Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Gradual psalms masterpost

I plan to start posting notes on Psalm 127, the one Gradual Psalm I have not yet provided verse by verse notes on shortly, but I thought that in the meantime it would be useful to post a master list of links to notes on each of the psalms, as well as the assorted background material I have provided on them.

Background on the Gradual Psalms


(Introduction to 2017 Lenten series)

Introduction to the Gradual Psalms Pt 1 (Introduction and Overview)
Introduction to the Gradual Psalms Pt 2 (Texts of the psalms arranged for devotional use)

Conclusion to the 2017 series

The Gradual Psalms and the Triduum
A Good Friday Meditation on the Gradual Psalms
St Benedict and the Gradual Psalms

After thought

Bede and number symbolism in the Gradual Psalms

(2014 series introduction)

Introduction to the Gradual Psalms Part I - The texts
Introduction to the Gradual Psalms Pt 2 - Scriptural context
Introduction to the Gradual Psalms, Pt 3 (As a devotion)
Introduction to the Gradual Psalms Pt 4 (In the context of the Benedictine Office)

Notes on the Psalms


1.  Psalm 119: Ad Dominum Clamavi (Terce)

Psalm 119 Overview (2017)
Introduction to Psalm 119 (2014 version)
Psalm 119 in the context of the Office of the Dead
Psalm 119: Notes on the verses

2. Psalm 120: Levavi oculos meos in montes (Terce)

Psalm 120 overview
[Introduction to Psalm 120]
Psalm 120 in the context of the Office of the Dead
Psalm 120 vv 1-4
Psalm 120 vv 5-8

3.  Psalm 121: Laetatus sum (Terce)

Psalm 121 overview
[Introduction to Psalm 121]
Psalm 121 verses 1-3
Psalm 121 verses 4-6
Psalm 121 verses 7-9

4. Psalm 122 : Ad te lavavi (Sext)

Psalm 122 overview
[Introduction to Psalm 122]
Psalm 122 verses 1-3
Psalm 122 verses 4-5

5. Psalm 123: Nisi quia Dominus (Sext)

Psalm 123 overview
[Introduction to Psalm 123]
Psalm 123 v 1-2
Psalm 123 v 3-4
Psalm 123 v 5-8

6.  Psalm 124: Qui confidunt in Domino (Sext)

Psalm 124 overview
Psalm 124 v1
Psalm 124 verse 2
Psalm 124 verses 3-4
Psalm 124 verse 5

7. Psalm 125: In convertendo Dominus (None)

Introduction to Psalm 125
Ps 125 verse 1
Psalm 125 verse 2
Psalm 125 verses 3-4
Psalm 125 verse 5
Psalm 125 verse 6
Psalm 125 verse 7
Psalm 125 verse 8

8. Psalm 126: Nisi Dominus aedificaverit (None)

Pope Benedict XVI on Psalm 126
Introduction to Psalm 126
Psalm 126 verse 1
Psalm 126 verse 2
Psalm 126 verse 3
Psalm 126 verse 4
Psalm 126 verse 5
Psalm 126 verse 6

9. Psalm 127: Beati Omnes (None) 

Introduction to Psalm 127, pt 1


10. Psalm 128: Saepe expugnaverunt me (Monday Vespers)

Introduction to Psalm 128 (Saepe expugnaverunt me) (2013)
Overview of Psalm 128 (2017)
Ps 128 v1-2
Psalm 128 v3
Psalm 128 v4
Ps 128 v5-6
Ps 128 v7

11.  Psalm 129: De Profundis (Tuesday Vespers)

Introduction to Psalm 129 (2017 updated version)
Introduction to Psalm 129
Ps 129 v 1-2
Ps 129 v3-5a
Ps 129 v5b-6
Ps 129 v7-8

12. Psalm 130: Domine non est exaltatum (Tuesday Vespers)

Introduction to Psalm 130 (2017 updated version)
Introduction to Psalm 130
Ps 130 v1-2
Ps 130 v3-5

13.  Psalm 131: Memento Domine (Tuesday Vespers)

Introduction to Psalm 131 (2017 updated version)
Introduction to Psalm 131
Ps 131 v1-2
Ps 131 v3-5
Ps 131 v 6-8
Ps 131 v 9-10
Ps 131 v11-13
Ps 131 v14-15
Ps 131 v 16
Ps 131 v17
Ps 131 v18-19

