Translation: A Hypothesis of Eusebius Pamphilli

This is a short bit of introduction, and it has been by far the easiest to translate. The first sentence is a bit difficult (I *think* I got the gist of it), but the rest was fairly straightforward. In this passage, Eusebius discusses authorship and the divisions in the Psalter. There are some interesting tidbits here, since the numbers don’t always exactly match what we find today. For instance there are 72 Davidic Psalms for Eusebius, not 73. This is probably due to some Psalms combining and splitting in the Greek versus the Hebrew, but I haven’t looked at it closely enough to figure out.

Anyways, here’s my translation followed by the Greek text. This text occurs in Migne’s Patrologia Graeca 23.66, if my memory serves.

A Hypothesis of Eusebius Pamphilli

There is a division on the book of the Psalms, as to the accuracy of our copies versus the ones the Hebrews offer. It is not as some might suppose that all the Psalms were written be David, but rather different prophets, in their singing, prophesied. Therefore, not the entire book of the Hebrews Psalms is ascribed to David, but the book of Psalms, in its entirety, is not ascribed to anyone. The Hebrews divide all of the Psalms into five parts. The first is from Psalm 1 to Psalm 40. The second is from Psalm 41 to Psalm 72. The third is from Psalm 73 to Psalm 88. The fourth is from Psalm 89 to Psalm 105. The fifth is from Psalm 106 until the end. There are 19 Psalms that are uninscribed, and 131 that have inscriptions. Those that have inscriptions have these divisions: There are 72 of David, 11 of the sons of Korah, 12 of Asaph, 1 of Aitham the Israelite, 2 of Solomon, 1 of Moses, and 17 are unnamed, of which 15 are “Hallelelujahs.” There are entirely anonymous inscriptions, which don’t reveal their author.

ΥΠΟΘΕΣΙΣ ΕΥΣΕΒΙΟΥ ΤΟΥ ΠΑΜΦΙΛΟΥ.

Τῆς βίβλου τῶν Ψαλμῶν ἥδε ἂν εἴη ἡ διαίρεσις, ὡς τὰ ἀκριβῆ τῶν ἀντιγράφων αὐτό τε τὸ Ἑβραϊκὸν περιέχει. Οὐχ ὡς ἄν τις ὑπολάβοι πάντες εἰσὶ τοῦ Δαυῒδ οἱ ψαλμοὶ, ἀλλὰ καὶ ἑτέρων προφητῶν ἐν τῷ ψάλλειν προφητευόντων. Διόπερ ἡ πᾶσα γραφὴ παρ’ Ἑβραίοις τῶν ψαλμῶν οὐ τοῦ Δαυῒδ ἐπιγράφει· ἀλλ’ ἀδιορίστως βίβλος ψαλμῶν ὀνομάζεται. Εἰς πέντε δὲ μέρη τὴν πᾶσαν τῶν Ψαλμῶν βίβλον παῖδες Ἑβραίων διαιροῦσι· πρῶτον εἰς τοὺς ἀπὸ αʹ μέχρι μʹ· δεύτερον εἰς τοὺς ἀπὸ μαʹ μέχρις οβʹ· τρίτον εἰς τοὺς ἀπὸ ογʹ μέχρις πηʹ· τέταρτον εἰς τοὺς ἀπὸ πθʹ μέχρις ρεʹ· πέμπτον εἰς τοὺς ἀπὸ ρςʹ μέχρι τέλους. Ἀνεπίγραφοι δέ εἰσι ψαλμοὶ ιθʹ, ἐπιγεγραμμένοι ρλαʹ. Τῶν ἐπι 23.68 γεγραμμένων δέ εἰσιν οὕτως αἱ διαιρέσεις· τοῦ μὲν Δαυῒδ οβʹ, τῶν υἱῶν Κορὲ ιαʹ, τοῦ Ἀσὰφ ιβʹ, Αἰθὰμ τοῦ Ἰσραηλίτου εἷς, Σολομῶντος βʹ, Μωϋσέως εἷς, ἀνώνυμοι ιζʹ, τῶν εἰς τὸ Ἀλληλούϊα ιεʹ. Εἰσὶ δὲ ἀνώνυμοι ὅσοι ἐπιγραφὰς μὲν ἔχουσιν, οὐ μὴν δηλοῦσι τίνος εἰσίν.

