Psalm 118:75, 120, 1
I know, O Lord, that Thy judgments are equity, and in Thy truth Thou hast humbled me: pierce Thou my flesh with Thy fear, I am afraid of Thy judgments. Ps. Blessed are the undefiled in the way: who walk in the law of the Lord. Glory be to the Father.
Verse 75. Truth. Though we may not discern the particular causes of our suffering, we must be convinced that they are right. W. — Sinners are afflicted that they may amend, and the just for their advancement. C.
Verse 120. Afraid. Servile fear is therefore profitable, though perfect charity expel it, and move us to do well for the love of God. 1 Jo. iv. W. — Yet fear sometimes returns, that the just may not give way to presumption. C.
Verse 1. Alleluia. There is no title in Heb. But (H.) this psalm contains the praises of the Lord, and of his holy law, under fourteen different names, (W.) of way, testimony, &c. repeated in every verse, except the 122d, (Muis.) with surprising variety, so as to avoid tautology, and to give a most perfect system of moral doctrine. It is written according to the order of the Heb. alphabet, (H.) that we may learn it from our infancy. S. Hil. — Eight verses begin with each of the twenty-two letters. S. Jerom (ad Paulam Urb. & Proem. in Lam.) moralizes on the signification of these letters, which he renders, 1. Aleph, &c. “the doctrine—2. of the house; 3. the plenitude, 4. of the tables (or holy scripture)—5. This 6. and 7. this 8. of life—9. a good 10. beginning—11. the hand 12. of discipline (or the heart)—13. from them 14. everlasting 15. help—16. the fountain (or eye) 17. of the mouth 18. of justice—19. the calling 20. of the head 21. of teeth 22. the signs.” By thus connecting the letters, he forms sentences to shew that the holy Scriptures bring us to the knowledge of the Church, and of Christ, &c. See W. Thus every thing serves to excite the devotion of the saints, though the proud may deride their ingenuity. The sacred writers have certainly found some pleasure and utility in writing so frequently in the alphabetical order, though we may not perceive the advantages of it. H. — David is supposed to have written this psalm for the instruction of Solomon in his youth, (Bert.) though others believe that he composed it while he himself was young, and persecuted by Saul. Muis. Bossuet, &c. — It seems very probable, that David wrote it for the consolation of the captives. C. Dan. ix. 2. — Origen and Ven. Bede refer it to those times; though it seems in reality to appertain to all who desire to live piously, (H.) and it is only a conjecture that any other but David was the author, to whom it is generally attributed. Its excellency cannot be denied, and the Church has adopted it for her daily office, dividing it into eleven psalms. Bert. — S. Aug. has written thirty-two, and S. Amb. twenty-two sermons on the contents; and S. Basil observes, that David has here composed in one psalm the sum of all that he has written in the rest. Among other points of morality and doctrine, we may remark, that the psalmist insists on the necessity of God’s grace, and the co-operation of free will, (W.) and overturns the Prot. system of justification. D. — The Israelites might recite this psalm on their journey, three times a-year, to the temple, as the fifteen gradual canticles which follow, were to be sung on the steps leading to the house of God. Bellar. M. — Lord. Such only are happy here, (W.) or hereafter. H. — All aim at happiness, but only the virtuous take the proper means to attain it. S. Aug. — The way may here designate this life, (W.) or the law, (S. Aug.) or Jesus Christ. Jo. xiv. 6. S. Amb. The psalmist evidently presupposes, that some can and do keep the law. W.