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Bible Commentaries

Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Psalms 9

Verse 1

The hidden things of the son. The humility and sufferings of Christ, the Son of God; and of good Christians, who are his sons by adoption; and called hidden things, with regard to the children of this world, who know not the value and merit of them. (Challoner) --- It may also signify, "to Ben, the master of music, over the young women." See 1 Paralipomenon xv. 18. (Calmet; Menochius) --- These authors have joined almuth, which St. Jerome, &c., read as two words, " on the death of the son." Protestants, "upon Muth Labben." David might allude to the death of Absalom, or of some of his other children. But he has his Son, Christ, the conqueror of death and hell, principally in view, as this psalm sings of victory over nations. His incarnation and the afflictions of Christians are hidden in God. (Worthington) --- Lamnatseach has generally a preposition, l, al, &c., after it, which might induce us to prefer rendering "death," before "secrets or young women." (Haydock) --- But al may be understood, as it is found [in] Psalm xlv., where all have, "for the secrets." In Hebrew, this psalm is divided (Berthier) at ver. 22nd, and formerly it seems at the 17th. (Calmet) --- This division is arbitrary, and of no consequence for the understanding of the psalms. (Berthier) --- It would be well if there were no more serious controversy between Catholics and Protestants. The Jews agree with neither. Some unite the 1st and 2nd, as Kimchi does the 114th and 115th. (Amama) --- What is here rendered a psalm for David, is the same in the Hebrew and Septuagint as has been before expressed of David, Psalm iii. (Haydock)

Verse 2

Praise and thanks, or I will confess. (Worthington) --- To thee. Hebrew, "to the." David had received many favours from God, and he has testified his gratitude, and shewn how we ought to praise God, (St. Jerome; Calmet) with soul and body. (Berthier; Worthington) --- Wonders; victories gained over the neighbouring nations, so that Israel was at peace and liberty to transport the ark to Sion, 1 Paralipomenon xv.

Verse 4

Back; routed. After Saul's family was taken off, none durst oppose David. They saw that the Lord had set him on the throne. (Calmet) --- Only after his sin, rebels began to molest him. (Haydock) --- The Fathers explain this of the devil and his agents. (St. Jerome) --- God repelleth the enemy, when man is not able to resist. (Worthington)

Verse 5

Justice, or rightly. (Calmet) --- God alone always discerns what is just. (St. Chrysostom) --- Man overcomes the devil, with the assistance of God's grace. (Worthington)

Verse 6

Name, or destroy them. The name is often put for the thing itself. Yet many of those nations who once made such a noise, are now quite forgotten. No traces of them can be found. (Haydock) --- The Egyptians and Chanaanites had been exterminated. (Calmet) --- Ever, for all eternity, as long as God shall reign, ver. 8, 40, or Psalm x. 16. This shews that he speaks of the latter times, and of the final destruction of idolatry, by the preaching of apostolic men, (Berthier) and by the last fire. For some will be so infatuated as to uphold it[idolatry] even to the end. (Haydock) --- We have even reason to fear that it[idolatry] will again become more general, (Pastorini; Apocalypse) as faith shall decrease. Jesus Christ and his apostles gave it however (Haydock) a mortal wound, so that in the fifth age[century] many of its mysteries were quite forgotten. (Theodoret; Sts. Augustine and Jerome) (Calmet) --- They took the towns, or the souls, of many from the strong-armed, Luke xi. 21. (Berthier) --- All sinners may be here styled Gentiles, because they were generally wicked. If their reputation survive here for a while, it will certainly perish in the future world. (Worthington)

Verse 7

Swords. "My enemies have sunk under the sword." (Syriac) (Haydock) --- Frame'e6 is a German word for "javelins," pointed with iron, which they might either throw, or use in close fight. (Tacitus) --- It is often put for a sword. Et martii frameam. (Juvenal xiii.) --- The weapons of the enemy being exhausted, they are forced to yield. --- Their. Hebrew, &c., "the." --- Noise, as swiftly. These fierce nations are fallen like a huge Colossus. (Calmet) --- Hebrew, "they themselves," or "with them." --- Cities, &c.

