Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary, 1859 edition.

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Psalm 128

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Psalm cxxviii. (Spe expugnaverunt.)

Notes & Commentary:

Ver. 1. Canticle. In which David, (Haydock) or the Jews, at their return, after they had got the better of their enemies, render thanks to God. (St. Chrysostom) (Calmet) --- It may suit the Church, Jesus Christ, and every person: as none can escape trouble. (Berthier) --- Fought against. Hebrew, "afflicted." --- Expugnaverunt might seem to imply that they had obtained the victory. But this was not the case, at least eventually, though the people of God might sometimes be oppressed, and yield to sin. (Haydock) --- Youth. Since the Israelites left Egypt, Osee ii. 15., and Jeremias ii. 2. (Calmet) --- From the beginning, the just Abel, Seth, Abraham, &c., have been persecuted. (Worthington)

Ver. 2. But. Or "for," etenim. On this account they repeated their attacks. (Haydock) --- But the psalmist testifies that they will not succeed. (Worthington)

Ver. 3. Back. Hebrew, "labourers have laboured on my neck," (St. Jerome) or "back." They have made me bear the yoke, or have ploughed up my back. This proverbial expression shews the cruelty of the Babylonians, (Calmet) and of the enemies of Christ, (Isaias l. 6.) and the martyrs. (Theodoret) --- Hebrew charash, means also to work like a blacksmith, Genesis iv. 22. (Berthier) --- The Church bears patiently all crosses. Sinners build on her, or even on God's back, when they go on in their wicked ways, presuming that they will be saved at last by the sacraments, &c. (Worthington)

Ver. 4. Necks. Hebrew, "collars," (Theodotion) "snares," (Symmachus) or "bands," with which they have oppressed us. Cyrus abandoned the Babylonians to be slaves of those Persians who had taken them, and made them till the land, &c. (Zenoph. vii.) (Calmet)

Ver. 5. Back. By a sincere conversion. (Calmet) --- God will cover the presumptuous with eternal confusion, so that none shall bless them, ver. 8. (Worthington)

Ver. 6. Houses. Which were flat, so that grass might grow, but the heat of the climate would not suffer it to come to perfection. --- Up. (St. Jerome) --- Chaldean, "flourish," as some copies of the Septuagint read. Yet Hammond, &c., declare for our version. The precise import of the Hebrew is not known. The same comparison occurs, (4 Kings xix. 26.; Calmet) and Plautus says, Qualis solstitialis herba paulisper fui, &c. (Pseud. i.) (Haydock)

Ver. 8. Upon you. Chaldean adds, "and they did not reply." --- We, &c. (Haydock) --- The custom of blessing reapers continued in the days of St. Augustine, Ruth ii. 4. (Calmet) --- The wicked render themselves incapable of deriving benefit from the good wishes of others. (Berthier)

Bible Text & Cross-references:

The Church of God is invincible: her persecutors come to nothing.

1 A gradual canticle.

Often have they fought against me from my youth, let Israel now say.

2 Often have they fought against me from my youth: but they could not prevail over me.

3 The wicked have wrought upon my back: they have lengthened their iniquity.

4 The Lord, who is just, will cut the necks of sinners: 5 let them all be confounded, and turned back, that hate Sion.

6 Let them be as grass on the tops of houses: which withereth before it be plucked up:

7 Wherewith the mower filleth not his hand; nor he that gathereth sheaves, his bosom.

8 And they that passed by have not said: The blessing of the Lord be upon you: we have blessed you in the name of the Lord.