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’ Lecture on Psalm 47 (46)

Posted by Dim Bulb on May 12, 2012

The following is in both Latin and English side by side. The English translation was done by Stephen Loughlin who holds the copyright. The work appears here courtesy of the Aquinas Translation Project, and in accordance with its copyright policy:

“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.

Psalm 46 

a. In finem. Pro filiis core. Omnes gentes plaudite manibus: iubilate Deo in voce exultationis. [Unto the end, for the sons of Core] All nations, clap your hands: cry out to God in a voice of joy.
b. Quoniam Dominus excelsus terribilis: rex magnus super omnem terram. Subiecit populos nobis: et gentes sub pedibus nostris. For the Lord is high, terrible: a great king over all the earth. He has subjected the peoples to us, and (placed) the nations under our feet.
c. Elegit nobis haereditatem suam, speciem Iacob quam dilexit. Ascendit Deus in iubilo: et Dominus in voce tubae. Psallite Deo nostro, psallite: psallite regi nostro, psallite. He has chosen his inheritance for us, the beauty of Jacob which he has loved. God goes up with shouts of joy, the Lord goes up with the sound of the trumpet. Sing praises to our God, sing praises. Sing praises of our king, sing praises.
d. Quoniam rex omnis terrae Deus: psallite sapienter. Regnabit Deus super gentes: Deus sedet super sedem sanctam suam. Principes populorum congregati sunt cum Deo Abraham: quoniam dii fortes terrae vehementer elevati sunt. For God is king of all the earth: sing wisely. God shall reign over the nations: God sits upon his holy throne. The princes of the people are gathered together, with the God of Abraham: for the strong gods of the earth are exceedingly exalted.
a. In praecendentibus Psalmis Psalmista exposuit gloriam regis, et regni; hic autem exhortatur gentes alienigenas, ut convertantur ad Deum. Et primo hortatur ad Dei laudem. Secundo ad spem de Deo habendam. Tertio docet eam cultum divinum. Secundum incipit, ibi, Audite haec. Tertium, ibi, Deus deorum. In the preceding psalms, the psalmist set forth the glory of the king and (his) realm. Here, he earnestly addresses foreign nations so that they may be converted to God. First, he exhorts them to the praise of God, second, to having hope in God (beginning at Hear these things – Psalm 48), and finally he teaches (them) the worship of God (at The God of gods – Psalm 49).
Titulus est manifestus, quia est oppositus supra, In finem pro filiis Core Psalmus David. The title is clear, as it is set forth above: Unto the end. For the sons of Core. A psalm of David.
Circa primum duo facit. Primo exhortatur omnes gentes ad laudem Dei. Secundo ponitur materia laudis, ibi, Magnus Dominus. Circa primum tria facit. Primo enim ponit imitationem ad laudem Dei. Secundo causam, ibi, Quoniam dominus excelsus. Tertio manifestat hanc causam, ibi, Ascendit Deus. Concerning the first (of the psalmist’s three actions above), he does two things. First, he earnestly exhorts all nations to the praise of God, and secondly, sets down the subject matter of praise, at, Great is the Lord (Psalm 47). Concerning the first (of these), he does three things. First, he sets an example for the praise of God, second, the reason (for praise), at, For the Lord is high, and third, he clearly shows this reason, at, God goes up.
Laus Dei procedere debet ex iucunditate cordis, sicut etiam est in patria: Isa. 11. Gaudium et laetitia invenietur in ea. Haec laetitia cordis ostenditur per signum exterius, facti, vel verbi. Primo ergo inducit ad laudem, quantum ad facta. Secundo quantum ad verba. The praise of God ought to procede from the delight of (one’s) heart, just as it occurs in heaven – Isaiah 51: Joy and gladness shall be found therein. This gladness of the heart is shown through an external sign of deed or word. Thus, he incites (them) to praise, first with respect to deeds, and then with respect to words.
