Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 edition.

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Psalm 56

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Psalm lvi. (Miserere mei Deus.)

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. Destroy not. Suffer me not to be destroyed, (Challoner; Menochius) or I will not allow my men to destroy an implacable foe, (Haydock) as they entreat me to do. This conduct is worthy of eternal memory. (Worthington) --- The words may also be an admonition to the reader, not to alter this piece, Apocalypse xxii. 18. (Calmet) --- Al tashcheth, (or thossth.; Haydock) is supposed to be an instrument, or a favourite song, such as that of Moses, (Deuteronomy ix. 26.) which begins thus. But the point is uncertain. The same words occur, Psalm lviii., lix., (Berthier) and lxxiv. They are put in the mouth of Christ suffering, by St. Hilary, &c. --- Cave of Odollam, or rather of Engaddi. (Calmet)

Ver. 2. In thee. This obliges God to take pity, Psalm xlvi. 11. --- Wings, as a chicken retires to the hen, Ruth ii. 12., and Matthew xxiii. 37.

Ver. 4. Sent his mercy, &c., (Calmet) above the power of man. (Worthington) --- Reproach. Saul was forced to entreat David to preserve his family, as he had just spared his own life; which would, no doubt, mortify his pride, (1 Kings xxiv. 18, 22.; Calmet) and seem a reproach to him. (Worthington)

Ver. 5. Lions. Poetry gives life to all things. It represents mercy and truth as God's messengers; and Saul as a young lion. He might have entered the cave with his men, and destroyed David: but Providence caused him to enter alone, so that David had an opportunity to cut off the hem of his garment, and to shew his clemency. --- Sword. Thus were the Jews armed, to demand Christ's death. (Eusebius) (Calmet) --- The persecutors use artificial weapons, and excite one another to fury, 1 Kings xxii. 16. (Worthington)

Ver. 7. Down. Hebrew, "my soul was bowed down," (Berthier) or "to bow down my soul." (St. Jerome) (Haydock) --- Saul strove many ways to destroy his rival, sending him to fight the Philistines, who, nevertheless, proved the ruin of Saul, 1 Kings xviii. 17., and xxxi. 1. (Worthington)

Ver. 8. My. This and the following verses, from the 107th psalm. (Calmet)

Ver. 9. Glory. Soul, tongue, or rather instruments of music, (Calmet) and spirit of prophecy. (St. Athanasius)

Ver. 10. Nations. The psalms are now recited, (Worthington) in every language, and the wonders wrought by Christ are proclaimed. (Calmet)

Ver. 11. Clouds. They are exceedingly great. (Haydock) --- Christ has mounted to the highest heavens, and his apostles have preached (Calmet) his saving truths, which, like clouds, render the earth fruitful in good works. (Haydock)

Ver. 12. Earth. It is just thy mercy should be extolled. (Menochius; ver. 6.)


Bible Text & Cross-references:

The prophet prays in his affliction, and praises God for his delivery.

1 Unto the end, destroy not, for David, for an inscription of a title, when he fled from Saul into the cave. [1 Kings xxiv.]

2 Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me: for my soul trusteth in thee.

And in the shadow of thy wings will I hope, until iniquity pass away.

3 I will cry to God, the most High; to God, who hath done good to me.

4 He hath sent from heaven, and delivered me: he hath made them a reproach that trod upon me.

God hath sent his mercy and his truth, 5 and he hath delivered my soul from the midst of the young lions. I slept troubled.

The sons of men, whose teeth are weapons and arrows, and their tongue a sharp sword.

6 Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens, and thy glory above all the earth.

7 They prepared a snare for my feet; and they bowed down my soul.

They dug a pit before my face, and they are fallen into it.

8 My heart is ready, O God, my heart is ready: I will sing, and rehearse a psalm.

9 Arise, O my glory; arise, psaltery and harp: I will arise early.

10 I will give praise to thee, O Lord, among the people: I will sing a psalm to thee among the nations.

11 For thy mercy is magnified even to the heavens: and thy truth unto the clouds.

12 Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens: and thy glory above all the earth.