Psalm xlvii. (Magnus Dominus.)
Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. On the, &c., is not in Hebrew nor Eusebius, &c. It means Sunday, (St. Ambrose; Worthington) or rather Monday, being sung on that day. (St. Jerome, &c.) (Haydock) — The subject of the former canticle is continued, in thanksgiving to God, for some signal victory, or for the peace which God afforded to his people, after the death of Cambyses. (Calmet) — The Fathers explain it of the propagation and peace of the Church. (Haydock)
Ver. 2. City, or temple, which lay to the north of old Jerusalem, on Sion. (Calmet) — Yet Genebrard, &c., place this mountain south of Salem. (Menochius) — The concourse of priests and people gave it the appearance of a great city, Ezechiel xl. 2., and Isaias xiv. 13. — The Church is built upon a rock. [Matthew xvi. 18.] (Calmet) — The Jews and Christians are under the greatest obligation of praising God. (Worthington)
Ver. 3. With. Hebrew, “the beautiful situation, the joy of the whole earth, (Menochius) Sion, sides of,” &c. Chaldean, “Sion, thou art beautiful as a bride.” Christ’s Church is thus described, Apocalypse xxi. 2. (Calmet) — Its figure, (Haydock) the temple, was the glory of the whole country, Psalm xxv. 8., and Lamentations ii. 15. (Calmet) — But the Church alone extends to the sides of the north, or over the world. (Worthington)
Ver. 4. Houses. Hebrew, “palaces;” Septuagint, “towers.” Baresi, a word which has again been mistaken for gravibus or gradibus, as [in] ver. 14., and Psalm xliv. 9. God is the defence of his people, (Proverbs xviii. 10.) the Church, Matthew xvi. 18. (Calmet) — All particular houses, or churches, must come to the unity of faith, (Worthington) and to the seat of Peter. (St. Irenęus iii.)
Ver. 5. Earth is superfluous. (St. Jerome, ad Sun.) (Calmet) — Yet it is found in the Vatican Septuagint, &c. (Haydock) — The kings of the earth assembled against the Church, (Psalm ii. 2.) as many came to oppose Jerusalem, under Cambyses, Ezechiel xxxviii. 2, 13. (Calmet)
Ver. 6. Saw. They could not say, like Cęsar, Veni, vidi, vici. For they no sooner came to invade the unsuspecting people, than they began to tremble, Ezechiel xxxviii. 11., &c., and Psalm xlv. 7. (Haydock)
Ver. 7. There, denotes the promptitude of vengeance, as well as the following allusion, Isaias xiii. 8., and 1 Thessalonians v. 3.
Ver. 8. Vehement. Hebrew, “eastern.” — Tharsis, such strong-built ships, as might go to Tarsus, in Cilicia, (Genesis x. 4.; Calmet) or to India. (Menochius) — The merchants of Tharsis, the naval officers, shall say, &c. There shall be a great commotion, &c., Ezechiel xxxviii. 13, 19. — The same storm proved fatal to the land and sea-forces of Cambyses. His navy is mentioned by Herodotus, (iii. 11., and 44.) and was probably stationed over against Acco, or Ptolemais, as the king perished at the foot of Carmel. (Calmet) — Nothing maketh a deeper impression than the sentiments of religion. God’s grace enableth the soul to sustain all conflicts, and to overcome. (Worthington)
Ver. 9. Seen. All the promises have been fulfilled. How could any one have thought that we should have been permitted to dedicate this temple under the patronage of the king of Persia? (1 Esdras vi. 8.) Who would not have feared, lest the Christian religion should perish, under such violent persecutions? Converts admire its beauty and strength. (Calmet) — The completion of the prophecies is a wonderful confirmation and comfort of Christians, (Worthington) whose faith is founded indeed for ever. (Haydock) — The gates of hell shall not prevail. [Matthew xvi. 18.] (Menochius)
Ver. 10. Temple. Naou. Septuagint, St. Ambrose, &c., though the Vatican and Alexandrian copies have Laou, “people,” with the Arabic, Ethiopic, St. Augustine, &c. (Haydock) — In the Church we receive many graces, (Calmet) even Christ himself, (St. Ambrose) to which those who refuse to be Catholics, can have no title. (Worthington)
Ver. 11. Earth. All who hear of the wonders of God, must praise him; and who can be ignorant of what He has done, (Calmet) in the defeat of the enemies of his people, (Haydock) of Sennacherib, Cambyses, &c.? Yet all the earth will be instructed only by the propagation of the Gospel. (Calmet) — Justice, against thy enemies, (Haydock) though this word may here imply “mercy,” in opposition to the judgments, ver. 12. (Calmet) — These perfections are never at variance. (Worthington)
Ver. 12. Juda. Septuagint, Symmachus, &c., have “Judea,” (Calmet) which would intimate, that the psalm was composed after the captivity. But the Hebrew reads Yehuda, “Juda,” with St. Jerome. (Haydock)
Ver. 13. Surround. Hebrew, “walk round, (Haydock) tell her towers.” (St. Jerome)
Ver. 14. Strength. Perhaps the outward wall, (Ezechiel xl. 5.) not seen in Solomon’s temple. — Houses. Hebrew, “palaces.” Septuagint, “houses built like towers,” Bareis. Jerusalem was not rebuilt or fortified, when the second temple was dedicated, 2 Esdras i. 3. (Calmet) — The fortresses of the Church are the holy Fathers and Doctors, who watch in her defence. Her pillars shall not fail. The particular Churches are all united in the same faith, and these reflections ought to prevail on all to embrace the same. (Worthington)
Ver. 15. Our God. Christ incarnate works all this. He shall rule over the Church, not for three or four hundred years only, but as long as time shall last, and He shall have a Church triumphant in eternity. (Worthington) — Evermore. Hebrew hal-moth. The letters being differently arranged, are rendered, “in death.” St. Jerome, “even unto death.” Protestants, (Haydock) “in youth,” (Chaldean) or “in the secret” of Providence. It may form a part of the following title, “over the young women,” as Psalm ix., and xlv. (Calmet) — But then it would probably come after lamnatseach. The psalmist inculcates the perpetual duration of the Church under God’s conduct, by three terms. In sęculum & ultra….usque ad mortem, “till death,” (Pagnin) or “incessantly.” (Symmachus) (Haydock) — This psalm may also express the sentiments of a penitent, (Berthier) or of one who is put in possession of unchangeable felicity. (Haydock)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
God is greatly to be praised for the establishment of his Church.
1 A psalm of a canticle, for the sons of Core, on the second day of the week.
2 Great is the Lord, and exceedingly to be praised in the city of our God, in his holy mountain.
3 With the joy of the whole earth is Mount Sion founded on the sides of the north, the city of the great king.
4 In her houses shall God be known, when he shall protect her.
5 For behold the kings of the earth assembled themselves: they gathered together.
6 So they saw, and they wondered, they were troubled, they were moved: 7 trembling took hold of them.
There were pains as of a woman in labour. 8 With a vehement wind thou shalt break in pieces the ships of Tharsis.
9 As we have heard, so have we seen, in the city of the Lord of hosts, in the city of our God: God hath founded it for ever.
10 We have received thy mercy, O God, in the midst of thy temple.
11 According to thy name, O God, so also is thy praise unto the ends of the earth: thy right hand is full of justice.
12 Let Mount Sion rejoice, and the daughters of Juda be glad; because of thy judgments, O Lord.
13 Surround Sion, and encompass her: tell ye in her towers.
14 Set your hearts on her strength; and distribute her houses, that ye may relate it in another generation.
15 For this is God, our God unto eternity, and for ever and ever: he shall rule us for evermore.