Is for those
Who fear him
καὶ τὸ ἔλεος αὐτοῦ εἰς γενεὰς καὶ γενεὰς τοῖς φοβουμένοις αὐτόν.
This canticle of Mary was modeled on that of Hannah in 1 Samuel, chapter 2:1-10, that praised Yahweh for her son, the prophet Samuel. Luke indicated that Mary said that God’s mercy (καὶ τὸ ἔλεος αὐτοῦ) was from generation to generation (εἰς γενεὰς καὶ γενεὰς) to those who feared him (τοῖς φοβουμένοις αὐτόν). Fear of the Lord was the first step towards seeking mercy from God, no matter when you lived.
“Although she is but one,
She can do all things.
While remaining in herself,
She renews all things.
In every generation
She passes into holy souls.
She makes them friends of God,
She makes them friends of prophets.
God loves nothing so much
As the person who lives with wisdom.
She is more beautiful
Than the sun.
Every constellation of the stars.
Compared with the light
She is found to be superior.
It is succeeded by the night.
But against wisdom
Evil does not prevail.”
Wisdom is one, but can do all things, while remaining in herself. She renews all things. In every generation, she makes holy souls become friends of God and prophets (φίλους Θεοῦ καὶ προφήτας). God loves (ἀγαπᾷ ὁ Θεὸς) the person who lives with wisdom (τὸν σοφίᾳ), since she is more beautiful than the sun. She excels every constellation of stars. She is superior to light. Evil will not prevail against wisdom. Once again, many of these same things have been said about the Christian Holy Spirit.
“But the children of adulterers
Will not come to maturity.
The offspring of an unlawful union
Even if they live long,
They will be held of no account.
Finally their old age
Will be without honor.
If they die young,
They will have no hope.
They will have no consolation
On the judgment day.
The end of an unrighteous generation
The children of adulterers (τέκνα δὲ μοιχῶν) will not have a good ending. They may not even come to maturity, since they may die at a young age. Even if they live long, it will not be a very rewarding life. If they get to old age, there will be no honor. If they die young, there will be no hope or consolation on the judgment day (ἡμέρᾳ διαγνώσεως). This unrighteous or unjust generation (γενεᾶς γὰρ ἀδίκου) will not end well. This was a very strong rebuke of the so-called bastard children of adulterers.
“One generation shall laud your works to another.
One generation shall declare your mighty acts.
I will meditate
On the glorious splendor of your majesty.
I will meditate.
On your wondrous works.
The might of your awesome deeds
Shall be proclaimed.
I will declare your greatness.
They celebrate the fame
Of your abundant goodness.
They shall sing aloud
Of your righteousness.”
Each generation will declare the mighty acts and works of Yahweh. David will meditate on the splendor of the majesty of Yahweh and his wonderful works. His awesome deeds should be proclaimed because he is great. They should celebrate the abundant goodness of Yahweh. They should sing about his righteousness. The next 4 letters of the Hebrew alphabet are found here in italic.
“He has broken my strength in mid-course.
He has shortened my days.
‘O my God!’
‘Do not take me away,
At the midpoint of my life!
Your years endure
Throughout all generations!”
The psalmist claims that his strength has been broken in mid-life. His days have been shortened. He asked God not to take away his life that was only half lived. He wanted his years to endure just as God has endured from generation to generation.
“Enter his gates with thanksgiving!
Enter his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him!
Bless his name!
Yahweh is good!
His steadfast love endures forever.
His faithfulness endures to all generations.”
This psalm ends by making that equation of God and good, with “o” the only difference in English. Yahweh is truly good. We are to enter his gates with thanksgiving and praise. We are to give thanks and bless his name because of his goodness. We then have the often repeated thought that his steadfast love and faithfulness endure forever to every generation. This eternal love of God for us is once again prominent.
“Let the groans of the prisoners come before you!
According to your great power
Preserve those doomed to die!
Return sevenfold into the bosom of our neighbors
The taunts with which they have taunted you!
Then we your people,
The flock of your pasture,
Will give thanks to you forever.
From generation to generation
We will recount your praise.”
This psalm ends with the request to listen to their prayers. The Israelites considered themselves as prisoners who were doomed to die. Indeed the psalmist wanted God to preserve them. He wanted God to return sevenfold the taunts that had been delivered to them. They were his people, his flock. They would give thanks forever so that generation after generation would praise him.