The Fathers on Psalm 118

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

Psalm 118

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
his mercy endures forever.
Let Israel say:
his mercy endures forever.
Let the house of Aaron say,
his mercy endures forever.
Let those who fear the Lord say,
his mercy endures forever.

In danger I called on the Lord;
the Lord answered me and set me free.
The Lord is with me; I am not afraid;
what can mortals do against me?
The Lord is with me as my helper;
I shall look in triumph on my foes.
Better to take refuge in the Lord
than to put one’s trust in mortals.
Better to take refuge in the Lord
than to put one’s trust in princes.

All the nations surrounded me;
in the Lord’s name I cut them off.
They surrounded me on every side;
in the Lord’s name I cut them off.
They surrounded me like bees;
they burned up like fire among thorns;
in the Lord’s name I cut them off.
I was hard pressed and falling,
but the Lord came to my help.
The Lord, my strength and might,
has become my savior.

The joyful shout of deliverance
is heard in the tents of the righteous:
“The Lord’s right hand works valiantly;
the Lord’s right hand is raised;
the Lord’s right hand works valiantly.”
I shall not die but live
and declare the deeds of the Lord.
The Lord chastised me harshly,
but did not hand me over to death.

Open the gates of righteousness;
I will enter and thank the Lord.
This is the Lord’s own gate,
through it the righteous enter.
I thank you for you answered me;
you have been my savior.
The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.
By the Lord has this been done;
it is wonderful in our eyes.
This is the day the Lord has made;
let us rejoice in it and be glad.
Lord, grant salvation!
Lord, grant good fortune!

Blessed is he
who comes in the name of the Lord.
We bless you from the house of the Lord.
The Lord is God and has enlightened us.
Join in procession with leafy branches
up to the horns of the altar.

You are my God, I give you thanks;
my God, I offer you praise.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
his mercy endures forever.

Athanasius: “When you feel the need to give thanks, sing Psalm…118.”[1]

But if the Gentiles are honoring the same God who gave the law to Moses and who made the promise to Abraham and whose words the Jews dishonored, why are the Jews ignorant (rather, why do they choose to ignore) that what the Lord foretold in the Scriptures has been revealed in the world and appeared as if in bodily form, as the Scripture said: The Lord is God and has enlightened us; and again, He sent his Word and healed them;[2] and again, Not a messenger, not an angel but the Lord himself saved them[3]? Their state may be compared to that of someone insane, who sees the earth illuminated by the sun but denies that the sun illuminates it.[4]

Pseudo-Athanasius: Through this psalm the new people that was established from the people and the Gentiles is instructed to confess Christ and to call him alone succor. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, his mercy endures forever. First of all, he commands the former—those who come from the people—to begin confession, since they were called first through the preaching of the Gospel. In danger I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is with me; I am not afraid; what can mortals do against me? And they learn in tribulations to rely on and call ‘refuge’ no one else but him. All the nations surrounded me; in the Lord’s name I cut them off. They surrounded me on every side; in the Lord’s name I cut them off. They surrounded me like bees; they burned up like fire among thorns; in the Lord’s name I cut them off. I was hard pressed and falling, but the Lord came to my help. The Lord, my strength and might, has become my savior. For not only does he bring great relief to those who are afflicted for his sake, but he also brings them into the tabernacles of the just, in which the voice of exultation and salvation is heard. The joyful shout of deliverance is heard in the tents of the righteous: “The Lord’s right hand works valiantly; the Lord’s right hand is raised; the Lord’s right hand works valiantly.” For he is the Father’s right hand, which he stretched out to us, that by it we might be raised from the gates of death and he might open for us the gates of righteousness, in order that when we enter through them we may confess the Lord. This is the Lord’s own gate, through it the righteous enter. But the Lord’s gate—through which the just enter—is wisdom, justice, purity, and spiritual valor. When the just are beautiful in these virtues and are purified—that is, contented—through torments, they will enter in and see God, whom only the pure see. I thank you for you answered me; you have been my savior. And they will confess him who heard and saved them. The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. For he was our chief cornerstone, through which he bound the people and the Gentles, spiritually fashioning both of them into one new man. By the Lord has this been done; it is wonderful in our eyes. This especially showed his wonder, by which he destroyed death and made life and incorruption shine. And on the glorious day of his resurrection, he made us rejoice and exult, saying: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. We bless you from the house of the Lord. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord—that is, in the glory that befits God and in the dominion and greatness which surpasses all, when he comes to call every man and make him rejoice. Thus the prophets foretold concerning him: The Lord is God and has enlightened us. Join in procession with leafy branches up to the horns of the altar. The Lord is God and he has appeared to us, and he has made his house for those who have believed in him. For those who will also arise he commands a festival, as they are gathered in love and spiritual concord, so that because of their multitude they will reach as far as the horns of the altar and the Cherubim, who with their wings were veiling the mercy seat. You are my God, I give you thanks; my God, I offer you praise. We are also commanded to confess and exalt him as the true God, Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, his mercy endures forever. We declare that he is good by nature and his mercy is forever.[5]


[1] Benjamin Wayman. Make the Words Your Own: An Early Christian Guide to the Psalms (Brewster, M.A.: Paraclete Press: 2014), 125.

[2] Psalm 107:20 (LXX)

[3] Isaiah 63:9 (LXX)

[4] On the Incarnation 40, LCC 4:94. Εἰ δὲ τὸν Μωϋσῇ δεδωκότα τὸν νόμον καὶ τῷ Ἀβραὰμ ἐπαγγειλάμενον Θεόν, καὶ οὗ τὸν λόγον ἠτίμασαν Ἰουδαῖοι, τοῦτον τὰ ἔθνη σέβουσι, διὰ τί μὴ γινώσκουσι, μᾶλλον δὲ διὰ τί ἑκόντες παρορῶσιν, ὅτι ὁ προφητευόμενος ὑπὸ τῶν γραφῶν Κύριος ἐπέλαμψε τῇ οἰκουμένῃ καὶ ἐπεφάνη σωματικῶς αὐτῇ, καθὼς εἶπεν ἡ γραφή· «Κύριος ὁ Θεὸς ἐπέφανεν ἡμῖν», καὶ πάλιν· «Ἐξαπέστειλε τὸν Λόγον αὐτοῦ καὶ ἰάσατο αὐτούς», καὶ πάλιν· «Οὐ πρέσβυς, οὐκ ἄγγελος, ἀλλ’ αὐτὸς ὁ Κύριος ἔσωσεν αὐτούς.» Ὅμοιον δὲ πάσχουσιν, ὡς εἴ τις παραπεπληγὼς τὴν διάνοιαν, τὴν μὲν γῆν φωτιζομένην ὑπὸ τοῦ ἡλίου βλέποι, τὸν δὲ ταύτην φωτίζοντα ἥλιον ἀρνεῖται.

[5] Syriac. CSCO 387, SYRI 168V. Page 76-77. For Greek and Latin, cx. PG 475-80.

The Fathers on Psalm 116

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

Psalm 116

I kept faith, even when I said,
“I am greatly afflicted!”
I said in my alarm,
“All men are liars!”
How can I repay the Lord
for all the great good done for me?
I will raise the cup of salvation
and call on the name of the Lord.
I will pay my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people.
Dear in the eyes of the Lord
is the death of his devoted.
Lord, I am your servant,
your servant, the child of your maidservant;
you have loosed my bonds.
I will offer a sacrifice of praise
and call on the name of the Lord.
I will pay my vows to the Lord
in the presence of all his people,
In the courts of the house of the Lord,
in your midst, O Jerusalem.
Hallelujah!

Athanasius: “Do you have faith, as the Lord said, and do you believe the things you say while praying? Say Psalm 116:9-17.”[1]

When we read Lord, I am your servant, your servant, the child of your maidservant; you have loosed my bonds. I will offer a sacrifice of praise and call on the name of the Lord, we correctly understand that Solomon was a natural and genuine son, and do not consider him a servant just because we hear him so called. So also concerning the Savior, who is confessed in truth to be the Son and Word by nature, as the saints say, “Who was faithful to him that made him,” or if he says of himself, “The Lord created me,” and, “I am your servant and the son of your handmaid,” and similar claims. Let no one on this account deny that he is the true Son of the Father and from him. As in the case of Solomon and David, let them have a correct understanding of the Father and the Son.[2]

Pseudo-Athanasius: I kept faith, even when I said, “I am greatly afflicted!” I have believed, say the people who were summoned by Christ’s calling. And in addition, I spoke, saying: I shall please the God who saved me. I said in my alarm, “All men are liars!” But because I know that every man is false and not guiltless before God, I believe that he will strengthen and help me in my strivings on his behalf. So I may even meet death rejoicing because of his holy name. How can I repay the Lord for all the great good done for me? And by this I will compensate the true Lord like a servant, for by death I shall honor his death on my behalf. Dear in the eyes of the Lord is the death of his devoted. Lord, I am your servant, your servant, the child of your maidservant; you have loosed my bonds. I will offer a sacrifice of praise and call on the name of the Lord. By his death he loosed and cut me away from the bond of sin and death, so that now, not by sacrifices of blood, I will offer sacrifices of praise and confession to his holy name. I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people, In the courts of the house of the Lord, in your midst, O Jerusalem. Hallelujah! And I will render him spiritual vows, not as formerly in the temple in Jerusalem, but before all people in his holy churches—or rather, in the heavenly Jerusalem.[3]


[1] Benjamin Wayman. Make the Words Your Own: An Early Christian Guide to the Psalms (Brewster, M.A.: Paraclete Press: 2014), 214.

