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Christ In Type And Prophecy: Volumes 1&2 by Rev. A.J. Maas S.J.

Section I. The Song of Anna

1 Kings 2:1–10

1. AUTHORSHIP OF THE SONG—a. Berthold, Thenius, Driver, etc., contend that Anna is not the authoress of the song. It is rather a hymn of victory which has been put into the mouth of Anna by reason of the similarity of her circumstances with those supposed in the song. According to Berthold the song strikingly resembles several psalms of the prophet-king. Thenius is of opinion that David composed the hymn as a song of thanksgiving after his victory over Goliath. Ewald believes that the canticle cannot be authentic, because the course of history is not at all interrupted if the canticle be omitted from the text. Driver says: “The song of Hannah is not early in style, and seems unsuited to Hannah’s position: its theme is the humiliation of the lofty and the exaltation of the lowly, which is developed with no special reference to Hannah’s circumstances; and v. 10 presupposes the establishment of the monarchy. The song was probably composed in celebration of some national success: it may have been attributed to Hannah on account of v. 5 b.”

Were these opinions advanced by authors of less note than the foregoing, they might excite ridicule, but would not call for lengthy refutation. Sacred Scripture says, in the first place, expressly that Anna pronounced the song. Whoever admits then the truth of Scripture, cannot have recourse to a mere later accommodation of the canticle to Anna. In the song itself there is nothing that Anna could not have aptly said on the occasion of offering Samuel, if the proper interpretation of the words be adhered to. It is true that in the song there are certain ideas similar to those which occur in the psalms (cf. v. 2 with Ps. 17 [18]:32). But the inference that therefore David must have composed the canticle is wholly illegitimate, since David himself may well have learned from Samuel and his ministers what Anna had taught her first-born. Ewald’s argument is more amusing than reasonable; if the thread of the historical narrative were interrupted by the omission of Anna’s words, it would follow that they formed a part of history, and not a mere hymn of thanksgiving. Driver’s observation supposes that Anna is speaking only of her son and her position in regard to her rival; we shall see that this is a false assumption. What the author adds about the existence of the kingship at the time of the composition of the song is also false. At most, Anna supposes that there will be a king in Israel.

b. Ch. G. Hensler (Erläuterungen des ersten Buches Samuels, Hamburg und Kiel, 1795, p. 16) is of opinion that the song was composed long before the time of Anna, on occasion of a certain victory; Anna may have known the canticle, and employed it as an expression of her thanksgiving on account of the similarity of circumstances. This opinion does not contradict the express statement of Scripture, nor does it exclude the influence of the Holy Ghost during the time of Anna’s recitation, nor can it be said to be unworthy of Anna, since it is generally acknowledged that even the Blessed Virgin employed in the Magnificat the expressions of earlier inspired writers.

c. Volney and Cahen are of opinion that the wife of a simple farmer cannot be supposed to have composed a canticle such as is ascribed to Anna in the present passage. But it must be kept in mind that nearly all the expressions that occur in the canticle are also found in the inspired writings existing at Anna’s time. “I have joyed in thy salvation” is wholly parallel to Gen. 49:18 and Ex. 15:2; in Deut. 32:39 we find a passage resembling the words of Anna: “There is none holy as the Lord is, for there is no other beside thee.” Though Isaias insists more repeatedly on the sanctity of God than the earlier writers, still Lev. 11:44, 45 and Jos. 24:19 may well be considered as the inspired passages which led Anna to praise God’s holiness. The whole history of the Jewish people is filled with the praises of God’s power, so that Anna’s allusions to it cannot astonish us. “The Lord killeth and maketh alive, he bringeth down to hell and bringeth back again” closely resembles Deut. 32:39. The antitheses of vv. 4, 8 are suggested by Deut. 28. Examples of sterility ceasing by the special intervention of God occur repeatedly in the history of the patriarchs. As to the words “the Lord shall judge the ends of the earth,” God’s judgments are generally represented as his special providence by which he favors the Israelites and humbles all its enemies (cf. Gen. 18:25; Ex. 6:6; 7:4; 15:18). “He shall thunder in the heavens” may well be considered as an allusion to Ex. 9:23; 19:16; Jos. 10:11, 12; Judg. 5:20.

