The Divine Lamp

The unfolding of thy words gives light; it imparts understanding to the simple…Make thy face shine upon thy servant, and teach me thy statutes

St Thomas Aquinas on Psalm 34 (33)

Posted by Dim Bulb on June 29, 2010

The following post contains St Thomas’ lecture/commentary on Psalm 34 (Ps 33 in the Vulgate).  The Latin text appears on the left and the English translation on the right.  The translation was done by Gregory Froelich and is part of The Aquinas Translation Project.  The text appears here is accord with the sites copyright statement: The copyright for these translations are held by the individuals who have translated them. They are offered for public use with the provision that, if copied, they not be altered from their present form, and that the copyright notice remain at the bottom of each translation to ensure that appropriate credit be given to both individual and the Project. Links should be established to this index page. All Biblical translations are taken from the Douay-Rheims version.

(Cum mutavit os suum coram Abimelech, et dimisit eum, et abiit)1. Psal. XXXIIIBenedicam Dominum in omni tempore, semper laus eius in ore meo. (For David, when he changed his countenance before Achimelech, who dismissed him, and he went his way)Psalm 33I will bless the Lord at all times, his praise shall be always in my mouth
2. In Domino laudabitur anima mea. In the Lord shall my soul be praised:
3. Audiant mansueti, et laetentur. let the meek hear and rejoice.
4. Magnificate Dominum mecum, et exaltemus nomen eius in idipsum. O magnify the Lord with me; and let us extol his name together.
5. Exquisivi Dominum, et exaudivit me: et ex omnibus tribulationibus meis eripuit me. I sought the Lord, and he heard me; and he delivered me from all my troubles.
6. Accedite ad eum, et illuminamini: et facies vestrae non confundentur. Come ye to him and be enlightened; and your faces shall not be confounded.
7. Iste pauper clamavit, et Dominus exaudivit eum: et ex omnibus tribulationibus eius salvabit eum. This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him: and saved him out of all his troubles.
8. Immittet angelus Domini in circuitu timentium eum, et eripiet eos. The angel of the Lord shall encamp round about them that fear him: and shall deliver them.
9. Gustate et videte, quoniam suavis est Dominus: beatus vir qui sperat in eo. O taste, and see that the Lord is sweet: blessed is the man that hopeth in him.
10. Timete Dominum omnes sancti eius; quoniam non est inopia timentibus eum. Fear the Lord, all ye his saints: for there is no want to them that fear him.
11. Divites eguerunt, et esurierunt: inquirentes autem Dominum non minuentur omni bono. The rich have wanted, and have suffered hunger: but they that seek the Lord shall not be deprived of any good.
12. Venite filii, audite me: timorem Domini docebo vos. Come, children, hearken to me: I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
13. Quis est homo qui vult vitam, diligit dies videre bonos. Prohibe linguam tuam a malo, et labia tua non loquantur dolum. Diverte a malo, et fac bonum: inquire pacem, et persequere eam. Who is the man that desireth life: who loveth to see good days? Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. Turn away from evil and do good: seek after peace and pursue it.
14. Oculi Domini super iustos: et aures eius in preces eorum. The eyes of the Lord are upon the just: and his ears unto their prayers.
15. Vultus autem Domini super facientes mala; ut perdat de terra memoriam eorum. But the countenance of the Lord is against them that do evil things: to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
16. Clamaverunt iusti, et Dominus exaudivit eos: et ex omnibus tribulationibus eorum liberavit eos. The just cried, and the Lord heard them: and delivered them out of all their troubles.
17. Iuxta est Dominus his, qui tribulato sunt corde: et humiles spiritu salvabit. Multae tribulationes iustorum. The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a contrite heart: and he will save the humble of spirit. Many are the afflictions of the just;
18. Et de omnibus his liberabit eos Dominus. but out of them all will the Lord deliver them.
19. Custodit Dominus omnia ossa eorum; unum ex his non conteretur. The Lord keepeth all their bones, not one of them shall be broken.
20. Mors peccatorum pessima: et qui oderunt iustum delinquent. The death of the wicked is very evil: and they that hate the just shall be guilty.
21. Redimet Dominus animas servorum: et non delinquent omnes, qui sperant in eo. The Lord will redeem the souls of this servants: and none of them that trust in him shall offend.
Titulus psalmus David cum mutavit vultum suum coram Abimelech, et dimisit eum, et abiit.
[1] The title of this Psalm is A Psalm of David when he changed his look in front of Abimelech, who released him, and David went away.
Historia haec habetur 1 Reg. 21, ubi dicitur, quod David fugiens a facie Saulis, venit ad Achis regem Geth, et cognitus est ibi, et etiam virtus ejus, quia occiderat Philistaeum; et timens ex hoc sibi periculum imminere, quia illi erant de genere Philistinorum, et etiam propter virtutis suae invidiam, voluit hoc vitare, et finxit se fatuum, et sic rex ille contempsit eum. Totum hoc habetur 1 Reg. 21; nisi quod nomen non consonat, quia ibi rex vocatur Achis, hic vero Abimelech. Nec est inconveniens, vel quia binomius fuit, vel quia Achis nomine, sed de genere Abimelech. Unde mutavit vultum ostendendo se fatuum, et dimisit eum et abiit, quia David ejectus ab eo abiit, et recessit. The history of this psalm is found in 1 Kings 21, where it is said that David fled from the face of Saul and went to Achis the king of Geth. There his strength was recognized since the people of Geth knew he had slain the Philistine. Now these people were related to the Philistines and moreover were envious of David’s strength, so David feared for his life. Thus, wishing to extricate himself out of this situation, he feigned insanity, which led the king to hold him in contempt. The account in 1 Kings 21 calls the king Achis, but here in this psalm he is named Abimelech. But this is not a problem since that king could claim both names: his personal name was Achis, but his family name was Abimelech. Now David changed his appearance by making himself look absurd. Thus the king sent him away and he left, for after being ejected David left him and withdrew.
Mystice Christus mutavit vultum suum, quando mutavit sacramentum suum, in quo divina veritas occulta fuit. Vel Christus vetus sacramentum paschale mutavit in novum coram Abimelech, qui interpretatur patris mei regnum. Pater Christi Deus secundum divinitatem, David vero secundum humanitatem. Regnum David est populus Judaeorum, regnum Dei est ecclesia. Christus vero mutavit vultum suum coram Abimelech, idest coram Judaeis, quia erant regnum patris sui David, qui non cognoverunt eum: Isa. 53: vidimus eum, et non erat aspectus: et contempserunt eum: unde nec reputavimus eum. Et abiit ad gentes. Vel Achis
qui incredulus interpretatur, significat Judaeos.
In the mystical sense Christ changed his appearance when he changed his own sacrament, where the divine truth was hidden. In another way Christ changed the old paschal sacrament into the new in the presence of Abimelech, whose name means reign of my father. The Father of Christ is God according to His divinity, but David according to His humanity. The reign of David is the people of Judea, whereas the reign of God is the Church. Thus it may also be said that Christ changed his appearance in the presence of Abimelech, understood to be the Jews. For they were the reign of his father David, yet they did not know him. As Isaiah 53 says: We saw him and he was not worth looking upon. And they held him in contempt, nor did we give him the slightest regard. Christ also left for the gentiles. Achis could also signify the Jews, since his name means incredulous.
In praecedenti psalmo exposuit psalmista justorum dignitatem; hic autem invitat alios ad Dei laudem. Dividitur autem iste psalmus in duas partes. Primo enim ponitur exhortatio ad laudem. Secundo quaedam instructio necessaria, ibi, venite filii. In the preceding Psalm, the Psalmist showed the dignity of the just. Now he invites others to praise God. The Psalm is divided into two parts: first is the exhortation to praise; second is some indispensable direction, which begins when he says Come, children.
Circa primum duo facit. Primo enim agit de Dei laude. Secundo ponit materiam laudis, ibi, exquisivi. Concerning the first part he does two things: first he treats of the praise of God; second he sets forth the matter of praise, where he says I have sought.
Circa primum duo facit. Primo enim praemittit laudis exemplum. Secundo hortatur alios ad imitandum, ibi, audiant. Concerning the first of these he does two things: first he presents an example of praise; second he encourages others to imitate it, where he says Let them hear.
Circa primum duo facit. Primo enim ponit exemplum laudis in se. Secundo laudis Dei fructum, ibi, in Domino laudabitur. And concerning the first of these he does two things: first he presents an example of praise, considered in its essence; second he presents the fruit of praising God, where he says In the Lord he will be praised.
Dicit ergo, benedicam Dominum. Aliquando laudat Deum aliquis propter seipsum, sicut quando loquitur lingua, sibi soli loquitur. aliquando propter consolationem aliorum, sicut quando prophetat etiam aliis. Benedicere ergo Domino est, ut dictum est, confiteri laudem Dei; sed benedicere dominum est facere bonum: So now taking each division in its turn, he says first of all May I bless the lord. Sometimes a person praises God for his own benefit, as when he speaks his praise in tongues. In that case the act of praise benefits only himself. But sometimes praise is spoken in order to console others, as when one prophesies among others. Thus there is a difference between benedicere domino, which is to confess the praise of God, and benedicere dominum, which is to do a good deed.