Verse 8

In judgment. St. Jerome, "to judge." (Haydock)

Verse 9

World. This globe must give place to new heavens and earth, (Berthier) after its inhabitants have been judged. (Haydock) --- Justice. Men may be corrupt judges, but God cannot. (Worthington)

Verse 10


The church praiseth God for his protection against her enemies.

Poor. Hebrew ladac, "the oppressed," (St. Jerome) "broken with grief." (Calmet) --- Tribulation. God's assistance is requisite both in prosperity and adversity. He generally manifests his power only, when all human succour proves useless. (Haydock) --- Thus he acted at the Red Sea, and when he sent delivers to Israel. Our Saviour came at the time appointed, when he was most wanted. (Theodoret) (Galatians iv. 4.) (Calmet) --- "We are often oppressed with tribulation, and yet it is not the due time; that so we may be helped by the desire of being set free." (St. Gregory) --- Thus the delay is for our advantage. (Worthington)

Verse 11

Know, with love. Such are always heard. What wonder if others be rejected, who flee from God? (St. Chrysostom and St. Augustine) (Calmet) --- The learned often trust too much to their own knowledge, whereas God has made choice of the simple, Matthew xi. 25. (Berthier)

Verse 12

Ways, ( studia ) "favours," (Haydock) works, &c. (Calmet) --- This was done by the apostles. (St. Augustine) --- Men ought chiefly to study the precepts of God. (Worthington)

Verse 13

Their, may be omitted, as it would seem to refer to the Gentiles. God declares that he will demand the blood of all that shed it without authority, Genesis ix. 5. (Haydock) --- He had punished the Chanaanites, &c., for their cruelty, as he did afterwards the persecutors of his Church. If the names of Herod, Nero, &c., be infamous in history for their sanquinary proceedings, they are not less so on account of the judgments which God exercised upon them, even in this world. (Calmet) See Lactantius, de Mort. Persec. (Haydock) --- God avengeth the blood of his martyrs. (Worthington)

Verse 14

Enemies. Israel has been so long under oppression.

Verse 15

Death, from the most imminent dangers. (Haydock) --- Daughter. In the places where the inhabitants of Sion assembled, (Berthier) or publicly in the Church. (Worthington) --- In hell, the damned would wish to die. (Theodoret) --- The gates of death may also signify sin, (Origen) and the bad example of parents. (St. Jerome)

Verse 16

Hid. These are the enemies of salvation. (Berthier) --- The nations which had oppressed the Jews found their fortifications and arms turned against themselves, (Calmet) which is often the case of the wicked. (Worthington)

Verse 17

Hands. Caught in the very act, so that he cannot deny the crime. Here we find in Hebrew (Calmet) higaion sela, which St. Jerome renders, "by meditation for ever." (Haydock) --- Septuagint, Symmachus, and some Latin copies, "a canticle of the psalm's division," Greek: diapsalmatos. Here perhaps the psalm ended. (Calmet)

Verse 18

Hell; shall die, or be lost. ( Convertantur. ) Literally, "Let," &c. But it may be properly explained as a prediction, or menace. (Haydock) --- "Those who are devoid of God's justice, return to the dominion of the devil." (Robertson, Lexic.) --- Zeal, and not revenge, prompts David to speak thus. (Worthington)

Verse 19

Not perish. Hebrew does not express the negation, but it must be understood. (Berthier) --- Protestants supply it from the former part of the verse. The expectation of the just will not be frustrated.

Verse 20

Man. Hebrew enosh, (Haydock) "weak," sinful "man." (Berthier) -- Gentiles, or all notorious sinners. The Jews despised the Gentiles, as the Romans did all barbarians. (Worthington)

