Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 edition.

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Psalm 79

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Psalm lxxix. (Qui regis Israel.)

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. Testimony, or instruction, (Calmet) and proof of the psalmist's faith. (Haydock) --- Psalm. Vatican Septuagint, St. Augustine, &c., add, "for (or against) the Assyrian:" whence some have inferred that it relates to the captivity of Israel. But as Benjamin is also mentioned, it seems rather to speak of the captives of Babylon, (Calmet) or of all Jews and Christians in distress. (Berthier) --- The faithful pray for the coming of the Messias, ver. 2, 4, 16. (Haydock) (Fathers) (Calmet)

Ver. 2. Joseph. He mentions these two as persons dear to God. All the tribes were equally led away captives, and the distinction of kingdoms was not regarded. (Calmet) --- All Israel is denoted by Joseph, who composed two tribes, having the double portion; (Worthington; Menochius) and ruling in Egypt. (Bellarmine)

Ver. 3. Manasses. These three tribes followed the ark in the desert, (Numbers ii. 18.) and might better see the majesty shining over it. (Worthington) (Calmet) --- Let all be united once more in the divine service. (Muis) --- Samaria, and Jerusalem in part, were in the tribes of Ephraim and Benjamin, (Menochius) and Manasses occupied both sides of the Jordan. (Haydock)

Ver. 4. Saved. This chorus occurs three (Worthington) or four times. (Calmet) --- With God's grace, we shall be able to act virtuously. (St. Jerome) --- Thou canst easily rescue us from our misery. Be pleased to send us the Messias, thy substantial image, 2 Corinthians iv. 4., and Colossians i. 15. If thou assist us, we may co-operate to obtain salvation. (Worthington)

Ver. 6. Measure. Hebrew shalish, "three-fold." (St. Jerome) --- The capacity of this measure is not determined. It might be the seah, or the third part of an epha, which would be very abundant, speaking of tears; though small to contain the earth, Isaias xl 12. (Calmet) --- Penitents must eat little. (St. Jerome) --- Yet their sorrow must be moderated by hope. (Eusebius) See Osee ix. 4. (Calmet) --- God punishes so as not to destroy us. (Worthington)

Ver. 7. At us. See Psalm lxxviii. 4. (Haydock) --- Such was the condition of Jeremias, xv. 10. (Calmet) --- Hebrew, "have scoffed among themselves." Chaldean and St. Jerome agree with us. Scorn is more difficult to bear than poverty. Hence to comfort himself, the psalmist repeats, O God, &c. (Berthier)

Ver. 9. Vineyard. Thy Church and people. (Worthington) (Isaias v. 1., Osee x. 1., and Matthew xx. 2.)

Ver. 10. Sight. Hebrew, "Thou didst dig before it," (Montanus) making the ground ready. (Calmet) --- The cloud went before the Israelites. (Worthington) --- Land of promise. (Haydock)

Ver. 11. God. The highest cedars were surpassed by the branches, or even by the smallest shoots (arbusta) of this vine. (Haydock) --- Most powerful nations were forced to submit to David. (Theodoret) --- The Israelites were exceedingly multiplied, (Worthington) and enjoyed the fruits of the country, Micheas iv. 4. (Calmet)

Ver. 12. River Euphrates, from the Mediterranean, Red, and Indian seas. (Haydock) (Deuteronomy xi. 24.)

Ver. 13. It? Thou hast withdrawn thy protection. The temple is destroyed, and all plunder with impunity, because thy vineyard has not rendered good fruit, Jeremias ii. 21.

Ver. 14. Singular. The wild boar, which does not go with other beasts. Nabuchodonosor is here designated, (Calmet) or Salmanasar, and all persecutors, (Berthier) particularly the devil, who goes about like a roaring lion, [1 Peter v. 8.] and stirs up his agents to disturb the world. Hence the enemy becomes more cruel than any wild beast. (Worthington)

Ver. 16. And look down upon "the Messias," (Chaldean) the true vine, John xv. 1., and Matthew xxi. 33. (Calmet) --- Of man, is not in Hebrew, only, ver. 18. (Haydock) --- Some perfection was wanting in the Church of the Old Testament.

Ver. 17. Things set on fire, &c. So this vineyard of thine, almost consumed already, must perish if thou continue thy rebukes. (Challoner) --- Things, would imply that incensa is in the neuter plural. But this is not the case in Septuagint or Hebrew. (Berthier) --- St. Jerome has succensam, "Look down upon the vine or root, (17) burn up and without any branches. Let them perish at," &c., who have thus treated it. (Haydock)

Ver. 18. The man of thy right hand. Christ, (Challoner) where he sits, (Calmet) being as man in the highest place of heaven, Matthew xxvi. 64., and xii. 32. (Haydock) --- Who else could redeem Israel? (Calmet) --- Zorobabel was only a figure of Him. (Haydock) --- Christ's birth was miraculous, (Menochius) and he was appointed by the right hand of God to do great things; and, as man, is moved to take compassion on the distresses of his people. (Berthier)

Ver. 19. From thee. This is our fixed determination for the future. (Haydock) --- Will call. Hebrew, "Shall be called by thy name," (St. Jerome; Haydock) thy people. (Symmachus) (Calmet) --- But the Vulgate is equally correct, invocabimus. (Montanus) (Protestants) (Haydock)

Bible Text & Cross-references:

A prayer for the Church in tribulation, commemorating God's former favours.

1 Unto the end, for them that shall he changed, a testimony for Asaph, a psalm.

2 Give ear, O thou that rulest Israel: thou that leadest Joseph like a sheep.

Thou that sittest upon the Cherubim, shine forth 3 before Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasses.

Stir up thy might, and come to save us.

4 Convert us, O God: and shew us thy face, and we shall be saved.

5 O Lord, God of hosts, how long wilt thou be angry against the prayer of thy servant?

6 How long wilt thou feed us with the bread of tears: and give us for our drink tears in measure?

7 Thou hast made us to be a contradiction to our neighbours: and our enemies have scoffed at us.

8 O God of hosts, convert us: and shew thy face, and we shall be saved.

9 Thou hast brought a vineyard out of Egypt: thou hast cast out the Gentiles and planted it.

10 Thou wast the guide of its journey in its sight: thou plantedst the roots thereof, and it filled the land.

11 The shadow of it covered the hills: and the branches thereof the cedars of God.

12 It stretched forth its branches unto the sea, and its boughs unto the river.

13 Why hast thou broken down the hedge thereof, so that all they who pass by the way, do pluck it?

14 The boar out of the wood hath laid it waste: and a singular wild beast hath devoured it.

15 Turn again, O God of hosts, look down from heaven, and see, and visit this vineyard:

16 And perfect the same which thy right hand hath planted: and upon the Son of man whom thou hast confirmed for thyself.

17 Things set on fire and dug down, shall perish at the rebuke of thy countenance.

18 Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand: and upon the Son of man, whom thou hast confirmed for thyself.

19 And we depart not from thee, thou shalt quicken us: and we will call upon thy name.

20 O Lord God of hosts, convert us: and shew thy face, and we shall be saved.