Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Psalm 9 — Confidence in God

When the enemy is being accused and creation saves, do not take the glory for yourself but know that this is the victory of the Son of God and sing to him in the words of Psalm 9.
Athanasius, On the Interpretation of the Psalms

This is one psalm in Greek but two psalms (9 and 10) in Hebrew. We follow the Hebrew numbering. The reasons for thinking of it as one long psalm are because psalm 10 has no title and seems to be loosely connected to the theme of psalm 9. Also the psalms actually form a single acrostic poem. Each verse begins with a successive letter of the Hebrew alphabet.

This psalm is a real celebration of God from all angles even though the psalmist is still suffering and awaiting deliverance. But he is confident in God's faithfulness.

A shofar, symbol of the Rosh Hashanah holiday.
Verse 4 of psalm 9 is found in the repetition of the Amidah on Rosh Hashanah.

I like the mention above that part of this psalm is used in the Rosh Hashanah liturgy. Because that is how we Catholics experience the psalms — as part of the liturgy.

On this psalm, Didymus the Blind is the one who caught my attention with the two points made below.

 9:10 Those Who Know God's Name

God Never Abandons Us. Didymus the Blind: Those who have a perfect knowledge of your name trust in no other thing. They are not abandoned by God. This word must be understood with wisdom and reverence, considering that one should not think that the person who lives rightly in his daily affairs is abandoned by God. One who thinks thus is deceived. Indeed several of the impious have thus believed. Some say that Abel, who was killed, was abandoned, as also the prophets and apostles, for these individuals were afflicted continuously, and many of them even murdered by people. With this distinction made, we say that the person who is with God up to his last breath is not abandoned, even if he suffers innumerable wounds from his enemies. Fragments on the Psalms

 9:15 The Pit They Made
The Wicked Caught in Their Own Sin.. Didymus the Blind: Secretly [the wicked] build traps of deceit with their own plans and words, so they may seize someone unsuspecting. But by that very trap that they have hidden they are punished, for vindicators will keep those very ones they have caught. This punishment is done by the providence of God. For what other is the judgment of God than that the sinner is caught by his own deeds, because he holds the reason for his own condemnation for those who live unrighteously. This agrees with that which is said before: "He who has opened a pit for his neighbor will fall into it (Ps. 7:15)." Fragments on the Psalms

Psalms 1-50 (Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture)

Sources are here and an index of psalm posts is here

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