14. Psalm 132: Ecce quam bonum (Tuesday Vespers)

Introduction to Psalm 132 (updated 2017 version)
Introduction to Psalm 132
Psalm 132 v1-3a
Ps 131 v3b-4

15. Psalm 133: Ecce nunc (Compline)

Introduction to Psalm 133
Psalm 133 verse1
Psalm 133 verse 2
Psalm 133 verse 3
Psalm 133 verse 4

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

In praise of the Vulgate Psalter

Just in case you haven't already caught this through the post on the New Liturgical Movement, can I recommend the talk by talk by Dom Benedict Maria Andersen of Silverstream Priory on the virtues of the Septuagint (and thus Vulgate) psalter over those based on the Masoretic Text.

The talk goes to a number of key themes to which this blog has long been dedicated, including not only the virtues of the Septuagint-Vulgate tradition, but also the virtues of looking at variants in the texts and translations, and also of interpreting the psalms through the lens of their use in the liturgy.

It lasts about an hour, and is well worth the time.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Christ is the gate: Psalm 126 v6



Inside the Gate, an East-West view
Source: http://www.holy-landpilgrimage.com/the-gates-of-jerusalem/

The final verse of Psalm 126 provides us with a beatitude:

6
V
Beátus vir qui implévit desidérium suum ex ipsis: * non confundétur cum loquétur inimícis suis in porta.
NV
Beatus vir, qui implevit pharetram suam ex ipsis: non confundetur, cum loquetur inimicis suis in porta.
JH
Beatus uir qui impleuit pharetram suam ex ipsis : non confundentur, cum loquentur inimicis in porta.
μακάριος νθρωπος ς πληρώσει τν πιθυμίαν ατο ξ ατν ο καταισχυνθήσονται ταν λαλσι τος χθρος ατν ν πύλ

Beátus (happy) vir (the man) qui (who) implévit (he is filled) desidérium (the desire) suum (his) ex (from/with) ipsis (them): * non (not) confundétur (he will be confounded) cum (when) loquétur (he speaks) inimícis (the enemies) suis (his) in porta (the gate).

The Masoretic Text differs from the Vulgate again here, giving a אַשְׁפָּה (ashpah), or an arrow case or quiver (hence the Jerome from the Hebrew and neo-Vulgate pharetram here); by contrast the Greek implies desire for them (the children of the previous verse) rather than the realisation.

beatus, a, um  to bless, make happy), happy, blessed, fortunate.
vir, viri, m., a man, any human being
impleo, plevi, pletum, ere 2  to fill, fill up, fill full;  to fill, to cover; to fill, satisfy.
desiderium, li, n.  desire, longing, wish, yearning
confundo, fiidi, fiisum, ere 3, to put or bring to shame, to discomfit.
loquor, locutus sum to speak, utter, tell
inimicus, i, m. (in and amicus), a foe, enemy
porta, ae, , a gate, city-gate
pharetra , ae, f., a quiver for holding arrows

DR
Blessed is the man that has filled the desire with them; he shall not be confounded when he shall speak to his enemies in the gate
Brenton
Blessed is the man who shall satisfy his desire with them: they shall not be ashamed when they shall speak to their enemies in the gates.
MD
Blessed is the man that hath his quiver filled with them: he shall not be ashamed, when he speaketh with his enemies in the gate.
RSV
Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them! He shall not be put to shame
when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
Cover
Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed when they speak with their enemies in the gate.
Knox
Happy, whose quiver is well filled with these; their cause will not be set aside when they plead against their enemies at the gate.
Grail
O the happiness of the man who has filled his quiver with these arrows! He will have no cause for shame when he disputes with his foes in the gateways.

