Psalm xciv. (Venite exultemus.)
Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Himself, as David wrote it by inspiration. (Worthington) — Complutensian Septuagint, “It is without a title in Hebrew.” St. Paul (Hebrews iv. 7.) quotes it as the work of David. But this is only done incidentally, and it may have been written by the descendants of Moses, (Psalm lxxxix.; Calmet) as the apostle only says, in David, (Haydock) referring to the psalter, which the common opinion attributed to him. (Calmet) — This opinion, it must be owned, acquires hereby great authority, (Haydock) as an inspired writer could not mistake; and Calmet himself, on the epistle to the Hebrews, doubts not but as the drift of the apostle requires, he attributed this psalm to David. (Berthier, T. vi.) — It might be used in the removal of the ark (Muis) and contains an exhortation to the Jews to return to the service of God, under king Josias, (Theodoret) or after the captivity, (Calmet) or at the preaching of the gospel. (Eusebius) — The Church adopts the version of the Roman psalter in her office books, as they were corrected by St. Pius V, and this psalm was considered as a hymn at the beginning of matins, though the Vulgate is retained in other parts. (Calmet) — The variations are not material. (Haydock) — But this shews that the Church does not condemn every deviation from the Vulgate. (Bellarmine, Diss.) — Saviour. St. Jerome, “to the rock, our Jesus.” (Haydock) — He who created us, has also been our Saviour. (Worthington)
Ver. 2. Come. Earlier than usual, (Menochius) before the day be far spent; prĉoccupemus, to shew our diligence in prayer, (Haydock) and to obtain God’s favour, as Aman was first at the palace of Assuerus, Esther vi. 4. — This sentence has probably determined the Church to place it at the beginning of matins. (Calmet) — Let not others get before us in performing this duty. (Haydock) — We cannot prevent God’s grace by an good works, since without it we can do nothing (Worthington) as we ought. (Council of Trent) — Thanksgiving. St. Jerome literally, “in confession.” (Haydock) — The same word, exomologesei, is used for sacramental confession; (Berthier) and this, or at least contrition, (Haydock) ought to go before our expressions of praise, Ecclesiasticus xv. 9. (Theodoret) (St. Jerome) — The prophet exhorts us both to lament and to praise. (St. Augustine) (Berthier) — Psalms and music. (Worthington)
Ver. 3. Gods. Complutensian Septuagint, “the earth.” But the best editions agree with us, and God must be acknowledged superior to all angels, &c. Some copies of the Septuagint, St. Augustine, &c., add, “for the Lord will not cast off his people,” (Calmet) which seems to be taken from Psalm xciii. 14. (Berthier)
Ver. 4. Ends. Hebrew, “depths.” — Are his. This is grandeur, that “he beholds,” as in the Roman psalter. (Berthier) (Isaias xl. 15., and xlv. 18.) — Virgil (Geor. 4.) says:
Deum, namque ire per omnes
Terrasque et tractusque maris, cœlumque profundum.
