Psalm xliii. (Deus auribus nostris.)
Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Understanding. See Psalm xli. (Menochius) — David or the Corites composed this piece, to comfort the just under persecution. (Berthier) — It may allude to the situation of the Jews at Babylon, (Calmet) or under Antiochus Epiphanes, (Ven. Bede) though St. Paul, (Romans viii. 36.) applies ver. 22. to the persecutions of the primitive Christians, which seems to shew, that the whole psalm refers to them, (Berthier) as the Fathers have explained it. Yet it may literally be understood of the Israelites (Calmet) also, (Haydock) as well as the Christian martyrs, since all things happened to the Israelites in figure. (Worthington)
Ver. 2. Old, in calling Abraham, and rescuing the Hebrews for the Egyptian bondage, &c. (Worthington) — God formerly protected our Fathers; but how are things changed? (Calmet) — Gideon uses nearly the same words, Judges vi. (Menochius)
Ver. 3. Plantedst them, thy people. See Jeremias ii. 21., and xii. 10., and Ezechiel xvii. 6. — Out, by means of insects, &c., Wisdom xii. 8., and Josue xxiv. 12. (Calmet) — The Hebrews were miraculously assisted, (Worthington) without any merit of their own, (Calmet) as all were wicked at first. Yet Abraham was freely chosen, that the visible Church might be preserved. (Worthington)
Ver. 5. Saving (salutes) the manifold instances of protection. (Haydock)
Ver. 6. Horn, like bulls. (Worthington) — This we have done in former times. (Calmet) — Not man’s strength, but God’s favour, granteth the victory. (Worthington)
Ver. 9. We glory. Literally, “be praised.” (Haydock) — We have always attributed our success to thee. (Calmet)
Ver. 10. Now. He foretelleth divers states of the Jews, and of the Church. (Worthington)
Ver. 11. To. Literally, “after,” post. They were formerly defeated; now it is our turn. (Haydock)
Ver. 12. Nations. Many never returned from captivity. (Calmet) See Deuteronomy xxviii. 43.
Ver. 13. Reckoning. Protestants, “thou dost not increase thy wealth by their price.” (Haydock) — Thou art eager to get quit of them, as of the vilest slaves. (Theodoret; Grotius) (Isaias l. 2., and lii. 3.) Exchange. Some copies of the Septuagint read allalagmasi, “jubilations,” with the Ethiopic. (St. Augustine, &c.) — While others have more correctly allagmasi, like the Vulgate. There were none to purchase, so that thou hast given the people for nothing. (Calmet) — At the last siege of Jerusalem, the Jews, who had sold (Worthington) or bought Christ for thirty pieces of money, (Haydock) were themselves sold for the smallest price; thirty being given for one penny. See Josephus, Jewish Wars. (Worthington)
Ver. 15. Head, out of contempt. (Menochius) — The Gentiles propose us as an example of a people fallen a prey to the divine indignation, 4 Kings xix. 21., and Lamentations ii. 15.
