Expositio super Isaiam ad litteramCommentary on IsaiahProoemiumPrologueHabakkuk 2:2–3Habakkuk 2:2–3Scribe visum, et explana eum super tabulas, ut percurrat qui legerit eum: quia adhuc visus procul, et apparebit in finem.Write the vision and lay it out on tablets that he who reads it might run through it, for as yet the vision is a great way off and shall appear at the end.Ex verbis istis tria possunt accipi circa librum Isaiae prophetae, quem prae manibus habemus; scilicet auctor, modus et materia. Circa primum tria ponuntur: scilicet auctor, auctoris minister, et ministri officium, sive donum.From these words three things may be received concerning the book of the prophet Isaiah which we have before us, namely, the author, the mode, and the matter. Concerning the first, three things are laid out, namely, the author, the servant of the author, and the task (or gift) of the servant.Auctor ostenditur in dicentis imperio: unde praemittitur: respondit mihi dominus, et dixit: scribe visum etc. Auctor enim Scripturae sacrae spiritus sanctus est. Infra 48: nunc misit me dominus etc., 2 Petri I 21: non enim voluntate humana etc. Spiritus enim loquitur mysteria, sicut dicitur 1 Cor. 14.The author is shown in the command of the one speaking, and thus it is set forth at the begining, The Lord spoke back to me and said, Write the vision. For the author of Sacred Scripture is the Holy Spirit, as seen below: now the Lord has sent me [and his spirit] (Isa 48:16), and in II Peter: for not by human will [did prophecy come at any time, but the holy men of God spoke, inspired by the Holy Spirit] (II Pet 1:21). For the Spirit speaks mysteries (as is said in I Corinthians 14:2).Minister ostenditur in scribentis actu: dicit enim, scribe. Fuit autem lingua prophetae organum spiritus sancti, sicut in Psal. 44. Dicitur: lingua mea calamus Scribae, velociter scribentis. Et 1 Cor. 3: quid igitur est Apollo? Quid vero Paulus? Ministri ejus cui credidistis.The servant is shown in the act of the one writing, for he says, Write. For the prophet’s tongue was the instrument of the Holy Spirit, as it says in the Psalm: my tongue is the reed of a scribe writing swiftly (Ps 44:2), and in I Corinthians: what therefore is Apollos? And what Paul? His servants whom you have believed (I Cor 3:4-5).Officium vero ministri ostenditur in visionis privilegio: dicit enim, visum. Qui enim hodie dicitur propheta, olim vocabatur videns, sicut 1 Reg. 9 dicitur. Et Numer. 12: si quis fuerit inter vos propheta domini, in visione apparebo ei, vel per somnium loquar ad illum. Sic igitur patet auctor;The task of the servant is shown by the privilege of what is seen, for he says, vision. As it says in I Samuel: For the one who today is called a prophet was of old called a seer (I Sam 9:9), and in Numbers: if there should be a prophet of the Lord among you, I will appear to him in a vision or speak to him in a dream (Num 12:6). Thus suffices for the author.sed modus ostenditur in hoc quod sequitur, et explana: modus enim istius prophetiae planus est et apertus. Unde, ut dicitur in prologo non videtur vaticinari de futuris, sed magis de praeteritis historiam texere. Et circa hoc tria ponuntur: visionis explanatio, explanationis ratio et utilitas consequens.The mode, however, is shown in what follows, and lay it out. For the mode of this prophet is plain and open; hence, as is said in [Jerome’s] Prologue, it does not seem to be foretold of the future, but more to compose a narrative of past events. And concerning this three things are set down: the explanation of the vision, the reason for the explanation, and the usefulness that follows.Primum ostenditur in hoc quod dicit, explana eum. Explanatur autem ab eo visus, sive visio, tribus modis. Primo per similitudinis adaptationem; secundo per sententiae expressionem; tertio per verborum venustatem. Et in his tribus iste propheta alios excellit prophetas.The first is shown where he says, lay it out. For it is laid out from that vision (or seeing) in three ways: first through an adaptation of a figure, second through the expression of a thought, third through the elegance of words; and in these three