COMMENTARY ON PSALM 9-19
translated by F.F. Reilly
In Psalm 8 the psalmist rendered thanks to God for granting divine blessings to the entire human race. Here in Psalm 9, thanks is especially rendered to God for blessings to the psalmist. This idea, according to Jerome, is evident from the title of Psalm 9: "To the choirmaster; according to Muth-labben. A Psalm of David."
The Second Book of Samuel (chapters: 18-19) records that David, after his son Absalom's death, recovered his kingdom. Due to this particular blessing, David composed Psalm 9.
In our version (used by St. Thomas), the title of Psalm 9 is: "Thanks for the Victory over the Heathen," This seems to be an obscure title regarding things about Absalom's death, that are hidden from everyone's eyes.
Mystically the title for Psalm 9 can refer to Christ (Son of God). For, Christ is called a "Son," as of God, the Father. Because: "So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed." (Jo 8:36), So, David's mystical son is promised in return. As recorded: "And he cried, 'Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me'" (Lk 18:38).
So, hidden things of a son are as mysteries concerning Christ. For such hidden things of Christ are twofold, Christ's first coming on earth is hidden in reference to his divinity and glory, Both these two things are hidden within a weakness of human flesh. For: "Truly you art a God who hide youself, O God of Israel, the Savior" (Is 45:15).
Christ's second coming upon this earth will be evident. Because: "And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory" (Luke 21:27).
Christ's judgment is also twofold. One is hidden within the very condition of this present world. Another judgment is from God, the Father, allowing good persons to suffer from evil persons, For: "Your righteousness is like the mountain of God, your judgments are like the great deep." (Ps 36 :6). Also: "Therefore do not pronounce judgment before your time, before the Lord comes" (1 Cor 4:5).
So, in Psalm 9 there is exposed a hidden judgment that good persons suffer from evil persons. Because: "But when I looked for good, evil came, and I waited for light, darkness came" (Job 30:26).
Thus, the entire Psalm 9 is exposed along the above consideration of thanks, and freedom from enemies.
Psalm 9 is divided into two parts, The first part considers actions from divine blessings. The second part considers the matters concerning such blessings, There: "When my enemies turned back, they stumbled and perished before thee," (Verse 3).
Divine blessings are threefold: from the mouth, the heart, and the deed. The blessings from the mouth are twofold: from praising and preaching. By praising when it says: "I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart" (Verse 1). And by preaching, from three ideas: faith, sinners, and praise.
Regards faith is said: "For man believes with his heart, and is so justified. He professes with his lips and so is saved." (Rom 10:10). Also: "I acknowledged my sin to thee, and I did not hide my iniquity" (Ps 32 :5).
Regards sinners: "Therefore confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed" (Jas 5:16).
Regards praise: "Then the angel called the two of them private, and said to them: "Praise God and give thanks to him in the presence for what he has done for us" (Tob 12:6).
Concerning the idea of praising, it is said: "I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds." (Verse 1). Such praises are within the heart. As I Samuel 16:7 claims: "But the Lord said to Samuel, "Do not look on his appearance, or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord sees not as men sees, but the Lord looks on the heart." On the contrary is stated in Isaiah 29:13: "And the Lord said: 'Because this people draw near with their mouth and honor me with their lips, while their hearts are far from me." And: "As it is written, This people honor me with their lips but their heart is far from me" (Mark 7:6).
So is said in Verse 1: "With my whole heart." For: "Whenever our hearts condemn us, for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything" (1 Jo 3:20). Also, insofar as we praise as we can, due to God himself. Because: "And you shall love the Lord your God, with all your heart" (Deut 6:5). Thus, the person who does not give the entire heart, or love, to God, but rather desires to possess something else besides, then forfeits God." For the bed is too short to stretch oneself on it, and the covering too narrow to wrap oneself in it" (Is 28:20).
The person then who praises God with their entire heart accepts nothing contrary to God. Such a person refers everything to God alone by their actions, and habits. For: "It is good to guard the secret of the king; but gloriously to reveal the works of God. Do good, and evil will not overtake you" (Job 12:7). That is, by professing and praising God's works.
So: "I will tell of all your wonderful deeds." (Verse 1). Namely, by preaching and announcing God's works to others. For, God grants communicable divine blessings to others. Such will occur by announcing the blessings to others. But he sent them away saying, "Return to your home and declare how much God has done for you." (Lk 8:38-39). Also: "I will tell of all your wonderful deeds" (Verse 1).
Yet, there is had, what is said: "wonderful deeds," since God's works are wonderful. For: "You are the God who works wonders, who have manifested your might among the peoples" (Ps 77 :14).
But why does Verse 1 state: "All"? This is stated generally, either because all things whatsoever are narrowed and are thus wonderful. Or, because all things need not the intention of narrowing, nor need to consist as just one thing. So, a person then can proceed as much as one desires. Hilary (Doctor of the Church, died 368 A.D.), claims in his writing: "On the Trinity": One who piously proceeds infinitely, still never arrives. He merely becomes proficient in proceeding forward. For: "When you praise the Lord, exalt him as much as you can, for he will surpass even that" (Sir 43:30). Also: "The Lord has not enabled his holy ones to recount all his marvelous works, which the Lord Almighty has established that the universe may stand in glory" (Sir 42:17).
Then: "I will be glad and exult in thee, I will sing praise to your name, O Most High" (Verse 2). Here gratitude is rendered from the heart. Some narrate to others their blessings and rejoice about them, just as do even sinners. For, Luke the Apostle so declares of the Pharisee who claimed: "God, I thank thee that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers or even like this tax collector" (Lk 18:11). Here in Verse 2 the person will ever rejoice in the Lord, the Most High. "For the Lord is the one who repays, he will repay you sevenfold."(Sir 35:11). Thus: "I will be glad and exult in thee." (Verse 2). That is, inwardly within my heart.
Again: "And exult in thee" (Verse 2). Namely, even towards external gladness. Because: "Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation" (Hab 3:18). So, I will rejoice in the Lord: "I will sing praise to your name, O Most High." (Verse 2).
Also:"I will sing praise." (Verse 2). Here also thanks are considered regarding deeds. For to sing a psalm by hand (on the psaltery) is a deed, and good psalmody constitutes a good deed. Thus, all good deeds of ourselves ought to tend towards God's glory. For: "Let your light shine before men that they see your good works and give glory to your Father, who is in heaven." (Mt: 5: 16). And: "I will praise the Lord as long as I live, I will sing praises to my God while I have being." (Ps 146:2).
So, Verse 2 ends: "To your name, O Most High." Which declares, as it were: "God the Most High does not profit from the fact that I, David, praise and sing a psalm to you, O Most High." Because: "I prayed with the head bowed on my bosom, as though I grieved for my friend, or my brother" (Ps 35 :13). Also: "If you are righteousness what do you give to him, or what does he receive from your hand? (Job: 35: 7). And: "Is it any pleasure to the Almighty if you are righteous, or is it a gain to him if you make your ways blameless?" (Job: 22: 3).
Here in Verse 3 the matter for actions of divine blessings is exposed. First, especially as to such actions, and then generally. There: "When my enemies turned back, they stumbled and perished before thee." (Verse 3). Secondly the authority of the one acting is praised. There: "You have sat on the throne giving righteous judgment." (Verse 4). Thirdly, an effect is noted: "For you have maintained my just cause" (Verse 4).
The fact of divine blessings for themselves, regards destruction of their enemies. About this, three ideas are advanced. First, if one is destroyed, that one is defected from their aim. Regarding such there is declared: "When my enemies turned back." (Verse 3). And one can add to this idea: "I confess." That is, I, David, render thanks to God. Thus, an enemy is deflected when departing from the aim he proposes. For: Let them be put to shame and confusion who' seek my life" (Ps 70 :2); and (Ps 40 :2).
