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Tag Archives: David

PSALM 54, DOUAY-RHEIMS BIBLE

PSALM 54, DOUAY-RHEIMS BIBLE

PSALM 54

Exaudi, Deus

A prayer of a just man under persecution from the wicked. It agrees to Christ persecuted by the Jews, and betrayed by Judas.

1 Unto the end, in verses, understanding for David. 

2 Hear, O God, my prayer, and despise not my supplication: be attentive to me and hear me.

I am grieved in my exercise; and am troubled, at the voice of the enemy, and at the tribulation of the sinner.

For they have cast iniquities upon me: and in wrath they were troublesome to me.

My heart is troubled within me: and the fear of death is fallen upon me.

Fear and trembling are come upon me: and darkness hath covered me.

And I said: Who will give me wings like a dove, and I will fly and be at rest?

Lo, I have gone far off flying away; and I abode in the wilderness.

I waited for him that hath saved me from pusillanimity of spirit, and a storm.

Cast down, O Lord, and divide their tongues; for I have seen iniquity and contradiction in the city.

Day and night shall iniquity surround it upon its walls: and in the midst thereof are labour, and injustice.

And usury and deceit have not departed from its streets.

For if my enemy had reviled me, I would verily have borne with it.

And if he that hated me had spoken great things against me, I would perhaps have hidden my self from him.

But thou a man of one mind, my guide, and my familiar,

Who didst take sweetmeats together with me: in the house of God we walked with consent.

Let death come upon them, and let them go down alive into he’ll.

For there is wickedness in their dwellings: in the midst of them.

But I have cried to God: and the Lord will save me.

Evening and morning, and at noon I will speak and declare: and he shall hear my voice.

He shall redeem my soul in peace from them that draw near to me: for among many they were with me.

God shall hear, and the Eternal shall humble them.

For there is no change with them, and they have not feared God: he hath stretched forth his hand to repay.

They have defiled his covenant, they are divided by the wrath of his countenance, and his heart hath drawn near.

His words are smoother than oil, and the same are darts.

Cast thy care upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall not suffer the just to waver for ever.

But thou, O God, shalt bring them down into the pit of destruction.

Bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days; but I will trust in thee, O Lord.

Footnotes:

Verse 16, “Let death, &c. This, and such like imprecations which occur in the psalms, are delivered prophetically; that is, by way of foretelling the punishments which shall fall upon the wicked from divine justice, and approving the righteous ways of God: but not by way of ill will, or uncharitable curses, which the law of God disallows. – Verse 19, Among many, &c. That is, they that drew near to attack me were many in company all combined to fight against me. Verse 22, They are divided &c. Dispersed, scattered, and brought to nothing, by the wrath of God; who looks with indignation on their wicked and deceitful ways. 

 

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TODAY’S BIBLE READING (ISAIAH 7:1-9)

IF YOU DO NOT STAND BY ME, YOU WILL NOT STAND AT ALL.

In the reign of Ahaz son of Jotham, son of Uzziah, king of Judah, Razon the king of Afam went up against Jerusalem with Pekah son of Remaliah, king of Israel, to lay siege to it; but he was unable to capture it.

The news was brought to the House of David. “Aram,” they said, “has reached Ephraim.” Then the heart of the king and the hearts of the people shuddered as the trees of the forest shudder in front of the wind. The Lord said to Isaiah, “Go with your son Shear-jashub, and meet Ahaz at the end of the conduit of the upper pool on the Fuller’s Field road, and say to him:

‘Pay attention, keep calm, have no fear,
do not let your heart sink
because of these two smouldering stumps of firebrands,
or because Aram, Ephraim and the son of Remaliah
have plotted to ruin you, and have said:
Let us invade Judah and terrorise it
and seize it for ourselves,
and set up a king there,
the son of Tabeel.
The Lord says this:
It shall not come true; it shall not be.
The capital of Aram is Damascus,
the head of Damascus, Razon;
the capital of Ephraim, Samaria,
the head of Samaria, the son of Remaliah.
Six or five years more
and shattered Ephraim shall no longer be a people.
But if you do not stand by me,
you will not stand at all.'”

