Psalm lxxiv. (Confitebimur tibi.)
Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Corrupt not. ‘Tis believed to have been the beginning of some ode or hymn, to the tune of which this psalm was to be sung. St. Augustine and other Fathers, take it to be an admonition of the Spirit of God, not to faint, or fail in our hope; but to persevere with constancy in good: because God will not fail in his due time, to render to every man according to his works. (Challoner) — Symmachus has, “concerning incorruption,” (Haydock) whence some have explained the psalm of the general resurrection. (Eusebius) — The Chaldeans refer it to David, praying that the angel would cease to destroy, (2 Kings xxiv.) while others suppose that he forbids Abisai to hurt Saul, 1 Kings xxvi. 9. (St. Jerome) — This and similar difficult terms might resemble the anthems of Church music. (Genebrard) (Berthier) (Psalm lvi.) — The psalm is a sequel to the former, (Calmet) or a moral instruction, given by the Son of God, (ver. 3.) after the author had admonished us to attend, and place ourselves in his presence. It is not necessary to suppose that it is written in the form of a dialogue. (Berthier)
Ver. 2. Praise. The repetition shews the certainty of the event. Christ and his apostles, who sit as judges, praise the ways of Providence. (Worthington) — Hebrew is more obscure. (Calmet)
Ver. 3. When I shall take a time. In proper times: particularly at the last day, when the earth shall melt away at the presence of the great judge: the same who originally laid the foundations of it, and, as it were, established its pillars. (Challoner) (Worthington) — This is God’s answer to the longer prayer of Asaph, in the preceding psalm, which is here concluded. (Calmet) — A time. Hebrew Mohed, “congregation.” (Symmachus) — When I shall have delivered my people. (Theodoret) — Justices. With the utmost rigour I will punish Babylon. (Calmet) — No mere creature knows the time of the general judgment, as Christ, the sovereign judge, does. (Worthington) — Then the just themselves will tremble. (Haydock)
Ver. 4. Melted. Symmachus and Houbigant, “is strengthened.” (Haydock) — After the last fire the earth shall remain, though changed in quality. (Worthington) (2 Peter iii. 10.) — God destroys and establishes kingdoms. (Calmet)
Ver. 5. Wickedly. This is an epitome of Christian doctrine. (Worthington) — God had severely punished Nabuchodonosor, Baltassar, and the priests of Bel. Yet the people would not attend to these salutary admonitions. — Horn. By pride, (Worthington) which is the origin of all evil, (Haydock) and an offence pardoned by God with the greatest difficulty.
Ver. 6. God. Hebrew tsavvar means, “neck.” But the Septuagint have not seen the a, and translate against God. Literally, “the rock,” which is one of his titles; (Berthier) and this seems preferable to “speak not with a stiff neck;” (Calmet) or “with the old neck:” (St. Jerome) though this sense is not contemptible, as the sinner’s wonted pride rises against God. (Haydock)
Ver. 7. Hills. Hebrew harim, may also be considered as the nominative case; “not from the south are there heights” to which they may flee for succour. (Haydock) — Yet most of the ancients agree with us; though is there “refuge,” must then be supplied. (Berthier) — None would be able to screen the Babylonians, Jeremias xxv. 15, 26. — Take the cup of the wine of his fury….The king of Sesac (Babylon) shall drink after them. (Haydock) — The cup is so great that all shall taste, and the last will have the most bitter portion. (Calmet)
Ver. 9. Drink. The just themselves shall suffer something. But their part will be comparatively the clear wine, while sinners shall have the dregs. Many suppose that God holds in his had two cups, which he mixes according to each one’s deserts. So the Septuagint, Syriac, St. Augustine, &c., seem to intimate. Jupiter is thus represented with two barrels of goods and evils near his throne. (Homer, Iliad xxiv.) — But most interpreters suppose that only one chalice is here specified, filled with red wine, the sediment being reserved for sinners, though it was usually thrown away at feasts. Wine was mixed with water in those hot countries. (Calmet) — Yet here the mixture is of a different nature. (Haydock) — Fire, (Psalm x. 7.; Menochius) gall, brimestone, &c., compose the bitter chalice of the damned, who will never arrive at the term of their inexpressible misery. In this life, sinners are frequently punished: but their sufferings do not end here. They shall experience a variety of torments in heat and cold, Job xxiv. (Worthington) (Apocalypse xiv. 10., Isaias li. 17., and Ezechiel xxiii. 34.)
Ver. 10. Declare. Septuagint, “rejoice;” as St. Augustine, &c., read, contrary to the Hebrew. (Calmet) — Jacob. Christ did all for the glory of his Father. (Berthier)
Ver. 11. Just. Zorobabel, (Theodoret) the figure of the Messias. The Jews were shortly after set at liberty by Cyrus, who was the scourge of their oppressors. (Calmet) — The virtuous, who use well their free-will, are thus rewarded. (Worthington)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
There is a just judgment to come: therefore let the wicked take care.
1 Unto the end, corrupt not, a psalm of a canticle for Asaph.
2 We will praise thee, O God: we will praise, and we will call upon thy name.
We will relate thy wondrous works: 3 when I shall take a time, I will judge justices.
4 The earth is melted, and all that dwell therein: I have established the pillars thereof.
5 I said to the wicked: Do not act wickedly: and to the sinners: Lift not up the horn.
6 Lift not up your horn on high: speak not iniquity against God.
7 For neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the desert hills: 8 for God is the judge.
One he putteth down, and another he lifteth up: 9 for in the hand of the Lord there is a cup of strong wine full of mixture.
And he hath poured it out from this to that: but the dregs thereof are not emptied: all the sinners of the earth shall drink.
10 But I will declare for ever: I will sing to the God of Jacob.
11 And I will break all the horns of sinners: but the horns of the just shall be exalted.