Bible Commentaries
Psalms 4

Haydock's Catholic Bible CommentaryHaydock's Catholic Commentary

Verse 1

Unto the end. Or as St. Jerome renders it, victory to him that overcometh; which some understand of the chief musician; to whom they suppose the psalms, which bear that title, were given to be sung. We rather understand the psalms thus inscribed to refer to Christ, who is the end of the law, and the great Conqueror of death and hell; and to the New Testament. --- In verses, in carminibus. In the Hebrew, it is neginoth, supposed by some to be a musical instrument, with which this psalm was to be sung. --- For David, or to David, Greek: to David, that is, inspired to David himself, or to be sung by him. (Challoner) --- Lamnetseach, from nitseach, "to push to an end," may signify (Haydock) to the end; and this sense is more noble than (Berthier) "To the precentor, or president." (Calmet) --- Binginoth. (Haydock) --- "Over the female musicians." (Calmet) --- "To the chief of the singers on stringed instruments." (Duguet.) --- The psalms which have this title, related to future times, and to the Church of Christ; (St. Augustine; Worthington) or were to be sung at the close of the Jewish festivals, &c. (Berthier) --- This is considered as a sequel to the preceding, to thank God for the late victory over Absalom. (Calmet)

Verse 2

The God. Hebrew, "When I call, hear me, O God of my justice:" source and witness of my virtue. If I have offended thee, I have done no wrong to my rebellious son and his adherents. Many copies read Cum invocarem te, exaudisti me. (Calmet) --- Thou. The change of persons intimates that when God is present (St. Augustine) the soul is animated with confidence to speak to him. (Haydock) --- Prayer. Though his request had been granted, he still continues to address God, as we ought to pray without ceasing, 1 Thessalonians v. 17.

Verse 3

O. This is a sort of manifesto to the rebels; and an invitation for them to return to their duty, desisting from setting up a false king, or a lie. (Haydock) --- Dull. Hebrew, "my glory to shame." But the reading of the Septuagint seems to preferable, (Calmet) as the rhyme in Hebrew is now lost, (Fourmont) and the text has been altered (Houbigant) by an injudicious junction of words, and by using c for b. In ancient manuscripts, the words were all joined together, (Berthier) as may be seen in the specimen of the Alexandrian Septuagint given by Grabe. Protestants, "How long will ye turn my glory into shame?" &c. (Haydock)

Verse 4

Wonderful, (mirificavit) according to the Hebrew means also has chosen in a striking manner his appointed ruler, or holy person. (Berthier) --- Holy, often means one set aside, (Luke ii.) or commissioned, though the person be a pagan, Isaias xiii. 3. Chasid, (Haydock) particularly signifies a "clement" character, such as a king ought to be. (Calmet) --- "The Lord has set aside for himself the pious." (Pagnin) --- I am ready to pardon you, but know that if you continue rebellious, you go against the ordinance of heaven. (Haydock)

Verse 5

Angry. My soldiers, do not resent this offence too much, kill not the boy; (2 Kings xviii. 5.) or (Haydock) you, my deluded subjects, enter into yourselves. St. Paul (Ephesians iv. 26.) cites this as a moral sentence. (Calmet) --- It is more difficult to moderate anger than to deny access to it entirely. (St. Francis de Sales) (Haydock) --- Beds. Repent for the most secret evil thoughts, before you fall asleep. (Worthington)

Verse 6

Justice. External devotion will not suffice. (St. Chrysostom) --- No sacrifice will please God as long as people take part with rebels. (Calmet) --- Besides external sacrifices, which have always been required, and those of praise and contrition, (Psalm xlix., and l.) we must offer to God the sacrifice of justice, by complying with our duties to him, ourselves, and neighbours, and by hating sin, and also the world, the flesh, and the devil, which prompt us to offend, and thus to give the preference to vanity. For this purpose, we must not trust in ourselves, but in God; and that no one may plead ignorance, the light of reason and grace is given us, plainly indicating that we have a God to serve, and must expect reward or punishment, Hebrews xi. 6. (Worthington)

Verse 7

The. Houbigant transposes this to ver. 9, which is not necessary. David answers those diffident people, (Berthier) who thought they had received no marks of God’s favour, and were in great want of provisions, till some were brought by Berzellai. (Haydock)

Verse 8

By. Hebrew and St. Augustine, "From the time of their corn and wine" (Calmet) gathering. I rejoiced "more" than those who live in the greatest affluence, which is nothing but vanity. No mention is made of oil, but the original term, "liquor," includes it. (Berthier) --- St. Jerome found it not in the Hexapla. But it now occurs in the Arabic, Syriac, &c. (Calmet) --- David envies not the present prosperity of the rebels. (Haydock) --- He comforts his followers with the assurance of God’s favour, which he had again testified by sending provisions. (Bullenger) --- He may also here express the disappointment of the rebels, who promised themselves great riches, of which Providence would soon deprive them, by restoring the king, whom he had chosen, and hitherto so wonderfully protected. (Haydock) --- God gave temporal advantages to the just in the old law, as the figure of heavenly rewards. (Worthington)

Verse 9


The prophet teacheth us to flee to God in tribulation, with confidence in him.

Same, (in idipsum) which signifies with one accord, Acts i. 14. Hebrew, "altogether," when we shall be united as one people, which I expect will shortly be the case. Confiding in God, I will repose as in the arms of peace. Absalom was already cut off. But all his adherents were not reclaimed. Yet their number was so small, as to cause no apprehensions. (Haydock) --- Under thy protection, I am secure, (Calmet) no longer kept between fear and hope. (St. Bernard) --- When I lie down, I can enjoy rest, (Berthier) being free from turbulent passions. (Haydock)

Verse 10

Singularly. Art "alone" (Pagnin) the source of all my happiness; (Haydock) or thou hast taken such care of me, as if thou hadst no other. (Menochius) --- I am at a distance from the contagion of evil company, (St. Chrysostom) which I hate. (Berthier) --- "For thou only art Lord, thou hast made me dwell secure." (St. Jerome)

Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Psalms 4". "Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". 1859.