Thursday, July 17, 2014

Psalm 138 verses 8-9

The concluding verses of the first half of Psalm 138 bring us back to the mystery of Christ's Passion.

Si súmpsero pennas meas dilúculo, * et habitávero in extrémis maris.
Si sumpsero pennas aurorae et habitavero in extremis maris,
Si sumpsero pinnas diluculo, habitauero in nouissimo maris ;

ἐὰν ναλάβοιμι τς πτέρυγάς μου κατ' ρθρον κα κατασκηνώσω ες τ σχατα τς θαλάσσης

Si (if) sumpsero (I will take up) pennas (wings) meas (my) diluculo (in the early morning) et (and) habitavero (I will live/dwell) in (in) extremis (furthest part/uttermost part/extremes) maris (of the sea)

sumo sumere sumpsi sumptum 3 to take, take up, lay hold of, assume
penna, ae, f feather,  wing.
diluculum, i, n. the dawn, daybreak, the early morning,  morning twilight,.
extremus i n (substantive of extremus a um) the end, that which is outermost
mare, is, n., the sea, the ocean.

If I take my wings early in the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea: 
If I should spread my wings to fly straight forward, and sojourn at the extremity of the sea, 
If I should take to wing at dawn, and settle at the farthest sea
If I take the wings of the morning, and remain in the uttermost parts of the sea,
If I could wing my way eastwards, or find a dwelling beyond the western sea
If I take the wings of the dawn and dwell at the sea's furthest end,

Cassiodorus sees this verse as continuing the reference to the coming events of the Easter Triduum:

His wings represent the most effective speed of the divine Majesty, which raised His holy body to the realms above by the power of His divinity.  When you hear the word my, you must comprehend the glory of His own power.  So the sense is: when He has taken these wings of His before daylight, that is, at the time of the resurrection, and has dwelt in the furthest part of the sea, that is, beyond the furthest limits of this world, there His Father's hand will guide Him.  

Etenim illuc manus tua dedúcet me: * et tenébit me déxtera tua.
etiam illuc manus tua deducet me, et tenebit me dextera tua.
etiam ibi manus tua deducet me, et tenebit me dextera tua.

κα γρ κε  χείρ σου δηγήσει με κα καθέξει με  δεξιά σου

etenim (indeed/even) illuc (there/in that place) manus (the hand) tua (your) deducet (it will lead/guide) me (me) et (and)  tenebit (it will hold) me (me) dextera (the right hand) tua (your)

etenim, conj., a strong et; and, yea, indeed, truly;  as an adversative.
illuc, adv.  thither, to that place; there, in that place.
manus, us, f, the hand
deduco, duxi ductum, ere 3, to lead or bring down;  guide, lead, conduct
teneo, ui, tentum, ere 2, to hold, hold fast, seize.
dexter, tera, terum; the right hand

 Even there also shall thy hand lead me: and thy right hand shall hold me.
it would be vain, for even there thy hand would guide me, and thy right hand would hold me.
Even there Thy hand would seize me and Thy right hand take hold of me
even there also shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.
still would I find thee beckoning to me, thy right hand upholding me.
even there your hand would lead me, your right hand would hold me fast.

For Cassiodorus, this verse completes the thought on the meaning of Christ's Passion and Resurrection:

Then, to reveal their joint action, there follows..for the Father's right hand is the almighty Word, which will embrace for ages without end the humanity which was taken up and united with it....

Above all though, it can be read as reassurance for us that God is always there to guide and protect us, even at the darkest times in our life, as Chrysostom point out:

"So after mentioning the things of which Your knowledge astonished me, and celebrating his being's foreknowledge, creative power, providence, incomprehensibility, unsearchability, in turn he describes a further faculty of his, likewise full of baffling power if he were to seek it by human reason...that is, it is possible for people who encounter disasters not to be allowed to be ensnared by the disasters through right in the midst of them...Having mentioned the things I enumerated, and along with them not only the fact that he is present everywhere but that he guides and secures and protects..."

Psalm 138/1 – Domine probasti me
Vulgate (Numbering follows psalmody)
Douay-Rheims (numbering follows DR)
In finem, psalmus David.
Unto the end, a psalm of David.
Dómine, probásti me, et cognovísti me: * tu cognovísti sessiónem meam, et resurrectiónem meam.
1 Lord, you have proved me, and known me: 2 You have known my sitting down, and my rising up.
2  Intellexísti cogitatiónes meas de longe: * sémitam meam, et funículum meum investigásti.
You have understood my thoughts afar off: my path and my line you have searched out.
3  Et omnes vias meas prævidísti: * quia non est sermo in lingua mea.
4 And you have foreseen all my ways: for there is no speech in my tongue.
4  Ecce, Dómine, tu cognovísti ómnia novíssima, et antíqua: * tu formásti me, et posuísti super me manum tuam.
5 Behold, O Lord, you have known all things, the last and those of old: you have formed me, and have laid your hand upon me.
5  Mirábilis facta est sciéntia tua ex me: * confortáta est, et non pótero ad eam.
6 Your knowledge has become wonderful to me: it is high, and I cannot reach to it
6  Quo ibo a spíritu tuo? * et quo a fácie tua fúgiam?
7 Whither shall I go from your spirit? Or whither shall I flee from your face?
7  Si ascéndero in cælum, tu illic es: * si descéndero in inférnum, ades.
8 If I ascend into heaven, you are there: if I descend into hell, you are present.
8  Si súmpsero pennas meas dilúculo, * et habitávero in extrémis maris.
9 If I take my wings early in the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea:
9  Etenim illuc manus tua dedúcet me: * et tenébit me déxtera tua.
10 Even there also shall your hand lead me: and your right hand shall hold me.

And you can find notes on the second half of this psalm starting here.

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