The reference to the divine king cannot cause any difficulty, since the theocratic kingdom was predicted and almost minutely described in Deut. 17:14 ff. The Hebrews in general were therefore led to expect the institution of the royal dignity in the immediate future. We see in fact in the Book of Judges that the royal dignity was offered to Gedeon. The occurrence of “Christ” in the passage cannot astonish us, since the king was conceived as an anointed official in the theocratic dispensation. Thus far we have referred only to writers that preceded the time of Anna; if we refer to the psalms—and we have a right to do so, as the ideas expressed in the psalms were not wholly unknown to the men living immediately before and at the time of Anna—we find in them so many thoughts and expressions resembling those in Anna’s canticle that there cannot be the slightest difficulty from this point of view in admitting Anna to be the author of the song. Anna’s husband cannot, after all, have been as rude as some of our opponents would gladly make him, since he belonged to the Levites, and must therefore have been quite familiar with the inspired writings of his time.

2. MESSIANIC CHARACTER OF ANNA’S SONG.—a. The Old Testament favors the Messianic interpretation of the song. The words “the Lord shall judge the ends of the earth, and he shall give empire to his king, and shall exalt the horn of his Christ,” are similar to passages in Pss. 2, 109, 17. Now the latter passages are Messianic beyond all reasonable doubt. It follows then that we must regard Anna’s words too as referring to the Messias. Nor can it be said that the words “and upon them shall he thunder” find their fulfilment in 1 Kings 7:10, where it is said that “the Lord thundered with a great thunder on that day upon the Philistines and terrified them;” for Anna’s prediction stands in parallelism with the preceding words: “the Lord shall judge the ends of the earth.” b. The text of Anna’s song suggests a Messianic meaning. It would be unreasonable to apply all that Anna says about God’s humbling the proud and destroying his enemies to her rival Phenenna. Whatever may have been her defects, she surely did not deserve such divine vengeance as is portrayed in Anna’s hymn. The prophetess was induced by her own delivery from the taunts of her rival to describe the victory of the Hebrew nation over its enemies, and especially its final salvation through the ministry of the Messias. c. The New Testament expressly refers Anna’s song to Jesus Christ. In Acts 3:24 we read: “And all the prophets from Samuel and afterwards, who have spoken, have told of these days.” Now we do not know of any Messianic prophecy that has Samuel for its author; since then St. Peter, in spite of this, explicitly names Samuel as the first of the prophets that have spoken of the Messianic times, we must suppose that even in St. Peter’s days the first two Books of Kings were ascribed to Samuel. If Samuel is the author of these books, Anna’s canticle may be said to have been written by the first of the prophets. d. Among the Fathers, St. Augustine (de Civit. Dei, l. xvii. c. vi) and St. Gregory the Great (in i. l. regum, vol. iii. p. 47) are the representatives of Christian tradition. It is not then surprising to find that the modern commentators follow the views of these great leaders. e. The Jews too applied the canticle to the Messias, since the Targum renders “and will magnify the kingdom of his Messias” instead of “and shall exalt the horn of his Christ.” Jonathan ben Uziel sees in the enemies mentioned by Anna “Gog and Magog,” i.e., the two great enemies of the Messias; therefore, the victory celebrated by Anna is the Messianic victory, and the “king” and the “anointed” no one else but the Messias.

1 KINGS 2:1–10

My heart hath rejoiced in the Lord,

And my horn is exalted in my God;

My mouth is enlarged over my enemies,

Because I have joyed in thy salvation.

There is none holy as the Lord is,

For there is no other beside thee,

And there is none strong

Like our God.

