Sunday, March 4, 2012

Johannes Bugenhagen on Psalm 3

From Johannes Bugenhagen, In Librum Psalmorum Interpretatio (Basel, 1524).

pp. 16–17, Ps. 3—Although his interpretation is from the Greek, he will not be concerned with interpreting the Greek titles of the Psalms, since they are of no use where they disagree with the Hebrew. But he will add the titles from the Hebrew almost according to the translation of Felix [of Prato] and give only a very brief interpretation. In the phrase Psalmus David, the name David is in the dative case, he says, so that it means “a psalm revealed to David.” In David’s persecution, many things were revealed to him about the persecution of his Seed, Christ, and again about His glorification. Hermeneutics: “Hence the Psalms were made to be of help to you not just in looking at those histories, except perhaps as in a figure. Just as David suffered many things from his people, the Jews, and from his own son, that he might not be king, so also Christ, etc. For the Psalms almost always describe glorification, but through the cross and shame. But by the light in the Psalms it will seem more clear that in many Psalms Christ is speaking. But when Christ speaks, all the godly are speaking, all those who from the beginning have believed in God, for they are all one body, whose head is Christ. They speak, I say, especially where the topic is persecution and glorification.”

p. 19, Ps. 3—Sometimes in the Psalms “mountains” means “heavens.” E.g., “I lift up mine eyes to the hills” is equivalent to “To Thee I have lifted up mine eyes, who dwellest in the heavens.” He says, “Therefore the temple and holy Jerusalem is now where God is worshiped in the Spirit: in the church of the saints, that is, of believers, who know they have the Father in heaven; this was never unknown by those who believed.”

p. 19, Ps. 3—“With my voice, he says, I cried to the Lord. This is the only remedy in every trial [tentatio], even if we are tested concerning faith so that we despair.”

p. 19, Ps. 3—“I slept,” etc. refers to Christ’s death and resurrection, though it is not one of the passages that Christians can emphasize against the Jews. For that purpose we have clearer testimonies about Christ.

p. 20, Ps. 3—“God’s blessing [benedictio, ‘well speaking’] is God’s benefaction [beneficentia, ‘well doing’]. For since, for God, saying is the same as doing, as it is written, ‘He spoke and there were done,’ it follows that ‘blessing’ is ‘doing good.’ Thus you read that God blessed Joseph in everything, etc. And elsewhere, ‘Blessing I shall bless you, and multiply you.’ From here I think it was transferred also to human beings in Holy Writ, so that ‘blessing’ means ‘a good prayer,’ ‘doing good,’ and ‘alms.’”

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Johannes Bugenhagen on Psalm 2

From Johannes Bugenhagen, In Librum Psalmorum Interpretatio (Basel, 1524).

p. 10, Ps. 2—He cites the interpretation of “Felix,” since he is interpreting from the Hebrew. Felix is the one Bugenhagen especially follows, except perhaps where he himself was not able to find the meaning, due to the difficulty of the passage being discussed.

p. 12, Ps. 2—Another reference to Felix. “I have been established as King by Him; I will proclaim the decree” points to the necessity of being called before presuming to teach, and also the necessity of teaching only what God has commanded.

p. 14, Ps. 2—“Today I have begotten You.” Regarding Augustine’s explanation, that this refers to the eternal begetting of God the Son from God the Father, Bugenhagen agrees with the thought, but finds it exegetically indefensible: “… and it seems more clever than theological, even though the meaning is true.” (Note: In a later edition of this work, the Psalterium Davidis, he changed his mind and saw the eternal generation as the native meaning of this text.) “Today” means the Christian era, according to the Epistle to the Hebrews. Paul in Acts 13 interprets this as referring to Christ’s resurrection. Thus, Bugenhagen understands “Today I have begotten You” not as referring to Christ’s divinity, but to His glorification according to His humanity. What about Heb. 1, where this passage seems to be quoted concerning Christ’s divinity? In Heb. 1–2, the author is proving that Christ is superior to angels not just according to His divinity but also according to His humanity. In Heb. 5 this is cited again, saying “Christ did not glorify Himself,” etc.

p. 16, Ps. 2—"And here you see fear mixed with rejoicing, which is truly faith: fearing with regard to God's Word and rebuke, and on the other hand rejoicing with regard to God's promisses and being secure regarding salvation due to God's Word."