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

Section I. Pursue and Take Him

PS. 70 (71)

1. STRUCTURE OF THE PSALM.—Prof. Bickell divides the psalm into nine stanzas, each containing six heptasyllabic lines. It must, however, be noted that the learned writer in his analysis of the psalm omits vv. 1–3, because he considers them as a mere repetition of Ps. 30 (31):2–4a. Besides this argument for the omission of the stated verses, the Professor appeals to the following considerations: a. If vv. 1–3 be regarded as authentic, there is a needless repetition of the same sentiments after v. 4. b. The author of Ps. 70 makes use indeed of previous writings, but he never merely copies the works of his predecessors. Now the learned author contends that vv. 1–3 of the psalm here under discussion are a mere repetition of Ps. 30:2–4a. For, the slight differences between the text of the former and of the latter psalm the author attributes to the errors of the scribes. In the LXX. there is only one difference between the beginning of Ps. 30 (31) and that of Ps. 70 (71). As to its line of thought, the psalm may be divided into two parts: a. In vv. 1–11 the author prays for deliverance, and describes his sufferings and his hopes grounded on God’s past mercies. b. In vv. 12–24 the author promises thanksgiving and praise for the triumph over his enemies which he confidently anticipates as the result of his prayers.

2. AUTHOR OF THE PSALM.—Opinions: a. David is the author of the psalm. Reasons: 1. Though the psalm has no inscription in the Hebrew text, still it has in the LXX. version the title “a psalm for David. Of the sons of Jonadab, and the former captives.” This title is surely based on an ancient tradition of the Synagogue, and since the phrase “psalm for David” commonly denotes authorship, it follows that tradition must have attributed the psalm to the royal psalmist. 2. Again, the thoughts and the development of the psalm agree with the style and the history of David. In vv. 17, 18 he prays to God for deliverance in his old age, and in v. 21 he hopes for still greater glory than he had already received. This agrees with the trials of David at the time of Absolom’s rebellion, when the old father had to seek a safe place from the persecution of his young and undutiful son (cf. Le Hir). But as these reasons are not conclusive, the opinion is not generally received.

b. The psalm is the work of the Rechabites. Reasons: 1. The very title found in the LXX. version reads “of the sons of Jonadab, and the former captives” (cf. Jer. 35). Now the sons of Jonadab, are the Rechabites who were dragged into captivity during the first invasion of Nabuchodonosor. 2. Even those authors who contend that David is the author of the psalm grant that the sons of Jonadab added the verses 20–24, since they appear to refer clearly to the first captivity. 3. Again, the style of these verses evidently belongs to the time after the prophet Isaias; for God is called “the Holy One of Israel,” a divine name that does not seem to have been used before the time of Isaias. 4. Finally, there are too many citations of former psalms (21, 30, 39, etc.) in this inspired song to be derived from a Davidic authorship. The sentiments and thoughts, it is true, are on the whole those of the royal psalmist; but the later writer may have adopted them from the Davidic productions. Without claiming absolute certainty for our opinion, we believe that the greater probability favors the Rechabite authorship of the psalm.

3. MESSIANIC CHARACTER OF THE PSALM.—a. Since both king David and the people of Israel are types of the Messias, it is not hard to see that the psalm in its typical sense refers to the suffering of the Messias. b. The Fathers too have understood the typical sense of the psalm in this manner; the more important references to the patristic writings on this subject may be found in Kilber’s Analysis Biblica, ed. II. ii. 59.

PS. 70 (71)

In thee, O Lord, have I hoped; let me never be put to confusion;

Deliver me in thy justice and rescue me,

Incline thy ear unto me and save me,

Be thou unto me a God, a protector, and a place of strength,

That thou mayst make me safe;

For thou art my firmament and my refuge.

Deliver me, O my God, out of the hand of the sinner,

And out of the hand of the transgressor of the law and of the unjust;

For thou art my patience, O Lord,

My hope, O Lord, from my youth;

By thee have I been confirmed from the womb,

From my mother’s womb thou art my protector.

Of thee shall I continually sing,

I am become unto many as a wonder;

But thou art a strong helper.