The justice for the fact of actions of divine blessings are considered on the part of the judges. Thus, here the authority of judgment of God is declared. For: "You have sat on the throne giving righteous judgment." (Verse 4). Which is the seat of a judge, having regal power to destroy evil. For: "A king who sits on the throne of judgment winnows all evil with his eye" (Prov 20:8).
Also, the judge has a love for justice. So is said: "Giving righteous judgment" (Verse 4). Namely: "But, Lord of hosts, who judge righteously, who try the heart and the mind, let me see your vengeance upon you, for to you I have committed my cause" (Jer 11:20). Which claims, as it were: Such righteous judgment is proper to you, O Lord. "For the Lord loves righteous deeds, the upright shall behold his face" (Ps 11 :7). Because; "It is I am announcing vindication, mighty to save" (Is 63:1).
Or, Verse 4 can refer to Christ. Then it is Christ judging, and Christ, the just cause. For: "But you are full of judgment on the wicked, judgment and justice seize you" (Job 36:17). Thus, it is Christ's just cause, since Christ arrived at his own glory.
So: "You have set" (Verse 4). Namely, "God, the Father, has set on the throne" (Verse 4), That is, upon the soul of Christ's divinity, at the right of God, the Father.
Then there is the weakening of the enemy's power. There: "They stumbled" (Verse 3). Namely, within their power they stumbled. Because: "But the Lord is with me as a dread warrior; therefore my persecutors will stumble" (Jer 20:11). "There is then the idea that enemies will perish. So is declared: "And perished before you" (Verse 3). That is, either by falling into irreverence: "Before you" Namely, by your awareness and condemnation, O Lord. Or: "And perished" (Verse 3) from your face, O Lord, as they were unable to behold you. For: "In the land of uprightness he deals perversely and does not see the majesty of the Lord" (Is 26:10).
Another version for Verse 3 has: "The impious one is taken away, lest he behold the glory of God".
Then is considered the justice of the actions of divine blessings. First, on the Lord's part, as is said: "For you have maintained my just cause" (Verse 4). For, sometimes, one gains justice while having a judge who renders such justice. Other times, one may have a judge, yet does not have a witness, or an advocate. So is stated: "For you have maintained my just cause" (Verse 4). That is, you, O Lord, have granted to me, David, a just cause, as my own witness. For: "I am the one who knows and am witness, says the Lord" (Jer 29:23). God here is both a judge and witness. As judge, God renders a verdict; as witness, God, defends just causes.
Other expositions for Verse 4 can be presented, as one desires.
"you have rebuked the nations, you have destroyed the wicked, you have blotted out their name for ever and ever" (Verse 5).
Above, is shown the judgment in David's own interest, as if a verdict is owed to him, Here in Verse 5 is shown a just judgment in David's interest regarding those avenging. So, justice is first considered; second, such justice is then exposed. There: "you have destroyed the wicked, you have blotted out their name for ever and ever" (Verse 5).
The Lord punishing the wicked effects three things. First, the Lord does not proceed directly to his judgment, since he first reprehends. Second, unless the wicked correct themselves, the Lord then punishes. Third, the Lord finally exterminates the wicked. Concerning the divine reprehension, there is declared: "you have rebuked the nations" (Verse 5). That is, through preachers. For: "Cry aloud, spare not, lift up your voice like a trumpet, declare to my people their transgression" (Is: 58: 1). Also: "Preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching" (2 Tim 4:2).
Regarding the correcting of the wicked is said: "you have destroyed the wicked" (Verse 5). That is, through tribulations. For: "Man is also chastened with pain upon his bed and with continual strife in his bones" (Job 33:19). Thus is said: "You have destroyed the wicked" (Verse 5). That is, this can refer to David's son, Absalom, or the devil himself. Because: "Between morning and evening they are destroyed, they perish forever without any regarding it" (Job 4:20).
Then: "you have rebuked the nations" (Verse 5). Namely, those nations deceiving you, O Lord.
And, "Thou has destroyed the wicked" (Verse 5), since an entire multitude is repulsed. Yet, it is not completely destroyed, since it was seduced. In regard to the fact the Lord does punish, there is asserted: "you have blotted out their name for ever and ever" (Verse 5). Because the wicked ever endeavor to perpetuate themselves, yet they are not to be found within eternity. However, the name of Judah, and the Jewish people, is held in memory. Yet it must be noted that no people wish their name to be magnified within wickedness, but within goodness The name of Judah, however, will remain in wickedness. Because: "The memory of the righteous is a blessing, but the name of the wicked will rot" (Prov. 10: 7). Jerome claims that someone, indeed unknown, could burn a temple so as to become known. Likewise, the name of the wicked can remain remembered within wickedness.
Then is said in Verse 6:"The enemy have vanished in everlasting ruins; their cities you have rooted out, the memory of them has perished" (Verse 6). Here is exposed in what manner an enemy perishes, within two ideas. First, there is assigned a reason by which an enemy will perish; second, the manner. There: "The enemy have vanished in everlasting ruins, their cities you have rooted out" (Verse 6).
The reason why the enemy will perish is: One will perish as one wishes to gain a reputation. Sometimes one makes a name for themselves through their military power within wars. Hence is recorded: "These were the mightily men that were of old, the men of renown" (Gen: 6: 4).
Other times, a person can achieve a reputation through the construction of a city. For: "Children and the building of a city establish a man's name, but a blameless wife is accounted better than both" (Sir 40: 19.). For instance, is the reputation of Romulus, constructor of the city of Rome. (Recorded in Roman mythology, as son of the God, Mars, and founder, and first king of Rome.)
Yet, the Lord God destroys both kinds of such reputations, as above stated.
So:"The enemy have vanished in everlasting ruins" (Verse 6). That is, as if swords of men have finally failed. For: "There he broke the flashing arrows, the shield, the sword, and the weapons of war" (Ps 76 :4). And: "Their cities you have rooted out" (Verse 6). For: "Your country lies desolate, your cities are burnt with fire" (Is 1:7).
Here in Verse 6 the enemy can refer to the devil. As: "He said to them, 'An enemy has done this" (Mt 13:28). Likewise, short swords can refer to temptations, and cities refer to councils by which good persons are perverted.
Then is declared: "The very memory of them has perished" (Verse 6). Here is considered the manner by which something perishes, which is twofold: their memory has perished, and at the same time, their sound. The sound of the wicked is made by clashes of rulers who destroy cities. For, all are given over to death, to the nether world among mortal men with those who go down to the pit" (Ezek 31:13).
Or: the sound of "the enemy have vanished" (Verse 6). Namely, as when any evil person is destroyed yet not without a great clash of sounds. For, it is befitting such a one suffer some clash. For instance, as the Apostle Matthew in his Chapter 9 records that the enemy, the devil, goes out of someone shouting and clashing, and tearing himself to pieces.
Jerome literally states for Verse 6: "Their memory perishes with the impious" For, such evil persons possess nothing of goodness, whence their memory could remain. Because: "For it comes into vanity, and goes into darkness, and in darkness its name is covered" (Eccles: 6: 4).
"But the Lord sits enthroned forever; he has established his throne for judgment" (Verse 7). Here is considered the authority of the person acting. So six conditions about God's judgment are exposed.
First, that a situation is not just for a moment, but for eternity. For some persons, their brief life is one of power. So there is stated: "But the Lord sits enthroned forever" (Verse 7).