[2] Discourses Against the Arians 2.14.4. NPNF 2, 4:350. Ὥσπερ τοίνυν ἀναγινώσκοντες ταῦτα διανοούμεθα καλῶς καὶ ἀκούοντες δοῦλον τὸν Σολομῶνα οὐ νομίζομεν αὐτὸν εἶναι δοῦλον, ἀλλὰ φύσει καὶ γνήσιον υἱόν, οὕτως ἐὰν καὶ περὶ τοῦ σωτῆρος τοῦ ἀληθῶς ὁμολογουμένου υἱοῦ καὶ φύσει λόγου ὄντος λέγωσιν οἱ ἅγιοι· «πιστὸν ὄντα τῷ ποιήσαντι αὐτὸν» ἢ αὐτὸς περὶ ἑαυτοῦ ἐὰν λέγῃ· «κύριος ἔκτισέ με» καὶ «ἐγὼ δοῦλος σὸς καὶ υἱὸς τῆς παιδίσκης σου» καὶ ὅσα τοιαῦτα, μὴ διὰ τοῦτο ἀρνείσθωσάν τινες τὴν ἐκ τοῦ πατρὸς αὐτοῦ ἰδιότητα, ἀλλ’, ὡς ἐπὶ Σολομῶνος καὶ τοῦ Δαβίδ, διανοείσθωσαν ὀρθῶς περὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ καὶ τοῦ πατρός.

[3] Syriac. CSCO 387, SYRI 168V, pg.75-76. For Greek and Latin, cx. PG 27: 473-474.

The Fathers on Psalm 110

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

Psalm 110

A psalm of David.

The Lord says to my lord:
“Sit at my right hand,
while I make your enemies your footstool.”
The scepter of your might:
the Lord extends your strong scepter from Zion.
Have dominion over your enemies!
Yours is princely power from the day of your birth.
In holy splendor before the daystar,
like dew I begot you.
The Lord has sworn and will not waver:
“You are a priest forever in the manner of Melchizedek.”
At your right hand is the Lord,
who crushes kings on the day of his wrath,
Who judges nations, heaps up corpses,
crushes heads across the wide earth,
Who drinks from the brook by the wayside
and thus holds high his head.

Athanasius: “When you want to sing something concerning the Savior, you find such references in nearly every psalm. But you have especially Psalms 45 and 110, which make known his actual generation from the Father and his coming in the flesh.”[1]

If then the Arians suppose that the Savior was not Lord and King, even before he became man and endured the cross, but then began to be Lord, let them know that they are openly reviving the statements of Paul of Samosata. But if—as we have quoted and declared—he is the everlasting Lord and King, seeing that Abraham worships him as Lord and Moses says, “Then the Lord rained on Sodom and on Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven”;[2] and David in the Psalms, The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit on my right hand”; and “Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of your kingdom”;[3] and “Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom”;[4] it is plain that even before he became man, he was King and Lord everlasting, being Image and Word of the Father.[5]

Plainly, divine Scripture (which knows better than any the nature of everything) says through Moses, of the creatures, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”[6] But of the Son, the Scripture introduces not another, but the Father himself, saying I have begotten you from the womb before the morning star and again, “You are my Son, this day have I begotten you….”[7] If then he is a son, therefore he is not a creature; if a creature, he is not a son; for the difference between them is great, and son and creature cannot be the same, unless his essence is considered to be at once from God and external to God.[8]

Hilary of Poitiers

Meanwhile, I ask each one’s opinion about the interpretation of from him. Are we to understand these words in the sense of coming from another person (or from no one else) or are we to believe that he himself was the one to whom he was referring? They are not from another person, because they are from him, that is, in the sense that God does not come from anywhere else except from God. They are not from nothing, because they come from him, for a nature is revealed from which the birth is derived. He himself is not meant, because from him refers to the birth of the Son from the Father. Moreover, when it is pointed out that he is from the womb, I ask whether it is possible to believe that he was born from nothing, since the true nature of the birth is revealed by applying the terminology of bodily functions? God was not composed of bodily members when he spoke of the generation o the Son in these words: From the womb before the day star I begot you. He spoke in order to enlighten our understanding while he confirmed that ineffable birth of the only-begotten Son from himself with the true nature of the godhead, in order that he might impact to the faculties of our human nature the knowledge of the faith concerning his divine attributes in a manner adapted to our human nature, in order that he might teach us by the expression from the womb that the existence of his Only-Begotten was not a creation from nothing, but a natural birth from himself. Finally, has he left us any doubt whatsoever that his words I came forth from the Father and have come are to be understood in the sense that he is God, that his being does not come from anywhere else except the Father? When he came forth from the Father, he did not have a different nature or no nature, but he bears testimony to the fact that he is his author from whom, as he says, he has gone forth.[9]

Pseudo-Athanasius: Through this psalm David indicates the Lord’s ascension to heaven—The Lord says to my lord: “Sit at my right hand, while I make your enemies your footstool”—his sitting at the right hand of the Father, and the subjection of his enemies. The scepter of your might: the Lord extends your strong scepter from Zion. Have dominion over your enemies! Yours is princely power from the day of your birth. In holy splendor before the daystar, like dew I begot you. For even if he was sent as a rod of power, was revealed on earth in the flesh, was praised by the hosts and splendors of angels (in accordance with the birth which he has from the Father before all rational creation), and through the preaching of the gospel had dominion among his enemies (the Gentiles of the earth), yet the complete subjection of the enemies will take place in the end, when evil and death will cease and when life and God’s justice will reign. At your right hand is the Lord, who crushes kings on the day of his wrath:  when he will come, he will not offer himself and pardon our sins as before, but work vengeance in anger. Who judges nations, heaps up corpses, crushes heads across the wide earth. With eternal torments he will prostrate like foul corpses the demons who once ruled through deceit, for he came to our valley and to a life on earth, and he endured pains and the death of the cross. Who drinks from the brook by the wayside and thus holds high his head. He was again raised up to his glory befitting God, to be worshipped and praised by us.[10]


[1] Benjamin Wayman. Make the Words Your Own: An Early Christian Guide to the Psalms (Brewster, M.A.: Paraclete Press: 2014), 173.

[2] Genesis 19:24

[3] Psalm 45:6

[4] Psalm 145:13

[5] Discourse Against the Arians 2.15.13. NPNF 2 4:355. Εἰ μὲν οὖν νομίζουσιν ὅτι, καὶ πρὸ τοῦ γένηται ἄνθρωπος καὶ σταυρὸν ὑπομείνῃ, οὐκ ἦν κύριος καὶ βασιλεὺς ὁ σωτήρ, ἀλλὰ τότε ἀρχὴν εἶχε τοῦ εἶναι κύριος, γνώτωσαν, ὅτι τὰ τοῦ Σαμοσατέως ἐκ φανεροῦ πάλιν φθέγγονται ῥήματα· εἰ δέ, ὥσπερ ἀνέγνωμεν καὶ προείπομεν ἐν τοῖς προτέροις, κύριος καὶ βασιλεύς ἐστιν ἀίδιος τοῦ μὲν Ἀβραὰμ κύριον αὐτὸν προσκυνοῦντος, τοῦ δὲ Μωυσέως λέγοντος· «καὶ κύριος ἔβρεξεν ἐπὶ Σόδομα καὶ Γόμορρα θεῖον καὶ πῦρ παρὰ κυρίου ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ» καὶ τοῦ Δαβὶδ ψάλλοντος· «εἶπεν ὁ κύριος τῷ κυρίῳ μου· κάθου ἐκ δεξιῶν μου» καὶ «ὁ θρόνος σου, ὁ θεός, εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦ αἰῶνος· ῥάβδος εὐθύτητος ἡ ῥάβδος τῆς βασιλείας σου»· καὶ «ἡ βασιλεία σου βασιλεία πάντων τῶν αἰώνων», δῆλόν ἐστιν ὡς, καὶ πρὸ τοῦ γένηται ἄνθρωπος, βασιλεὺς καὶ κύριος ἦν ἀίδιος εἰκὼν καὶ λόγος τοῦ πατρὸς ὑπάρχων.

[6] Genesis 1:1

[7] Psalm 2:7

[8] Defense of the Nicene Definition 3.13. NPNF 2 4:158. ἀμέλει πάντων μᾶλλον ἡ θεία γραφὴ γινώσκουσα τὴν ἑκάστου φύσιν περὶ μὲν τῶν κτιζομένων διὰ Μωυσέος φησίν· «ἐν ἀρχῇ ἐποίησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν οὐρανὸν καὶ τὴν γῆν»· περὶ δὲ τοῦ υἱοῦ οὐχ ἕτερον, ἀλλ’ αὐτὸν τὸν πατέρα σημαίνει λέγοντα· «ἐκ γαστρὸς πρὸ ἑωσφόρου ἐγέννησά σε»· καὶ πάλιν· «υἱός μου εἶ σύ, ἐγὼ σήμερον γεγέννηκά σε»· αὐτός τε περὶ ἑαυτοῦ ὁ κύριος ἐν Παροιμίαις λέγει· «πρὸ δὲ πάντων βουνῶν γεννᾷ με»· καὶ περὶ μὲν τῶν γενητῶν καὶ κτιστῶν ὁ Ἰωάννης φησί· «πάντα δι’ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο»· περὶ δὲ τοῦ κυρίου εὐαγγελιζόμενος λέγει· «ὁ μονογενὴς υἱός, ὁ ὢν εἰς τὸν κόλπον τοῦ πατρός, ἐκεῖνος ἐξηγήσατο». εἰ τοίνυν υἱός, οὐ κτίσμα, εἰ δὲ κτίσμα, οὐχ υἱός· πολλὴ γὰρ ἐν αὐτοῖς ἡ διαφορά. καὶ οὐκ ἂν εἴη αὐτὸς υἱὸς καὶ κτίσμα, ἵνα μὴ καὶ ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ ἔξωθεν τοῦ θεοῦ ἡ οὐσία αὐτοῦ νομίζηται.