V. The word of the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.

 

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BIBLE READING (2 KINGS 19:9-11, 14-21, 31-36)

I WILL PROTECT THIS CITY AND SAVE IT FOR MY OWN SAKE AND FOR THE SAKE OF DAVID.

Sennacherib sent messengers to Hezekiah again, saying, “Tell this to Hezekiah king of Judah, ‘Do not let your God on whom you are relying deceive you, when he says: Jerusalem shall not fall into the power of the king of Assyria. You have learnt by now what the kings of Assyria have done to every country, putting them all under the ban. Are you likely to be spared?'”

Hezekiah took the letter from the hands of the messenger and read it; he then went up to the Temple of the Lord and spread it out before the Lord. Hezekiah said this prayer in the presence of the Lord, “Lord of hosts, God of Israel, enthroned on the cherubs, you alone are God of all the kingdoms of the earth, you have made heaven and earth.

“Give ear, Lord, and listen.
Open your eyes, Lord, and see.
Hear the words of Sennacherib
who has sent to insult the living God.

“It is true, Lord, that the kings of Assyria have exterminated all the nations, they have thrown their gods on the fire, for these were not gods but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, and hence they have destroyed them. But now, Lord our God, save us from his hand, I pray you, and let all the kingdoms of the earth know that you alone are God, Lord.”

Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah. “The Lord, the God of Israel” he said “says this, ‘I have heard the prayer you have addressed to me about Sennacherib king of Assyria.’ Here is the oracle that the Lord has pronounced against him:
“‘A remnant shall go out from Jerusalem,
and survivors from Mount Zion.
The jealous love of the Lord of Hosts shall accomplish this.’
“This, then, is what the Lord says about the king of Assyria:
“‘He will not enter this city,
he will let fly no arrow against it,
confront it with no shield,
throw up no earthwork against it.
By the road that he came on he will return;
he shall not enter this city. It is the Lord who speaks.
I will protect this city and save it
for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David.'”

That same night the angel of the Lord went out and struck down a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. Sennacherib struck camp and left; he returned home and stayed in Nineveh.

V. The word of the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.

 

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30th MARCH, BIBLE READING I (SAMUEL 16:1, 6-7, 10-13)

DAVID ANOINTED KING

The Lord said to Samuel, “Fill your horn with oil and go. I am sending you to Jesse in Bethlehem, for I have chosen myself a king among his sons.”

When they arrived, he caught sight of Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed one stands there before him,” but the Lord said to Samuel, “Take no notice of his appearance or his height for I have rejected him; God does not see as a man sees; man looks at appearances but the Lord looks at the heart.” Jesse presented his seven sons to Samuel, but Samuel said to Jesse, “The Lord has not chosen these.” He then asked Jesse, “Are these all the sons you have?” He answered, “There is still one left, the youngest; he is out looking after the sheep.” Then Samuel said to Jesse, “Send for him; we will not sit down to eat until he comes.”

Jesse had him sent for, a boy of fresh complexion, with fine eyes and pleasant bearing. The Lord said, “Come, anoint him, for this is the one.” At this, Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him where he stood with his brothers; and the spirit of the Lord seized on David and stayed with him from that day on.

V. The word of the Lord.
R. Thanks be to God.

 

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932 B.C. – THE PERIOD OF THE TWO KINGDOMS IN THE BIBLE EXPLAINED: I. THE KINGDOM OF ISRAEL

THE HEAVY TAX YOKE KING SOLOMON HAD IMPOSED ON THE KINGDOM

“The splendid achievement of King Solomon brought great glory to the people of Israel, and his reign would be long remembered with nostalgia as a time of great glory for the nation. But the splendour of his time was bought at a great price. He did not add sufficiently to the resources left him by David to achieve his great projects without imposing on his people a tax and labour burden which aroused great resentment.

REVOLT

As a consequence Roboam, his successor, found himself ruling a discontented people. They asked him to relieve them of the heavy yoke that Solomon had placed upon them. Roboam, refusing to listen to the sage advice of the elders of the kingdom, refused.

