Psalm 147b

Praise Yahweh, Jerusalem; * Zion, praise your God!
For he strengthened the bars of your gates; * he blessed your sons within you.
He grants your borders peace; * he fills you with the finest wheat.
    He sends his word to the earth; * toward the mountain speeds his thunder.
        He spreads snow like wool; * frost he strews like ashes.
        He casts his hail like crumbs; * before his cold who can stand?
    He sends his message and melts them, * makes his wind blow and the waters stream.
He declares his words to Jacob, * his statutes and laws to Israel.
He has not dealt thus with any other nation, * and has never taught them his laws.

Hallelu-Yah [of Haggai and Zekariah]

147b:0 This is Psalm 147b (Vul 147). After inviting all in general to praise God, here he specially invites the children of the Church. He first invites them to praise God, then enumerates the benefits given to the Church, for which the Lord should be praised. He touches mostly on those benefits which have to do with the reconstruction of the Church, just as the previous Psalm had to do with its construction. Its reconstruction was prefigured in the rebuilding of the temple at the time of the Prophets Haggai and Zechariah, who preached to the people to rebuild it. That is what is implied in the title, which refers to the praise of God offered by Haggai and Zekariah at the rebuilding or restoration of the temple, all of which prefigures the rebuilding of the Church.

The Psalm (1) invites not all in general, but only the members of the Church to praise God, and (2) gives the reason why they should praise him, namely the multiple benefits which God gave the Church: "for he strengthened". In the first, we can say that he invites (1) the Church triumphant, (2) the Church militant: "praise your God".

12. Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem: praise thy God, O Sion.
Praise Yahweh, Jerusalem; Zion, praise your God!

147b:1 The idea is: I urged all generally to praise the Lord, but now I address you specially, Jerusalem, the heavenly city. Although you were here in trouble and affliction, you are now in the highest peace and serenity; so praise the Lord. -Tob 13:9-10 Jerusalem, Holy City, God has scourged you for what you have done, but will still take pity on the children of the upright. Thank the Lord as he deserves and bless the King of the ages. That will fulfil Tobit 13:17 The gates of the heavenly Jerusalem will resound with songs of exultation; and all her houses will say, "Hallelu-Yah! Blessed be the God of Israel."

Yes, praise the Lord, Jerusalem, and also you, O Zion, the Church militant still on earth, praise your God -Zech 9:9 Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion! -Zech 2:14 Sing, rejoice, daughter of Zion. Jerusalem rightly stands for the Church of heaven, because it means "vision of peace", and there He is openly seen of whom it is said -Eph 2:14 He is our peace who makes both groups one. Zion, however, means a "mirror" or "reflection", and stands for the Church that contemplates God from afar, as through a mirror -1 Cor 13:12 For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face.

13. Because he hath strengthened the bolts of thy gates, he hath blessed thy children within thee. 14. Who hath placed peace in thy borders: and filleth thee with the fat of corn.
For he strengthened the bars of your gates; he blessed your sons within you. He grants your borders peace; he fills you with the finest wheat.

147b:2.1 Here he lists the many benefits for which the Church should praise God: (1) the benefits given to the Church triumphant, (2) those given to the Church militant: "who sends his speech". The first lists four benefits: (1) the confirmation of graces, (2) their multiplication: "he blessed your children", (3) perfect peace and security: "who placed peace", (4) delightful satisfaction: "and filled you". The idea is: Jerusalem, you should give praise, because the Lord strengthened the bars of your gates, that is, the graces of the angels, since the gates are the holy angels and the souls that are there -Ps 24:7 Up, you doors of the Eternal! -Is 60:18 You shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise. The bars of these gates are graces, namely, the knowledge and love of God, which he strengthened and confirmed, so that the people may never stop knowing and loving -Sir 49:13 He set up gates and bars.

As for the second benefit, the idea is: Aafter confirming in grace your gates, that is, holy angels and men, he blessed, by giving multiple spiritual and eternal goods, your children who are within you -Tob 13:13 You will exult and rejoice over the chidren of the upright, for they will all have been gathered in and will bless the Lord of the ages. -Is 61:9 These are the people Yahweh has blessed.

As for the third benefit, the idea is: He confirmed and multiplied good things, and it is he who grants your borders peace, so that you may not be attacked or disturbed from any side, fulfilling Leviticus 26:6 And I will grant peace in the land. -Is 26:12 Yahweh, you will order peace for us. You will give us peace interiorly and exteriorly in our borders -Tob 13:15-16 My soul blesses the Lord, the great King, because Jerusalem will be built anew, to have perfect peace and quiet -Is 66:12 I will extend prosperity to her like a river.

