Psalm 138
Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
David. Some Greek copies add, "a psalm or alleluia of Zacharias in the dispersion," when the Israelites were at Babylon. But Theodoret greatly disapproves of those additions, and explains this psalm of king Josias, while others refer it to David, though it may have no reference to any historical fact, being designed to praise the knowledge of God. (Calmet) --- It is the most beautiful and sublime piece in all the psalter. (Abenezra) --- Proved me. God makes trial of his servants, to let them know themselves, as all thing are open to him. (Worthington) --- Me. Houbigant supplies the omission in Hebrew, "hast known." --- Up. Or all the occurrences of my life, Lamentations iii. 63. (Haydock) --- The expression is similar to that of coming in and going out, Acts i. 21. This may be explained of Christ, whose sufferings and resurrection were foreseen. (Calmet) --- God sounds the very heart, Jeremias xvii. 9., and Romans viii. 27. (Berthier)

Off. Before they were formed. (St. Chrysostom) --- Line. Or the measure of my life and actions. (Calmet) --- Hebrew, "my lying down," alluding to hares, &c., which are followed to their resting places. (Houbigant) --- Some read, "my direction," (St. Hilary, &c.) or "limit." (St. Augustine) (Calmet) --- The utmost extent of my intention, and the words yet unuttered, are not unknown to thee. (Worthington)

No speech, &c., viz., unknown to thee: or when there is no speech in my tongue, yet my whole interior and my most secret thoughts are known to thee. (Challoner) --- Vatican Septuagint, "no evil speech." Aldus, "no deceit." (Berthier)

Last. Hebrew, "what are behind and before:" or, joining it with the sequel, "thou hast formed behind," &c., which seems not so noble. (Berthier) --- See Job x. 18. --- Chaldean, "thou hast afflicted me before and behind, and hast stricken me with thy hand." Hence the Rabbins have ridiculously inferred that God reduced the extraordinary size of Adam after his sin to 100 cubits! The sense of the Chaldean may be adopted, though the hand upon me, in Hebrew, may also signify the divine protection, Psalm lxxix. 18. (Calmet)

To me. Literally, "from me," ex me. Hebrew, "above me," (Haydock) or "more than I," (Houbigant) which seems little. "The knowledge which thou hast of me is admirable." (Berthier) --- To consider attentively the workmanship of man, we shall be filled with astonishment, (Menochius) as the Jews explain this passage, (Calmet) and as the Vulgate seems to intimate. (Haydock) --- The formation of the body, and its union with the soul, are truly astonishing. This gives the highest idea of the divine wisdom. (Haydock) --- By experience we are convinced that his knowledge surpasses our comprehension. (Worthington)

Face? or anger. (St. Augustine) (Chaldean) (Calmet) (Isaias xxx. 28.) (Menochius) --- The power of God extends every where, Wisdom i. 7. (Calmet) --- The third divine person is truly God, and immense. (St. Jerome) --- As God's knowledge comprehends every thing, so his presence reaches to all. (Worthington)


God's special providence over his servants.

Descend. Hebrew, "make my bed the grave or hell," Job xvii. 13. The living and the dead are equally in God's power. (Calmet)

Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary

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