Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Of death, is not in Septuagint. During life the just are protected by God, (Luke xii. 7.) and still more in death. This passage is very applicable to martyrs. (Calmet) — Temporal death is to the just the road to happiness, where they shall not incur damnation, or the torment of death. Though the martyrs seem to be utterly destroyed, they pass to joys eternal and unspeakable. (Worthington)
Ver. 2. Die. In this the wicked are not under a mistake; but they err when they suppose that the just shall be no more. If the hopes of the pious were confined to this world, they would be the most miserable of all, 1 Corinthians xv. 19. (Calmet)
Ver. 6. Holocaust. The sufferings (Menochius) which they have voluntarily endured, cause them to be pleasing to God. (Haydock) (Zacharias xiii. 9.) — Time of judgment, or of death. (Calmet) — Septuagint, “at the time of their visitation, they shall shine, and,” &c., ver. 7., and Matthew xiii. 43. (Haydock) (Zacharias xii. 6.)
Ver. 8. Judge. All the just shall approve of God’s condemning the wicked. (Worthington) — They shall be invested with power, (Apocalypse ii. 26., and Matthew xix. 28.) which, like that of Christ, will be of a spiritual nature, (Haydock) and will appear most terrible at the last day, Matthew xxviii. 18., and Apocalypse xix. 6. (Calmet)
Ver. 9. Elect. Septuagint add, “and a visitation for his saints.” Charity secures both faith and hope; which, without it, are unavailing to happiness. (Haydock) — Those who have the virtue of hope, will await the completion of God’s promises.
Ver. 12. Foolish. Dissolute, as the sequel shews, Proverbs ix. 13., and Romans i. 26. The family of the wicked imitate his conduct, and become his torment. (Calmet) — This is often the case. In the moral sense, the sensuality and works of the impious are corrupt. (Worthington)
Ver. 13. Barren. The Jews deemed this a reproach. But it is better than to have children by a crime. (Menochius) — Fruit. Her good works shall serve instead of children for her glory, at the hour of death.
Ver. 16. Perfection. Literally, “shall be in consummation,” or wholly destroyed. (Haydock) — They shall not come to age, or Septuagint, “initiated.” The pagans excluded the base-born from their mysteries, as the Church does from holy orders; and experience shews, that the fruits of adultery are often miserable, (Calmet) and while they imitate their parents, they can have no hope, ver. 18.
Ver. 18. Trial. Literally, “of knowing” (Haydock) the works of all. The crime of adulterers is not imputed to their offspring; and it sometimes happens, that the children of saints are cast away.
Bible Text & Cross-references:
The happiness of the just: and the unhappiness of the wicked.
1 But *the souls of the just are in the hand of God, and the torment of death shall not touch them.
2 In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die: and their departure was taken for misery:
3 And their going away from us, for utter destruction: but they are in peace.
4 And though in the sight of men they suffered torments, their hope is full of immortality.
5 Afflicted in few things, in many they shall be well rewarded: because God hath tried them, and found them worthy of himself.
6 As gold in the furnace, he hath proved them, and as a victim of a holocaust, he hath received them, and in time there shall be respect had to them.
7 *The just shall shine, and shall run to and fro like sparks among the reeds.
8 *They shall judge nations, and rule over people, and their Lord shall reign for ever.
9 They that trust in him shall understand the truth: and they that are faithful in love, shall rest in him: for grace and peace are to his elect.
10 But the wicked shall be punished according to their own devices: who have neglected the just, and have revolted from the Lord.
11 For he that rejecteth wisdom, and discipline, is unhappy: and their hope is vain, and their labours without fruit, and their works unprofitable.
12 Their wives are foolish, and their children wicked.
13 Their offspring is cursed: for happy is the barren: and the undefiled, that hath not known bed in sin, she shall have fruit in the visitation of holy souls.
14 *And the eunuch, that hath not wrought iniquity with his hands, nor thought wicked things against God: for the precious gift of faith shall be given to him, and a most acceptable lot in the temple of God.
15 For the fruit of good labours is glorious, and the root of wisdom never faileth.
16 But the children of adulterers shall not come to perfection, and the seed of the unlawful bed shall be rooted out.
17 And if they live long, they shall be nothing regarded, and their last old age shall be without honour.
18 And if they die quickly, they shall have no hope, nor speech of comfort in the day of trial.
19 For dreadful are the ends of a wicked race.
1: Deuteronomy xxxiii. 3.; Wisdom v. 4.
7: Matthew xiii. 41.
8: 1 Corinthians vi. 2.
14: Isaias lvi. 3.