In omni tempore, scilicet adversitatis et prosperitatis. Contra Psal. 48: confitebitur tibi cum benefeceris ei: sed non sic faciebat Job 2: si bona suscepimus de manu Domini, mala autem etc.. Tob. 4: omni tempore benedic Deum. Item oportet ut non solum in se, scilicet in corde suo quis benedicat Deum, sed etiam quod laudem ejus habeat in ore. Necessitas enim laudis vocalis est, ut non solum laudes Deum, sed etiam ad utilitatem et provocationem aliorum laudes eum. Unde dicit, laus ejus in ore meo: Isa. 51: gaudium et laetitia invenietur in ea, gratiarum actio, et vox laudis. Semper, autem dicit, idest in omni statuto tempore. Vel in praeparatione animi. Vel semper benefaciendo, ex quo Deus semper laudatur. Nota quod hic versiculus cantatur in sexta, quando Christus passus est, cujus passio est nobis causa laudis. Then he says at all times, namely in times of adversity and prosperity. Contrast this with what Psalm 48 describes: He will confess your name when you bless him. Job (2) did the opposite: If we receive goods things from the lord’s hand, should we not also receive the bad? And Tobit (4): At all times bless God. Now the one who praises God should not only bless God in his heart but also in his mouth. For vocal praise is necessary so that you may not only praise God but also be of help and encouragement to others. This is why he says, His praise is in my mouth. Thus also Isaiah 51: Joy and delight will be found in it, thanksgiving, and the voice of praise. He says always, meaning in every established time. He may also mean to be prepared in soul. He may even mean always doing good, which always redounds to the praise of God. Notice that this verse is sung at Sext, the hour of Christ’s passion, which is in us the cause of praise.
Deinde cum dicit, in Domino, ponitur fructus laudis. Dicit ergo, in Domino laudabitur anima mea. Semper enim bonum amici quis reputat suum bonum. Unde dicit, in laudem Dei etiam laus mea est. Si Deus est magnus, constat quod ejus amicus est magnus: Psal. 117: fortitudo mea et laus mea Dominus. Et dicit, anima, quia ad ipsam principaliter est gaudium spirituale. [2] Then at in the lord, the Psalmist begins to discourse on the fruits of praise. First he says in the lord my soul will be praised. For the good of the friend is always taken to be one’s own good. Thus, he says in the praise of God is also my own praise. If God is great, then it holds that his friend is great. As in Psalm 117: My courage and my praise is the lord. He says my soul because spiritual joy lies principally there.
Consequenter cum dicit, audiant, inducit alios primo ad causam laudis. Secundo ad ipsam laudem, ibi, magnificate. Principium laudis est interius gaudium; unde dicit, audiant mansueti. Et ideo laetantur in omnibus quae Dei sunt, quia immites non laetantur, sed rebellant. Et dicit, audiant. Quia haec laetitia est ex auditu aliorum bene agentium.
[3] Next when he says let them listen, he instructs others first on the cause of praise, and then when he says magnify he instructs them on the act of praise itself. The principle of praise is interior joy. Hence he says let the gentle listen. Thus they will rejoice in all things that are of God. But the violent do not rejoice; they rebel. And so he says let them listen, since this kind of joy comes from hearing about the good deeds of others.
Deinde cum dicit, magnificate, hortatur ad laudem. Et primo ad interiorem. Secundo ad exteriorem, ibi, et exaltemus. Quantum ad primum dicit, magnificate dominum mecum. Idem est magnificare et laudare deum, quia idem est bonitas Dei et magnitudo: quia in his quae non mole magna sunt, idem est majus esse quod melius, secundum Augustinum de Trin.. Et ideo dicit, magnificate: Luc. 1: magnificat anima mea dominum. Et hic respondet ei quod dicit, benedicam dominum. quoad secundum dicit, et exaltemus nomen ejus. Quod in se altum exaltari dicitur, dum diffunditur in multis: Eccl. 43: glorificantes deum exaltate eum, quantum potestis etc.. In idipsum, idest concorditer. Et hoc respondet ei quod dicit, laus ejus in ore meo.
[4] Then when he says magnify, he urges others to praise. First to an interior praise, then to an exterior, when he says and let us exalt. On the first point he says magnify the lord with me, that is, magnify and praise God, since God’s goodness and greatness are the same. For in those things whose greatness is not of size, to be greater is to be better, as Augustine argues in De Trinitate. Thus he says magnify, as does Luke 1: my soul magnifies the lord. This echoes what he said earlier: May I bless the lord. On the second point he says and let us exalt his name. Now one is said to be exalted up high when many exalt, as Ecclesiasticus says: all you glorifying God, exalt Him, as much as you can, etc. He then says in the selfsame, meaning together in harmony. And this echoes what he said earlier: His praise is in my mouth.
Consequenter cum dicit, exquisivi, ponitur materia laudis, quae est divina clementia in exaudiendo. Circa primum duo facit. Primo enim ponit clementiam ejus exauditionis. Secundo meritum exauditionis, ibi, iste pauper clamavit. Circa primum duo facit. Primo enim ponit beneficium sibi concessum. Secundo invitat alios ad hoc beneficium consequendum, ibi, accedit etc.. Circa primum tria facit. Primo enim ponit petitionem. Secundo exauditionem, ibi, et exaudivit. Tertio exauditionis effectum, ibi, et ex omnibus. [5] Next when he says I have sought, he sets forth the content of the praise, namely, divine mercy on the one being heard. On this first point he does two things: first he establishes the clemency in his being heard; then he establishes the merit in his being heard, when he says this pauper cried out. On the first of these he does two things: first he sets out the benefit received; then he invites others to reap the same benefit when he says he approaches, etc. Concerning the first of these, he does three things: first, he sets forth his petition; second, he sets forth the hearkening, when he says and he heard; third, he shows the effect of the hearkening, when he says and from all.
Dicit ergo, exquisivi Dominum. Optima optio quaerere ipsum Deum: unde in oratione Dominica primo petitur, sanctificetur nomen tuum Isa. 55: quaerite Dominum dum inveniri potest. Dicit ergo, exquisivi; quasi dicat, cum magna diligentia quaesivi. Et ideo subditur exauditio, et exaudivit me. Effectus autem exauditionis est, quia ex omnibus tribulationibus meis eripuit me. Eripuit namque justos ex tribulationibus quandoque ut tribulationes non patiantur: Job 5: in sex tribulationibus liberabit te, et in septima non tanget te malum. Quandoque ut non nimis molestentur: Ps. 93: secundum multitudinem dolorum meorum in corde meo, consolationes tuae laetificaverunt animam meam: 2 Cor. 1: qui consolatur nos in omni tribulatione nostra: et hanc consolationem semper habent viri sancti. Item eripuit exterius, quia nunquam mali possunt separare sanctos a Christo: Rom. 8: quis nos separabit a charitate Christi? So first of all he says I have sought the lord. To see the lord Himself is the best of choices, as the lord’s Prayer makes clear in its first petition: Hallowed be Thy Name. This is also confirmed in Isaiah 55: seek the lord while he may be found. Therefore, he says I have sought, as if to say, I have sought with great diligence. And thus follows the hearkening: and he heard me. The effect of the hearkening is that from my all tribulations he rescued me. For sometimes he rescued the just from tribulations such that they would suffer no tribulations whatsoever, as in Job 5: in six tribulations he will rescue you, and in the seventh evil will not touch you. Sometimes he rescues the just so that they are not greatly troubled, as expressed in Psalm 93: as many sorrows as there are in my heart, so many of your consolations have gladdened my soul. 2 Corinthians 1 also expresses this: the one who consoles us in every one of our tribulations. This interior consolation always belongs to the saints. Moreover, he also rescues external relations, thus evil can never separate the saints from Christ, as expressed in Romans 8: who will separate us from the charity of Christ?
Deinde cum dicit, accedite ad eum, et illuminamini, et facies vestrae etc. invitat alios ad hoc beneficium consequendum: et circa hoc duo facit. Primo enim ponit invitationem. Secundo invitationis effectum, ibi, et facies vestrae non confundentur. Dicit ergo, accedite ad eum, per fidem et charitatem: Jac. 4: appropinquate Deo, et appropinquabit vobis. Et ideo subdit, et illuminamini. Deus lumen est; et qui accedit ad lumen, illuminatur: Isa. 60: surge, per affectum et illuminare: Deut. 33: qui appropinquat pedibus ejus, accipiet de doctrina illius. Effectus autem inductionis est, quia, facies vestrae non confundentur, in repulsa: quia scilicet non patiemini eam, quia non est confusio sperantibus in eum. Dan. 3. Vel, facies vestrae, idest cogitationes vestrae non confundentur per defectum veritatis. [6] Then when he says approach him and be enlightened and your faces, etc., he invites others to attain the benefit of praise. On this point he does two things: he first invites; second he describes what will come to pass for those who accept the invitation, when he says and your faces will not be confused. Therefore he says approach him, through faith and charity, as James 4 says: come close to God and he will come close to you. Then he adds and be enlightened. God is light and one who approaches the light will be illuminated. Isaiah 60: Rise up (through love) and be enlightened. Deuteronomy 33: The man who sits at his feet will receive his teaching. Now the result of this invitation is that your faces will not be confused by being refused. In other words, you will not suffer confusion because there is none in those hoping in him (Daniel 3). Or in another interpretation, your faces, that is, your minds, will not be confused by falling aside from truth.
