This is a marvellous psalm, deep and endowed with abundant power. We see that it gleams everywhere with the Lord's mercy as though with glowing stars. The nature of its strength and power is shown in Chronicles with the words: When they began to praise the Lord and to say: Confess to the Lord, for he is good, for his mercy endureth for ever. The house of God was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not stand and minister by reason of the cloud. For the glory of the Lord had filled the house of God. 21 What words of this kind can we utter, except what divine authority is seen to witness in its own case? Though it is certain that God is present with us if we chastely sing any psalm whatsoever, we believe it more clearly when we see it strengthened by the authority of the law.
I. A psalm of David. The scheme of headings has now returned to the earlier convention, showing that we must ascribe merciful and most holy deeds to the Lord Saviour. We must note, however, that this hymn is not spoken by persons who rejoice, but is sung solely under the compunction of grief. The history of this event was fulfilled, as the prophet Jeremiah records, 1 when the capture of Jerusalem took place after the arrival of king Nebuchadnezzar. The most remorseful book, expressive of his devotion, survives, designated by the letters of the alphabet repeated four times. 2 But we must interpret these events spiritually, for as Paul says: All these things happened to them in figure. 3
The people of the Hebrews, who through the fault of their obduracy were many generations later to suffer in captivity under king