Psalm lxviii. (Salvum me fac Deus.)
Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Changed. A psalm for Christian converts, to remember the passion of Christ; (Challoner) whose sentiments this and the 21st psalm express in the most energetic language. (Berthier) — It may have been composed by a captive Levite, (Calmet) or David may allude to their sufferings at Babylon, or to his own, though he had those of the Messias principally in view. See Psalm xlv. (Haydock)
Ver. 2. Save me from affliction, Luke xxii. 42. Christ could not be lost. (Menochius) — Waters of afflictions and sorrows. My soul is sorrowful even unto death, Matthew xxvi. (Challoner) See John iii. 6.
Ver. 3. Standing, upostasis, “subsistence:” there is no bottom. (Haydock)
Ver. 4. Hoarse. This might be literally true, as Christ had suffered the greatest torments, and recited this and the 21st psalm on the cross; looking up towards heaven, so that his eyes were weakened, as well as by shedding many tears. Hope. Thus the blasphemy of heretics, who pretend that he gave way to despair, is refuted. (Berthier) — Christ was not presently delivered from tribulation: neither ought his followers to expect better treatment. (Worthington)
Ver. 5. Cause. The captives had not injured Babylon, and Christ had even bestowed the greatest favours upon his enemies. He suffered for our sins, Isaias liii. 4. (Calmet) — Away. Christ in his passion made restitution of what he had not taken away, by suffering the punishment due to our sins, and so repairing the injury we had done to God. (Challoner) — The expression was proverbial, Jeremias xxxi. 29., and Lamentations v. 7. — Many of the captives were very innocent. (Calmet) — But Christ was without sin; (Worthington) though made a curse and a sin-offering, Galatians iii. 13., and 2 Corinthians v. 21. (Calmet)
Ver. 6. My foolishness and my offences; which my enemies impute to me: or the follies and sins of men, which I have taken upon myself. (Challoner) — My cross is foolishness to the Gentiles, 1 Corinthians i. 23. (St. Augustine)
Ver. 7. For me. If I rise not again, my disciples will take me for a mere man. If the captivity continue much longer, many will despair, ver. 11. (Calmet) — Suffer not the weak to be scandalized in my passion. (Worthington)
Ver. 8. Reproach. Because I would not adore idols. Christ undertook to expiate our offences, and to satisfy the justice of his Father, Romans xv. 3. (Calmet)
Ver. 9. Mother. This might be true with respect to some apostate Jews. But it was more fully accomplished in Christ, who was betrayed by Judas, &c. (Calmet) — His own received him not, John i. (Berthier)
Ver. 10. Upon me. The disciples remembered that this had been written concerning Christ, who drove out the profaners of his temple, (John ii. 17.) and will not be less severe on those who dishonour the Church by their scandalous lives, or by propagating erroneous opinions. (Calmet) — St. Paul (Romans xv. 3.) doubted not but this passage was literally applicable to Christ, who has taught us to prefer the glory of God, and our neighbour’s salvation before our own temporal advantages. (Berthier) — Those who have less zeal, are not so much persecuted. (Worthington)
Ver. 11. Covered. Retiring from society. (Berthier) — Roman Septuagint and Houbigant, “I humbled.” Hebrew, “I bewailed my soul in fasting,” (Aquila) as if death were inevitable; and this practice was derided, as the fasts of the Church, (Haydock) and mortification, (Worthington) are still by unbelievers. (Haydock) — The Jews seemed to scoff at the thirst of Christ, when they gave him vinegar; and the devil took occasion from his 40 days’ fast to tempt him. (Berthier)
Ver. 12. Hair-cloth. The sacred humanity, which being torn, let out the price of our redemption. (St. Augustine) (Menochius) — I mourned for my country, &c. (Calmet) — Christ was clothed in derision, with a soldier’s straight purple garment. (Berthier)
Ver. 13. Song. Both judges and common people (Worthington) derided me over their cups of shecar, (Haydock) or strong drink, and palm wine, Lamentations iii. 14. (Calmet) — Thus the soldiers made Christ their jest, while they drank on the long night of his passion. (Berthier)
Ver. 14. Pleasure. Which is seasonable, and appointed for pardon, Psalm xxxi. 6., and ci. 14. — Father, forgive them, &c. The term of the captivity is at hand. I seek no revenge; but commit my cause to thee. (Calmet)
Ver. 15. Waters. Beneath which the Hebrews supposed hell was placed, Job xxvi. 5. (St. Hilary v. 39.) — He prays to be delivered from misery, (ver. 2.) and for a glorious resurrection. (Calmet) — Christ could not be detained in limbo or in the grave. (Worthington)
Ver. 19. Enemies. That they may insult no longer over me, (Calmet) being converted or covered with shame, (Menochius) that they do no more hurt. (Worthington)
Ver. 20. Shame, (reverentiam.) St. Augustine, &c., read verecundiam. (Calmet) — Christ was covered with all sorts of reproach. (Haydock) (Eusebius)