Do not multiply to speak lofty things, boasting,

Let old matters depart from your mouth;

For the Lord is a God of all knowledge,

And to him are thoughts prepared.

The bow of the mighty is overcome,

And the weak are girt with strength;

They that were full before have hired out themselves for bread,

And the hungry are filled:

So that the barren hath born many,

And she that had many children is weakened.

The Lord killeth and maketh alive,

He bringeth down to hell, and bringeth back again.

The Lord maketh poor and maketh rich,

He humbleth and he exalteth.

He raiseth up the needy from the dust,

And lifteth up the poor from the dunghill,

That he may sit with princes,

And hold the throne of glory.

For the poles of the earth are the Lord’s,

And upon them he hath set the world.

He will keep the feet of his Saints,

And the wicked shall be silent in darkness,

Because no man shall prevail by his own strength,

The adversaries of the Lord shall fear him.

And upon them shall he thunder in the heavens,

The Lord shall judge the ends of the earth,

And he shall give empire to his king,

And shall exalt the horn of his Christ.

It cannot be stated with certainty whether Anna took her prophecy from previously revealed truths, or was her self immediately inspired and illumined. Nor is it certain whether she knew the destiny of Samuel, and thus realized that she herself was an instrument in bringing about that theocratic royalty which was to serve as the type of the king Messias. A number of reasons lead us to suppose that Anna acted as a prophetess in pronouncing her canticle. Her personal piety and sanctity, the publicity of her divine praises, the occasion of the canticle (Samuel’s presentation before the Lord), and the fact that Anna dwells wholly on the public and national benefits bestowed by God on Israel, are strong motives for considering Anna as favored by the prophetic light when she gave forth the canticle of divine praise. The Chaldee version, too, considers the song as entirely equal to the other Messianic prophecies, and consequently its authoress as a prophetess in the strict sense of the word.

Section II. The Psalmist’s King

PS. 44 (45)

1. STRUCTURE OF THE PSALM.—Prof. Bickell divides the psalm into five stanzas, each containing eight octo-syllabic, trochaic verses. The transpositions and changes which the learned author suggests in the Hebrew text will be considered in the annotations in so far as they affect the present subject. Hengstenberg puts the whole psalm in the mouth of the psalmist, who, after briefly proclaiming his intention to praise a glorious king, proceeds to celebrate his beauty, power, righteousness, describing him as clothed in wedding apparel and on the point of contracting marriage with a band of royal maidens, one of whom is peculiarly distinguished among the rest (vv. 2–10). The psalmist then addresses the latter maiden (vv. 11–13), describes the marriage procession from the bride’s home to the king’s palace (vv. 14–16), promises an illustrious posterity (v. 17), and predicts the never-ending glory of the king (v. 17). Schegg’s analysis is simpler and clearer: a. The psalmist addresses the king (vv. 2–10); b. he turns to the royal bride (vv. 11–16); c. he describes the posterity of the newly married, and returns finally to his initial theme (vv. 17, 18). Calmet compares this psalm with the 18th idyl of Theocritus. According to him it is a nuptial song, in which the bridemaids address first the bridegroom and then the bride.

2. AUTHOR OF THE PSALM.—The title of the psalm attributes it to the sons of Core, using a form of speech which usually indicates the author. There is no solid reason for rejecting this view. The sentiments and the language of the psalm harmonize with those found in the psalms that have the same title. The expression “sons of Core” allows a range of time wide enough to fit any tenable view regarding the period and the circumstances of the composition of the psalm. Concerning the Coreites see 1 Par. 6:33–37; 2 Par. 20:19.