St John Chrysostom notes the existence of both text variants in his commentary and suggests that the significance of the quiver is that God will arm and aid the person who labours with and for him, equipping us to meet the enemy 'with great manly vigor, with splendid appearance, self-confident, in battle array, since in all these ways God demonstrates his support of them'.   He notes that:
The acme of good things, after all, and the pinnacle of blessedness is to be able finally to be set in order of battle with the Lord's help.  Hence at this point he also concluded his words, instructing everyone to seek out before everything else this proper order and be resplendent in it. Accordingly, let us also make it our endeavor, so that we may attain to the everlasting goods, thanks to the grace and lovingkindness of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom with the Father and the Holy Spirit be the glory for ages of ages.
St Augustine's commentary by contrast starts firmly from the Septuagint tradition, and points us to the message of Christ's death on the cross which this hour of the Office remembers.  It is not earthly fame that counts, not earthly rewards we should see, but rather we must seek to convert he suggests.  The starting point is to embrace our own cross he argues:
Well, my brethren, who fills his desire from them? Who loves not the world. He who is filled with the desire of the world, has no room for that to enter which they have preached. Pour forth what you carry, and become fit for that which you have not. That is, you desire riches: you can not fill your desire from them: you desire honours upon earth, you desire those things which God has given even unto beasts of burden, that is, temporal pleasure, bodily health, and the like; you will not fulfil your desire from them....
Speaking to enemies at the gate, he suggests, is not being ashamed to preach Christ:
If he be confident, let him speak in the gate; as it is said of Wisdom, She cries at the gates, at the entry of the city.  As long as they hold unto righteousness in innocency, they shall not be ashamed: this is to preach at the gate. And who is he who preaches at the gate? He who preaches in Christ; because Christ is the gate whereby we enter into that city. ...

Psalm 126: Nisi Dominus 
Vulgate
Douay-Rheims
Canticum graduum Salomonis.
A gradual canticle of Solomon.
1.  Nisi Dominus aedificaverit domum:*
 in vanum laboraverunt qui aedificant eam.
Unless the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it.
2.  Nisi Dominus custodierit civitatem:*
frustra vigilat qui custodit eam.
Unless the Lord keep the city, he watches in vain that keeps it.
3.  Vanum est vobis ante lucem surgere:*
surgite, postquam sederitis, qui manducatis panem doloris.
2 It is vain for you to rise before light, rise after you have sitten, you that eat the bread of sorrow.

4.  Cum dederit dilectis suis somnum:*
ecce hereditas Domini, filii merces, fructus ventris.
When he shall give sleep to his beloved, 3 behold the inheritance of the Lord are children: the reward, the fruit of the womb.
5.  Sicut sagittae in manu potentis:* ita filii excussorum.
4 As arrows in the hand of the mighty, so the children of them that have been shaken.
6.  Beatus vir, qui implevit desiderium suum ex ipsis:* non confundetur cum loquetur inimicis suis in porta.
5 Blessed is the man that has filled the desire with them; he shall not be confounded when he shall speak to his enemies in the gate


Thursday, June 22, 2017

The fruit of the Passion: Psalm 126 v5

Image result for maciejowski bible


Verse 5 of Psalm 126 is traditionally interpreted as being about the spread of the Gospel: though Christians are often outcasts, persecuted for their views, yet the Church grows from this.

5
V
Sicut sagíttæ in manu poténtis: * ita fílii excussórum.
NV
Sicut sagittae in manu potentis, ita filii iuventutis.
JH
Sicut sagittae in manu potentis, ita filii iuuentutis. 

σε βέλη ν χειρ δυνατο οτως ο υο τν κτετιναγμένων

Sicut (like) sagíttæ (arrows) in manu (in the hand) poténtis (strong): * ita (so) fílii (the sons) excussórum (of outcasts)

Note that the Vulgate and neo-Vulgate versions of the second phrase are quite different. This one of those cases where modern translations, changed to reflect an alternate meaning of the Hebrew word underlying excussorum  - admitted to be ambiguous by expert exegetes – renders the traditional Western commentaries impossible to understand.

sagitta, ae, f., an arrow.
manus, us,   hand
potens, entis, p. adj.  powerful, mighty, strong.
ita – so, thus, even, in this manner
excussus, a, um, part. adj. cast out, thrown out; robust, able to shake enemies off.  