Deinde cum dicit, iste pauper clamavit, ponit meritum exauditionis; et circa hoc tria facit. Primo ponit ipsum meritum. Secundo promittit simile beneficium aliis, ibi, immittet. Tertio exhortatur ad experiendum, gustate. Dicit ergo, iste pauper. Iste versus nihil differt ab alio, exquisivi; nisi quod ibi dicit de se, hic vero de paupere. Et ideo hoc solum exponatur quis sit iste pauper. Et dicitur quod, iste, vel demonstrat seipsum, vel Christum.Et in hoc quod dicit, pauper, insinuat meritum exauditionis, quia pauper spiritu, vel pauper superbiae, vel habendi voluntate terrena. Et isti exaudiuntur: Judith 9: humilium et mansuetorum tibi semper placuit deprecatio: Ps. 32: respexit in orationem humilium etc.. Clamavit, magnitudine interioris affectus: Isa. 6: seraphim clamabant alter ad alterum, et dicebant, sanctus, sanctus etc.. [7] Then when he says this poor man cried out, he shows the merit of getting heard. On this point he does three things: first he describes the merit itself; second he promises a similar benefit to others, when he says the angel encamps; third he urges an experience, when he says taste. Therefore first he says this poor man. Now this verse is identical in meaning to the verse I have sought. Only the modes of speech differ: in the earlier verse he speaks in the first person, but in this later verse he speaks in the third person. So the only question is: who is this poor man? The Psalmist could be either pointing to himself or to Christ. In saying poor man, he hints at the merit of the petition: for the poor man is poor in spirit, or poor in pride, or poor in earthly desires. And such people get heard, as Judith 9 attests: the prayer of the humble and gentle are always pleasing to you. And Psalm 32: he regarded the prayer of the humble, etc. He cried out with the power of interior disposition, as in Isaiah 6: The seraphim were crying out one to the other, saying Holy, Holy, Holy, etc.
Secundo cum dicit, immittit angelus, promittit simile beneficium; quasi dicat: ita exaudiuntur alii sicut et iste pauper. Multi codices habent, immittit angelus Domini. Hieronymus habet, circumdat angelus Domini in gyro timentes eum. Dicit ergo immittet angelus Domini, splendore sui luminis protegendo, in circuitu: Ps. 124: montes in circuitu ejus, scilicet angeli: 4 Reg. 6: multo plures nobiscum sunt quam cum illis. Et infra: ecce mons etc.. Immittet ergo, idest immissionem faciet: Heb. 1: omnes sunt administratorii spiritus. [8] Second, when he says the Angel encamps, he promises a similar benefit, as if he were saying: others will be heard just like the poor man. Now many codices have the Angel of the lord encamps. Jerome has the Angel of the lord encircles about those who fear him. The Psalmist says therefore the Angel of the lord, in offering protection by the splendor of his light, encamps around them. As Psalm 124 says: round about it are his mountains, namely Angels. And in 4 Kings 6 [2 Chronicles 32:7]: many more are with us than with them. And farther on: behold the mountain, etc. Therefore the Angel encamps, that is, sets up camp. Hebrews 1: all are ministering spirits.
Et eripiet eos, scilicet ab impugnatione hostium et daemonum: Judith 7: filii Israel non in lancea nec in sagitta confidunt, sed montes defendunt illos, scilicet angelus, vel Christus: Isa. 9. secundum translationem septuaginta interpretum, vocabitur magni consilii angelus. Quia missus a Deo inquantum homo. Vel angelus intelligitur praelatus ecclesiae: Malach. 2: angelus Domini exercituum est. Praelati enim ecclesiae debent custodire gregem suum. And he will save them, namely by fighting off the enemy and Demons. Judith 7: the children of Israel do not put their trust in the lance or arrow, but the mountains defend them, namely Angels, or Christ. Isaiah 9, according to the Septuagint: he will be called the Angel of great counsel. For insofar as he is man he is sent by God. Or another reading is that Angel signifies the prelate of the Church, as in Malachi 2: The Angel of the lord of hosts. For the prelates of the Church ought to guard their flock.
Tertio cum dicit, gustate et videte, quoniam suavis, hortatur ad experiendum: et circa hoc duo facit. Primo enim exhortatur ad experientiam divini consortii. Secundo ad observantiam divini timoris, ibi, timete. Circa primum duo facit. Primo enim hortatur ad experientiam. Secundo ponit experientiae effectum, et videte quoniam. [9] Third, when the Psalmist says taste and see how sweet, he urges an experience. On this point he does two things: he exhorts others first to experience friendship with God and second to keep the fear of God, when he says fear. On the first point he does two things: first he urges the experience; second he describes the effect of the experience, when he says and see how.
Dicit ergo, gustate et videte etc.. Experientia de re sumitur per sensum; sed aliter de re praesenti, et aliter de absente: quia de absente per visum, odoratum et auditum; de praesente vero per tactum et gustum; sed per tactum de extrinseca praesente, per gustum vero de intrinseca. Deus autem non longe est a nobis, nec extra nos, sed in nobis: Hier. 14: tu in nobis es Domine. Et ideo experientia divinae bonitatis dicitur gustatio: 1 Pet. 2: si tamen gustatis quam dulcis etc.. Prov. ult.: gustavit et vidit, quoniam bona est negotiatio ejus. And so he says taste and see, etc. Now the experience of anything comes through the senses but in different ways, depending on whether the object is close or at some distance. If it is removed at a distance, then the experience of it comes through sight, smell or hearing. If it is close, then touch and taste come into play, but each in its own way. For touch senses the outside of the object, whereas taste senses the inside. Now God is not far from us nor outside us, but rather He is in us, as Jeremiah 14 says: You are in us, O lord. Thus the experience of divine goodness is called tasting, as 1 Peter 2 says: but if you taste how sweet, etc. And at the end of Proverbs: She tasted and saw that her dealings were good.
Effectus autem experientiae ponitur duplex. Unus est certitudo intellectus, alius securitas affectus. Quantum ad primum dicit, et videte. In corporalibus namque prius videtur, et postea gustatur; sed in rebus spiritualibus prius gustatur, postea autem videtur; quia nullus cognoscit qui non gustat; et ideo dicit prius, gustate, et postea, videte. Quantum ad secundum dicit, quoniam suavis est Dominus: Sap. 12: o quam bonus et suavis est Domine spiritus tuus in nobis. Ps. 30: quam magna multitudo dulcedinis tuae. Next he shows that the effect of this experience is twofold: the certitude of understanding and the security of love. With respect to the first effect he says see. Now, although in the physical world something is first seen and then tasted, in the spiritual world it is just the opposite. For one who does not taste does not know. Thus he says first taste and then see. With respect to the second effect he says how sweet is the lord. Wisdom 12: O lord, how good and sweet is your spirit in us! Psalm 30: How great is the abundance of your sweetness.
Et postea, beatus vir qui sperat in eo: Isa. 30: beati omnes qui expectant eum. Then he says Blessed the man who hopes in him. Isaiah 30: Blessed are all those who long for him.
Deinde cum dicit, timete, hortatur primo ad observantiam divini timoris. Secundo causam timoris assignat, ibi, quoniam non. Tertio causam manifestat, ibi, divites eguerunt. [10] Then when he says fear, he urges first the observance of the fear of the lord; second he gives the cause of the fear, when he says since there is not; third he manifests the cause, when he says the rich hungered.
Dicit ergo, suavis et dulcis est dominus. Sed quibus? Timentibus eum. Ergo, timete Dominum omnes sancti ejus. Et dicit sancti, quia nullus potest esse sanctus nisi sit timens. Et dicit hoc, quia non solum timor necessarius est ascendentibus ad sanctitatem, sed etiam manentibus in ea: Eccl. 27: si non in timore Domini tenueris te, instanter a te subvertetur domus tua. Et etiam quia nihil ita evacuat sanctitatem, sicut superbia; et timor est retinaculum superbiae: Eccl. 7: qui timet Deum nihil negligit: Eccl. 40: non est in timore Domini minoratio. And so he says sweet and pleasant is the lord. But for whom? For those who fear him. Therefore, fear the lord all his saints. He says saints because no one can be holy unless he is fearing. He says this also because not only is fear necessary for those rising to sanctity but even for those remaining in it. Ecclesiasticus 27: If you do not hold fast in the fear of the lord, your house will be forcefully turned up against you. The reasons is that nothing eliminates holiness more than pride, but fear binds pride. Ecclesiastes 7: The one who fears God slights nothing. Ecclesiasticus 40: There is no abasement in fearing the lord.