[9] On the Trinity 6.16. FC 25:184-85. Interim tamen uniuscujusque intelligentiam consulo, quid existimet in eo, cum dictum sit ex ipso: utrumne ex altero intelligendum sit, an ne ex nullo, an vero ipse ille credendus sit? Ex altero non est: quia ex ipso est, id est (ita ut non), ne aliunde, praeter quam ex Deo Deus sit. Ex nihilo non est: quia ex ipso est; demonstratur enim natura unde nativitas est. Ipse non est: quia ubi ex ipso est, nativitas filii refertur ex patre. Deinde cum significatur ex utero, interrogo an credi possit esse natus ex nihilo, cum nativitatis veritas per corporalium efficientiarum nomina reveletur? Non enim membris corporalibus consistens Deus, cum generationem. Filii commemoraret, ait: Ex utero ante luciferum genui te (Ps. CIX, 3); sed inenarrabilem illam unigeniti ex se filii nativitatem ex divinitatis suae veritate confirmans, ad intelligentiae, fidem locutus est; ut de divinis suis rebus, secundum humanam naturam, humanae naturae sensum ad fidei scientiam erudiret: ut cum ait ex utero, non ex nihilo creatio substitisse, sed ex se Unigeniti sui naturalis nativitas doceretur. Postremo quod dixit: Ex Patre exivi, et veni (Job. XVI, 27), utrum ambiguitatem reliquerit, quin intelligeretur non aliunde quam ex Patre esse quod Deus est? Ex Patre enim exiens, neque aliam nativitatis habuit naturam, neque nullam: sed eum sibi testatur auctorem, ex quo se profitetur exisse. De his autem demonstrandis atque intelligendis posterior mihi sermo est.

[10] Syriac. CSCO 387, SYRi 168V, pg.73. For Greek and Latin, cx. PG 27: 461-464.

The Fathers on Psalm 91

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

Psalm 91

You who dwell in the shelter of the Most High,
who abide in the shade of the Almighty,
Say to the Lord, “My refuge and fortress,
my God in whom I trust.”
He will rescue you from the fowler’s snare,
from the destroying plague,
He will shelter you with his pinions,
and under his wings you may take refuge;
his faithfulness is a protecting shield.
You shall not fear the terror of the night
nor the arrow that flies by day,
Nor the pestilence that roams in darkness,
nor the plague that ravages at noon.
Though a thousand fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
near you it shall not come.
You need simply watch;
the punishment of the wicked you will see.
Because you have the Lord for your refuge
and have made the Most High your stronghold,
No evil shall befall you,
no affliction come near your tent.
For he commands his angels with regard to you,
to guard you wherever you go.
With their hands they shall support you,
lest you strike your foot against a stone.
You can tread upon the asp and the viper,
trample the lion and the dragon.

Because he clings to me I will deliver him;
because he knows my name I will set him on high.
He will call upon me and I will answer;
I will be with him in distress;
I will deliver him and give him honor.
With length of days I will satisfy him,
and fill him with my saving power.

Athanasius: “When you want to encourage yourself and others in Christian living, since hope in God brings no regret but makes the soul fearless, praise God by saying the words in Psalm 91.”[1]

Pseudo-Athanasius: Through this psalm David introduces the person of the man who trusts the Lord. Say to the Lord, “My refuge and fortress, my God in whom I trust.” He is his helper, place of refuge, and Savior. And he encourages him not to be afraid of the spiritual enemies’ evil workings. He will rescue you from the fowler’s snare, from the destroying plague, He will shelter you with his pinions, and under his wings you may take refuge; his faithfulness is a protecting shield. You shall not fear the terror of the night nor the arrow that flies by day, Nor the pestilence that roams in darkness, nor the plague that ravages at noon: not even if as in the darkness of night they bury snares in entrapments of great skill, nor if as at noon (that is, in daytime) they openly dare to work harm. They are especially unable to injure the one who is righteous in virtue—Though a thousand fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, near you it shall not come—whereas he sees them compensated by God with a complete fall. For he commands his angels with regard to you, to guard you wherever you go. With their hands they shall support you, lest you strike your foot against a stone. You can tread upon the asp and the viper, trample the lion and the dragon. He also commands the holy angels concerning him, to guard him in every word and action so that he not only be saved from evil stumblings, but also shatter beneath his feet the rebellious dragon and his princes, while receiving nothing of their evil. And he introduces the person of God who promises to give the one who hopes in him the reward of his faith—With length of days I will satisfy him, and fill him with my saving power—salvation and eternal life. It is the salvation of those who fear God, our Lord Jesus Christ, who will indeed bring them into the new world, and has promised them that they will reign with him.[2]


[1] Benjamin Wayman. Make the Words Your Own: An Early Christian Guide to the Psalms (Brewster, M.A.: Paraclete Press: 2014), 17.

[2] Syriac. CSCO 387, SYRI 168V, pg. 61. For Greek and Latin, cx. PG 27 399-404.

The Fathers on Psalm 72

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

Psalm 72

O God, give your judgment to the king;
your justice to the king’s son;
That he may govern your people with justice,
your oppressed with right judgment,
That the mountains may yield their bounty for the people,
and the hills great abundance,
That he may defend the oppressed among the people,
save the children of the poor and crush the oppressor.

May they fear you with the sun,
and before the moon, through all generations.
May he be like rain coming down upon the fields,
like showers watering the earth,
That abundance may flourish in his days,
great bounty, till the moon be no more.

May he rule from sea to sea,
from the river to the ends of the earth.
May his foes kneel before him,
his enemies lick the dust.
May the kings of Tarshish and the islands bring tribute,
the kings of Sheba and Seba offer gifts.
May all kings bow before him,
all nations serve him.
For he rescues the poor when they cry out,
the oppressed who have no one to help.
He shows pity to the needy and the poor
and saves the lives of the poor.
From extortion and violence he redeems them,
for precious is their blood in his sight.

Long may he live, receiving gold from Sheba,
prayed for without cease, blessed day by day.
May wheat abound in the land,
flourish even on the mountain heights.
May his fruit be like that of Lebanon,
and flourish in the city like the grasses of the land.
May his name be forever;
as long as the sun, may his name endure.
May the tribes of the earth give blessings with his name;
may all the nations regard him as favored.
Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel,
who alone does wonderful deeds.
Blessed be his glorious name forever;
may he fill all the earth with his glory.
Amen and amen.

Athanasius: “Psalms 21, 50, and 72 make known the Savior’s kingship and just rule, and in turn, his coming in the flesh to us and the calling of the Gentiles.”[1]

Pseudo-Athanasius: This psalm is ascribed to Solomon since it introduces the person of Christ, the true Solomon, who made peace through his blood and—May he rule from sea to sea, from the river to the ends of the earth—held sway over the whole habitable world. May they fear you with the sun, and before the moon, through all generations. His name existed before the sun and moon. O God, give your judgment to the king; your justice to the king’s son; that he may govern your people with justice, your oppressed with right judgment. As he is king, the king’s son, and the Father’s righteousness, he said that judgment and righteousness would be given him at the time of his divine incarnation—that he may defend the oppressed among the people, save the children of the poor and crush the oppressor—because he will judge and save the needy people from the oppression of Satan, the ruler of this world who was expelled. That the mountains may yield their bounty for the people, and the hills great abundance, that he may defend the oppressed among the people, save the children of the poor and crush the oppressor. For thenceforth even the mountains and hills preached peace on earth, because he had saved the sons of the poor and had humbled the false accuser. May they fear you with the sun, and before the moon, through all generations. May he be like rain coming down upon the fields, like showers watering the earth, that abundance may flourish in his days, great bounty, till the moon be no more. Although he existed before the sun and the moon as God and creator, he came silently to earth like rain on the fleece in order that righteousness might flourish here instead of evil, and so that for many years—in all generations—he may reign over it instead of war. May all kings bow before him, all nations serve him. For he rescues the poor when they cry out, the oppressed who have no one to help. For all the Gentiles will render him service, because he saved and liberated them, not only from the tyrant’s evil servitude—from extortion and violence he redeems them, for precious is their blood in his sight—but also form usury and evil in that he tore up the contracts of their sins, he who owed five hundred and he who owed fifty. Therefore his name is honored before them. Long may he live, receiving gold from Sheba, prayed for without cease, blessed day by day and they will offer him the gold of Arabia and pray in his name and bless him all the time, asking the Father that through him he may give them good gifts. May wheat abound in the land, flourish even on the mountain heights. May his fruit be like that of Lebanon, and flourish in the city like the grasses of the land. For he was a support on earth for his church, which was founded on the mountains—the prophets and apostles—so that he might indicate that the spiritual service of the gospel is superior to the fruits of Lebanon, the Jerusalem below which served the types and shadows. Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel, who alone does wonderful deeds. Blessed be his glorious name forever; may he fill all the earth with his glory. Amen and amen. For he also calls it a city of which wonderful things are spoken, by the God if Israel who alone created wonders and whose glorious name is blessed in the whole earth forever and ever.[2]


[1] Benjamin Wayman. Make the Words Your Own: An Early Christian Guide to the Psalms (Brewster, M.A.: Paraclete Press: 2014), 149.

[2] Syriac. CSCO 387, SYRI 168 V, pg 45-46. Cx. PG 27 for Greek and Latin.

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.

The Fathers on Psalm 63

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

Psalm 63

O God, you are my God—
it is you I seek!
For you my body yearns;
for you my soul thirsts,
In a land parched, lifeless,
and without water.
I look to you in the sanctuary
to see your power and glory.
For your love is better than life;
my lips shall ever praise you!