DR
As arrows in the hand of the mighty, so the children of them that have been shaken.
Brenton
As arrows in the hand of a mighty man; so are the children of those who were outcasts.
MD
As arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the sons of vigorous youth.
RSV
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons of one's youth.
Cover
Like as the arrows in the hand of the giant, even so are the young children.
Knox
Crown of thy youth, children are like arrows in a warrior’s hand.
Grail
Indeed the sons of youth are like arrows in the hand of a warrior.

The first half of the verse is depicted by St Augustine as referring firstly to the spread of the people through the whole earth, and secondly, the spread of the Gospel:
Some have been shot out from the Lord's hand, as arrows, and have gone far, and have filled the whole earth, whence the Saints spring. For this is the heritage whereof it is said, Desire of Me, and I shall give you the heathen for your inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for your possession...From His bow He sends forth His Apostles: there could not be a spot left where an arrow shot by so strong an arm would not reach; it has reached unto the uttermost parts of the earth. 
The second half of the verse is where the differences come into play.  The 'sons of youth' in the neo-Vulgate perhaps is unproblematic in a very literal interpretation of the text, pointing to the virtues of strong and large families.  St John Chrysostom's commentary is not inconsistent with it:
Now, what he means is something like this: not only will they en­joy the security of walls, or a fortified city, or numbers of children, but they will also be fearsome to their enemies - as fearsome as arrows.  Now, he did not say simply arrows but in the hands of strong men: arrows are fearsome, not in themselves, but when held by a strong man, dealing death to his attackers; so will these people be, then. 
St Robert Bellarmine, though points to the Vulgate translation as referring to something quite different, namely the inevitable persecution of Christians:
But why are those brave children called "the children of them that have been shaken?" Because they are the children of the outcasts and the wretched, the children of the prophets and the apostles; and of the former, the apostle writes,"Others had trial of mockeries and stripes, moreover also of bonds and prisons; they were stoned, they were cut asunder, they were tempted, they were put to death by the sword, they wandered about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being in want, distressed, afflicted; of whom the world was not worthy;" and, speaking of the apostles, the same apostle says, "For I think that God hath set forth us, apostles, the last, as it were, men destined to death; because we are made a spec­tacle to the world, and to angels, and to men. Even unto this hour, we both hunger and thirst, and are naked, and are buffet­ed, and have no fixed abode; and we labor, working with our own hands; we are reviled and we bless; we are persecuted, and we suffer it; we are ill spoken of, and we entreat: we are made as the refuse of this world; the off-scouring of all even till now." 
And St Aloysius Liguori brings together the two parts of the verse nicely, pointing to the triumph of the Church:
These children, tormented by persecutions, shall be against their enemies as so many arrows in the hand of a strong man. The holy souls, fruit of the Passion of Jesus Christ, and children of the Church, always persecuted as their divine Spouse, are the arms that the Almighty employs to combat and to overcome the errors and bad passions of the world.
Psalm 126: Nisi Dominus 
Vulgate
Douay-Rheims
Canticum graduum Salomonis.
A gradual canticle of Solomon.
1.  Nisi Dominus aedificaverit domum:*
 in vanum laboraverunt qui aedificant eam.
Unless the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it.
2.  Nisi Dominus custodierit civitatem:*
frustra vigilat qui custodit eam.
Unless the Lord keep the city, he watches in vain that keeps it.
3.  Vanum est vobis ante lucem surgere:*
surgite, postquam sederitis, qui manducatis panem doloris.
2 It is vain for you to rise before light, rise after you have sitten, you that eat the bread of sorrow.

4.  Cum dederit dilectis suis somnum:*
ecce hereditas Domini, filii merces, fructus ventris.
When he shall give sleep to his beloved, 3 behold the inheritance of the Lord are children: the reward, the fruit of the womb.
5.  Sicut sagittae in manu potentis:* ita filii excussorum.
4 As arrows in the hand of the mighty, so the children of them that have been shaken.
6.  Beatus vir, qui implevit desiderium suum ex ipsis:* non confundetur cum loquetur inimicis suis in porta.
5 Blessed is the man that has filled the desire with them; he shall not be confounded when he shall speak to his enemies in the gate






The final part of this series on Psalm 126, cover verse 6.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Church bears children: Psalm 126 v4



