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Bible Commentaries

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Psalms 80



Verse 1

For the wine-presses, &c., torcularibus. It either signifies a musical instrument, or that this psalm was to be sung at the feast of the tabernacles after the gathering in of the vintage, (Calmet) or on the feast of trumpets, on the 1st of Tisri, Leviticus xxiii. 24. (Eusebius) (Pin.) (Calmet) See Psalm viii. --- From the grape some good wine is extracted, and the rest is thrown away: so in this psalm we find the just rejoice, while the wicked complain, during the persecutions of the Church. (St. Augustine) --- Some Latin copies add, "on the 5th day of the week;" and Genebrard supposes that these additions are owing to the Jewish traditions, (Calmet) as they might sing this psalm on Thursday. (Haydock) --- We need not attempt to ascribe this piece to any particular time, though some have thought that it regards the captives, the translation of the ark, or the vocation of the Gentiles, &c. (Calmet) --- It is very beautiful. (Berthier)

Verse 4

New moon of Tisri, Leviticus xxiii. 24. --- Noted. Hebrew, "in the obscure, in the day of our solemnity." (Calmet) --- Protestants, "in the time appointed, on our solemn feast-day." Cose may denote "obscure or appointed;" (St. Jerome) "in the middle of the month;" (Haydock) which alludes to the feast of tabernacles, when the Jews dwelt under the shade of tents, made of branches. This was esteemed "the most holy and greatest" of their festivals. (Josephus, [Antiquities?] viii. 2.) (Numbers xxix. 12., and Proverbs vii. 20.) (Calmet) --- It may also be explained of the new moon of Tisri, (Menochius) when the people were admonished of the beginning of the civil year, or of the three great festivals to be then celebrated, perhaps (Haydock) in memory of the world's creation, at that season. (Berthier) --- How carefully ought we not, therefore, to celebrate the Christian holidays, which are instituted to excite our gratitude for greater benefits! (Haydock) --- The days of the new moons (Numbers xxviii. 11.) were consecrated, to acknowledge God's constant providence; and that of Tisri in particular, (Numbers xxix. 1.) to thank him for the preservation of Isaac, Genesis xxii. 18. (Worthington) --- But the Lord's day reminds us not only of the world's creation, but also of its redemption, &c., Romans iv. 25. (Berthier)

Verse 5

Jacob. It is a duty which we owe to God, in obedience to his command. Hebrew may be, (Haydock) "a decree for the princes (gods) of Jacob." (Calmet) --- Protestants, "a law of," &c.

Verse 6

Joseph. Who represents all the family of Israel, as he took care of it. (Calmet) (Psalm lxxix. 2.) (Worthington) --- Not. The Israelites heard the voice of God at Sinai, (St. Jerome, &c.; Calmet) and for the last time, where forced to hear the insults of the Egyptians at their heels; (Haydock) whose language was barbarous to them, (Psalm cxiii. 1.; Menochius) and not well understood by all, as they had very little society together. Joseph spoke to his brethren by an interpreter. (Haydock) --- Some explain this of Joseph himself, when he first came into Egypt, (Chaldean. Bossuet) or of the Israelites, at their arrival there. (Vatable) --- But this agrees not with the Vulgate or Hebrew, (Haydock) the latter of which is very confused and incorrect, though it be adopted (Calmet) by St. Jerome: "I heard a tongue which I knew not, I withdrew," &c., (Haydock) or, making a small alteration, "God hast established this festival in Joseph, when He appeared in the land of Egypt to rescue his people: then said the Lord, I made him hear a language which he knew not, that I was the protector of my people, I will remove," &c. (Calmet) --- The authors of the Pin. disc. take this liberty, which would make the sense pretty clear. But the Hebrew means, "I heard," &c. Some not being able to understand this, have substituted, "He heard," with the German version. (Berthier) --- The ancient Greek interpreters seem to have read the same, as no variation is noticed. (Calmet) --- If, however, we must explain the Hebrew of St. Jerome, we must suppose that, "I knew not, means I condemned, as it often does; and God certainly reprobated the harsh language of the Egyptian task-masters, and came to deliver his people from oppression, Exodus ii. 25., and iii. 8., and v. 14. (Haydock)

