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

1. STRUCTURE OF THE PSALM.—According to the analysis of Prof. Bickell the psalm consists of sixteen stanzas, each of which contains four heptasyllabic verses. As to its contents, the psalm may be divided into the following parts: vv. 2–5 contain a prayerful description of the psalmist’s enemies and their malice as manifested in word and deed; vv. 6–15 give the imprecation of the psalmist against his enemies, or, as others with less reason suppose, the imprecations of the enemies against the psalmist; vv. 16–20 rehearse the crimes of the psalmist’s enemies; vv. 21–25 describe the pitiable condition of the psalmist, provoking God’s compassion; vv. 26–29 contain the psalmist’s prayer for help and his trustful assurance of being heard; vv. 30, 31 are a promise of thanksgiving for God’s help and mercy.

2. AUTHOR OF THE PSALM.—David is the author of the psalm. Reasons: a. The title of the psalm reads: “Unto the end; a psalm for David.” We have seen repeatedly (cf. Ps. 8) that the phrase “unto the end” means “to the chief musician,” and that “a psalm for David” means “a psalm of David.” b. St. Peter, in Acts 1:16, 20, refers to this psalm as being spoken by the Holy Ghost through the mouth of David. c. The history of David presents several occasions on which the psalm may have been pronounced, or at least to which the psalm may allude. We can hardly think that David alludes to his enemies taken collectively; for, though the psalmist speaks first of his enemies in the plural number, he speaks of one person only as soon as the imprecations begin. Nor is it probable that the psalm refers to either Saul or Achitophel; for David always respected Saul’s anointed head, and if he had spoken of Achitophel, he would have probably alluded to their previous intimate friendship. But there are two other enemies of David that may be well regarded as the objects of the imprecations contained in the psalm. Semei (Ps. 7) and Doeg (Ps. 51; cf. 1 Kings 22:9 ff.; 2 Kings 16:5 ff.) had offended the king so grievously, the one by his curses against him in his flight, the other by his murder of all the priests in Nobe excepting one, that the psalmist’s imprecations are to some extent justifiable.

3. MESSIANIC CHARACTER OF THE PSALM.—a. According to Acts 1:16, 20, St. Peter applies the present psalm to the translation of Judas’ office to another and worthier disciple. The apostle supposes in the same passage that the rejection of Judas has been described and predicted in Ps. 68:26, while he applies to the traitor a passage of Ps. 108 that appears at first sight to be of an entirely subordinate importance. But a less striking point of a type may prefigure the antitype. Besides, this circumstance only proves that the more pronounced features of the psalm certainly refer to the faithless apostle, since even the minor points are applied to him by the inspired speaker. b. Even apart from the express testimony of the New Testament, it is antecedently probable that David is the type of Christ not only in his glory and power, but also in his suffering and in his relation to his enemies. c. Some writers are of opinion that the literal sense of the psalm refers to the traitor Judas. Their only argument is the fact that the psalm contains imprecations which can hardly be justified when spoken by a mere man. But the literal application of these imprecations to Judas would imply that they proceeded from the mouth of Christ himself; and we can hardly suppose that an imprecation may be spoken by the God-man if it sounds too harsh in the mouth of his servant. d. The patristic references to the psalm may be found in Kilber’s Analysis Biblica, ed. II., v. ii. pp. 85 f.

PS. 108 (109)

O God, be not thou silent in my praise, for the mouth of the wicked

And the mouth of the deceitful man is opened against me;

They have spoken against me with deceitful tongues,

And they have compassed me about with words of hatred,

And have fought against me without cause; instead of making me

A return of love, they detracted me; but I gave myself to prayer.

And they repaid me evil for good,

And hatred for my love.

Set thou the sinner over him,

And may the devil stand at his right hand;

When he is judged, may he go out condemned,

And may his prayer be turned to sin.

May his days be few,

And his bishopric let another take;

May his children be fatherless,

And his wife a widow.

Let his children be carried about vagabonds, and beg,

And let them be cast out of their dwellings;

May the usurer search all his substance,

And let strangers plunder his labors.

May there be none to help him,

Nor none to pity his fatherless offspring;

May his posterity be cut off,

In one generation may his name be blotted out.

May the iniquity of his fathers be remembered in the sight of the Lord,

And let not the sin of his mother be blotted out;

May they be before the Lord continually,

And let the memory of them perish from the earth.

Because he remembered not to show mercy,

But persecuted the poor man and the beggar,

And the broken in heart to put him to death.

And he loved cursing, and it shall come unto him;

And he would not have blessing,

And it shall be far from him;

And he put on cursing as a garment.

And it went in like water into his entrails,

And like oil in his bones;

May it be unto him like a garment which covereth him,

And like a girdle with which he is girded continually.

This is the work of them who detract me before the Lord,

And who speak evils against my soul;

But thou, O Lord, Lord, do with me for thy name’s sake,

Because thy mercy is sweet, do thou deliver me.

For I am poor and needy,

And my heart is troubled within me;

I am taken away like the shadow when it declineth,

And I am shaken off as locusts.

My knees are weakened through fasting,

And my flesh is changed for oil;

And I am become a reproach to them;

They saw me, and they shook their heads.

Help me, O Lord, my God,

Save me according to thy mercy,

And let them know that this is thy hand,

And that thou, O Lord, hast done it.

They will curse, and thou wilt bless; let them that rise up against me

Be confounded, but thy servant shall rejoice;

Let them that detract me be clothed with shame, and let them be covered

With their confusion as with a double cloak.

I will give great thanks to the Lord with my mouth,

And in the midst of many I will praise him;

Because he hath stood at the right hand of the poor,

To save my soul from persecutors.

1. We need not point out how the psalm was typically, and to a degree literally, fulfilled in the traitor Judas. Compare, e.g., v. 6, “may the devil stand at his right hand” with John 13:27, where Satan is said to have entered Judas. Again, v. 8, “his bishopric let another take” with Acts 1:20 ff., where Matthias is elected in place of Judas. The premature death of the traitor, the lasting remembrance of his black crime, the passing of his paltry gain to the strangers, are other fulfilments of the prophecy.

2. Since Judas is regarded as the type of all Christ’s enemies and of the persecutors of the Church, the imprecations contained in the psalm are, in a way, also fulfilled in the person of these enemies of the Lord. If it be said that the imprecations are too severe to agree with God’s loving kindness, it must be remembered that no threat is too severe in the mouth of a divine judge who created even hell for the punishment of the wicked.








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