Cassiodorus, Explanation of the Psalms - Vol. 3

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

COMMENTARY ON PSALM 139

I. Unto the end. A psalm ofDavid. Though this heading is seen to be explained in the previous psalm, we are not reluctant to repeat briefly what we know is always salutary for us to hear. Unto the end denotes the Lord Christ; as Paul says: For the end of the law is Christ, unto justice to everyone that believeth. 1 Let us lift up our hearts to Him with all our strength, for in this psalm as by the voice of a herald we are forewarned that He comes as a Judge, fearful and almighty but also devoted and the object of great longing.


Division of the Psalm

Holy Church speaks throughout the psalm. In the first section she entreats the Lord that He may deign to free her from the wicked devil who seeks to undermine the devotion of the faithful people with many deceits and traps. In the second, she begs not to be consigned to that most evil tempter, now that she is certainly delivered from bitter dangers by His protection. In the third, she says that vengeance at the future judgment will visit those who afflict His poor with senseless disturbances.


Explanation of the Psalm

2. Deliver me, O Lord, from the evil man:from the unjust man rescue me. In her awareness of the extent of the sufferings of her members through the devil's hostility, mother Church anxiously cries to the Lord who alone can overcome Satan's wickedness, and begs for deliverance from his manifold temptation so that she may no longer be wearied and yield to him. We have learnt from the gospel-evidence that the evil man stands for the devil, for it says: Now the evil man is the devil. 2 The devil is deservedly so styled, for he is stained with the contagion of sins, so that he is no longer described as an angel of heaven but as a man of earth; the two expressions replace and interchange with each other, and even today we both call a wicked man a devil, and contrariwise as we have just demonstrated we call the devil

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