Jerome has for Verse 7: "The Lord sits as if in judgment". A judgment is said to be ever prompt. Such a judgment is not so regards others. Hence is said: "He has established his throne for judgment" (Verse 7). Namely, the Lord has been prepared. For "The Lord has taken his place to contend, and he stands to judge his people" (Is 3 13). The condition is declared as universal.
So is said "And he judges the world with righteousness" (Verse 8). Now, justice infers a carrying out of such things in themselves just. Yet such things may not be just in every condition. Because, there are rules, and their number, that concern contingencies, or incidents. Nor can all such things be referred to the singular, or particular. However, such things are in some cases intermingled. For there are certain rules, their numbers, and their conclusions, that are not applicable to a particular condition as its due. Because an application of universal principles pertain to particular cases due to equity; (on the part of a judge).
Jerome thus states for Verse 7: "He will judge peoples in equity" For equity (a benign interpretation of rules, or laws) regards particular cases. Such cases in all respects, restrain and regulate strict justice.
Moreover, a condition can be fulsome with mercy. Such mercy is commendable on the part of the person showing it. For: "When you give a dinner, or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers, or your kinsmen or such neighbors, lest they also invite you in return, and you will be repaid" (Lk 14:12). Also: "Did not I weep for him whose day was hard? Was not my soul grieved for the poor?" (Job: 30: 25).
Verses: 9 - 10
"The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in time of trouble" (Verse 9). Namely, the oppressed poor peoples. For: "Correct oppression; defend the fatherless; plead for the widow" (Is 1:17). Also: "Give justice to the weak and the fatherless, maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute" (Ps 82 :3). Such is truth where there is justice. Again: "You shall do no injustice, in judgment; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor" (Lev 19: 15). This condition is of time because it is at the time poor peoples are in need of acceptable mercy from the Lord God. For: "Mercy is as welcome when he afflicts them as clouds of rain in the time of drought" (Sir 35: 20).
Then is added: "A stronghold in times of trouble" (Verse 9). For, in time of trouble, persons turn to God, and God is preached to them. Such ideas can be exposed in reference to Christ, as the Lord God remaining forever. Because: "Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, and today and forever" (Heb 13:8). As Verse 7 states: "He has established his throne for judgment" And Verse 8 continues: "And he judges the world with righteousness, he judges the peoples with equity" So: "He put on righteousness as a breastplate, and a helmet of salvation upon his head" (Is 39:17).
Then is said: "And those who know your name put their trust in you" (Verse 10). Above, the psalmist considered the deed by which divine blessings function, and the divine authority of he who did the deed. Here he states the fruit of the deed, first in relation to others, then in relation to persons themselves, There: "Be gracious to me, O Lord. Behold what I suffer from those who hate me" (Verse 13).
Then first is exposed the threefold result on others. There is a trust for the name of God, and second, the spiritual result of joy for a person seeking the Lord God. Third, is an annunciation of the Lord's name, The second is there in Verse 11: "Sing praises to the Lord, who dwells in Zion" And third there: "Tell among the peoples his deeds" (Verse 11).
The psalmist leads to such results by a method of exhortation, around which he proposes three ideas. First, he leads one to hope. Second, he shows what is befitting for hope, and third, why one does hope. So is said:"Put their trust in you" (Verse 10), Because: "You who fear the Lord, hope for good things; for everlasting joy and mercy" (Sir 2:9).
But whence does such hope come? So: "And those who know your name put their trust in you" (Verse 10). Such could be desirable since it is the greatest good. "And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone" (Lk 18:19).
The name of "Jesus" is principally powerful. For: "She will bear a son, you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins" (Mt 1:21). Also: "That at the name of Jesus, every knee should bow in heaven and on earth, and under the earth" (Phil 2:10).
And why? "For thou, O Lord, hast not forsaken those who seek you" (Verse 10). "Because he is found by those who do not put him to the test, and manifest to those who do not distrust him" (Wis 1:2). That is, those who seek the Lord with a right intention, since evil persons never find the Lord God. For: "You will seek me and you will not find me; where I am you cannot come" (Jo 7:34).
Also, where is the Lord? Now, the Lord God is not among knowable ideas. Because: "But supposing him to be in the company, they went a day's journey, and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintances" (Lk 2:44). Also: "Man does not know the way to it; and it is not found in the land of the living" (Job 28:13).
The psalmist thirdly leads to a second result from divine blessings; namely, divinely towards happiness, or joy. So, "Sing praises to the Lord, who dwells in Zion" (Verse 11). Here, the Lord is declared in a location yet not corporeally. The second book of Samuel, Chapter 6, declares in passing that King David placed the Ark of the Covenant on Mount Zion. But, according to divine truth itself, the Ark of the Covenant dwells within Christ's Church. The word "Zion" is interpreted as: "Mirror" Since, within the mirror of the Church a person looks into eternal verities. Thus, a person ought to sing praises to the Lord. So, a person who rejoices in heart does so by mouth and deeds for all the divine graces granted by the Lord.
The psalmist then leads to a third result of divine blessings. As: "Tell among the peoples his deeds!" (Verse 11). Namely, "As each one has received a gift employs it for another, as good stewards of God's varied grace" (1 Pet 4:10). At first the psalmist leads into what persons ought to announce. As Gregory (around 540-604) claims in his "Rules for Pastoral Care" "One garners the results of preaching, as one sows seeds of good deeds".
So is said: "Tell among the peoples" (Verse 11). Namely, as among persons living amidst both believers, and unbelievers. For: "To the thirsty bring water, meet the fugitive with bread, O inhabitants of the land of Tema" (Is 21:14).
It adds: "His deeds" (Verse 11). That is, the Lord God's concern for the eternal salvation of the entire human race. "For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil to give you a future, and a hope" (Jer 29:11).
Also "His deeds!" (Verse 11) is exposed in Verse 12: "For I he who avenges blood is mindful of them; he does not forget the cry of the afflicted". That deed which a person does with concern and diligence is never forgotten by the one doing the deed. Thus, the Lord God is concerned for the eternal salvation of the entire human race, and such concern is never forgotten.
Two things make for forgetfulness: death and poverty. Because: "I have passed out of mind like one who is dead. I have become like a broken vessel" (Ps 31 :12).
Regards forgetfulness through poverty: "All the poor man's brothers hate him, how much more do his friends go far from him" (Prov 19:7). Also: "And they cried out with a loud voice, "O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before thou wilt judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth?" (Rev 6:10). Thus: is not the Lord God forgetful of a deed.: "Who avenges blood" (Verse 12). Namely, of persons seeking the Lord God, even if it happens they are killed.
Or: "For he who avenges blood is mindful of them" (Verse 12). That is, the blood of holy persons by their reparation within Christ's Resurrection. For: "Why has he been numbered among the sons of God. And why is his lot among the saints" (Wis 5:5). And is said: "Is mindful of them" (Verse 12). That is, not because the Lord God is forgetful, but rather his divine delay, seems to us forgetful.
Besides, the Lord God does not indeed forget poor persons in their poverty, or their children, For: "Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you have kept back by fraud, cry. out; and the cry of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts" (Ja 5: 4). Also: "For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted" (Ps 22:24). Again: "Then the Lord said: "I have seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt, and have heard their cry, because of their taskmasters" (Ex 3: 7).
"Be gracious to me, o Lord Behold what I suffer from those who hate me, O you who lift me up from the gates of death" (Verse 13). Here is exposed the results of divine blessings concerning the psalmist David, and second the results themselves. There: "That I may recount all your praises, that in the gates of the daughter of Zion, I may rejoice in your deliverance" (Verse 14).
A divine blessing can be twofold. One concerns future time, the other the habitual time. There: "O you who lift me up from the gates of death" (Verse 13).
