Psalm xxix. (Exaltabo te Domine.)
Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Dedication, when David sung after he had (Haydock) built a magnificent palace, 2 Kings v. (Worthington) — David’s, ledavid, or “to David,” which some rather join with Psalm, (Muis) and explain the house of the tabernacle or temple; though it seems more probably to relate to the altar, which David erected, after the pestilence (Calmet) had destroyed 70,000, 2 Kings xxiv. 25. There seems to be nothing respecting a dedication in the psalm; whence we may conjecture that the title is not very authentic. The Greeks (Berthier) prefixed “unto the end,” in the Roman Septuagint, but not Grabe’s, &c. (Haydock) — The Rabbins inform us that this psalm was used when people brought their first fruits to the temple, and that it will be sung at the dedication of the temple, which the expect the Messias will erect. (Selden, Syn. iii. 13.) — The Fathers explain it of Christ’s resurrection. (Calmet) — It may be put in the mouth of a just man leaving this world. (Berthier) — the title of Psalm, most properly belongs to those which were played upon instruments; as a canticle refers to vocal music. When the instrument preceded, it was called A psalm of a canticle; as a canticle of a psalm intimated that man gave out the psalm, and instruments followed. (Worthington) — These distinctions are given by St. Chrysostom, &c. (Menochius)
Ver. 2. Extol. Or publish thy great goodness and power, (Haydock) in the same sense as we say Hallowed be thy name. (Berthier) — Though God can receive no increase of glory, we must shew our gratitude. (Worthington) — Me. Thou hast not suffered my people to be wholly destroyed, nor myself to perish in consequence of my vain curiosity. (Calmet) — David sings this psalm in thanksgiving for his many deliverances. (Worthington)
Ver. 3. Healed me. I expected to die every moment, and I had made choice of the scourge of pestilence, that I might not be more screened than my subjects, 2 Kings xxiv. 13. (Calmet)
Ver. 4. Hell. Preserving me from great dangers of sinning, (Worthington) or from death. — Saved. Hebrew, “granted me life.” This may all be explained of Christ’s resurrection. (Calmet)
Ver. 5. Saints. Hebrew, “who have obtained mercy.” Priests and faithful people come to return thanks, because God has turned away the scourge. (Calmet) — Memory, or name, Exodus iii. 15. (Calmet) — It is from God, and not from ourselves, that holiness comes. (Worthington)
Ver. 6. Wrath, which is a short fury. (Menochius) (Isaias liv. 7.) — Hebrew, “momentary is his indignation;” or rather, “from his indignation comes destruction,” roga, as the Septuagint constantly (Haydock) agree, Job xx. 5., and Isaias xxviii. 12., &c. (Calmet) — “The miseries which are inflicted, are in consequence of his indignation.” (Prin. dis. Berthier)— We are not miserable unless we have deserved it. (St. Augustine) — Even in chastising, God considers our welfare. (Worthington) — He takes no pleasure in our torments, but delights to crown us with life and happiness. (Haydock) — Eternal joys are the fruits of the short sorrows of this world, (Berthier) which is represented as one night or evening. (Haydock) — A few moments ago Jerusalem expected nothing but destruction. Thus the apostles grieved till Christ rose again; (Calmet) and the life of the just is a constant vicissitude of sorrow and of comfort. (Worthington)
Ver. 7. Moved. David thought himself invincible; and, out of vanity, ordered his subjects to be numbered. God shewed his displeasure only for three days, and all was in confusion, ver. 8. (Calmet) — Though we may imagine that we are firmly established, we must acknowledge that all our strength is derived from God, who sometimes leaves us to experience our own weakness. (Worthington)