I will bless you as long as I live;
I will lift up my hands, calling on your name.
My soul shall be sated as with choice food,
with joyous lips my mouth shall praise you!
I think of you upon my bed,
I remember you through the watches of the night
You indeed are my savior,
and in the shadow of your wings I shout for joy.
My soul clings fast to you;
your right hand upholds me.

But those who seek my life will come to ruin;
they shall go down to the depths of the netherworld!
Those who would hand over my life to the sword shall
become the prey of jackals!
But the king shall rejoice in God;
all who swear by the Lord shall exult,
but the mouths of liars will be shut!

Athanasius: “If when you are harassed you run to the desert, do not be afraid as though you are alone there. But having God there, get up at dawn and sing to him Psalm 63.”[1]

Pseudo-Athanasius: David sings this psalm, begging God for his aid through the virtue of his character. But it refers to the soul that was in the desert—that is, in deprivation of everything good—and that later turned to God, with the support of his right hand. And he indicates this by saying: O God, you are my God—it is you I seek! For you my body yearns; for you my soul thirsts, in a land parched, lifeless, and without water. My soul thirsted for you and my flesh desired you, as the thirty land desires water. For it is right for us to be concerned not only with the virtues of the soul, but also with the things of the body. I look to you in the sanctuary to see your power and glory so that thus we may be in the sanctuary of God and see the power and glory of his only-begotten son and praise him with lips of rejoicing. But those who seek my life will come to ruin; they shall go down to the depths of the netherworld! For he handed over to eternal torments (as in the lower regions of the earth) those who vainly wished to seize our soul. But the king shall rejoice in God; all who swear by the Lord shall exult, but the mouths of liars will be shut! But the people who believed in him and called him king—because he reigned over sin and death—he permitted to spiritually delight in him. He is also praised because he affirms with an oath that Christ is the true God. For he arose on the third day and shut the mouth of the evil-speakers, as it is said somewhere: Every wickedness will shut its mouth.[2]


[1] Benjamin Wayman. Make the Words Your Own: An Early Christian Guide to the Psalms (Brewster, M.A.: Paraclete Press: 2014), 76.

[2] Syriac CSCO 387, SYRI 168 V, pg 38. Cx. PG 27 for Latin and Greek. Reference to Psalm 106:42 (LXX)

The Fathers on Psalm 53

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

Psalm 53

The fool says in his heart,
“There is no God.”
They act corruptly and practice injustice;
there is none that does good.
God looks out from the heavens
upon the children of Adam,
To see if there is a discerning person
who is seeking God.
All have gone astray;
each one is altogether perverse.
There is not one who does what is good, not even one.

Do they not know better, those who do evil,
who feed upon my people as they feed upon bread?
Have they not called upon God?
They are going to fear his name with great fear,
though they had not feared it before.
For God will scatter the bones
of those encamped against you.
They will surely be put to shame,
for God has rejected them.

Who will bring forth from Zion
the salvation of Israel?
When God reverses the captivity of his people
Jacob will rejoice and Israel will be glad.

Athanasius: “Whenever you hear people speaking profanely against Providence, do not join them in their disregard for God, but intercede with God, saying Psalms 14 and 53.”[1]

Pseudo-Athanasius: This psalm is sung as by the chorus of the apostles, who also believed in Christ, and rejoice and delight in him. For mahaleth is explained as a chorus or exultation. The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They act corruptly and practice injustice; there is none that does good. God looks out from the heavens upon the children of Adam, to see if there is a discerning person who is seeking God. All have gone astray; each one is altogether perverse. There is not one who does what is good, not even one. Do they not know better, those who do evil, who feed upon my people as they feed upon bread? Have they not called upon God? He necessarily expounds the evils which were done by men before the bodily descent of the Lord, to show how great and wonderful was the advantage effected by his divine incarnation. For this reason is it entitled “of understanding”.[2]


[1] Benjamin Wayman. Make the Words Your Own: An Early Christian Guide to the Psalms (Brewster, M.A.: Paraclete Press: 2014), 90.

[2] Syriac CSCO 387, SYRI 168 V, pg 33. Cx. PG 27 for Latin and Greek.

The Fathers on Psalm 51

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

Psalm 51

Have mercy on me, God, in accord with your merciful love;

in your abundant compassion blot out my transgressions.

Thoroughly wash away my guilt;

and from my sin cleanse me.

For I know my transgressions;

my sin is always before me.

Against you, you alone have I sinned;

I have done what is evil in your eyes

So that you are just in your word,

and without reproach in your judgment.

Behold, I was born in guilt,

in sin my mother conceived me.

Behold, you desire true sincerity;

and secretly you teach me wisdom.

Cleanse me with hyssop, that I may be pure;

wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

You will let me hear gladness and joy;

the bones you have crushed will rejoice.

Turn away your face from my sins;

blot out all my iniquities.

A clean heart create for me, God;

renew within me a steadfast spirit.

Do not drive me from before your face,

nor take from me your holy spirit.

Restore to me the gladness of your salvation;

uphold me with a willing spirit.

I will teach the wicked your ways,

that sinners may return to you.

Rescue me from violent bloodshed, God, my saving God,

and my tongue will sing joyfully of your justice.

Lord, you will open my lips;

and my mouth will proclaim your praise.

For you do not desire sacrifice or I would give it;

a burnt offering you would not accept.

My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit;

a contrite, humbled heart, O God, you will not scorn.

Treat Zion kindly according to your good will;

build up the walls of Jerusalem.

Then you will desire the sacrifices of the just,

burnt offering and whole offerings;

then they will offer up young bulls on your altar.

Athanasius: “You sinned and feeling guilty, you repent and ask to be shown mercy. You have words of confession and conversion in Psalm 51.”[1]

