Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 edition.

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Psalm 123

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Psalm cxxiii. (Nisi quia Dominus.)

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. Canticle. Hebrew, &c., with some Latin copies add, "of David," (Calmet) who might write it after being delivered from some danger. It may also be applicable to the martyrs, and to all who have been freed from temptation. (Berthier) --- The captives might compose it in thanksgiving for the leave to return, (Calmet) or when they had been delivered from the assaults of the neighbouring nations. (Origen) (Calmet)

Ver. 3. Perhaps. This word is here affirmative. Hebrew, "Then." Septuagint, "Surely." (Calmet) --- He modestly leaves it to others to judge what would have been the event if God had not sent help. The weak would have been destroyed, as soon as if they had become a prey to wild beasts, as Jonas was swallowed up. (Worthington) --- See Proverbs i. 12. (Menochius)

Ver. 5. Insupportable. Without bottom, or beyond our strength, anupostaton. (Calmet) --- Hebrew, "Then the swelling waters it had passed over our soul." (Montanus) (Calmet) --- St. Jerome has, "perhaps they," &c., which is more correct. See Psalm lxviii. 3. (Haydock) --- A torrent implies sudden great troubles. (Worthington)

Ver. 7. Sparrow. Hebrew, "bird." This comparison shews at once the dangers to which the Jews had been exposed, and their miraculous deliverance. (Calmet) --- Men may deceive others: but they cannot impose on God. (Worthington) --- Grace preserves the soul from the most imminent dangers of temptation, sin, &c. (Berthier) --- We must therefore fly; but who will give us wings except God? (St. Ambrose)

Bible Text & Cross-references:

The Church giveth glory to God for her deliverance from the hands of her enemies.

1 A gradual canticle.

If it had not been that the Lord was with us, let Israel now say: 2 If it had not been that the Lord was with us,

When men rose up against us, 3 perhaps they had swallowed us up alive.

When their fury was enkindled against us, 4 perhaps the waters had swallowed us up.

5 Our soul hath passed through a torrent: perhaps our soul had passed through a water insupportable.

6 Blessed be the Lord, who hath not given us to be a prey to their teeth.

7 Our soul hath been delivered, as a sparrow out of the snare of the fowlers.

The snare is broken and we are delivered.

8 Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.