Ver. 21. Misery. For which I ardently longed, as the Fathers explain it. — None. I expected that my brethren would at least condole with me: but I was deceived. Christ drank the bitter chalice to the dregs, and found no consolation even from his Father. (Calmet)
Ver. 22. Food. Tertullian reads “drink;” which agrees better with gall. Yet it might be mixed with food, (Calmet) with wine and myrrh, which were given to our Saviour, when he arrived at Calvary, as vinegar was offered to him on the cross, Matthew xxvii. 34., and John xix. 28. This was the last prophecy which regarded our Saviour, while living; and was the last instance of the Jewish malice, by which they requited him for the thirst which he had for the salvation of mankind. (Gregory of Nazianzus, &c.) (Berthier) — Jeremias (viii. 14., and xxiii. 15., and Lamentations iii. 15.) uses the same expressions, in a metaphorical sense, to describe the afflictions of the captives. (Calmet)
Ver. 23. Let their table, &c. What here follows in the style of an imprecation, is a prophecy of the wretched state to which the Jews should be reduced, in punishment of their wilful obstinacy; (Challoner) or it may be a sentence pronounced on them by Jesus Christ. They are driven from their own country, and the sacred books (Calmet) being misunderstood, (Menochius) prove their ruin. Our Saviour and St. Paul confirm this prediction. The latter adheres to the Septuagint (Romans xi. 9.) though some would translate lishlomim, “for peace”-offerings, instead of recompenses, as it also means. (Berthier) — “Let their sacrifices become a scandal to them;” (Chaldean) or rather, May their table, the symbol of friendship, be a snare for them, that they may be destroyed, or betrayed by their dearest friends. (Calmet) — The overthrow of the Jews, when they were assembled to eat the paschal lamb, is here foretold. (Worthington)
Ver. 24. Always. The Babylonians were ordered by Cyrus to look upon the Persians as their masters. (Xenophon vii.) — Nothing could more strikingly point out the present condition of the Jews than this passage. They are every where kept under, and see not the sense of the Scriptures, (Calmet) and the truth of Christ’s doctrine; but are bent on worldly gain. (Worthington) (2 Corinthians iii.) (Menochius)
Ver. 25. Thy wrathful. Literally, “the fury of thy anger.” (Haydock) — The first term denotes expedition; the second, perseverance. Quickly destroy them, without redress. (Theodoret) (Calmet)
Ver. 26. Desolate. Babylon gave place to Susa, and “was reduced to a solitude by the vicinity of Seleucia.” (Pliny, [Natural History?] vi. 26.) (Isaias xlvii.) — But the fall of Jerusalem was more sudden and memorable, within 40 years after the death of Christ, Psalm lviii. 7. (Calmet) — The Jews, and particularly the traitor, lost their country, Acts i. 20. (Berthier) — He (the traitor) indeed hath possessed a field of the reward of iniquity….and burst asunder. (Haydock)
Ver. 27. Wounds. The enemy persecuted Christ even after his death, opening his side, spreading false reports, and guarding his tomb. (Calmet) — God ordained his death for the good of man: but they sought it out of malice. (Worthington)
Ver. 28. Iniquity. The first term may denote the crime; and the second, the punishment. (Calmet) — Peccatum pæna peccati est. (St. Augustine) — God permits people to fall; (Worthington) but he does not force them. (Haydock) — Let the Babylonians become victims of thy indignation: but save thy people. Very few of the Jews embraced the faith of Christ. (Calmet)
Ver. 29. Living. Let them die. (Grotius) — If we understand the book of the predestinate to life eternal, and not merely to present and mutable justice, (Tirinus) God never blots any out. But though they fall, he brings them to repentance. (St. Augustine; Estius; Bellarmine) — The reprobation of the obstinate Babylonians (Calmet) and Jews, is predicted. (Haydock) — The latter were effaced from the book of the living of the Old Testament, and were never written in that of the just, belonging to the New. (St. Jerome) — At death, the unbelieving Jews (Haydock) shall not find their expectations well founded. (Worthington) — Only the faithful are truly just. (Menochius)
Ver. 30. Up. The cross is now triumphant, (Haydock) an object of veneration. (Berthier) — Christ submitted to die upon it, and rose again. (Worthington) — He was exposed naked, and was truly a man of sorrows. (Menochius)
Ver. 32. Hoofs. They were to be three years old. (Kimchi) — So Virgil says, (Æneid ix.) Jam cornu petat & pedibus qui spargat arenam. (Ec.[Ecclesiasticus?] iii.) (Calmet) — Our prayers are therefore offered through our Lord Jesus Christ, Hebrews xiii. 15. (Berthier) — Devout prayer is more acceptable than victims of the best description, though they were also good, (Worthington) and, cæteris paribus, of a higher dignity. (Haydock)
Ver. 33. See, my deliverance, or thy just vengeance on the wicked. (Calmet)
Ver. 34. Prisoners. Martyrs, (Menochius) and those who suffer for the faith, will be rewarded. (Worthington)
Ver. 35. Therein, the fish. Our admiration of creatures causes us to praise God. (St. Augustine; St. Hilary)
