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Wednesday, May 29th, 2024
the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 54

Haydock's Catholic Bible CommentaryHaydock's Catholic Commentary

Verse 1

David. It alludes to some of his persecutions, particularly to that of Absalom, as well as to that of the Church, and of Jesus Christ. Bede explains it of Onias: who, being excluded from the high priesthood, retired into Egypt, and built the temple of Onion, 2 Machabees xiii. (Calmet)

Verse 3

Hear me. He repeats the same petition four times, (Haydock) to testify his fervour, and humility, Ecclesiasticus xxxv. 21. --- Exercise, among the wicked, (St. Augustine) or while I consider the sufferings of Christ. (Eusebius) --- David was perplexed what course to take, when he first heard of his son’s revolt. Our Saviour was sorrowful unto death, Matthew xxvi. 37. (Calmet) --- This life is a warfare. (Worthington) --- Greek: Ldoleschia. Hebrew sichi, denotes serious (Haydock) meditation, Genesis xxiv. 63. (Menochius)

Verse 4

Upon me. When a person has fallen into distress, the world is ever ready to attribute it it some fault. Absalom accused his father of neglecting to judge, &c., 2 Kings xv. 2. The Jews calumniated and sought the death of Christ, whose agony in the garden is well described, (ver. 5.) as well as the consternation of David, at the sight of such a general revolt, (Calmet) which almost overwhelmed him. (Worthington)

Verse 5

Troubled, like a woman in labour, (Menochius) as yachil implies, (Calmet) in Hiphel. (Menochius)

Verse 7

Dove, which flies swiftly. He now adored the judgments of God, which chastised him, as he had threatened; (2 Kings xii. 11.) though, while innocent, he had rejected a similar proposal, Psalm x. 1. The event shewed, that he acted wisely in retiring beyond the Jordan. (Calmet) --- O that I could fly, and in the simplicity of the dove, be removed from these afflictions! (Worthington) --- As I could not go to heaven, I retired into the wilderness. (Menochius)

Verse 9


A prayer of a just man under persecution from the wicked. It agrees to Christ persecuted by the Jews, and betrayed by Judas.

Storm. The first fury of the rebels, which is most dangerous, is thus specified. David was convinced, that his son’s party would dwindle away, when he was informed that he did not pursue him, following the advice of Chusai. (Calmet) --- Hebrew, "I would hasten my escape from the impetuous wind and tempest." But the Septuagint may be equally correct. (Berthier) --- God protected his weak servant in the greatest dangers. (Worthington)

Verse 10

Cast down. Hebrew, "swallow up," as the earth did Dathan. (Calmet) --- Septuagint, "drown." (Haydock) --- Tongues, as at Babel, that they may not know how to proceed. (Calmet) --- Hebrew, "swallow up....the torrent of their tongue." (Bate.) --- Pallag, means also to "divide." Absalom was accordingly infatuated by David’s friend, 2 Kings xv. 31., and xvii. 7. (Menochius) --- City of Hebron, or even of Jerusalem, which caused the king to leave no garrison in it. The city was still more abandoned in our Saviour’s regard. (Calmet) --- Contradiction. Their counsels agree not. They have their troubles, yet will not amend; but strive to oppress the poor. (Worthington)

Verse 13

From him. But how shall we guard against a traitor? (Calmet) --- The injury received from a friend is most cutting. (Worthington)

Verse 14

Guide, the prime minister, (Berthier) and chief of the council. (Menochius) --- Such was Achitophel, who had nevertheless been long (Calmet) secretly disaffected. See 2 Kings xv. 12., and xvi. 23. He professed the same religion, and was trusted with the most important affairs, as Judas carried the purse. (Haydock)

Verse 15

Consent, or with expedition, as the Rabbins order people to go to the temple, though they must return slowly. All this designates Judas. (Calmet) --- Dreadful lesson for all sacred ministers, who prove faithless! (Berthier) participating of the holy sacraments of the Catholic Church, (Worthington) and yet betraying themselves, and their master! Achitophel had probably to attend David in the temple, as Naaman did Benadad, 4 Kings v. 18. (Haydock)

