Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
David. St. Peter attributes it to him, and gives us the key to this psalm, by applying (ver. 8.) to the traitor Judas, Acts i. 16, 20. (Berthier, T. vii.) --- Our Saviour seems to allude to it, when he styles Judas, the son of perdition, John xvii. 8. It may also have a reference to Doeg, or Achitophel, who were his forerunners. Ven. Bede thinks it was composed by the Machabees, against apostates. The Church used it in the deposition of bishops, and against usurpers of ecclesiastical goods: (Grotius) and, in times of ignorance, some thought hereby to discover thieves. The style is very vehement, (Calmet) containing the sentence pronounced by the sovereign judge against the reprobate. (Haydock)
Praise. Hebrew, "God of my praise," (Calmet) --- whom I always adore, under every dispensation of Providence. (Haydock) --- Yet the original may agree with the Vulgate, and Christ desires to be glorified, (John xii. 23., and xvii. 5.; Berthier) and styles his passion, his praise. (Theodoret) --- David appeals to God's judgment. (Calmet) --- Man. The Pharisees, &c., endeavoured to entangle Christ, Matthew xxii. (Worthington)
Cause. Or provocation. (Haydock) --- So Catiline gratuito potius malus quam crudelis erat. (Sallust.) --- The sanctity of Jesus Christ could not be overwhelmed, or hidden, (Haydock) even with the torrent of abuse thrown upon him.
Detracted. Hebrew and Septuagint, "calumniated," as [in] ver. 20., and 29. (Calmet) --- Prayer. Jesus Christ prayed for his enemies, (Luke xxiii. 34.; Flaminius) and did many good works for the benefit of all, John x. 32., and Acts x. 38. David had also signalized himself in the defence of his country, and yet was banished. He shews that he was animated with the perfect spirit of the gospel, though the law permitted retaliation, Exodus xxi. 24. (Calmet)
Set thou the sinner over him, &c. Give to the devil, that arch-sinner, power over him: let him enter into him, and possess him. The imprecations contained in the thirty verses of this psalm, are opposed to the thirty pieces of silver for which Judas betrayed our Lord: and are to be taken as prophetic denunciations of the evils that should befall the traitor, and his accomplices, the Jews; and not properly as curses. (Challoner) --- The devil entered into Judas, (John xiii. 2.; Calmet) who hung himself in despair. (Worthington) --- The Jews were abandoned over to cruel masters, as Doeg and Achitophel presently perished, Psalm li. 5. It was customary at trials, for a satan, or "adversary," to be stationed at the right hand of the accused, Zacharias iii. 1. (Calmet)
Prayer. Or may his supplication to judges for pardon irritate them, (Calmet) and let it not move God to mercy any more than a sin. (Menochius) --- God rejects such prayers as are destitute of the proper conditions, as he did those of Antiochus, (St. Augustine; Calmet) and they are a fresh sin. (Berthier) --- Yet the prayer of a sinner is not so, when he acts sincerely. (Haydock)
PSALM CVIII. (DEUS LAUDEM MEAM.)
David, in the person of Christ, prayeth against his persecutors; more especially the traitor Judas; foretelling and approving his just punishment for his obstinacy in sin and final impenitence.
Bishopric. Greek: Episkopen, "inspection or pre-eminence" of any kind. Judas lost his spiritual office, and the Jews all dominion in a very short time. St. Peter quotes this passage, [Acts i. 20.] and only the Socinians will assert that he does not adhere to the literal sense. (Berthier) --- The apostleship (Worthington) was given to St. Matthias. (Calmet) --- The priesthood of Aaron was forced to give place to that of Melchisedech. (Menochius)
Wisdom. Judas was married, (St. Augustine) and stole for his family; (Lyranus) though as the Scripture is silent, St. Chrysostom believes the contrary. (Menochius) --- The synagogue being rejected, the Jews are in a manner orphans. (Calmet) --- The posterity of persecutors prosper not long. (Worthington) --- All sorts of imprecations are used that some may fall upon the guilty. (Genebrard) (Menochius)
Out. Hebrew, "seek." St. Jerome, "be sought after," which implies that the are rejected. (Houbigant) --- The being reduced to beg, is terrible to one who has been brought up in a better manner. --- Dwellings. Septuagint (Menochius) and St. Jerome, "ruins." The Jews were forbidden to weep over the ruins of Jerusalem, and are become vagabonds. (Calmet)
Usurer. The Romans forced the miserable Jews to pay taxes, and Domitian banished them from Rome, to live in a wood, where their furniture was only a basket and some hay, and their wives came to beg.Cophino fænoque relicto
Arcanam Judæa tremens mendicat in aurem. (Juvenal, Sat. xi. 540.) (Calmet)
--- At the last siege, some of their bodies were ripped open, to discover the gold which they might have swallowed. (Josephus, Jewish Wars vi. 15.) See Deuteronomy xxiv. 10. (Menochius)
In one. Hebrew, "another." Let none remember them. The ruin of Jerusalem took place within forty years time. (Calmet) --- Arch-heretics are not long followed; their disciples make fresh discoveries. (Worthington)