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Bible Commentaries

Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Psalms 59

Verse 1

Changed. Psalm xliv. Title, Psalm xv., doctrine explaining what will be the progress of the Church. (Menochius) --- It seems to have the same import as understanding, in other titles, but here is of little authority. (Berthier) --- It has no connexion with the psalm, which seems to have been written before David had obtained the sovereignty over Israel, (Houbigant; ver. 8) or it expresses the sentiments of the captives, (Calmet) and of Jesus Christ, and his Church. (St. Augustine)

Verse 2

Set fire. Hebrew, "fought against Syria of Mesopotamia, and Syria of Seba." (St. Jerome) (2 Kings viii. 10.) (Haydock) --- Twelve. Abisai slew 18,000, perhaps on another occasion; (1 Paralipomenon xviii. 12.) so that this title does not contradict history. (Menochius)

Verse 3

Off. Chastising thy people frequently under Moses, &c. (Berthier) --- On us. Redeeming mankind, which thou hadst condemned, for the fault of Adam, and giving us a more abundant grace, Romans v. 9. (St. Hilary) --- Thou hast treated us like a good physician, (Deuteronomy xxxii. 39.; Calmet) chastising us for our sins, that we might improve in virtue. (Worthington)

Verse 4

Moved. He personifies the earth, which had fallen into the hands of the Chaldeans, (Calmet) or had experienced various commotions under Saul, &c., (Haydock) which he denotes by the mention of an earthquake. (Menochius)

Verse 5

Sorrow. Hebrew, "muddy," such as is given to slaves or malefactors, (Matthew xxvii. 34.) mixed with myrrh, or venom. Literally, "wine of trembling," (Calmet) or soporiferous. (St. Jerome) (Haydock) --- All these expressions give the idea of something disagreeable. (Berthier) --- The people became penitent, or were astonished. (Menochius)

Verse 6

Warning, to amend, (Worthington) the sign of the cross (Calmet) in baptism, (St. Jerome) or confirmation. (Eusebius) --- It was customary to erect a pole, on which some signal was placed, in case of invasion, Isaias v. 26., and xi. 12., &c. (Calmet) --- Bow. Hebrew kossoth, (Haydock) as St. Jerome, &c., have read, though the present Hebrew end with t, less correctly, and is explained, "because of the truth." (Calmet) (Berthier)

Verse 7

Save me. The king praying for all. (Menochius) --- St. Augustine reads, me, (Calmet) though the Vulgate does not here express it. (Haydock) --- Hebrew, "save thy right hand," the people, or man of thy, &c., Psalm lxxix. 18. (Calmet) --- Hear me. Hebrew, "him." But the margin has, me. (Haydock)

Verse 8

Holy one, Jesus Christ, (Eusebius) the prophet, (Menochius) the sanctuary, (Calmet) or oracle. (Worthington) --- He had promised that the captives should return in seventy years time, Jeremias xxv. 11., and xxix. 10. (Calmet) --- Sichem. (partibor Sichimam....metibor.) These two verbs are sometimes used for partiar and metiar, in ancient authors. --- Tabernacles. Hebrew, "succoth." (Berthier) (Genesis xxxiii. 17.) --- It may also signify the Arabs, who lived in tents. (Menochius) --- David’s dominion extended over these nations, (Haydock) and the captives at Babylon hoped to recover them, as the Machabees did. The kingdoms of Juda and Israel were no more divided, (Isaias xi. 13., and Jeremias xxxi. 8.) to shew the unity of the Church.

Verse 9

Head. This tribe was at the head of the kingdom of Israel, but submitted to David, (Haydock) and afforded excellent soldiers and captains. (Calmet) --- His temporal kingdom was extended by God, who will crown his elect. (Worthington) --- King. Hebrew, "law-giver," alluding to Genesis xlix. 10. Symmachus, "my general." (Calmet) --- The word king implies all this. (Haydock) --- Juda always swayed the sceptre. (Berthier) --- After the captivity, Zorobabel was at the head of the people. Jesus Christ sprung from this tribe, and is the true king of the people, whom he has redeemed, and put in possession of the land of promise. (Calmet)

Verse 10

The pot of my hope; or my watering pot. That is, a vessel for meaner uses, by being reduced to serve me, even i nthe meanest employments. (Challoner) (Worthington) --- Plautus (Mort. ii. scen. 1. 40) says, Ego vos pro matula habeo, &c. Symmachus adopts the sense of the Septuagint Greek: amerimnias, as rets, in Syriac means "to trust," (Daniel iii. 28.) and "to wash" in Hebrew. It was customary to throw lots into a pot full of water, and that which came out last was most esteemed. To this custom the psalmist may allude, (Calmet) or he hoped that the fruitful region of Moab would supply him with food. It was subject to David, (2 Kings viii. 2.; Haydock) and to the Machabees, 1 Machabees v. 6. --- Shoe, to be untied, or carried, as by the meanest slaves, (Matthew iii. 11.) or to take possession, Deuteronomy xi. 24. Thus "Alexander threw a javelin, and danced on the shore of Asia, begging that those lands would not receive him unwillingly for king." (Diodorus Arrian. Justin.) --- David conquered Idumea, (2 Kings viii. 14.; Haydock) as Hyrcanus did afterwards. (Josephus, [Antiquities?] xiii. 17.) (Calmet) --- Foreigners, alienigenæ, or, "Allophyli." (St. Augustine) --- "Of another tribe." (Haydock) --- So the Philistines were called, who had no kindred with the Israelites; whereas the Edomites, Moabites, &c., were originally of the same family. (Challoner) --- Subject, or "friends," Psalm cvii. 10. (Calmet) --- Protestants, "Philistia, triumph thou, because of me." Marginal note insinuates this is spoken "by irony;" but (Haydock) Hebrew properly means, "make an alliance with me;" or, Syriac, "I will shout for joy over Palestine." This country was subdued by the Machabees, (1 Machabees iv. 15.; Calmet) as it had been tributary to David, 2 Kings viii. 2. (Berthier) --- "I will make a league against the Philistines." (Houbigant)

Verse 11

city. The capital of the aforesaid counties, or Jerusalem; (Calmet) but more particularly Petra, (Haydock) the strongest place in Idumea. (Menochius) (Abdias, 3.) (Berthier) --- The Fathers understand the Church. (Eusebius)

Verse 12

Off? God punishes and rewards. (Worthington) --- And wilt; or, "yet thou wilt not," &c. (Haydock) --- Thou wilt not depend on our efforts for victory. (Bellarmine) (Menochius) --- How can we expect to make such conquests, being in so forlorn a condition, when thou dost not lead forth our armies, as formerly? All that man can do is vain, but thou wilt look down upon us, and through God we shall do mightily, ver. 14. (Calmet)

Verse 18


After many afflictions, the Church of Christ shall prevail.

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Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Psalms 59". "Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". 1859.