Monday, February 10, 2014

Psalm 134: verses 13-18

Verses 13-14 of Psalm 134 provide an introduction to a section on the uselessness of idols, a section that is almost identical to that contained in Psalm 113.  

Dómine, nomen tuum in ætérnum: * Dómine, memoriále tuum in generatiónem et generatiónem.
Domine, nomen tuimi in aeternum ; Domine, memoriale tuum in generatione et generatione.

κύριε τὸ ὄνομά σου εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα κύριε τὸ μνημόσυνόν σου εἰς γενεὰν καὶ γενεάν

Domine (O Lord), nomen (name) tuum (your) in æternum (forever) Domine (O Lord), memoriale (memorial) tuum (your) in generationem et generationem (from generation to generation).

memoriale is n memorial, remembrance
generatio, onis, f, a begetting, generating, generation "for ever and ever."

Your name, O Lord, is for ever: your memorial, O Lord, unto all generations.
O Lord, thy name endures for ever, and thy memorial to all generations. 
O Lord Thy Name endureth forever, Thy mercy O Lord for all generations
Thy Name, O Lord, endureth for ever; so doth thy memorial, O Lord, from one generation to another.
Lord, thy name abides for ever; age succeeds age, and thou art ever unforgotten.

The Navarre commentary on this psalm suggests that this and the next verse serve as reminders that redemption is an ongoing process: as Pope Benedict XVI commented on this psalm in a General Audience:

"On the one hand rises the figure of the living, personal God who is the centre of authentic faith (cf. vv. 13-14). His is an effective and saving presence; the Lord is not an immobile, absent reality but a living person who "guides" his faithful, "takes pity" on them and sustains them with his power and love."

Quia judicábit Dóminus pópulum suum: * et in servis suis deprecábitur.
Quia iudicabit Dominus populum suum et servorum suorum miserebitur.
Quia iudicabit Dominus populum suum, et in seruos suos erit placabilis.

ὅτι κρινεῖ κύριος τὸν λαὸν αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐπὶ τοῖς δούλοις αὐτοῦ παρακληθήσεται

Quia (for) judicabit (he will judge) Dominus (the Lord) populum (people) suum (his), et (and) in (into, to) servis (of the servants) suis (his) deprecabitur (he will be entreated).

deprecor, atus sum, ari,  to entreat, to be entreated, supplicated

For the Lord will judge his people, and will be entreated in favour of his servants.
For the Lord shall judge his people, and comfort himself concerning his servants. 
The Lord procureth justice for his people, and he is gracious to his servants.
For the LORD will vindicate his people, and have compassion on his servants.
For the Lord will avenge his people, and be gracious unto his servants.
The Lord defends his people, takes pity on his servants.

Cassiodorus points out that God has sent us many helps: great miracles, prophets, and even is own son. He is always open to our prayers of repentance.  Yet if we persist in hard-hearted obstinacy, we will surely be judged harshly.

Verses 15-18

Verses 15-18 are a slightly shorter version of Psalm 113:12-16.  The table below compares the two versions (italics indicates differences between them):

Psalm 113
Psalm 134
12  Simulácra géntium argéntum, et aurum, * ópera mánuum hóminum.
13  Os habent, et non loquéntur: * óculos habent, et non vidébunt.
14  Aures habent, et non áudient: * nares habent, et non odorábunt.
15  Manus habent, et non palpábunt: pedes habent, et non ambulábunt: * non clamábunt in gútture suo.
16  Símiles illis fiant qui fáciunt ea: * et omnes qui confídunt in eis.

15 Simulacra gentium argentum et aurum, opera manuum hominum.
16 Os habent, et non loquentur; oculos habent, et non videbunt.
17 Aures habent, et non audient; neque enim est spiritus in ore ipsorum.

 18 Similes illis fiant qui faciunt ea, et omnes qui confidunt in eis.

You can find detailed notes on these verses deriding the demons and other false gods of the pagans in the context of Psalm 113 starting here, but for here let Pope Benedict XVI's comments on the verses suffice:

"At this point, on the other hand, idolatry emerges (cf. vv. 15-18), an expression of a distorted and misleading religiosity. In fact, the idol is merely "a work of human hands", a product of human desires, hence, powerless to overcome the limitations of creatures.