Causam autem quare timendum est, subdit, quoniam non est inopia timentibus eum. Hoc exponitur multipliciter. Primo de inopia spiritualium bonorum: Isa. 33: divitiae salutis sapientia et scientia; timor Domini ipse thesaurus ejus. Si ergo timor Domini thesaurus est, non est inopia timentibus eum. Item de inopia corporali. Contingit namque aliquando timentem Deum parum habere; sed non contingit eum esse inopem. Inops est qui se deficientem reputat: qui timent Deum sunt contenti his quae habent: Phil. 4: ubique et in omnibus institutus sum etc.. Item Deus quaerentibus se subvenit in necessitate. The Psalmist himself adds the reason why one should fear God: for there is no want among those who fear him. Now this can be explained in several ways. First there is no lack of spiritual goods, as Isaiah 33 says: wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the lord is his treasure. Second, there is no lack of bodily needs. For although one who fears God may at times possess very little, this does not mean that he is impoverished. The destitute may think themselves failures, but those who fear God are content with what they have, as expressed in Phillipians 4: everywhere and in all things I am provided for, etc. Third, God succors those seeking Him in times of necessity.
Sed objicit Augustinus in Serm. Dom. in Mont. quia Apostolus ait 1 Cor. 4: usque in hanc horam esurimus et sitimus, et nudi sumus. Quomodo ergo non est inopia timentibus eum? Et dicit quod Deus est nutritor et medicus. Medicus autem subtrahit nutrimentum infirmo, et facit esurire et sitire, quia expedit sanitati. Ita Deus secundum quod expedit saluti nostrae, quandoque inopiam immittit, quandoque divitias confert, quandoque longitudinem dierum concedit, quandoque brevitatem adducit. Now Augustine poses an objection in On the Lord’s Sermon on the Mount: the Apostle says in 1 Corinthians 4, even at this hour we are hungry, thirsty and naked, so how is this not an example of destitution in those who fear God? Augustine replies that God is both nourisher and doctor, and a doctor takes food away from a sick man, making him to hunger and thirst, for the sake of healing him. Thus also God, for the sake of our salvation, sometimes sends poverty, sometimes wealth, and sometimes grants length of days, while sometimes a brief time.
sed consequenter cum dicit, divites eguerunt, manifestat rationem per contrarium. contrarium enim timori domini est affectus eorum qui animas suas divitiis dant. primo ergo ostendit quod qui in divitiis sunt, deficiunt. secundo, quod qui quaerunt deum, sunt absque defectu, ibi, inquirentes. [11] When the Psalmist goes on to say the rich have suffered lack, he manifests the reason through the contrary. For the contrary of the fear of the lord is the emotional disposition of those who have given their souls over to riches. Therefore, first he shows that the wealthy are also poor; then he shows that those who seek God lack nothing, when he says they that seek.
dicit ergo, divites eguerunt, scilicet spiritualiter; idest qui sunt divites in mundanis, eguerunt in spiritualibus divitiis. apoc. 3: dicis quia dives sum, et locupletatus sum, et nullius egeo: et nescis, quia tu es miser et miserabilis, et pauper et caecus et nudus. et esurierunt, scilicet spiritualia bona: quia naturalis appetitus inest homini ad virtutem; licet enim appetitus depravatus sit ad peccata, tamen naturaliter desiderat virtutes. And so he says the rich have been in need, that is, spiritually. In other words, those who are rich in worldly goods are lacking in spiritual riches. Apocalypse 3: You say, “I am rich and growing richer and have need of nothing.” But you do not know that you are poor and miserable, destitute, blind and naked. Plus, they hunger, that is, for spiritual goods. For the natural human appetite is for virtue. Even though the depraved appetite may aim at sin, nevertheless so far as it is natural, it desires virtues.
vel in futuro, eguerunt, idest egebunt, et esurierunt, idest esurient: isa. 65: servi mei comedent, et vos esurietis. item ad litteram intelligitur: quia divites frequenter ad egestatem deducuntur, quia res mundanae sunt caducae. luc. 1: esurientes implevit bonis etc.. inquirentes autem dominum: isa. 55: quaerite dominum dum inveniri potest etc.. non minuentur omni bono, idest non deficient perfecto bono: quia spiritualia habebunt ad votum, et temporalia ad necessitatem: luc. 12: primum quaerite regnum dei, et haec omnia adjicientur vobis: prov. 10: desiderium justis dabitur. et eorum desiderium est omne bonum: prov. 11: et ideo omne bonum habebunt. Another interpretation is that their need and hunger lie in store for them, as Isaiah 65 states: my servants will eat, but you will go hungry. Literally, it could also be taken to mean that the rich are often reduced to poverty because the things of this world are fleeting. Luke 1: He filled the hungry with good things, etc. On the other hand are those that seek the lord. As Isaiah 55 says: Seek the lord while he may be found, etc. They are not diminished in any good thing, nor do they lack the perfect good. For they receive spiritual goods as desired and temporal goods as needed, as Luke 12 says: Seek first the reign of God, and all these things shall be added unto you. And Proverbs 10: the desire of the just shall be granted. But their desire is for every good thing. Proverbs 11: and thus they shall have all good.
venite. posita superius exhortatione ad laudem, hic ponitur instructio necessaria: et circa hoc duo facit. primo enim instruit de timore dei. secundo de divina providentia, ibi, oculi domini etc.. circa primum duo facit. primo enim praemittit quasi prooemium suae doctrinae. secundo addit doctrinam suam, ibi, quis est homo. in exordio tria facit. primo reddit audientem benevolum. secundo attentum, ibi, audite me. tertio docilem, ibi, timorem domini docebo vos. [12] Come. After the above exhortation to praise, the Psalmist now sets about the necessary instruction. On this point he does two things: he teaches first about the fear of God and then second about divine providence, when he says the eyes of the lord, etc. On the first point he does two things: first he sets forth a preface to his teaching and then he teaches, there at who is the man. The preface has three parts: first he renders his audience benevolent, then attentive (at hear me), then docile (at I will teach you the fear of the lord).
dicit ergo quantum ad primum, venite filii. parentum enim est diligere filios: et ideo dicit, filii, ut eos reddat ex paterna dilectione benevolos. item parentum est invitare filios ad doctrinam, et eos erudire: unde dicit, venite: gen. pen. vocavit autem jacob filios suos, et dixit: congregamini ut annuntiem quae ventura sunt vobis diebus novissimis: heb. 12: patres quidem carnis nostrae eruditores habuimus, et reverebamur eos. And so let us proceed to the first part: Come children. Since it belongs to parents to love their children, he calls them children so that his paternal love might render them benevolent. It also belongs to parents to invite their children to doctrine and to teach them. Thus he says Come, as in Genesis 49: Now Jacob called his sons and said to them ‘Gather together and I will speak of what will happen to you in the last days.’ And in Hebrews 12: We have had the fathers of our flesh for teahers, and we have revered them.
quantum ad secundum dicit, audite me: prov. 1: audiens sapiens sapientior erit etc.. eccl. 33: audite me magnates et omnes populi et rectores ecclesiae etc.. Next, the second part: hear me. Proverbs 1 says: The wise man listening will be wiser, etc. Ecclesiasticus 33 says: Listen to me, you great ones and all the people, and you rulers of the Church, etc.
tertio reddit docilem: et hoc quando instruit de quo est dicturus, timorem domini docebo vos, idest quem fructum habebitis, si timueritis deum. vel quomodo timeatis deum. et incipit a timore, et bene; quia in scientia incipiendum est ab elementis: prov. 1: timor domini principium sapientiae, scilicet divinae. Third, he renders his audience docile by announcing what he will instruct them about: I will teach you the fear of the lord. In other words, I will teach what fruit you will gather, if you fear God. Or another way of understanding the verse: I will teach you how to fear God. And he begins well with fear, for in knowledge one should always begin with the elements. As Proverbs 1 says: the fear of the lord is the beginning of wisdom, that is, of divine wisdom.
deinde subjungit doctrinam suam cum dicit, quis est homo. et circa hoc duo facit. primo docet fructum timoris. secundo doctrinam, ibi, prohibe. [13] Next he begins his teaching when he says: who is the man. Concerning this he does two things: first he teaches the fruit of fear; and then he teaches on fear itself, when he says forbid your tongue.
dicit ergo, quis est homo, qui vult vitam: homo namque desiderat duo: scilicet longam vitam et prosperitatem: sed quia longa vita in malo est fugienda, ideo dicit, quis est homo qui vult vitam. hanc autem acquirit homo per timorem domini, qui est initium sapientiae, ut dicitur in psal. 110, sine qua sapientia non est vita: unde ipsa dicit prov. 8: qui me invenerit, inveniet vitam. aliqui autem vivunt, sed in malis et aerumnis: gen. 47: dies peregrinationis vitae meae centum triginta annorum parvi et mali. et ideo dicit, diligit dies videre bonos, idest plenos, quia nihil in diebus illis aeternitatis est nisi bonum: ps. 83: melior est dies una in atriis tuis super millia. And so he says who is the man who desires life. For man desires two things: long life and prosperity. But because a long yet bad life ought to be shunned, he says who is the man who desires life. Now man gains life through fear of the lord, which is the beginning of wisdom, as Psalm 110 says, and without this wisdom there is no life. Thus Proverbs 8 says: find me, and you will find life. Now some people live out their lives in toil and trouble, as Genesis 47 says: the days of my wandering life are one hundred thirty years, few and evil. And so the Psalmist says he desires to see the good days, that is, the days of plenty, for in the days of eternity everything is good. As Psalm 83 says: one day in your courts is better than a thousand.