Dicit ergo, Omnes gentes; quasi dicat, Nobis tot bona fecit Deus, ergo laudate eum facto, Plaudite manibus. Plausio manuum fit in signum exultationis: Hier. 5. Sacerdotes applaudebant suis; quasi dicat, Plaudite, idest exultationem cordis ostendite per plausum manuum. Et hoc fit, quando exterius operatur homo servitia Dei cum iucunditate: Ps. 99. Servite Domino in laetitia: Isa. 35. Omnia ligna regionum plaudent manu, idest omnes populi plaudent. And so, he says, All Nations; it is as if he were saying, God has made so many good things for us. Therefore praise him in deed, Clap your hands. The clapping of the hands is done as a sign of joy – Jeremiah 5: The priests clapped their (hands); it is as if he were saying, Clap, that is, show the joy of (your) heart by the clapping of hands. This happens when a man externally performs the worship of God with delight – Psalm 99: Serve the Lord with gladness; Isaiah 55: All trees of the countries shall clap their hands, that is, all of the people will clap.
Item. Laudate eum in verbo: unde dicit, Iubilate Deo in voce exultationis, idest in voce exteriori demonstrante interiorem affectum. Also, praise him in word: thus he says, Cry out to God in a voice of joy, that is, in an outward voice showing internal desire.
Glossa, Iubilus est ineffabile gaudium, quod nec taceri potest, sed non potest exprimi, quia excedit comprehensionem. Et talis est bonitas Dei quae non potest exprimi: et si exprimatur, imperfecte tamen exprimitur. Et ideo dicebat Hier. 1. A a a ecce nescio loqui. Et hunc iubilum signat ecclesia, quando in eadem dictione multiplicat notas: Ps. 65. Iubilate Deo omnis terra, Psalmum dicite etc. The gloss states that Jubiliation is an ineffable joy which cannot be kept silent but cannot be expressed, because it exceeds comprehension. Such is the goodness of God which cannot be expressed. And if it is expressed, it would be done so imperfectly. And it has been said at Jeremiah 1: Ah, ah, ah (Lord God), behold, I cannot speak. The Church signifies this jubilation when in the same speaking, she multiplies what is known as true – Psalm 65: Cry out with joy to God all the earth, sing a psalm to His name.
b. Quoniam Dominus. Hic ponitur causa laudis, et bona quae proveniunt ex magnitudine Dei. Et primo ponitur magnitudo Dei. Secundo magnitudinis signum. Magnitudo Dei commendatur dupliciter. Primo per altitudinem potestatis. Secundo per maiestatem dominationis. For the Lord. At this point, he determines the cause of praise, and the goods which come forth from the greatness of God. First, he shows God’s greatness, and then a sign of it. The greatness of God is demonstrated in two ways, first, through the heights of his powers, and second, through the majesty of his lordship.
Dicit ergo. Laudandus est Deus propter altitudinem suae naturae, quia Dominus excelsus: Ps. 122. Excelsus super omnes gentes Dominus etc. Et quia excelsa sunt nobis remota, posset aliquis credere quod non esset timendus, nec haberet providentiam de nobis; sicut aliqui stulti dixerunt, in quorum persona dicitur Iob 22. Circa cardines caeli perambulat, nec nostra considerat. Et ideo dicebat: Quantum in te evacuasti timorem. Sed non est ita. Iste est excelsus, quia est terribilis, quia omnia prospicit, omnia punit. And so, he says, It is fitting to praise God on account of the height of his nature, because the Lord is high – Psalm 112: The Lord is high above all the nations etc. And because the heights are far from us, someone might believe that God is not to be feared, and that He has no care concerning us, as some foolish people have said, in the guise of whom it is said at Job 22: He walks around the extremities of heaven, and does not consider us. Thus he has said: So far as concerns you, you have been found deficient in fear. But He is not (as you have considered Him to be). He is high, because he is terrible, (and this is because) he sees all (and) he punishes all.
Item timendus est propter eius dominium, quia, Rex magnus super omnem terram: Ps. 23. Domini est terra etc. He is also to be feared on account of his might, because (he is) A great king over all the earth – Psalm 23: The earth is the Lord’s etc.
