Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 edition.

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Psalm 104

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Psalm civ. (Confitemini Domino.)

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. Alleluia. This word occurs at the end of the preceding psalm in Hebrew, and means, "Praise ye the Lord," though it is also used as an exclamation of joy; for which reason it is left untranslated. See Apocalypse xx. (St. Augustine, ep. ad Casulan.) (Calmet) --- It implies that we must praise God with all our power; and Catholic writers retain this (Worthington) and similar words in the original. (Haydock) --- The first 15 verses of this psalm nearly agree with that which was composed by David, when the ark was to be removed from the house of Obededon, 1 Paralipomenon xvi. 8, 22. (Haydock) --- But the last part seems to have been added by him, or by another afterwards, with some small alterations. (Berthier) --- It was perhaps adapted to the dedication of the second temple, with the two following psalms. (Calmet) --- Gentiles. Their conversion is thus insinuated. (Calmet) --- The apostles preached to all. (Eusebius) --- How much more ought we not to celebrate the mysteries of Christ? (Worthington)

Ver. 3. Glory. 2 Corinthians x. 17. (Eusebius) --- Literally, "be praised," (Haydock) knowing to what an honor you have been raised, (Deuteronomy xxx. 7., and Jeremias ix. 23.) and live accordingly.

Ver. 4. Evermore. Be assiduous to obtain his favour, and present yourselves in his holy temple as often as you are able. (Calmet)

Ver. 6. His servant. Or "servants." (Septuagint) Vulgate is ambiguous. Hebrew declared for servant here; but, his chosen, is certainly plural, and refers to all the people, and [in] 1 Paralipomenon xvi. 13., we read, seed of Israel, his servants. (Haydock)

Ver. 8. Generations. Or from the call of Abraham. But this was to be understood if the Israelites continued faithful, (Deuteronomy xxviii.) or the promise regards the spiritual children of Abraham, who are blessed for ever, (Berthier) and continue to the end of the world. (Haydock)

Ver. 11. Lot. Literally, "line," with which land was measured. (Calmet) -- The descendants of the patriarchs would never have lost this inheritance if they had observed the law. The promise was therefore conditional; though it was absolute, in as much as all were to be blessed in their seed: as they had begun to be, when Jerusalem was destroyed by Titus.

Ver. 12. Very few. Hebrew, "as it were reduced to nothing," to avoid a tautology. (Berthier) --- But this version is not necessary. (Haydock) --- Jacob at this time was not married, (Berthier) and his parents had no part of the land. This manifests the power of God, and the faith of the patriarchs, (Calmet) who doubted not but that he would realize what he had promises. (Haydock)

Ver. 13. People. This seems to be a fresh obstacle to their possession of Chanaan. (Calmet)

Ver. 15. Prophets. The word anointed is thus explained, as the patriarchs were not kings over any but their own families, though they were equal in riches to many kings. They foresaw future events, and offered sacrifice to God, as priests, in which sense also they may be styled anointed. No visible unction, but the divine appointment, might be requisite. God protected them in a wonderful manner, and selected them for his peculiar people. (Calmet) (Hebrews xi. 8.)

Ver. 16. And. The psalmist continues to mention the favours of God, till the Israelites entered the promised land, which the author of 1 Paralipomenon xvi., passes over. (Haydock) --- Bread. In time of famine, people are not strengthened with their food. (Eusebius) (Ezechiel iv. 16., and v. 16.) --- God permitted, (Worthington) or caused the famine to rage.

Ver. 17. He sent. Drawing good from the malice of Joseph's brethren, (Haydock) in which he had no hand. (Berthier) --- Who could have thought that this event would have tended to Joseph's exaltation, and to the safety of his father's house?

Ver. 18. Fetters. Hebrew cebel, (Haydock) "a chain, or the stocks." The meaning is not ascertained. (Calmet) --- Soul. Luke ii. 35. He was in great distress, (Haydock) and in danger of perishing. (Theodoret)

Ver. 19. His word. By which he foretold his own glory, or what should befall the king's two officers, which brought him into notice, Genesis xxxvii. 9., and xl. 22. His word, may also refer to God's decree. (Calmet) --- Inflamed him. He received the gift of prophecy, (Haydock) and being inflamed with the love of God, resisted the solicitations of Putiphar's wife.