sed quis sit effectus timoris, ostendit primo in sermone. secundo in opere, ibi, diverte. in sermone duo vetat: scilicet manifestum malum, et fraudulentum bonum. quantum ad primum dicit, prohibe linguam tuam a malo, scilicet detractionis, infamationis et erroris: eph. 4: omnis sermo malus ex ore vestro non procedat: jacob. 1: si quis putat se religiosum esse, non refraenans linguam suam etc.. quantum ad secundum dicit, et labia tua ne loquantur dolum; quasi dicat, nec etiam bona proferas in dolo: ps. 11: disperdat dominus linguam dolosam. et nota quod prius loquitur de lingua cohibenda, et postea de labiis: quia prius movet quis linguam cum vult loqui, et postea labia. item lingua prius format, sed labia distinguunt verba. Next he shows the effect of fear, first in speech and then in action, there at turn away. In speech there are two things to avoid: manifest evil and fraudulent good. With respect to the first, he says keep your tongue from evil, that is, the evil of detraction, calumny and false witness. Ephesians 4: Let no evil speech come from your mouth. James 1: If anyone thinks himself religious but does not restrain his tongue, etc. With respect to the second, he says and let your lips not speak deception, as if he were saying, do not even offer good things in deceit. As Psalm 11 says: May the lord scatter the deceitful tongue. Notice that he speaks first of restraining the tongue and then afterwards of the lips. For one who wishes to speak first moves the tongue, then the lips. The tongue also gives words their initial form, whereas the lips make each word distinct.
item opere demonstrat duo facienda. debet enim homo ordinare vitam suam primo quantum ad se; et quantum ad hoc dicit, diverte. secundo quantum ad proximum: et quantum ad hoc dicit, inquire etc.. circa primum duo facit, secundum diversas partes justitiae, quae sunt scilicet divertere a malo, et facere bonum. secunda est ibi, et fac bonum. dicit ergo, diverte a malo: eccl. 7: noli facere mala etc.. divertere a malo non est quid meritorium, si divertere dicat solum negationem: per hoc enim, scilicet non facere malum, vitatur quidem poena quam incurrisset si illud admississet; non tamen propter hoc vita acquiritur. et ideo sic accipiendo, non facere malum non est meritorium, dummodo talis voluntas non sit informata charitate, ut propter deum a malo divertat. et fac bonum: isa. 1: discite benefacere. Next the Psalmist shows that two things should be done with respect to action. For man ought to order his life first with respect to himself, which the Psalmist addresses when he says turn away; then second with respect to his neighbor, which he addresses when he says seek after, etc. On the first point he does two things, which correspond to the different parts of justice, namely, to turn away from evil and to do good, which he touches on at do good. He says therefore turn away from evil, as does Ecclesiasticus 7: Do no evil, etc. Now turning from evil is not of itself meritorious, if one has in mind only a negation. For avoiding evil only in order to avoid the punishment consequent upon doing the evil is not the way to acquire life. Thus it follows that avoiding evil is merits nothing if the will is not formed in charity, which turns away from evil for the sake of God. And do good, as Isaiah 1 says: learn to do good.
secundo quantum ad proximum dicit, inquire pacem etc.. sed contingit aliquando, quod habes proximum qui impugnat te, et tunc tuum est inquirere pacem; et ideo dicit, inquire pacem: rom. 12: si fieri potest, quod ex vobis est, cum omnibus hominibus pacem habentes. quandoque vero contingit, quod habes aliquem qui inquirat a te pacem, et tuum est tunc sequi eam: unde ait, et persequere eam. Now with respect to one’s neighbor he says seek after peace, etc. Sometimes it happens that your neighbor fights against you, and then it belongs to you to seek after peace. Thus he says seek after peace, as Romans 12 says: If possible, as far as it lies in you, have peace with all men. Sometimes however your neighbor is seeking peace with you, and then it behooves you to follow after it, too. Thus he says pursue it.
vel de pace loquitur quam in se debet habere; et hanc, inquit, inquiras in vita ista. sed non plene habetur, quia caro concupiscit adversus spiritum, et spiritus adversus carnem, gal. 5. dicit autem, et persequere eam, ut scilicet magis habeas, licet non sit perfecta hic, sed in futuro, ubi sedebit populus in pulchritudine pacis, isa. 32. Another way to read this is that the peace he speaks about is the interior kind. And he is asking you to seek it in this life. But it is not to be had perfectly here, for the flesh desires against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh, Galatians 5. Nevertheless he says pursue it, so that you may possess it more, and although imperfectly here, perfectly in the future, where the people will sit in the beauty of peace, Isaiah 32.
vel, inquire pacem, idest christum, qui est pax nostra: eph. 2, et sequere eam: eccl. 2: quis est homo qui possit sequi regem factorem suum? Yet another way to interpret seek after peace is as to seek after Christ, who is our peace, Ephesians 2, and to follow him, as Ecclesiastes 2: who is the man that can follow the king his maker?
deinde cum dicit, oculi domini super justos, instruit de divina providentia: et circa hoc duo facit. primo enim praemittit divinam providentiam. secundo divinae providentiae effectum ostendit, ibi, clamaverunt justi. circa primum duo facit. primo proponit divinam providentiam quantum ad bonos. secundo quantum ad malos, ibi, vultus autem domini. [14] Next, when he says the eyes of the lord are upon the just, he begins to teach about divine providence. On this he does two things: first he sets before us divine providence itself; then he shows the effect of divine providence, at the just have cried out. Concerning this he does two things: he describes divine providence first in relation to the good and then in relation to the bad, at the face of the lord.
dicit ergo, oculi domini etc.. illis de quibus curam gerimus, dupliciter intendimus: scilicet visu ad eorum facta: et quantum ad hoc dicit, oculi domini. et auditu ad verba; et quantum ad hoc dicit, et aures. et licet in deo non sit visus et auditus, sed ipsa dei sapientia; tamen propter diversa cognita dicitur utrumque, visus scilicet et auditus. visus signatur per oculos quantum ad ipsa facta; auditus autem per aures quantum ad verba: ideo ait, oculi domini super justos, scilicet visu approbationis: 2 tim. 2: novit dominus qui sunt ejus: eccl. 15: oculi domini ad timentes etc.. et aures ejus, ut scilicet sit intentus ad exaudiendum, in preces eorum. qui enim vult exaudire, libenter audit precantes: unde per hoc signat quod voluntarius est ad exaudiendum. et dicit, in preces, quia adhuc loquentibus audit: isa. pen. adhuc illis loquentibus ego exaudiam. He says therefore the eyes of the lord, etc. Concerning people under our care or authority, we attend to two things: to their deeds with our eyes (which the Psalmist touches on at the eyes of the lord), and to their words with our ears (at and his ears). Now although in God there is neither sight nor hearing, but only his wisdom, nevertheless because words and deeds are different, he is said to have both sight and hearing. The eyes signify the seeing of deeds, whereas the ears signify the hearing of words. Thus the Psalmist says the eyes of the lord are upon the just, that is, by a look of approval. 2 Timothy 2 states: the lord knows his own. And Ecclesiasticus 15: the eyes of the lord are toward those who fear him, etc. And his ears, signifying his intention to hear our their prayers. For whoever wishes to hear another out so as to understand, freely listens to that one’s petitions. Thus, through this the Psalmist signifies that God wishes to hear. And he also says unto their prayers, because God hears while they are yet speaking, as Isaiah 65 says: as they are yet speaking, I will hear them.
consequenter cum dicit, vultus autem domini super facientes mala, ut etc. ostenditur providentia domini circa malos; et circa hoc duo facit. primo enim ponitur quod providentia divina se extendit ad malos. secundo quomodo diversimode quantum ad bonos, ibi, ut perdat. [15] Next when he says the face of the lord is against evil doers, etc., he shows how the providence of the lord deals with evil ones. On this point he does two things: he shows first that divine providence does indeed cover the evil, and then second how it deals with the good in a different way, at to destroy them.
dicit ergo, vultus autem domini etc.. dixerat supra, oculi domini super justos. posset malus dicere, si oculi domini non sunt super me, possum peccare licenter, quia non videt: job 22: nubes latibulum ejus, nec nostra considerat: ezech. 8: non videt dominus, dereliquit enim terram. sed non ita est, quia vultus domini super malos: prov. 15: infernus et perditio coram domino etc.. et dicit, vultus, quia designat cum quadam ira respicere in ipsos malos. sed ad quid super eos respicit? certe, ut perdat de terra memoriam eorum. And so he says the face of the lord, etc. He said above that the eyes of the lord are upon the just. Perhaps an evil person will say, “If the eyes of the lord are not upon me, I can sin freely, since he does not see.” As Job 22 says: the clouds are his hiding place, and he does not consider our matters. And Ezechiel 8: the lord does not see, for he has deserted the earth. But it is not so, for the face of the lord is against the wicked. Proverbs 15: hell and destruction are before the lord. The Psalmist says the face of the lord to signify a look of anger on the wicked. But for what purpose would God look on them? Without a doubt, to cut off their memory from the earth.