Magnus est universalitate dominii, quia regnum omnium saeculorum. He is great in the totality of (his) might, because (his) kingship is of every age.
Item duratione, quia in aeternum. (He is also great) in his duration, because he is eternal.
Item auctoritate, quia rex omnium regnum. (He is also great) in his authority, because he is king of every kingdom.
Signum magnitudinis huius regis sumitur ex his, quae nobis fecit, et haec sunt beneficia Dei. Primo in subiectione aliorum. Secundo in collatione bonorum. A sign of the greatness of this king is taken from these things which he does for us. And these are the kindnesses of God, first, in the subjection of others, and second in the bestowal of goods.
Dicit ergo, Subiecit populos nobis. Haec sunt verba ecclesiae, cui etiam temporaliter sui inimici subiiciuntur. And so, he says, He has subjected the peoples to us. These are the words of the Church, to which its enemies are subjected also for a time.
Augustinus in glossa: Quanti enim modo currunt ad ecclesiam nondum Christiani, rogant auxilium ecclesiae, subvenire sibi temporaliter volunt, etsi nobiscum in aeternum regnare adhuc nolunt. In the gloss, Augustine states that “As much as those who are not yet Christians hasten, in some way, to the Church, they ask for her help, they want to submitt themselves for a time, although they still do not want to rule with us forever.”
Item, ut sint verba apostolorum, Subiecit populos nobis, scilicet Iudaeorum, et nationum, Sub pedibus nostris: Isa. 52. Quam pulchri super montes pedes annuntiantis, et praedicatis pacem. Again, as they are the words of the apostles – He has subjected the peoples, namely the Jews, to us, and (has placed) the nations Under our feet – Isaiah 52: How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good tidings, and proclaims peace.
Item ibidem 45. Ut subiiciam ante faciem eius gentes. There is also Isaiah 45: … to subdue nations before his face.
Vel aliter, Subiecit populos nobis. Quidam convertuntur ad fidem, et isti subiiciuntur propria voluntate. Alii non convertuntur, sed gentiliter vivunt; et isti subiiciuntur sub pedibus, quia finaliter erunt oppressi sub nostra iudiciaria potestate. He has subjected the peoples to us can also be understood in another way. Some are converted to the faith and these are subjected by their own will. Others are not converted to the faith, but live as gentiles. And these are placed under (our) feet, because they will finally be checked by our judicial power.
c. Elegit nobis haereditatem suam. Hic ponitur aliud beneficium collationis bonorum. Ubi hortandum est, quod electio importat acceptionem unius super alterum. Electio autem Dei potest accipi ex duplici parte. He has chosen his inheritance for us. He treats here of the second benefice, that of the bestowal of goods. It must be urged here that “choice” includes the acceptance of one thing over another. However, the choice of God can be understood in a two-fold way.
Primo ex parte bonorum quae conferuntur. Et sic distingue, quia quaedam horum quae conferuntur sunt temporalia, quaedam spiritualia. Impii autem peccatores accipiunt pro parte eos contingente temporalia: Sap. 2. Haec est pars nostra. Iusti autem accipiunt in parte ipsum Deum: Ps. 22. Dominus pars haereditatis meae. Deus autem elegit sibi bona spiritualia. Elegit ergo nobis haereditatem suam; quasi dicat, Cum sint diversae partes bonorum, elegit nobis dare haereditatem suam. First, on the part of the goods which are conferred. Distinguish in this way, for some of these conferred goods are temporal, while others are spiritual. Impious sinners take, for the part falling to them, temporal goods – Wisdom 2: This is our part. However, the just take for their part God himself – Psalm 22: The Lord is a part of my inheritance. God, however, choses spiritual goods for himself. Therefore, He has chosen his inheritance for us, as if to say, Although there are different aspects of the goods conferred, he has chosen to give his inheritance to us.
