Saturday, June 24, 2017

Christ is the gate: Psalm 126 v6

Inside the Gate, an East-West view

The final verse of Psalm 126 provides us with a beatitude:

Beátus vir qui implévit desidérium suum ex ipsis: * non confundétur cum loquétur inimícis suis in porta.
Beatus vir, qui implevit pharetram suam ex ipsis: non confundetur, cum loquetur inimicis suis in porta.
Beatus uir qui impleuit pharetram suam ex ipsis : non confundentur, cum loquentur inimicis in porta.
μακάριος νθρωπος ς πληρώσει τν πιθυμίαν ατο ξ ατν ο καταισχυνθήσονται ταν λαλσι τος χθρος ατν ν πύλ

Beátus (happy) vir (the man) qui (who) implévit (he is filled) desidérium (the desire) suum (his) ex (from/with) ipsis (them): * non (not) confundétur (he will be confounded) cum (when) loquétur (he speaks) inimícis (the enemies) suis (his) in porta (the gate).

The Masoretic Text differs from the Vulgate again here, giving a אַשְׁפָּה (ashpah), or an arrow case or quiver (hence the Jerome from the Hebrew and neo-Vulgate pharetram here); by contrast the Greek implies desire for them (the children of the previous verse) rather than the realisation.

beatus, a, um  to bless, make happy), happy, blessed, fortunate.
vir, viri, m., a man, any human being
impleo, plevi, pletum, ere 2  to fill, fill up, fill full;  to fill, to cover; to fill, satisfy.
desiderium, li, n.  desire, longing, wish, yearning
confundo, fiidi, fiisum, ere 3, to put or bring to shame, to discomfit.
loquor, locutus sum to speak, utter, tell
inimicus, i, m. (in and amicus), a foe, enemy
porta, ae, , a gate, city-gate
pharetra , ae, f., a quiver for holding arrows

Blessed is the man that has filled the desire with them; he shall not be confounded when he shall speak to his enemies in the gate
Blessed is the man who shall satisfy his desire with them: they shall not be ashamed when they shall speak to their enemies in the gates.
Blessed is the man that hath his quiver filled with them: he shall not be ashamed, when he speaketh with his enemies in the gate.
Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them! He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate.
Happy, whose quiver is well filled with these; their cause will not be set aside when they plead against their enemies at the gate.
O the happiness of the man who has filled his quiver with these arrows! He will have no cause for shame when he disputes with his foes in the gateways.

St John Chrysostom notes the existence of both text variants in his commentary and suggests that the significance of the quiver is that God will arm and aid the person who labours with and for him, equipping us to meet the enemy 'with great manly vigor, with splendid appearance, self-confident, in battle array, since in all these ways God demonstrates his support of them'.   He notes that:
The acme of good things, after all, and the pinnacle of blessedness is to be able finally to be set in order of battle with the Lord's help.  Hence at this point he also concluded his words, instructing everyone to seek out before everything else this proper order and be resplendent in it. Accordingly, let us also make it our endeavor, so that we may attain to the everlasting goods, thanks to the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom with the Father and the Holy Spirit be the glory for ages of ages.
St Augustine's commentary by contrast starts firmly from the Septuagint tradition, and points us to the message of Christ's death on the cross which this hour of the Office remembers.  It is not earthly fame that counts, not earthly rewards we should see, but rather we must seek to convert he suggests.  The starting point is to embrace our own cross he argues:
Well, my brethren, who fills his desire from them? Who loves not the world. He who is filled with the desire of the world, has no room for that to enter which they have preached. Pour forth what you carry, and become fit for that which you have not. That is, you desire riches: you can not fill your desire from them: you desire honours upon earth, you desire those things which God has given even unto beasts of burden, that is, temporal pleasure, bodily health, and the like; you will not fulfil your desire from them....
Speaking to enemies at the gate, he suggests, is not being ashamed to preach Christ:
If he be confident, let him speak in the gate; as it is said of Wisdom, She cries at the gates, at the entry of the city.  As long as they hold unto righteousness in innocency, they shall not be ashamed: this is to preach at the gate. And who is he who preaches at the gate? He who preaches in Christ; because Christ is the gate whereby we enter into that city. ...

Psalm 126: Nisi Dominus 
Canticum graduum Salomonis.
A gradual canticle of Solomon.
1.  Nisi Dominus aedificaverit domum:*
 in vanum laboraverunt qui aedificant eam.
Unless the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it.
2.  Nisi Dominus custodierit civitatem:*
frustra vigilat qui custodit eam.
Unless the Lord keep the city, he watches in vain that keeps it.
3.  Vanum est vobis ante lucem surgere:*
surgite, postquam sederitis, qui manducatis panem doloris.
2 It is vain for you to rise before light, rise after you have sitten, you that eat the bread of sorrow.

4.  Cum dederit dilectis suis somnum:*
ecce hereditas Domini, filii merces, fructus ventris.
When he shall give sleep to his beloved, 3 behold the inheritance of the Lord are children: the reward, the fruit of the womb.
5.  Sicut sagittae in manu potentis:* ita filii excussorum.
4 As arrows in the hand of the mighty, so the children of them that have been shaken.
6.  Beatus vir, qui implevit desiderium suum ex ipsis:* non confundetur cum loquetur inimicis suis in porta.
5 Blessed is the man that has filled the desire with them; he shall not be confounded when he shall speak to his enemies in the gate

No comments:

Post a Comment