Regarding a divine blessing for a future time, two ideas are presented. First, the divine mercy of God is granted; second, its motivation. This future divine grace relates to God's divine mercy. So is said: "Be gracious to me, O Lord" (Verse 13). For: "He loves righteousness and justice, and earth is full of the steadfast love of the Lord" (Ps 33 :5).
Jerome has for Verse 13: "Afflictions from mine enemies". Since, enemies afflict the psalmist. Or: "Behold what I suffer from those who hate me" (Verse 13). For, the Lord God grants a blessing to the humble. But he gives more grace, therefore it says "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble" (Ja 4: 6). Thus, Verse 13 can be exposed in relation to proud and evil enemies. Hence, the psalmist here ever believed in an habitual grace, or blessing.
And: "O you who lift me up from the gates of death" (Verse 13). That is, as it were: You, O Lord, have raised me up from my affliction that could not continue, unless I, David, would then die. "For death has come up into our windows, it has entered our palaces" (Jer 9: 21).
Then: "O you who lift me up from the gates of death" (Verse 13). That is, the gates of death spiritually indicates heretics. "And the power of death shall not prevail against it" (Mt 16: 18).
Also, gates of death indicates man's senses. "For death has come up into our windows" (Jer 9: 21). And it indicates a hatred of God's words. Because: "They loathed any kind of food and they drew near to the gates of death" (Ps 107 :18).
Temptations and vices are also considered as heretical. "For you hast power over life and death; you dost lead men down to the gates of Hades and back again" (Wis 16: 13). Thus, one who is freed from temptations and vices is the person, you, O Lord, have lifted up from the gates of death.
So is stated: "That I may recount all your praises, that in the gates of the daughter of Zion, I may rejoice in your deliverance" (Verse 14). Here the psalmist considers the result of divine graces in a reverse order. First, a recounting is declared, and second, a rejoicing. There: "I may rejoice in the deliverance" (Verse 14). Third, the Lord's own knowledge is stated. There: "The Lord has made himself known, he has executed his judgment, the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands" (Verse 16).
Thus is declared, as it were: I, David, declare that you, O Lord, are pitiful, and I desire that I shall obtain your divine mercy. And so much of this mercy, so that: "I may recount all your praises, that in the gates of the daughter of Zion I may rejoice in your deliverance" (Verse 14). Namely, within the multitudes of Jerusalem's people.
So: "That I may recount all your praises" (Verse 14). Namely, I recount not merely all, but even each and every kind of praises. And: "That in the gates of the daughter of Zion I may rejoice in your deliverance" (Verse 14). Which can indicate Doctors of the Church. For: "I will make your pinnacles of agate, your gates of carbuncles, and all your walls of precious stones" (Is 54: 12). Also: "This is the gate of the Lord, the righteousness shall enter through it" (Ps 118 :20).
Again: "That in the gates of the daughter of Zion I may rejoice in your deliverance" (Verse 14). Namely, rejoice in good thoughts. "For he strengthens the bars of your gates, he blesses your sons within you" (Ps 197:13). Thus, by such gates, I, David, proclaim your praises, O Lord.
Hence: "I may rejoice in your deliverance" (Verse 14). Namely, this one divine blessing is considered: the proclaiming of praises. Also here, the psalmist considers a second result; as spiritual joy from God. So, he first views the joy itself, and then its occasion. There: "That I may recount all your praises, that in the gates of the daughter of Zion I may rejoice in your deliverance" (Verse 14). All such praises were not sterile. If they came from the mouth, it was so because joy from God could ever be within the heart. "For it is good to sing praises to our God" (Ps 147 :1).
So is said: "I may rejoice in your deliverance" (Verse 14). That is, not in the world, or in the flesh, but in your deliverance, O Lord, by which you lift up me, David. Or, by which you lift me in Christ (the promised Messiah and Savior). For: "Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvations" (Hab 3: 18). Also: "My heart exults in the Lord, my strength is exalted in the Lord" (I Sam 2:1).
Again: "I may rejoice in your deliverance" (Verse 14). That is, an occasion for joy from God is the destruction of enemies who pursue holy persons, and attack twofold: by violence, and deceit. Regarding violence is said: "The nations have sunk in the pit which they made" (Verse 15). That is, the fact that nations prepared for the death to other nations, and then even they themselves become destroyed. So is said: "The nations have sunk" (Verse 15).
Jerome has for Verse 15: "They were submerged" For violence is submerged by like violence. Thus, those who are seen to destroy other by violence, are finally violently destroyed. For: "The way to peace they know not, and there is no justice in their paths" (Is 56:8). Also: "Their sword shall enter their own heart and their bows shall be broken" (Ps 37 :15). Now, a person is spiritually submerged inwardly, as sins are committed. For, by sins a person enters into an eternal punishment. And sinful deeds are conjoined by sinful habits. "For he is cast into a net by his own feet, and he walks on a pitfall" (Job 18:8).
Regarding the pursuit of holy persons by deceit, it is said: "In the net which they hid has their own foot been caught" (Verse 15). That is, like hunters, placing nets to trap birds and other animals, proceed deceitfully. For: "They set a net for my steps, my soul was bowed, they dug a pit in my way, but they have fallen into it themselves" (Ps 57 :6).
So Verse 15 states: "In the net which they hid" Namely, like bird-catchers 'who literally hide nets or snares. Likewise, other men deceitfully hide snares, as they utter words of peace while. preparing their words poisoned for the destruction of others. For: "Arrogant men have hidden a trap for me, and with cords they. have spread a net, by the wayside they have set snares for me" (Ps 140 :5).
A third result of a divine blessing is knowledge of God's divine majesty. For: "Has their own foot been caught" (Verse 15). Because, an evil result is upon them. For: "The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up, his sin is kept in stone" (Hosea 13:12).
Then: "The Lord has made himself known, he has executed judgment; the wicked are snared in the work of their own hands" (Verse 16) . Namely by what? So : "In the work of their own hands" (Verse 16). Sometimes, a person within prosperity does not recognize God. For, Pharaoh recognized God only within his adversity. So: "Fill their faces with shame, that they seek your name, O Lord" (Ps 83 :16).
"And is said: "He has executed judgment" (Verse 16). "So what are such judgments, but in the work of their own hands" (Verse 16). It seems befitting within divine wisdom that the Lord God dispose all things sweetly. For: "She (wisdom) reaches mightily from one end of the earth to the other, and she orders all things well" (Wis 8:1).
The Lord God so acts while endowing things, so they dispose themselves toward proper ends by proper means, By such things do sinners consider in order to offend, and so fall into like punishments. For: "He takes the wise in their craftiness, and the schemes of the wily are brought to a quick end" (Job 5:13). Thus is concluded: "The wicked are snared in the work of their own hands" (Verse 16), For: "The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him and he is caught in the toils of his sin" (Proverbs 5:22). Also: "His strong steps are shortened and his schemes throw him down" (Job 18:7).
Also concluded is: "The Lord has made himself known; he has executed judgment" (Verse 16), That is, by holy persons ever fleeing snares, "For in vain is a net spread in the sight of any bird" (Proverbs 1:17).
The "Gloss" declares:"One ever easily escapes snares upon this earth who ever have their eyes turned upwards to the heavens". Jerome states: "Everyone carries ropes, chains, instruments to ward off evil snares" Yet, sinners in God's hidden eyes, are trapped within the very nets in which they hide, and out of which all holy persons escape"
"The wicked shall depart to Sheo1, all the nations that forget God" (Verse 17). Above the psalmist considers God's judgment in relation to his own enemies. Here a like idea is exposed in reference to enemies of the entire human race.