Eusebius’ Commentary on the Psalms: A Structural Overview

Eusebius’ Commentary on the Psalms is a massive work: my single spaced PDF fills over 500 pages of Greek text. It contains commentary, abbreviated and full, for the first 118 Psalms. Apparently, we have the full commentary for Psalms 51-95.3. The work also has several chunks of text that deal with the Psalms in general. These occur in the beginning of Migne’s edition. There is also a section between the 81 and 82 Psalms which discusses the Psalms ascribed to Asaph.

So, an outline of the work, as we have it from Migne, might look like this: (Where I’ve translated, I’ll fill in hyperlinks)

    Overview. These are general bits.

  • Eusebius on the Inscriptions of the Psalms. Some Abbreviated Teaching. Here he talks about the different kinds of psalms, according to their inscriptions (A Psalm, a Psalm of the Ode, and Ode of the Psalm, etc.)
  • A Hypothesis of Eusebius Pamphilli. This section discusses the authorship and divisions of the Psalms.
  • The Hypotheses of Eusebius on the Psalms. This section contains short thematic statements for each of the Psalms. Part 1
  • Eusebius on the Psalms. This is a longer extract which covers much of the same material as the other sections in the overview, but it goes into more detail. It discusses the origin of the Psalms, the authors, and several other topics. Part 1, Part 2
  • Eusebius of Caesarea on the Interlude. This is the last introductory bit, and it gives Eusebius’ explanation of how the “interludes” came about in the Psalms. Interlude translates the Greek work διαψαλμα, which translates the Hebrew Selah.
    Commentary.

  • Psalms 1-71
  • On The Inscriptions of the Psalms Ascribed to Asaph
  • Psalms 72-118

Eusebius on the Psalms Pt. 1 (More Translation)

So I’m continuing to work through the Eusebius’ Commentary on the Psalms in small chunks. The next couple of translated bits will be the final part his general thoughts on the entire Psalter, minus his “theses.” He also has a portion that addresses the Psalms of Asaph that I may translate as well. The translations here aren’t very good, but I do them for two reasons. One, I’m not aware of any English translations of this work, minus the translation of Eusebius’ commentary on Psalm 51 here. So nearly any translation is better than no translation ;-). Second, they help me actually understand the work. My tendency is to breeze over things I don’t understand. Slowly working through the work helps me make sense of the text in a much deeper way, since I usually have to read over it many times before I figure out what’s going on.

Anyways, here’s some text and translation. This bit of writing contains some stuff which is said in the other sections of the work, but Eusebius goes into more detail here. My posts are probably quite confusing since they tend to follow the section titles which aren’t helpful for distinguishing different parts. At some point I’ll do a post detailing the layout of the stuff in Migne. But in the meantime here’s some translation:

Eusebius on the Psalms (From PG 23.72-73)

The word psalm is like the word psalterion, after which it is called. For it is said of the psalterion that it is a musical instrument which differs from the harp by shape. By it, the music of the song is named. But an ode comes begins entirely through the instrument of melodious voices. A “Psalm of the Ode” is called such because the singing part is preceded by the striking of the psalterion. But an “Ode of the Psalm” is the opposite.

Thus it is in the histories of the Kings and the Others, King David, who came after Saul’s end, brought the Ark to Jerusalem, which had been in the house of Abdodom for 20 years after its recovery from the Philistines. As as he was bringing it into Jerusalem, David appointed by lot from the tribe of Levi four psalmists to lead the singing, to sing and praise before the ark to the Lord, and to raise up a merry sound of praise and worship by their instruments. Asaph, Aiman, Aithan, and Jeduthun worshiped by songs, kinuras, nablas [a type of harp], tumpanas, cymbals, and the psalterion [a different kind of harp]. With these men the songs had been numbered. There were 288 songs, 72 by each. 32 from the race of Ham, 25 from the race of Shem, and 15 from race of Japheth.

These men, standing before the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord, sang and psalmed to the Lord. One with the kinara, one with the cymbals, one with the kithara [a kind of harp], and one with the psalterion [a different kind of harp]. In the middle of them stood the blessed David, himself the leader of the song-leaders, holding in his hands the psalterion [a kind of harp]. Each sang and psalmed together while praising God by the Holy Spirit. Then, at a certain time, the Spirit would blow on one of the song-leaders, and the rest would be led to silence. While standing and listening together to the singing, they sang “Hallelujah.”