Diodore of Tarsus: Have mercy on me, God, in accord with your merciful love. The Israelites give the appearance of being very much improved by the misfortunes: while making a petition for great mercy, they confess to be requesting it for a serious failing. Now, nothing wins the Lord to mercy like confession of sin, and especially when the power of sin is admitted to an unusual degree. Hence they proceed, In your abundant compassion blot out my transgressions. Just as in the case of the mercy his request was for a great amount, so also in the case of compassion and loving-kindness. What follows makes this even clearer: Thoroughly wash away my guilt; and from my sin cleanse me. Here again he asked for a double dose of purification in the words from my sin cleanse me to bring out at all points the gravity of sin…. He then mentions also the reason why he is worthy of loving kindness, continuing, For I know my transgressions; my sin is always before me. If I did not acknowledge my sin or daily keep it before me so that in some fashion compunction for it and repentance is prompted more readily, I would still not be worthy to receive loving-kindness. If, however, I torture myself with acknowledgement of the wrong and the sight of the deed, let it be enough, Lord, for me to pay the penalty by myself, without your imposing it on your behalf. He next adduces another reasonable cause. What is it that he proceeds to mention? Against you, you alone have I sinned; I have done what is evil in your eyes: Lord, you have attest to the fact that I committed no wrong against the Babylonians, who are now wronging me, sinning only against you, the Lord. So it would be right for me to be freed from their ill-treatment, and to be the beneficiary of your approval and loving-kindness. He did well to combine the two reasonable claims to be accorded loving-kindness—firstly, that he acknowledged his sin, and secondly, that he did the Babylonians no wrong, instead sinning against God but in no way wronging the Babylonians…. Hence he goes on: So that you are just in your word, and without reproach in your judgment. For your part, Lord, if you judge in my favor, you prevail over me, having conferred many benefits and received no gratitude from us. The Babylonians, on the other hand, have no grounds for upbraiding us or citing to us any reasonable excuses for wronging us. Now, note should be taken also of the idiom of Scripture in the clause: So that you are just in your word, and without reproach in your judgment. The people did not sin against God so that God might be proven righteous in giving judgment; rather, since the people were ungrateful, as the object of their ingratitude he consequently had good reason to level a charge against the ingrates. So the conjunction so that occurs here not to express purpose (even if highlighting it); instead, it explains the actual consequence, namely, that after the people sinned, God was shown to be righteous in giving judgment against them. So much for the movement of thought…. He proceeds accordingly, Behold, I was born in guilt, in sin my mother conceived me. He employed remarkable thinking. First he said, I am worthy of receiving loving-kindness since I acknowledged my faults. Second he said, I did no wrong to the Babylonians, sinning only against you, and it is you that has the right to require a heavy penalty of me for my ingratitude. In addition to this, he continues, Behold, I was born in guilt, as if saying to God, So you wish to call me to account not only for my sins but also for my forefather’s: they did not prove grateful to you, and neither did I—rather, I inherited in some fashion the ancestor’s ingratitude, and from them I draw the habit of sinning against you. But you overlooked all these faults on our forefathers’ part, in fidelity to yourself and recalling your characteristic loving-kindness. What is the proof of this? Behold, you desire true sincerity; and secretly you teach me wisdom. You desire true sincerity was well put. Instead of fixing your eye on ancestors’ failings, he is saying, you were faithful to your own consistency and goodness. When the ancestors sinned to the extent even of sculpting and adoring a calf in place of God, you gave laws, vouchsafed to arrange for priesthood, and introduced a godly was of life characterized also by righteousness. These things refer to all the requirements of the law hidden by secret things in formerly being uncertain and hidden from human beings, but rather made clear through the gift of the law, as even the prophet Baruch says, “Blessed are we, Israel, because what is pleasing to God is known to us,”[2] just as before this time human beings had difficulties even with actually knowing what is pleasing to God….. Cleanse me with hyssop, that I may be pure; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Having said, You gave us divine laws an arrangements for priesthood, he says something more significant: Grant us also some purification by the law. Remember Blessed Moses, who also made arrangements in keeping with God’s instructions. Taking the blood of calves and hyssop, he sprinkled the people and the tent and everything else by way of purifying them and making them worthy of God’s holiness. He means to express, then, the extraordinary degree of God’s loving-kindness. Not only did you grant laws despite the ancestors’ sin, but you also purified those incapable of being purified themselves. Therefore, in keeping with your purpose Lord, in this case as well do not fix your eye on our faults, but on your loving-kindness from the beginning, and extend it likewise to us also. It is you who are God in the case of similar sinners. Hence he proceeds, You will let me hear gladness and joy; the bones you have crushed will rejoice. So now in our case grant joy and gladness, satisfied with our crushing and the humbling of our strength, and take pity (You will let me hear meaning, You will bring to our notice the working of your loving-kindness, and You will bring to our notice, meaning, You will provide). In other words, as we now have knowledge of what has come to our notice, so also he said that what has been provided has come to our notice. But how will this be? If you overlook our sins. Hence he goes on, Turn away your face from my sins; blot out all my iniquities. If you were to provide this in your grace, you would be faithful to yourself in regard to those similarly in need of loving-kindness. A clean heart create for me, God. Create, meaning, recreate. They are asking not for a new heart for themselves, but for their own heart to be renewed (by heart referring to their thinking). Therefore, he means to say, Amend our thinking, Lord. Renew within me a steadfast spirit, by a steadfast spirit meaning a sound free will. Impart one to us what is no longer at fault, for if you were to amend our thinking, you would consequently correct also our free will. So tell us openly what you require. Do not drive me from before your face, nor take from me your holy spirit. So do not make me stay too long in Babylon, but bring me back to Jerusalem. As it is, in fact, I seem to be outside your presence, not standing in the temple and offering the accustomed sacrifices. Bring me back to my own place, therefore, and once more grant me the former grace (the meaning of your holy spirit). Restore to me the gladness of your salvation. Restore to me the former things by which I was saved. Uphold me with a willing spirit: cause me to rule the neighboring and other nations as I reigned over them in the time of David and Solomon (willing spirit meaning, Make me leader and ruler of the neighboring peoples again). And what will be the result of this? If you are appointed ruler and leader of the neighbors and the nations, what will you do? He goes on, I will teach the wicked your ways, that sinners may return to you. I shall therefore convince them also to hold fast to godliness and ignore the idols. Rescue me from violent bloodshed, God, my saving God. Free me, then, Lord, from these bloodthirsty men (the meaning of from violent bloodshed). My tongue will sing joyfully of your justice. Lord, you will open my lips; and my mouth will proclaim your praise. He says the same thing in the three clauses: Allow me, Lord, to commend and sing your praises by mouth and lip, to proclaim all your gifts to me, and to do so with gladness. He next proceeds to mention in turn reasonable grounds for doing so. For you do not desire sacrifice or I would give it; a burnt offering you would not accept. If beyond these requests you had accepted sacrifice and wished to receive a sacrifice in another place—even in captivity—I would have performed it. But since the law forbids it, it is not possible for us to offer sacrifices outside Jerusalem—in fact, you are not pleased with such burnt offerings—what are we to offer you in place of sacrifice? He goes on, My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a contrite, humbled heart, O God, you will not scorn. In place of sacrifices we offer you an attitude (the meaning of spirit) that is humbled and a heart that has suffered. Do not ignore them, Lord, but accept them as sacrifices. And what do you ask be done for you? Treat Zion kindly according to your good will. Be pleased, Lord, to give evidence of your goodness even in the case of Zion. The result being? Build up the walls of Jerusalem, so that once more the walls may recover their former aspect. Then, in praying for the city, he mentions the reason why he prays for it. Then you will desire the sacrifices of the just, burnt offering and whole offerings; then they will offer up young bulls on your altar. I do not idly pray for the city, but in order that it become a place for us to be ready to practice religion and discharge the laws. Burnt offerings and whole offerings: to offer you what the law commands. Then they will offer up young bulls on your altar: so that there may also be a habitual opportunity for us to offer up on the temple altars young bulls for sin and salvation.[3]

Pseudo-Athanasius: Have mercy on me, God, in accord with your merciful love; in your abundant compassion blot out my transgressions. Thoroughly wash away my guilt; and from my sin cleanse me. He sings this psalm taking refuge in the great mercy of God and asking that he be washed in it and purified from his crime and lawlessness. For I know my transgressions; my sin is always before me. He confesses also his evil doing in adultery and murder. Behold, I was born in guilt, in sin my mother conceived me. And as the first cause of this, he posits the sin of Adam’s transgression, by which we are all surrounded. And we acquire original grace when we are buried and rise with Christ through the bath of baptism: Cleanse me with hyssop, that I may be pure; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. We are washed white like snow through purifying hyssop, which is the grace of the Spirit. Thence we receive the pledge of the resurrection from the dead, You will let me hear gladness and joy; the bones you have crushed will rejoice, in which our humbled bones which faded in death will rejoice again. A clean heart create for me, God; renew within me a steadfast spirit. He entreats God to render his heart pure and without spot through repentance—the spring of thoughts which first suffered in sin—to Restore to me the gladness of your salvation; uphold me with a willing spirit, and to renew and confirm in him the straight learning Spirit. I will teach the wicked your ways, that sinners may return to you, so that when the lawless learn your paths by me, they may turn to you in a contrite spirit and humble spirit. For you do not desire sacrifice or I would give it; a burnt offering you would not accept, because not by sacrifices through blood—My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a contrite, humbled heart, O God, you will not scorn…. Then you will desire the sacrifices of the just, burnt offering and whole offerings; then they will offer up young bulls on your altar—but by those of righteousness and spiritual ones do you renew your church Zion and strengthen the saints, who are the walls of the church.[4]


[1] Benjamin Wayman. Make the Words Your Own: An Early Christian Guide to the Psalms (Brewster, M.A.: Paraclete Press: 2014), 91.