Ten of the tribes – all except Juda and Benjamin – rose in revolt and elected Jeroboam, a former official under Solomon, king of the new kingdom of Israel. The portion of the old kingdom remaining to Roboam became known as the kingdom of Juda. This division of the kingdom took place in the year 932 B.C.

A STEADY PROGRESS TOWARD DISASTER

The subsequent history of the two kingdoms of Juda and Israel is, on the whole, a steady progress toward disaster. In the political and military spheres they found themselves slowly destroyed between the crushing rivalries of the great empires of Egypt, Assyria and Babylonia.

Unable to reach any permanent unification of their forces for the protection of all the Chosen People of God, they embarked upon a course of political and military intrigues, now allied with one another, now opposed to one another; now allied with other petty states against Assyria; now allied with Assyria against Egypt, or with Egypt against Assyria. Almost always these alliances brought more harm to the Chosen People, until both kingdoms were destroyed.

In 721 the kingdom of Israel fell and its people were led into captivity by the Assyrians. In 586 the kingdom of Juda fell and its people were led into captivity by the Babylonians.

A NECESSARY PREPARATION OF THE PEOPLE FOR THE COMING OF SALVATION

If this were the whole history of these times, we would have concluded that God’s plan to save the world through the Chosen People had failed. The strength of His love had been squandered uselessly on the weakness of men.

But at this time the phenomenon of prophetism was sent to Israel by God to correct the errors of the people and to lay the foundation of hope for the future. In the light of the teaching of the prophets this unfortunate period in the life of Israel can be seen as a necessary preparation of the people and of the world for the coming of salvation.

THE ROLE OF GOD’S PROPHETS

The Hebrew prophets were men raised up by God to speak to the Chosen People in God’s name. It was their mission to speak against the errors of the kings, priests and people. In fulfilling this mission they extolled trust in Jahweh and denounced the purely human [worldly] policy of seeking safety through political and military alliances. They urged the simple worship of Jahweh, and condemned the infiltration of idolatry into the religious life of the people. They castigated the abuses of justice and the luxuriousness of the people. But they also promised ultimate victory to Jahweh and His people.

HISTORIC CONTEXT

To perceive the universal significance of their message we must consider it in its historical context. For this purpose we shall consider first the history of the schismatic kingdom of Israel, and then that of the Davidic kingdom of Juda.

GOLDEN CALVES WERE PLACED IN BETHEL AND IN DAN

The first disastrous consequence of the rebellion of the ten tribes was the destruction of the religious unity of the people. The attempt of David and Solomon to secure religious unity by centralising worship at. Jerusalem – an attempt already dramatically successful at the completion of Solomon’s great Temple in Jerusalem – became a failure through the division of the kingdom.

A religious unity of divided peoples, a unity made real by the centralisation of divine worship at Jerusalem, would be a constant threat to the powers of the schismatic kings of Israel.

With more political foresight than devotion to Jahweh, Jeroboam, the first ruler of the kingdom of Israel, established two centres of worship for his kingdom, one at Bethel and the other in Dan. Unfortunately the ever present tendency of the people to debase the true worship demanded by Jahweh manifested itself at once. Though Jeroboam designated these two centres as places of worship of Jahweh, he adulterated the Mosaic religion by placing, both in Bethel and in Dan, golden calves to represent Jahweh.

THE WARNING OF THE PROPHET AHIAS REGARDING THE GOLDEN CALVES

At the command of Jahweh, Ahias, a prophet, told the wife of Jeroboam that the kingdom would be taken from his dynasty because of this disobedience to God’s command to make no graven image of Himself. After a reign of two years, Nadab, the son of Jeroboam, was slain by Baasa, who then reigned for twenty-four years. Baasa’s long reign was unusual in the kingdom of Israel. The tradition of revolt inaugurated by Jeroboam became a characteristic of the northern kingdom. Ela, the son of Baasa, reigned two years before he was overthrown by Zimri, who, in turn, was replaced by Omri.

WORSHIP TO THE TRUE GOD WAS NOW IN GRAVE DANGER OF EXTINCTION

Politically Omri was a good king. He probably avoided difficulty with the Assyrians by paying tribute to the Assyrian monarch Ashur-nasir-pal II. He seems to have subdued Moab. He maintained friendly relations with Ethbaal, king of Tyre, and arranged the marriage of his son Achab to Jezabel, daughter of Ethbaal.