Verse 21

Lawgiver. Hebrew mora. (Haydock) --- Septuagint intimates one who rigorously enforces his laws. (Menochius) --- Symmachus, "a law." Hebrew, "instruction." (Calmet) --- Houbigant, "fear." St. Jerome, "terror: let the nations know that they are men always." Sela is thus frequently explained as a part of the sentence by St. Jerome, though neglected by others. (Haydock) --- It is no proof that the psalm ends here; but serves to excite attention. (Worthington) --- The Gentiles lived without law, like beasts, except that their conscience sometimes admonished them of their duty, Romans ii. 14. (Haydock) --- Whether a person can ever silence it entirely, is a very serious and terrible question. The great ones stand in need of being admonished frequently of their frail condition. (Berthier) --- When Pausanias, king of Sparta, asked Simonides to give his some important lesson, he replied, "Remember that thou art a man." Whoever reflects on this, will beware never to yield to sentiments of pride. The Fathers understand this lawgiver to be Jesus; or Antichrist, whom the wicked have deserved to have set over them. (Theodoret; St. Athanasius, &c.) (Calmet) --- Those who will not believe in Christ, will give credit to Antichrist. (St. Augustine) (2 Thessalonians ii.)

Verse 22

or Hebrew Psalm x. Ver. 1. [ Psalm x. according to the Hebrews. ] In modern times, the Jews have done it. (Worthington) --- The Church allows this title, though the Septuagint found none in their copies, and therefore looked upon all to be one psalm. The change of subject is no proof of the contrary, as such compositions mingle joy and fear together. David has shewn how the just had got the victory. He now proceeds to declare what persecutions they had to endure. (Berthier) --- After peace war succeeds. There is no settled state here below. (Haydock) --- The same sentiments occur, Psalm xi., and xiii., &c. (Calmet) --- Trouble. God assists his servants in distress; (ver. 10,) yet sometimes he delays, in order "to inflame their souls with a desire of his coming." (St. Augustine) --- He is present, (Acts xvii. 28.) but only the men of prayer are truly sensible either of it, or of his absence. (Berthier) --- The weak think he defers his aid a long time when they suffer any great persecution.

Verse 23

or Hebrew Psalm x. Ver. 2. Fire. With zeal (Worthington) and indignation, or rather is oppressed (Calmet) and persecuted. See Micheas iii. 3. (Haydock) --- They. Houbigant would substitute "he is caught." But we may well explain this of the sinner and the unjust, [Hebrew Psalm x.] ver. 3. (Berthier) --- Indeed both are under perplexity, as the poor knows not why the wicked prosper. (Bellarmine; Menochius) --- An answer is given to the complaint of the just, intimating that the wicked are caught in their own snares, (Worthington) and are not free from trouble. (Haydock)

Verse 24

or Hebrew Psalm x. Ver. 3. Blessed by flatterers, while his is full of himself also, as the Hebrew insinuates. (Calmet) --- "The miser, applauding himself, has blasphemed the Lord. The wicked in the height of his fury will not seek, nor is God in all his thoughts." (Haydock) --- This is more energetic, and encourages us to study the original. The worldling wishes there were no God; or banishes him from his thoughts as much as possible. (Berthier)

Verse 25

or Hebrew Psalm x. Ver. 4. Seek to regain his favour, (Worthington; Menochius) or rather (Haydock) he flatters himself that God will not punish him, [Hebrew Psalm x.] ver. 13. (Calmet). --- Multum irascitur, dum non exquirit. (St. Augustine) See Psalm xxxv. 5.

Verse 26

or Hebrew Psalm x. Ver. 5. Filthy. Hebrew, "as one in labour." He can enjoy no ease. Chaldean, "his ways are prosperous." Junius, "paved." (Calmet) --- Removed. Hebrew, "height itself before him, he will blow upon all his enemies." This more forcibly denotes his violence and scorn. (Berthier) (Acts ix. 1.) (Menochius) --- He ruleth for a time, and supposeth that his dominion will never have an end, and that he will enjoy constant happiness. (Worthington)

Verse 27

or Hebrew Psalm x. Ver. 6. Evil. Always happy, or as the Hebrew, Chaldean, &c., may signify, "I shall not desist from evil." (Calmet) --- I will gratify my passions. Who dares to oppose me? (A.[Haydock?]) --- The pride of Nabuchodonosor is known, Daniel iv. 19., &c.