As for the fourth benefit, the idea is: If you have perfect security from the Lord, your God, he also is the one who satisfies you, giving you complete security, with the finest wheat, which is the intimate sweetness of Christ, the Son of God, who said of himself -John 12:24 unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies. -Ps 81:17 He would feed Israel with wheat from the hill. You may object that satisfaction is not just in fine wheat -Deut 8:3 = Mat 4:4 = Luke 4:4 Man does not live by bread alone. Reply: He mentioned the first and most important food, not saying everything -Jer 31:12 They will come, shouting for joy on the heights of Zion, thronging towards Yahweh's lavish gifts, for wheat, new wine and oil, which are goodness, truth and mercy. Wheat is God's goodness, wine is his truth, and oil is his kindness -Prov 1:33 Those who listen to me will be secure and will live at ease, without dread of disaster. -Is 32:18 My people will abide in a peaceful habitation, in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.

15. Who sendeth forth his speech to the earth:
He sends his word to the earth;

147b:2.2.1 Here are the benefits given to the Church militant: (1) the incarnation of the Son of God, (2) the preaching of the word of God: "his word runs swiftly", (3) the conversion of sinners: "who gives snow", (4) the revelation to his own people of his judgments: "who declares his word". The idea is: Jerusalem, praise God for the benefits mentioned, and Zion, that is, the Church militant, you also praise, because he sends his word, that is, his Son, to the earth. He literally wanted his Son to come to earth. The ancients requested this sending, (1) sometimes under the symbol of the divine hand -Ps 144:7 Stretch forth your hands from high. (2) sometimes under the name of wisdom -Wis 9:10 Send her forth from the holy heaven. (3) sometimes under the figure of a lamb -Is 16:1 Send lambs. -Wis 18:14-15 When peaceful silence lay over all, and night had run the half of her swift course, down from the heavens, from the royasl throne, leapt your all-powerful Word. -Baruch 3:18 After this he was seen on earth and he mingled among men.

his word runneth swiftly.
toward the mountain speeds his thunder.

147b:2.2.2 As for the second benefit, the idea is: He sends his Son, and his word, send by God the Father, runs swiftly, sometimes rebuking, sometimes switching from rebuking to warning, or from warning to consoling, or from consoling to threatening. It jumps and runs from vice to virtue, or one virtue to another, penetrating everywhere and entering everywhere -Heb 4:12 Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword. -Job 38:25 Who has cut a channel for the torrents of rain. -2 Thes 3:1 Pray for us, that the word of God may run and be glorified. It is not surprising that it should run and be clear, because it is on fire -Ps 118:140 Your word is tested (Vul: on fire), your Highness. -Prov 30:5 Every word of God proves true (Vul: is on fire); he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. It is fire itself -Jer 23:29 Is not my word like fire.

16. Who giveth snow like wool: scattereth mists like ashes. 17. He sendeth his crystal like morsels:
He spreads snow like wool; frost he strews like ashes. He casts his hail like crumbs;

147b: The third benefit is the conversion of sinners: (1) their conversion, (2) the manner of their conversion: "he shall send out". In the first there is (1) the conversion of sinners, (2) an exaggeration of their sin and guilt, to show how great was the gift: "who shall stand". In the first there is conversion from three kinds of sin: (1) sins through weakness, (2) sins through ignorance: "scatters mists" (3) sins through obstinancy and certain malice: "he sends his crystal". The idea is: He sends or sent his Son, and his word runs, and he is the one who gives snow, namely, the sinner who is as cold and fragile as snow, like wool, which is material for clothing, so that God may put it on. Sinners are like snow that God reserves to turn them into wool -Job 38:22 Have you entered the storehouses of the snow, or have you seen the storehouses of the hail? -Ps 33:7 He puts the depths of the sea in a storeroom. -Job 24:19 Drought and heat snatch away the snow waters, that is from the status of sinners to the excessive heat of charity. This is the clothing for God.

He scatters mist, the cloudy and obscure sinner through ignorance, like ashes, that is, the true penitent who considers himself as ash. The sinner is called a cloud, because he is quickly dissolved by God, like a cloud by the sun -Isaiah 44:22 I have swept away your transgressions like a cloud, and your sins like mist. -Sirach 43:14 Therefore the storehouses are opened, and the clouds fly out like birds, that is, sinners were lifted on high. In this phrase they are said to be "scattered like ashes", as true penitents, as said in Jonah 3:6 The king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And Abraham, who was truly humble, said -Gen 18:27 Let me take it upon myself to speak to the Lord, I who am but dust and ashes.

