the sons of Koré. A Psalm. A Song.
Once again the sons of Koré sing this psalm of the Church. Through it they proclaim the call of the nations and the illumination that came to the Church of the Only-begotten through the dispensation that accompanied the incarnation.
Its foundations are on the holy mountains.
That is of the people called through faith. It says, moreover, that a people
from the nations has been built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets.
The Lord loves the gates of Sion more than
all the tabernacles of Jacob. ‘Gates of Sion’ means the introductory and
elementary teaching of the Church; while ‘tabernacles of Jacob’ refers to
in accordance with the Law. It means, then, that the polity
of the Gospel has been judged by God to be preferable to the worship according
to the Law.
Glorious things have been said of you,
City of God.
What glorious things have been of it, other than that the Only-begotten dwelt in
it, in accordance with the words, ‘Here I shall dwell, for I have chosen it’.
I will remember Raab and Babylon.
I will remember for their good those who turn back to me, even those who have
fallen into appalling licentiousness and extreme idolatry. For that is what Raab
and Babylon mean for us.
See, foreigners and Tyre and people of the
expression clearly teaches us that the Church is made up from all the nations.
Sion is Mother, a man will say; and a man
has been born in her.
It is clear that it says ‘Mother’ because we who have believed will choose
Sion, that is the Church, as Mother, in which there is the man, or rather the
One who himself founded it. This is he who became man for our sake and who
promised to found the Church on the rock.
The Lord will recount in the list of
peoples and rulers.
It means that the Lord will recount the list
of the peoples and rulers that are in the Church itself. And what else does this
mean but the list that is made in heaven, which he himself recounted to them
when he said, ‘Rejoice because your names have been inscribed
Dwelling in you is like that of all who
means that when the dwelling of those in the Church is in you, then they will
also be full of joy.
The Greek is ‘latreia’, which refers to the whole religion
of the Law of Moses. If it had not become debased, one could have used the
The Greek is ‘politeia’, which means the whole way of
life. The lives of the Saints are commonly entitled, ‘Bios kai
This is an extraordinarily difficult verse to translate, because the usual
text of the Septuagint introduces the word ‘mother’, which is not in the
Hebrew. It probably arises from a scribal mistake in Greek, by which ‘meter
Sion’ was read instead of ‘me te Sion’, meaning
‘Shall (one) not (say) to Sion’, which is a reasonable rendering of the
Hebrew. This is the reading of some Greek manuscripts. The reading with
‘mother’, however, goes back to the early days of the Church, and is
found in Latin as early as Tertullian. It is the text that the Church has
accepted liturgically and theologically.
The Greek is ‘epigrapsometha’. The word ‘epigraphein’
is used in the classical language in Athens to mean ‘to choose someone as,
say, patron and enter, or inscribe [Greek ‘graphein’]
their name as such on the public register’. This seems to be the meaning
here. The idea is picked up by St Athanasios in his comments on the
Cf. Matthew 16:18.
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This page was last updated on 03 November 2008