Ver. 5. Formed. Like a potter, plasmaverunt, (St. Jerome; Calmet) or “have laid the foundations of the dry land.” (St. Augustine; Roman Breviary) (Haydock)
Ver. 6. And weep. Hebrew also, “bend the knee;” though this sense would seem less proper, after he had mentioned prostration. Tears of contrition and tenderness may accompany our canticles. (Berthier) — Kneeling in prayer is a posture pleasing to God, Philippians ii. (Worthington)
Ver. 7. The Lord is not in the Hebrew or Septuagint. (Berthier) — The people. Roman Psalter and Syriac, “his people, and the sheep of his pasture, taken from Psalm xcix. 3. (Calmet) — God is the only shepherd, who creates his sheep. (Berthier) — He feedeth us, and it is most just that we should adore him. (Worthington)
Ver. 8. To-day. St. Paul beautifully illustrates this passage, Hebrews iv. (Haydock) — He follows not the present Hebrew punctuation, which would join half this verse with the preceding. — His. God speaks of the Messias according to the apostle, who intimates that to-day comprises all the life of man, Hebrew xxxvii. 13. (Berthier) — Harden not. Man is the author of his own obduracy, (Theodoret) which God only permits. (St. Augustine) (Calmet) — We have free will, and may resist God’s grace, as we may also consent to it, and thus co-operate to our first justification. (Council of Trent, Session vi. 5.) (Worthington) — the captives (Calmet) and first Christians were exhorted not to imitate the depravity of the ancient Jews. (Haydock) — Though a man may have frequently resisted the Holy Ghost, he may still repent. (Worthington)
Ver. 9. Provocation, (irritatione.) Roman Breviary exacerbatione. Hebrew meriba, “contradiction,” (St. Jerome; Haydock) at Raphidim; (Exodus xvii. 7.) unless this be styled temptation, (Massa) and the former provocation was that at Cades, Numbers xx. 13. (Calmet) — The Israelites murmured frequently. But that rebellion which took place at the return of the spies, and which causes God to swear that the guilty should never enter the land of promise, seems to be chiefly meant, Numbers xiv. (Berthier) — They murmured on account of the desire of water and flesh-meat, though they were abundantly supplied with manna, which answered every purpose. Thus some require to communicate under both kinds, as if one did not contain as much as both. (Worthington) — Proved me; to know by experience if I were so powerful as to work miracles; and I condescended to gratify them, (Calmet) or I have done it already. (Menochius)
Ver. 10. Offended. Hebrew and Septuagint, “disgusted.” Roman Psalter, St. Augustine, &c., “I was very near to;” (Calmet) ready to punish, and eye-witness of their infidelity. St. Paul reads prosochthisa, infensus fui, “I was against, or disgusted with,” and seems to refer the forty years to the Jews, who saw God’s works. (Haydock) — But there is a variation in the Greek copies, as some omit, For which cause; and Hebrews iii. 10., and v. 17, intimates, that the indignation of God was roused for forty years, at intervals, as often as the people rebelled. (Berthier) — The apostle also plainly shews, that this psalm was written long after that period, and consequently not by Moses, as the Jews would now assert. He limiteth a certain day, saying in David: To-day, after so long a time, &c., Hebrews iv. 7. (Worthington) — Always. Hebrew, “a people of those who err in the heart are they.” (Montanus) (Haydock)
Ver. 11. So. Roman Psalter and Milan, “to whom.” Both occur in St. Paul, and answer the Hebrew asher, (Berthier) quibus. (St. Jerome) — Not. Literally, “if they shall.” The Israelites were excluded from a settled abode in Chanaan, on account of their repeated transgressions, particularly at Cades; (Numbers xiv.) and Christians, who do not continue faithful to the law of Jesus Christ, can never expect to enter heaven, Hebrews iii., and iv. (Worthington) — David made the like observation to his subjects; and clearly speaks of the heavenly repose to which the virtuous alone are entitled. (Haydock) — St. Paul takes great pains to inculcate this truth, and shews that the return from captivity could not answer the import of the promises made by David in God’s name. (Berthier) (Haydock)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
An invitation to adore and serve God, and to hear his voice.
1 Praise of a canticle for David himself.
Come, let us praise the Lord with joy: let us joyfully sing to God our Saviour.
2 Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving: and make a joyful noise to him with psalms.
3 For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.
4 For in his hand are all the ends of the earth: and the heights of the mountains are his.
5 For the sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land.
6 Come, let us adore and fall down: and weep before the Lord that made us.
7 For he is the Lord, our God: and we are the people of his pasture and the sheep of his hand.
8 *To-day if you shall hear his voice, harden not your hearts:
9 As in the provocation, according to the day of temptation in the wilderness: where your fathers tempted me, they proved me, and saw my works.
10 *Forty years long was I offended with that generation, and I said: These always err in heart.
11 And these men have not known my ways: *so I swore in my wrath that they shall not enter into my rest.
8: Hebrews iii. 7. and iv. 7.
10: Numbers xiv. 34.
11: Hebrews iv. 3.