Ver. 17. Detracteth me. St. Jerome, “blasphemeth” God, while they upbraid us, as a faithless people. (Calmet)
Ver. 18. Covenant. Till the passion of Christ, the Jews did not wholly fall from God, and then many were chosen from among them, to found the Christian religion. (Worthington) — The Corites speak in the name of their faithful brethren, whom no provocation had induced to follow the superstitious practices of Babylon. (Calmet)
Ver. 19. Neither. Literally, “and or yet.” (Haydock) — But the negative particle is taken (Worthington) from the first part of the verse. (Calmet) — St. Jerome, “Neither hast thou,” &c. (Menochius) — Yet many adhere to the Hebrew, &c., “And thou hast turned,” &c. Though it may be taken in a dangerous sense, (Calmet) yet it may only signify, (Haydock) that God had removed his people from the country where his worship was observed, and had refused them his protection; hence their paths have been unfortunate. (Theodoret) — This agrees better with the sequel. (Berthier) — It is no proof that God is the author of sin, in either sense. (Tirinus)
Ver. 20. Affliction. Hebrew, or “dragons,” (St. Jerome; Menochius) alluding to the deserts, to which the Jews retired, when the Assyrians invaded them. The text may be more applicable to the first Christians, who might truly say, that they had not transgressed. (Houbigant) — To the martyrs, death was but like a shadow. (St. Gregory) (Mark iv. 17.) — Here it denotes great darkness and misery. (Menochius)
Ver. 21. If we. This is a Hebrew idiom, to express, we have not. (Worthington)
Ver. 22. Slaughter. They will not suffer us to be quiet respecting our religion, striving to delude us: or, if we prove resolute, like Daniel, they expose us to torments. (Calmet) — This was more fully verified at the first propagation of the gospel, (Romans viii. 36.) as it still continues to be among those, who cease not to persecute Catholics by artifice, as well as by open violence. Christians in every age (Haydock) are persecuted, more than the prophets (Worthington) generally were. (Haydock)
Ver. 23. Sleepest thou, seeming not to attend to our sufferings. (Menochius) — End, shall we never be restored to favour? (Calmet)
Ver. 25. Dust. We are at death’s door, being oppressed with grief, as long as thou dost not assist us. (Worthington) — We petition in the most fervent (Haydock) and humble posture, Isaias xlix. 23., and Micheas vii. 17. (Calmet)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
The Church commemorates former favours, and present afflictions; under which she prays for succour.
1 Unto the end, for the sons of Core, to give understanding.
2 We have heard, O God, with our ears: our fathers have declared to us,
The work thou hast wrought in their days, and in the days of old.
3 Thy hand destroyed the Gentiles, and thou plantedst them: thou didst afflict the people, and cast them out.
4 For they got not the possession of the land by their own sword: neither did their own arm save them.
But thy right hand and thy arm, and the light of thy countenance: because thou wast pleased with them.
5 Thou art thyself my king and my God: who commandest the saving of Jacob.
6 Through thee we will push down our enemies with the horn: and through thy name we will despise them that rise up against us.
7 For I will not trust in my bow: neither shall my sword save me.
8 But thou hast saved us from them that afflict us: and hast put them to shame that hate us.
9 In God shall we glory all the day long: and in thy name we will give praise for ever.
10 But now thou hast cast us off, and put us to shame: and thou, O God, wilt not go out with our armies.
11 Thou hast made us turn our back to our enemies: and they that hated us, plundered for themselves.
12 Thou hast given us up like sheep to be eaten: thou hast scattered us among the nations.
13 Thou hast sold thy people for no price: and there was no reckoning in the exchange of them.
14 Thou hast made us a reproach to our neighbours, a scoff and derision to them that are round about us.
15 Thou hast made us a bye-word among the Gentiles: a shaking of the head among the peoples.
16 All the day long my shame is before me: and the confusion of my face hath covered me.
17 At the voice of him that reproacheth and detracteth me: at the face of the enemy and persecutor.
18 All these things have come upon us; yet we have not forgotten thee: and we have not done wickedly in thy covenant.
19 And our heart hath not turned back: neither hast thou turned aside our steps from thy way.
20 For thou hast humbled us in the place of affliction: and the shadow of death hath covered us.
21 If we have forgotten the name of our God, and if we have spread forth our hands to a strange god:
22 Shall not God search out these things: for he knoweth the secrets of the heart.
*Because for thy sake we are killed all the day long: we are counted as sheep for the slaughter.
23 Arise, why sleepest thou, O Lord? arise, and cast us not off to the end.
24 Why turnest thou thy face away? and forgettest our want and our trouble?
25 For our soul is humbled down to the dust: our belly cleaveth to the earth.
26 Arise, O Lord, help us and redeem us for thy name’s sake.
22: Romans viii. 36.