Secundo accipitur electio Dei ex parte illorum quibus datur, et sic fit distributio, quia damnati omnes sunt in peccato originali; tamen quidam salvantur ex Dei electione. Et ideo dicit, Elegit nobis etc. Et quae sit haec haereditas, ostendit, Speciem Iacob quem dilexit. Secondly, the choice of God is understood on the part of those to whom it is addressed. And in this way distribution occurs, because all are damned in original sin; nevertheless, they are saved by the choice of God. And thus he says, He has chosen etc. And that this is his inheritance, he declares, The beauty of Jacob which he has loved.
Litera Hieronymi habet, Gloriam, vel superbiam Iacob. Et hic accipitur superbia pro excellentia: Is. 60. Ponam te in superbiam, idest in excellentiam, saeculorum. Ibid. Cum gloria, idest specie, vel decore: quia in ipsa haereditate aeterna erunt excellentes, gloriosi, et decori: Hier. 31. Benedicat tibi Dominus pulchritudo iustitiae. Jerome’s version has, The glory or pride of Jacob. And “pride” here means “prominence” – Isaiah 60: I will make you in everlasting pride, that is, in everlasting prominence. Isaiah 60: With glory, that is, in beauty or elegance, because in the eternal inheritance itself, there will be prominent, glorious and graceful people – Jeremiah 31: The Lord blesses you with the beauty of justice.
Quam dilexit. Vel quem Iacob; quasi dicat, Haec haereditas est gloria Iacob, idest fidelis, quam gloriam Deus dilexit, quia diligit Dominus portas Sion. Which he has loved. Or whom Jacob has loved; as if he were saying, This inheritance is the glory of Jacob, that is of the faithful, which glory God has loved, because the Lord loves the gates of Sion.
Vel, Speciem Iacob, idest id quod est repraesentatum per Iacob: quia repraesentata sunt ei spiritualia bona ad quae sumus nos electi, quia scalam quam vidit, et alia huiusmodi. Sed prima lectura est melior. Or, The beauty of Jacob, that is, that which is represented by Jacob, since by him are represented spiritual goods for which we ourselves have been chosen, because of the ladder which he sees, and other such things. However, the first interpretation is the better one.
Ascendit Deus in iubilo. Hic exponit causam et ordinem. Dicit quod est excelsus et rex magnus: et propter hoc est laudandus. Sed numquid est ita excelsus? Ita. Et primo ostendit eius excellentiam. Secundo ostendit amplitudinem regni eius, ibi, Psallite. Circa primum duo facit. Primo ponit excellentiam eius. Secundo concludit exhortationem, ibi, Psallite. God goes up with shouts of joy. Here he explains the cause and order. He says that he is high and a great king, and because of this, he is to be praised. But is he really high? Yes. First, he shows his excellence, and second the extent of his kingdom, at, Sing praises. Concerning the first, he does two things. First, he describes his excellence, and then concludes with an exhortation, at, Sing praises.
Dicit ergo quod est excelsus, quia ascendit. Sed si excelsus, quomodo ascendit? Quia descendit: Eph. 4. Qui ascendit ipse est etc. Sed quomodo ascendit, In iubilo. Iubilus est gaudium immensum: et hic iubilus signat imperfectam cognitionem. And so, he says that he is high, because he goes up. But if he is high, in what way does he go up? Because he comes down – Ephesians 4: (He that descended is) the same also that ascended (above all the heavens). But the manner in which he goes up is with shouts of joy. Jubiliation is an immense joy, and signifies imperfect knowledge.
Duo genera psallentium fuerunt in Ascensione Christi, scilicet Apostoli et Angeli. Apostoli autem imperfectam cognitionem habent de divinis: et ideo ad eos pertinet iubilus de gaudio Ascensionis Christi cum gloria. There were two kinds of songs sung on the Ascension of Christ, namely of the apostles and the angels. But the apostles had an imperfect knowledge of divine things, and thus to these belongs jubilation concerning the joy of the Ascension of Christ with glory.
