Psalm xliv. (Eructavit cor meum.)
Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. For them that shall be changed, i.e., For souls happily changed, by being converted to God; (Challoner) or it may allude to the variety of speakers here introduced. (Berthier) — Protestants leave shoshannim, which some translate, “on the lilies,” (Aquila; St. Jerome) or “instrument of six strings.” (Calmet) — The beloved, viz., our Lord Jesus Christ. (Challoner) — Hebrew, “of loves;” or of the young women, friends of the bride, (yedidoth) who sung the Epithalamium, as we see in the 18th Idyl of Theocritus. The Jews formerly explained this psalm of the Messias, as well as all the Fathers after the apostles, Hebrew, i. 8. Many passages cannot refer to Solomon’s marriage with the daughter of Pharao, though some might be referred to that event, as a figure of Christ’s union with his Church. (Calmet) — The whole had better be understood of Christ, (Berthier) being intended for the instruction of all converts from paganism and schism. (Worthington)
Ver. 2. Uttered. Hebrew rachash, “boileth,” as one unable to contain himself. (Berthier) — Speak, or “dedicate,” dico, (Haydock) though here it only means to speak. (Calmet) — He addresses the object of his praise, instead of invoking the muses. (St. Jerome) — Swiftly. I have not to meditate. (Calmet) — The Holy Ghost moves my tongue, (2 Peter i. 21.) as fast as my hands can write, Jeremias xxxvi. 18., and 4 Esdras xiv. 39. (Haydock) — High mysteries, in honour of the great king, occupy my thoughts, and to him I refer this canticle. (Worthington)
Ver. 3. Beautiful. The corporal beauty of Christ may be problematical. (Haydock) — But justice is the truest beauty. (St. Augustine) — All admired his eloquence, (Luke iv. 22., and John vii. 46.) and innumerable converts were made, by the preaching of his word. (St. Jerome) — The young women here address the spouse. — Therefore, I say, (Rabbins) or “because” God hath chosen thee freely. Solomon was styled the beloved, (2 Kings xii. 25.) and was highly favoured, Wisdom viii. 20., and 3 Kings iv. 29., &c. But this was only a figure of Jesus Christ, (Calmet) whose hypostatical union was an effect of gratuitous predestination, (St. Augustine, prĉd. xv.) though his other graces were merited. (St. Chrysostom) (Sa) (Calmet) — He was most excellent in all sorts of gifts. (Worthington)
Ver. 4. Mighty. (Potentissime) Erasmus (Apol. con. Sutor.) complains, that he could not learn, whether this was a noun or an adverb, without consulting the originals. (Amama)
Ver. 5. Reign. Devise, execute, and perfect the establishment of thy spiritual kingdom. (Worthington) — Solomon was no warrior; but he only wanted enemies to be so. The sword of Christ is his word, (Hebrews iv. 12.) anger, (Apocalypse xix. 15.; Calmet) or human nature. (St. Jerome) — Some translate, “and ride,” because kings were mounted on chariots, and governed their people with the reins of justice, &c. (Robertson) — Justice. These titles are eagerly desired by monarchs; as martial prowess, clemency, and justice, (Calmet) render them objects of terror, and of love. (Haydock) — Christ conquered by his miracles, mildness, &c., (Calmet) propagating the truth, and punishing the rebellious. (Worthington) (Psalm ii. 8.)
