Wednesday, August 8, 2012

5) Cursing Psalms - Who are the enemies?

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The Fathers of the Church allegorized the enemies cursed in the Psalms in various ways. The following is a list of some of their interpretations.

The enemy is death.
  • “But who is such an enemy unless it is death, the enemy of life.” – Eusebius of Caesarea on the enemies in Ps 9:3
The enemy is the demonic.
  • The enemy of Ps 9:6 who rules the cities is the devil. – Augustine

  • The assailants of Ps 18:40 are demons. – Evagrius 

  • “Pray the prayer of the present psalm, not against flesh and blood but against the spirits of the air who    daily harm us.... the invisible enemies.” – Arnobius the Younger on Ps 35

  • “This has reference to the devil and his followers” – Cassiodorus on the enemies in Ps 35

  • “I think this speaks about the cross on which the devil falls unknowingly.” – Evagrius of Pontus on the enemies in Ps 35:8
The enemy is iniquity.
  • “Take up a love for justice and a hatred for iniquity…. It is possible at times to use hatred even praiseworthily.” - Basil the Great on hatred of enemies in Ps 139
The enemy is the self.
The enemy is sinful or filthy thoughts.
  • The teeth which God breaks in Ps 3:7 are “the teeth of sinners [which] are thoughts foreign to reason coming to us on account of our nature by which our enemies approach us.” – Evagrius of Pontus

  • “The ‘little ones’ of Babylon… are those troublesome sinful thoughts that arise in the soul.” – Origen on Ps 137

  • The “little ones” are “all corrupt and filthy thoughts against Christ.” – Ambrose on Ps 137
The enemy is temptation.
  • “While these temptations were still young, he caught hold of them and dashed them against Christ.” – Benedict on Ps 137
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