Psalm xciii. (Deus ultionum.)
Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Himself. This intimates, that he was inspired to write. — Week. Wednesday, on which day Judas sold our Saviour, and his punishment is here foretold. (Worthington) — “The title is not in Hebrew” and has been added since the times of the Septuagint. (Theodoret) — It refers to the persecutions of David, (Jansenius) or to the captives, (Calmet) or it contains an important instruction on Providence, and on the judgment which Christ will pronounce. (Berthier) — Freely. Hebrew, “Lord God of vengeance, God of vengeance, shine forth.” (Haydock) — This agrees better with the sequel. To appear or act freely have the same meaning. (Berthier) — God executes judgment publicly, and without restraint. (Menochius) — To Him revenge belongs, Deuteronomy xxxii. 35., Romans xii. 20., and Nahum ii. (Haydock) — It is time to punish the haughty Babylon. (Calmet) — God more usually take the title of merciful. But he is equally just, and will respect no dignity or power, but the merits of each one. (Worthington)
Ver. 6. Fatherless. Septuagint places this after widow, and have here the stranger, or “proselyte,” (Haydock) including those who were circumcised, or had only renounced idolatry. — Jeremias and Ezechiel describe the cruelty of the Chaldeans. (Calmet) — Similar acts of impious rage are but too visible in all ages. (Haydock)
Ver. 7. Of Jacob. A wretched people in captivity. This is spoken insultingly, he knows not, or cannot hinder, their distress, Psalm xiii. 1., and lxxii. 6. (Calmet) — The insolence and cruelty of infidels are reprobated.
Ver. 8. Fools. Who talk in this manner, (Haydock) whether you really believe, that God is thus ignorant and inactive; or you only act as if you did. (Berthier) — There are but few of the former description. But very many, even among Christians, act as if they admitted no Providence. (Worthington)
Ver. 9. Consider? He does not say, “hath he not eyes?” lest any might attribute members to God. (St. Jerome)
“In evil works, mankind thou mayst deceive,
Thy hidden thoughts the gods above perceive.” (Theognis.)
Ou leseis de Theous oude logizomenos.
— Thales being asked, if the actions of men were unknown to the gods, replied, “not even their thoughts.” (Val. Max. vii. 2.) (Haydock) — It seems those whom the psalmist attacks, denied the interference of God in human affairs, though they allowed that he created all. (Haydock) — Hence he justly stigmatizes them as fools, and inconsistent. (Berthier) — It is impossible that God should be ignorant of our actions, since he knows our most secret thoughts. (Worthington)
Ver. 13. Rest from the evil days. That thou mayst mitigate the sorrows to which he is exposed, during the short and evil days of his mortality; (Challoner) or mayst protect him, while the wicked are overwhelmed. (Calmet) — The pious bear afflictions with greater resignation, (Menochius) meditating on the law and the holy Scriptures, where the ways of Providence are justified.
