Psalm 108 is a curse formula and
very difficult to reconcile with the Christian idea of prayer. Let us
suppose that the Church or Christ himself is praying this Psalm. Then
the curses become no longer wishes, but rather the solemn sentence of divine
justice upon those unwilling to repent. With tears in her eyes the
Church prays these terrible words―just as our blessed Lord once declaimed
his eightfold "Woe unto you..." against the Pharisees.
At the opening of the Psalm, the Church laments.
In the following two sections, where curses and punishments are asked for, a
picture of the everlasting hellfire is painted for us. The petition
which comprises the fourth part of the Psalm can be a prayer of the
individual soul; I stand terrified before the picture I have seen:
"Have mercy upon me, a poor, weak mortal!"
Deus, laudem meam ne tacúeris: * quia os peccatóris, et os dolósi
super me apértum est.
2 Locúti sunt advérsum me
lingua dolósa, et sermónibus ódii circumdedérunt me: * et expugnavérunt me
3 Pro eo ut me dilígerent, detrahébant mihi: * ego autem orábam.
4 Et posuérunt advérsum me
mala pro bonis: * et ódium pro dilectióne mea.
Hold not thy tongue, O God, in my praise; * for the mouth of the ungodly,
yea, the mouth of the deceitful is opened upon me.
2 They have spoken against me with false tongues, and they compassed me
about also with words of hatred, * and fought against me without a cause.
3 Instead of making me a return of love, they have
excluded me : *
but I gave myself unto prayer.
4 And they rewarded me evil for good, * and hatred for my
5 Constítue super eum
peccatórem: * et diábolus stet a dextris ejus.
6 Cum judicátur, éxeat
condemnátus: * et orátio ejus fiat in peccátum.
7 Fiant dies ejus pauci: * et episcopátum ejus accípiat alter.
8 Fiant fílii ejus órphani: *
et uxor ejus vídua.
9 Nutántes transferántur
fílii ejus, et mendícent: * et ejiciántur de habitatiónibus suis.
10 Scrutétur fnerátor
omnem substántiam ejus: * et dirípiant aliéni labóres ejus.
11 Non sit illi adjútor: *
nec sit qui misereátur pupíllis ejus.
12 Fiant nati ejus in intéritum:
* in generatióne una deleátur nomen ejus.
13 In memóriam rédeat
iníquitas patrum ejus in conspéctu Dómini: * et peccátum matris ejus non
14 Fiant contra Dóminum
semper, et dispéreat de terra memória eórum: * pro eo quod non est
recordátus fácere misericórdiam.
15 Et persecútus est hóminem ínopem, et mendícum, * et compúnctum
5 Set thou an ungodly man over him, * and may the devil stand at his right hand.
6 When sentence is given upon him, let him go out condemned; * and
prayer be turned into sin.
7 May his days be few; * and let another take his
8 May his children be fatherless, * and his wife a widow.
9 May his children be vagabonds, and beg their bread; *
and may they be cast out of their dwellings.
10 Let the extortioner consume all that he hath; * and let the stranger
spoil his labour.
11 May there be no man to help him, * nor to have compassion upon his
12 Let his posterity be destroyed; * in one generation let his
name be blotted out.
13 Let the wickedness of his fathers be had in remembrance
in the sight of the Lord; * and let not the sin of his mother be done away.
14 Let them alway be before the Lord, that he may root out the memorial
of them from off the earth; * because he was not mindful to shew mercy.
15 But persecuted the poor
man and the beggar : * and the vexed at heart, that he might slay him.
16 Et diléxit maledictiónem,
et véniet ei: * et nóluit benedictiónem, et elongábitur ab eo.
17 Et índuit maledictiónem sicut
vestiméntum, * et intrávit sicut aqua in interióra ejus, et sicut óleum in
18 Fiat ei sicut vestiméntum,
quo operítur: * et sicut zona, qua semper præcíngitur.
19 Hoc opus eórum, qui
détrahunt mihi apud Dóminum: * et qui loquúntur mala advérsus ánimam meam.
16 His delight was in cursing, and it shall happen unto him; * he loved not
blessing, therefore shall it be far from him.
17 He clothed himself with cursing like as with a raiment, * and it shall
come into his bowels like water, and like oil into his bones.
18 Let it be unto him as the cloak that he hath upon him, * and as the
girdle that he is alway girded withal.
19 This is the work of them that detract me before the
Lord : * and that
speak evil against my soul.
20 Et tu, Dómine, Dómine, fac
mecum propter nomen tuum: * quia suávis misericórdia tua.
21 Líbera me quia
egénus, et pauper ego sum: * et cor meum conturbátum est intra me.
22 Sicut umbra cum declínat, ablátus sum: * et excússus sum sicut
23 Génua mea infirmáta sunt a jejúnio: * et caro mea immutáta est
24 Et ego factus sum oppróbrium illis: * vidérunt me, et movérunt
25 Adjuva me, Dómine, Deus meus: * salvum me fac secúndum
26 Et sciant quia manus tua hæc: * et tu, Dómine, fecísti eam.
27 Maledícent illi, et tu benedíces: * qui insúrgunt in me,
confundántur: servus autem tuus lætábitur.
28 Induántur qui détrahunt mihi, pudóre: * et operiántur sicut
deplóide confusióne sua.
29 Confitébor Dómino nimis in ore meo: * et in médio multórum
30 Quia ástitit a dextris páuperis, * ut salvam fáceret a
persequéntibus ánimam meam.
20 But thou, O Lord, my Lord, do with me for thy Name's
sake : * for sweet
is thy mercy.
21 O deliver me, for I am poor and needy, * and my heart
is troubled within me.
22 I go hence like the shadow that departeth, * and am driven away as the
23 My knees are weak through fasting; * my flesh is
changed for want of oil.
24 I am become also a reproach unto them: * they saw me,
and they shaked
25 Help me, O Lord my God; * O save me according to thy mercy;
26 And they shall know how that this is thy hand, * and that thou, Lord,
hast done it.
27 Though they curse, yet bless thou; * and let them be confounded that
rise up against me; but let thy servant rejoice.
28 Let my detractors be clothed with shame; * and let them
be covered with their own confusion, as with a double cloak.
29 As for me, I will give great thanks unto the Lord with my mouth, * and
praise him among the multitude;
30 For he hath stood at the right hand of the poor, * to save
from them that persecute my soul.