Item fuerunt ibi Angeli, et claram cognitionem habuerunt; et ad eos non pertinet iubilus, sed manifesta annutiatio; et ideo dicit, Et Dominus in voce tubae. Unde Angeli dicunt Act. 1. Viri Galilaei quid statis etc. Si ergo est excelsus, Psallite Deo nostro, ore, Psallite Deo nostro, corde: 1 Cor. 14. Psallam spiritu, psallam et mente. The angels also sang at that time, and they had clear knowledge. Jubilation does not belong to these, but a plain announcement. And so he says, The Lord goes up with the sound of trumpet. So, the angels say at Acts 1: Men of Galilee, why do you stand (looking up to heaven)? If therefore he is high, Sing songs to our God, with the mouth, Sing songs to our God, with the heart – 1 Cor. 14: I will sing with the spirit, I will sing with understanding.
d. Quoniam rex. Consequenter ostendit, quod est rex magnus: et ostendit hoc ordine converso. Quia primo inducit eos ad psallendum regi. Secundo assignat causam. Tertio manifestat eam. For God is king over all the earth. Subsequently, he shows that the king is great, but he does this in a reversed order. For he first incites them to sing praises of the king, second, assigns the cause, and third, clarifies it.
Dico ergo, Psallite Deo; sed iterum, Psallite regi, quia est magnus. Et dicit bis, Psallite, psallite, quia eodem honore honoramus humanitatem et divinitatem in Christo: quia idem suppositum est: Io. 5. Omnes honorificent Filium sicut honorificant Patrem. Et quod sit psallendum ostendit, quia est, Rex omnis terrae Deus. Et ideo vos habitatores terrae psallatis ei. Et dicit, Omnis terrae, non Iudaeae tantum, vel Graeciae, sed totius orbis: sed, Psallite sapienter, idest discrete. Et psallite non solum ore, sed corde renovati interius: quia, Non est speciosa laus in ore peccatoris, sicut dicitur Eccl. 15. I say, therefore, Sing praises to God; but again I say, Sing praises of the king, because he is great. And he says this twice, Sing praises, sing praises, because by the same honour we worship the humanity and the divinity in Christ; for it is the same suppositum – John 5: That all men may honour the Son, as they honour the Father. And that he is to be sung praises he explains, for God is king of all the earth. And so you who are inhabitants of the earth sing praises to him. He says Of all the earth, not only of the Jews, or the Greeks, but of the whole world. But Sing wisely, that is with circumspection. And sing, not only with the mouth, but with a heart renewed within, because, Splendid praise is not in the mouth of the sinner, as is said at Eccl. 15.
Item non cum mente turbata: Iac. 5. Oret aequo animo. It is also not with a turbulent mind – James 5: Let him pray with a cheerful mind.
Item continue: Is. 23. Bene cane, frequenta canticum. And it is also continuous – Isaiah 23: Sing well, sing many a song.
Consequenter manifestat, quomodo sit rex omnis terrae. Et primo praedicit regnum Christi super omnes gentes. Secundo super omnes principes gentium; quasi dicat, Dico quod est rex omnis terrae: quia licet nunc in Iudaea tantum, regnabit tamen super omnes gentes, quia omnes gentes convertentur ad Deum: Ps. 118. Laudate Dominum omnes gentes. Et huius ratio est: quia Christus Deus est, et iam ascendens ad dexteram Patris, Sedet super sedem sanctam, idest a dextris Dei; et sic nihil restat nisi ut omnes subiiciantur ei: Dan. 7. Datum est ei regnum. Nec solum gentes subiiciuntur ei, sed etiam eorum principes; unde dicit, Principes populorum, scilicet omnium congregati sunt per fidem et amorem, Cum Deo Abraham. Subsequently, he makes quite clear how he is king of all the earth. First, he foretells the kingship of Christ over all the nations, and second, over all the princes of nations. It is as if he were saying, I say that he is king of all the earth, because although he is now only king in Judea, he will reign over all the nations, for all the nations will be converted to God – Psalm 116: O praise the Lord, all you nations. The reason for this is that because Christ is God, and is now ascending to the right hand of the Father, He sits upon his holy throne, that is, by the right hand of God. It only remains that everything be subject to him – Daniel 7: The kingdom was given to him. Not only the nations, but even their princes are subjected to him. Thus he says, The princes of the peoples, namely, of everyone gathered together through faith and love, With the God of Abraham.