this prophet excels the other prophets.Ponit enim pulchras et curiales similitudines, quae quidem sunt necessariae nobis, propter connaturalitatem sensus ad rationem: est enim naturale rationi nostrae accipere a sensibilibus: unde perspicacius capit ea quorum similia ad sensum videt. Unde Dionysius in epistola ad Titum secunda demonstrat hoc, scilicet quod necessariae sint sensibiles figurae in Scripturis: quicumque plana cum audierint, in seipsis componunt figuram quamdam ad intellectum theologiae ipsos manuducentem. Et Osee 12: in manibus prophetarum assimilatus sum.For he sets down beautiful and perfectly chosen figures, which are indeed necessary to us on account of the kinship of sensation with reason: for it is natural to our reason to receive from sensible things, hence it grasps hold of those things which are clear to it, it sees what assimilates to the sensitive faculty. As Dionysius shows in the second epistle to Titus, that sensible likenesses are necessary in the Scriptures: Anyone, when they hear what is clear, they put together in themselves a certain likeness that leads them by the hand to the understanding of theology. Also Hosea: [I have multiplied visions and] by the hands of the prophets I have been made into likenesses (Hos 12:10).Excellit etiam in expressione sententiae, ut videatur non prophetiam, sed Evangelium texere, ut dicitur in prologo galeato. Unde dictum est sibi, infra 40: exalta vocem tuam, noli timere, dic civitatibus Iudae etc.He also stands out in expression of thought, as he may be seen to compose the Gospel, not prophecy, as is said towards the head of [Jerome’s] prologue. Hence it is said of him: raise your voice, do not be afraid, speak to the cities of Judah (Isa 40:9).Excellit etiam in verborum venustate sicut vir nobilis et urbanae eloquentiae, ut dicitur in prologo et Prov. 15: lingua sapientium ornat scientiam. Sed huius explanationis tangitur consequenter ratio, cum dicit, super tabulas. Sunt enim tabulae legis, sunt tabulae lapidei cordis et sunt tabulae mollis et carnei cordis. 2 Cor. 3: epistola nostra vos estis . . . scripta non in tabulis lapideis, sed in tabulis cordis carnalibus.He is even superior in elegance of words as a nobleman and one of refined speech, as is said in [Jerome’s] prologue, and in Proverbs: The wise tongue displays understanding (Prov 15:2). And this explanation is held for the following reason when it states, on tablets. For they are the tablet of the law, they are the tablets of a stone heart, and they are the tablets of a soft and fleshly heart: you are our letter, written not on stone tablets but on tablets of fleshly hearts (II Cor 3:2-3).Primae tabulae (scilicet) legis scriptae fuerunt digito Dei, sicut dicitur Exo. 31. Et ideo Scriptura profunda et obscura, et plena multis mysteriis. Unde oportuit superscribi illis tabulis digito hominis planam prophetiam, ad explanandum, infra 8: sume tibi librum grandem, et scribe in eo stylo hominis.The first tablets, namely those of the law, have been written by the finger of God (as is related in Exodus 31). For that reason scripture is deep and obscure and full of many mysteries, wherefore it has been necessary to write above those tablets [i.e. by way of a gloss] with a clear prophecy with the finger of man, in order to explain it, as said below: Take for yourself a great book and write in it with a man’s quill (Isa 8:1).Sed secundis tabulis, scilicet cordibus lapideis, superscribi oportuit plane ad confutandum. Matth. 15. Bene prophetavit de vobis Isaias dicens: populus hic labiis me honorat, cor autem eorum longe est a me.And concerning the second tablets, of the stony heart, it is necessary to overwrite what is plain in order to confound, [as it is written]: Isaiah prophesied well of you when he said, “This people honors me with their tongues, but their heart is far from me” (Mt 15:7-8).Sed tertiis tabulis, scilicet cordibus carnalibus, oportuit plane superscribi ad instruendum. 