Cassiodorus, Explanation of the Psalms - Vol. 3

By Cassiodorus; P. G. Walsh | Go to book overview

lor. Impugnare (to fight against) derives from pugna (fight), behaviour befitting wild and proud individuals. He was assailed without cause when he suffered the most untrue allegations, hurled with fiery malice. We use the expression without cause for suffering endured without preceding guilt, when we are attacked with wilful wickedness and without motive. These are the men from whom he sought deliverance, and of whom he said: From wicked lips and a deceitful tongue deliver me.


Conclusion Drawn From the Psalm

You see the prophet abandoning things of earth and now holding the height of glorious virtue, but still grieving because he knows that he sojourns with the wicked. So let us look at the nature of his advance to the second step, for with the Lord's help the first step has been revealed to us.


COMMENTARY ON PSALM 120

A canticle of steps. Though we can say nothing new about these headings, we have still to speak of the gradual ascent of the psalms. Initially the prophet is afflicted, like the tax-collector who beat his breast and did not raise his eyes to heaven. 1 He begs to be delivered from wicked lips and a deceitful tongue. But now he has recovered his breath and advanced to the second step. He has raised his eyes to the mountains, that is, to the holy intercessors by whose support he sought to win heavenly blessings. The prophet speaks these words in his own person, though he himself is such a mountain and a wondrous patriarch. His purpose in saying that he has fittingly mounted these steps is to reveal to us in our ignorance the types of the virtues in distinctive narration.


Division of the Psalm

The prophet, as we have said, mounts to the heavenly Jerusalem through God's generosity. In the first section he says that he has

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