Psalm lxxv. (Notus in Judæa.)
Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Assyrians. Septuagint, “against the Assyrian,” Sennacherib, 4 Kings xix. 35. (Haydock) — David composed this after his victory over the Ammonites, and Ezechias used it when he was delivered from the Assyrians. (Grotius) — This part of the title is of no great authority, as it is not found in Hebrew, &c. (Berthier) — The psalm seems to speak of the victories of all the just; (Menochius) and instances one memorable example in the defeat of the Assyrians. (Worthington) — The Church triumphs over her persecutors. (St. Augustine)
Ver. 2. Judea. Hebrew, “Juda.” (Haydock) — This shews that the psalm was composed after the separation of the tribes, (Calmet) though not invincibly; as the names of Juda and Israel were used in David’s time. (Haydock) — The divine worship was almost confined to the promised land till the birth of Christ; whose gospel has diffused light throughout the world. (St. Augustine; Calmet, &c.) — See Jeremias lx. 23. (Berthier) — A Christian is the true Juda, or “Confessor.” (Menochius) — God was known to some philosophers, but not by such special benefits. (Worthington)
Ver. 3. Peace. Hebrew Shalem. — Abode. Hebrew, “tent or hut,” an expression which shews, how much the finest structure of the East was beneath God’s majesty. (Calmet) — He suffered the rest of the world to follow their own inventions, and false gods, reserving Israel for his Church. (Worthington)
Ver. 4. There. In that favoured country. The army of Sennacherib perished on its road to Pelusium, 4 Kings xx. — Powers. Hebrew, “sparks,” (Calmet) or “burning arrows.” (Montanus) (Psalm vii. 14., and cxix. 4.) (Haydock) — All the opponents of the Church, or Sion, must perish. (Worthington)
Ver. 5. Hills. Of Juda, which are styled eternal, on account of their stability, Deuteronomy xxxiii. 15. Hebrew seems to be incorrect. (Calmet) — “Thou art a light magnificently from (Haydock) or more than, (Berthier) the mountains of the captivity.” (St. Jerome) — Or, “of prey.” (Protestants) — “Thou art more terrible….than the richest mountains.” (Theodoret) — Yet this comparison hardly suits in this place, (Calmet) and Houbigant prefers the Vulgate and Septuagint, who may have read terem, “before,” or saraph, “of the seraph,” (alluding to God’s seat upon the ark) instead of tareph, “prey.” (Berthier) — God grants victory to his people, and enlightens them with the true faith. (Worthington)
Ver. 6. Troubled. Hebrew, “plundered,” or “stupified.” (Berthier) — The haughty and blasphemous Sennacherib, Rabsaces, &c., were full of dismay, when the destroying angel slew 185,000 (Calmet) in the dead of the night.
“What dire astonishment, ye men
Of Media, sunk you to despair?” (Hymn on War, p. 52.; Haydock)
— Sleep in death, Job xxvii. 19. — Of riches, with which they are possessed, as with a fever, (Seneca, ep. cxix.) and of which they dread, Isaias xxix. 8. (Calmet) — Yet the most opulent must die, and are foolish in clinging to riches, since they can carry nothing away. (Menochius) — Hands. Hebrew, “the men of the army have not found their hands.” (Berthier) — They could not use their arms against a spirit. (Haydock) — Christ has enlightened the mountains, his apostles; and fools despise their instructions, as the Athenians did St. Paul’s, being too much attached to the world. (St. Augustine) (Berthier) — Though they may be troubled, they will not open their eyes to be convinced. Hence, they have no oil of good works, when they awake in eternity. [Matthew xxv.] (Worthington)
Ver. 7. Mounted. Hebrew, “the chariot and horse.” (Calmet) — But the riders are meant. (Berthier) — Rabsaces had boasted, that Ezechias could not find men to mount 2,000 horses, if he should give them to him, 4 Kings xviii. 23. (Calmet) — But God chastised his vain boasting. (Haydock) — While he defends his people, their enemies seem to slumber. (Worthington)