2 Esdrae 8: signate in libro legis Dei distincte et aperte ad intelligendum. Et sequitur: et intellexerunt cum legeretur.And concerning the third tablets, of the fleshly heart, it is necessary to overwrite what is plain in order to teach: Signify in the book of God with precision and open for their understanding (Neh 8:8), and [also] what follows: and they understood when it was being read.Utilitas autem explanationis ostenditur in hoc quod sequitur, ut percurrat. Percurrere enim est expedite in finem currendo devenire. Est autem finis triplex; scilicet finis legis, finis praecepti et finis vitae.For the usefulness of the explanation is shown in what follows, [that he might] run through. For to run through is to arrive quickly, hastening to the end. For there is a threefold end: the end of the law, the end of the commandments, and the end of life.Finis legis Christus est ad justitiam omni credenti; sicut dicitur ad Rom. 10. Finis praecepti caritas est: 1 ad Tim. I. Finis vitae mors est, Matth. 21: qui perseveraverit usque in finem hic salvus erit. Dicit ergo: ut percurrat qui legerit; ac si dicat: ut qui legerit, sine impedimento dubitationis percurrat credendo in Christum, credens amet, et in amore perseveret.As is said in Romans: the end of the law is Christ directed to the righteousness of all who believe (Rom 10:4). And as in I Timothy: the end of the commandments is charity (I Tim 1:5). The end of life is death: The one who perseveres all the way to the end shall be saved (Mt 24:13). For this reason it says that he who reads it might run through it, as if to say: the one who reads without the obstacle of doubt should run through it, believing in Christ, that believing he might love and might persevere in love.Materia tangitur in hoc quod sequitur: quia adhuc visus procul. Et est principaliter materia hujus libri apparitio filii Dei: unde in Ecclesia tempore adventus legitur.The subject matter is touched upon in what follows, for as yet the vision is a great way off. Now the subject matter of this book is principally the appearing of the Son of God, hence in the Church [this book] is read in the time of Advent.Est autem triplex apparitio filii Dei. Prima qua apparuit in carne homo factus. Ad Titum 3: apparuit benignitas et humanitas salvatoris nostri Dei. Secunda qua apparuit per fidem a mundo creditus. Ad Titum 2: apparuit gratia salvatoris nostri Dei erudiens nos. Tertia qua apparebit per speciem in glorificatione. 1 Joan. 3: scimus quoniam cum apparuerit, similes ei erimus. Et istae apparitiones sunt materia istius libri. Unde in prologo dicitur, quod omnis cura ejus est de adventu Christi, et vocatione gentium.Now there is a threefold appearing of the Son of God. First, as he appears in the flesh, having been made man: the goodness and humanity of God our savior appeared (Titus 3:4). Second, as he appeared through faith to a world who had believed: the grace of God our savior appeared, instructing us (Titus 2:11-12). Third, as he will appear in the splendor of glory: we know that when he appears we will be like him [for we shall see him as he is] (I Jn 3:2). And these appearances are the subject matter of this book, thus in [Jerome’s] prologue it is said that all his attention is on the coming of Christ, and the calling of the nations.Sed certe iste qui postea sic visus est, adhuc suis temporibus procul erat. Siquidem procul, quia excelsum in majestatis aequalitate. Job 36. Unusquisque intuetur procul. Ecce Deus magnus vincens scientiam nostram. Erat etiam procul, quia absconditus in praefinitione patris. Eph. 3: quae sit dispensatio sacramenti absconditi a saeculis in Deo. Erat etiam procul, quia dilatum in expectatione patrum. Hebr. 11. Juxta fidem defuncti sunt omnes isti non acceptis repromissionibus, sed a longe eas aspicientes.But certainly this one who is thus seen afterwards was yet far off at his own time. Far off indeed because he had been elevated in the equality of majesty: each one looks from afar: behold, God is great, overcoming our understanding (Job 36:25-26). Furthermore, he was far off because he was hid in the pre-determination of the Father: what is the dispensation of the mystery that has been hidden by the ages in God (Eph 3:9). He was even far off since he was concealed in the expectation of the fathers: with faith all these have died, not having received the promises but beholding them from afar (Heb 11:13).Sed certe modo quod erat longe, factum est prope, quia excelsum factum est infimum. Verbum enim caro factum est: Joan. 1. Quod erat absconditum, factum est publicum, quia unigenitus qui est in sinu patris, ipse enarravit: (ibidem). Quod erat dilatum, incepit esse jam a sanctis possessum in gloria. Matth. 