Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
Psa 115:1 Hebrew Psalm cxvi. Ver. 10. Alleluia is not in Hebrew. There seems no necessity to join this psalm with the preceding, as the subject is not so much alike as that of many others, which are distinct pieces. St. Paul quotes two passages in their literal sense, (Berthier) as applicable to all who thirst after a future life. It may relate also (Haydock) to the captives returning, (St. Chrysostom; Calmet) to Ezechias, (Ven. Bede) or to the Machabees. (Theodoret) --- Exceedingly. We must not be deterred from professing our faith by any danger. (St. Augustine) (2 Corinthians iv. 13.) --- I never ceased to publish that I trusted entirely in thy promises, that we should be delivered (Calmet) in due time. (Haydock) --- I believed that God woud help me, and, as I ought to do, make profession of my faith, under the greatest tribulations. (Worthington) --- With the mouth confession is made unto salvation. (Haydock) --- I confess that there is a future world, (ver. 9.) though I do not see it, but remain in distress. (Menochius)
or Hebrew Psalm cxvi. Ver. 11. Excess. Septuagint, "ecstacy." Enlightened from above. If he had spoken thus by his own spirit, any one might have replied, that no dependance could be placed in what he said. We are all liable to mistake. (St. Jerome) --- Many explain it of David's "flight" before Absalom. Hebrew, "in my precipitation," (Calmet) or "astonishment." (St. Jerome) --- Liar. Weak and inconstant of his own corrupt nature, (Haydock) though not always guilty of lying. (Calmet) --- St. Paul contrasts this natural weakness with the veracity of God, (Berthier) and the preaching of his apostles, Romans iii. 4., and 2 Corinthians i. 17. (Haydock) --- In the midst of my afflictions, I professed that all man's help is vain, and I had recourse to God. (Worthington)
or Hebrew Psalm cxvi. Ver. 12. To me. I have deserved chastisement; how, therefore, shall I express my gratitude for God's innumerable benefits? (Worthington)
or Hebrew Psalm cxvi. Ver. 13. Chalice. I will submit to any afflictions, (St. Augustine) seeing they procure such an ample reward. I will unite my sufferings with those of Jesus Christ, (Haydock) and accept the great benefit of his blood, shed for mankind. (Worthington) --- Chaldean seems to have had this in view, calicem redemptionis levabo mundo venturo, and Houbigant explains it of Christ, who prayed that the chalice might be taken from him, (Berthier) but presently resigned himself to God's will. It may also (Haydock) imply, the cup of thanksgiving, which was used in pacific sacrifices, Psalm xxi. 27. Our Saviour followed this custom, when he instituted the blessed Eucharist, as (Calmet) the Jews do on solemn occasions, (Leo. iii. 7., and ix. 2.) The pagans had something very similar. Homer speaks of the "free bowl, or cup of liberty," (Iliad 2.) and Athenæus (i. 23., and ii. 2., and xv. 5.) of "the cup of Jupiter, the Saviour," in which, after tasting a little wine, water was mingled, with invocations of Jupiter, and all drank what they pleased. (Calmet) --- The custom of drinking healths might originate in the same jovial humour. (Haydock)
or Hebrew Psalm cxvi. Ver. 14. Pay. Hebrew adds, "now or surely." (Berthier) --- Vows. Voluntarily, (Worthington) which I could not do at Babylon, Psalm lxv. 13. St. Augustine and the ancient psalters omit this, perhaps supposing it to be taken from ver. 18.
or Hebrew Psalm cxvi. Ver. 15. Precious. I am ready even to make a sacrifice of my life, if God's glory should require it; for he esteems the death of the saints. (Worthington) (Berthier) --- He will not easily abandon them to destruction in this world, as the Hebrew implies, (Tirinus; Calmet) though this meaning is not certain, nor verified by facts; the just being often slain by the wicked. (Berthier) --- God rewards the sufferings of his servants; (Calmet) the psalmist will not therefore be deterred from paying his vows by the fear of death. (Menochius)
or Hebrew Psalm cxvi. Ver. 16. Handmaid. To be blessed, we must be in a state of grace, and children of the Church. (Worthington) --- Out of it, death itself endured for Christ would profit nothing, (St. Augustine) but only be "a punishment of perfidy." (St. Cyprian) --- No worship can please God, unless we be joined in communion with her [the Church], as the Fathers observe. (Berthier) --- The psalmist glories in being a servant of God for ever. (Calmet) --- Bonds. Of slavery, (Calmet) and sin. (Worthington) (1 Corinthians vii. 22.)
or Hebrew Psalm cxvi. Ver. 17. Praise. Or thanksgiving, Psalm xxvi. 6., and Leviticus vii. 12. (Calmet) --- Lord. There is but one, as there is but one faith. Without the latter, it is in vain to call upon God, Ephesians iv. 4. (Berthier) --- "Whosoever eats the lamb out of this house, (the Church) is profane." (St. Jerome, ep. 57. ad Dam.)
PSALM CXV. (CREDIDI.)
This, in the Hebrew, is joined with the foregoing psalm, and continues to express the faith and gratitude of the psalmist.