[2] Baruch 4:4

[3] TLG 6. Ἐλέησόν με, ὁ θεός, κατὰ τὸ μέγα ἔλεός σου. Σφόδρα φαίνονται ὠφεληθέντες ἀπὸ τῶν συμφορῶν οἱ Ἰσραηλῖται. Οἱ γὰρ μέγα ζητοῦντες ἔλεος ὁμολογοῦσιν ὑπὲρ μεγάλου πλημμελήματος τοῦτο αἰτεῖν. Οὐδὲν δὲ οὕτως εἰς ἔλεος ἐπισπᾶται τὸν δεσπότην ὡς ὁμολογία πλημμελήματος, καὶ μάλιστα ὅταν μετὰ ὑπερβολῆς ἡ τοῦ πλημμελήματος ὁμολογῆται δύναμις. Διὰ τοῦτο ἐπιφέρουσιν· Καὶ κατὰ τὸ πλῆθος τῶν οἰκτιρμῶν σου ἐξάλειψον τὸ ἀνόμημά μου. Ὡς ἐπὶ τοῦ ἐλέου τὸ μέγα ᾔτησε, καὶ ἐπὶ τῶν οἰκτιρμῶν τὸ πλῆθος ἐξεζήτησεν, ὡς οὐ δυναμένου τοῦ πλημμελήματος ἐξαλειφθῆναι ὄντος μεγάλου, μὴ τυχόντος ἀναλόγων οἰκτιρμῶν καὶ φιλανθρωπίας. Ἔτι καὶ τὸ ἑξῆς σαφέστερον αὐτὸ ποιεῖ. Ἐπάγει γάρ· Ἐπὶ πλεῖον πλῦνόν με ἀπὸ τῆς ἀνομίας μου καὶ ἀπὸ τῆς ἁμαρτίας μου καθάρισόν με. Πάλιν ἐνταῦθα τὸν πλεονασμὸν ᾔτησε τῆς καθάρσεως εἰπών· «Ἐπὶ πλεῖον πλῦνόν με» διὰ τὸ δεῖξαι πανταχοῦ τὸ πλημμέλημα μέγα. Εἶτα καὶ τὴν αἰτίαν λέγει δι’ ἣν ἄξιός ἐστι φιλανθρωπίας. Ἐπάγει γάρ· Ὅτι τὴν ἀνομίαν μου ἐγὼ γινώσκω καὶ ἡ ἁμαρτία μου ἐνώπιόν μού ἐστι διαπαντός. Εἰ μὲν γὰρ μὴ ἐπέγνων μου, φησί, τὸ πλημμέλημα μηδὲ κατὰ πρόσωπόν μου καθ’ ἑκάστην ἡμέραν ἦγον τοῦτο ὥστε τρόπον τινὰ ἐκ τούτου εἰς πλείονα ἄγεσθαι κατάνυξιν καὶ μετάνοιαν, οὔπω ἤμην ἄξιος τυχεῖν φιλανθρωπίας. Εἰ δὲ αὐτὸς ἐμαυτὸν βασανίζω τῇ ἐπιγνώσει τοῦ κακοῦ καὶ τῇ ὄψει τοῦ γεγονότος, ἀρκέσθητι, φησί, δέσποτα, τῷ ἐμὲ παρ’ ἐμαυτοῦ δίκας λαμβάνειν, αὐτὸς δὲ μὴ ἐπιθῇς τὰ παρὰ σαυτοῦ. Εἶτα καὶ ἄλλην τινὰ εὔλογον αἰτίαν λέγει. Ποίαν ταύτην ἐπιφέρει· Σοὶ μόνῳ ἥμαρτον καὶ τὸ πονηρὸν ἐνώπιόν σου ἐποίησα. Καὶ πρὸς τοῦτο, φησίν, ἀπόβλεψον, δέσποτα, ὅτι εἰς τοὺς Βαβυλωνίους, τοὺς νῦν ἀδικοῦντάς με οὐδὲν ἠδίκησα, εἰς δὲ σὲ τὸν δεσπότην μόνον ἐπλημμέλησα. Δίκαιος οὖν ἂν εἴην τῆς τούτων μὲν ἀπαλλαγῆναι κακοποιΐας, ὑπὸ δὲ τὴν σὴν εἶναι δοκιμασίαν καὶ φιλανθρωπίαν. Καλῶς τὰς δύο ἐπισυνῆψεν αἰτίας εὐλόγους πρὸς τὸ φιλανθρωπίας ἀξιωθῆναι, μίαν μὲν ὅτι ἐπέγνω τὸ πλημμέλημα, δευτέραν δὲ ὅτι οὐδὲν ἠδίκησε Βαβυλωνίους, ἀλλ’ ὅτι εἰς μὲν τὸν θεὸν ἥμαρτεν, εἰς δὲ τοὺς Βαβυλωνίους οὐδὲν ἠδίκησεν. Ὅθεν ἐπιφέρει· Ὅπως ἂν δικαιωθῇς ἐν τοῖς λόγοις σου καὶ νικήσῃς ἐν τῷ κρίνεσθαί σε. Σὺ μὲν γάρ, φησί, δέσποτα, ἐὰν κρίνῃς μοι, νικᾷς με· πολλὰ γὰρ εὐεργετήσας εὐγνωμοσύνης οὐκ ἔτυχες τῆς παρ’ ἡμῶν· Βαβυλώνιοι δὲ οὐκ ἔχουσιν οὐδεμίαν χώραν ἐγκαλεῖν ἡμῖν, ἀλλ’ οὐδὲ λέγειν πρὸς ἡμᾶς εὔλογα ὡς ἀδικοῦντες ἡμᾶς. Ἐπισημαντέον δὲ καὶ τῷ ἰδιώματι τῆς γραφῆς ὅτι εἶπεν· «Ὅπως ἂν δικαιωθῇς ἐν τοῖς λόγοις σου καὶ νικήσῃς ἐν τῷ κρίνεσθαί σε». Οὐδὲ γὰρ διὰ τοῦτο ὁ λαὸς ἥμαρτε τῷ θεῷ ἵνα ὁ θεὸς ἐν τῷ κρίνεσθαι δίκαιος ἀναφανῇ, ἀλλ’ ἐπειδὴ ἠγνωμόνησεν ὁ λαός, ἀναγκαίως ἀγνωμονηθεὶς δίκαια εἶχεν ἐγκαλεῖν πρὸς τοὺς ἀγνωμονοῦντας. Τὸ οὖν «Ὅπως» οὐ κεῖται ἐνταῦθα ἐπὶ αἰτίας—εἰ καὶ ἐμφαίνει τοῦτο—ἀλλ’ αὐτὴν τὴν ἀκολουθίαν ἐξηγεῖται ὅτι, τοῦ λαοῦ ἁμαρτήσαντος, ὁ θεὸς δίκαιος ἀναφανεῖται κρινόμενος πρὸς αὐτούς. Ἀλλ’ ἀρκτέον τῆς ἀκολουθίας· ἐπιφέρει οὖν· Ἰδοὺ γὰρ ἐν ἀνομίαις συνελήφθην, καὶ ἐν ἁμαρτίαις ἐκίσσησέ με μήτηρ μου. Θαυμαστοῖς κέχρηται τοῖς λογισμοῖς. Εἶπε πρῶτον ὅτι ἄξιός εἰμι τυχεῖν φιλανθρωπίας ἐπειδὴ ἐπέγνων μου τὸ πλημμέλημα, δεύτερον ὅτι οὐδὲν ἠδίκησα Βαβυλωνίους, ἀλλ’ ὅτι εἰς σὲ μόνον ἥμαρτον καὶ ὅτι αὐτὸς ἔχεις δίκαια πολλὰ πρὸς ἐμὲ τοῦ δίκας εἰσπράξασθαί με τῆς ἀγνωμοσύνης· πρὸς τούτοις ἐπιφέρει· «Ἰδοὺ ἐν ἀνομίαις συνελήφθην» ὡσανεὶ ἔλεγε πρὸς τὸν θεὸν ὅτι, εἰ οὖν δίκας με βούλει ἀπαιτῆσαι ὧν ἐπλημμέλησα εἰς σέ, ὥρα σοι μὴ μόνον τὰς ἐμὰς εἰσπράττεσθαι ἁμαρτίας ἀλλὰ καὶ τὰς τῶν προγόνων. Οὐδὲ γὰρ ἐκεῖνοι εὐγνώμονες ὤφθησαν περὶ σέ, ἀλλ’ οὐδὲ αὐτὸς ἐγώ, ἀλλὰ τρόπον τινὰ τὴν τῶν πατέρων ἀγνωμοσύνην ἐκληρονόμησα καὶ ἐξ ἐκείνων τὸ ἁμαρτάνειν εἰς σὲ ἐπισύρομαι. Ἀλλὰ παρεῖδες, φησί, ταῦτα πάντα τὰ πλημμελήματα ἐπὶ τῶν προγόνων, σαυτὸν μιμησάμενος καὶ τῆς οἰκείας ἀναμνησθεὶς φιλανθρωπίας. Τίς τούτου ἡ ἀπόδειξις; Ἰδοὺ γὰρ ἀλήθειαν ἠγάπησας, τὰ ἄδηλα καὶ τὰ κρύφια τῆς σοφίας σου ἐδήλωσάς μοι. Καλῶς «ἀλήθειαν ἠγάπησας». Οὐκ εἶδες, φησίν, εἰς τὰ τῶν προγόνων πλημμελήματα, ἀλλὰ τὴν σαυτοῦ βεβαιότητα ἐμιμήσω καὶ χρηστότητα· καὶ πλημμελησάντων τοιαῦτα τῶν προγόνων ὥστε καὶ μόσχον ἀντὶ θεοῦ καὶ γλύψαι καὶ προσκυνῆσαι, σαυτὸν μιμησάμενος αὐτὸς καὶ νόμους ἔδωκας καὶ ἱερωσύνης διάταξιν ἐχαρίσω καὶ πολιτείαν εἰσηγήσω εὐσεβείας καὶ δικαιοσύνης πεπληρωμένην. Πάντα γὰρ ταῦτα τὰ κατὰ τὸν νόμον «ἄδηλα καὶ κρύφια» καλεῖ ὡς πρότερον μὲν ὄντα τοῖς ἀνθρώποις ἄδηλα καὶ κεκρυμμένα, μετὰ ταῦτα δὲ δῆλα γενόμενα διὰ τῆς τοῦ νόμου δόσεως, ὡς καὶ ὁ προφήτης Βαρούχ· Μακάριοί ἐσμεν,Ἰσραήλ, ὅτι τὰ ἀρεστὰ τοῦ θεοῦ ἡμῖν ἐστι γνωστά, ὡς πρὸ τούτου τῶν ἀνθρώπων καμνόντων καὶ πρὸς αὐτὸ τὸ γνῶναι τί ἀρέσκει τὸν θεόν.  