Epistle of Saint Catherine of Alexandria

Ecclus. 51:1-8; 12

I will give glory to Thee, O Lord, O King, and I will praise Thee, O God my Saviour. I will give glory to Thy Name, for Thou hast been a helper and protector to me, and hast preserved my body from destruction, from the snare of an unjust tongue, and from the lips of them that forge lies; and in the sight of them that stood by Thou hast been my helper. And Thou hast delivered me, according to the multitude of the mercy of Thy Name, from them that did roar, prepared to devour; out of the hands of them that sought my life, and from the gates of afflictions which compassed me about: from the oppression of the flame which surrounded me, and in the midst of the fire I was not burnt: from the depth of the body of hell, and from an unclean tongue, and from lying words, from an unjust king, and from a slanderous tongue. My soul shall praise the Lord even unto death: because Thou, O Lord our God, deliverest them that wait for Thee, and savest them out of the hands of the nations.


Verse 1. Sirach. This prayer may be in imitation of the book of Wisdom. H. — Grotius assigns it to the grandson, without reason; as the author continues to speak of his travels, &c. He seems to have lived under Onias III. and under Seleucus and Antiochus Epiphanes, of Syria, to whom he was probably accused, and hence took occasion to retire into Egypt, where Ptolemy Epiphanes was king. C. — Others think (H.) that he was accused before Ptolemy Lagus, when he took Jerusalem. M. — We know too little of his life to decide any thing. C. See c. l. 1. H. — Saviour. When we are not able to make a return, we must shew greater marks of gratitude, and particularly to God, for the favours which we have not deserved. W.

Verse 3. By. To accuse me. Zac. iii. 1. C.

Verse 5. Gates. Gr. “many.” H. — He exaggerates the danger to which he was exposed, as he was not miraculously delivered from the flames, &c. (C.) though this might be the case. At least he thanks God for preserving him (H.) from the various torments which were then in use.

Verse 6. In. Gr. “from the midst of a fire which I did not enkindle,” or deserve by any crime.

Verse 7. Hell. The grave. I was preserved like Jonas. C. — Unjust. Gr. “the accusation was made to the king, by an unjust tongue. My soul approached unto death, and my life,” &c. H.

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