Psalm xxxv. (Dixit injustus.)
Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Himself. Psalm is understood. It is expressed in St. Ambrose and St. Jerome, (Calmet) and in the Alexandrian Septuagint. (Haydock) — Eusebius improperly assigns the cause of the omission to the piece being of a moral nature. Many suppose it refers to Saul, who had promised that he would give ear no more to the detractors of David, when the latter restored to him his spear and cup, 1 Kings xxvi. (Theodoret, &c.) — But it seems rather to express the sentiments of the captives at Babylon, like the Psalms x., xi., xiii., and lii. (Calmet) — David gloried in the title of servant of the Lord, though he bore the sceptre, Psalm xvii., (Berthier) and Psalm cxv. 16. (Menochius) — He applies this instruction to himself, and to all in the lowest stations. (Worthington)
Ver. 2. Himself. Hebrew libbi, “in my heart.” But this is visibly incorrect, and we should substitute lobu, as St. Jerome, Chaldean, Syriac, &c., have done. (Calmet) — Yet Symmachus translates, “concerning the disorder of the impious within, my heart has said, there,” &c. Hebrew may also signify, “the transgression of the wicked saith within my heart.” (Protestants) (Haydock) — I am inwardly convinced how great the malice of the wicked may be. It touches me to the very heart. Both senses are good. The wicked are bent on evil, and this fills the virtuous with grief. (Berthier) — Eyes. They sin publicly, (Psalm xiii. 1.; Calmet) and on purpose, preferring vice before virtue, (Worthington) and constantly bent on doing evil, so that they become odious to all. (Menochius)
Ver. 3. Unto hatred. That is, hateful to God (Challoner) and man; (Haydock) or that he may be able to hurt, as Hebrew also may insinuate. (Berthier) — Septuagint, “to find and hate his iniquity.” But he acts not with sincerity. He wishes to defend his evil ways. (St. Augustine, &c.) — He still flatters himself with impunity, Psalm ix. 25., or x. 11. To find, often means to punish, Genesis xliv. 16., &c. (Calmet) — God frequently abandons those who sin through malice. (Worthington)
Ver. 4. Well, to those in distress, Psalm xl. 2. Though wise enough in worldly concerns, he seemed quite ignorant when any virtuous actions were proposed. (Calmet) — Sometimes ignorance is excusable when a person does his best to obtain knowledge. But when he is negligent, the ignorance is gross, and sinful in proportion to the importance of the thing. If one desire to be ignorant to prevent remorse, this only increases the guilt, and God often leaves such destitute of the ordinary graces which he gives to others; so that they fall into a reprobate sense, and into more horrible sins. (Worthington)
Ver. 5. Set himself, “persevering” in wickedness. (St. Augustine)
Ver. 6. Clouds. The mercy of God is great, and his fidelity indisputable. Some think these were concealed till the coming of the Messias; (Psalm lxxxiv. 11.; St. Bernard) and many of the Fathers accuse Aristotle of confining Providence to the regions above the moon, by perverting this text. (St. Clement of Alexandria, strom. 5., &c.) — But Gesner has produced 30 passages from that author which prove both a general and particular Providence. (Calmet) — God does not leave the most wilful sinner without some good motions, and sufficient grace, that they may repent if they do not harden their own hearts. He has promised such helps, and is most faithful and desirous to receive again the penitent sinner. (Worthington)
Ver. 7. Of God. A title which is often given to things of superior excellence. So divina condimenta of Plautus, (Pseudol.) denote ragouts or sauces of the best quality; (Haydock) and sacra fames of Virgil, means great hunger. See Jonas iii. 3., Canticle of Canticles viii. 6. — Deep. After praising the mercy of God, the psalmist expresses his admiration of his inscrutable justice, Romans xi. 33. (Calmet) — Preserve, salvabis. The latter are designed only for man’s benefit, and will end with time. (Haydock) — But man is destined for eternal happiness, ver. 9. (Calmet) — God wishes the salvation of both the learned and of the stupid, (St. Jerome; Worthington) of the Jew and Gentile, (Arnob.; 1 Timothy iv. 10.) of good and bad. He makes his sun to shine on both, Matthew v. 45. (Eusebius) (Piscator) (Calmet)
Ver. 8. O how. So the Hebrew and Septuagint read; quemadmodum may also (Berthier) signify “as.” God has given such proofs of his great mercies to all. (Haydock) — Of men. People must lay aside their stupidity and resemblance with brutes, to obtain the eternal joys which are prepared for men. (Worthington)
Ver. 9. House. In the temple, (Calmet) or in the Church of God. (St. Ambrose) — The pleasures enjoyed by this communion of saints, (Haydock) is but a foretaste of what may be expected in heaven. (Calmet)
Ver. 10. With thee, Lord, is the fountain of life, Jesus Christ. — See light, or the Holy Ghost. (St. Ambrose) (Theodoret) — We shall see thee, Father of light, in thy Son. (Origen, Prin. i. 1.) (Calmet) — The saints behold in the light of God all that they can desire to know; and of course they will not be unacquainted with our wants and petitions, though they have not the asses’ ears of Calvin. (Haydock) — Light and life denote all happiness. (Calmet) — The psalmist might have a sublime idea of these pleasures. (Berthier) — But none will presently understand their excellence till they are put in possession of them. (Haydock)
Ver. 11. Mercy and justice, are here of the same import. (Bellarmine) (Muis) — Deliver us from captivity, and extend thy mercies to all thy people. (Calmet) — Heart. Many who have sufficient learning, are destitute of this better quality. The right of heart are always more knowing than those who are only learned in speculation, and puffed up with pride. (Berthier)
Ver. 12. Sinner. Hebrew and Septuagint, “sinners,” who are always striving to supplant the just by pride and evil example. (Berthier) — Let me not listen to their wicked advice. (St. Augustine) — Let not the enemy invade our country any more. (Calmet) — The just may pray that no bad example or pride may place an obstacle to his salvation. (Worthington)
Ver. 13. There. The devil fell by pride, and man by his persuasion. Neither could escape punishment. (Worthington) — There, in heaven, (St. Jerome) and in paradise, pride proved fatal; (Calmet) while it will be punished in hell. (St. Ambrose) — Pride and injustice will entail destruction upon our persecutors. Babylon shall shortly fall a prey to Cyrus. (Calmet) — Stand. Hebrew kum, “rise again.” The proud are seldom converted, (Berthier) and the rebel angels had no redress. (Menochius)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
The malice of sinners, and the goodness of God.
1 Unto the end, for the servant of God, David himself.
2 The unjust hath said within himself, that he would sin: there is no fear of God before his eyes.
3 *For in his sight he hath done deceitfully, that his iniquity may be found unto hatred.
4 The words of his mouth are iniquity and guile: he would not understand that he might do well.
5 He hath devised iniquity on his bed, he hath set himself on every way that is not good: but evil he hath not hated.
6 O Lord, thy mercy is in heaven, and thy truth reacheth even to the clouds.
7 Thy justice is as the mountains of God, thy judgments are a great deep.
Men and beasts thou wilt preserve, O Lord: 8 O how hast thou multiplied thy mercy, O God!
But the children of men shall put their trust under the covert of thy wings.
9 They shall be inebriated with the plenty of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the torrent of thy pleasure.
10 For with thee is the fountain of life; and in thy light we shall see light.
11 Extend thy mercy to them that know thee, and thy justice to them that are right in heart.
12 Let not the foot of pride come to me, and let not the hand of the sinner move me.
13 There the workers of iniquity are fallen, they are cast out, and could not stand.
3: Psalm xiii. 3.