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Monday, July 22nd, 2024
the Week of Proper 11 / Ordinary 16
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 37

Haydock's Catholic Bible CommentaryHaydock's Catholic Commentary

Verse 1

For a remembrance, viz., of our miseries and sins; and to be sung on the sabbath-day. (Challoner) --- This sabbath might also allude to the indolent rest which occasioned the fall of David, 2 Kings xi. 1. (Haydock) --- Hebrew mentions not the sabbath; and it is not known (Calmet) why the Septuagint made this addition. The prophet may have Christ suffering for our sins in view, (Berthier) though he probably composed this psalm, when he was afflicted with an illness after this fall. (Rab. Muis, &c.) (Calmet) --- It contains an excellent model for penitents, (Calmet) to enable them to regain peace of conscience, (St. Gregory) and paradise, from which they are banished by sin. (St. Augustine) --- This remembrance (Worthington) is most essential. (Haydock)

Verse 2

Wrath. God is incapable of passion: but man deserves to be treated with the utmost rigour; and this David deprecates, begging that God would act rather like a physician in his regard. (Theodoret) (Calmet) --- The same petition occurs in psalm vi.; and this ought to caution people not to make imprecations, since God’s judgments are so terrible. (Berthier) --- St. Augustine and St. Gregory explain this text of the fire of hell, and of purgatory, 1 Corinthians iii. 15. (Haydock) --- Though some be saved by the latter, "yet is that fire more grievous than whatever man can suffer in this life." (St. Augustine) --- "I esteem that transitory fire more intolerable than all present tribulation." (St. Gregory) (Worthington) --- We may therefore pray, "Here burn," &c., with the same St. Augustine who assures us, (Gen. con. Man. ii. 20.) that "he who cultivates not the field of his soul, will, after this life, experience either the fire of purgatory or eternal punishment." (Haydock)

Verse 3

Arrows. Afflictions, (Worthington) or the word of God, which convert the sinner. (St. Augustine) --- The admonition of Nathan had made the deepest impression on David. [2 Kings xii.] He was also visited by sickness, like Job vi. 4., and xix. 21.

Verse 4

Sins. These occasion my great affliction, when I reflect on thy justice. (Worthington) --- I chastise myself. (Eusebius) --- St. Augustine explains all this of original sin. (Calmet) --- Jesus bore the weight of all our sins, which are above our comprehension, ver. 5. (Berthier)

Verse 5

Me. They press upon me like a deluge or huge weight. (Calmet) --- The sin of David had many aggravations. (Berthier) --- His punishment was also great. (Calmet) --- His spirit was almost overwhelmed, as the sins which are not bewailed, bring on other transgressions. (Worthington) --- It is not so much sin as the neglect of penance, which destroys men. (Berthier) --- This folly is here acknowledged by David. (Haydock)

Verse 6

Foolishness, or sin. Shame has made me conceal the state of my soul; and hence evil has increased. (St. Jerome, &c.) (Calmet) --- The poisoned wound has infected other parts which were sound: (Worthington) chaburoth denotes sores, or "wounds still fresh or mortifying," (Haydock) rather than scars. (Menochius) --- All sin is properly styled foolishness, as no prudent man should commit any. (Origen)

Verse 7

End. Hebrew, "exceedingly," while a person feels his state is not desperate. (Berthier) --- Sorrowful. Hebrew, "in black," which may refer either to the mourning attire, (Calmet) or to the "countenance." (Symmachus) --- Grief will allow me to take no rest. (Origen) --- I dare not look up to heaven, (Calmet) nor can I walk straight, to perform any good work (Worthington) of myself. (Haydock)

Verse 8

Loins. Greek: Psoai, as the Alexandrian and Complutensian Septuagint read, though the Vatican has Greek: psuche, soul, (Haydock) with the Arabic, &c. --- Illusions. Hebrew nikle, "burning." (Pagnin) "shameful ulcer." (Houbigant) "Ignominy." (St. Jerome) (Haydock) --- David acknowledges that the irregular motions of concupiscence were an effect of his transgression. The Jews and Greeks place these sensations in the loins, 3 Kings viii. 10. Plato triplicem finxit animan, cujus principatum in capite, iram in pectore, cupiditatem subter præcordia locavit. (Cicero, Tusc. 1.) (Calmet) --- Flesh. Concupiscence striving in me.

Verse 9

Heart. I give vent to my inward grief by loud lamentations.