Then two ideas are presented, First: God's judgment is declared in prayer-form against all sinners, and second: the progress of evils is considered, There: "Why dost you stand afar off, O Lord? Why dost you hide yourself in times of troubles?" (Psalms 10:1).
Regarding the prayer-form against enemies, two further ideas are presented, First, a punishment for sinners is pronounced; and second, the divine judgment to punishment is exposed, There: "Arise, O Lord, Let not man prevail, let the nations be judged before you" (Verse 19).
About sinners for sins, three considerations are made, First, a chosen penalty is declared; second, the cause of the punishment for sinners is given. There: "All the nations that forget God" (Verse 17), Third, a cause for punishment is stated in the interest of just, or holy persons, There: "For the needy shall not always be forgotten, and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever" (Verse 18).
So is said: "The wicked shall depart to Sheol, all the nations that forget God" (Verse 17), This statement can be understood in two ways: first regarding the punishment of the evil in the present time by death; and second, in the future by an eternal punishment, So: "The wicked shall depart to Sheol all the nations that forget God" (Verse 17), Namely, let them be punished.
Is such a punishment ever to be sought? It is suggested that such punishment is proclaimed by the prophets in the form of a proclamation, and not in a prayer-form, or by conforming oneself to the divine will. Because: "But those who seek to destroy my life shall go down into the depths of the earth" (Psalms 63:9). Also: "But you are brought down to Sheol, to the depths of the Pit" (Isaiah 14:15). And such a pit's depth can refer to obstinacy with sins, and evils.
Verse 17 declares, as it were: Sinners are cast down even in their present life. Hence, there is punishment into a casting down to Sheol (or Hell), as is declared in Verse 17.
The cause of such punishments is the forgetfulness of God (the Creator) on the part of sinners, For, any sinner who recedes from the end of life eternal, tends towards some temporal end, Because, there is a final end for human beings: either the eternal enjoyment in God, or the eternal punishment in Sheol (or Hell), Thus is said: "The wicked shall depart to Sheol, all the nations that forget God" (Verse 17). That is, those sinners who forget the commandment of God and his blessings, For: "They forget what he had done, and the miracles he had shown them" (Ps 78 :11), Also: "You were unmindful of the Rock that begat you, and you forget the God that gave you birth" (Deut 32:18).
On the part of just persons, there is another cause of punishment that vindicates, For there are two things that the just demand as vindicated: a casting-down in time of sinners, and the spiritual power of themselves.
Regarding the casting-down in time of sinners being vindicated, there is said: "For the needy shall not always be forgotten, and the hope of the poor shall not perish forever" (Verse 17).
Things of small value are held in contempt, For example, a speech can be cast down to oblivion, Yet just persons are not cast down into forgetfulness by God, For: "Listen my beloved brethren, Has not God chosen, who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which he has promised to those who love him?" (Ja 2:5). Also: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Mat 5:5).
Although just persons seem to be cast down into oblivion on this earth, yet such is never the case in eternity. "For a brief moment I forsook you, but with great compassion I will gather you" (Isaiah 34:7). And also: "In overflowing wrath for a moment, I hid myself from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you, says the Lord, your Redeemer" (Isaiah 54:8).
When it shall be finally recorded regarding those expressing the needy and poor, then such wicked ones will be punished eternally by God. For: "Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he in anger, shut up his compassion?" (Psalms 77 :9).
Regarding just persons seeking to be vindicated through spiritual power, it is said: "And the hope of the poor shall not perish forever" (Verse 18). Or, Jerome's version for Verse 18: "The expectation of the poor..." For, the needy and poor endure patiently their oppression and poverty on this earth, since they expect to be vindicated for their patience (within an eternity).
Thus Verse 18 states: "Their expectations shall not perish forever" Because the poor and needy pursues the goodness they hope for, within a life eternal. Moreover, such expectation or patience, is even within an eternal life in heaven. Not indeed such hope in its essence, but within the effects of hope in eternal life hereafter. Yet, such patience, or expectation, is not within love (the theological virtue of charity) or within justice (one of the four cardinal virtues). For, such virtues as charity and justice shall be for all in heaven, both regarding their essence and effects.
Psalm 9 concludes: "Arise, O Lord, Let not man prevail; let the nations be judged before you" (Verse 19). Here is proclaimed a divine judgment, About this idea are three further ideas, First, the Lord God arises as a judge; second, he is implored to judge; and third, the effect of the Lord's judgment is shown.
The psalmist thus declares that the Lord God is never forgetful of the hope of the poor, since God himself speaks as a poor man. So, is declared, as it were in Verse 19: I, David, request that you, Lord, do not forever delay, and so be to my own advantage.
Thus: "Let not man prevail; let the nations be judged before you" (Verse 19). And within this statement, three ideas are considered: First, the Lord God repudiates any bad human judgment, because human beings sometimes oppress, even without any human reason. So is said: "Let not man prevail" (Verse 19), That is, no human being should prevail in order to achieve what one desires, For: "Then the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when the wicked rule, the people groan" (Proverbs 29:2).
Second, the Lord God repudiates another human judgment when it says: "Let the nations be judged before you" (Verse 19), That is, before the Lord God, in his judgment, just as if I, David, appeal to you" Now Paul the Apostle declares: "I am standing before Caesar's tribunal, where I ought to be tried" (Acts 25: 10). Also: "Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in. my integrity" (Psalms: 24 :1).
Third, the psalmist in Verse 20, seeks a listener: "Put them in fear, O Lord. Let the nations know that they are but men" (Verse 20) . Namely, O Lord God (the Father), regarding your divine Son, Christ, "For the Lord is our judge; he will save us" (Isaiah 33:22). Or: "Put them in fear, O Lord" (Verse 20). That is, as a punisher, according to your Law, O Lord, for punishment is inflicted according to your Law.
Jerome's version for Verse 20 is: "Send bitterness down upon them" And the "Gloss" declares: "Man shall not be comforted", Namely, as regards the anti-Christ. Thus: "Let the nations know that they are but men" (Verse 20), That is, the effects of a judgment are due to man realizing themselves, as they really and truly are.
Again: "Let the nations know that they are but men" (Verse 20), That is: men are fragile sinners, and mortal, Because: "As often as it passes through, it will take you, for morning by morning, it will pass through" (Is 28:19).
Psalm 10 (Psalm 9 Continued)
The psalmist then continues in Psalm 10:1: "Why dost you stand afar off, O Lord? Why dost you hide yourself in times of trouble?" That is, insofar as afflicting us, while you, O Lord, do not seem to be punishing us, but despising us. Why dost you hide yourself in times of trouble?" (Verse 1), Namely, during a time, you, O Lord, could aid, Or: "In times of trouble" That is, as you aid opportunely, since holy persons are perfected, as to their merit, during their life eternal.
Second, a divine effect regards dissimilation is exposed regards the fact that evils are not immediately punished by God,
So, Verse 2 declares: "In arrogance, the wicked hotly pursue the poor" Namely, the poor are afflicted due to the pride of sinners in their sins, "For the zeal of your house has consumed me and the insults of those who insult you, have fallen on me" (Is 99:9).
Third, there is a divine effect, Since: "Let them be caught in the schemes which they have devised" (Verse 2). For: "The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is caught in the toils of his sin" (Proverbs 5:22).
"For the wicked boasts of the desires of his heart, and the man greedy for gain curses and renounces the Lord" (Verse 3). Here are considered these causes leading sinners into their sins. First, there is an adulation for other sinners; second, a contempt for God, There: "And the man greedy for gain curses and renounces the Lord" (Verse 3), And third, there is a Sinner's presumption, There: "All his thoughts are: 'There is no God'" (Verse 4).