Ῥαντιεῖς με ὑσσώπῳ καὶ καθαρισθήσομαι· πλυνεῖς με καὶ ὑπὲρ χιόνα λευκανθήσομαι. Εἰπὼν ὅτι δέδωκας ἡμῖν νόμους θείους καὶ διατάξεις ἱερωσύνης, λέγει τὸ μεῖζον ὅτι καὶ καθαρισμούς τινας ἐν τῷ νόμῳ ἐχαρίσω. Οὕτω γὰρ καὶ Μωϋσῆς ὁ μακάριος ἐποίησε κατὰ τὴν τοῦ θεοῦ διάταξιν τὸ αἷμα τῶν μόσχων λαβὼν καὶ ὕσσωπον, ἐρράντισε τὸν λαὸν καὶ τὴν σκηνὴν καὶ τὰ ἄλλα πάντα ὡσανεὶ καθαίρων αὐτὰ καὶ ποιῶν ἄξια τῆς ἁγιότητος τοῦ θεοῦ. Βούλεται οὖν εἰπεῖν τὴν ὑπερβολὴν τῆς φιλανθρωπίας τοῦ θεοῦ, ὅτι πλημμελησάντων τῶν προγόνων οὐ μόνον νόμους ἐχαρίσω ἀλλὰ καὶ καθαρίσεις τοῖς οὐ δυναμένοις οἴκοθεν καθαρίζεσθαι. Κατὰ τοῦτον οὖν σου τὸν σκοπόν, δέσποτα, καὶ νῦν μὴ πρὸς τὰ πλημμελήματα ἴδῃς τὰ ἡμέτερα, ἀλλὰ πρὸς τὴν ἐξ ἀρχῆς σου φιλανθρωπίαν, καὶ παράσχου καὶ ἡμῖν τὰ ὅμοια. Ὁ γὰρ αὐτὸς εἶ θεὸς ἐπὶ τοῖς ὁμοίοις ἁμαρτωλοῖς. Ὅθεν ἐπιφέρει· Ἀκουτιεῖς με ἀγαλλίασιν καὶ εὐφροσύνην· ἀγαλλιάσονται ὀστέα τεταπεινωμένα. Καὶ νῦν οὖν, φησίν, ἐφ’ ἡμῶν χάρισαι ἀγαλλίασιν καὶ εὐφροσύνην, ἀρκεσθεὶς τῇ συντριβῇ ἡμῶν καὶ τῇ τῆς δυνάμεως ταπεινώσει, καὶ χάρισαι τοὺς οἰκτιρμούς. Τὸ γὰρ «Ἀκουτιεῖς» ἀντὶ τοῦ ἀκουστὰ ἡμῖν ποιήσεις τὰ τῆς φιλανθρωπίας σου· τὸ δὲ ἀκουστὰ ἡμῖν ποιήσεις ἀντὶ τοῦ παρέξεις λέγει. Ὡς γὰρ τὰ ἐλθόντα εἰς τὰς ἀκοὰς ἡμῶν ἔχομεν λοιπὸν εἰς γνῶσιν, οὕτω καὶ τὰ παρασχεθέντα ἀκουστὰ γενέσθαι εἶπεν. Πῶς δὲ ἔσται τοῦτο; Εἰ παρίδοις, φησί, τὰ πλημμελήματα ἡμῶν. Ὅθεν ἐπιφέρει·  Ἀπόστρεψον τὸ πρόσωπόν σου ἀπὸ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν μου καὶ πάσας τὰς ἀνομίας μου ἐξάλειψον. Εἰ ταῦτα, φησί, παράσχῃς τῇ σαυτοῦ χάριτι, ἐμιμήσω σαυτὸν περὶ τοὺς ὁμοίως δεομένους φιλανθρωπίας. Καρδίαν καθαρὰν κτίσον ἐν ἐμοί, θεός. Τὸ «κτίσον» ἀντὶ τοῦ ἀνάκτισον λέγει. Οὐδὲ γὰρ καινὴν αἰτοῦσι γενέσθαι καρδίαν αὐτοῖς, ἀλλὰ τὴν οὖσαν ἀνακαινοποιηθῆναι. «Καρδίαν» δὲ τοὺς λογισμοὺς καλεῖ. Βούλεται οὖν εἰπεῖν ὅτι διόρθωσαι ἡμῶν τοὺς λογισμούς, δέσποτα.  Καὶ πνεῦμα εὐθὲς ἐγκαίνισον ἐν τοῖς ἐγκάτοις μου.  «Πνεῦμα εὐθές», προαίρεσιν ἀγαθήν, φησί, καὶ οὐκέτι πλημμελοῦσαν ἔνθες ἡμῖν. Εἰ γάρ, φησί, τοὺς λογισμοὺς διορθώσαιο, διορθώσω ἐξ ἀνάγκης καὶ τὴν προαίρεσιν. Τί οὖν αἰτεῖς εἰπὲ φανερῶς. Μὴ ἀπορρίψῃς με ἀπὸ τοῦ προσώπου σου καὶ τὸ πνεῦμά σου τὸ ἅγιον μὴ ἀντανέλῃς ἀπἐμοῦ. Μὴ οὖν, φησίν, ἐπὶ πολὺ χρονίσαι με ποιήσῃς ἐπὶ τῆς Βαβυλωνίας, ἀλλ’ ἐπανάγαγέ με εἰς τὴν Ἱερουσαλήμ. Νῦν γὰρ ἔξω δοκῶ εἶναι τοῦ προσώπου τοῦ σοῦ, μὴ ἑστὼς ἐν τῷ ναῷ μήτε τὰς εἰθισμένας προσφέρων θυσίας. Ἐπανάγαγέ με οὖν, φησίν, εἰς τὰ οἰκεῖα καὶ τὴν χάριν ἀπόδος μοι  πάλιν τὴν ἀρχαίαν· τοῦτο γὰρ λέγει «τὸ πνεῦμά σου τὸ ἅγιον». Ὅθεν ἐπάγει· Ἀπόδος μοι τὴν ἀγαλλίασιν τοῦ σωτηρίου σου. Καὶ «Ἀπόδος μοι», φησί, τὰ ἀρχαῖα πάντα δι’ ὧν ἐσῳζόμην. Καὶ πνεύματι ἡγεμονικῷ στήριξόν με. Παρασκεύασον δέ, φησίν, ἄρχειν τῶν περιοίκων καὶ τῶν λοιπῶν ἐθνῶν ὡς ἦρχον ἐπὶ τοῦ Δαυεὶδ καὶ τοῦ Σολομῶντος. Τὸ γὰρ «πνεύματι ἡγεμονικῷ» ἀντὶ τοῦ ἡγεμόνα με πάλιν κατάστησον καὶ ἄρχοντα τῶν περιοίκων φησίν. Καὶ τί ἐκ τούτου; Ἐὰν καταστῇς τῶν περιοίκων καὶ τῶν ἐθνῶν ἄρχων καὶ ἡγεμών, τί ποιήσεις; Ἐπάγει· Διδάξω ἀνόμους τὰς ὁδούς σου, καὶ ἀσεβεῖς ἐπὶ σὲ ἐπιστρέψουσιν. Πείσω οὖν κἀκείνους εὐσεβείας ἀντέχεσθαι καὶ τῶν εἰδώλων ἀμελεῖν. Ῥῦσαί με ἐξ αἱμάτων, θεὸς θεὸς τῆς σωτηρίας μου. Ἀπάλλαξον οὖν φησί με, δέσποτα, τῶν φονίων τούτων ἀνδρῶν· τοῦτο γὰρ λέγει «ἐξ αἱμάτων». Ἀγαλλιάσεται ἡ γλῶσσά μου τὴν δικαιοσύνην σου. Κύριε, τὰ χείλη μου ἀνοίξεις, καὶ τὸ στόμα μου ἀναγγελεῖ τὴν αἴνεσίν σου. Τὸ αὐτὸ λέγει ἐν τοῖς τρισὶ στίχοις ὅτι παράσχου μοι, δέσποτα, τὸ εὐφημεῖν σε καὶ ἀνυμνεῖν διὰ γλώσσης καὶ διὰ χειλέων καὶ ἐξαγγέλλειν ὅσα μοι παρέσχες ἀγαθὰ ἐπὶ τῷ καὶ μετὰ εὐφροσύνης τοῦτο ποιεῖν. Εἶτα καὶ εὐλόγους αἰτίας πάλιν ἐπιφέρει· Ὅτι εἰ ἠθέλησας θυσίαν, ἔδωκα ἄν· ὁλοκαυτώματα οὐκ εὐδοκήσεις. Ὑπὲρ γὰρ τούτων τῶν αἰτήσεων, εἰ κατεδέχου θυσίαν καὶ ἐβούλου ἐν ἄλλῳ τόπῳ καὶ ἐν τῇ αἰχμαλωσίᾳ θυσίαν λαβεῖν, ἐποίησα ἄν· ἀλλ’ ἐπειδὴ ὁ νόμος κελεύει ἔξω τῆς Ἱερουσαλὴμ μὴ ἐξεῖναι ἡμῖν θυσίας προσφέρειν—οὐδὲ γὰρ εὐδοκεῖς τοῖς τοιούτοις ὁλοκαυτώμασιν—, ἀντὶ τῶν θυσιῶν σοι προσφέρομεν τί; Ἐπιφέρει· Θυσία τῷ θεῷ πνεῦμα συντετριμμένον, καρδίαν συντετριμμένην καὶ τεταπεινωμένην θεὸς οὐκ ἐξουδενώσει. Προσφέρομέν σοι, φησίν, ἀντὶ τῶν θυσιῶν γνώμην—τοῦτο γὰρ λέγει πνεῦμα—ταπεινωθεῖσαν καὶ καρδίαν ταλαιπωρηθεῖσαν, ἅτινα μὴ παρόψει, φησί, δέσποτα, ἀλλ’ ὡς θυσίας δέξαι ταῦτα. Καὶ τί αἰτεῖς γενέσθαι σοι; Ἀγάθυνον, κύριε, ἐν τῇ εὐδοκίᾳ σου τὴν Σιών. Εὐδόκησον οὖν, φησί, δέσποτα, ἐπιδείξασθαί σου τὴν ἀγαθότητα καὶ ἐπὶ τῇ Σιών· ὥστε τί γενέσθαι; Καὶ οἰκοδομηθήτω τὰ τείχη Ἱερουσαλήμ. Ὥστε πάλιν, φησίν, ἀπολαβεῖν τὰ τείχη τὸ ἀρχαῖον σχῆμα. Εἶτα, εὐξάμενος ὑπὲρ τῆς πόλεως, λέγει τὴν αἰτίαν δι’ ἣν εὔχεται ὑπὲρ αὐτῆς. Τότε εὐδοκήσεις θυσίαν δικαιοσύνης. Καὶ ὑπὲρ τῆς πόλεως εὔχομαι, φησίν, οὐχ ἁπλῶς, ἀλλ’ ὥστε εἶναι τόπον ἡμῖν ἐν ᾧ μέλλομεν εὐσεβεῖν καὶ τὰ νόμιμα πληροῦν. Ἀναφορὰν καὶ ὁλοκαυτώματα. Ἀναφέρειν σοι, φησίν, ἅπερ ὁ νόμος προστάττει. Τότε ἀνοίσουσιν ἐπὶ τὸ θυσιαστήριόν σου μόσχους. Ὥστε, φησί, καὶ χώραν ἡμῖν εἶναι συνήθως ἐπὶ τῶν θυσιαστηρίων τῶν νέων προσφέρειν μόσχους ὑπὲρ πλημμελήματος καὶ ὑπὲρ σωτηρίου.

