Tract of Palm Sunday

Psalm 21:2-9, 18, 19, 22, 24, 32

O God, my God, look upon me; why hast Thou forsaken me? V. Far from my salvation are the words of my sins. V. O my God, I shall cry by day, and Thou wilt not hear; and by night, and it shall not be reputed as folly in me. V. But Thou dwellest in the holy place, the praise of Isræl. V. In Thee have our fathers hoped: they have hoped, and Thou hast delivered them. V. They cried to Thee, and they were saved: they trusted in Thee, and were not confounded. V. But I am a worm, and no man: the reproach of men and the out­cast of the people. V. All they that saw me have laughed me to scorn: they have spoken with the lips and wagged the head. V. He hoped in the Lord, let Him deliver Him: let Him save Him, seeing He delighteth in Him. V. But they have looked and stared upon me: they parted my garments amongst them, and upon my vesture they cast lots. V. Deliver me from the lion’s mouth: and my lowness from the horns of the unicorns. V. Ye that fear the Lord, praise Him: all ye the seed of Jacob, glorify Him. V. There shall be declared to the Lord a generation to come; and the heavens shall show forth His justice. V. To a people that shall be born, which the Lord hath made.


Verse 2. O God. Our Saviour repeated these words as they are in Heb. though the vulgar tongue was Syriac, (C.) or Greek mixed with the Abamean. Paulus. — Eli (or Eloi. S. Mark) lamma sabacthani. So he pronounced what the Jews would now read, Eli…lama (or lamach. T.) hazabtani; (C.) and in our method, ali…lome azbocthoni. But it must be admitted (H.) that the true pronunciation is irretrievably lost. The Masorets vary from the ancient versions, (Masclef. Capel. Houb. Mr. C. Butler. Hor. Bib. 4 edit. p. 69.) and from one another; so that after being at the immense labour of learning their rules, we shall be no more secure of attaining the truth. H. — It were, therefore, greatly to be wished that the learned would agree about some characters to express uniformly the Hebrew in modern languages, as it would greatly facilitate the knowledge of the sacred writings. Kennicott. Diss. i. p. 243. — We have only attempted to use such as might inform the reader what letters were in the original; and yet we are sorry to find that z, or the long á and é are often printed without the mark above; which shews the inconvenience of so many points, introduced by the Masorets. H. — Look upon me, are words admitted by Christ, “because (says Eusebius) they are not in Heb.” But this reason is not conclusive, as he might have left them out, though they were in the original. The Sept. may have rendered one ali, in this sense, “to me,” as they have not added my to the first mention of God: or, they may have anticipated from v. 20 (Bert.) this explication. Christ speaks with reference to his sacred humanity, as his divinity suspended its beatific influence, that he might drink the bitter chalice. Theod. S. Jer. — He also speaks the language of his afflicted members, who think they are abandoned. S. Aug. C. — Sins. That is, the sins of the world, which I have taken upon myself, cry out against me, and are the cause of all my sufferings. Ch. — An ancient psalm of S. Germ. reads “lips,” instead of sins. Heb. “roaring.” S. Jer. C. — “Prayer,” Sixt. Edit. “Why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring?” Prot. H. — the Sept. seem to have read shagathi, whereas the Heb. places the g after the a, or they have substituted the cause for the effect; as sin was certainly the cause of Christ’s affliction, and of his Father’s not granting present relief. Indeed our Saviour did not ask for it, but only expressed the sentiments of suffering nature, which he corrected by the most perfect submission, to teach us how to behave. Bert. — God is the God of all creatures, but more particularly of Christ, by personal union. W. — The latter tenderly expostulates, (H.) that he is not comforted like other saints, (Mat. xxvii. 64.) since he had undertaken to die for the sins of the world, and reputed them as his own. W. — Delicta nostra sua delicta fecit, ut justitiam suam nostram justitiam faceret. S. Aug. — He speaks in the name of his members. S. Tho. 3. p. q. 15. a 1. — Christ could commit no sin: (1 Pet. ii. 21. and 2 Cor. v. 21.) but as long as he had taken our iniquities upon himself, to expiate with his own blood, he could not be at ease till he had perfected the work. David was convinced that his own sins were punished by the rebellion of Absalom, as Nathan had declared. 2 K. xii. 10. C.

Verse 3. Folly. My cry proceeds not from impotent rage. Lu. iv. 28. Euseb. Agel. M. — I know that thou wilt grant my request. C. — I shall not cry in vain. Theodor. — It is not for my own folly that I suffer. Geneb. — “Many cry and are not heard, yet it is for their advantage, and not out of folly.” S. Aug. — Christ prayed on the cross, as he had done in the garden, to have the bitter chalice removed. But this was not blameable, as it was done with entire submission. W. — The cry of the lips, or of human nature, which would be free from suffering, was not heard: (H.) because the cry of the heart, which desired that the justice of God should be satisfied, was much louder; and this petition was granted by Him who denied noting to his Son. Jo. xi. 41. C. — This should be our model. Submission and perseverance will always be crowned. Heb. has now d instead of r, in the word dumiya, “silence,” which is also good; “there is no silence for me.” In the night (Bert.) of death, (H.) God granted the petition. Bert. — Aquila gives this idea, non tacebis, as S. Jerom observes: “thou wilt do what I desire.” Heb. may also mean: I have no rest, or I cry incessantly. C. — The prayer of Christ for relief, was conditional. He absolutely desired God’s will to be accomplished, and thus he was heard, v. 25. Heb. v. 7. He was our pattern. S. Aug. ep. 120. W.

