The Fathers on Psalm 65

This post is part of an ongoing series offering translations of various early Church father’s commentaries on the Psalms.

Psalm 65

To you we owe our hymn of praise,
O God on Zion;
To you our vows must be fulfilled,
you who hear our prayers.
To you all flesh must come
with its burden of wicked deeds.
We are overcome by our sins;
only you can pardon them.
Blessed the one whom you will choose and bring
to dwell in your courts.
May we be filled with the good things of your house,
your holy temple!

You answer us with awesome deeds of justice,
O God our savior,
The hope of all the ends of the earth
and of those far off across the sea.
You are robed in power,
you set up the mountains by your might.
You still the roaring of the seas,
the roaring of their waves,
the tumult of the peoples.
Distant peoples stand in awe of your marvels;
the places of morning and evening you make resound with joy.
You visit the earth and water it,
make it abundantly fertile.
God’s stream is filled with water;
you supply their grain.
Thus do you prepare it:
you drench its plowed furrows,
and level its ridges.
With showers you keep it soft,
blessing its young sprouts.
You adorn the year with your bounty;
your paths drip with fruitful rain.
The meadows of the wilderness also drip;
the hills are robed with joy.
The pastures are clothed with flocks,
the valleys blanketed with grain;
they cheer and sing for joy.

Athanasius: “Whenever you want to praise the Lord, sing the words in Psalm 65.”[1]

Pseudo-Athanasius: In this psalm David introduces the person of those who believed from among the Gentiles, who previously were without fruit but became fruitful through belief in Christ. Those who no longer call on sticks and stones and devils, but call on the God worthy of praise and to whom vows are performed. Clearly to you we owe our hymn of praise, O God on Zion; to you our vows must be fulfilled in Zion and Jerusalem, his holy church— To you all flesh must come, by all flesh that comes to him through the call of the gospel. We are overcome by our sins; only you can pardon them. Blessed the one whom you will choose and bring to dwell in your courts. May we be filled with the good things of your house, your holy temple! They also supplicate him to absolve them from their former error and impieties, so that they may thus dwell in his court and be filled with the blessings of his holy house, admirable for its righteousness. You answer us with awesome deeds of justice, O God our savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of those far off across the sea. For he is the Savior and hope of all the ends of the earth. You are robed in power, you set up the mountains by your might. You still the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, the tumult of the peoples. Hence he expelled crowds of demons, which he calls mountains and peoples tossed about. You visit the earth and water it, make it abundantly fertile. God’s stream is filled with water; you supply their grain. And he visited it by his coming and intoxicated it by the abundance of the gifts of the river—his gospel. These, having been prepared of old—Thus do you prepare it: you drench its plowed furrows, and level its ridges. With showers you keep it soft, blessing its young sprouts—finally were cast as in furrows in the depths of the hearts of those who believed. You adorn the year with your bounty; your paths drip with fruitful rain. In the form of rain on the fleece, it fell on our rational ground and made it bring forth spiritual fruit, which henceforth blesses the crown of gladness with which the saints will be crowned in the end. The meadows of the wilderness also drip; the hills are robed with joy. The pastures are clothed with flocks, the valleys blanketed with grain; they cheer and sing for joy. These he calls the beauties of the desert, even hills and rams of sheep. For it is the true church from among the Gentiles, which was the empty desert but by divine grace has been filled with fatness and exultation and has been adorned with experienced interpreters and true clergy, especially when in the resurrection they will put on immortality and incorruptibility and together raise to him praise and confession.[2]


[1] Benjamin Wayman. Make the Words Your Own: An Early Christian Guide to the Psalms (Brewster, M.A.: Paraclete Press: 2014), 116.

[2] Syriac. CSCO 387, SYRI 168 V, pg 39-40. Cx. PG 27 for Greek and Latin.

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