The third group are the obstinate sinners. The idea is: As he turned snow into wool and clouds into ashes, so he sends through the world to refresh and feed it, his ice like morsels which refresh, like toasted bread. So an obstinate sinner is called ice, frozen in stubborn malice by the devil -Sirach 43:20 The cold north wind blows, and ice freezes on the water. But the Lord sometimes converts such a person, not merely to make him faithful, but also a teacher -Job 28:2 Copper, which makes sound, is smelted from crystalline ore, dissolved by the heat of the Holy Spirit -Job 12:22 He brings deep darkness, the darkest sinner, to light that enlightens others by word and doctrine. This is what happened to Paul -Timothy 1:13 I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and a man of violence. But I received mercy.

who shall stand before the face of his cold?
before his cold who can stand?

147b: Here is an exaggeration of their sin, to show how great was the grace given. The idea is: He converted snow into wool, and the cloud into ice, which is hard frozen in evil, for who can stand before his cold, that is, before freezing sin, which is sent by God's permission -Mat 24:12 Because of the increase of lawlessness, the love of many will grow cold.

18. He shall send out his word, and shall melt them: his wind shall blow, and the waters shall run.
He sends his message and melts them, makes his wind blow and the waters stream.

147b: Here is the manner of their conversion, which takes place (1) through the incarnation of the Son of God and (2) through the sending of the Holy Spirit: "his wind shall blow". The idea is: Especially sinners will be converted, but how? He will send his word, as was said before, and will melt them, that is, the hearts of sinners. He will send his Word from his heart, but will not lose him because he will remain in is heart -John 1:18 It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father's heart, who has made him known. -1 John 3:8 The Son of God was revealed for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. Before this hot (??), even fiery word, snow and ice melt -Cant 5:6 My heart melted (Vul) as my beloved spoke. -Sir 3:15 Like warmth upon frost it will melt away your sins.

Just as he sent his Son and they melted, so his spirit blows interiorly in their hearts -John 3:8 The Spirit blows where it wills- and the waters run, as frozen hearts are melted. This is the breeze requested in Canticles 4:16 Awake, O north wind,cold and harmful, and come, O south wind! -Job 39:26 Is it by your wisdom that the hawk soars, and spreads its wings toward the south? Not only interior or even exterior waters of tears will flow, but also waters of teaching, so that they may become teachers -Joel 3:1 I will pour out my spirit on all humanity. Your sons and daughters shall prophesy. Thus we have three causes of conversion: the Incarnation, the sending of the Spirit, and preaching.

19. Who declareth his word to Jacob: his justices and his judgments to Israel.
He declares his words to Jacob, his statutes and laws to Israel.

147b: Here is the fourth benefit given to the Church militant: the revelation of God's judgments. (1) First the gift is show, (2) then it is extolled: "He has not acted like this". In the first there is (1) the announcement of his words, (2) an explanation of what judgements: "his justices". The idea is: He made the aforesaid benefits, and it is he who declares his word to Jacob, that is, the younger people of Christians -Is 9:8 The Lord sent a word against Jacob. -Baruch 3:36 He found the whole way to knowledge, and gave her to his servant Jacob. He also announced the incarnate Word through angels to Jacob in the shepherds who were working and keeping watch -Luke 2:10 I bring you good news of great joy.

And what is that word? It is his justices, by which he distinguishes the good and the evil, and his judgments, proceding from those justices, to Israel, the faithful people that sees God. For he makes them understand Proverbs 16:11 The balances and scales are Yahweh's judgment. And they agree with Romans 2:6 He will repay according to each one's deeds. And he will also make them understand that he afflicts the good even for no fault of their own, in order to increase their merit -Jer 49:12 Those who would not have had to drink the cup will have to drink it all the same. -Is 19:17 The land of Judah will become a terror to the Egyptians.

20. He hath not done in like manner to every nation: and his judgments he hath not made manifest to them. Alleluia.
He has not dealt thus with any other nation, and has never taught them his laws. Hallelu-Yah!

147b: Here the benefit is shown to be greater by the fact that others were excluded from it. There is stated (1) the exclusion, (2) from what they were excluded. The idea is: He revealed to Jacob and Israel these benefits, but did not do so to every other nation, as he did for Jacob and Israel whom he redeemed -2 Sam 7:23 Who is like your people, like Israel? Is there another nation on earth whose God went to redeem it as a people? -Deut 4:8 What other great nation has statutes and ordinances as just as this entire law that I am setting before you today?

And his judgments, which he makes regarding the good and the evil, he has not made known to them, as he has to this people who are special to him -Deut 26:18 Today Yahweh has obtained your agreement: to be his treasured people. And he revealed to them what is in Deuteronomy 12:1 These are the statutes and ordinances that you must diligently observe. -Baruch 4:4 Happy are we, O Israel, for we know what is pleasing to God, so that by doing them we may be made happy in glory, by the gift of Him who is blessed for all ages. Amen.