And here’s the Greek:

ΕΥΣΕΒΙΟΥ ΕΙΣ ΤΟΥΣ ΨΑΛΜΟΥΣ

Ὁ μὲν ψαλμὸς ἔοικεν ἀπὸ τοῦ ψαλτηρίου παρωνύμως ἐπικεκλῆσθαι· λέγεται δὲ ψαλτήριον ὄργανόν τι μουσικὸν παρὰ τὴν κιθάραν διαλλάττον τῷ σχήματι, ἐν ᾧ τὴν ἀνακρουομένην ᾠδὴν ψαλμὸν προσαγορεύεσθαι. Ὠδὴν δὲ εἶναι τὴν διὰ μέλους ἀναφωνουμένην ἄνευ ὀργάνου ῥῆσιν μουσικήν. Ψαλμὸν δὲ ᾠδῆς λέγεσθαι, ἐπειδὰν προηγησαμένης τὸ αὐτὸ τῆς ᾠδῆς μέλος διὰ τοῦ ψαλτηρίου κρουσθῇ· ᾠδὴν δὲ ψαλμοῦ τὸ ἀνάπαλιν.

Ὡς ἐν ταῖς ἱστορίαις τῶν Βασιλειῶν καὶ τῶν Παραλειπομένων Δαυῒδ ὁ βασιλεὺς μετὰ τὴν τοῦ Σαοὺλ τελευτὴν, ἀναγαγὼν τὴν κιβωτὸν τῆς Διαθήκης Κυρίου, οὖσαν ἐν οἴκῳ Ἀβδοδὼμ ἔτεσιν εἴκοσιν ἐξότου ἐκ τῶν Ἀζωτίων μετενήνεκτο, καὶ κατα 23.73 στήσας αὐτὴν εἰς Ἰερουσαλὴμ, ἐπιλέγεται ἐκ τῆς φυλῆς Λευῒ κλήρῳ ψαλτῳδοὺς ἄρχοντας ᾠδῶν τέσσαρας, τοῦ ψάλλειν καὶ ᾄδειν ἐνώπιον τῆς κιβωτοῦ τῷ Κυρίῳ, καὶ ἀναφέρειν φωνὴν εὐφροσύνης εἰς ἐξομολόγησιν καὶ αἴνεσιν ἐν ὀργάνοις ἡρμοσμένοις, καὶ ᾠδαῖς, καὶ κινύραις, καὶ νάβλαις, καὶ τυμπάνοις, καὶ κυμβάλοις, καὶ ψαλτηρίῳ, καὶ 3 κερατίνῃ, τὸν Ἀσὰφ, Αἰμὰν, Αἰθὰν, Ἰδιθούμ· οἷς ἀριθμὸς ᾠδῶν ἐπετέτακτο, ᾀδόντων διακοσίων ὀγδοήκοντα ὀκτὼ, ἑκάστῳ ἑβδομήκοντα δύο, ἐκ τοῦ Χὰμ λβʹ, τοῦ Σὴμ κεʹ, τοῦ Ἰάφεθ ιεʹ.

Οἵτινες, ἑστῶτες ἔμπροσθεν τῆς κιβωτοῦ Διαθήκης Κυρίου, ἔψαλλον καὶ ᾖδον τῷ Κυρίῳ· ὃς μὲν ἐν κινύρᾳ, ὃς δὲ ἐν κυμβάλοις, ὃς δὲ ἐν κιθάρᾳ. ὃς δὲ ἐν ψαλτηρίῳ· ὧν μέσος ἵστατο ὁ μακάριος Δαυῒδ, αὐτὸς ἄρχων ἀρχόντων ᾠδῶν, κρατῶν ἐπὶ χεῖρας τὸ ψαλτήριον. Ἕκαστος δὲ ᾖδεν καὶ ἔψαλλεν ὑμνῶν τὸν Θεὸν ἁγίῳ Πνεύματι τεταγμένως. Ἡνίκα τοίνυν ἐσκίρτα τὸ Πνεῦμα ἐπί τινα τῶν ἀρχόντων τῶν ψαλτῳδῶν, οἱ λοιποὶ ἡσυχίαν ἦγον παρεστῶτες καὶ ὑπακούοντες συμφώνως τῷ ψάλλοντι, Ἀλληλούϊα.