Indeed, it has a human form with a mouth, eyes, ears and throat, but it is inert, lifeless, like an inanimate statue (cf. Ps 115[113B]: 4-8).

Those who worship these dead realities are destined to resemble them, impotent, fragile and inert. This description of idolatry as false religion clearly conveys man's eternal temptation to seek salvation in the "work of his hands", placing hope in riches, power, in success and material things.

Unfortunately, what the Prophet Isaiah had already effectively described happens to the person who moves along these lines, who worships riches:  "He feeds on ashes; a deluded mind has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, "Is there not a lie in my right hand?'" (Is 44: 20)."

Psalm 134 (135) – Laudate nomen Domini
1 Laudáte nomen Dómini, * laudáte, servi Dóminum.
Praise the name of the Lord: O you his servants, praise the Lord:
2  Qui statis in domo Dómini, * in átriis domus Dei nostri.
2 You that stand in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God.
3  Laudáte Dóminum, quia bonus Dóminus: * psállite nómini ejus, quóniam suáve.
3 Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good: sing to his name, for it is sweet.
4  Quóniam Jacob elégit sibi Dóminus, * Israël in possessiónem sibi.
4 For the Lord has chosen Jacob unto himself: Israel for his own possession.
5  Quia ego cognóvi quod magnus est Dóminus, * et Deus noster præ ómnibus diis.
5 For I have known that the Lord is great, and our God is above all gods.
6  Omnia quæcúmque vóluit, Dóminus fecit in cælo, et in terra, * in mari, et in ómnibus abyssis.
6 Whatsoever the Lord pleased he has done, in heaven, in earth, in the sea, and in all the deeps.
7  Edúcens nubes ab extrémo terræ: * fúlgura in plúviam fecit.
7 He brings up clouds from the end of the earth: he has made lightnings for the rain. He brings forth winds out of his stores:
8  Qui prodúcit ventos de thesáuris suis: * qui percússit primogénita Ægypti ab hómine usque ad pecus.
8 He slew the firstborn of Egypt from man even unto beast.
9  Et misit signa, et prodígia in médio tui, Ægypte: * in Pharaónem, et in omnes servos ejus.
9 He sent forth signs and wonders in the midst of you, O Egypt: upon Pharao, and upon all his servants.
10  Qui percússit gentes multas: * et occídit reges fortes:
10 He smote many nations, and slew mighty kings:
11  Sehon, regem Amorrhæórum, et Og, regem Basan, * et ómnia regna Chánaan.
11 Sehon king of the Amorrhites, and Og king of Basan, and all the kingdoms of Chanaan.
12  Et dedit terram eórum hereditátem, * hereditátem Israël, pópulo suo.
12 And gave their land for an inheritance, for an inheritance to his people Israel.
13  Dómine, nomen tuum in ætérnum: * Dómine, memoriále tuum in generatiónem et generatiónem.
13 Your name, O Lord, is for ever: your memorial, O Lord, unto all generations.
14  Quia judicábit Dóminus pópulum suum: * et in servis suis deprecábitur
14 For the Lord will judge his people, and will be entreated in favour of his servants.
15  Simulácra Géntium argéntum et aurum: * ópera mánuum hóminum.
15 The idols of the Gentiles are silver and gold, the works of men's hands.
16  Os habent, et non loquéntur: * óculos habent, et non vidébunt.
16 They have a mouth, but they speak not: they have eyes, but they see not.
17  Aures habent, et non áudient: * neque enim est spíritus in ore ipsórum.
17 They have ears, but they hear not: neither is there any breath in their mouths.
18  Símiles illis fiant qui fáciunt ea: * et omnes qui confídunt in eis.
18 Let them that make them be like to them: and every one that trusts in them.
19  Domus Israël,  benedícite Dómino: * domus Aaron, benedícite Dómino.
19 Bless the Lord, O house of Israel: bless the Lord, O house of Aaron.
20  Domus Levi, benedícite Dómino: * qui timétis Dóminum, benedícite Dómino.
20 Bless the Lord, O house of Levi: you that fear the Lord, bless the Lord.
21  Benedíctus Dóminus ex Sion, * qui hábitat in Jerúsalem.
21 Blessed be the Lord out of Sion, who dwells in Jerusalem.

And for the final part in this series on Psalm 134, continue on here.

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