The Body of the Dead Christ in the Tomb Öffentliche Kunstsammlung, Basel

4
V
Cum déderit diléctis suis somnum: * ecce heréditas Dómini fílii : merces, fructus ventris.
NV
quia dabit dilectis suis somnum.Ecce hereditas Domini filii, merces fructus ventris.
JH
sic dabit diligentibus se somnum.  Ecce hereditas Domini filii : merces fructus uentris.
ταν δ τος γαπητος ατο πνονδο κληρονομία κυρίου υοί μισθς το καρπο τς γαστρός

Cum (When) déderit (he will give) diléctis (the beloved) suis (his) somnum (sleep): * ecce (behold) heréditas (the inheritance) Dómini (the Lord) fílii (sons): merces (the reward), fructus (fruit) ventris (of the womb)

do, dedi, datum, are, to give,
diligo, lexi, lectum, ere 3  to love; to flatter, make pretence of loving.
somnus, i, m.  during sleep. ecce, adv.  lol see! Behold
hereditas, atis, /. an inheritance, possession; In a fig. sense, the chosen people, the Israelites, the Church,
filius, ii, m. a son.
merces, edis,  a reward
fructus, us, m.  fruit, produce; the fruit of the soil, trees; a reward; the fruit of the womb, children, posterity
venter, tris, m. lit., the belly, the body, the bowels, the breast, heart. womb

DR
When he shall give sleep to his beloved, behold the inheritance of the Lord are children: the reward, the fruit of the womb.
Brenton
While he gives sleep to his beloved.  Behold, the inheritance of the Lord, children, the reward of the fruit of the womb.
MD
For to His loved ones He giveth it in sleep.  Behold children are a gift from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.
RSV
For he gives to his beloved sleep. Lo, sons are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.
Cover
For so he giveth his beloved sleep. Lo, children, and the fruit of the womb, are an heritage and gift that cometh of the Lord.
Knox
Is it not in the hours of sleep that he blesses the men he loves? Fatherhood itself is the Lord’s gift, the fruitful womb is a reward that comes from him.
Grail
When he pours gifts on his beloved while they slumber. Truly sons are a gift from the Lord, a blessing, the fruit of the womb.

St Augustine interprets this verse as a reference to Christ on the cross, a sense that fits well with the placement of the psalm at None:
But where did He sleep? On the Cross.
And the children referred to are therefore the sons and daughters of Christ made possible by the creation of the Church:
When He slept on the Cross, He bore a sign, yea, He fulfilled what had been signified in Adam: for when Adam was asleep, a rib was drawn from him and Eve was created; so also while the Lord slept on the Cross, His side was transfixed with a spear, and the Sacraments flowed forth, whence the Church was born. For the Church the Lord's Bride was created from His side, as Eve was created from the side of Adam. But as she was made from his side no otherwise than while sleeping, so the Church was created from His side no otherwise than while dying...
The Church bears children, the Bride of Christ; and if she bears them, she travails of them. In figure of her, Eve was called also the Mother of all living. He who said, My little children, of whom I travail in birth again, until Christ be formed in you, was among the members of her who travails. But she travailed not in vain, nor brought forth in vain: there will be a holy seed at the resurrection of the dead: the righteous who are at present scattered over the whole world shall abound. The Church groans for them, the Church travails of them; but in that resurrection of the dead, the offspring of the Church shall appear, pain and groaning shall pass away....
For each of us individually, the message is that death is not something to be feared, as Cassiodorus explains:
The next words explain when those people earlier ordered to sit are to rise, namely at the time when the faithful are welcomed into rest; for them death is sleep and untroubled intermission. God's beloved are those who seek Him with zealous love. One can infer from this passage the great gifts bestowed on them, since they have received such a title, for one addressed as God's beloved is undoubtedly adorned with eternal blessedness....
The reward though, are the sons and daughters born through baptism, according to Cassiodorus:
The fruit of this womb, the offspring born of the Virgin, the reward is the Lord's entire inheritance, which on rising again is sent to possess heaven, and will rejoice with the Lord in eternal blessedness. The reward is said to have been rendered to humankind; of it Psalm 2 says: Ask of me, and I will give thee Gentiles for thy inheritance." 
Psalm 126: Nisi Dominus 
Vulgate
Douay-Rheims
Canticum graduum Salomonis.
A gradual canticle of Solomon.
1.  Nisi Dominus aedificaverit domum:*
 in vanum laboraverunt qui aedificant eam.
Unless the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it.
2.  Nisi Dominus custodierit civitatem:*
frustra vigilat qui custodit eam.
Unless the Lord keep the city, he watches in vain that keeps it.
3.  Vanum est vobis ante lucem surgere:*
surgite, postquam sederitis, qui manducatis panem doloris.
2 It is vain for you to rise before light, rise after you have sitten, you that eat the bread of sorrow.

