” shall perform the like wonders. It seems probable that the Septuagint have read Jeshurun for Shirion, (Berthier) or vissron, instead of ussriun; as i would only be a little transposed. (Haydock) — Jeshurun is a title of Israel, (Deuteronomy xxxii. 15., and xxxiii. 5, 26.) who was a figure of the Messias, the beloved of God. (Berthier) — “And he will scatter them as a calf would do; Libanus and Sarion, are in motion, like the son of the rhinoceros.” (St. Jerome) (Haydock) The most powerful submit to Christ, who works these wonders. (Worthington)
Ver. 7. Fire. Lightning, which deals destruction around. (Calmet) — The Holy Ghost appeared in the form of parted tongues of fire, to enable the apostles to convert the desert of the Gentile world, and the Jews, represented by the desert of Cades, (Worthington) which was near their country, (Haydock) on the frontiers of Idumea, Numbers xiii. 27. (Calmet) — Holy orders were instituted by Christ, to confer grace to the sacred ministers, according to their different stations or exigencies; (Berthier) or extreme unction, which prepares the soul for her separation from the body, may be here meant, if we follow the usual disposition of the sacraments; as the following sentence may allude to holy orders, which shakes or causes the desert to fructify, (Haydock) unless these words be rather applicable to matrimony. (Berthier) — Shaketh and shakes. St. Jerome has parturire faciens, “making the desert bring forth.” Chaldean, “frightens the serpents.” All nature is alarmed at the sound of thunder. (Haydock) — The deserts then appear most terrible. (Calmet)
Ver. 9. Prepareth. Hebrew, “delivereth,” as a midwife (St. Jerome, 5 Edition, Aquila) “maketh the hinds to calve;” (Protestants; Haydock) or “to leap, (from eul; Berthier) or frighteneth.” Hinds are supposed to bring forth with great difficulty. But the reverse seems to be the case. (St. Chrysostom in Job xxxix. 3.) (Calmet) — They are very swift, and trample serpents under their feet, nature having given them this power. (St. Jerome) (Pliny, [Natural History?] vii. 32.) The text may be understood of the last sacrament, which prepares us for our passage; (Berthier) or of matrimony, by means of which the world is peopled with rational beings, whose duty it is to glorify God in his temple. (Haydock) — This is also the effect of grace, and of the preaching of the gospel, (Berthier) which inspires people with a desire of running on in the way of perfection. Christ explains to them hidden mysteries in his Church, to which he bring multitudes, like the waters, ruling over them, and enabling them to overcome all temptations, till he crown his elect with eternal peace. (Worthington) — Glory. Running thither through fear, or to thank God for rain after a drought.
Ver. 10. Dwell. Chaldean explains this of the deluge, which continued a long while upon the earth, to punish mankind. Hebrew may also signify, “the Lord sitteth upon the flood,” or clouds, as the Lord of nature. — Strength, or abundant rain, (Josue xxxviii. 6.) with all other blessings; (Calmet) making his people as terrible to their enemies as the storm which has been described. (Menochius)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
An invitiation to glorify God, with a commemoration of his mighty works.
1 A psalm for David, at the finishing of the tabernacle.
Bring to the Lord, O ye children of God: bring to the Lord the offspring of rams.
2 Bring to the Lord glory and honour; bring to the Lord glory to his name: adore ye the Lord in his holy court.
3 The voice of the Lord is upon the waters; the God of majesty hath thundered, The Lord is upon many waters.
4 The voice of the Lord is in power; the voice of the Lord in magnificence.
5 The voice of the Lord breaketh the cedars: yea, the Lord shall break the cedars of Libanus.
6 And shall reduce them to pieces, as a calf of Libanus, and as the beloved son of unicorns.
7 The voice of the Lord divideth the flame of fire: 8 The voice of the Lord shaketh the desert: and the Lord shall shake the desert of Cades.
9 The voice of the Lord prepareth the stags: and he will discover the thick woods: and in his temple all shall speak his glory.
10 The Lord maketh the flood to dwell: and the Lord shall sit king for ever.
The Lord will give strength to his people: the Lord will bless his people with peace.