Verse 7

Baskets. Hebrew, "brazen." (Montanus) --- "His hands shall pass from the pots." (Protestants) --- Dud, means also, "basket." (Haydock) --- The Hebrews were thus forced to carry mortar, (Menochius) straw, &c. (Worthington)

Verse 8

In the secret place of tempest. Hebrew, of thunder. When thou soughtest to hide thyself from the tempest: or, when I came down to Mount Sinai, hidden from the eyes in a storm of thunder; (Challoner; Exodus xix. 16.) or when I afflicted Egypt, (Exodus ix. 23.) and Pharao's army, Psalm lxxvi. 19. --- Contradiction, at Mara, or rather at Cades, where Moses betrayed some distrust, Exodus xxiv. 25., and Numbers xx. 12. (Calmet) --- After so many benefits, they still contradicted God, and would not serve him. (Worthington)

Verse 9

Testify. Instruct, or call heaven to witness our covenant. (Calmet) --- Man has free will, and may choose whether he will obey or not. (Worthington)

Verse 10

New God. Who must of course be false. (Haydock) --- Hebrew, "strange," Exodus xx. 2., and Jeremias xxiii. 23. (Calmet) --- An express law on this head was a great benefit, (Worthington) as most people had gone astray. (Haydock)

Verse 11

Fill it. I will grant all thy just requests, if thou be faithful. (Eusebius) (Calmet) (Worthington) --- God uses the title of Jehovah, "the Eternal self-existent Being." (Berthier)

Verse 13

Inventions. Ancient psalters read, "wills." This is the greatest (Calmet) of God's judgments, Romans i. 24. (Menochius) --- He sometimes permits a person to go on, that he may be disgusted with sin. Ut saturati vitiis vel sic agant pœnitentiam. (St. Jerome) --- We ought all to dread this root of bitterness, (Hebrews xii. 15.) which may cause us to resist God's grace, and to be abandoned by him, as the Israelites seemed to be, before their ruin came on. (Berthier)

Verse 15

Soon. Forsitan, "perhaps," (Haydock) does not here imply a doubt, (Menochius) but rather the ease and liberty (Worthington) with which God could have rescued his people (Hebrew) "in a moment." (Calmet) (Berthier)

Verse 16

Enemies. The faithless Israelites, (Calmet) or infidel nations. (Bossuet, &c.) --- Ever. Impenitent sinners shall suffer for ever. (Challoner) --- The Jews will scarcely be converted at last. (Menochius) --- For a long time God bore with their infidelities, and heaped favours upon them. (Haydock)

Verse 17

And. Or "though." This increases their ingratitude. --- Filled. Hebrew, "I will fill thee;" which reading few admit. St. Jerome agrees with us. (Berthier) --- Protestants, (16) "the haters of the Lord should have submitted (marginal note, lied) to him; but their time should have endured for ever. (17) He should have fed them, (v rather signifies "him;" Haydock) also with the finest of wheat, and with honey out of the rock, should I have satisfied thee." This sudden change seems rather abrupt, though God may have spoken either in the first or third person, from ver. 6. (Haydock) --- Rock. He fed them in the desert with manna, and the water seemed most delicious, as they were thirsty; unless he speaks of real honey. (Menochius) --- The promised land was very fruitful; but all this prefigured the favours which God bestows upon his servants, in the blessed Eucharist, 1 Corinthians x. 4. (Calmet) --- How many, like Judas, partake of them, and prove faithless! (St. Augustine)

Verse 19


An invitation to a solemn praising of God.


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Bibliography Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Psalms 80:4". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". 1859.

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