Thursday, November 28, 2013

Psalm 129: verses 5b-6

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Today's verses of Psalm 129 focus on that most Christian of virtues, hope.

Notes on the verses

sperávit ánima mea in Dómino.
Anima mea ad Dominum 

λπισεν  ψυχή μου π τν κύριον

sperávit (it has hoped) ánima (soul) mea (my) in Dómino (in the Lord) 

The Hebrew Masoretic Text (MT) and Septuagint readings of this phrase are quite different.  In particular, the MT omits all reference to that particularly Christian virtue of hope (speravit). But without the verb, the verse makes little sense, hence its inclusion even in translations that normally follow the Hebrew, such as the Revised Standard Version.  

spero, avi, atum, are (spes), to hope or trust in

My soul has hoped in the Lord.
My soul has hoped in the Lord;
In his word is my trust.
and in his word do I hope.

St Robert Bellarmine's commentary on this verse points to the great Old Testament model of repentance and endurance under persecution, namely King David himself, as the model for our encouragement:

"David's example ought to be of great value to us; for he was in the depth of misery, whether we regard his sins or what he suffered for them. His sins were most grievous; he had been guilty of adultery, took the life of a most faithful soldier; offended that God who had bestowed a kingdom on him, the gift of prophecy, strength, beauty, prudence, riches on him. He was also in the depths of misery when he was constantly persecuted by Saul, and in daily danger of his life; and yet, as he did not despair; but rather clung to hope, he was delivered."

A custódia matutína usque ad noctem: * speret Israël in Dómino.
magis quam custodes auroram. Magis quam custodes auroram speret Israel in Domino
a uigilia matutina usque ad uigiliam matutinam. Expectet Israhel Dominum; 

π φυλακς πρωίας μέχρι νυκτός π φυλακς πρωίας λπισάτω Ισραηλ π τν κύριον

A (from) custódia (watch) matutína (morning) usque (until) ad (to) noctem (the night) speret (let it hope) Israël (Israel) in Dómino (in the Lord). 

Again here the two text traditions differ.  The Vulgate (following LXX) makes it 'from the morning watch unto the night'; the MT makes it a comparative (more than watchmen watch for the morning).  The neo-Vulgate reflects the MT rather than the more evocative Septuagint.

custodia ae f a guard, watch; watch; custody, prison
matutinus, a, um,  pertaining to the morning, early in the morning.
usque, adv., to, up to, as far as; till, as far as; to express an extreme degree.
nox, noctis, f  night.

From the morning watch even until night, let Israel hope in the Lord.
from the morning watch till night. Let Israel hope in the Lord
My soul fleeth unto the Lord before the morning watch, I say, before the morning watch. O Israel, trust in the Lord;
My soul [waiteth] for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: [I say, more than] they that watch for the morning.

The psalm now moves from the individual to the Church as a whole, attesting to the duty of the Church to watch and pray, to hope, until the world's end, as Cassiodorus explains:

"He is now untroubled as regards his sins, and proclaims to the people that they must hope in the Lord Christ throughout their lives, for He can transform the most troublesome sufferings of His Church into eternal joys."

Importantly, Cassiodorus interprets the morning to night references allegorically:

 The morning watch refers to that appearance of the Lord Saviour, when before the Jews who guarded the tomb He rose in the true nature of the body which He had resumed. Night denotes the close of this world; so the universal Church must continue to hope in the Lord until the world's end."

Psalm 129: De Profundis

Canticum graduum.
Canticum graduum.
De profúndis clamávi ad te, Dómine: * Dómine, exáudi vocem meam :
Out of the depths I have cried to you, O Lord:
2  Fiant aures tuæ intendéntes: * in vocem deprecatiónis meæ.
2 Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplication.
3  Si iniquitátes observáveris, Dómine: * Dómine, quis sustinébit?
3 If you, O Lord, will mark iniquities: Lord, who shall stand it.
4  Quia apud te propitiátio est: * et propter legem tuam sustínui te, Dómine.
4 For with you there is merciful forgiveness: and by reason of your law, I have waited for you, O Lord.
5  Sustinuit ánima mea in verbo ejus: * sperávit ánima mea in Dómino.
My soul has relied on his word: 5 My soul has hoped in the Lord.
6  A custódia matutína usque ad noctem: * speret Israël in Dómino.
6 From the morning watch even until night, let Israel hope in the Lord.
7  Quia apud Dóminum misericórdia: * et copiósa apud eum redémptio.
7 Because with the Lord there is mercy: and with him plentiful redemption.
8  Et ipse rédimet Israël: * ex ómnibus iniquitátibus ejus.
8 And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities

And for the next set of notes on this psalm continue on here.

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