Concerning adulation of sinners for other sinners, these ideas are exposed, First, there is the very adulation; second, its effects;
and third, the divine factor of clemency to sinners. According to the "Gloss" Sinners adulate others by two sins: carnal concupiscence in themselves; and then the sin of injustice towards their neighbors. Sinners are also proud, as Jerome claims: "For the sinner glories within self, as he so embitters the Lord God" Namely, in carnal desires, and injustices towards neighbors, Thus, Jerome literally claims, is the greedy and avaricious person.
Other versions for Verse 3 have: "A rapacious man" Because: "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter" (Is: 5: 20).
Thus is said in Verse 3: "And the man greedy for gain curses and renounces the Lord" Namely, the man provokes God's wrath. Jerome has this all under one verse; so that the next verse begins: "In the pride of their countenance, the wicked do not seek him" And such can be exposed as within an excess of pride of which a sinner has no concern. This is so, either because the Lord God punishes beyond condign guilt or because God does not punish in great wrath, since God will punish more strongly in the future life.
Then: "In the pride of his countenance the wicked does not send him" (Verse 4). Since, on the Sinner's mind is the idea that the Lord God has no concern for him. For: "All his thoughts are: 'There is no God'" (cf. Psalms 14 and Psalm 53:2) and Job: 21: 14).
Above was considered three causes for the evils of the wicked: adulation, contempt and presumption. Adulation was permissive as God receded far away. Contempt was inductive by a persuading tongue, and from which there are two further causes for evils, First is one's intrinsic contempt for God, and second, there is one's presumption. There: "He thinks in his heart, I shall not be moved, throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity" (Verse 6).
Concerning the intrinsic contempt for God, two further notions are presented, First, the sinner recalls no idea of God, second, the sinner does not fear God's judgment, There "His ways prosper at all times; your judgments are on high, out of his sight; as for all his foes, he puffs at them" (Verse 6).
So: "All his thoughts are: 'There is no God,'" (Verse 4). Jerome has for Verse 4: "In his thought" Since a sinner has no thought regards God: "There is no God" (Verse 4). Namely, in the sinner's intention, or attention, there is no God, For: "They say to God, 'Depart from us! We do not desire the knowledge of your ways'" (Job 21:14).
The result for contempt for God is: "His ways prosper at all times; your judgments are on high, out of his sight, as for all his foes, he puffs at them" (Verse 5). Wicked persons are classed as sordid by their sins; like to those of preceding times. Allegorically, such sordidness can be referred to the anti-Christ. Morally it can have reference to such sinners from the fact that God is not within their intentions, For sinners tend toward temporalities, and by such their souls become sordid, Insofar as a person is permeated by temporalities, so far is a person sordid within his soul.
As a person's soul is permeated by God, it becomes better, it is not defiled, but cleansed, For: "Her uncleanness was in her skirts; she took no thought of her doom" (Lam 1:9). Also: "Let their way be dark and slippery, with the angel of the Lord pursuing them" (Ps 35 :6). Again: "For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters; and hew out cisterns for themselves; broken cisterns that can hold no water" (Jer 2:13).
Jerome has for Verse 5: "His ways smite" For sinners proposed to do diverse deeds, "And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry, But God said to him: 'Fool, This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have, whose will they be? So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God" (Luke 12:19-21). Also: "Behold, the wicked man conceives evil, and is pregnant with mischief, and brings forth lies" (Ps 7:14). Thus, a sinner attached to temporalities, is not affected in just one manner, since this does not suffice, Due to this fact, a sinner thinks in many different ways.
Then: "your judgments are on high out of his sight; as for all his foes, he puffs at them" (Verse 5). Hence, a sinner will not fear, since he does consider God's judgment, For: "Evil men do not justice, but those who seek the Lord understand it completely" (Proverbs 28:5). Also: "And they perverted their minds and turned away their eyes from looking to Heaven, or remembering righteous judgment" (Dan 13:9).
Here it is befitting to refer to the literal sense of Jerome for Verse 5: "They despise all their enemies", That is, they give no heed to God's judgments.
Then is said: "He puffs at them" (Verse 5), And : "He thinks in his heart, "I shall not be moved" (Verse 6), For sometimes, by God's permission, a sinner rides roughshod over enemies. This is the reason why a sinner does not consider a divine judgment, Because: "At kings they scoff, and of rulers they make sport" (Habbakuk 1:10). Also: "So the law is slacked and justice never goes forth" (Habbakuk l:l0).
Another reason why a sinner holds divine judgment in contempt, is presumption within himself, Such presumption refers to two things: First, there is a presumption as to one's own stability, So is said: "He thinks in his heart" I shall not be moved" (Verse 6). Second is a presumption regards adversity, There: "Throughout all generations I shall not meet adversity" (Verse 6), That is, my rule shall be extended from one nation to another, and I shall inflict evils to many.
So: "I shall not be moved" (Verse 6). Namely, I, a sinner, shall not let go of my prosperity. For: "On the aged man you make your yoke exceedingly heavy" (Is 47:6).
Jerome has: "And he says in eternity, I shall go through all generations without adversity" And: "Since in her heart she says 'A queen I sit, I am no widow, mourning I shall never see'" (Rev 18:7).
The third chapter of the Apostle Luke's Gospel, exposes one idea from the Gloss: "A sinner is said to be as one wishing to perpetuate his name, yet will not go through publicity and fame" (cf. Luke Chapter 3: John the Baptist's Preaching,)
So: "I shall not meet adversity" (Verse 6). Namely, I, the sinner, shall come into the possession of dwellings, without adversity as violence. Likewise will the anti-Christ operate, according to the "Gloss", since, as it were: I, the anti-Christ, shall not be thwarted, I shall not be disturbed throughout all generations, and shall operate as far as what is permitted me.
"His mouth is filled with cursing and deceit and oppression; under his tongue are mischief and iniquity" (Verse 7). Here the progress of evils is exposed. The first progress is within the heart, that has been exposed. Second, the progress of evils is by mouth; and third, by deeds. There: "He sits in ambush in the villages; in hiding places he murders the innocent" (Verse 8).
Two ideas are considered about the evils within the heart. First, there is sin itself in the heart; and then its committing, in three ways. First is a cursing of God and one's neighbor, which breaks forth in blasphemy. For: "They have despised the holy one of Israel; they are utterly estranged" (Is 1:4). Other times, sinners partially curse God, as they are restrained by a fear of God. And again, their curse breaks forth in injuries to themselves. So is said: "His mouth is filled with cursing" (Verse 7). The "Gloss" has for Verse 7: "You shall love words less" For: "Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, with all malice" (Eph 4:31).
Sinners other times curse by deceit. Hence, "His mouth is filled with deceit" (Verse 7), that is, by treachery. Because "Do not be deceived; neither be immoral, nor adulterers nor homosexuals, nor thieves; nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the Kingdom of God" (1 Cor 6:9-10). And: "See to it that no one fail to obtain the grace of God; that "no root of bitterness spring up and cause trouble, and by many become defiled" (Heb 12:15).
Here, in Verse 7, the root of one's heart is indicated, For: "Under his tongue are mischief and iniquity" (Verse 7). Namely, the mischief of lies, hidden within the innermost recesses of one's heart. The "Gloss" claims that evils are like this: A sinner imagines he is perfect in his evils in reference to their aim, For: "They taught their tongue to speak" (Jer 9:5). And: "Though wickedness is sweet in his mouth, though he hides it under his tongue" (Job: 20: 12). Again: "Under his tongue are mischief and iniquity" (Verse 7), Namely, the destruction following out of mischief. For: "Your lips have spoken lies" (Is 59:3).