4.  Cum dederit dilectis suis somnum:*
ecce hereditas Domini, filii merces, fructus ventris.
When he shall give sleep to his beloved, 3 behold the inheritance of the Lord are children: the reward, the fruit of the womb.
5.  Sicut sagittae in manu potentis:* ita filii excussorum.
4 As arrows in the hand of the mighty, so the children of them that have been shaken.
6.  Beatus vir, qui implevit desiderium suum ex ipsis:* non confundetur cum loquetur inimicis suis in porta.
5 Blessed is the man that has filled the desire with them; he shall not be confounded when he shall speak to his enemies in the gate





And continue on to the next part in this series, notes on verse 5 of Psalm 126.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Those who walk in darkness: Psalm 126 v3

Mosaic of Christ as Sol

Verse 3 of Psalm 126 arguably takes us to that time after Christ's death but before the Resurrection.

3
V
Vanum est vobis ante lucem súrgere: * súrgite postquam sedéritis, qui manducátis panem dolóris.
NV
Vanum est vobis ante lucem surgere et sero quiescere, qui manducatis panem laboris,
JH
Frustra uobis est de mane consurgere : postquam sederitis, qui manducatis panem dolorum:

ες μάτην μν στιν το ρθρίζειν γείρεσθαι μετ τ καθσθαι ο σθοντες ρτον δύνης

Vanum Vain) est (it is) vobis (for you) ante (before) lucem (the light) súrgere (to rise): * súrgite (arise) postquam (after) sedéritis (pf subjunctive or fut pf indic - you have been sitting), qui (who) manducátis (you eat) panem (the bread) dolóris (of sorrow).

The Hebrew and Greek texts of this verse that have come down to us diverge quite sharply, whether because of mistranslation, as some commentators speculate, or not.  The Monastic Diurnal follows the Hebrew here, the sense being that it is a waste of time to toil unless God assists.

But the Septuagint/Vulgate seems to be trying to convey a slightly different message, namely that going through the motions of getting up early etc is all to no avail if one is in a state of mortal sin; thus take the time to rest and return to God.  Certainly this second meaning is implied in the liturgy where during certain penitential seasons of the year, the Matins Invitatory is a play on this verse, promising a reward to those who arise early…

ante, prep, with the ace, before, used both of place and time, ante lucem surgere, to rise before the dawn,
lux lucis light
surgo, surrexi, surrectum, ere 3,  rise, stand up; to awake; to rise, to get up from bed or from sleep.
sedeo, sedi, sessum, ere 2, to sit; to rest
manduco, avi, atum, are (mando 3, to chew), to eat.
panis, is, m. bread, food in general
dolor, oris, m.  pain whether of body or of mind, grief, sorrow, affliction. Sin
postquam, conj., after

DR
It is vain for you to rise before light, rise after you have sitten, you that eat the bread of sorrow
Brenton
It is vain for you to rise early: ye rise up after resting, ye that eat the bread of grief
MD
It is vain that you rise early, and late to retire to rest, ye who eat the bread of toil
RSV
It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil;
Cover
It is but lost labour that ye haste to rise up early, and so late take rest, and eat the bread of carefulness;
Knox
Vain, that you should be astir before daybreak, and sit on over your tasks late into the night, you whose bread is so hardly won
Grail
In vain is your earlier rising, your going later to rest, you who toil for the bread you eat

St Augustine summarises the verse as a whole as follows:
If we wish to be guarded by Him who was humbled for our sakes, and who was exalted to keep us, let us be humble. Let no one assume anything unto himself. No man has any good, except he has received it from Him who alone is good. But he who chooses to arrogate wisdom unto himself, is a fool. Let him be humble, that wisdom may come, and may enlighten him. 
To see how he arrives at this, let us look at each of the key phrases in this verse.

