Thursday, June 5, 2014

Psalm 148 verses 1-4

The opening verses of Psalm 148 are a call to praise God directed at the entire universe, starting with the heavens, and the holy angels.

Vulgate/Neo-Vulgate (V/NV)
Laudáte Dóminum de cælis: * laudáte eum in excélsis.
ανετε τν κύριον κ τν ορανν ανετε ατν ν τος ψίστοις

laudo, avi, atum, are  to praise, glorify, to boast, glory, rejoice
caelum, i, n., or caeli, orum, m.  heaven, the abode of God; the heavens as opposed to the earth; the air;
excelsus, a, um  high, august, sublime, towering aloft ; uplifted; heights, high places; billows, high waves

Douay-Rheims (DR)
Praise the Lord from the heavens: praise him in the high places
Brenton (from the Septuagint)
Praise ye the Lord from the heavens: praise him in the highest.
Coverdale (Cover)
O praise the Lord of heaven; praise him in the heights.
Grail (Psalter)
Praise the Lord from the heavens, raise him in the heights.

The psalm opens with an exhortation for all those in heaven to praise God.  Cassiodorus points out that this is in their nature anyway, it must be an exhortation to do so more intensively:

"Since all heavenly things continually pour out hymns to the Lord, we must examine why the prophet first urges that to be done which is unceasingly fulfilled. It is a human tendency to tell men, when we see them working in the fields: "Work on"; or when they are reading: "Read on"; or when they are building: "Build on." So this exhortation can be uttered, it seems, to intensify the will to work rather than to inaugurate it. But what are these heavenly things which are encour¬aged to utter praise? Surely the things capable of contemplation of the Lord with the most refined understanding, through His gift. Fired with perennial love, they together hymn their Creator with sweet rejoicing. Since they are immortal, so their praises are not bounded by any close. In the high places denotes the more worthy essences which human beings in their weakness rightly proclaim to be lofty in their eyes, since they themselves are forced down by weakness of the flesh. It is right that each and every thing praise its Maker, in accordance with the limitations of the gift which it has received."

Laudáte eum, omnes angeli ejus: * laudáte eum, omnes virtútes ejus.
Jerome from the Hebrew (JH)
Laudate eum omnes angeli eius : laudate eum omnes exercitus eius.

ανετε ατόν πάντες ο γγελοι ατο ανετε ατόν πσαι α δυνάμεις ατο

virtus, utis,   strength, power, might; an army, host; the angels.; the heavenly bodies, the sun, moon, and stars
Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his hosts.
Praise ye him, all his angels: praise ye him, all his hosts.
Praise him, all ye angels of his; praise him, all his host.
Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his host.

Bellarmine sees this verse as attesting to the superiority of the holy spirits:

"The angels, as residing in the supreme heavens, as it were, in the very palace of the eternal King, get the first invi­tation. The words "praise ye" are not used in a spirit of com­mand or exhortation, as if the angels were deficient in their duty, and needed such; it is spoken in a spirit of invitation and strong affection by the Prophet, who is highly excited and inflamed with the love of God, as if he said: Oh that all creat­ed things would praise their Creator! and you, ye angels, who hold the first place in creation, follow up the praise you daily offer him; "from the heavens," indicates where the angels reside, which he repeats when he adds, "praise ye him in the high places." This he explains more clearly when he adds who they are that dwell there, saying, "praise ye him, all his hosts," meaning the heavenly powers, and not the sun, moon, and stars, as some will have it; first, because nothing is more usual than such repetitions with David; secondly, the holy fathers are unanimous that these words refer to the Cherubim, Seraphim, and the other angels; thirdly, from Luke 2, where the angels are called "The multitude of the heavenly host;" and fourthly, from Psalm 102, where the angels are more clear­ly indicated, when he says, "Bless the Lord, all ye his hosts; you ministers of his that do his will."

Laudáte eum, sol et luna: * laudáte eum, omnes stellæ et lumen.
Laudate eum, sol et luna, laudate eum, omnes stellae lucentes.
Laudate eum, sol et luua : laudate eum, omnes stellae luminis.

ανετε ατόν λιος κα σελήνη ανετε ατόν πάντα τ στρα κα τ φς

sol, solis, m., the sun.
lumen, inis, n.  light; in the hymns, brightness, splendor
luna, ae, . the moon.
stella, ae,  a star.

Praise him, O sun and moon: praise him, all you stars and light.
Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all ye stars and light.
Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars!
Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all ye stars and light

St Augustine starts his explanation of the enumeration of the praises of God uttered by the entire universe:

"When can he unfold all in his enumeration? Yet he has in a manner touched upon them all summarily, and included all things in heaven praising their Creator. And as though it were said to him, Why do they praise Him? What has He conferred on them, that they should praise Him?"