Greek Verse(s) of the Day

Here are two verses from the Psalm I’m reading this morning, a portion from the “my life is terrible” part, and a portion from the “God has delivered me!” part. Both are good :-).

Update: It looks like I misread the Psalm. I *think* that the whole Psalm is a complaint. The latter verse is then part of the Psalmist’s argument with God: “I’ve hoped on you, so am I still suffering?”

“ἡ καρδία μου ἐταράχθη, ἐγκατέλιπέν με ἡ ἰσχύς μου,
καὶ τὸ φῶς τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν μου καὶ αὐτὸ οὐκ ἔστιν μετ᾿ ἐμοῦ.”

“My heart is troubled, and my strength as forsaken me,

and the light of my own eyes is not with me”
Psalm 37:11 (LXX)

ὅτι ἐπὶ σοί, κύριε, ἤλπισα·
σὺ εἰσακούσῃ, κύριε ὁ θεός μου.

Because on you, Lord, I hoped;

You will hear me, Lord my God.
Psalm 37:16 (LXX)

Eusebius of Caesarea on the Interlude

Here’s another excerpt from the beginning of Eusebius’ Commentary on the Psalms. In it, he discusses the διάψαλμα, or musical interlude, which is used to translate the Hebrew Selah.

Here’s the Greek text and a translation:

Εὐσεβίου Καισαρείας περὶ τοῦ διαψάλματος.

Ἔγραψαν τὸ διάψαλμα οἱ ἑρμηνεύσαντες πέντε ἄρχοντες, οἳ ἐξελέγοντο ὑπὸ Δαυῒδ τοῦ βασιλέως ἐκ τῆς φυλῆς Λευΐ· ὧν τὰ ὀνόματά εἰσι ταῦτα, Ἀσὰφ, οἱ υἱοὶ Κορὲ, Αἰμὰν, Αἰθὰμ, Ἰδιθούμ· τούτοις ἀριθμὸς ᾠδῶν παρηκολούθει, ἑκάστῳ ἑβδομήκοντα δύο. Οὗτοι ἵσταντο ἐνώπιον τοῦ ἁγιάσματος Κυρίου, αἰνοῦντες τὸν πάντων δεσπότην, ὃς μὲν κύμβαλα, ὃς δὲ ψαλτήριον, ὃς δὲ κινύραν, ὃς δὲ κερατίνην, ὃς δὲ κιθάραν ἔχων, ὧν μέσος ἵστατο ὁ Δαυΐδ. Καὶ οὕτως ἤρχοντο τῶν ᾠδῶν κρατοῦντες ἐπὶ χεῖρα τὰ τοιαῦτα ὄργανα· καὶ ἕκαστος Πνεύματι ἁγίῳ κινούμενος ὕμνει 4 τὸν Θεὸν, καὶ πάντες ἐπεφώνουν τῷ ψάλλοντι τὸ Ἀλληλούϊα. Ὁπηνίκα δὲ ἡ τοῦ Πνεύματος τοῦ ἁγίου ἀπέστη χάρις πρὸς βραχὺ, τῶν ὀργάνων λοιπὸν μὴ κινουμένων, τὸ τηνικαῦτα εἰκὸς καὶ τὸ διάψαλμα ἔγραφον.

And here’s my translation:

Eusebius of Caesarea on the Interlude (From PG 23.76)

The diapsalma was written by the five leading proclaimers, who were chosen by King David from the tribe of Levi. Their names were Asaph, the Sons of Korah, Aiman, Aitham and Idithoum. The numbering of the songs follows these closely, each of the seventy two.[*] They stood before the holiness of the Lord, praising the Master of All, one with the cymbals, one with the psalteria, one with the kinuran, one with the keratinen, and one with the harp[**], and David stood in the middle of them. And this is how they began a song, holding in their hands these instruments. One at a time, each would be moved by the Holy Spirit to sing to the Lord, and all would respond to the singing by exclaiming “Hallelujah.” At that time, the grace of the Holy Spirit would abate for a short time, and the rest of the instruments would lay silent, and at a time like this the diapsalma would be written.