3. TITLE OF THE PSALM.—The title of the psalm reads: “Unto the end, for them that shall be changed, for the sons of Core, for understanding: A canticle for the beloved.” Commentators have greatly exercised their ingenuity in the explanation of this title. a. When speaking of Ps. 8 we shall see that the clause “unto the end” must, according to the Hebrew text, be rendered, “to the chief musician.”

b. The second clause has been omitted in our versions. Literally rendered it reads “upon lilies.” Some commentators believe that “lilies” was the beginning of a well-known air, or the name of a musical instrument (Calmet, Rosenmüller, etc.); others explain the word figuratively as meaning “virgins,” or “brides,” or “gladness” in general. Cf. Cant. 2:1, 2; 4:5; 5:13; 6:2, 3; 7:3 (Schegg, Hengstenberg, etc.). According to this last view the phrase “upon lilies” indicates the subject of the psalm. The Septuagint and Vulgate render this expression “for them that shall be changed.” Since commentators understand this rendering as applying to a change of state, some see in it a reference to the resurrection from the dead, others apply it to the rising from the death of sin to the life of grace, others again refer it to the change from the virginal to the married state. This last view is defended by those who interpret the psalm of a royal marriage feast.

c. The third clause of the title “for the sons of Core” indicates the family of priests to which the author of the psalm belonged. Of this enough has been said in the paragraph treating of the author of the psalm.

d. The Hebrew expression “maskil” rendered in English “for understanding” is found also in the title of twelve other psalms. According to its etymology it is derived from a verb meaning “to understand,” and is usually explained as signifying “a didactic poem.” Rosenmüller, however, and Michaelis derive the word from an Arabic root which means “to bind or tie together.” Consequently, when prefixed to a poem, it probably intimates a piece of a connected nature, or is perhaps the name of a particular kind of Hebrew poetry. Cf. the word “sonnet.” Another English version “intricate poem” may be explained as indicating that the real meaning of the psalm is different from the apparent one, and therefore hard to understand.

e. The last clause of the title reads in the Hebrew text “a song of the beloved ones,” which is equivalent to our “nuptial song,” except that it supposes several brides. Rosenmüller and Hofmann prefer against Ewald and Clauss the rendering “song of lovely things,” i.e., a lovely or sweet song. The word here rendered “beloved ones” or “lovely things” signifies in Jer. 12:7 “love.” It is therefore not surprising that several interpreters render the clause “a love-song” (Ewald and others). It must be kept in mind that the love signified by the word in the clause is the love of God for men (cf. Deut. 33:12; 2 Kings 12:25; 4 Kings 22:1).

4. SUBJECT OF THE PSALM.—All interpreters agree that the psalm is either a nuptial song, or celebrates the praises of a ruler. But even those authors who hold this latter view grant that a great part of the psalm either directly praises the king’s brides, or glorifies the king for having such brides. The stress laid on the beauty of the king, the exhortation addressed to the royal brides, and the description of the bridal procession show that the marriage of a king has furnished the material for the psalm. Consequently we must reject:

a. The opinion expressed in the Chaldee and Syriac versions that the psalm was addressed to Moses and his assistant elders by those Coreites who had escaped the fate of their companions.

b. We must also reject the opinion of certain rabbinic writers who, according to Cocceius, apply the psalm to the nuptials of Abraham and Sara; for that patriarch was no king in the common acceptation of the word, nor was his bride the offspring of a king.

c. The literal meaning of the psalm cannot be applied to David’s marriage with Michol the daughter of Saul, or with Maacha the daughter of Tholmai, king of Gessur, or with Bethsabee, the wife of Urias. For in the first case David did not yet possess the royal power; in the second he had power only over Juda, and resided at Hebron; in the third, the bride was not of royal blood. Cf. 1 Kings 18:27; 2 Kings 3:3; 11:27.

d. The psalm cannot refer to the marriage of Joram with Athalia the daughter of Amri king of Israel (4 Kings 8:26). For Joram walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, and he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord (ibid. 18). Nor are Reischl and Loch justified in applying the song to a supposed marriage between Josaphat, Joram’s father, and a princess of Tyre. This explanation rests on no argument except its ingenuity. Besides, it is not very probable that God should have inspired such a nuptial song to celebrate a marriage that was hateful to him.

