Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Psalm 2 - v10 - On ruling ourselves and overcoming faults

1426 Meister Francke Die Anbetung der Könige anagoria.JPG
1426 Meister Francke Die Anbetung der Könige anagoria

Et nunc, reges, intellígite: * erudímini, qui judicátis terram. 
nunc ergo reges intellegite erudimini iudices terrae 
καὶ νῦν βασιλεῖς σύνετε παιδεύθητε πάντες οἱ κρίνοντες τὴν γῆν

Et (and) nunc (now), reges (kings), intellígite (understand[imp]): erudímini (be instructed), qui (who) judicátis (you judge) terram (the earth)

intelligo, lexi, lectum, ere 3  to understand; to feel; be wise, exercise your understanding
erudio, ivi or ii, itum, ire  to teach, instruct, educate.
judico, avi, atum, are  to judge + dat. or acc; to punish; to do justice to, to relieve from wrong.;

And now, Kings, understand: be instructed you who judge the earth.
Now therefore understand, ye kings: be instructed, all ye that judge the earth.
Now therefore ye kings, be wise: take heed, ye judges of the earth.
Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth.
Be wise now therefore, O ye kings; be learned, ye that are judges of the earth.
Princes, take warning; learn your lesson, you that rule the world.
Now, O kings, understand, take warning, rulers of the earth;

Leaders take note

Given the context of the earlier verses, the Theologians (such as Aquinas, Bellarmine and Liguori) all, unsurprisingly, interpret this verse as an injunction to leaders.  St Thomas Aquinas sees the verse as directed at both the executive and judicial arms of government:
...there is a twofold degree. General government is committed to some, who are called kings, while particular judgment is entrusted to others, and these are called judges.
Kings (or their equivalents), he suggests, must first cultivate understanding:
Therefore the first are exhorted to understand. For the one who understands shall possess governments.
Judges, by contrast, are instructed to learn how to judge:
The second are exhorted to receive instruction, namely so that may acquire the form of judgment from others; and thus he says, Understand and receive instruction  - Hear, O kings, and understand, learn, O you that are judges of the ends of the earth.
Both, he argues, must be ready to listen and learn with humility, and to serve God through their work of judging. 

St Alphonsus Liguori summarises the message as learn your duties, and perform them well, remembering that Christ stands over you: 
That is to say: You, then, who are kings, and as such exercise the office of judges on earth, understand what is your duty, and learn to perform it well. We may add: Acknowledge the king and the supreme Judge whom God places over you, and think of serving him only.
We can be kings...

In contrast to the later interpretations, though, the Fathers interpret this verse as directed at all of us, since we must all learn to govern our passions and judge both our own actions and how to act in the environment we live in.  Cassiodorus, for example, summarises St Augustine's take on the verse by saying that:
By kings we must understand masters of vices, for they can both understand and with the Lord’s help fulfill the command.  Kings need not invariably denote men in the purple, for the term is applied also to  those who have private status, for example in Paul’s decription: Now you reign without us, and would to God you did reign, that we also may reign with you.
He argues that through right teaching, we are able to learn to overcome our faults:
One instructed is raise from an unformed state, in other words removed from ignorance and set in the boundaries of learning.  This is a good description for those who have now subdued their faults of the flesh, for they judge the earth well when after subjugation of faults they impose the precepts of the law on their bodies with the support of the Lord.  
Psalm 2: Quare fremuérunt Gentes
Douay Rheims
Quare fremuérunt Gentes: * et pópuli meditáti sunt inánia?
Why have the Gentiles raged, and the people devised vain things?
2  Astitérunt reges terræ, et príncipes convenérunt in unum * advérsus Dóminum, et advérsus Christum ejus.
The kings of the earth stood up, and the princes met together, against the Lord, and against his Christ.
3  Dirumpámus víncula eórum: * et projiciámus a nobis jugum ipsórum.
Let us break their bonds asunder: and let us cast away their yoke from us.
 4. Qui hábitat in cælis, irridébit eos: * et Dóminus subsannábit eos.
He that dwells in heaven shall laugh at them: and the Lord shall deride them.
5  Tunc loquétur ad eos in ira sua, * et in furóre suo conturbábit eos.
Then shall he speak to them in his anger, and trouble them in his rage.
6  Ego autem constitútus sum Rex ab eo super Sion montem sanctum ejus, * prædicans præcéptum ejus.
But I am appointed king by him over Sion, his holy mountain, preaching his commandment.
7  Dóminus dixit ad me: * Fílius meus es tu, ego hódie génui te.
The Lord has said to me: You are my son, this day have I begotten you.
8  Póstula a me, et dábo tibi Gentes hereditátem tuam, * et possessiónem tuam términos terræ.
Ask of me, and I will give you the Gentiles for your inheritance, and the utmost parts of the earth for your possession
9  Reges eos in virga férrea, * et tamquam vas fíguli confrínges eos.
You shall rule them with a rod of iron, and shall break them in pieces like a potter's vessel.
10  Et nunc, reges, intellígite: * erudímini, qui judicátis terram.
And now, O you kings, understand: receive instruction, you that judge the earth.
11  Servíte Dómino in timóre: * et exsultáte ei cum   tremóre.
Serve the Lord with fear: and rejoice unto him with trembling.
12  Apprehéndite disciplínam, nequándo irascátur Dóminus, * et pereátis de via justa.
Embrace discipline, lest at any time the Lord be angry, and you perish from the just way.
13  Cum exárserit in brevi ira ejus: * beáti omnes qui confídunt in eo.
When his wrath shall be kindled in a short time, blessed are all they that trust in him.

And follow the link for notes on verse 11 of Psalm 2.

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