Under his son Achab, the Phoenician Jezabel encouraged the worship of the Baal of Tyre and persecuted the faithful followers of Jahweh. A temple was built to Baal at Samaria, the capital of the kingdom, and maintained at the expense of the royal treasury.

At this time, when the worship of the true God was in grave danger of extinction, God sent the prophet Elias to defend Jahwism.

THE PROPHET ELIAS APPEARS

Elias prophesied that God would send a severe drought to punish Achab and Israel for their idolatrous worship of Baal. In the year 857 B.C. the drought occurred. As the drought lasted until late in the year 856, Achab was impressed and agreed to a trial of power between Baal and Jahweh. In accordance with the wish of Elias, the prophets of Baal – over four hundred in number – and the people assembled on Mount Carmel for the trial.

ONLY OUR GOD REIGNS, ALWAYS, FOR EVER & EVER

A bullock was given to the prophets of Baal and a bullock to Elias. The prophets of Baal placed their bullock upon sticks of wood for burning. Elias then said to the people: ‘How long do you halt between two sides? If the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him… Call ye on the names of your gods, and I will call on the name of my Lord: and the God that shall answer, let him be God’ (1 Kings 18:21, 24).

The prophets of Baal prayed and performed their rites in vain. The wood for their holocaust would not ignite. Then Elias placed his bullock on a pile of wood and drenched the sacrifice and the wood with water, and called upon Jahweh. ‘The fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the holocaust’ (1 Kings 18:38). At once the people cried out their allegiance to Jahweh, and they killed the prophets of Baal. After this, God sent rain to relieve the drought.

STERN MEASURES AGAINST THE WORSHIP OF BAAL

But even this pointed lesson did not destroy completely the debased religious practices of the house of Omri. Under Joram, the son and second successor of Achab, the prophet Eliseus arranged to have Jehu, one of the captains of Joram’s army, anointed king as a punishment for the destruction of God’s true prophets by Achab and Jezabel.

Jehu took stern measures against the worship of Baal. But he did not destroy the idolatrous worship of the golden calves at Bethel and Dan.

Jeroboam II, the great-grandson of Jehu, ruled for forty-one years (784-744 B.C.) and restored the kingdom of Israel to a position of strength and prosperity. But after his reign the kingdom declined steadily.

THE GOLDEN CALVES REMAINED IN PLACE

His son Zacharias was murdered after a rule of only six months. He was succeeded by Sellum, who in turn was murdered by Menahem. Menahem became a vassal king to Tiglath-Pileser III of Assyria. The kingdom was thus embroiled in the struggles between Assyria and Egypt. Peqahia, son of Menahem, was murdered by a group of conspirators who favoured Egypt over Assyria.

THE KINGDOM DECLINED STEADILY

He was succeeded by Peqah, who entered into an alliance with Rasin, king of Damascus, against Assyria. Failing to induce the kingdom of Juda to enter the alliance with them so as to insure help from Egypt against Assyria, they besieged Jerusalem. This led Achaz, king of Juda, to appeal for help to Tiglath-Pileser. In the year 732 the Assyrians defeated Rasin and Peqah. The tribes of Nephtali and of the Transjordan were transported to Assyria.

An Israelite named Osee killed Peqah and aSsumed the crown. While nominally subject to Assyria, he seems to have intrigued with the Pharaoh of Egypt against Salmanassar V. When the Assyrian monarch learned of this he made Osee his prisoner. But in Samari the people continued to resist the Assyrians. Salmanassar laid siege to the city in 724.

THE ORIGIN OF THE SAMARITANS, AND WHY THEY WERE DIFFERENT

In 721 Sargon, successor to Salmanassar, took Samaria and deported over 27,000 inhabitants of the kingdom of Israel to distant regions in the empire of Assyria. Other races conquered by the Assyrians were imported into Israel. While these new peoples, in accordance with the customs of the time, worshipped Jahweh, they continued to worship their own gods also. As a result there arose in Israel that people known as the Samaritans, a people of mixed religious beliefs and practices.