Then: "He sits in ambush in the villages, in hiding places he murders the innocent" (Verse 8). Here is exposed progress of evils in reference to one's body. First, the progress is set forth; and second, its aim, There: "The hapless is crushed, sinks down, and falls by his might" (Verse 10).
About the progress of evil itself , those ideas are exposed. First regards with whom a sinner sits in ambush; and second, against whom, There: "In hiding places he murders the innocent" (Verse 8), Third is the manner a sinner is within ambush, There: "He lurks in secret like a lion in his covert" (Verse 9).
The psalmist thus exposes that evil itself is just, not content in mere talking, since sinners labor to perfect their evils, Hence is said: "He sits in ambush in the villages" (Verse 8). That is, while planning how he can harm others.
Then: "In hiding places he murders the innocent" (Verse 8), Namely, through deceit and oppression. "For he lies in wait, turning good into evil, and to woryour actions he will attach blame" (Sir: 11: 3).
So, he sits in ambush in the villages" (Verse 8), Namely, he sits with other sinners as his counselors. For: "Wild asses in the wilderness are the prey of lions, likewise the poor are pastures for the rich" (Sir 13:19).
Jerome has for Verse 8: "He sits in the court-yard" Namely, as if within his own room.
Also, who does the sinner show himself in ambush as against? Indeed: the innocent, as: "In hiding places he murders the innocent" (Verse 9), Namely, murders spiritually or corporeally. Thus: "And do not slay the innocent and righteous, for I will not acquit the wicked" (Ex 23:7).
The sinner also shows himself as one against the poor, For: "His eyes stealthily watch for the hapless" (Verse 8). Then: "What do you mean by crushing my people by grinding the fact of the poor, says the Lord God of hosts" (Is 3:15).
The "Gloss" claims the anti-Christ holds counsel with the rich against the poor. And Jerome declares: "His eyes (the sinners) are upon the poor" That is, upon the poor who are not strong with temporalities, yet within spiritualities. For: "My adversary sharpens his eyes against me" (Job 16:10).
Then: "He lurks in secret like a lion in his covert" (Verse 9). Here is exposed the manner while a simile is employed: "Like a lion in his covert" (Verse 9), For: "Like a roaring lion, or a charging bear, is the wicked ruler over the poor people" (Prov 28:15).
Also, the manner of the ambush is exposed. Thus: "He seizes the poor when he draws him into his net" (Verse 9). Because: "The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood, but the mouth of the upright delivers men" (Prov 12:6).
And:"He seizes the poor" (Verse 9). That is, the possessions of the poor he seizes by violence and deceit, So is added the manner of seizure: "When he draws him into his net" (Verse 9), Namely by enticing the poor by praises, either by violence, or deceit. For: "With much seductive speech, she pursuades him, with smooth talk she compels him" (Prov 7:21).
"The hapless is crushed, sunk down and falls by his might" (Verse 10). Here two ideas are exposed. First, just what attempt the evil deeds of sinners advance; and second, the cause of such evil deeds, There: "He thinks in his heart, "God has forgotten".
The attempt of sinners follows the intention for the destruction of the hapless. Hence: "The hapless is crushed, sinks down, and falls by his might" (Verse 10).
It happens that sinners at first, are belligerent, Then, they turn to life's comforts, and so become effete and soft, feeling abandoned. Thus, the philosopher Aristotle claims: "Servants of masters do not ever allow their own sons to be reared delicately in their life".
Also: "But you laid your loins beside women, and through your body you were brought into subjection" (Sir 47:9). And: "They all have gone astray, they are all alike corrupt; there is none that does go, no, not one" (Ps 14 :3). Then an entire situation is exposed, For: "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall" (Prov 16:18). Thus, a spirit of exultation is the sign of their own destruction.
The "Gloss" refers this entire situation to the anti-Christ, And Jerome refers it otherwise, as he declares: "While he entices him". Namely, a sinner entices the hapless poor into a net, who is crushed, sunk down, and then is struck by the sinner's might. In like manner do lions seize their capture prey. They so subject their prey, and then fall upon it with all their might.
Now, a cause for evils is the false security the sinner adopts, because: "He thinks in his heart" God has forgotten, he has hidden his face, he will never see him" (Verse 11), that is, the sinner himself never sees his own evil. On the contrary: Do not say: "I shall be hidden from the Lord, and who from on high will remember me?" (Sir 16:17). And: "Darkness surrounds me, and the walls hide me, and no one sees me, Why should I fear?" (Sir 33:18).
Another cause for a sinner's false security is adopted regards the future times, Hence: "He has hidden his face; he will never see it" (Verse 11), because: "Thick clouds enwrap him so that he does not see and he walks on the vault of heaven" (Job: 22:14).
"Arise, O Lord; O God, lift up your hand; forget not the afflicted" (Verse 12). Above, the psalmist diligently exposed the progress of human evils, Here, as if by his own zeal, he implores divine assistance with a certain degree against evils, Thus, the psalmist first begs divine aid; second, he sets forth his prayers and the answers, There: "Break you the arm of the wicked and evil-doers; seek out his wickedness till you find none" (Verse 15).
The psalmist prays for one thing, while he proposes another thing. So, he implores that the Lord God arise: "Arise, O Lord, O God; lift up your hand; forget the afflicted" (Verse 12). So, the Lord God seems to be asleep, while good persons are permitted to suffer, and as the Lord arises from such sleep, he frees such persons, Thus: "Awake, awake, Put on your strength, O Zion; put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city" (Is 52:1).
Then: "Lift up your hand, forget not the afflicted" (Verse 12), namely, forget not in your power, O Lord". And then is stated in a simile to a murderer, who is enraged, For when someone wishes to murder his enemy, he raises the hand, since: "Lift up your hand against foreign nations, and let them see your might" (Sir 36:3). Also: "O Lord, your hand is lifted up, but they see it not. Let them see the zeal for your people, and be ashamed" (Sir 26:11).
So a reason is proposed: "Forget not the afflicted" (Verse 12). Thus, the entire psalm is composed in relation to sinners afflicting just persons. It exposes evils of such sinners, and then afflictions from such evils on just persons. Another reason is proposed as results are shown, There: "Thou doest see, yea, you dost note trouble and vexation, that you may take it into your hands; the hapless commits himself to you; you have been the helper of the fatherless" (Verse 14).
Further reasons are proposed on the part of just persons and on the part of evil persons, There: "Why dost the wicked renounce God, and say in his heart, "Thou wilt not call to recount" (Verse 1-3). Hence is said: "Arise, O Lord, O God: lift up your hand, forget not the afflicted" (Verse 12), namely, that the Lord God is unmindful of the poor. For: "Can a woman forget her sucking child that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb?" And: "If I forget you, O Jerusalem, let my right hand wither" (Ps 137 :5).
Then a reason is proposed regarding evil persons who gravely sin, as if they were not to be punished, "Because sentence against an evil deed is not executed speedily, the heart of the sons of men is fully set to do evil" (Eccles 8:11).
So is said: "Why dost the wicked renounce God, and say in his heart, 'Thou wilt not call to account?'" (Verse 13). Which states, as if: Due to such a renouncement, evil persons provoke the Lord God by their sinning. They do not believe that any kind of punishment will be endured by them. For: "Thick clouds enwrap him, so that he does not see, and he walks on the vault of the heaven" (Job 22:14), That is, as if God considers and judges sinners as through a haze or mist, Thus: "For they say, 'The Lord does not see us, the Lord has forsaken the land" (Ezek 8:12)
"You see; yea, you note trouble and vexation, that you may take it into your hands; the hapless commits himself to you; you have been the helper of the fatherless" (Verse 14). Here the psalmist strengthens his reasons for divine assistance. He first strengthens the very reasons; second, the results, He claims, as it were: You, Lord God, alone know the afflictions that evil persons impose upon just persons.
