Bible Commentaries

Haydock's Catholic Bible CommentaryHaydock's Catholic Commentary

Psalms 30

Verse 1

Ecstacy. This word is not in Hebrew nor in some of the best Greek copies. (Theodoret) --- It seems to be taken from ver. 23., (Calmet) and intimates that the just may recite this psalm in the latter times, (Worthington) when they shall be in the greatest perplexity. (Haydock) --- David composed it when he was obliged to flee from court, (1 Kings xix. 1., and xxvii. 1.; Calmet) or in the desert of Moan, seeing himself in the most imminent danger; (1 Kings xxiii. 25.; Kimchi; Du Pin) though some refer this psalm to the conspiracy of Absalom, (Theodoret; Menochius) or to the unpremeditated fall of David, (Eusebius) or to the captives. (St. Chrysostom) --- Our Saviour repeated part of ver. 6., upon the cross; and he may perhaps be the object of the whole psalm. The Church prescribes only the six first verses to be recited at Complin. (Berthier)

Verse 2

Justice. Symmachus, "mercy." Thou art the judge between us. (Calmet) --- How grievous soever I may be afflicted, yet I trust in thee. (Worthington) --- "I fear that confusion which lasts for ever." (St. Augustine) (Du Hamel)

Verse 3

A God. Hebrew, "a rock of strength." Septuagint, "a God who holdeth his shield over me," Greek: uperaspisten. (Haydock) --- Refuge. Hebrew, "fortress." (Calmet)

Verse 4

Nourish. Hebrew, guide. (Haydock) --- Symmachus, "take care of me." (Calmet)

Verse 5

Snare. The order to appear at court, after Saul had manifested his ill-will, could be considered in no other light. (Calmet)

Verse 6

Spirit. Hebrew, ruach. Our Saviour determines the signification of this word, and shews that the saints of the Old Testament believed that the soul survived after its separation from the body, which some commentators have unguardedly said could not be clearly proved. This text may be applicable both to David and to Jesus Christ in a literal sense, as nothing contradictory would ensue, no more than from the prediction, out of Egypt I have called my son, being verified both in the Israelites and in the Messias; as both may truly be styled sons of God, though in a different sense. It is not so with that other prophecy, Behold a virgin, &c., which some say related both to the wife of the prophet and to the blessed Virgin: which cannot be, as they would not both have children, and still remain virgins. When two literal senses are admitted, they must not be contradictory. The verb is here in the future, both in Hebrew, Septuagint, and in the common Greek of the New Testament; (Luke xxiii. 46.) though some manuscripts of the latter have the present tense, which is adopted by Protestants, &c. (Berthier) --- David commits his cause to God, being convinced that his promises would not be in vain. St. Stephen said in like manner, Lord receive my spirit; (Acts vii. 58.) and "the saints use this prayer when they leave the body," (St. Jerome; Calmet) as well as on any other important occasion, particularly when they receive the holy sacrament. (Worthington) --- Redeemed, by freeing me from many dangers. The resurrection of Christ might be called a redemption; for which he had paid the price. (Berthier)

Verse 7

Vanities. Idols, (Calmet) superstitious practices, (Hammond) and lies. It may refer to Saul, who performed his promises so ill, and neglected the laws which he had made against witches. (Calmet) --- Protestants, "I have hated them that regard lying vanities." (Haydock) --- The ancient interpreters, with St. Jerome, seem not to have seen the i, which changes the second into the first person, though here it would be less agreeable to the context. This i would appear unnecessary, if the present Hebrew were correct. (Berthier) (Houbigant)

Verse 8

Humility. Hebrew, "affliction, thou hast known the tribulations of my soul." (St. Jerome) (Haydock) --- Thou hast often rescued me from my enemies; and canst thou behold my present distress without pity? (Calmet) --- when God knows his friend to be in misery, he does not fail to relieve him. (Berthier)

Verse 9

Place. The psalms were commonly composed after the danger was over. David had escaped the lance and the servants of Saul. (Calmet)

Verse 10

Belly, or entrails. (Menochius) (Lamentations i. 20., and Ecclesiasticus li. 29.) (Haydock) --- David was filled with indignation at the conduct of his enemies. (Calmet) --- Both soul and body felt the effects of his great sorrow, (Haydock) which pervaded every part. (Worthington)

Verse 11

Poverty. Septuagint have read ani instead of haoni, "my iniquity," which seems less accurate, as David had not offended Saul. Symmachus has "malice," (Calmet) or "ill-treatment," Greek: kakosin. (Haydock) --- We may form some judgment of David’s distress, from his being obliged to eat the consecrated bread at Nobe. (Calmet) --- Yet without making any change to the Hebrew, we may explain it in the sense of the Vulgate, as ave signifies to be "bent down." (Berthier) --- "Chastisements waste my strength." (Pr. disc.) --- Jesus was a man of sorrows. (Berthier)

Verse 12

Among. Literally, "above;" super. (Haydock) --- Houbigant would exchange l for m, in Hebrew "to all," &c., which seems more agreeable to the sequel, and does not contradict the Vulgate. (Berthier) --- David complains that none of his enemies were treated so severely as himself, (Haydock) though they were very wicked. (Menochius) --- They all looked upon him with disdain, and even his friends fled from him. This is the picture of the world. A man fallen into distress is the object of general contempt. (Calmet) --- Yet we ought rather to remember that such a one is sacred: sacra res est miser: and that he ought to excite our compassion. (Haydock) --- Fear. People are afraid to have it known that they were ever acquainted with me, (Calmet) lest they should be involved in my misery. (Haydock) --- My friends dare not converse with me. (Worthington) Si male res cedit, superest tibi nullus amicus:

Omnia fortunæ sunt inimica malæ. (Lucian Anthol.)