THE PROPHETS AMOS AND HOSEA EXPLAIN THE MEANING OF THE FALL OF THE KINGDOM OF ISRAEL

The meaning of the fall of the kingdom of Israel is given to us in the message of the prophets Amos and Osee [Hosea] sent by God to the kingdom of Israel in the last years of the kingdom. According to both prophets the kingdom of Israel was forgotten by God because of her sins. The people of Israel have sinned against justice, oppressed the poor, sought the riches of this world, rather than the friendship of their God. In their pursuit of the riches, pleasures and power of this world they have relied upon political alliances rather than on Jahweh. Desirous of material prosperity they have worshipped the false gods of the land in which they dwelt and so have become unfaithful to Jahweh. According to Amos they would not pay heed to the blessings or the chastisements sent them by Jahweh. They became incorrigible in their faithlessness. As a consequence both prophets foretell the destruction of the kingdom and the captivity of the people in Assyria. But, as Osee [Hosea] points out, the captivity will be a blessing, for the people thus humiliated will see the error of their ways, they will give up the worship of the false god Baal and will return to the worship of Jahweh, the true God. Then God will lead them out of captivity and will restore them to their native land.

GOD REMAINS FAITHFUL

The teaching of Osee [Hosea] in particular sheds new light on the relationship which God desires with man. Osee portrays God as the loving Spouse of Israel, and Israel as the faithless wife of God. The covenant of God with His people, then, is not simply a contract founded on justice. It is a union of love which God desires. He will be not simply the Lord of His people but their loving Spouse. And His love for His spouse is so great that even though she is unfaithful to Him and enters into sinful relations with other and false gods, still God will remain faithful to His love for her. Her chastisement will be heavy and painful, but it will be administered by love and will bring about her return to her true husband.

ISRAEL JOURNEYING FROM THE WORLDLY OUTLOOK TO THE TRULY SPIRITUAL

This portrayal of God as the Spouse of Israel and the prophet’s castigation of the worldliness of the Israelites and his teaching that God desires mercy and not sacrifice show that Israel had not appreciated the true spirituality of the religion of Moses. They had regarded their covenant with Jahweh simply as a means to temporal [material] advantage, and they had sought this advantage in a purely external worship of their God. Osee, in the portrayal of God as their Spouse and of themselves as God’s unfaithful wife, emphasises the truth that God will be bound to His people by love, the total and faithful love which obtains between husband and wife. God wishes to be worshipped not only externally but internally with the love of the spirit. This is the great lesson of the prophets of Israel.”
– Martin J. Healy, 1959

 

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HOLY THURSDAY, CHRISM MASS: RESPONSORIAL PSALM (PSALM 88)

R. I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord.

1. I have found David my servant
and with my holy oil anointed him.
My hand shall always be with him
and my arm shall make him strong. (R.)

2. My truth and my love shall be with him;
by my name his might shall be exalted.
He will say to me: “You are my father,
my God, the rock who saves me.” (R.)

 

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TODAY’S GOSPEL READING (JOHN 7:40-52)

WOULD THE CHRIST BE FROM GALILEE?

Several people who had been listening to Jesus said, “Surely he must be the prophet,” and some said, “He is the Christ”, but others said, “Would the Christ be from Galilee? Does not scripture say that the Christ must be descended from David and come from the town of Bethlehem?” So the people could not agree about him. Some would have liked to arrest him, but no one actually laid hands on him.

The police went back to the chief priests and Pharisees who said to them, “Why haven’t you brought him?” The police replied, “There has never been anybody who has spoken like him.” “So,” the Pharisees answered, “you have been led astray as well? Have any of the authorities believed him? Any of the Pharisees? This rabble knows nothing about the Law – they are damned.” One of them, Nicodemus – the same man who had come to Jesus earlier – said to them, “But surely the Law does not allow us to pass judgement on a man without giving him a hearing and discovering what he is about?” To this they answered, “Are you a Galilean too? Go into the matter, and see for yourself: prophets do not come out of Galilee.”

V. The Gospel of the Lord.
R. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

 

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