Verse 10

Desire, to be restored to thy favour. (Worthington) --- Thou alone canst heal me. (Calmet)

Verse 11

Troubled. Hebrew, "beats," palpitat. (Houbigant) --- Itself. Hebrew, "even they are," &c. (Haydock) --- I was no longer endued with the spirit of prophecy, (St. Basil) till my conversion, (St. Augustine) nor an object of favour. (Haydock) --- I was abandoned to myself, (Calmet) quitting thy light. (St. Ambrose) --- My eyes have been hurt by weeping (Haydock) and maladies, (Calmet) while my heart is become so corrupt, that I do not relish or discern spiritual things. (Haydock) --- The beauty of virtue, and the enormity of vice, do not strike me. (Menochius)

Verse 12

Have. Hebrew, "over-against my wound (Haydock) or leprosy." (Calmet) Protestants, "stand aloof from my sore." (Haydock) --- But the original means rather "near to." Septuagint may have read u for i, in nighi. (Berthier) --- But Symmachus and St. Jerome translate, "stood against my leprosy, (Haydock) and my neighbour stood at a distance;" as if they had been afraid of the contagion. Job (xix. 13, 19.) makes the same complaints. (Calmet) --- These manners of worldlings may be seen in every age, and ought not to fill us with surprise. (Berthier) (John xv. 18.) --- David was abandoned by Achitophel, and by most of the tribe of Juda, (Theodoret) as our Saviour was by his disciples. (St. Augustine)

Verse 13

Violence. Hebrew, "laid snares." This treatment might be expected from enemies, since friends proved so treacherous. (Haydock) --- They would willingly have slain David. The will is often put for the deed. (Calmet) --- Things. Endeavouring to engage me again in sin, being displeased because I have quitted their evil company; (Worthington) or they raise their fortune, by causing dissensions in the state. This might be well applied to the Pharisees, who persecuted Christ.

Verse 14

Mouth. I utterly renounce all sin. (Worthington) --- David would make no reply to Semei, (Theodoret) nor our Saviour to Pilate. (Calmet) --- Silence is often the best defence. (Haydock) --- Eagerness to justify one’s self, causes trouble and disedification. (Berthier) --- The prophet joins the deaf and dumb; as those who have naturally the former defect, are also afflicted with the latter. (Pliny, [Natural History?] x. 69.) (Haydock)

Verse 16

Hoped. This was the reason of his silence. (Berthier) --- He knew that God was in a manner engaged to defend those (Calmet) who rely (Worthington) wholly on Him; and he declared such to be his disposition. (Haydock) --- Hear me. The same term thahane means, "wilt answer" (Montanus) as a judge and advocate. (Haydock) --- God will one day manifest the justice of his elect. (Berthier)

Verse 17

For. On this account I turn to thee, and entreat thee not to suffer my enemies to gain the victory. (Worthington) --- My humble and earnest prayer is another motive of confidence. --- My enemies is not expressed in Hebrew. (Calmet) --- I decline saying any thing in my own defence, lest I should offend God. (Menochius)

Verse 18

Scourges. Protestants, to "halt," letselah. (Haydock) --- St. Jerome ad plagas. Chaldean, "for calamity." (Berthier) See Psalm xxxiv. 15. I speak not through impatience, as I know that my sins deserve still more. (Calmet) --- I resign myself to thee. (Worthington) --- This was admirably verified in Jesus Christ, the victim for our sins. (Calmet) --- Before me. I cannot forget my transgression. (Haydock)

Verse 19

Sin. Though Thou knowest all things, I will confess that I may be saved; and will meditate on what I have deserved. (Worthington) --- He goes to the source of his malady. (Calmet) --- "Be not secure after confession of thy sin, as being always ready to confess and to offend. Declare thy iniquities in such a manner as to take care on account of thy sin." (St. Augustine) --- Confession without repentance is only a mockery. (Haydock)

Verse 20

Stronger. Hebrew, "strong, and they," &c. (Haydock) --- Art thou deaf to my cries? (Calmet)

Verse 21

Detracted me, by insinuating that my repentance is hypocrisy. Another mode of detracting is by making known secret faults, (Worthington) as calumny imputes false ones. (Haydock) --- Goodness. Septuagint, "justice." Many Greek and Latin copies add: "They have rejected me, the beloved, (Theodoret; Arabic) as one dead, as an abomination." --- Forsake, ver. 22. (St. Ambrose) (Calmet)

Verse 23

Attend. Hebrew, "hasten;" which is the sense of Greek: prosches, "attend." (Septuagint) (Haydock)

Verse 39


A prayer of a penitent for the remission of his sins. The third penitential psalm.

Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Psalms 37". "Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hcc/psalms-37.html. 1859.
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