Et dicit, Abraham, quia ipse fuit principium credendi et Patrem, et Filium: Matt. 2. Potens est suscitare de lapidibus istis filios Abrahae: Ps. 17. Reges Arabum etc. Et ratio quare congregati sunt, Quia dii fortes terrae vehementer elevati sunt. Et hoc potest dupliciter intelligi. And he says, Abraham, because he himself was the prince of those believing the Father and the Son – Matthew 3: (God is) able to to raise up children to Abraham from these stones; Psalm 71: The kings of the Arabians etc. The reason why they are gathered together is Because the strong gods of the earth are exceedingly exalted. And this can be understood in two ways.
Uno modo de Iudaeis: quia ipsi fuerunt dii, quia instructi de Deo: Io. 10. Illos dixit Deos ad quos sermo Dei factus est. In one way, of the Jews, because they themselves were gods, having been instructed concerning God – John 10: He called them gods to whom the word of God was spoken.
Item fuerunt fortes, quia constantes in fide unius Dei, sed, Terrae, quia oculi eorum et affectus eorum erant semper ad terrena. Isti, Sunt elevati, per superbiam, Vehementer, intantum quod noluerunt Christi doctrinam. Et ideo Apostoli iverunt ad gentes. Again, they were made strong, because they were firm in the faith of the one God, however, (they were) Of the earth, because their eyes and desires were always towards earthly things. These very people, Were exalted, through pride, Exceedingly, insofar as they did not desire the teaching of Christ. And thus the apostles went to the gentiles.
Alio modo, Quia dii fortes, idest Apostoli. Et dicuntur dii propter iudiciariam potestatem. Et iudices in veteri testamento dii vocabantur: Ex. 22. Diis non detrahes. Applica ad Deos, idest ad iudices. Et dicuntur fortes, propter constantiam in passione: Ro. 8. Quis nos separabit a charitate Christi? Terrae, idest adhuc in terrenis existentes: 2. Cor. 4. Habentes thesaurum istum in vasis fictilibus. Et Elevati sunt vehementer, per praedicationem: Matt. ult. Illi autem profecti praedicaverunt ubique. In another way, Because the strong gods, that is, the apostles. They are called gods on account of their judicial power, and judges, in the Old Testament, are called gods – Exodus 22: You shall not speak ill of the gods. Conform to the gods, that is, to the judges. They are called strong on account of their constancy in suffering – Romans 8: What will separate us from the love of Christ? They are Of the earth, that is, still existing in an earthly manner – 2 Cor. 4: We have this treasure in earthen vessels. And they Are exceedingly exalted through proclamation – Mark 16: But they, going forth, preached everywhere.
Item per miraculorum operationem. Also, through the working of miracles.
Item per gloriae adeptionem: Hieronymus habet, Quoniam dii scuta terrae, quia Apostoli fuerunt protectores omnium populorum. Also, through the attainment of glory: Jerome has, For the gods are a shield of the earth, because the apostles were the protectors of all the peoples.

© Stephen Loughlin

The Aquinas Translation Project

3 Responses to “St Thomas Aquinas’ Lecture on Psalm 47 (46)”

  1. […] Psalm 15(14), Psalm 22(21), Psalm 23(22), Psalm 27(26), Psalm 30(29), Psalm 34(33), Psalm 36(35), Psalm 47(46), Psalm 51(50), and possibly […]

  2. […] Psalm 15(14), Psalm 22(21), Psalm 23(22), Psalm 27(26), Psalm 30(29), Psalm 34(33), Psalm 36(35), Psalm 47(46), Psalm 51(50), and possibly […]

  3. […] Psalm 15(14), Psalm 22(21), Psalm 23(22), Psalm 27(26), Psalm 30(29), Psalm 34(33), Psalm 36(35), Psalm 47(46), Psalm 51(50), and possibly […]

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