Some notes:

* I’m not sure what’s going on here. αριθμος means number, and I take it he’s addressing the numbering or inscriptions of the psalms. 72 refers to the 72 psalms of David.

** All of these are musical instruments. I believe the psalteria is also a type of harp, but I don’t know what exactly the others are.

Translation: Eusebius on the Inscriptions of the Psalms

So I’ve been studying this bit of text for the past few days, trying my best to make sense of it. It comes right at the beginning of Eusebius’ Commentary on the Psalms. I’ll give my translation with some notes, and then the Greek text and the Latin translation that appears in Migne’s Patrologia Graeca vol 23.

This bit appears in PG 23.66

Eusebius on the Inscriptions of the Psalms. Some Abbreviated Teaching.

There are 150 psalms, and the number 50 is holy. For Pentecost has 50 days, and there are 50 years for a Hebrew Jubilee [1]. Nabla is what the Hebrews call their harp, and it is the only true musical instrument. It is not played from the lower parts, but its supporting metal is on top. The “Psalms” [2] then are only struck up with this instrument, not with a voice. But an “Ode” begins with a harmonious voice. An “Ode of the Psalm” begins by the instrument of a harmonious voice. A “Psalm of the Ode,” on the other hand, leads in with the sound of the striking of strings. By way of allegory, a psalm is like the harmonious movement of the body, moving to good works, [3] although some do not follow such contemplation. Singing without praxis is like the mind’s direct perception of truth, where one’s soul is enlightened about God and his oracles. But an “Ode of the Psalm” leads us to the practice of knowledge, as it is written, “if you desire wisdom, keep the commandments, and the Lord will supply it to you.”[4] For a “Psalm of the Ode” leads us to praxis accompanied by knowledge. It instructs us how and when things must be done. Therefore they are the first among the inscriptions.[5] For the holy one does not begin from theory, but always faithfully runs to praxis. Many of the odes are “To the End.” Whenever there is “Steps,” in the inscription, there is never the word “Psalm,” nor does it stand alone or mixed with others. It always stands with “Ode.” For the “ascent”[6] only perceives the abstract. Selah[7] is not found in Aquila or the Hebrew, but apart from him it is always found.

Specific Notes:

[1] I have no idea how to get this from the Greek, but the Latin translator interpreted it thus.

[2] That is, Psalms which have the word “psalm” in their inscription (which is not everyone, some have “ode”, some have nothing, etc.).

[3] Greek: εἰς ἐργασίαν ἀγαθὴν. ἐργαίαν can also have the meaning “artistic production,” and Eusebius may have that in mind, though I think “good works” fits better with the following context.

[4] Sirach 1:26

[5] I don’t know what he means by “Therefore they are the first among the inscriptions.” The Greek here is: διὸ καὶ πρῶται τῶν ψαλμῶν αἱ ἐπιγραφαί. I have left it vague in English, but if I had to I would perhaps make it “Therefore they are the finest of the inscriptions.”

[6] Greek: ἡ ἀνάβασις, which as far as I can tell is a Greek philosophical term describing the soul’s ascent to God. Here, it stands in contrast to the Greek ἁναβαθμοὶ, which means “steps” or “stairs.” Perhaps ἁναβαθμοὶ is conceived as a Christianized ἀνάβασις, which includes both the abstract (θεωρία) and the practical (πραξις.

[7] Greek: διάψαλμα which translates the Hebrew word Selah.

General Notes:

– I have placed in quotation marks what I believe to be technical terms relating to inscriptions.

– I’ve used “praxis” or “practice” to translate the Greek word πραξις. Without being able to peg down a more specific meaning for it, I think our English word captures enough of the vague antithesis between “theory” and “praxis” (which is definitely present in this passage) to service here. I’m usually leery of doing such a 1-1 translation, but I’ll keep it for now.

– Eusebius seems to make a broad contrasts between “Psalms” and “Odes.” Odes are introduced by singing, while Psalms are introduced by a harp. This can be confusing since all of them are psalms in the looser since (they’re in the Psalter), but he appears to make a technical distinction between the two based on their usage in the inscriptions. “Ode” can also mean “singing” in Greek, and I think that’s in view too. In one place I have translated ᾠδὴ as “singing” (“Singing without knowledge…), otherwise I have left it as a technical term “ode.”