Ver. 6. Fall. This seems to be placed too soon, in order to shew the rapidity of the conquest. (Calmet) — “Thy arrows are sharp, shot into the hearts,” &c. (Haydock) — Some explain in corde, (as the Hebrew, Septuagint, &c., read) of the voluntary submission of those who had formerly been enemies of the Messias. (St. Chrysostom, &c.) — “Thy sharp arrows, the people subject to thee, shall fall into,” &c. — Men are sometimes represented as arrows, Isaias xlix. 2. (Berthier)
Ver. 7. O God, O Theos. The Septuagint thus mark the vocative case, (Psalm cxxxviii. 17.; Haydock) and it is clear, that the Messias is here styled God, (Hebrews i. 8.) though some of the Jews would evade this proof by saying, “God is thy throne,” 1 Paralipomenon xxix. 23. Even Munster translates, O Deus, and the Jew Agesila, o Thee. Elohim is never addressed to any one by the prophets, but to the true God, (Berthier) and this title alludes to the judicial character of Christ, (Acts x. 42.; Calmet) of whose kingdom there shall be no end, Luke i. 33. — Calvin is very bold in asserting, that David spoke properly of Solomon, as if the apostle had applied the text to our Saviour only in the mystical sense; whereas many things cannot belong to the former, and the Chaldean and Fathers expound this psalm of Christ and his Church. — Solomon did not persevere in wisdom, and his beauty was equalled by that of Absalom, &c. (Worthington) — Crellius and Grotius in vain attempted to weaken this proof of Christ’s divinity, as a Jew, who disputed with Origen, did. (Origen, contra Cels. i.) (Du Hamel) (Haydock)
Ver. 8. God. Symmachus Thee. (Theophylactus) — Elohim is used in both places, (Haydock) with a singular verb, as being spoken of the Deity. (St. Irenĉus iii. 6.) (Bossuet) (Du Hamel) — “O Elohim, thy Elohim,” (Haydock) which implies more than one person in God. (Berthier) — Many king might be preferred to Solomon; but Christ was raised above all. (Worthington) — Fellows. In consequence of the free gift of God, in uniting the human nature to the second person, the Messias advanced in glory; (Haydock) or rather the prophet speaks of his subsequent merits, which entitled him to the greatest felicity. — The oil of gladness, alludes to the reward of his labours. Dia touto seems to require this sense, though the Hebrew may be rendered, “because.” (Berthier) — Either the cause or the effect may be meant. (Menochius) — Solomon was chosen before many of his elder brothers; but Christ was anointed by the Holy Ghost, Acts x. 38. (Calmet)
Ver. 9. Perfume. Literally, “from thy garments, from the ivory houses, out of which they have delighted thee, (10.) the daughters of kings, in thy honour.” They esteem it an honour to wait upon thee, and perfume thy robes, which are placed in chests of ivory, with odoriferous herbs. (Haydock) — The ancients admired such garments, Genesis xxvii. 27., and Amos iii. 15. — They had been given, together with the ivory boxes, as a present to Solomon at his marriage, and might give him delight, (Calmet) as it was then deemed unpolite to refuse a present. (Homer, Odyssey S.) — Stacte. Literally, “the drop” gutta, (Haydock) distils from the myrrh, the wood of settim, (Numbers xxiv. 6.) and may denote aloes, but not the plant. (Calmet) — Mortification and humility (Worthington) raise the soul on high, 2 Corinthians ii. 16. (Haydock) — The blessed Virgin [Mary] is here styled a house of ivory. The Church, and all who observe purity, may be considered as God’s temples, 1 Corinthians iii. 17. (Calmet) — The virtues of Christ are this precious perfume. (St. Augustine, &c.) — Houses. Septuagint Bareis, a word which means “a tower.” Some have not understood this, and have rendered it, gravibus, “heavy,” (St. Jerome, ad Prin.) which others have improperly correct by gradibus, “steps.” (Calmet) — Houbigant would change three words, and translate, “from ivory vessels, the vases of thy anointing.”
Ver. 10-11. Clothing. Hebrew, “in gold of Ophir.” (Haydock) — The Church is spotless, Ephesians v. 26. The attendants of this glorious queen, are the nations converted, or Christian virgins. They are not the maids of Pharao’s daughter, whose marriage was never commended. (Berthier) — House. Paganism, and the observances of the old law. (Berthier) — The Church, and every faithful soul, may be styled the daughter, as well as the spouse of Christ.