Ver. 22. Instruct. Hebrew, "bind" by precepts or chains, (Berthier) as he had all power. --- Wisdom. Joseph was considered as the oracle of Egypt, and the prime minister. (Calmet) --- We cannot doubt but he would strive to undeceive the people with regard to many superstitions. (Theodoret) (St. Augustine)

Ver. 23. Cham. Who resided there, and was worshipped under the name of Jupiter Ammon. (Bochart, Phaleg. iv. 1.) (Calmet) --- Misraim was his son, and peopled the land, Genesis x. 13. (Worthington)

Ver. 24. Exceedingly. In 215 years, 600,000 warriors sprung from seventy people, (Calmet) or from seventy-five, as Septuagint and St. Stephen read, comprising eight wives, Jacob, and sixty-six of his descendants. Seventy might naturally produce two million and a half in such a space of time. But the Hebrews had been cruelly oppressed. God's blessing enabled them to increase as they did. (Berthier)

Ver. 25. He turned their heart, &c. Not that God (who is never the author of sin) moved the Egyptians to hate and persecute his people; but that the Egyptians took occasion of hating and envying them, from the sight of the benefits which God bestowed upon them. (Challoner) (St. Augustine) --- He permitted the malice of the Egyptians, (Theodoret) and employed them to chastise his people, who had adored idols. (Eusebius) (Acts vii. 43.) Felix, Protestants, &c., translate the Hebrew, "their heart was turned." (Berthier) --- The perversity of the Egyptians came from themselves, though it was turned to a good account. (Worthington)

Ver. 27. He gave. Hebrew, "they placed in them the words of their signs." (Calmet) (Houbigant) --- But the Chaldean and St. Jerome are conformable to the Septuagint. (Berthier)

Ver. 28. Grieved not his words. That is, he was not wanting to fulfil his words: or he did not grieve Moses and Aaron, the carriers of his words: or he did not grieve his words, that is, his sons, the children of Israel, who enjoyed light whilst the Egyptians were oppressed with darkness. (Challoner) --- He performed what he had threatened without reluctance. (Worthington) --- We may also translate, "he added no threat (Haydock) before this ninth plague was inflicted." Hebrew, "and they did not irritate (or transgress) his word." The envoys of God were obedient to him. The copies of the Septuagint are not uniform; (Calmet) some omit the negation, which would give a very good sense; though it must be allowed to be inaccurate, unless the Hebrew be read with an interrogation, "did they not resist his word?" alluding to the Egyptians. (Berthier) --- Almost all the ancients have the plural exacerbaverunt, except St. Jerome, in his commentary. (Calmet)

Ver. 29. Blood. In reality, so that the fishes were killed. (St. Athanasius)

Ver. 30. Land. Including the rivers, Exodus vii. 1., and viii. 3. --- Kings, or noblemen. (Berthier)

Ver. 31. Flies. This was revealed to David, or known by tradition, as it is not recorded by Moses. (Worthington) --- Some copies of the Septuagint have, "the dog-fly," cinifes (Exodus viii. 16.) gnats, (Haydock) which are very common and tormenting in Egypt. The Jews understand lice. (Joseph and the Chaldean) (Calmet)

Ver. 32. Rain. Which fall in Egypt, though less frequently. (Calmet) (Wisdom xvi. 17.)

Ver. 34. Bruchus. An insect of the locust kind, (Challoner) or a worm which spoils corn, &c. (Worthington)

Ver. 36. Labour. This explains the first part of the verse, Genesis xlix. 3., and Psalm lxxvii. 51. (Haydock) --- The fifth and sixth plagues are not specified. (Worthington)

Ver. 37. Gold. Which the Egyptians gave to get quit of them, (Exodus xi. 1.) and that with joy, (ver. 38.) though they might at first only intend to lend. (St. Augustine) (Berthier) --- Feeble. This refutes the notion which the enemies of the Jews had propagated, saying that they were banished on account of the leprosy. They felt none of the inconveniences which fell on the Egyptians, and God removed every obstacle which might retard their flight. (Calmet) --- According to the course of nature, out of two million and a half, 150 people die daily. (Berthier)

Ver. 40. Asked. Chaldean and ancient psalters add, "for meat." Hebrew, "he (Moses or all the people) asked, and the quail came," at Sin, Exodus xvi. 13.

Ver. 41. Rivers. The waters from the rock were so abundant. (Calmet) (Exodus xvii. 6.) (Berthier)

Ver. 44. People. Whose crimes have deserved death, Numbers xxxiii. 51., and Deuteronomy vii. 5. (Calmet)

Ver. 45. His justifications. That is, his commandments: which here, and in many other places of the Scripture, are called justifications, because the keeping of them make men just. The Protestants render it by the word statutes, in favour of their doctrine, which does not allow good works to justify. (Challoner) --- The design of God in granting Chanaan to the Israelites, was to encourage them to preserve the true religion. (Calmet)

Bible Text & Cross-references:

A thanksgiving to God, for his benefits to his people Israel.