hoc dupliciter potest intelligi. vel quia potest referri ad terram praesentem: et sic dupliciter perditur memoria eorum de terra. uno modo, ut omnino non sit. alio modo, ut mala: prov. 10: nomen impiorum putrescet. multi mali quaesierunt ut eorum memoria maneret, et tamen periit. sed si aliquorum permanet memoria, tamen periisse dicitur, quia putrida est et mala: ps. 9: periit memoria eorum cum sonitu. vel potest intelligi de terra viventium. sed numquid sancti non habent memoriam impiorum? si non habent memoriam malorum quae passi sunt, quomodo ergo laetabitur justus cum viderit vindictam? ps. 57. respondeo. dicendum est, quod habebunt memoriam eorum, sed non in bonum, quia non habebunt memoriam compassionis et miserationis eorum, nec orabunt pro eis: luc. 16: chaos magnum firmatum est etc.. quasi dicat: etiam si vellent, non possunt misereri, quia sunt ibi conjuncti deo ubi non possunt velle nisi quod dei justitia decrevit: isa. 26: contrivisti eos, et perdidisti omnem memoriam eorum. Now this can be understood in two ways. First it can refer to earth as it is now, and thus there are two ways to understand cutting off their memory: either the memory of them ceases to exist altogether or only the evil memory, as in Proverbs 10: the name of the impious grows rotten. Many wicked people try to have their memory preserved to no avail. However, if the memory of some of them does last, it can still be said to perish since it is rotten and evil. Psalm 9: their memory perishes with a clamor. Second, this can also refer to the land of the living. But do not the saints remember the impious? For if they did not recall the wicked things they suffered, why is it that the just man will rejoice when he sees his vindication (Psalm 57)? I respond: It needs to be said that they do indeed remember the wicked, but not unto good, since they do not recall any compassion or mercy from them, nor do they pray for them. As Luke 16 says: there is fixed a great chasm, etc. That is, even if they wished, they could not show mercy, for they are together with God, where they cannot will anything except what the justice of God has decreed. Isaiah 26: you have inflicted them, and have purged all memory of them.
deinde cum dicit, clamaverunt, ponitur effectus divinae providentiae. et primo quantum ad bonos. secundo quantum ad malos, ibi, mors peccatorum. circa primum duo facit. primo enim ostendit, quomodo aures domini sint in preces justorum. secundo, quomodo oculi domini super eos. ibi, juxta. circa primum tria facit. quia primo praemittit orationem sanctorum. secundo ponit exauditionem, ibi, et dominus exaudivit eos. tertio exauditionis effectum, ibi, et ex omnibus. [16] Next when he says they have cried out, he describes the effect of divine providence, with respect first to the good and then to the wicked, at the death of the sinners. On the first point he does two things: he shows first how the ears of the lord bend toward the prayers of the just; then he shows how the eyes of the lord are upon them, at the lord is near. On the first of these he does three things: first he presents the prayer of the saints; second he describes how they are heard, at and the lord hearkened to them; third he describes the effect of being heard, at and from all.
dicit ergo, clamaverunt. oratio sanctorum dicitur clamor: isa. 19: clamabunt ad dominum a facie tribulantis: jacob. ult.: clamor eorum in aures domini sabaoth intravit. clamor est magna vox: et oratio sanctorum magna est vox propter duo: scilicet propter magnitudinem affectionis, et propter magnitudinem petitionis, quia petunt aeterna: matth. 6: primum quaerite regnum dei. et dominus exaudivit eos quia ipse mihi dat, ut petam: ps. 119: ad dominum cum tribularer etc.. And so he says they have cried out. The prayer of the saints is said to be a crying out, as in Isaiah 19: for they will cry out to the lord at the face of their oppressor. And at the end of James: their cry entered the ears of the lord of Hosts. Now a cry is a loud voice. The prayer of the saints is a loud voice for two reasons: because of the depth of love and the length of the prayer, for they pray for all eternity. As Matthew 6 says: seek first the kingdom of God. And the lord heard them because he has given me to seek. Psalm 119: I cried out to the lord in tribulation, etc.
sequitur effectus exauditionis, et ex omnibus tribulationibus etc. ut scilicet tribulationes non sustineant. vel si patiantur, tamen non ut obruantur tribulationibus: hebr. 11: fortes facti sunt in bello. vel, quia liberati sunt de limbo: zach. 9: tu autem in sanguine testamenti eduxisti vinctos de lacu etc.. ps. 53: iste pauper clamavit, et dominus exaudivit eum, et ex omnibus etc.. Next follows the effect of being heard: and from all tribulations, etc., such that they do not suffer these trials. Or if they do suffer, still they will not be overwhelmed. As Hebrews 11 says: they have been made strong in war. Or, it could signify that they become liberated from Limbo, as Zacharias 9 says: you however by the blood of the testament have led the prisoners out of the pit, etc. And Psalm 53: the poor man cried out, and the lord heard him, and from all, etc.
secundo cum dicit, juxta est dominus, ostendit quomodo oculi domini sint super justos: et circa hoc tria facit. primo enim ponit justorum meritum. secundo eorum periculum imminens, ibi, multae. tertio auxilium eis praestitum, ibi, et de omnibus his. [17] Now when he says the lord is near, he shows how the eyes of the lord are upon the just. On this he does three things: first he describes the merit of the just; second their imminent danger, at many are the afflictions; third the help he offer them, at and from all these.
circa primum duo facit, secundum quod est duplex meritum justorum, unde promerentur dei misericordiam. tangit enim primo meritum contritionis de peccatis: et quantum ad hoc dicit, juxta est dominus etc.. ps. 144: prope est dominus omnibus invocantibus eum. quidam sunt realiter miseri, tamen non cognoscunt; unde nec conteruntur: et ideo non consequuntur misericordiam: apoc. 3: dicis quod dives sum, et locupletatus sum, et nullius egeo; et nescis quia tu es miser et miserabilis et pauper, et caecus et nudus. necesse est enim, quod recognoscant miseriam suam corde gemendo; et ideo ait, his qui tribulato sunt corde. ecce contritio de peccatis: isa. 66: ad quem respiciam nisi ad pauperculum et contritum spiritu etc.. matth. 5: beati qui lugent etc.. quantum ad secundum dicit, et humiles spiritu salvabit. spiritu dicit, non verbis: quia eccl. 19: est qui nequiter se humiliat, et interiora etc.. humiles, ergo, spiritu, qui veram scilicet humilitatem habent in corde, salvabit: prov. 29: humilem spiritu suscipiet. On the first of these he does two things, for there is a twofold merit of the just, on the basis of which they are promised the mercy of God. He touches first on the merit of contrition of sins, and he does this at the lord is near, etc. As Psalm 144 says: the lord is near to all who call upon him. Now some people are truly in a miserable state and yet do not realize it and thus are not contrite. They do not receive mercy. As Apocalypse 3 says: You say, “I am rich and getting richer, and have need of nothing.” But you do not know you are poor, miserable and impoverished, blind and naked. For it is necessary to recognize one’s misery by heartfelt bemoaning. And so he said to those who are troubled in heart. This is the contrition of sins. As Isaiah 66 says: Whom will I regard except the one poor and little and contrite of spirit, etc. And Matthew 5: blessed are those who mourn, etc. The second thing about the merit of the just he mentions when he says and the humble of spirit he will save. He says of spirit and not of words, for as Ecclesiasticus 19 says: there is one who wickedly humbles himself, and his interior, etc. Therefore, the humble in spirit, who have true humility in their heart, will be saved. Proverbs 29: He will raise up the humble in spirit.
consequenter ponit imminens periculum, quia, multae tribulationes justorum: thren. 1: multi gemitus mei etc.. 2 tim. 3: omnes qui volunt pie vivere in christo, persecutionem patiuntur. et has tribulationes patiuntur a persequentibus: ps. 118: multi qui persequuntur me et tribulant me. item ex convictu eorum quos peccare vident, dolent: 2 pet. 2: habitans apud eos qui de die in diem animam justi iniquis operibus cruciabant. item a tentationibus mundi, carnis, et hostis: gal. 5: caro concupiscit adversus spiritum etc.. Next, he describes the imminent danger, namely, that there are many tribulations awaiting the just. Lamentations 1: many are my tears, etc. 2 Timothy 3: all who wish to live piously in Christ will suffer persecution. And they will suffer these things at the hands of persecutors. Psalm 118: many are they who persecute me and harass me. Again, the just also sorrow in seeing others sin. 2 Peter 2 states: dwelling among hem who from day to day vexed the just soul with iniquity. Again, they suffer from the temptations of the world, the flesh and the enemy. As Galatians 5 says: the flesh desires against the spirit, etc.
consequenter cum dicit, et de omnibus his liberabit. ponit auxilium eis praestitum. dupliciter autem juvantur. primo, ut totaliter liberentur: et quantum ad hoc dicit, et de omnibus his liberabit eos dominus. secundo, ut tribulationibus non succumbant: et quantum ad hoc dicit, custodit dominus etc.. [18] Next when he says and from all these he will save them, he describes the twofold help offered to them: first, they are completely freed (and from all these the lord will free them); second, they will not succumb to their tribulations (the lord guards, etc.).
