Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 edition.

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Psalm 83

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Psalm lxxxiii. (Quam dilecta.)

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. Core. See Psalm viii., xli., and lxxx. (Haydock) --- The Corites were musicians, as well as porters in the temple, 1 Paralipomenon xxvi. They here represent the faithful upon earth, (St. Augustine; Worthington) who sigh after the heavenly Sion. David was animated with these sentiments, more than with the desire of revisiting Jerusalem, during the revolt of his son. (Berthier) --- This psalm might have been written by him under the persecution of Saul, (Grotius) or it may refer to the captives. (Theodoret) (Calmet) --- Yet, at those times, the tabernacle was not subsisting on Sion, as it seem to have been when this beautiful piece was composed. (Berthier) --- The Jews are said to recite it every night, in hopes of seeing Jerusalem rebuilt, and it might very well be used by all Israelites, when they went to celebrate the three great festivals. (Calmet)

Ver. 3. Fainteth. The eager desire of heaven sometimes deprives people of external satisfaction, and the body partakes of the inward joy. (Worthington) --- Living. The idols of Babylon have no life. (Eusebius)

Ver. 4. Turtle. Moderns prefer to render "swallows," without reason. (Bochart) --- Thy altars. They can rest in the ruins of the temple; (Kimchi; Muis) but in that supposition, the altars were destroyed. (Haydock) --- It seems rather that this is an exclamation, (Berthier) which the enraptured psalmist is unable to conclude, giving us to understand that he desired his asylum and place of rest to be near God's altars, (Haydock) with the angels above, Isaias vi. (Worthington) --- The faithful soul seeks to dwell in heaven, and in the mean time keeps in the Catholic Church, laying up store of good works. For, out of it, whatever good pagans and heretics may seem to do, by feeding the hungry, &c., as these things are not laid in the nest, they will be trodden under foot, conculcabuntur. (St. Augustine) (Worthington)

Ver. 6. In his heart, he hath disposed to ascend by steps, &c., ascensiones in corde suo disposuit. As by steps men ascended towards the eternal temple by certain steps of virtue disposed or ordered within the heart. And this whilst he lives as yet in the body, in this vale of tears, the place which man hath set: that is, which he hath brought himself to: being cast out of paradise for his sin. (Challoner) --- There is no standing still. "As the saint daily advances, so the sinner daily decreases." (St. Jerome) (Calmet) --- Hebrew of these three following verses is variously rendered. The Septuagint are the most ancient, and very exact. (Berthier) --- Heart. "The more you love, the higher will you ascend." (St. Augustine) --- Hebrew, "the paths are in his heart. Passing in the vale of tears, they shall place (or deem) it a fountain. The teacher shall be clothed with benediction. They shall go from strength to strength: they shall appear before God in Sion." (St. Jerome) (Haydock) --- Three words occasion the difference: ábri, "passing," means also, "disposing." Septuagint have only used it as a singular, to agree with man, Máin, "a fountain," may have been read máun, "for the place." --- Al, means, "the God," and "to." (Berthier) --- Amama says the points are different. But we have often shewn the futility of that objection; which might regulate the versions of the Masorets, but could have no influence on those who lived many ages before their invention. They are neglected here by the authors of Prin. disc., "the God almighty shall appear in Sion." (Haydock)

Ver. 7. Tears. Protestants, "Baca." Marginal note, "of mulberry-trees," near Jerusalem, Judges ii. 5., and 1 Kings v. 23. (Haydock) --- It was perhaps used proverbially for any dry place. The Lord had promised to relieve the captives with water, Isaias xxxv. 5., &c. (Calmet) --- Place. The temple or tabernacle, (Haydock) which the Lord hath appointed. (Calmet)

Ver. 8. Blessing. Abundance of water, and other necessaries, (2 Corinthians ix. 6.) as well as (Haydock) spiritual graces, which help those who continue in the true Church to arrive at the vision of God. (Worthington) --- Virtue, or "company," in which manner the Israelites went to the temple. (Calmet) --- God. And not merely the temple, &c., as here on earth. (Menochius)

Ver. 10. Christ. Chaldean, "the Messias," (Berthier) through whom we address all our petitions. (Worthington) --- Protect thy people, (St. Jerome) and raise up the throne of David. (Calmet)

Ver. 11. Thousands elsewhere, (Calmet) among sinners. He is so much affected, as to leave the sentence imperfect, ver. 4. But the meaning is clear. Temporal must yield to eternal happiness. Eternity is all as one point: it has no division of time, which has a thousand parts. (Haydock) --- Heaven is represented as a palace, (Berthier) in which the blessed enjoy perpetual felicity. (Haydock) --- With respect to future rewards, one day in the Church is better than thousands out of it. (Worthington), ver. 4. --- Abject. Protestants, "door-keeper." Marginal note, "on the threshold." (Haydock) --- This was the office of the Corites, (Calmet) and they prefer it before the finest occupations among sinners. Hebrew, "the tents of wickedness." (Haydock) --- The poorest condition in the Catholic Church, is better than the highest dignities which the wicked can bestow. (Worthington) --- Indeed poverty, and attention to God's service, is the most secure road to heaven, and gives even present content to those who are actuated by the divine spirit. (Haydock)

Ver. 12. Truth. He is merciful, and always performs what he has promised: (Menochius) whereas sinners are noted for cruelty and deceit. Hebrew, "the Lord God is a sun and shield." (Haydock) --- This sense is very good. But Theodotion agrees with the Septuagint, who have read differently, unless they have substituted the thing signified for the figure. (Berthier) --- Glory, in the next world, (Worthington) or even in this. He will restore us to happiness, and cause even our persecutors to esteem us. (Calmet) --- Donator est indulgentiĉ, debitor coronĉ....promittendo. (St. Augustine)

Ver. 13. Innocence. After the remission of sin. (Worthington)

Bible Text & Cross-references:

The soul aspireth after heaven: rejoicing, in the mean time, in being in the communion of God's Church upon the earth.

1 Unto the end, for the wine-presses, a psalm for the sons of Core.

2 How lovely are thy tabernacles, O Lord of host! 3 my soul longeth and fainteth for the courts of the Lord.

My heart and my flesh have rejoiced in the living God.

4 For the sparrow hath found herself a house, and the turtle a nest for herself, where she may lay her young ones:

Thy altars, O Lord of hosts, my king and my God.

5 Blessed are they that dwell in thy house, O Lord: they shall praise thee for ever and ever.

6 Blessed is the man whose help is from thee: in his heart he hath disposed to ascend by steps, 7 in the vale of tears, in the place which he hath set.

8 For the lawgiver shall give a blessing, they shall go from virtue to virtue: the God of gods shall be seen in Sion.

9 O Lord, God of hosts, hear my prayer: give ear, O God of Jacob.

10 Behold, O God, our protector: and look on the face of thy Christ.

11 For better is one day in thy courts above thousands.

I have chosen to be an abject in the house of my God, rather than to dwell in the tabernacles of sinners.

12 For God loveth mercy and truth: the Lord will give grace and glory.

13 He will not deprive of good things them that walk in innocence: O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.