Verse 4. In the, &c. Heb. “the Holy one inhabitest the praises of Israel,” or “Thou holy, sancte, inhabitant, the praise,” (S. Jer.) or, as the plural intimates, the source and object of all “the praises of Israel,” (H.) and of the Church. W. — This may be connected with the preceding, or following verse. Thou art in the midst of us, so that thou canst not be ignorant of my situation, like the idols; or thou hast shewn great favours to our ancestors, v. 5. Theodoret and S. Jerom seem to take these words to be addressed by the Father or by the prophet to Jesus Christ, who inhabited a body so free from sin. C.

Verse 6. Confounded. He interests his Father, by calling to mind the ancient patriarchs, (Ecclus. ii. 11. Bert.) who obtained their requests. W.

Verse 7. No man. Heb. ish, “a great man,” vir, (Mont.) so far from being treated as a nobleman, I am not even respected as one of the meanest of men, (adam.) H. — “Why not a man?” says S. Aug. “because he is God. Why a worm? because a mortal, born of the flesh, without generation.” The ancient naturalists supposed that worms were not generated; and though this be now deemed inaccurate, the Fathers applied this notion to confirm the doctrine of our Saviour’s being born of a virgin, which had been clearly revealed. C. — People. God afforded Christ no exterior (H.) or common consolation, while the wicked persecutors treated him as a worm. W. — The rights of humanity are respected in the greatest criminals. But the enemies of our Lord added insult to torments. Isai. lii. 14. Bert. — It would be difficult to apply this to David. For even in the depth of his misery, when reviled by Semei, and dishonoured by Absalom, he was attended by the priests, and by a powerful army. C.

Verse 8. All. This often denotes only the greatest number. S. Jer. — For surely the blessed Virgin, and some others, must be excepted. H. — But almost all joined in persecuting Christ, (W.) while his disciples left him. C. — These two verses are quoted by the three first evangelists. — Spoken. Heb. “opened or distorted.” Bert. — “They shoot out the lip.” Prot. — These signs and expressions (H.) mark the greatest contempt, v. 14. Job xvi. 4. &c.

Verse 9. He hoped. Heb. “roll, or he (C.) rolled himself on the Lord.” Prot. margin. — But the text is conformable to ours. “He trusted on,” &c. S. Matt. xxvii. 43. He trusted in God, let him deliver him now if he will have him. Ci, which is here rendered quoniam, “since,” (H.) may also mean “if,” as it is in the Prot. marg. Thus both texts agree. Many passages are thus quoted, without adding, as it is written. Bert. — God permitted that these blasphemers should use the very language of the prophet, that the completion of what he said might be more conspicuous. Chal. “I have sung praises to the Lord, and he has withdrawn me from danger.” This explanation is not contemptible. C. — But it is foreign to the context, and to all the other versions, as well as to the evangelists. H. — The collating of this psalm with the history of Christ, must convince every sincere person that he who was thus ignominiously treated, was the object of God’s complacency, and that the Christian religion is true. Bert.

Verse 18. They. Heb. “I shall or may tell all my bones,” (C.) they are so dislocated. H. — Syr. “my bones have howled,” as in mourning. C. — Upon me, out of contempt, (Eus.) or to prevent my escape, (Orig.) or deriding my naked condition. M. — David experienced nothing of the kind. S. Justin. apol. ii.

Verse 19. Vesture, or inner garment, which was all of a piece. C. — The soldiers perceived that it would be rendered unserviceable by cutting. H. — “Heretics attempt to divide the Church, but in vain.” S. Jer. — Lots. This was verified above 100 years afterwards, in the person of Jesus Christ. Bert. — Let the Jews shew how it was accomplished in David. They assert themselves that nothing which had belonged to their kings was used by others. Their thrones, garments, &c. were all burnt. Maimon. &c. — Though this be doubtful we may employ this testimony against them. C. — At Siceleg the effects of David were indeed plundered; but David was absent, and not under torments, like the person here described. Our goods must be divided, either before of after death. Let us be solicitous to obtain the second covering, which may never be taken from us. 2 Cor. v. 4. Bert.

Verse 22. Lowness. This sense appears to be preferable to the Heb. “hear me from,” &c. C. — Yet some who render the orig. literally have, “save me from the throat of the lion, and from the horns of the unicorns; thou hast heard me.” This seems very striking, as Christ henceforth recounts the glorious effects of his sufferings. The Sept. have explained hanithani as a noun, though it properly signifies, thou hast heard, or humbled. Bert. — They may not have read the last n. C. — Yet S. Jer. has, exaudisti me, “thou hast granted my request.” H.

Verse 24. Fear. Thus the Gentile converts are designated. Acts x. 2. 35. and xiii. 16. 26.

Ver. 32. To, or by the Lord, who opened the mouths of the prophets to foretell the propagation of the Christian Church. C. — Prot. “It shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation: They shall come and shall declare,” &c. H. — Heavens is added by the Vulg. to shew that the apostles, who are styled the heavens, (Ps. xviii.) shall proclaim these things. Bert. — Sept. &c. omit this word, as well as many Latin copies. One generation shall deliver the true doctrine to another, as long as the world shall last. C. — Which. Heb. ci has this sense, (Bert. Gen. iv. 25,) whom Cain slew, as all the versions agree, and S. Jerom renders quem fecit. H. — Yet many translate, “that he hath done these things,” (Bert.) delivering me from danger, and raising the Messias to life again, &c. C. — Thus Jesus foretold, with his dying breath, the glory with should always be given to his Father, in his true Church. Bert. — This is the generation which should be honoured with the title of children of God, and of Christ, (H.) and should partake of his sacraments. M.

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