Ver. 8. Beauty. So Septuagint and Syriac have read ledre, (Calmet) instead of leharri, “my mountain,” Sion, which David had taken from the Jebusites. The sense is much the same, though the reading of the Septuagint seem more natural. Symmachus has followed another copy. (Berthier) — “Thou hast given strength to my first father.” (Calmet) — The present Hebrew is rejected by Houbigant, (Berthier) though it be conformable to Aquila, St. Jerome, &c. How necessary is it for us to be convinced, that all we have is the gift of God! (Haydock) — In prosperity man is too apt to give way to presumption. (Berthier) — David had yielded to this temptation, not being sufficiently aware how jealous God is of his rights. (Calmet) — He confesses this mistake. Hebrew, “I was terrifies.” (Menochius)
Ver. 9. Will I. We must not cease to pray, (Worthington) as we are always beset with enemies. (Haydock) — This text may be explained, “I prayed,” that I might suffer instead of my people, 4 Kings xxiv. 17. (Calmet) — But here the prophet seems rather to beg that he may not die, in order that he may publish God’s praises. (Haydock)
Ver. 10. Profit. The wicked on his death bed, cannot pray thus, as the justice of God is interested to punish his crimes, and to prevent their continuance. After death there is no merit; so that we ought to make good use of our time. (Berthier) — Corruption. The Fathers explain this of Jesus Christ. What good will my death procure, if I do not rise again? (Origen; St. Jerome) — Truth. See Psalm lxxxvii. 11., and Baruch ii. 17. (Calmet) — The dead cannot make their voice heard in this world, though they may praise God in the other. (Menochius)
Ver. 11. The Lord. Hebrew points determine, “Lord, hear,” &c. But the Greek interpreters agree with the Vulgate, which seems better. (Berthier) — St. Jerome, however, makes this a prayer. “Hear,” &c. (Haydock)
Ver. 12. Joy. When thou orderest the angel, 2 Kings xxiv. 16. (Calmet) — Sackcloth, of human nature, which was cut, and the price of our redemption came forth. (St. Augustine; St. Jerome) — Thou hast changed my mourning weeds for robes of joy. (Du Hamel)
Ver. 13. Regret. Or be filled with grief, compungar. (Haydock) — Hebrew, “that glory may sing thee, (or thy praise) and may not be silent.” (St. Jerome; Symmachus) (Haydock) — Glory often signifies the tongue. (Du Hamel) — My is added, to shew that this was David’s glory, (Haydock) who considered God in all events. (Berthier) — Protestants supply the word my. (Haydock) — Chaldean, “that the great ones of the world may praise thee incessantly.” — Ever. In this my happy change. (Worthington) — Those who suppose that David sung this, when he purified his house from the abominations of Absalom, explain his illness (ver. 2.) to mean the anxiety caused by that revolt, 2 Kings xvi. 21. (Bossuet) (Calmet) — He gives thanks for the favour which God had shown him on that, or on any other occasion. (Haydock) — He might consider this purifying as a sort of dedication, as it was customary to dedicate even private houses, Deuteronomy xx. 5. (Calmet)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
David praiseth God for his deliverance, and his merciful dealings with him.
1 A psalm of a canticle, at the dedication of David’s house.
2 I will extol thee, O Lord, for thou hast upheld me: and hast not made my enemies to rejoice over me.
3 O Lord, my God, I have cried to thee, and thou hast healed me.
4 Thou hast brought forth, O Lord, my soul from hell: thou hast saved me from them that go down into the pit.
5 Sing to the Lord, O ye his saints: and give praise to the memory of his holiness.
6 For wrath is in his indignation; and life in his good will.
In the evening, weeping shall have place, and in the morning, gladness.
7 And in my abundance I said: I shall never be moved.
8 O Lord, in thy favour, thou gavest strength to my beauty.
Thou turnedst away thy face from me, and I became troubled.
9 To thee, O Lord, will I cry; and I will make supplication to my God.
10 What profit is there in my blood, whilst I go down to corruption?
Shall dust confess to thee, or declare thy truth?
11 The Lord hath heard, and hath had mercy on me: the Lord became my helper.
12 Thou hast turned for me my mourning into joy: thou hast cut my sackcloth, and hast compassed me with gladness:
13 To the end that my glory may sing to thee, and I may not regret: O Lord, my God, I will give praise to thee for ever.