Laudáte eum, cæli cælórum: * et aquæ omnes, quæ super cælos sunt, laudent nomen Dómini.
Laudate eum, caeli caelorum, et aquae quae super caelos sunt. Laudent nomen Domini :

ανετε ατόν ο ορανο τν ορανν κα τ δωρ τ περάνω τν ορανν ανεσάτωσαν τ νομα κυρίου

Caeli caelorum=highest heaven
Waters above the heavens are the firmament of Gen 1:7.

aqua, ae, water

Praise him, you heavens of heavens: and let all the waters that are above the heavens praise the name of the Lord.
Praise him, ye heavens of heavens, and the water that is above the heavens. Let them praise the name of the Lord:
Praise him, you highest heavens, and you waters above the heavens! Let them praise the name of the LORD!
Praise him, all ye heavens, and ye waters that are above the heavens. Let them praise the Name of the Lord,

What is meant by the highest heavens and the waters here?  St Alphonse Liguori points out that there are different opinions on this:  

"With regard to these waters there are various opinions. Some, as St. Bonaventure, Ambrose and Catharinus, etc., say that they are the crystalline heaven. Others, as St. Athanasius (Cont. Arian. or. 2, n. 28, E .), St. Basil (In Hexam. horn. 3), St. Ambrose (Hexam. 1. 2, c. 2, 3), St. John Chrysostom (In Genes, horn. 4), Bede (Hexam), etc., believe that these waters are above the firmament or starry heavens, and they cite for this opinion Genesis... And St. Augustine, who holds the same view, says: Major est Scripturce hujus auctoritas, quam omnis humani ingenii capacitas. The authority of this Scripture is greater than all the capacity of the human mind (De Gen. ad litt. 1. 2, c. 5, n. 9). This opinion is also followed by many modern interpreters cited by Tirinus. Others, in fine, such as Rupert, Lorinus, Mariana, etc., with the greatest number of modern commentators, understand by these waters the clouds that are suspended over the earth.  Bellarmine, who holds the second opinion with the holy Fathers, seems to us to refute in a solid way this last opinion; besides, we see that the psalm is divided into two parts, the first of which refers to the higher regions of the heavens. See, moreover, in the preceding canticle, verse 3, and in Psalm ciii., verse 3."

Psalm 148: Laudate Dominum de caelis

1 Laudáte Dóminum de cælis: * laudáte eum in excélsis.
Praise the Lord from the heavens: praise him in the high places.
2  Laudáte eum, omnes Angeli ejus: * laudáte eum, omnes virtútes ejus.
2 Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his hosts.
3  Laudáte eum, sol et luna: * laudáte eum, omnes stellæ et lumen.
3 Praise him, O sun and moon: praise him, all you stars and light
4  Laudáte eum, cæli cælórum: * et aquæ omnes, quæ super cælos sunt, laudent nomen Dómini.
4 Praise him, you heavens of heavens: and let all   the waters that are above the heavens 5 praise the name of the Lord.
5 Quia ipse dixit, et facta sunt: * ipse mandávit, et creáta sunt.
For he spoke, and they were made: he commanded, and they were created
6  Státuit ea in ætérnum, et in sæculum sæculi: * præcéptum pósuit, et non præteríbit.
6 He has established them for ever, and for ages of ages: he has made a decree, and it shall not pass away.
7  Laudáte Dóminum de terra, * dracónes, et omnes abyssi.
7 Praise the Lord from the earth, you dragons, and all you deeps:
8  Ignis, grando, nix, glácies, spíritus procellárum: * quæ fáciunt verbum ejus:
8 Fire, hail, snow, ice, stormy winds, which fulfil his word:
9  Montes, et omnes colles: * ligna fructífera, et omnes cedri.
9 Mountains and all hills, fruitful trees and all cedars:
10  Béstiæ, et univérsa pécora: * serpéntes, et vólucres pennátæ:
10 Beasts and all cattle: serpents and feathered fowls:
11  Reges terræ, et omnes pópuli: * príncipes, et omnes júdices terræ.
11 Kings of the earth and all people: princes and all judges of the earth:
12  Júvenes, et vírgines : senes cum junióribus laudent nomen Dómini: * quia exaltátum est nomen ejus solíus.
12 Young men and maidens: let the old with the younger, praise the name of the Lord: 13 For his name alone is exalted.
13  Conféssio ejus super cælum et terram: * et exaltávit cornu pópuli sui.
14 The praise of him is above heaven and earth: and he has exalted the horn of his people.
14  Hymnus ómnibus sanctis ejus: * fíliis Israël, pópulo appropinquánti sibi.
A hymn to all his saints to the children of Israel, a people approaching to him. Alleluia

You can find the next set of verse notes on Psalm 148 here.

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