Rising before the light/early

Several of the Fathers interpret this as relating to the Resurrection: Christ is the light; we cannot rise until he does; we cannot truly rise to eternal life unless through him. St Augustine, for example, says:
For all indeed shall rise, but not as His beloved. There is a resurrection of all the dead; but what says the Apostle? We shall all rise, but we shall not all be changed.  They rise unto punishment: we rise as our Lord rose, that we may follow our Head, if we are members of Him....Hope for such a resurrection; and for the sake of this be a Christian, not for the sake of this world's happiness. For if you wish to be a Christian for the sake of this world's happiness, since He your Light sought not worldly happiness; you are wishing to rise before the light; you must needs continue in darkness. Be changed, follow your Light; rise where He rose again: first sit down, and thus rise, when He gives His beloved sleep.
Cassiodorus makes the point more succinctly:
It is the person who longs to be granted blessedness in this world who rises before light, whereas the true Light, the Lord Christ, endured many sufferings here, deigning to undergo the gibbet of the cross for our salvation. 
But Cassiodorus also argues that this verse can be seen as referring to the Second Coming:
This psalm says that no joys are to be taken before light, that is, before the Lord's second coming; while Jeremiah warns the people to abandon wickedness before dawn, that is, before Christ's first coming, so that they cannot be found on crooked paths. So the two prophets have touched upon the Lord's two comings. 
Those for whom it is in vain

St Augustine makes it clear whose labour is for nought:
Who rise before Christ? They who choose to prefer themselves to Christ. And who are they who wish to prefer themselves to Christ? They who wish to be exalted here, where He was humble.
Cassiodorus adds:
The person who rises before light still walks in darkness, and cannot advance his journey because of the blackness of the night... 
 Rise after being seated

Cassiodorus explains this as pointing to the need for humility:
They are told: Rise after you have been seated, in other words, endure being humbled first, and after your ascension seek the rewards of joys; for the seating mentioned denotes humility and not distinction.
Some of the early versions of this verse though, in both Greek and Latin, say 'rest' rather than sit, making the connection to the harrowing of hell more obvious.

The bread of sorrow

The bread of sorrow should, according to Cassiodorus, be interpreted as our work of repentance:
...it is perfect Christians who eat the bread of sorrow, for another psalm says of them: Tears were my bread day and night, and: Thou wilt feed us with the bread of tears, and give us for our drink tears in measure. Their sorrow is indeed their bread, since they refresh themselves with affliction, and console themselves with this world's sadness. Bread nourishes us, and this is the effect of the purity with which the faithful consider that punishment is in­flicted on them not for death but for salvation.

Psalm 126: Nisi Dominus 
Vulgate
Douay-Rheims
Canticum graduum Salomonis.
A gradual canticle of Solomon.
1.  Nisi Dominus aedificaverit domum:*
 in vanum laboraverunt qui aedificant eam.
Unless the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it.
2.  Nisi Dominus custodierit civitatem:*
frustra vigilat qui custodit eam.
Unless the Lord keep the city, he watches in vain that keeps it.
3.  Vanum est vobis ante lucem surgere:*
surgite, postquam sederitis, qui manducatis panem doloris.
2 It is vain for you to rise before light, rise after you have sitten, you that eat the bread of sorrow.

4.  Cum dederit dilectis suis somnum:*
ecce hereditas Domini, filii merces, fructus ventris.
When he shall give sleep to his beloved, 3 behold the inheritance of the Lord are children: the reward, the fruit of the womb.
5.  Sicut sagittae in manu potentis:* ita filii excussorum.
4 As arrows in the hand of the mighty, so the children of them that have been shaken.
6.  Beatus vir, qui implevit desiderium suum ex ipsis:* non confundetur cum loquetur inimicis suis in porta.
5 Blessed is the man that has filled the desire with them; he shall not be confounded when he shall speak to his enemies in the gate





The next part in this series provides notes on verse 4 of Psalm 126.