– Eusebius does like allegory and contemplation (in good Platonic and Origenic fashion), but he seems here to be in favor of a healthy mix of “theory” and “practice.” His affinity for philosophy and the abstract doesn’t negate the importance of practical things.

Here’s the Greek for reference:


ΕΥΣΕΒΙΟΥ ΕΙΣ ΤΑΣ ΕΠΙΓΡΑΦΑΣ ΤΩΝ ΨΑΛΜΩΝ. ΕΡΜΗΝΕΙΑ ΤΙΝΩΝ ΚΑΤ’ ΕΠΙΤΟΜΗΝ.

Ἑκατὸν πεντήκοντα τυγχάνουσιν οἱ ψαλμοὶ, ἱεροῦ τοῦ νʹ τυγχάνοντος ἀριθμοῦ·
ἐν μὲν ἡμέραις ποιῶν τὴν Πεντηκοστὴν, ἐν δὲ ἐνιαυτοῖς τὸν παρ’ Ἑβραίοις καλούμενον
Ἰωήλ. Νάβλα δὲ παρ’ Ἑβραίοις λέγεται τὸ ψαλτήριον, ὃ δὴ μόνον τῶν μουσικῶν
ὀργάνων ὀρθότατον, καὶ μὴ συνεργούμενον εἰς ἦχον ἐκ τῶν κατωτάτω μερῶν, ἀλλ’
ἄνωθεν ἔχειν τὸν ὑπηχοῦντα χαλκόν. Ψαλμοὶ μὲν οὖν οἱ διὰ μόνου τοῦ ὀργάνου χωρὶς
φωνῆς ἀνακρουόμενοι· ᾠδὴ δὲ οἱ διὰ φωνῆς ἐμμελοῦς· ᾠδὴ δὲ ψαλμοῦ τὸ τῷ ὀργάνῳ
σύμφωνον ἐπάγειν φωνήν· ψαλμὸς δὲ ᾠδῆς ἀνάπαλιν, προηγουμένης τῆς τῶν
κρουσμάτων φωνῆς. Ἀλληγορίας δὲ νόμῳ, ψαλμὸς μὲν σώματος κίνησις ἐναρμόνιος εἰς
ἐργασίαν ἀγαθὴν, κἂν μὴ πάνυ τις ἐπακολουθῇ θεωρία· ᾠδὴ δὲ χωρὶς πράξεως ἀληθείας
κατάληψις, φωτιζομένης ψυχῆς περὶ Θεοῦ καὶ τῶν λογίων αὐτοῦ. Ὠδὴ δὲ ψαλμοῦ,
προαγούσης πράξεως γνώσεως· κατὰ τό· Ἐπιθυμήσας σοφίας διατήρησον ἐντολὰς, καὶ
Κύριος χορηγήσει σοι αὐτήν. Ψαλμὸς δὲ ᾠδῆς πρᾶξις ὑπὸ γνώσεως ὁδηγουμένη, περὶ
τοῦ πῶς καὶ πότε πρακτέον· διὸ καὶ πρῶται τῶν ψαλμῶν αἱ ἐπιγραφαί· οὐ γὰρ ἀπὸ
θεωρίας ὁ ἅγιος ἄρχεται, ἀλλ’ ἅπαν πίστει ταῖς πράξεσιν ἐπιτρέχει. Ἐπὶ δὲ τῷ τέλει
πολλαὶ αἱ ᾠδαί· καὶ ὅπου ἀναβαθμοὶ, οὐδαμοῦ ψαλμὸς, οὔτε καθ’ ἑαυτὸν, οὔτε μετ’
ἐπιπλοκῆς. Ὠδαὶ δὲ πάντα καθ’ ἑαυτάς· ἡ γὰρ ἀνάβασις πρὸς μόνην ὁρᾷ θεωρίαν.
∆ιάψαλμα δὲ παρὰ μὲν Ἀκύλᾳ καὶ τῷ Ἑβραϊκῷ οὐ κεῖται· ἀντὶ δὲ αὐτοῦ τὸ ἀεί.

