Thursday, February 7, 2013

Psalm 110 vs 5: Generosity and staying the course

Verse 5 of Psalm 111 reads:

Jucundus homo qui miseretur et commodat; disponet sermones suos in judicio: quia in æternum non commovebitur.  
Acceptable is the man that shows mercy and lends: he shall order his words with judgment: Because he shall not be moved for ever

Looking at the words

Jucúndus (happy/pleasing/acceptable) homo (the man) qui (who) miserétur (has pity/shows mercy) et (and) cómmodat (lends/obliges)

This first phrase is difficult to translate.  Coverdale's is perhaps the most elegant rendition: 'A good man is merciful, and lendeth'.  Brenton's version from the Septuagint makes it 'The good man is he that pities and lends'; while the Monastic Diurnal is perhaps best in terms of providing a translation that brings us back to the beatitude that opens the psalm, making it 'Blessed is the man that showeth mercy and lendeth'.  

jucundus, a, um pleasing, acceptable; happy, fortunate; goodsweet, pleasant.
homo, inis, m  man, a human being; mortal man as compared with God; person, individual
misereor, sertus sum, eri 2, to pity, have mercy on.
commodo, avi, atum, are to lend, oblige, adapt one's self to suit another person.

dispónet (he arranges/directs) sermónes (words/affairs) suos (his) in judício (with judgment) = he directs his words/affairs with judgment (ie he is careful in what he says and does)

dispono, posui, positum, ere 3, to set in order, to arrange, dispose, prepare;
sermo, onis, m. words; a command, edict word, speech, saying, discourse;  scheme, plan, proposal
judicium, i, n.  judgment, decrees; law, commandment; the power, or faculty of judging wisely; justice.

quia (for) in ætérnum (forever) non commovébitur (he will not be moved/shaken/falter) =for he will not be moved forever = he will not ever falter

quia, conj. for, because, that. truly, surely, indeed;  nisi quia, unless, if not. ie But God does not keep our sins
aeternus, a, um eternal. Forever
commoveo, movi, motum, ere 2 to move, shake, agitate, disturb, waver, falter, hesitate, fail; tremble from fear,

Penetrating the meaning of the verse

Here we have a synonym for ‘beatus’ in the form of ‘jucundus’, or happy, this time applied to the person who does good in practical things: governing his own affairs with prudence, and giving to others with generosity.  

And his reward is that state we are granted in heaven, where are wills are fixed forever in the good.

But there is also, perhaps, a more immediate meaning in the second half of the verse: the just person is someone who persists in doing what is right, unmoved by the views of those of this world; he is not a reed that bends and breaks in the wind.

The psalm as a whole

1 Beatus vir qui timet Dominum : in mandatis ejus volet nimis
2 Potens in terra erit semen ejus; generatio rectorum benedicetur.
3 Gloria et divitiæ in domo ejus, et justitia ejus manet in sæculum sæculi. 
4 Exortum est in tenebris lumen rectis : misericors, et miserator, et justus. 
5 Jucundus homo qui miseretur et commodat; disponet sermones suos in judicio: quia in æternum non commovebitur.  
6 In memoria æterna erit justus; ab auditione mala non timebit.
7 Paratum cor ejus sperare in Domino, confirmatum est cor ejus; non commovebitur donec despiciat inimicos suos.
8 Dispersit, dedit pauperibus; justitia ejus manet in sæculum sæculi : cornu ejus exaltabitur in gloria.
9 Peccator videbit, et irascetur; dentibus suis fremet et tabescet : desiderium peccatorum peribit.

For notes on verse 6, follow the link here.

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