The Catholic Counter-Reformation in the 21st Century
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PSALM FIFTEEN (14)
Guest of Yahweh

PSALM 15 gives a summary of our entire holy religion. The Psalmist already sung his hope in the salvation of Israel that must arise from Sion  : «  Who will make the salvation of Israel come from Sion  ?  » (Ps 14.7), and continues his meditation on this «  holy mountain  ».

Psalm 14 denounced a world become completely corrupt. Who, then, will dwell on the holy mountain where, nevertheless, God resides  ? We know because Psalm 2 tells us, «  He who is enthroned in the heavens, Adonai  », says  : «  I have anointed My king upon Sion, My holy Mountain  » (Ps 2.6).

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  1. A psalm to David.
    Yahweh, who will dwell beneath Your tent  ? Who will stay on Your holy mountain  ?

ABRAHAM

  1. He who walks as one perfect and does what is righteous and speaks the truth with his heart  ;

MOSES

  1. Who does not stumble on his tongue, who does not evil to his neighbour, and does not wrong his kin.

DAVID

  1. Object of scorn in his own eyes, rejected  ; but those who fear Yahweh, He honours. He swears an oath to this neighbour and does not go back on it at all.

PORTRAIT OF THE KING-MESSIAH TO COME

  1. He has nothing to do with the usurer and receives no gift against an innocent. He who does so will never be shaken.
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1. A psalm to David.
Yahweh, who will dwell beneath Your tent  ? Who will stay on Your holy mountain  ?

The “ tent ” signifies the Temple and evokes the original time when God was encamped with His people in the desert. The “ holy mountain ” can also mean the original mountain, Sinai, where Moses was allowed to come before God. Here, above all it evokes the hill of Sion, where Yahweh anointed His “ King ”  :

«  I have anointed My king on Sion, My holy Mountain.  » (Ps 2.6).

This is the place from where Yahweh will hear His Messiah  : “ My voice rises before Yahweh, and He will answer me from His holy mountain. ”(Ps 3.5).

The Psalmist remains unshakably attached to this mountain  : «  I take shelter in Yahweh  ; how say you to my soul  : “ Flee your Mountain, bird  ! ”  » (Ps 11.1)

Who will be allowed to mount it in order to stand in the presence of God, and on what conditions  ?

The answer is  : as in the time of Sodom and Gomorrah, when there was not found one righteous man who could draw down God’s mercy on these corrupt cities, Abraham and his posterity remained the «  holy generation  » that sojourned before God, «  for Elohim was with the holy generation  » (Ps 14.5), i.e., with Abraham and his descendents (v. 2), Moses (v. 3), and David (v. 4).

ABRAHAM

2. He who walks as one perfect and does what is righteous and speaks the truth with his heart  ;

«  He who walks as one perfect  », is Abraham, to whom Yahweh said  : «  I am El Shaddai  ; walk in My presence, and be perfect.  » (Gn 17.1) In order to become righteous, in order to share in God’s righteousness, one must, then, imitate Abraham in his faith  : «  Abraham believed in Yahweh, and this was accounted as righteousness to him.  » (Gn 15.6)

To speak the truth «  with one’s heart  » is to say it «  with all one’s heart  », contrary to those who «  glorify Me only with their lips, yet their hearts remain far from Me  », says the Lord (Is 29.13).

MOSES

3. Who does not stumble on his tongue, who does not evil to his neighbour, and does not wrong his kin.

This verse sums up the Law of Yahweh that had been given to Moses and in which the righteous man takes his pleasure and murmurs night and day (Ps 1.2). In order to dwell with God on His holy mountain, one must not act like the impious  :

To «  stumble on one’s tongue  » consists of using God’s name abusively, contrary to the second Commandment  :

«  You shall not pronounce the name of Yahweh your God falsely, for Yahweh does not let one who pronounces His name falsely go unpunished.  » (Ex 20.7)

«  Not to do evil to one’s neighbour  » summarises the commandments that respect other people  : «  You shall not kill. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour. You shall not covet your neighbour’s house. You shall not covet your neighbour’s wife, his servant, his handmaiden, his ox, his ass, nor anything that belongs to your neighbour.  » (Ex 20.13-17)

Lastly, «  not to wrong one’s kin  » corresponds to the fourth Commandment  : «  Honour your father and your mother in order that your days be lengthened in the land that Yahweh, your God, gives you.  » (Ex 20.12)

DAVID

4. Object of scorn in his own eyes, rejected  ; but those who fear Yahweh, He honours. He swears an oath to this neighbour and does not go back on it at all.