Ver. 36. Sion. The Catholic Church. The cities of Juda, &c., her places of worship, which shall be established throughout the world. And there, viz., in this Church of Christ, shall his servants dwell, &c. (Challoner) (Worthington) — It matters not whether a person live in the Church of God, which is at Corinth, or at Philippi, provided he be a member of the Catholic Church. But those who adhere to separate congregations, and style themselves “the Church of England,” or “the Kirk of Scotland,” &c., cannot be written with the just, (ver. 29.) nor have any part in this prediction. (Haydock) — It alludes to the restoration of the captives, (Calmet) or rather to the propagation of the gospel, (Haydock) of which the former was a figure, (Eusebius; St. Augustine) as the Jews were never quietly settled again in their country, and were expelled by Titus; whereas the Church of Christ remains to the end of the world. (Berthier)
Ver. 37. Therein. The succession of the Catholic Church is uninterrupted. (Worthington) — Those who adhere to Christ by faith, hope, and charity, will be saved. (Menochius)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Christ, in his passion, declareth the greatness of his sufferings, and the malice of his persecutors, the Jews; and he foretelleth their reprobation.
1 Unto the end, for them that shall be changed; for David.
2 Save me, O God: for the waters are come in even unto my soul.
3 I stick fast in the mire of the deep: and there is no sure standing.
I am come into the depth of the sea: and a tempest hath overwhelmed me.
4 I have laboured with crying; my jaws are become hoarse: my eyes have failed, whilst I hope in my God.
5 They are multiplied above the hairs of my head, who hate me without cause.
My enemies are grown strong, who have wrongfully persecuted me: then did I pay that which I took not away.
6 O God, thou knowest my foolishness; and my offences are not hidden from thee:
7 Let not them be ashamed for me, who look for thee, O Lord, the Lord of hosts.
Let them not be confounded on my account, who seek thee, O God of Israel.
8 Because for thy sake I have borne reproach; shame hath covered my face.
9 I am become a stranger to my brethren, and an alien to the sons of my mother.
10 *For the zeal of thy house hath eaten me up: **and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me.
11 And I covered my soul in fasting: and it was made a reproach to me.
12 And I made hair-cloth my garment: and I became a bye-word to them.
13 They that sat in the gate spoke against me: and they that drank wine made me their song.
14 But as for me, my prayer is to thee, O Lord; for the time of thy good pleasure, O God.
In the multitude of thy mercy, hear me in the truth of thy salvation.
15 Draw me out of the mire, that I may not stick fast: deliver me from them that hate me, and out of the deep waters.
16 Let not the tempest of water drown me, nor the deep swallow me up: and let not the pit shut her mouth upon me.
17 Hear me, O Lord, for thy mercy is kind; look upon me according to the multitude of thy tender mercies.
18 And turn not away thy face from thy servant: for I am in trouble, hear me speedily.
19 Attend to my soul, and deliver it: save me because of my enemies.
20 Thou knowest my reproach, and my confusion, and my shame.
21 In thy sight are all they that afflict me: my heart hath expected reproach and misery.
And I looked for one that would grieve together with me, but there was none: and for one that would comfort me, and I found none.
22 *And they gave me gall for my food, and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
23 *Let their table become as a snare before them, and a recompense, and a stumbling-block.
24 Let their eyes be darkened that they see not; and their back bend thou down always.
25 Pour out thy indignation upon them: and let thy wrathful anger take hold of them.
26 *Let their habitation be made desolate: and let there be none to dwell in their tabernacles.
27 Because they have persecuted him whom thou hast smitten; and they have added to the grief of my wounds.
28 Add thou iniquity upon their iniquity: and let them not come into thy justice.
29 Let them be blotted out of the book of the living; and with the just let them not be written.
30 But I am poor and sorrowful: thy salvation, O God, hath set me up.
31 I will praise the name of God with a canticle: and I will magnify him with praise.
32 And it shall please God better than a young calf, that bringeth forth horns and hoofs.
33 Let the poor see and rejoice: seek ye God, and your soul shall live.
34 For the Lord hath heard the poor: and hath not despised his prisoners.
35 Let the heavens and the earth praise him; the sea, and every thing that creepeth therein.
36 For God will save Sion, and the cities of Juda shall be built up.
And they shall dwell there, and acquire it by inheritance.
37 And the seed of his servants shall possess it: and they that love his name, shall dwell therein.
10: John ii. 17. — ** Romans xv. 3.
22: Matthew xxvii. 48.
23: Romans xi. 9.
26: Acts i. 20.