If fortune frown, no friend dares shew his face,

All flee the wretched, and abhor their place.

Verse 13


A prayer of a just man under affliction.

Heart, past recovery. Protestants, "dead man out of mind." (Haydock) --- Vessel means, "any thing." (Calmet) --- A broken pot is thrown away. (Menochius)

Verse 14

About. They blame me to my face. Hebrew, "fear on every side." (Haydock) --- But magor signifies also "dwelling," as well as "fear;" and this dread arose only from the multitude of enemies. (Berthier) --- Life. I was proscribed by Saul, (1 Kings xix. 1.; Haydock) and they were only solicitous how to destroy me. (Calmet) --- They assembled to talk about my pretended (Haydock) faults, and to contrive my ruin, Jeremias xx. 10. (Menochius)

Verse 16

Lots. Roman Septuagint, Greek: kleroi, as the same word, hittothai is rendered [in] Judges xxi. 22. Others explain "times," with the Roman Psalter, &c., in the same sense, to denote (Berthier) that all the vicissitudes of life, both prosperity and adversity, are at God’s disposal. (Theodoret) --- If he protects me, all my enemies will rage in vain. (Calmet)

Verse 17

Shine propitiously, so as to free me from this storm. (Calmet) --- Make me acquainted with the right path, and deliver me. (Worthington)

Verse 18

Brought. Protestants, "be silent in the grave," (Haydock) or "in hell." This is a prediction. When I shall ascend the throne, they will be covered with shame. (Calmet) --- Let them enter into themselves before they die. (Haydock) --- Houbigant thinks that the Hebrew had formerly, "let them be silent, and descend into the grave;" which seems judicious. David inveighs against his spiritual enemies, and against manifest impiety. (Berthier)

Verse 19

Iniquity. Hebrew, "harsh things;" calumnies. (Calmet) --- Abuse. Septuagint, Greek: exoudenosei, as if they "made nothing" of the just. (Haydock) --- They seem to acknowledge no superior, and abuse their power. (Worthington)

Verse 20

Men. Thou comfortest thy servants internally, and often manifestest thy protection. (Haydock) --- This thou wilt do when it is expedient, though the reward of the just in this life is generally hidden. They are, nevertheless, in great esteem with thee. (Worthington)

Verse 21

Face. The malice of the wicked has its limits; while God defends his servants, admitting them as it were into his own presence and tabernacle, where none dare assault them. The Eastern princes did not allow any, but their great favourites to come into their presence. (Calmet) (Esther v. and xv.) (Haydock) --- Disturbance. Chaldean, "troops of the strong." Hebrew, "from the pride or vexations." God will protect his friends, both from an open attack and from malicious speeches. --- Thy is not expressed in Hebrew. (Berthier) --- "From the harshness of the great ones thou wilt protect them in the shade, from the contradiction of tongues." (St. Jerome) --- How shall we avoid the danger of being seduced by contradictory teachers, unless we have recourse to the Catholic Church? Tu curre ad Eccles. Cath. et protegeris; &c. (St. Augustine) (Haydock) --- Those who are united to God by contemplation and love, cannot be disturbed by men. (Bellarmine; Menochius)

Verse 22

In a. Symmachus, "as in a city shut up" with fortifications. (Calmet) --- As seems to be understood, though some explain this of Ceila, (Berthier) or of Siceleg, which had been given to David for a retreat. He here apologizes for having recourse to an infidel. (Calmet)

Verse 23

Excess. Septuagint, "in my ecstacy." Hebrew, "haste." Protestants, "consternation." (Symmachus) (Haydock) --- In sudden danger I exclaimed that all was lost; but God presently relieved me. Thus He prepared David for his exalted station; having taught him by affliction, to have pity on others. (Calmet) --- He experienced for a moment a sort of diffidence, before he had time to reflect. But he presently turned towards God. A Protestant commentator, who, in general, is very guarded in his expressions, and who applies all this psalm to the Messias, here falls into a horrible mistake, which he seems to have borrowed from Calvin: "The Messias," he says, "was to experience once, what the damned will feel for ever. For the punishment of the damned properly consists in the consternation and grief which they will feel, to see themselves separated for ever from the sight of God." He refutes himself, by saying the Jesus Christ shewed us how to pray, when we are abandoned in like manner. Does any one experience here the torment of the damned? or could Jesus ever be the object of God’s hatred? It would have sufficed to say that he was destitute of all exterior succour, and internally felt those torments which the gospel mentions. (Berthier) --- Eyes. This he spoke in great agony of mind, which he would afterwards have recalled, like holy Job, chap. iii., and xlii. (Worthington)

Verse 24

Saints. Hebrew, "merciful ones;" Assideans, priests, &c. --- Truth. Hebrew, "will preserve the true;" (Calmet) or, "will observe the faithful." (Berthier) --- Abundantly. Septuagint, "that act with great pride," as St. Augustine reads, and as Hebrew and Vulgate may be rendered. (Haydock) --- The prophet exhorts all to persevere unto the end. (Worthington)

Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Psalms 30". "Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". 1859.