Ver. 8. And. Hebrew, “thou, and who shall subsist before thee in the moment of thy wrath?” Houbigant rejects the second thou. (Berthier) — From. From the time that thy wrath shall break out. (Challoner) — Ex tunc, often relates to a distant period. We have long known the effects of thy indignation. (Calmet) (Hebrews x. 31.) — At the first notice of thy will the enemy is dejected, and fears thy potent anger. (Worthington)
Ver. 9. Heard. Some editions of the Septuagint read, “thou hast darted judgment.” (St. Augustine) — Still. All were filled with astonishment, and Sennacherib was glad to escape in the most private manner. (Calmet) — Persecutors will all be terrified when the signs of judgment begin to appear in heaven, which are here represented as past, on account of their certainty. (Worthington) — The divine power will be again displayed. (Menochius)
Ver. 10. God. After the signs of dissolution, the Son of God shall come to judge. (Berthier) — The earth is now full of bustle: but then all shall be silent. (St. Augustine) — Meek. Ezechias had given large sums to preserve peace, 4 Kings xviii. 14. (Calmet) — Judgment will take place for the sake of the just. (Worthington)
Ver. 11. To thee. The enemy shall repress his resentment, when he beholds the fall of Sennacherib. (Tirinus) — The people who had been delivered, express their constant sentiments of gratitude. They revolve in mind the wonders of God, (Haydock) both in time and in eternity, and keep holidays in memory of such benefits. (Berthier) — Hebrew, “for the wrath of man shall confess to thee, thou shalt be girded with the remains of wrath.” (St. Jerome) — The fury of the enemy shall only cause thy power to shine forth in his destruction. (Haydock) — Petau unites both these ideas, in his beautiful Greek verses, though it must be confessed, this passage is very obscure, both in the original and versions. (Berthier) — Men shall meditate on these benefits, and praise God with gladness, being moved to make vows, even of things left to their discretion, which they must perform. (Worthington)
Ver. 12. God. Victims of thanksgiving, as was customary after a victory, Psalm xxi., xxvi., xlix., and xiv. He speaks to the people who had been spared, particularly to the priests, though it may be understood also of foreign nations, who complied with this invitation, 2 Paralipomenon xxxii. 22. (Calmet) — Vows, and their completion, ought not to be separated, even though the thing vowed may have been before a matter of choice, as virginity, &c. (St. Augustine) (Berthier) — What says Luther? (Haydock)
Ver. 13. Away. Hebrew, “he will cut off,” (Montanus) like grapes: which means rather to destroy, than to bereave of counsel, Isaias xix. 13. This might be written after Sennacherib was slain, 4 Kings xix. 37. (Calmet) — God is terrible, and will demand an account even of princes, respecting vows and other good works. Great discretion is therefore requisite. (Worthington)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
God is known in his Church: and exerts his power in protecting it. It alludes to the slaughter of the Assyrians, in the days of King Ezechias.
1 Unto the end, in praises, a psalm for Asaph: a canticle to the Assyrians.
2 In Judea God is known: his name is great in Israel.
3 And his place is in peace: and his abode in Sion.
4 There hath he broken the powers of bows, the shield, the sword, and the battle.
5 Thou enlightenest wonderfully from the everlasting hills. 6 All the foolish of heart were troubled.
They have slept their sleep: and all the men of riches have found nothing in their hands.
7 At thy rebuke, O God of Jacob, they have all slumbered that mounted on horseback.
8 Thou art terrible, and who shall resist thee? from that time thy wrath.
9 Thou hast caused judgment to be heard from heaven: the earth trembled and was still,
10 When God arose in judgment, to save all the meek of the earth.
11 For the thought of man shall give praise to thee: and the remainders of the thought shall keep holiday to thee.
12 Vow ye, and pay to the Lord your God: all you that are round about him bring presents.
To him that is terrible, 13 even to him who taketh away the spirit of princes: to the terrible with the kings of the earth.