Verse 28

or Hebrew Psalm x. Ver. 7. Sorrow. Which he prepares for others, and yet feels himself. (Calmet) --- Etiam ad perniciem laboratur. (St. Augustine) --- To gain hell requires some "trouble. (Haydock) --- The wicked is his own executioner. (Calmet)

Verse 29

or Hebrew Psalm x. Ver. 8. Rich. St. Jerome, "in the porches," is equivalent. Moderns translate, "villages," which Houbigant would change for a word signifying "ditches," without necessity. (Berthier)

Verse 30

or Hebrew Psalm x. Ver. 9. Poor. "His eyes look round the strong," for aid; or "the poor," (Protestants) for destruction. See [Hebrew Psalm x.] ver. 14.

Verse 31

or Hebrew Psalm x. Ver. 10. Fall. Protestants, " and humbleth himself, that the poor may fall by his strong ones." (Haydock) --- He imitates the lion in the fable, which feigned sickness. (Horace, ep.) --- But the Vulgate gives a better sense. (Calmet) --- "He will bring under the broken, (poor) and will rush on violently with all his power." St. Jerome here explains chelecaim, valenter, instead of "the poor;" (Haydock) as some of the Greek interpreters must have done, if it be true that his version is formed on the plan of the Hexapla, of a mere selection from Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion, as Houbigant asserts, (Pref.) in order to confute the Jews. (Haydock)

Verse 32

or Hebrew Psalm x. Ver. 11. End. God delays for a time; but he will punish. (Calmet) --- Religion lays open all the sophisms of infidelity. (Berthier)

Verse 35

or Hebrew Psalm x. Ver. 14. Sorrow. Thou punishest with pain. (St. Augustine) --- Thou beholdest all the iniquity which is committed, (Calmet) but waitest until the measure be full. (St. Chrysostom) --- Terrible delay! --- Poor. St. Jerome, "art left thy strong ones," who distrust in themselves, and rely on thee. (Haydock) --- Others explain cheleca, "poor and weak." (Parkhurst) --- Cheleca only occurs here and [in] [Hebrew Psalm x.] ver. 9, 10. Protestants, "the poor committeth himself to thee." (Haydock)

Verse 36

or Hebrew Psalm x. Ver. 15. Found. When the means of sinning are withdrawn, he will repent; (Sts. Chrysostom, Augustine; Isaias xxviii. 19.) or it is a sort of irony: he will see whether, as he said, God will take no notice, [Hebrew Psalm x.] ver. 4. (Calmet) --- He shall be utterly exterminated, Psalm xxxvi. (Menochius) --- No vestige of his magnificent works, founded on injustice, shall remain. (Haydock)

Verse 37

or Hebrew Psalm x. Ver. 16. Shall. Or Hebrew, "have perished." In the prophetic style, things to come are spoken of as past, on account of their certainty. (Berthier) --- The wicked shall not appear in the kingdom of God, to pollute his earth. (Haydock) --- Ye nations which have seized the promised land, except not to keep possession. If God suffer the sinner for a while, it is because he is eternal, so that he will never let him escape. (Calmet)

Verse 38

or Hebrew Psalm x. Ver. 17. The. Hebrew, "Thou, Lord, hast heard the desire of the humble. Thou wilt prepare their heart; thou wilt cause thine ear to hear." (Protestants; Haydock) --- Luther seems to have altered the text in his German version, in order to establish his error of the certitude of salvation; "their heart is sure that thine ear hath heard." The Hebrew intimates that God prepares the heart for all good. (Berthier) --- He hears before his servants cry out, (Isaias lxv. 24.) since his spirit inspires the petitions, Romans viii. 26., and Galatians iv. 6. (Calmet) --- The cry of the heart is charity, amore petitur. (St. Augustine, Mor. Ecc.) --- The just man is always ready to suffer whatever God may appoint. (Worthington)

Verse 39

or Hebrew Psalm x. Ver. 18. Earth. St. Jerome is more expressive, "that the man of earth may by no means cherish pride any longer." Though he may be the greatest monarch, he is but man, dust and corruption, ver. 21. (Haydock) --- Christ, who shewed himself wonderful in humility at his birth, (ver. 1.) will display his power at the last day, by giving sentence against the wicked, and by exalting his servants. (Worthington)

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Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Psalms 9". "Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". 1859.