Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Psalm 66: verses 1-2 - God the farmer of our souls

The opening verses of Psalm 66 invoke God's blessing on us.

Deus misereátur nostri, et benedícat nobis: * illúminet vultum suum super nos, et misereátur nostri.
Deus misereatur nostri et benedicat nobis; illuminet vultum suum super nos
Deus misereatur nostri, et benedicat nobis; inlustret faciem suam super nos.

 θες οκτιρήσαι μς κα ελογήσαι μς πιφάναι τ πρόσωπον ατο φ' μς διάψαλμα
Deus (God) misereátur (he may be merciful/let him be merciful)  nostri (to us) et (and) benedícat (he may bless)  nobis (us) illúminet (he may shine) vultum (the face) suum (his) super (over) nos (us)
et (and) misereátur (he may be merciful) nostri (to us)

misereor, sertus sum, eri 2 to pity, have mercy on.
benedico, dixi, dictum, ere 3  to bless, to praise, bless, give thanks to (God);  to be well pleased with, to take pleasure in (with acc or dat)
illumino, avi, atum, are , to make or cause to shine, to enlighten, illuminate. to shine forth, to shine.
vultus, us, m., the face, countenance;
super, with, on, upon, for, because of.
nos we

May God have mercy on us, and bless us: may he cause the light of his countenance to shine upon us, and may he have mercy on us.
God be merciful to us, and bless us; and cause his face to shine upon us.
May God show us grace and blessing, may His face shine upon us and He be gracious to us
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us,
God be merciful unto us, and bless us, and show us the light of his countenance, and be merciful unto us,

St Augustine's commentary on this psalm starts from the idea that this is a harvest thanksgiving song, but points to God's work in our souls as analogous to that of a farmer:

"When God blesses us, we grow, and when we bless the Lord, we grow, to us both are profitable. He is not increased by our blessing, nor is He lessened by our cursing. He that curses the Lord, is himself lessened: he that blesses the Lord, is himself increased. First, there is in us the blessing of the Lord, and the consequence is that we also bless the Lord. That is the rain, this the fruit. Therefore there is rendered as it were fruit to God the Husbandman, raining upon and tilling us. Let us chant these words with no barren devotion, with no empty voice, but with true heart. For most evidently God the Father has been called a Husbandman (John 15:1). The Apostle says, God's husbandry you are, God's building you are (1 Corinthians 3:9). In things visible of this world, the vine is not a building, and a building is not a vineyard: but we are the vineyard of the Lord, because He tills us for fruit; the building of God we are, since He who tills us, dwells in us. And what says the same Apostle? I have planted, Apollos has watered, but the increase God has given. Therefore neither he that plants is anything, nor he that waters, but He that gives the increase, even God (1 Corinthians 3:6-7)." 

Ut cognoscámus in terra viam tuam, * in ómnibus géntibus salutáre tuum.
ut cognoscatur in terra via tua, in omnibus gentibus salutare tuum.
Ut nota fiat in terra uia tua, in uniuersis gentibus salus tua.

το γνναι ν τ γ τν δόν σου ν πσιν θνεσιν τ σωτήριόν σου

The Neo-Vulgate follows the Masoretic text in changing the cognoscamus to the third person ‘That your way be known…’

Ut (that) cognoscámus (we may know) in terra (on the earth) viam (the way/path) tuam (your) in ómnibus (amongst all) géntibus (the peoples/nations) salutáre (salvation) tuum (your)

cognosco, gnovi, gnitum, ere 3, to know, see, learn, perceive, be come acquainted with.
terra, ae,   the earth,
via, ae, a way, road, path, street. God's way, God's policy, way of life
omnis, e, all, each, every; subst., all men, all things, everything
gens, gentis,sing., people, nation, the chosen
salutaris, e  a Savior, Helper, used of God;  help, saving help, rescue, salvation,

That we may know your way upon earth: your salvation in all nations
That men may know thy way on the earth, thy salvation among all nations
That we may know Thy way upon the earth, Thy saving power among all nations.
that thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving power among all nations.
that thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving health among all nations.

St Robert Bellarmine draws out the Christological significance of this verse:

"The reason why he so ardently longs for the light of God countenance is, that through that divine light we may, in the land of darkness know the way to God, to our country from which we have been so long exiled in darkness and the shadow of death; which way most undoubtedly is Christ himself, who says, "I am the way;" and not only the way, but the light through which it is to be known, of which Isaias 9, says, "The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: to the that dwelt in the region of the shadow of death light is risen." "Thy salvation in all nations" explains the first part of the verse, that the Savior may be known among all nations."

 Psalm 66: Deus misereátur nostri
In finem, in hymnis. Psalmus cantici David.
Unto the end, in hymns, a psalm of a canticle for David.
1 Deus misereátur nostri, et benedícat nobis: * illúminet vultum suum super nos, et misereátur nostri.
May God have mercy on us, and bless us: may he   cause the light of his countenance to shine upon us, and may he have mercy on us.
2  Ut cognoscámus in terra viam tuam, * in ómnibus Géntibus salutáre tuum.
3 That we may know your way upon earth: your salvation in all nations.
3  Confiteántur tibi pópuli, Deus: * confiteántur tibi pópuli omnes.
4 Let people confess to you, O God: let all people give praise to you.
4  Læténtur et exsúltent Gentes: * quóniam júdicas pópulos in æquitáte, et Gentes in terra dírigis.
5 Let the nations be glad and rejoice: for you judge the people with justice, and direct the nations upon earth.
5  Confiteántur tibi pópuli, Deus, confiteántur tibi pópuli omnes: * terra dedit fructum suum.
6 Let the people, O God, confess to you: let all the people give praise to you: 7 The earth has yielded her fruit.
6  Benedícat nos Deus, Deus noster, benedícat nos Deus: * et métuant eum omnes fines terræ.
8 may God bless us: and all the ends of the earth fear him

You can find the next set of notes in this series here.

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