[4] Syriac CSCO 387, SYRI 168 V, pg 32. Cx. PG 27 for Latin and Greek.

The Fathers on Psalm 46

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

Psalm 46

Streams of the river gladden the city of God,

the holy dwelling of the Most High.

God is in its midst; it shall not be shaken;

God will help it at break of day.

Though nations rage and kingdoms totter,

he utters his voice and the earth melts.

The LORD of hosts is with us;

our stronghold is the God of Jacob.

Come and see the works of the LORD,

who has done fearsome deeds on earth;

Who stops wars to the ends of the earth,

breaks the bow, splinters the spear,

and burns the shields with fire;

“Be still and know that I am God!

I am exalted among the nations,

exalted on the earth.”

The LORD of hosts is with us;

our stronghold is the God of Jacob.

Athanasius: “Having run to God for refuge and having been protected from the trouble happening all around you, if you want to thank God and describe the details of his loving care for you, then you have Psalm 46.”[1]

Diodore of Tarsus: Streams of the river gladden the city of God, the Most High sanctified his tabernacle.[2] By city of God he refers to Jerusalem, and calls the good things now coming from God river currents. So he means, God’s goodness brings joy to the city, being greater than the troubles besetting us and bearing down on us like a flowing river. The Most High sanctified his tabernacle. Again by God’s tabernacle he refers to Jerusalem for the reason of God’s living and dwelling there. So he says he sanctified the tabernacle¸ that is, he kept it unscathed and free of all harm. God is in its midst; it shall not be shaken; God will help it at break of day. How, in fact, was the city which the Lord personally inhabits going to survive the tumult? God will help it at break of day. By break of day he refers to the speed and rapid support. For this reason, he is saying, he provides rapid help and speedy care. Though nations rage and kingdoms totter: at this point those warring against us were suddenly seized with shaking and alarm, and the kingdoms yielded to us and became subject. He utters his voice and the earth melts: so that like an excellent general he not only struck panic into them but also brought confusion upon the whole earth. The LORD of hosts is with us: it is God who accords us help. Our stronghold is the God of Jacob: the God of our forefather Jacob is the one who grants us support. Come and see the works of the LORD: so assemble together, everyone, and learn what God has done for us. Who has done fearsome deeds on earth: that is, in our land—Jerusalem—he gave evidence of miracles and fearsome deeds, repelling as ineffective such vast numbers of enemies. Who stops wars to the ends of the earth: it is he who routs all the enemy when he wishes and brings peace to the earth to the degree that he wants. He breaks the bow, splinters the spear, and burns the shields with fire: he is the God who does away with the enemy with their own weapons when he wishes. Be still and know that I am God! So consider that God will say to everyone, When you seen an end of the enemy and are at rest, you will have the opportunity to know the kind of God you have. I am exalted among the nations, exalted on the earth: give heed to learning this from him as well, I am exalted over all nations and the land of Jerusalem, and I arrange events as I wish. The LORD of hosts is with us; our stronghold is the God of Jacob: he is the God who is with us, who has authority over hosts, who is the supporter of our forefather and continues his kindness to us also.[3]

Pseudo-Athanasius: For they had as a helper the God of Jacob, who had strengthened him in his contest. Streams of the river gladden the city of God, the holy dwelling of the Most High. God is in its midst; it shall not be shaken; God will help it at break of day. He is continuously in the midst of the church, making it rejoice with the torrents of the river which flows from him and delights in him. Who stops wars to the ends of the earth, breaks the bow, splinters the spear, and burns the shields with fire. He removed wars from the ends of the earth. He even breaks the bow and burns the shield with the fire that consumes wicked deeds, and changes the hills into an abyss (that is, the evil spirits).[4]


[1] Benjamin Wayman. Make the Words Your Own: An Early Christian Guide to the Psalms (Brewster, M.A.: Paraclete Press: 2014), 114.

[2] LXX reading.

[3] TLG 6. Τοῦ ποταμοῦ τὰ ὁρμήματα εὐφραίνουσι τὴν πόλιν τοῦ θεοῦ. «Πόλιν τοῦ θεοῦ» καλεῖ τὴν Ἱερουσαλήμ· «ὁρμήματα ποταμοῦ» νῦν τὰ παρὰ τοῦ θεοῦ ἀγαθὰ λέγει. Βούλεται οὖν εἰπεῖν ὅτι τῶν κακῶν τῶν ἐπελθόντων ἡμῖν μείζων οὖσα ἡ τοῦ θεοῦ ἀγαθότης καὶ δίκην ποταμοῦ ῥυζῶντος ἐφ’ ἡμᾶς φερομένη ἐν εὐφροσύνῃ καθίστησι τὴν πόλιν. Ἡγίασε τὸ σκήνωμα αὐτοῦ ὁ ὕψιστος. Πάλιν «σκήνωμα» τοῦ θεοῦ καλεῖ τὴν Ἱερουσαλὴμ ὡς τοῦ θεοῦ ἐκεῖ κατοικοῦντος καὶ κατασκηνοῦντος. «Ἡγίασεν» οὖν, φησίν, αὐτοῦ «τὸ σκήνωμα», τουτέστιν ἀνέπαφον ἐφύλαξε καὶ καθαρὸν πάσης βλάβης. Ὁ θεὸς ἐν μέσῳ αὐτῆς καὶ οὐ σαλευθήσεται. Πῶς γάρ, φησίν, ἔμελλε τάραχον ὑπομένειν πόλις ἣν αὐτὸς ὁ κύριος κατοικεῖ; Βοηθήσει αὐτῇ ὁ θεὸς τὸ πρὸς πρωῒ πρωΐ. «Πρωῒ» τὸ τάχος λέγει καὶ τὴν ὀξυτάτην ἀντίληψιν. Διὰ τοῦτο γὰρ αὐτῇ, φησί, καὶ ταχεῖαν παρέχει τὴν βοήθειαν καὶ ὀξυτάτην τὴν κηδεμονίαν. Ἐταράχθησαν ἔθνη, ἔκλιναν βασιλεῖαι. Ἐντεῦθεν, φησίν, οἱ πολεμοῦντες ἡμῖν ἐξαίφνης ἐν σάλῳ καὶ ταραχῇ κατέστησαν καὶ αἱ βασιλεῖαι ὑπεῖξαν ἡμῖν καὶ ὑπετάγησαν. Ἔδωκε φωνὴν αὐτοῦ ὁ ὕψιστος, ἐσαλεύθη ἡ γῆ. Ὡς γὰρ στρατηγός, φησίν, ἄριστος ἐκ τῆς πόλεως ἐμβοήσας εἰς τὰ ὦτα τῶν πολεμίων οὐ μόνον αὐτοὺς συνετάραξεν, ἀλλὰ καὶ πᾶσαν τὴν γῆν συνεκλόνησεν. Κύριος τῶν δυνάμεων μεθἡμῶν. Οὗτος, φησίν, ὁ θεός ἐστιν ὁ τὴν βοήθειαν ἡμῖν νέμων. Ἀντιλήπτωρ ἡμῶν ὁ θεὸς Ἰακώβ. Καὶ ὁ θεός, φησί, τοῦ προπάτορος Ἰακώβ, αὐτός ἐστιν ὁ τὴν ἀντίληψιν ἡμῖν χαριζόμενος. Δεῦτε καὶ ἴδετε τὰ ἔργα τοῦ θεοῦ. Συνάχθητε οὖν, φησίν, ἅπαντες καὶ καταμάθετε οἷα ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν εἰργάσατο ὁ θεός. Ἃ ἔθετο τέρατα ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς. Ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς τῆς ἡμετέρας, φησί, τουτέστι τῆς Ἱερουσαλήμ, ἐπεδείξατο, φησί, θαύματα καὶ τέρατα, τοσοῦτον πλῆθος πολεμίων ἀποστρέψας ἄπρακτον. Ἀνταναιρῶν πολέμους μέχρι τῶν περάτων τῆς γῆς. Οὗτός ἐστι, φησίν, ὁ πάντας τοὺς πολεμίους ὅτε βούλεται ἀνατρέπων καὶ ποιῶν εἰρηνεύειν τὴν γῆν ἐφ’ ὅσον ἂν ἐθέλῃ. Τόξον συντρίψει καὶ συνθλάσει ὅπλον καὶ θυρεοὺς κατακαύσει ἐν πυρί.  Οὗτός ἐστι, φησίν, ὁ θεὸς ὁ αὐτοῖς ὅπλοις τοὺς πολεμίους ὅτε βούλεται ἀναιρῶν. Σχολάσατε καὶ γνῶτε ὅτι ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ θεός. Νομίσατε οὖν, φησίν, ἐρεῖν πρὸς ἅπαντας τὸν θεὸν ὅτι ἐπειδή, φησί, σχολάζετε τῶν πολεμίων πεπαυμένοι, εἰς τοῦτο ἀσχολήθητε, εἰς τὸ γνῶναι ποῖον ἔχετε θεόν. Ὑψωθήσομαι ἐν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν, ὑψωθήσομαι ἐν τῇ γῇ.  Καὶ ταῦτα, φησί, νομίσατε ἀκούειν παρ’ αὐτοῦ ὅτι ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ πάντων ὑψηλότατος τῶν τε ἐθνῶν καὶ τῆς γῆς κατὰ τὴν Ἱερουσαλὴμ καί, ὡς ἂν ἐθέλω, διατίθημι τὰ πράγματα. Κύριος τῶν δυνάμεων μεθ’ ἡμῶν, ἀντιλήπτωρ ἡμῶν ὁ θεὸς Ἰακώβ. Οὗτος, φησίν, ὁ θεὸς μεθ’ ἡμῶν, ὁ πασῶν τῶν δυνάμεων ἔχων τὴν ἐξουσίαν, ὁ τοῦ προπάτορος ἀντιλήπτωρ καὶ διαβιβάζων τὰς εὐεργεσίας ἄχρι καὶ ἡμῶν.

[4] Syriac CSCO 387, SYRI 168 V, pg 29. Cx. PG 27 for Latin and Greek.