Let my mouth be filled with praise,

That I may sing thy glory,

Thy greatness all the day long.

Cast me not off in the time of old age,

When my strength shall fail, do not thou forsake me;

For my enemies have spoken against me,

And they that watched my soul have consulted together.

Saying: God hath forsaken him, pursue and take him,

For there is none to deliver him.

O God, be not thou far from me,

O my God, make haste to my help;

Let them be confounded and come to nothing

That detract my soul;

Let them be covered with confusion and shame

That seek my hurt.

But I will always hope, and will add to all thy praise

My mouth shall show forth thy justice,

Thy salvation all the day long.

Because I have not known learning,

I will enter into the powers of the Lord;

O Lord, I will be mindful of thy justice alone.

Thou hast taught me, O God, from my youth,

And till now I will declare thy wonderful works;

And unto old age and gray hairs,

O God, forsake me not;

Until I show forth thy arm to all the generation

That is to come, thy power.

And thy justice, O God, even to the highest

Great things thou hast done;

O God, who is like to thee?

How great troubles hast thou showed me, many and grievous,

And turning thou hast brought me to life,

And hast brought me back again from the depths of the earth.

Thou hast multiplied thy magnificence,

And turning to me thou hast comforted me;

I will also give praise to thee,

I will extol thy truth with the instruments of psaltery;

O God, I will sing to thee with the harp,

Thou holy one of Israel.

My lips shall greatly rejoice, when I shall sing to thee,

And my soul which thou hast redeemed;

Yea and my tongue also shall meditate

On thy justice all the day;

When they shall be confounded and put to shame

That seek evils to me.

We have already stated that the psalm is Messianic only in its typical meaning. But though the literal sense of the psalm refers to the time before Christ, it should be noted that even its typical fulfilment includes at least partially a verification of the very letter. Besides, the sufferer’s great trials lead to his real and lasting glory and his fullest happiness—a striking circumstance in all the prophecies referring to the passion of the Messias.

Section II. They Will Hunt After the Soul of the Just

PS. 93 (94)

1. STRUCTURE OF THE PSALM.—According to the analysis of Prof. Bickell, the psalm consists of twelve stanzas, each of which contains four heptasyllabic lines. The learned author is in doubt whether the tenth verse of the psalm, as we have it now, is incomplete, or whether the eleventh verse should be wholly omitted as a prosaic gloss. If this latter conjecture be admitted, the psalm numbers twenty-two verses, and may be classed among the alphabetized pieces of sacred poetry. The poem contains general threats against the wicked: in vv. 1–7 they abuse their power; in vv. 8–11 they flatter themselves that God does not notice their evil deeds; in vv. 12–15 the hope of the oppressed is described; and in vv. 16–23 their deliverance is celebrated.

2. AUTHORSHIP OF THE PSALM.—a. The psalm was written by David. Reasons: 1. Though the Hebrew text has no title, the LXX. version reads “a psalm for David himself, on the fourth day of the week.” The second part of the superscription points to the liturgical use of the psalm in the temple, and this testimony is confirmed by the Jewish tradition as preserved in the Talmud. In fact the tradition adds the reason why this psalm was reserved for the fourth day of the week: it treats of God’s vengeance on the wicked, and these latter are especially those who worship the sun, the moon, and the stars, all of which were created on the fourth day of the week. But it is the first part of the title that interests us especially for the present. In the course of this work we have seen repeatedly that the phrase “a psalm for David” really means “a psalm of David” or “written by David.” 2. The psalm fits well into the time of David’s persecution by Saul and the adherents of the tribe of Benjamin. For in vv. 8–10 the psalmist addresses “the senseless” among his own people; on the same occasion there were slain a number of widows and fatherless (v. 6), if we may trust the contention of Schegg; and the throne of Saul may well be termed a “seat of iniquity” (v. 20).