And for the Latinists, here’s the Latin translation that appears in Migne’s Patrologia Graeca vol 23. I typed this myself from an image scan, and haven’t done thorough checking, so there are probably several mistakes. It doesn’t help that my Latin’s not that great! There are several scans available. You can find several on google books here.

EUSEBII IN PSALMORUM INSCRIPTIONES. INTERPRETATIO QUARUMDAM COMPENDII MORE DESCRIPTA.

Centum et quinquaginta psalmi sunt : et sane sacer est quiquagenarius numerus, illo siquidem dierum curriculo instituitur Pentecoste, ac totidem annorum numero Jubilaeus, ut vocant Hebraei, celebratur. Nabla apud Hebraeos vocatur psalterium ; quod ex musicis instrunienties solum rectissimum est, neque ab infirmis partibus ad sonum adhibetur, sed a supernis sonanti aere instruitur. Psalmi itaque vocantur quot sola instrunientorum pulsatione, nullis admistis vocibus, persolvuntur. Canticum dicitur quod sauvi aequabilique voce conitur ; canticum psalmi, quod una cum instrumentis consonas admittit voces ; psalmus cantici rursum, cum instrumentorum musicorum sonus vocibus preit. Si allegorice res accipiatur, psalmus est concinnus corporis motus ad opus bonum exsequendum, etiamsi contemplatio parva subsequatur. Canticum nullo opere admistum est veritatis comprehensio, mente ad De ejusque sermonum contemplationem illustrata. Canticum psalmi dicitur cum cognitio actum praecedit, juxta illud : Concupiscens sapientiam, serva maudaia, et Dominus praebit illam tibit. Psalmos cantici est actus ducente cognitione admissus, docente scilicet quo pacio quove tempore sit agendum : quapropter in inscriptione psalmorum vox canticis praeit ; non enim a contemplatione vir sanctus orditur , sed fide omnino ad opera exsequenda currit. Sub finem multa cantica sunt. Ubi autem gradus habentur nusquam psalmus , neque per solus, neque alia adjuncta voce inscribitur : sed ibi cantica solum apponuntur ; nam ubi ascensus graduum est, ibi sola contemplatio spectatur. Diapsalma porru apud Quilam et in Hebraico non estat : sed ejus loco, semper ascribitur.

An Excerpt from Eusebius on Psalm 32 LXX

I liked this excerpt for several reasons. First, I’ve been able to make sense of the Greek. That’s a prerequisite! Second, I like what Eusebius has to say about almsgiving.

Here’s the Greek:


Ὅτι εὐθὺς ὁ λόγος τοῦ Κυρίου, καὶ πάντα τὰ ἔργα αὐτοῦ ἐν πίστει. Ἀγαπᾷ ἐλεημοσύνην καὶ κρίσιν· τοῦ ἐλέους Κυρίου πλήρης ἡ γῆ. Τὰ μὲν τῆς τῶν ὄντων καταλήψεως διὰ πίστεως ἡμῖν χωρείτω, τὰ δὲ τοῦ πρακτικοῦ βίου διὰ ἐλεημοσύνης καὶ κρίσεως. Ταῦτα γὰρ ἀγαπᾷ ὁ εὐθὺς τοῦ Κυρίου λόγος· ἅτε κριτικοὺς ἡμᾶς κατασκευάσας καὶ διακριτικοὺς τοῦ τε καλοῦ καὶ τοῦ ἐναντίου. Διὸ βούλεται ἡμᾶς μηδὲν ἀκρίτως πράττειν, μηδὲ ἀλόγως φέρεσθαι ταῖς ἐξ αὐτῶν ὁρμαῖς, κεκριμένως περὶ τῶν πρακτέων βουλεύεσθαι, καὶ πρός γε πάντων ἐλεημονικοὺς εἶναι, συγνωμονικοὺς δὲ πρὸς τοὺς ἁμαρτάνοντας γιγνομένους, συμπαθεῖς δὲ καὶ φιλανθρώπους πρὸς τοὺς ἐλέου δεομένους.

And my translation:

For the Word of the Lord is upright, and all of his works are done in faithfulness. He loves mercy and justice. The earth is full of his mercy.