This verse recalls the scene of the entrance of the Ark of Yahweh into Jerusalem, when David danced and bared his nakedness. Mikol, his wife, the daughter of Saul, despised him because of this. David answered her  : «  I shall humble myself even more. I shall be lowly in your eyes, but before the handmaidens of whom you speak, before them I shall be held in honour.  » (2 S 6.22)

When he commented on this episode, Fr. de Nantes wrote  : «  How can one not recall here Jesus’ complete nakedness on the Cross  ? He, the Son of David and Son of God, was rejected in order to die crucified outside of the walls of the faithless City at the hands of the uncircumcised and amidst the jeers of the leaders of His people  ! Such must be “ the scandal of the Cross ”, an object of scorn, shame, and hatred for base, perfidious souls that were already lost. But He is an object of ineffable emotion, admiration, and love for the Virgin Mary, His Mother, St. John, and the holy Women who stood round Him and did their best to hide their shame in contrast with those who mocked Him…

«  Thus, God made a type in David, body and soul, the image of the glory and sacred shame of His Son and Suffering Servant, Jesus Our Lord… ” (CCR no 277, June-July 1995, p. 22)

David is already an image of the Suffering Servant whom the Unknown of the Exile announced five centuries after him and five centuries before Jesus Christ  : «  Object of scorn, abandoned by menobject of scorn, we thought Him worthless […]. He was ill treated and humbled Himself.  » (Is 53.3-7)

«  He honours them  »  : Yahweh is the subject of the verb. He is the one who honours those who fear Him.

«  He swears an oath to this neighbour and does not go back on it at all.  » Yahweh is still the subject of these two verbs. In fact, if there is anyone who swears an oath and does not go back on it, it is Yahweh. God’s oath dates back to Abraham, to whom God swore as a reward for his obedience  :

«  The angel of Yahweh called the second time from Heaven to Abraham and said  : “ I swear by Myself, word of Yahweh  : because you have done this, because you did not refuse Me your son, your only-begotten, I shall fill you with blessings, I shall make your posterity as numerous as the stars of heaven and the sand on the seashore, and your posterity will conquer the gate of its enemies. All the nations of the earth will be blessed by your posterity because you obeyed Me. ”  » (Gn 22.15-18)

Because He «  does not go back on it at all  », Yahweh renewed this promise in favour of David and his lineage  : «  I shall not take away My favour from him as I took it away from your predecessor. Your house and your kingship will continue forever before Me  ; your throne will be made firm forever.  » (2 S 7.15-16).

PORTRAIT OF THE KING-MESSIAH TO COME

5. He has nothing to do with the usurer and receives no gift against an innocent. He who does so will never be shaken.

This is a portrait of the King-Messiah to come, the Son of Abraham, the new Moses, the Son of David. He will not let Himself be outdone in generosity, He will judge with complete fairness, and will not allow Himself to be corrupted. After the return from the Exile, this is a scorching recollection of the prophecy of Micah, who announced the chastisement of Jerusalem precisely on account of the sin of those who governed and the high priests  :

«  Its leaders render judgement for presents, its priests decide matters for a salary, its prophets reveal oracles for a price in silver. And they rely on Yahweh  ! They say  : “ Is not Yahweh amongst us  ? Misfortune will never fall upon us. ” This is why, by your own fault, Sion will become a land of tillage, Jerusalem a rubbish heap, and the Temple Mount a wooded hilltop.  » (Mi 3.11-12) this is what happened after the destruction of Jerusalem and the Exile.

The psalm concludes with the completely prophetic assurance that a righteous man is coming who «  will never be shaken  »; this is a marvellous promise that opposes the pretensions of the impious man who said  : «  I am unshakeable, from age to age.  » (Ps 10.6)

After a good number of trials, the Messiah will deserve to be the “ guest ” of Yahweh as He “ dwells under His tent ” and «  stays on His holy mountain  »; He will «  never be shaken  ». Already this heralds the Resurrection mysteriously. For this reason, the Church has us chant this psalm during Matins of Holy Saturday and use the first verse as the anthem.

CONCLUSION

This psalm is more than a «  moral summary  », as the Jerusalem Bible says in a note  ; it is clearly messianic. The inspired writer prophesies that the Messiah who is to come will be like the crowning moment of all holy History. He will be the accomplishment of the promise made to Abraham of the Law given to Moses, and the oath made to David. His disposition will be that of the Suffering Servant of the prophecies of the Unknown of the Exile  ; He will be «  an object of scorn  », but honoured by God.

Jesus will fulfil this psalm literally, even to the point of accomplishing a striking detail of it. Amidst recalling the prescriptions of the Mosaic Law, the Psalmist makes a remarkable omission, the very one that Our Lord will make  : he does not mention the Sabbath  !

Thus, the whole Law has been reduced uniquely to love of neighbour in order to worship God, as Our Lord Jesus Christ will preach during His public life. The Psalter is extremely close to the Gospel  ; it is a proto-Gospel. Let us place ourselves in its school in order to be admitted one day to heaven, which is the “ Tent ” where God our Father dwells with His Son Jesus Christ, with the Virgin Mary, His Mother, and with all the saints who have walked along the steps of Abraham, Moses, and David.

Brother Bruno of Jesus-Mary
He is risen  ! n° 56, May 2007

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