Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Psalm 5: Verses 7b-9

As we enter the New Year, today's verses of Psalm 5 provide a suitable plea for mercy and guidance from God, reflected in the hymn Lead Me Lord.

Verse notes

7b: Ego autem in multitúdine misericórdiæ tuæ but I, in the abundance of your mercy
Ego (I) autem (but) in multitúdine (in the abundance) misericórdiæ (mercy) tuæ (your)

abominor, atus sum, ari  to abhor, loathe, detest.
multitudo, inis f,  a large number, multitude. abundance, greatness.  as an adjective, great, mighty
misericordia, ae, f  mercy, kindness, favor, compassion, loving-kindness.

The Fathers offer competing interpretations of this phrase.  St Augustine, for example, suggests it points to our entry into community of the Church or more particularly in the Benedictine context, the monastery: "perhaps he means in the multitude of perfected and blessed men, of whom that city shall consist, of which the Church is now in travail, and is bearing few by few."  Bellarmine provides it rather as a statement of our reliance on grace, rather than our own efforts: " much as to say, relying on thy great mercy, and not on my own strength, to avoid sin."

8. Introíbo in domum tuam: * adorábo ad templum sanctum tuum in timóre tuo.
I will come into your house; I will worship towards your holy temple, in your fear.
Introíbo (I will go in) in domum (into the house) tuam (your) adorábo (I will adore/worship) ad (at/to/towards) templum (the temple or tabernacle) sanctum (holy) tuum  (your) in timóre (in fear of) tuo (you)

There are several possible ways of interpreting ‘ad templum’.  The use of 'ad' suggests that the psalmist could be referring to the tabernacle, the arc kept in the tent or temporary housing it was lodged in at David's time, suggesting that the phrase be translated as I will worship near or towards your temple/tabernacle. 

introeo, ivi or ii, itum, ire, to go into, to enter.
domus, us, f. a house, structure; a house, abode, dwelling place; Temple; ;a race, people, nation; the priesthood.
adoro, avi, atum, are,  to worship, adore
templum, i, n.  the Sanctuary or new Tabernacle on Mount Sion; a temple-like structure; heaven; a palace.
sanctus, a, um,  holy.
timor, oris, m. fear; an object of fear.

St Augustine interprets the reference to worshipping near, rather than in, the temple or tabernacle as an acknowledgment that we are on the path, making progress towards perfection, but have not yet reached it.  In the New Testament context, one can see it as a reference to Christ in the tabernacle, for, as Cassiodorus points out: "The holy temple is the Lord Saviour's body which the Church rightly worships because through it she has merited veneration; for He said of His body Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up". The last phrase of the verse instructs us that to advance in charity, we must worship with a sense of holy fear.  As Chrysostom comments: "Not like many of those at prayer, scratching themselves, yawning, bored, he is saying, but in fear and trembling."

9. Dómine, deduc me in justítia tua: propter inimícos meos dírige in conspéctu tuo viam meam.
Conduct me, O Lord, in your justice: because of my enemies, direct my way in your sight.
Dómine (O Lord), deduc (lead) me (me) in justítia (in justice) tua (your) propter (on account of/because of) inimícos (the enemies) meos (my) dírige (direct/guide/make straight) in conspéctu (in yur sight/presence) tuo (your) viam (way) meam (my)

The Vulgate makes the first phrase ‘direct my way in your sight’; the Neo-Vulgate corrects this to ‘direct in my presence your ways’.  There is an interesting debate behind this: Boylan, Bird and others assume that the meo and tuam have been inadvertently reversed; and New English Ttranslation of the Septuagint has adopted the NV reading.  Ladouceur notes, however, that the sense is similar and the original reading could be a deliberately parallel phrasing to the ‘deduc me’.

deduco, duxi ductum, ere 3, to lead or bring down;  guide, lead, conduct
justitia, ae, f justice, righteousness, innocence, piety, moral integrity
propter, on account of, by reason of, because of, from, for, for the sake of. therefore, on that account.
dirigo, rexi, rectum, ere 3  to direct, guide, set aright. (a) to prosper, to be established.
conspectus, us, m.  sight, presence;
via, ae, f a way, road, path, street. God's way, way of life,

There is a classic hymn based on this verse (joined to Psalm 4:8) by Samuel Wesley that can serve as our contemplation.  The lyrics are:  Lead me, Lord, lead me in thy righteousness; make thy way plain before my face. For it is thou, Lord, thou, Lord only, that makest me dwell in safety.

Psalm 5: Verba mei auribus

In finem, pro ea quæ hæreditatem consequitur. Psalmus David.
Unto the end, for her that obtains the inheritance. A psalm for David.
1 Verba mea áuribus pércipe, Dómine, * intéllege clamórem meum.
Give ear, O Lord, to my words, understand my cry
2. Inténde voci oratiónis meæ: * Rex meus et Deus meus
Hearken to the voice of my prayer, O my King and my God
3  Quóniam ad te orábo: * Dómine, mane exáudies vocem meam.
For to you will I pray: O Lord, in the morning you shall hear my voice
4  Mane astábo tibi et vidébo: * quóniam non Deus volens iniquitátem tu es.
In the morning I will stand before you, and I will see: because you are not a God that wills iniquity.
5  Neque habitábit juxta te malígnus: * neque permanébunt injústi ante óculos tuos.
Neither shall the wicked dwell near you: nor shall the unjust abide before your eyes.
6  Odísti omnes, qui operántur iniquitátem: * perdes omnes, qui loquúntur mendácium.
You hate all the workers of iniquity: you will destroy all that speak a lie
7  Virum sánguinum et dolósum abominábitur Dóminus: * ego autem in multitúdine misericórdiæ tuæ.
The bloody and the deceitful man the Lord will abhor.  But as for me in the multitude of your mercy,
8  Introíbo in domum tuam: * adorábo ad templum sanctum tuum in timóre tuo.
I will come into your house; I will worship towards your holy temple, in your fear.
9  Dómine, deduc me in justítia tua: * propter inimícos meos dírige in conspéctu tuo viam meam.
Conduct me, O Lord, in your justice: because of my enemies, direct my way in your sight.
10  Quóniam non est in ore eórum véritas: * cor eórum vanum est.
For there is no truth in their mouth: their heart is vain.
11  Sepúlcrum patens est guttur eórum, linguis suis dolóse agébant, * júdica illos, Deus.
Their throat is an open sepulchre: they dealt deceitfully with their tongues: judge them, O God
12  Décidant a cogitatiónibus suis, secúndum multitúdinem impietátum eórum expélle eos, * quóniam irritavérunt te, Dómine.
Let them fall from their devices: according to the   multitude of their wickednesses cast them out: for they have provoked you, O Lord.
13  Et læténtur omnes, qui sperant in te, * in ætérnum exsultábunt: et habitábis in eis.
But let all them be glad that hope in you: they shall rejoice for ever, and you shall dwell in them.
14  Et gloriabúntur in te omnes, qui díligunt nomen tuum: * quóniam tu benedíces justo.
And all they that love your name shall glory in you. For you will bless the just.
15  Dómine, ut scuto bonæ voluntátis tuæ * coronásti nos.
O Lord, you have crowned us, as with a shield of   your good will.

You can find the next set of notes on this psalm here.

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