dicit ergo, et de omnibus his tribulationibus liberabit eos dominus, partim hic, sed perfecte in futuro, quando (apocal. 7) non esurient neque sitient amplius etc.. ecc. 51: liberasti me secundum multitudinem misericordiae nominis tui: 2 mach. 1: de magnis periculis a deo liberati, magnifice gratias agimus ipsi. And so he says and from all these tribulations the lord will free them, partly now, but perfectly in the future, when, as Apocalypse 7 says, they will not hunger nor thirst for more, etc. Ecclesiasticus 51 says: you have freed me according to the greatness of your name’s mercy. And 2 Machabees 1: having been free by God from great peril, let us give great thanks to him.
deinde cum dicit, custodit dominus ostendit quomodo liberat eos, ne succumbant. dicit ergo, custodit dominus omnia ossa eorum. sicut visus est in oculo, ita in ossibus et nervis est fortitudo: et ideo, sicut visus signatur per oculum, ita fortitudo et virtus per ossa: quia sicut per ossa sustentatur corpus, ita per virtutes sustentatur vita humana: in futuro ergo liberabit totaliter, sed interim custodit ossa, idest virtutes, quae magis proficiunt in infirmitate. vel per ossa viri perfecti intelliguntur, quos dominus custodiet: ezech. 37: haec dicit dominus deus his ossibus: ecce ego intromittam spiritum in vos, et vivetis, et dabo super vos carnes. unum ex his non conteretur, quia in tribulationibus nulla virtus hominis deficit, quem deus custodit. non enim deficiebat caritas in sanctis per odium, quia pro persequentibus orabant; non mansuetudo per iram, quia non murmur resonabat: non patientia per injustitiam, immo in patientia sua possidebant animas suas. et ideo dicitur de agno paschali, os non confringetis ex eo, exod. 12. ps. 36: cum ceciderit, non collidetur. vel, unum ex his, scilicet praedestinatis. jo. 17: nemo ex his periit nisi filius perditionis. [19] Then when he says the lord guards, he shows how God liberates them, lest they succumb. He says therefore that the lord guards all their bones. Just as sight is in the eye, so also courage is in the bones and nerves. And so just as sight is signified through the image of the eye, so also courage and virtue through the image of bone. For bones hold up the body, just as virtue sustains human life. So while in the future he will completely free them, in the meantime he keeps their bones, that is, virtues, which shine in adversity. Another interpretation is that bones signifies perfect men, whom the lord guards. Ezechiel 37: the lord God speaks to these bones, “Behold, I have sent my spirit unto you, and you will live, and I will clothe you with flesh.” Not one among them will be broken, for the one God keeps will have no virtue fail him in times of trouble. Charity, for example, prevailed against hatred in the saints, for they prayed for their persecutors. Meekness prevailed against anger, for there was no sound of complaint. Patience prevailed against injustice, for they in their suffering gained their own souls. Thus Exodus 12 says of the paschal lamb: not a bone in it will you break. Psalm 36: when he falls, he will not be bruised. Another interpretation is that one of these signifies the predestined, as in John 17: not one among them will perish, except the son of perdition.
deinde cum dicit, mors peccatorum, ponit effectus divinae providentiae quantum ad malos: et circa hoc duo facit. primo enim ponuntur pericula malorum. secundo ostenditur quomodo ab his liberat sanctos suos, ibi, redimet. circa primum duo facit. primo enim ostendit malum justorum quod patiuntur in se. secundo, quod eis imminet ex eo quod persequuntur bonos, ibi, et qui oderunt. [20] Then when he says the death of sinners, he describes the effect of divine providence on the wicked. To this end he does two things: first he describes the perils of the wicked; second, he shows how God liberates his saints from the wicked, at the lord will redeem. On the first point he does two things: he shows first the punishment the unjust suffer [ostendit malum justorum (!) quod patiuntur in se], then what befalls those who persecute the good, at and those who hate.
dicit ergo, mors, corporalis vel spiritualis: corporalis quidem haec est pessima in malis, quia mittuntur ad pessimum locum. luc. 16: mortuus est dives, et sepultus est in inferno. item quia perdunt spem gratiae post mortem. prover. 11: mortuo homine impio, nulla erit amplius spes. mors ergo peccatorum pessima est, quia moriuntur in corpore et in anima. spiritualis. ephes. 5: exurge a mortuis. et haec mors est pessima. mors enim est privatio vitae. mors ergo quanto meliori privat, tanto est pejor. privat autem spiritualis mors animam vita gratiae, quae est optima, quia est per deum. 1 cor. 6: qui adhaeret deo unus est spiritus. ergo est pessima. hieronymus habet sic, interficiet impium malitia, idest interimet. haec est malitia quae ingerit peccatoribus mortem. rom. 6: stipendia peccati mors. And so he says the death, meaning both bodily and spiritual. The bodily death is indeed the worst among the wicked, for they are sent to the worst place. As Luke 16 says: the rich man died and was buried in Hell. Another reason is that they lose the hope of grace after death. As Proverbs 11 says: when the wicked man dies, there will be no hope. Therefore the death of sinners is worst of all, for they die in both body and soul. Now concerning spiritual death, Ephesians 5 says: rise up from the dead. This state of the dead is the worst. For since death is the deprivation of life, the greater the good that gets deprived, the worse the death. But spiritual death deprives the soul of the life of grace, which is the best since it comes from God. As 1 Corinthians 6 states: the man who adheres to God is one spirit. Therefore, such a death is the worst. Jerome holds that wickedness kills, that is, slays, the impious. This is the kind of wickedness that brings about death to sinners. As Romans 6 states: the wages of sin is death.
consequenter ostendit quid malis immineat ex eo quod persequuntur justos. luc. 10: qui vos spernit, me spernit. et ideo dicit, et qui oderunt justum, delinquent. prov. 29. viri sanguinum oderunt simplicem. si ergo qui odit deum delinquet, ergo et qui odit servos dei. Next he shows what befalls the evil when they persecute the just. As Luke 10 says: those who despise you, despise me. And thus the Psalmist says and those who hate the just are guilty. As Proverbs 29 says: bloodthirsty men hate the simplehearted. If therefore the man who hates God commits sin, so also the one who hates the servants of God.
deinde cum dicit, redimet dominus, ostendit quomodo in his periculis liberantur boni. et primo quomodo a peccatis praeteritis. secundo quomodo proteguntur a futuris, ibi, et non delinquent. dicit ergo, redimet dominus animas servorum suorum. posset dici. si mors peccatorum pessima est, cum nullus sic sit justus quod non peccet, ergo et ipsorum justorum mors est etiam pessima. et ideo ad hoc excludendum dicit, redimet dominus animas servorum suorum. redimet, inquam, pretio mortis suae: animas servorum suorum. non dicit liberorum. illi enim sunt liberati, qui excutiunt a se jugum justitiae. rom. 6: liberati a peccato, servi facti deo, habetis fructum etc.. tales ergo qui de servis dei facti sunt liberi, non redimuntur; sed illi qui subduntur jugo dei, redimuntur a culpa et a poena pretioso christi sanguine. 1 pet. 1: non corruptibilibus, argento vel auro, redempti estis de vana vestra conversatione paternae traditionis; sed pretioso sanguine quasi agni incontaminati et immaculati christi. oseae 13: de morte redimam eos. [21] Then when he says the lord will redeem, he show how the good are freed from these dangers: first how they are freed from past sins and then how they are protected from future sins, at and they will not sin. He says therefore the lord will redeem the souls of his servants. Perhaps it may be objected that, if the death of sinners is the worst, then since no one is so just as not to have sinned, it follows that even the death of the just is the worst. To exclude this the Psalmist says the lord will redeem the souls of his servants. He will redeem the souls of his servants, in fact, by the price of his own death. Notice he does not say the souls of the free. For those who have been freed have shaken off the yoke of justice. As Romans 6 says: freed from sin, made servants of God, what fruit did you have, etc. Thus he says that these freemen have been made servants of God, but they are not redeemed. Only those who have shouldered the yoke of God are redeemed from guilt and punishment by the precious blood of Christ. As 1 Peter 1 says: not by anything corruptible, like silver or gold, have you been redeemed from your empty life with the paternal tradition, but by the precious blood of Christ, an uncontaminated and immaculate lamb. Hosea 13 says: from death I will redeem them.
secundo ostendit, quomodo proteguntur a peccato futuro: quia non delinquent, idest non peccabunt ad mortem, omnes qui sperant in eo. in eo dicit, scilicet in domino; non in propria virtute, quia tales cadunt: unde ps. 29: ego dixi in abundantia mea, idest in virtute mea, non movebor in aeternum. domine in voluntate tua, praestitisti decori meo virtutem. avertisti faciem tuam a me, et factus sum conturbatus. sed qui sperant in domino, sicut ille qui dicebat, sap. 8: scivi quoniam aliter non possum esse continens nisi deus det: hic non delinquet, dum protectus a deo mortaliter non peccabit etc.. Next he show how they are protected from future sin. For they will not sin, that is they will not sin to death, all those who hope in him, that is, in the lord. This is not on account of their own virtue, for even the virtuous fall. Thus Psalm 29: I said in my abundance, that is, in my virtue, I will not be moved for all time. O lord, you favored me with virtue in addition to beauty. But you turned your face from me and I became troubled. But those who hope in the lord, like the one who said in Wisdom 8: I knew that I could not be content unless God gave it – such a one does not sin. Protected by God, he will not sin to death [et cetera].