Abstract things must be received through faith, but the practical things of life are done through mercy and justice. These are the things that the Word of the Lord loves: For us to be wise, prepared, and discerning both of the Good, and that which is before us. He never wants us to act unwisely, or to unreasonably give to those who beg from their own evil inclinations, who discreetly plot treachery and are beggars to all. Rather, he wants us to be aware of the sinners, but sympathetic and philanthropic to those in need.

The “Hypotheses” of Eusebius

In his commentary on the Psalms, Eusebius includes a section which has his “hypotheses” on every Psalm (Gk υποθεσις).  These are short little multi-word summations of each Psalms’ theme, as Eusebius understands it. I’ve translated the first 15 here. If anyone has any ideas for Psalm 5 and 14, please let me know. I’m not quite sure how to interpret those. These can be found in Migne Patrologia Graeca volume 23 column 68.

Psalm 1. An example of godliness and staying away from its opposite
Psalm 2. A prophecy concerning Christ and the calling of the nations.
Psalm 3. A prophecy of the good things coming to David.
Psalm 4. A prophecy concerning the One who suffered
Psalm 5. A prayer from a figure of the Church. (?)
Psalm 6. A teaching on confession and praise.
Psalm 7. Praise by David and the calling of the nations
Psalm 8. A prophecy on the calling of the nations.
Psalm 9. The death and resurrection of Christ, and his ascension to the throne, and the overthrow of all enemies.
Psalm 10. A victory song for those who contend for the godly prize.
Psalm 11. The kinds of evil, and a prophecy about the coming of Christ.
Psalm 12. The rising up of enemies, and expectation of Christ’s coming
Psalm 13. The kinds of evil, and a prophecy of Christ’s coming.
Psalm 14. The final restoration according to God. (?)
Psalm 15. The election of the Church and the resurrection of Christ.

And here is the Greek:

Psalm 1 – Greek αʹ Προτροπὴ θεοσεβείας καὶ ἀποτροπὴ τοῦ ἐναντίου.
Psalm 2 – Greek βʹ Προφητεία περὶ Χριστοῦ καὶ κλήσεως ἐθνῶν.
Psalm 3 – Greek γʹ Προφητεία γενησομένων ἀγαθῶν τῷ Δαυΐδ.
Psalm 4 – Greek δʹ Προφητεία τῷ Δαυῒδ περὶ ὧν πέπονθεν.
Psalm 5 – Greek εʹ Ἐκ προσώπου τῆς Ἐκκλησίας προσευχή.
Psalm 6 – Greek ςʹ Διδασκαλία ἐξομολογήσεως.
Psalm 7 – Greek ζʹ Τῷ Δαυῒδ ἐξομολόγησις καὶ διδασκαλία κλήσεως 1 ἐθνῶν.
Psalm 8 – Greek ηʹ Προφητεία κλήσεως ἐθνῶν.
Psalm 9 – Greek θʹ Θάνατος Χριστοῦ καὶ ἀνάστασις, καὶ βασιλείας παράληψις, ἐχθρῶν τε πάντων καθαίρεσις.
Psalm 10 – Greek ιʹ Ἐπινίκιος ὕμνος τοῦ κατὰ Θεὸν ἀγωνιζομένου.
Psalm 11 – Greek ιαʹ Κατηγορία πονηρῶν, καὶ προφητεία Χριστοῦ παρουσίας.
Psalm 12 – Greek ιβʹ Ἐχθρῶν ἐπανάστασις, καὶ προσδοκία Χριστοῦ παρουσίας.
Psalm 13 – Greek ιγʹ Κατηγορία πονηρῶν, καὶ προφητεία Χριστοῦ παρουσίας.
Psalm 14 – Greek ιδʹ Τοῦ κατὰ Θεὸν τελείου ἀποκατάστασις.
Psalm 15 – Greek ιεʹ Ἐκλογὴ Ἐκκλησίας, καὶ Χριστοῦ ἀνάστασις.

Greek Verse of the Day

Here’s a nice Greek verse, taken from the 31 Psalm (LXX):

πολλαὶ αἱ μάστιγες τοῦ ἁμαρτωλοῦ,
τὸν δὲ ἐλπίζοντα ἐπὶ κύριον ἔλεος κυκλώσει.

Many are the snares of sin,
but the one who hopes in the Lord will be enveloped with mercy

~alex