Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 edition.

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Psalm 55

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Psalm lv. (Miserere mei Deus.)

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. Geth. Before (Berthier) or after his escape to the cave of Odollam, (Calmet) he composed this psalm, to comfort his followers with the consideration of God's protection. (Haydock) --- See 1 Kings xxii., and Psalm xv. The title is variously rendered. St. Jerome, "to the victor for the dumb dove," &c. Protestants, "upon Jonath elem rechokim Michtam of David." This is to elude the difficulty, and we might as well adhere to the Septuagint, who seem to have only added, "from the sanctuary." The psalm may suit any one in distress, (Berthier) unable to attend the public service, (Worthington) or it may be understood of our Saviour's passion. (Berthier)

Ver. 2. Man. All combine against me. (Calmet) --- The sins of every man oppressed Jesus Christ. (Berthier) --- All who live piously, must suffer many attacks. (Worthington)

Ver. 4. The height of the day. That is, even at noon day, when the sun is the highest, I am still in danger. (Challoner) --- Hebrew, "many fight against me from an elevation, or from day-break." --- Fear. Many prefix a negation, which St. Jerome rejects, (ad Sun.) explaining this height of the divine majesty. (Calmet) --- David felt the impressions of fear; but corrected them by his confidence in God. (Worthington)

Ver. 5. My words. The words or promises God has made in my favour. (Challoner) --- Praising God (Haydock) removed the dejection of David. (Eusebius) --- Detested. Protestants, "wrest." They put an evil construction upon what I say, (Haydock) and make me their laughing-stock, Psalm xxxvii. 13. (Calmet) --- But I cease not to proclaim what God has declared in my favour, (Haydock) or what good I have been enabled to effect by his grace. My enemies may meet to devise my ruin, and to supplant me; yet all in vain. (Worthington)

Ver. 8. For nothing shalt thou save them. That is, since they lie in wait to ruin my soul, thou shalt for no consideration favour or assist them, but execute thy justice upon them. (Challoner)

Ver. 9. I have. Protestants, "thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle. Are they not in thy book?" St. Jerome, "thou hast numbered my most secret things: place my tears in thy sight," &c. (Haydock) --- Septuagint render the sense clearer. (Berthier) --- God has promised to relieve the distressed, who confided in him.

Ver. 11. To me. This is almost a repetition of ver. 5. (Calmet) --- Elohim and Jehova are mentioned (Haydock) as "the power and eternity" of God gave David the greatest confidence.

Ver. 12. To thee. Literally, "thy vows." (Haydock) --- Houbigant chooses rather to follow the Syriac, "with thee, O God, are my vows:" which is clearer, though our version may be well explained, "I will perform my vows to thee," (Berthier) the sacrifice of praises, in this psalm. (Calmet) --- I will endeavour to comply with my engagements and vows. (Worthington)

Ver. 13. Living, in my own country, where I am no longer, as formerly during my banishment, in the region of the dead. (Calmet) --- The Fathers explain this of Jesus Christ, or of eternal glory. (Theodoret) (Calmet) --- In the true faith and good works, I will strive to please God. (Worthington)

Bible Text & Cross-references:

A prayer of David in danger and distress.

1 Unto the end, for a people that is removed at a distance from the sanctuary: for David, for an inscription of a title, (or pillar) when the Philistines held him in Geth.

2 Have mercy on me, O God, for man hath trodden me under foot: all the day long he hath afflicted me, fighting against me.

3 My enemies have trodden on me all the day long; for they are many that make war against me.

4 From the height of the day I shall fear: but I will trust in thee.

5 In God I will praise my words, in God I have put my trust: I will not fear what flesh can do against me.

6 All the day long they detested my words: all their thoughts were against me unto evil.

7 They will dwell and hide themselves: they will watch my heel.

As they have waited for my soul, 8 for nothing shalt thou save them: in thy anger thou shalt break the people in pieces.

O God, 9 I have declared to thee my life: thou hast set my tears in thy sight,

As also in thy promise. 10 Then shall my enemies be turned back.

In what day soever I shall call upon thee, behold I know thou art my God.

11 In God will I praise the word, in the Lord will I praise his speech. In God have I hoped, I will not fear what man can do to me.

12 In me, O God, are vows to thee, which I will pay, praises to thee.

13 Because thou hast delivered my soul from death, my feet from falling: that I may please in the sight of God, in the light of the living.