e. Those authors who apply the psalm to the marriage of Achab and Jezabel (3 Kings 16:31), or to that of Assuerus and Esther, forget that a nuptial hymn, celebrating an unbelieving monarch, and calling him God, would have hardly found a place among the sacred books of the Hebrews. This reason is of the greatest weight, because the psalm has been placed among those inspired canticles from the number of which even the lamentations of David over Jonathan (2 Kings 1:18 ff.) and over Absalom (2 Kings 18:33; 19:4) have been excluded. Besides, it is expressly mentioned (3 Kings 16:31) that Achab’s marriage was especially hateful in God’s sight; and as to the marriage of Assuerus, his bride Esther was not a royal princess.

f. The opinion that the psalm was composed on the occasion of Solomon’s marriage with the Egyptian princess (3 Kings 3:1; 7:8; 9:16, 24; 11:1) is called by Calmet “almost common” among interpreters, but in such a manner that the marriage itself prefigures a Messianic mystery. Regarding this last point commentators again disagree.

α. Calmet, Bossuet, Patrizi, Curci, and others refer the psalm’s typical sense to the Messias. Calmet indeed speaks of a twofold literal meaning of the psalm, but according to his explanation the second literal signification does not differ from what is commonly called the typical meaning. It seems strange, to say the least, that the Holy Ghost should have inspired a canticle singing the praises of a marriage hateful to him (3 Kings 11:1–13). Besides, Solomon was no warrior, as the psalm’s hero is supposed to be in vv. 4, 5, 6; nor were his sons made princes over the whole earth, as the psalm supposes of the royal offspring (v. 17). To apply literally to the Messias whatever cannot be literally applied to Solomon, makes the psalm a medley inexplicable by the rules of Bible commentary. β. The greater number of Christian commentators explain the psalm as speaking of the Messias in its literal sense. The words of the psalmist quoted by St. Paul (Heb. 1:8) may be urged in favor of this interpretation, since they hardly prove the apostle’s thesis if they are applied to Jesus in a merely typical sense. Again, if the psalm referred to a carnal marriage, it would have hardly been admitted into the psalter, its hero could not be called “God” (v. 7), the king’s throne could not be said to stand forever (v. 7), the king’s ancestors would not form a line of kings (v. 17), and his sons would not be princes over the whole earth (v. 17). Moreover, the figure of marital love representing God’s love for his elect is so common in the sacred writing, that we are antecedently inclined to suppose the same in this psalm. Compare, e.g., Is. 54:5; 62:4, 5; Jer. 3:1; Os. 1–3; Ezech. 16; 23; Matt. 9:15; 22; 25; John 3:29; Rom. 7:4; 2 Cor. 11:2; Eph. 5:27; 5:32; Apoc. 19:7; 21:2; 22:17. In the Canticle of Canticles the same figure is employed throughout, as has been well explained by St. Bernard in his commentary. Similar language we find in St. Bonaventure’s “Five Feasts of the Holy Infancy,” in St. Laurence Justinian’s “Connubium Spirituale,” in the sublime songs of St. John of the Cross, and in the writings of all those authors who place the essence of the supernatural state in the love of friendship rather than in that of adoptive sonship. The prophets often represent cities or nations by virgins or matrons. Cf. Is. 4:4; 23:12. “The daughters of Sion” are the cities of Juda, and the “virgin daughter of Sion” repeatedly signifies Sion or Juda itself; in the psalm now under discussion “the daughters of Tyre” (v. 13) probably indicate the dependencies of Tyre. Combining therefore these generally received figures, we find in the psalm a picture of the Messias who is about to be united in love to his principal bride, the Synagogue, and to innumerable other brides, the different nations of the Gentiles.