Verse 16

Let death, &c. This, and such like imprecations, which occur in the psalms, are delivered prophetically; that is, by way of foretelling the punishments which shall fall upon the wicked from divine justice, and approving the righteous ways of God: but not by way of ill-will, or uncharitable curses, which the law of God disallows. (Challoner) --- David shewed even too much tenderness towards the rebels, in the opinion of Joab, &c. He would not hurt Saul. His predictions were verified; as Achitophel became a suicide, Absalom perished miserably, suspended between heaven and earth, as an object of horror to both, while many of his accomplices were either slain, or fell into precipices, 2 Kings xvii. 23., and xviii. 8. (Haydock) --- Hell, by a sudden death, like Antiochus, Core, &c., Numbers xvi. 30. They just are already dead to this world. (Berthier) --- Those who sin on purpose, descend, as it were, alive into hell. (Worthington)

Verse 18

Evening. The Hebrew then began the day. (Calmet) (Genesis i. 5.) (Haydock) --- They had three times allotted for prayer, (Daniel vi. 10.) as the Church had afterwards. (Const. Ap.[Apostolic Constitutions?] vii. 25.) (Calmet) --- Evening song, matins, and the sacrifice of the mass, are the principal times for divine service. (Worthington) --- David comprises all times, because his prayer was continual. (Berthier) (Calmet)

Verse 19

Among many, &c. That is, they that drew near to attack me, were many in company, all combining to fight against me. (Challoner) --- Or, many also joined themselves to me with Joab, and the holy angels, (4 Kings vi. 16.) though almost all Israel followed Absalom, 2 Kings xv. 13. (Calmet) --- In many things, schismatics agree with the Church; but their crime is the breaking of unity. (St. Augustine)

Verse 20

Change, or redemption for them, (Psalm xliii. 13.; Eusebius) or they will not amend, (Worthington) nor cease to blaspheme God, and to calumniate me. (Calmet) --- Eternal. Literally, "He who is before ages." (Haydock)

Verse 21

Repay. Hebrew bishlomaiv, "in his tribulations," or "against his peaceable ones." Houbigant too arbitrarily translates, "they have sent forth their hand against, " &c. (Berthier)

Verse 22

They are divided, &c. Dispersed, scattered, and brought to nothing, by the wrath of God, who looks with indignation on their wicked and deceitful ways. (Challoner) --- They are separated from the good, (St. Jerome) slain by a look, 2 Thessalonians ii. 8. --- Near, or fought, ver. 19. (Calmet) --- Some translate, "they have divided the butter, like words of his mouth." But this is less accurate, and the same idea is conveyed in the next words. (Berthier) --- Protestants, "The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart. His words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords." (Haydock) --- My enemy has violated every law, under his appearance of friendship. (Calmet) --- Darts. Absalom kissed the men of Israel to delude them, (2 Kings xv. 2.) and the traitor gave this sign to those who came to seize our Saviour, Matthew xxvi. 48. (Calmet) --- The words of God are most excellent in themselves, but they seem hard to the incredulous. Thus the Capharnaites gave rise to the first heresy against the words of Christ, which St. Peter piously believed, though, as yet, he did not comprehend their meaning, John vi. (St. Augustine) (Worthington) --- His heart and words may thus be understood of God: but they more probably relate to any one of David’s numerous enemies, who is thus singled out. (Haydock)

Verse 23

Cast. The prophet had experienced the happy effect of this conduct. (Calmet) --- In all troubles and doubts, we must have recourse to God. (Worthington) (1 Peter v. 7.)

Verse 24

Destruction; "into gehenna," (Chaldean) or "hell," (St. Jerome) to which the judge sentences the reprobate, without promoting their crimes. (St. Augustine) (Calmet) --- Days. It is rare that murderers and notorious malefactors escape punishment in this world; but in the next, they will surely be requited. Absalom perished in the flower of his age. (Berthier) --- Achitophel, and may others, have been suddenly cut off. God sometimes permits such to reign for a time, to exercise his servants, or that they may repent. (St. Augustine) --- The Scripture often threatens sinners in this manner, Job xxi. 21., and Isaias lxv. 20. (Calmet) --- Their days are indeed spent, when they die. But if they had altered their conduct, they might have prolonged their life, (Haydock) according to the usual course of nature. (Worthington) (Menochius)

Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Psalms 54". "Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/hcc/psalms-54.html. 1859.
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