b. The psalm refers to the persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes (Olshausen, Patrizi), or to the Persian oppression (Delitzsch), or to the Chaldean inroad (Hengstenberg), or, finally, to the difficulties indicated by Is. 1:23; 10:2 (Thalhofer, Elliott, Jennings, Lesètre). Reasons: 1. The psalm complains of the exactions of the judges and the princes; now David could not have written such complaints either at the time when Saul still reigned, for he was no tyrant, or at the time of Absolom’s rebellion, for he professed to administer justice more faithfully and promptly than his royal father had done. 2. Besides, the enemies of whom the writer treats in vv. 8–10 appear to belong to foreign nations, and not to Israel itself. Hence, the occasion must have been some such public calamity as was brought on the Israelites by the Persians, the Chaldeans, or by king Antiochus. It must be added here that those who refer the psalm to the situation described in Is. 1:23; 10:2, deny that the enemies of whom the psalmist treats are foreigners; on the contrary, they insist on their belonging to the Israelite nation. And since they admit the first argument advanced against the Davidic authorship, they have recourse to the peculiar view advocated by Lesètre and his adherents.

While the arguments advanced for the early origin of the psalm on the one hand, and for its late composition on the other, are not conclusive, yet they are solid enough to merit serious reflection. Though granting the probability of the view which defends the Davidic origin of the psalm, we believe that the other opinion is defended by better arguments.

3. MESSIANIC CHARACTER OF THE PSALM.—a. Since the Jewish people typified Christ, it cannot be denied that an institution so important as the judicial office in the Synagogue is typically connected with those who sat in judgment on Jesus Christ. If, then, the psalm may be considered as a general prediction of the unjust judges in their proceedings against the Church, it must surely apply with much more reason to the judges of Christ himself. b. This Messianic reference of the psalm is confirmed by its position in the psalter. Its connection with the preceding psalm, which is evidently Messianic, is probably the following: The prediction of the Messianic reign in Ps. 92 suggests the earnest prayer for the hastening of his coming for the purpose of taking vengeance on his enemies and avenging the blood of his servants (Ps. 93; cf. Apoc. 6:10; Deut. 32:35, 41, 43).

PS. 93 (94)

The Lord is the God to whom revenge belongeth,

The God of revenge hath acted freely;

Lift up thyself thou that judgest the earth,

Render a reward to the proud.

How long shall the wicked, O Lord,

How long shall the wicked make their boast?

How long shall they utter and speak wrong things,

How long shall all the workers of iniquity talk?

Thy people, O Lord, they have brought low,

And they have afflicted thy inheritance;

They have slain the widow and the stranger,

And they have murdered the fatherless.

And they have said: The Lord shall not see,

Neither shall the God of Jacob understand;

Understand, ye senseless among the people,

And, you fools, be wise at last.

He that planteth the ear, shall he not hear?

Or he that formed the eye, doth he not consider?

He that chastiseth nations, shall he not rebuke,

He that teacheth man knowledge?

The Lord knoweth the thoughts of men

That they are vain.

Blessed is the man whom thou shalt instruct, O Lord,

And shalt teach him out of thy law,

That thou mayst give him rest from the evil days,

Till a pit be dug for the wicked.

For the Lord will not cast off his people,

Neither will he forsake his own inheritance,

Until justice be turned into judgment;

And they that are near it are all the upright in heart.

Who shall rise up for me against the evil doers?

Or who shall stand with me against the workers of iniquity?

Unless the Lord had been my helper,

My soul had almost dwelt in hell.

If I said: My foot is moved,

Thy mercy, O Lord, assisted me;

According to the multitude of my sorrows in my heart,

Thy comforts have given joy to my soul.

Doth the seat of iniquity stick to thee

Who framest labor in commandment?

They will hunt after the soul of the just,

And will condemn innocent blood.

But the Lord is my refuge,

And my God the help of my hope;

And he will render to them their iniquity; and in their malice

He will destroy them, yea, the Lord our God will destroy them.

The thorough knowledge which the psalmist displays concerning the dispensation of divine providence in regulating the fortunes of the just and the sinners, and also regarding the purifying effects of suffering on the soul of the just, has led certain authors to claim for the psalm a late authorship. We need not state that this argument rests on a false assumption. Cf. III. Noct. of Office for Good Friday.

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