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Bible Commentaries

Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Psalms 58

Verse 1

Watched. Hebrew, "they (the guards) watched." The psalm relates also to the resurrection of Christ, and vocation of the Gentiles, (Berthier) as well as to the reprobation, and future conversion of the Jews. It seems to be most applicable to the times of Esdras and Nehemias: (2 Esdras iv. 1., and vi. 1.) one of whom may have composed it. (Calmet) --- But this is only a conjecture, (Berthier) and Saul's emissaries may be styled Gentiles, (Menochius) because they imitated their manners. (Haydock) --- Saul sent repeatedly, and went himself to attack David. He gave him Michol with the same design. (Worthington) --- But God turned her heart another way. (Haydock)

Verse 4

Caught. Hebrew, "laid snares for." Septuagint, "hunted." The enemy wished eagerly to take David, or Nehemias, (Haydock; Calmet) and they seemed to have so surrounded the former, as to be sure of him. (Worthington)

Verse 5

I ran. Hebrew, "they," &c. But the Septuagint would not have made such a mistake, (Berthier) and the Hebrew appears to be incorrect, though we may understand "without iniquity in me, they have run." (Calmet) --- I gave them no offence. (Worthington) --- All this may be well explained of Jesus Christ, who alone could use these expressions with propriety, being without sin.

Verse 6

No mercy. Nehemias uses the like prophetic threats, 2 Esdras iv. 5. (Calmet) --- "Every sin must be punished, either by the penitent, or by an avenging God." The prophet supposes that his enemies died impenitent. (St. Augustine) --- When the gospel was first preached, God visited the world with various afflictions, to make people enter into themselves. (Eusebius) --- The prophet prays that God would visit all nations with peace, and punish obstinate persecutors of the Catholic Church. (Worthington)

Verse 7

Evening, when they came to take David. But, out of regard for Michol, they providentially waited till he had escaped, 2 Kings xix. (Haydock) --- Nehemias was obliged to watch continually, 2 Esdras iv. 11, 23. (Calmet) --- The Jews will embrace the faith at the end of the world, (St. Augustine) or they will be destroyed (St. Hilary) or banished by Titus and Adrian (A.D. 137); the latter of whom forbade them even to look at Jerusalem from an eminence. They could not enter it in the time of Eusebius, (Psalm xlviii.) and St. Jerome. (Soph. 1.) --- They have a hunger for God's word, of which they have lost the true sense. (St. Athanasius) --- Persecutors are never satiated, though they labour to destroy, all their lives. (Worthington) --- They allow themselves no rest. (Menochius)

Verse 8

Lips. They seek my ruin, 2 Esdras iv. 2, &c. --- Heard. Thus they deny Providence, Psalm (Hebrew) x. 11. (Calmet) --- This thought and the occasion of in have produced much wickedness. "Whithersoever thou goest, thou art seen by Jesus Christ, who made, redeemed, and died for thee." (St. Augustine, Ser. 161.) --- A serious consideration of God's presence is the best preservative. (Berthier) --- The wicked devise all sorts of cruelty, as if there were no God. (Worthington)

Verse 9

Laugh. Permitting them to become ridiculous. (Calmet)

Verse 10

My. Hebrew, "his," which seems incorrect. Chaldean (Calmet) and St. Jerome agree with the Vulgate. Houbigant would also substitute, "My strength, I will sing to thee," which affords a better sense, ver. 17. (Berthier) --- Yet our version is very plain; I will make all my powers serve thee, and acknowledge that all comes from thee. (Haydock) --- Such was the admirable humility of Nehemias, who never assumed any glory to himself. (Calmet) --- David and all just men entertain the same sentiments. We are here assured (Haydock) that the Church and some virtuous souls will persevere, by God's grace. (Worthington)

Verse 11

His mercy. Protestants, "the God of my." Yet the text has "his;" i and v are easily confounded. The Keri here allows "my," which Pagnin translates. St. Jerome, "the mercy of my God;" (Haydock) or "my God, my mercy." (Ep. ad. Sun.) (Calmet) --- All comes to the same end. These words are most applicable to Jesus Christ. (Berthier)

Verse 12


A prayer to be delivered from the wicked, with confidence in God's help and protection. It agrees to Christ and his enemies, the Jews.

Over. St. Jerome, "my spies." (Haydock) --- Forget. Let them suffer a long time, (Menochius) that their punishment may be a greater warning. The ancients read, "thy law," instead of people, and apply this to the Jews, (Calmet) who still preserve the law, and bear witness throughout the world that the prophecies were not a fabrication of Christians. (Haydock) --- Their exemplary chastisement and continuance, may serve to caution all not to follow their example. Jud'e6i testes iniquitatis su'e6 et veritatis nostr'e6. (St. Augustine) (Eusebius) --- "If all the Jews had been converted, we should have had only suspicious witnesses; and if all had been exterminated, we hould have had none." God permits our spiritual adversaries to remain for our trial, (Tertullian) that we may not forget ourselves in prosperity. (Worthington) --- We may also translate Al, "O God, (as well as not ) slay them, that they may attack my people no more;" (see 2 Esdras iv. 4.) for what reason could Nehemias have to beg that they might be spared? (Calmet) --- God might have some. (Haydock)

Verse 13

For, is not expressed. Literally, "bring down....the sign," &c. Let not their haughty speeches take effect, or escape punishment. The imprecations of the Jews against themselves, (Haydock) and against Christ, have brought on their destruction. (St. Augustine) --- Thus nothing need be supplied. --- Of. Hebrew, "shall relate;" which has little sense. Laying aside the points, it may have the meaning of the Vulgate. This passage can hardly be applicable to David's persecutors, though it might predict the disasters of Saul. It alludes more to the enemies of Christ, (Berthier) who called down his blood upon themselves, (Matthew xxvii. 25.) and most falsely accused Him. (Calmet) --- Hence they are become the reproach of men, and are no long a people. They behold the reign of Christ propagated throughout the world, (ver. 16.; Haydock) while they are wandering about and despised. They once would not serve; boasting that they were children of Abraham, John viii. (Menochius)

Verse 14

Consumed. At the destruction of Jerusalem, or for opposing Nehemias, 2 Esdras vi. 16. --- Earth. The Jews who were preordained to life, embraced the gospel. (Calmet) --- How can those know, who are no more? Their condition will be worse than annihilation. They will exist in hell, though no more visible to us. (Berthier) --- They will know the truth, when it is too late; and when they are on the point of plunging into the abyss. The measure of their crimes being full, they shall be accused and punished. (Worthington)

Verse 15

City. This is a sort of chorus, ver. 7. St. Jerome and Protestants, "Let them bark." (Haydock) --- It insinuates, that the attacks of the enemies of Nehemias, (Calmet) David, and Christ, were unceasing. (Haydock)

Verse 16

Murmur. Hebrew also, "shall tarry all night." Protestants, "grudge." (Haydock) --- Finding no oil for their lamps, they will repent like Judas, and blaspheme in hell. (Worthington)

Verse 17

Morning. With earnestness, (Haydock) I will fulfil this duty (Calmet) at the resurrection, (Worthington) in the morning of a glorious immortality. (Menochius)

Verse 18

Helper. St. Jerome, "my strength," virtutem meam tibi cantabo, ver. 10. I will sing, that all I have comes from thy pure mercy. (Haydock)

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Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Psalms 58". "Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". 1859.