© Gregory Froelich

The Aquinas Translation Project

16 Responses to “St Thomas Aquinas on Psalm 34 (33)”

  1. […] Aquinas’ Commentary on Today’s Responsorial Psalm.  Available 6:00 AM EST.  A commentary on the whole psalm.  Not light reading but worth the effort. […]

  2. […] Aquinas’ Lecture on Today’s Responsorial Psalm (34).  Latin and English side by side. […]

  3. […] Aquinas’ Lecture on Today’s Responsorial Psalm (34).  Latin and English side by side. […]

  4. […] St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Today’s Psalm (34). Latin and English side by side. Includes Psalm text followed by the lecture. […]

  5. […] St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Today’s Psalm (34). On entire […]

  6. […] St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on the Psalm (34). On complete Psalm. […]

  7. […] St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on the Psalm (34). On complete Psalm. […]

  8. […] St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Today’s Psalm (34). […]

  9. […] St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Today’s Psalm (34). […]

  10. […] St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Today’s Psalm (34). Psalm 33 in the Vulgate Aquinas used. Post is in Latin & English side by side. […]

  11. […] St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Today’s Psalm (34). Psalm 33 in the Vulgate Aquinas used. Post is in Latin & English side by side. […]

  12. […] St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Today’s Psalm (34). On complete Psalm. […]

  13. […] St Thomas Aquinas’s Lecture on Today’s Responsorial (Ps 34). […]

  14. […] St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Today’s Responsorial (Ps 34). […]

  15. […] St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 34. […]

  16. […] St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Today’s Psalm (34). Psalm 33 in the Vulgate Aquinas used. Post is in Latin & English side by side. […]

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