1 Alleluia.

Give *glory to the Lord, and call upon his name: declare his deeds among the Gentiles.

2 Sing to him, yea sing praises to him: relate all his wondrous works.

3 Glory ye in his holy name: let the heart of them rejoice that seek the Lord.

4 Seek ye the Lord, and be strengthened: seek his face evermore.

5 Remember his marvellous works, which he hath done; his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth.

6 O ye seed of Abraham, his servant; ye sons of Jacob, his chosen.

7 He is the Lord our God: his judgments are in all the earth.

8 He hath remembered his covenant for ever: the word which he commanded to a thousand generations:

9 *Which he made to Abraham; and his oath to Isaac:

10 And he appointed the same to Jacob for a law: and to Israel, for an everlasting testament:

11 Saying: To thee will I give the land of Chanaan, the lot of your inheritance.

12 When they were but a small number: yea very few, and sojourners therein:

13 And they passed from nation to nation, and from one kingdom to another people.

14 He suffered no man to hurt them: and he reproved kings for their sakes.

15 *Touch ye not my anointed: and do no evil to my prophets.

16 And he called a famine upon the land: and he broke in pieces all the support of bread.

17 He sent a man before them: *Joseph, who was sold for a slave.

18 *They humbled his feet in fetters: the iron pierced his soul, 19 until his word came.

The word of the Lord inflamed him. 20 *The king sent, and he released him: the ruler of the people, and he set him at liberty.

21 He made him master of his house, and ruler of all his possession.

22 That he might instruct his princes as himself, and teach his ancients wisdom.

23 *And Israel went into Egypt: and Jacob was a sojourner in the land of Cham.

24 *And he increased his people exceedingly: and strengthened them over their enemies.

25 He turned their heart to hate his people: and to deal deceitfully with his servants.

26 *He sent Moses, his servant: Aaron, the man whom he had chosen.

27 *He gave them power to shew his signs, and his wonders in the land of Cham.

28 *He sent darkness, and made it obscure: and grieved not his words.

29 *He turned their waters into blood, and destroyed their fish.

30 *Their land brought forth frogs, in the inner chambers of their kings.

31 *He spoke, and there came divers sorts of flies and cinifes in all their coasts.

32 He gave them hail for rain, a burning fire in the land.

33 And he destroyed their vineyards and their fig-trees: and he broke in pieces the trees of their coasts.

34 *He spoke, and the locust came, and the bruchus, of which there was no number:

35 And they devoured all the grass in their land, and consumed all the fruit of their ground.

36 *And he slew all the first-born in their land: the first-fruits of all their labour.

37 *And he brought them out with silver and gold: and there was not among their tribes one that was feeble.

38 Egypt was glad when they departed: for the fear of them lay upon them.

39 *He spread a cloud for their protection, and fire to give them light in the night.

40 *They asked, and the quail came: and he filled them with the bread of heaven.

41 *He opened the rock, and waters flowed: rivers ran down in the dry land.

42 *Because he remembered his holy word, which he had spoken to his servant, Abraham.

43 And he brought forth his people with joy, and his chosen with gladness.

44 And he gave them the lands of the Gentiles: and they possessed the labours of the people:

45 That they might observe his justifications, and seek after his law.



1: 1 Paralipomenon xvi. 8.; Isaias xii. 4.

9: Genesis xxii. 16.

15: 2 Kings i. 14.; 1 Paralipomenon xvi. 22.

17: Genesis xxxvii.

18: Genesis xxxix. 20.

20: Genesis xli. 14.

23: Genesis xlvi. 6.

24: Exodus i. 7.; Acts vii. 17.

26: Exodus iii. 10. and v. 29.

27: Exodus vii. 10.

28: Exodus x. 21.

29: Exodus vii. 20.

30: Exodus viii. 6.

31: Exodus viii. 16. and 24.

34: Exodus x. 12.

36: Exodus xii. 29.

37: Exodus xii. 35.

39: Exodus xiii. 21.; Psalm lxxvii. 14.; 1 Corinthians x. 1.

40: Exodus xvi. 13.

41: Numbers xx. 11.

42: Genesis xvii. 7.