Ver. 15. Until justice be turned into judgment, &c. By being put in execution: which will be agreeable to all the upright in heart. (Challoner) — They will be round the tribunal, and sit as judges with Christ. Hebrew ci had, “For to,” may have been originally ad ci, “Until.” (Haydock) — This does not imply that the just will not be protected afterwards. Cyrus was a figure of the Messias, and all his counsellors, or the Jews, attached themselves to him, when he punished the Babylonians, Isaias xli. 2., and liii. 11. (Calmet) — The Church will never be rejected by a just God, whose judgments must take place, and be pleasing to the righteous. (Worthington)
Ver. 17. Almost. Or shortly, as the Hebrew means, (Berthier) “within very little.” (Worthington) — Hell. Hebrew, “silence,” which is often put for the grave, 1 Kings ii. 9. (Calmet)
Ver. 18. Me. I was no sooner in danger, than I was relieved. (Calmet) — Feeding and complaining of my misery, I obtained thy aid. (Worthington)
Ver. 19. Sorrows. Hebrew, “afflicting thoughts.” (Berthier) — Soul. Our future joy will bear proportion with the sufferings which we endure for the sake of justice, 1 Corinthians xi. 13., and 2 Corinthians i. 3. (Haydock)
Ver. 20. Doth the seat of iniquity stick to thee? &c. That is, wilt thou, O God, who art always just, admit of the seat of iniquity; that is, of injustice, or unjust judges, to have any partnership with thee? Thou, who framest, or makest labour in commandment; that is, thou who obligest us to labour with all diligence to keep thy commandments; (Challoner) as faith alone is not sufficient, (Worthington) and who art pleased that we should find therein some difficulty or repugnance of nature, that we may be the more entitled to consolation, ver. 19. (Haydock) — Commandment, or “instruction.” St. Augustine observes, that the sufferings of this life are for our instruction, to admonish us of future punishments and rewards. This idea is very luminous. (Berthier) — Christ was first to suffer, and so to enter into his glory, Luke xxiv. 26. (Haydock) — Nemo dormiens coronatur. (St. Jerome) — Yet the yoke of Christ is really sweet. The devil tempts us to look upon it as insupportable. (St. Bernard) — Framest, fingis. — Septuagint, St. Augustine, &c., Fingit, which may refer to the seat, or to unjust judges, who tyrannize over others, as the Babylonians did, (Calmet) and as the Jews conspired against the soul of the just. “Should the tribunal of perversity have any commerce with thee, which, under the name of law, forms impious machinations?” (Houbigant)
Ver. 22. Help. Hebrew, “rock.” (Berthier) — Sufferings force us to have recourse to God, whom few remember in the days of prosperity. (St. Augustine)
Ver. 23. Will destroy them. Hebrew yatsmithem, occurs twice, to denote the certainty of the event, though the Septuagint, &c., omit the repetition. (Haydock) — Cyrus overturned the cruel empire of Babylon. (Calmet) — The wicked at the last day shall seek to hide themselves, and will for ever be removed from the sight of the just, aphaniei autous. We may say of each of them, it had been better if he had never been born, Matthew xxvi. 24. (Haydock) — The retribution of the good and bad is eternal. (Worthington)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
God shall judge and punish the oppressors of his people.
A psalm for David himself, on the fourth day of the week.
1 The Lord is the God, to whom revenge belongeth: the God of revenge hath acted freely.
2 Lift up thyself, thou that judgest the earth, render a reward to the proud.
3 How long shall sinners, O Lord, how long shall sinners glory?
4 Shall they utter, and speak iniquity: shall all speak who work injustice?
5 Thy people, O Lord, they have brought low: and they have afflicted thy inheritance.
6 They have slain the widow and the stranger: and they have murdered the fatherless.
7 And they have said: The Lord shall not see: neither shall the God of Jacob understand.
8 Understand, ye senseless among the people: and you fools, be wise at last.
9 He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? or he that formed the eye, doth he not consider?
10 He that chastiseth nations, shall he not rebuke: he that teacheth man knowledge?
11 The Lord knoweth the thoughts of men, that they are vain.
12 Blessed is the man whom thou shalt instruct, O Lord: and shalt teach him out of thy law.
13 That thou mayst give him rest from the evil days: till a pit be dug for the wicked.
14 For the Lord will not cast off his people: neither will he forsake his own inheritance.
15 Until justice be turned into judgment: and they that are near it, are all the upright in heart.
16 Who shall rise up for me against the evil doers? or who shall stand with me against the workers of iniquity?
17 Unless the Lord had been my helper: my soul had almost dwelt in hell.
18 If I said: My foot is moved: thy mercy, O Lord, assisted me.
19 According to the multitude of my sorrows in my heart, thy comforts have given joy to my soul.
20 Doth the seat of iniquity stick to thee, who framest labour in commandment?
21 They will hunt after the soul of the just, and will condemn innocent blood.
22 But the Lord is my refuge: and my God the help of my hope.
23 And he will render them their iniquity: and in their malice he will destroy them: the Lord, our God, will destroy them.