Then: "That you may take it into your hands" (Verse 14), Namely, after the manner of your justice, O Lord, as you hold them in the hand of your divine power. Sinners are ignorant of the fact that a reason for divine providence is unknown to them, "For he knows worthless men, when he sees iniquity, will he not consider it?" (Job 11:11). Again: "With him are strength and wisdom, the deceived and the deceiver are his" (Job 12:16). Also: "O the depth of the riches and wisdom of God" (Rom 11:33).
Then: "That you may take it into your hands, the hapless commits himself to you, you have been the helper of the fatherless" (Verse 14), Namely, commits himself in your Son, Christ, For: "Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going to God" (Jo 13:3).
According to Augustine, this Verse 14 is in relation to evil persons. So he declares: "And he says in his heart, 'He will not investigate'", Namely, God will not investigate. Then Augustine declares: "For he says in his heart, 'Thou dost note trouble and vexation, so that you may take it into your hands'".
A superior sometimes notes a fault of his subject; fearing the subject's vexation, he does not punish. Other times, a superior may fear punishment for himself for punishing a subject. Thus, an evil subject could say: Do not punish me, O Lord, since trouble or vexation does not become you.
However, the first exposition above seems best for Verse 14.
So is said: "The hapless commits himself to you, you hast been the helper of the fatherless" (Verse 14). Here, the psalmist reinforces his first reason in Verse 12: "Forget not the afflicted", Namely, you, O Lord, ought not to forget that: "The hapless commits himself to you; you hast been the helper of the fatherless" (Verse 14), Because: "Break forth into singing, you waste places of Jerusalem, for the Lord has comforted his people, he has redeemed Jerusalem" (Is 52:9).
All such persons who hold fast to God in their own personal world, ever look for personal strength to God alone, Because: "O our God, will you not execute judgment upon them? For we are powerless against this great multitude that is coming against us" (2 Chron 20: 12).
This verse from Chronicles is here declared significantly. Because good persons even in this world, defend themselves by their own private wealth, or personal power, as much as they are able, For: "Men who trust in their wealth and boast of the abundance of riches. Truly no man can ransom himself, or give to God the price of his life" (Ps 49 :6-7).
Other times good persons try to defend themselves through relatives, or benefactors, And then they find no such defenders, so that they abandon themselves to God's aid alone. For: "He delivers the afflicted by their affliction, and opens their ear by adversity" (Job 36:15). Also: "Did I not weep for him whose day was hard, was not my soul grieved for the poor?" (Job 30:25). And: "We have become orphans, fatherless, our mothers are like widows" (Lam 5:3). Then: "I am reckoned among those who go down to the Pit, I am a man who has no strength" (Ps 88:4).
If such conditions prevail concerning the hapless by necessity, so much is it thus among the poor in spirit, And such persons refer to: "The hapless commits himself to you; you hast been the helper of the fatherless" (Verse 14).
Concerning the materially hapless is said: "you have been the helper of the fatherless" (Verse 14). Namely, for those persons who have no defenders, Because: "Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation" (Ps: 68 :5). Also: "For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me up" (Ps 27 :10).
"Break you the arm of the wicked and evildoer; seek out his wickedness till you find none" (Verse 15), Here the psalmist proclaims an answer to his prayer. First, the answer relates to sinners and second, to the hapless, or poor, There: "O Lord, you wilt hear the desire of the meek, you wilt strengthen their heart, you wilt incline your ear" (Verse 17).
Regarding the psalmist's answer to his prayer as relating to sinners, two ideas are exposed. First, he proclaims the evils from evil-doers' aim, that are afflicted upon good persons. Second is proclaimed the termination of such evils.
Concerning a termination of evil persons' power, there is said: "Break you the arm of the wicked and evildoer" (Verse 15), Namely, those ones sinning against God, For: "The Lord has broken the staff of the wicked, the scepter of rulers" (Is 14:5).
Then: "And evildoers" (Verse 15), That is, those evil ones who sin against their neighbors, "For the arms of the wicked shall be broken, but the Lord upholds the righteous" (Ps 37::17). Also: "From the wicked their light is withheld and their uplifted arm is broken" (Job 38:15).
When it so happens that some ruler does evils, he still remains within such evils even after such deeds are done, Yet, such a situation does not prevail here in Verse 15, For the evil deeds actually vanish and the same deeds are never done again, But, punishment for such deeds can remain.
Then: "Seek out his wickedness till you find none" (Verse 15), That is, find none within the evil one's own world, Because: "Today he will be exalted, but tomorrow he will not be found, because he has turned to dust, and his plans will perish" (I Mac 2:63).
God sometimes permits a person to sin, due to some good that may later occur, For example, the wrath of rulers brings forth the virtue of patience in martyrs. So, here in Verse 15, any allowance for a sin is not found, for such evil has no future usefulness. Yet, how could such an allowance for sin exist, since God's kingdom cannot be overcome? Because, evil persons will be broken away from God's kingdom. For: "The Lord is king for ever and ever, the nations shall perish from his land" (Verse 16).
Thus: "The Lord is king for ever and ever" (Verse 16). That is, because' the Lord God embraces all time (past, present, and future) within his eternity, Or namely, as generations are succeeded by ages, For: "His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom is one that shall not be destroyed" (Dan 7:14). Also: "But the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the treacherous will be rooted out of it" (Prov 2:22). Again: "The wicked are like chaff which the wind drives away" (Ps 1:4). Also: "I have seen a wicked man overbearing and towering like a cedar of Lebanon, Again, I passed by, and lo, he was no more, though I sought him he could not be found" (Ps 37 :35-36).
"O Lord, you wilt hear the desire of the meek; you wilt strengthen their heart; you wilt incline your ear" (Verse 17). Here the psalmist announces an answer to prayer in relation to the hapless, or poor, So, three ideas are exposed. First is the very answer to the prayer, There: "O Lord, you wilt hear the desire of the meek" (Verse 17), Second is the manner the Lord has heard the prayer. There: "To do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed" (Verse 18).
Regarding the very answer to the prayer, the psalmist shows that the poor are efficaciously heard, So the Lord God granted to the hapless what they needed. Because: "What the wicked dread will come upon him, but the desire of the righteous is established forever" (Prov 10:24).
Sometimes, the meek poor are heard in their personal intentions. For instance, just persons are heard in their prayers by those things they most desire. Thus: "Thou wilt strengthen their heart, you wilt incline your ear" (Verse 17). For: "Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking, I will hear" (Is 65:24). Also: "When he calls to me, I will answer him" (Ps: 91 :15).
Moreover, the meek poor are heard in their prayer, for the Lord judges the meek as poor, since he himself (Christ) is poor. "But with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth" (Is 11:4). Namely, for humble persons. A humble person is one who is not established in his own power. For: "They judge not with justice the cause of the fatherless, to make it prosper; and they do not defend the rights of the needy" (Jeremiah: 5: 28). Also: "He does not help the wicked alive, but gives the afflicted their right" (Job: 36: 6).
Then, from what effect? "So that man who is of the earth may strike no terror" (Verse 18). That is, a terror that is not good, since it is from pride. For: "O Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high" (Ps 131 :1). Also: "But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a child quieted at its mother's breast; like a child that is quieted is my soul" (Ps 131 :2). Again: "May the Lord cut off all flattering lips, the tongue that makes great boasts, those who say, 'With our tongue we will prevail, our lips are with us, who is our master?" (Ps 12:3).