Ver. 12. Lord. Hebrew adonaiic, “thy master,” and worship him, (Haydock) like a dutiful wife, 1 Peter iii. 6., and 3 Kings i. 16. — God is not found in the Septuagint. The title belongs to Jesus Christ, the spouse, who has been twice called God before. (Calmet)
Ver. 13. Daughters of Tyre; the city, with her dependant villages. (Bossuet) — Tyre might send presents on this grand occasion, or might even pay tribute, 2 Paralipomenon ix. 26. (Calmet) — Idolatrous nations submitted to Christ. (Berthier)
Ver. 14. Is within. Roman Septuagint, &c., have “of Hesebon,” by mistake, for Esothen. (Calmet) — Queens in the East, could not appear much abroad. (Kimchi) — When they go out, they cannot be seen. The beauty of the Church consists in virtue, and in the grace of God. (Calmet) — Borders. Charity influences the exterior works of piety, (Tirinus) and gives beauty to the ceremonies (St. Basil) and decorations used by the Church, with such magnificence. (Haydock)
Ver. 15. Neighbours. The Jews, as well as the Gentiles, shall embrace the faith. (Calmet) — Virginity became honourable only after the coming of Christ. (St. Chrysostom)
Ver. 16. Temple. Even virgins (Haydock) out of the Church, cannot please the king. (St. Augustine) (Worthington)
Ver. 17. Sons. Protestants, “shall be thy children.” (Haydock) — This was the wish of those present. But it does not appear that the daughter of Pharao had any children, (Calmet) and thus it seems improbable, that she is here spoken of, as the psalmist foretells the establishment and glory (Berthier) of the Church, by means of the apostles, (St. Chrysostom) and their successors, who are made princes over all the world. Let those who are cut off acknowledge this, and come to the unity, that they may be introduced into the temple of the king. (St. Augustine) (Worthington) — Innumerable saints of all ranks, kings and emperors, acknowledge the Church for their mother, and submit to her. (Calmet)
Ver. 18. They. Hebrew, Septuagint of Aldus and Complutensian, and the Greek Fathers, have “I will;” yet this is contrary to the Vatican and Alexandrian Septuagint, (Berthier) and seems less accurate. (Houbigant) — The prophet was not to life for ever, so that the fame of the Church was to be spread by others. (Berthier) — Ever. There shall be pastors and faithful people to the end. (Worthington)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
The excellence of Christ’s kingdom, and the endowments of his Church.
1 Unto the end, for them that shall be changed, for the sons of Core, for understanding: A canticle for the beloved.
2 My heart hath uttered a good word: I speak my works to the king:
My tongue is the pen of a scrivener that writeth swiftly.
3 Thou art beautiful above the sons of men: grace is poured abroad in thy lips; therefore hath God blessed thee for ever
4 Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O thou most mighty.
5 With thy comeliness and thy beauty set out, proceed prosperously, and reign.
Because of truth, and meekness, and justice: and thy right hand shall conduct thee wonderfully.
6 Thy arrows are sharp: under thee shall people fall, into the hearts of the king’s enemies.
7 *Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: the sceptre of thy kingdom is a sceptre of uprightness.
8 Thou hast loved justice, and hated iniquity: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
9 Myrrh, and stacte, and cassia, perfume thy garments, from the ivory houses: out of which 10 the daughters of kings have delighted thee in thy glory.
The queen stood on thy right hand, in gilded clothing: surrounded with variety.
11 Hearken, O daughter, and see, and incline thy ear: and forget thy people and thy father’s house.
12 And the king shall greatly desire thy beauty; for he is the Lord thy God, and him they shall adore.
13 And the daughters of Tyre with gifts, yea, all the rich among the people, shall entreat thy countenance.
14 All the glory of the king’s daughter is within in golden borders, 15 clothed round about with varieties.
After her shall virgins be brought to the king: her neighbours shall be brought to thee.
16 They shall be brought with gladness and rejoicing: they shall be brought into the temple of the king.
17 Instead of thy fathers, sons are born to thee: thou shalt make them princes over all the earth.
18 They shall remember thy name throughout all generations.
Therefore shall people praise thee for ever; yea, for ever and ever.
7: Hebrews i. 8.