Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 edition.

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Psalm 41

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Psalm xli. (Quemadmodum desiderat.)

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. Understanding. See Psalm xxxi. (Menochius) --- Core, who composed, (Tirinus) or sung (Menochius) most of the psalms in this second part. (Tirinus) --- Pieces of a joyful nature were generally assigned to them, according to the Jews and St. Jerome, Psalm lxxxiv. (Menochius) --- They were descendants of the famous schismatic, the miraculous preservation of whose innocent children teaches us, that the good will not be punished with the guilty, and that we must be raised above this earth, lest hell devour us, Numbers xvi. 31., and xxvi. 10. (Worthington) --- The sentiments of the captives, (Calmet) and of every sincere Christian, are here expressed. (St. Augustine) --- David may have been the author, (Calmet) as it is generally believed. (Berthier)

Ver. 2. Waters. This was sung at the baptism of Catechumens, (St. Augustine) teaching them to thirst after heaven. (Haydock) --- The hart being infected with poison, thirsts exceedingly, as sinners must do for pardon. (Worthington)

Ver. 3. Strong. Most Bibles before Clement VIII read "fountain." (Calmet) --- El signifies both God and strong. (Berthier) --- The Levites desired earnestly to serve God in his temple; Christians must wish to appear before him in heaven, (Calmet) when they will be free from temptations. Idols may destroy, but they cannot give life. (Worthington)

Ver. 4. Bread. Ovid imitates this: Cura dolorque animi lachrymęque alimenta fuere. (Met. x.) --- The tears of compunction obtain the remission of sin. (St. Jerome) --- God. Thus the idolaters derided those who could not point at their God. (Haydock) --- The Babylonians had conquered all the surrounding nations, and despised their deities. (Calmet) --- The wicked laugh at the just, who are for a time in distress, comforting themselves with weeping. (Worthington) --- Those who saw David wandering (Haydock) in the mountains, at a distance from the tabernacle, might ask him what religion or God he followed. (Menochius)

Ver. 5. These sarcasms fill me with grief, (Calmet) while the solemn ceremonies of religion, which, I remember, where observed in the temple, cause my heart to overflow with joy. (Berthier) --- I shall. Protestants, "I had gone with the multitude; I went with them to the house of God with the voice of joy and praise; with a multitude that kept holiday." Yet the holidays of the Catholic Church are now ridiculed by many Protestants. (Haydock) --- The original may have several other meanings. The tabernacle may here designate the musach of the Levites, 4 Kings xvi. 18. (Calmet) --- Feasting. Some such religious feasts were prescribed, Deuteronomy xii. 12. (Haydock) --- David was not permitted to build the temple, nor to enter the tabernacle: but he speaks of heaven. (Worthington)

Ver. 6. My countenance. Hebrew, "his," as Aquila, &c., read. (Calmet) --- Yet as the words are repeated, (ver. 12.) there seems to be a fault in the text, (Berthier) owing to v, "his" being taken in here, instead of explaining it by and, ver. 7. (Haydock) --- The arrangement of the letters in the Vulgate is preferable. (Calmet)

Ver. 7. Little hill of Sion. I hope that I shall soon again behold the fertile regions along the Jordan. (Calmet) --- But these hills of Hermon, &c., are nothing when compared with heaven: They serve only to remind us of our banishment. (Berthier) --- The difficulties of our present abode, hemmed in on all sides, teach us to place our hopes in heaven. (Worthington)

Ver. 8. Flood-gates. The Hebrews imagined there were immense reservoirs of water above, (Calmet) which might serve to drown the earth, as at the deluge, Genesis vii. 11. Both heaven and earth seemed to be armed against the psalmist. (Haydock) --- One affliction succeeded another, (Calmet) and God appeared to have abandoned his servants to temptations. But he enables them to come off with victory, and fills them with more joy in their trials: so that they may sing in heart, and pray. (Worthington)

Ver. 9. Night. In affliction, as well as in prosperity, we must praise the Lord. Roman Septuagint, "in the night he will manifest it." --- Mercy. (Haydock) --- This is very beautiful, but not agreeable with the original. (Berthier)

Ver. 11. Whilst. Protestants As, "with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me." (Haydock) --- Thus the martyrs were tortured and upbraided. (Calmet)

Ver. 12. Countenance. To whom I look up with confidence. (Menochius) --- The just are comforted with the hope of God's sight. (Worthington)

Bible Text & Cross-references:

The fervent desire of the just after God: hope in afflictions.

1 Unto the end, understanding for the sons of Core.

2 As the hart panteth after the fountains of water; so my soul panteth after thee, O God.

3 My soul hath thirsted after the strong living God; when shall I come and appear before the face of God?

4 My tears have been my bread day and night, whilst it is said to me daily: Where is thy God?

5 These things I remembered, and poured out my soul in me: for I shall go over into the place of the wonderful tabernacle, even to the house of God:

With the voice of joy and praise; the noise of one feasting.

6 Why art thou sad, O my soul; and why dost thou trouble me?

Hope in God, for I will still give praise to him: the salvation of my countenance, 7 and my God.

My soul is troubled within myself: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan and Hermoniim, from the little hill.

8 Deep calleth on deep, at the noise of thy flood-gates.

All thy heights and thy billows have passed over me.

9 In the day time the Lord hath commanded his mercy; and a canticle to him in the night.

With me is prayer to the God of my life, 10 I will say to God: Thou art my support.

Why hast thou forgotten me? and why go I mourning, whilst my enemy afflicteth me?

11 Whilst my bones are broken, my enemies, who trouble me, have reproached me.

Whilst they say to me day by day: Where is thy God?

12 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why dost thou disquiet me?

Hope thou in God, for I will still give praise to him: the salvation of my countenance, and my God.