Tract of Passion Sunday

Psalm 128:1-4

Often have they fought against me from my youth. V. Let Israel now say: often have they fought against me from my youth. V. But they could not prevail over me: the wicked have wrought upon my back. V. They have lengthened their iniquities: the Lord who is just will cut the necks of sinners.


Verse 1. Canticle. In which David, (H.) or the Jews, at their return, after they had got the better of their enemies, render thanks to God. S. Chrys. C. — It may suit the Church, Jesus Christ, and every person: as none can escape trouble. Bert. — Fought against. Heb. “afflicted.” — Expugnaverunt might seem to imply that they had obtained the victory. But this was not the case, at least eventually, though the people of God might sometimes be oppressed, and yield to sin. H. — Youth. Since the Israelites left Egypt. Os. ii. 15. Jer. ii. 2. C. — From the beginning, the just Abel, Seth, Abraham, &c. have been persecuted. W.

Verse 2. But. Or “for,” etenim. On this account they repeated their attacks. H. — But the psalmist testifies that they will not succeed. W.

Verse 3. Back. Heb. “labourers have laboured on my neck,” (S. Jer.) or “back.” They have made me bear the yoke, or have ploughed up my back. This proverbial expression shews the cruelty of the Babylonians, (C.) and of the enemies of Christ, (Is. l. 6.) and the martyrs. Theod. — Heb. charash, means also to work like a blacksmith. Gen. iv. 22. Bert. — The Church bears patiently all crosses. Sinners build on her, or even on God’s back, when they go on in their wicked ways, presuming that they will be saved at last by the sacraments, &c. W.

Verse 4. Necks. Heb. “collars,” (Theodot.) “snares,” (Sym.) or “bands,” with which they have oppressed us. Cyrus abandoned the Babylonians to be slaves of those Persians who had taken them, and made them till the land, &c. Zenoph. vii. C.

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