The tradition of the synagogue regarding the Messianic meaning of Ps. 44 (45) is clear beyond all exception. The Targum renders verse 3 “thy beauty, O king Messias, is superior to that of the sons of men” instead of “thou art beautiful in form above the sons of men.” The Talmud (Shabb. 63 a) applies verse 4 to the Messias, though other interpretations of the verse are immediately added. The words “thy throne, O God, is forever and ever” (v. 7) are brought into connection with the promise that the sceptre would not depart from Juda, in Ber. R. 99 (ed. Warsh., p. 178 b, line 9 from the bottom). The Targum—though not in the Venice edition, 1568—renders verse 8 “Thou, O King Messias, because thou lovest righteousness …” (Cf. Levy, Targum. Wörterb., vol. ii. p. 41 a). Though the Midrash on the psalm limits its observations to the title of the psalm, of which it gives several explanations, to its opening words, and to the phrase of v. 17, “instead of thy fathers, sons are born to thee,” it nevertheless clearly indicates that the prophecy refers to “the latter,” i.e., to the Messianic days. Other rabbinic testimonies are collected by Schöttgen (“Jesus der wahre Messias,” pp. 431–435). Schegg compares the traditional explanation of bride and marriage-feast with the idea of a real and physical union with the Godhead which obscurely existed among all the Gentile nations. Their manner of worship, though degraded to the most revolting excesses, always implied or aimed at such a physical union of man with God, a union which has found its fullest completion in the incarnation of the Word, and which continues to be fulfilled daily in the souls of the just.

The references to the patristic testimonies regarding the Messianic meaning of the psalm are collected by Tailhan in Kilber’s Analysis Biblica, ed. ii. vol. ii. pp. 43 f.

PS. 44 (45)

Unto the end, for them that shall be changed, for the sons of

Core, for understanding: A canticle for the beloved.

My heart hath uttered a good word,

I speak my works to the king.

My tongue is the pen of a scrivener that writeth swiftly.

Thou art beautiful in form above the sons of men,

Grace is poured abroad in thy lips,

Therefore hath God blessed thee for ever.

Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O thou most mighty,

With thy comeliness and thy beauty.

Set out, proceed prosperously and reign,

Because of truth and meekness and justice,

And thy right hand shall conduct thee wonderfully.

Thy arrows are sharp,

Under thee shall peoples fall,

Into the hearts of the king’s enemies.

Thy throne, O God,

Is for ever and ever.

The sceptre of thy kingdom is a sceptre of uprightness;

Thou hast loved justice and hated iniquity,

Therefore, O God, thy God hath anointed thee

With the oil of gladness above thy fellows.

Myrrh and stacte and cassia perfume thy garments,

From the ivory houses out of which

The daughters of kings

Have delighted thee in thy glory.

The queen stood on thy right hand, in gilded clothing, surrounded with variety.

Hearken, O daughter, and see, and incline thy ear, and forget thy people

And thy father’s house, and the king shall greatly desire thy beauty,

For he is the Lord thy God, and him they shall adore.

And the daughters of Tyre with gifts, yea all the rich among the people,

Shall entreat thy countenance. All the glory of the king’s daughter

Is within, in golden borders, clothed round about with varieties.

After her shall virgins be brought to the king,

Her neighbors shall be brought to thee;

They shall be brought with gladness and rejoicing.

They shall be brought into the temple of the king.

Instead of thy fathers, sons are born to thee

Thou shalt make them princes over all the earth.

They shall remember thy name throughout all generations,

Therefore shall peoples praise thee for ever, yea for ever and ever.

1. It follows from the psalm that the Messias will be a king and hero surpassing all earthly kings and heroes in all those qualities which appeal to the human heart: in beauty, grace, courage, justice, and love.

2. But the same Messianic king will be God in the true meaning of the word, since he repeatedly receives that title in its literal sense.

3. It also follows that there must be more than one person in the Godhead, since God himself will anoint the divine king.

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