25: venite benedicti patris mei, percipite regnum quod vobis paratum est ab origine mundi.But in a certain way what was far off has been made near, since what is high has been made lower: for the word was made flesh (Jn 1:14). What was hidden has been made public, because the only-begotten who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known (Jn 1:18). What was scattered now began to be possessed by the saints in glory: come, blessed of my Father, receive what has been prepared for you from the beginning of the world (Mt 25:34).Sic igitur poterat dicere: adhuc visus procul apparebit in finem. Fuit enim prima apparitio in fine legis: quia ubi venit plenitudo temporis, misit Deus filium suum natum ex muliere, factum sub lege: ad Galat. 4. Secunda autem fuit in fine idolatriae. Infra 19: ecce dominus ascendet super nubem levem, et ingredietur Aegyptum, et movebuntur simulacra Aegypti a facie ejus. Sed tertia erit in fine omnis miseriae, quam absterget Deus ab oculis sanctorum, et non erit amplius neque luctus, neque labor, sed nec ullus dolor, quoniam priora transierunt: Apoc. 21. Et haec sunt ultima de quibus Eccli. 48, dicitur de Isaia: spiritu magno vidit ultima, et consolatus est lugentes Sion usque in sempiternum: et ostendit futura et abscondita antequam evenirent.Therefore, he was able to say for as yet the vision is a great way off and shall appear at the end. To begin with, what appeared was the end of the law, for when the fullness of time came, God sent his Son, born of a woman, formed under the law (Gal 4:4). Secondly, it was the end of idolatry: behold, the Lord will ascend upon a light cloud and enter into Egypt, and the idols of Egypt will be displaced by his face (Isa 19:1). Third, it will be the end of all sorrow, for God wipes the tears from the eyes of the saints, and there will no longer be mourning or toil, and no sorrow at all, for the former things have passed away (Rev 21:4). And these are the last things, concerning which it is said of Isaiah: with a great spirit he saw the end, and consoled those who mourned Zion into perpetuity, and he set forth those things which are to come and [which are] hidden before they had come to pass (Sir 48:27-28).Prologus Sancti HieronomiThe Preface of Saint JeromeNemo, cum prophetas versibus viderit esse descriptos, metro eos estimet apud Hebreos ligari, et aliquid simile habere de Psalmis vel operibus Salomonis. Sed quod in Demostene et Tullio solet fieri, ut per cola scribantur et comata, qui utique prosa et non versibus scripserunt, nos quoque utilitati legentium providentes interpretationem novam novo scribendi genere distinximus.Nobody, when he will have seen the prophets written out in verses, will reckon them to be bound by Hebrew [poetic] meter, or to liken them to the Psalms or the works of Solomon. But considering what we are accustomed to seeing with Demosthenes and Cicero, which are written down in stanzas and with spaces (who in any case wrote prose and not in verse), we also, with an eye to facilitate reading, have taken care to put forth a new interpretation with a new method of laying out the words.Ac primum de Ysaya sciendum quod in sermone suo disertus sit, quippe ut vir nobilis et urbane elegantie, nec habens quicquam in eloquio rusticitatis admixtum; unde accidit ut pre ceteris florem sermonis eius translatio non potuerit conservare.Having first become acquianted with Isaiah (and what is discussed in his own manner of speaking), he is clearly a nobleman and one of polished speech, completely devoid of anything rude mixed into [his] eloquence; hence it occurred that in comparison with others, [my] translation was not able to preserve the blossom of his speech.Deinde etiam hoc adiciendum quod non tam propheta dicendus sit quam evangelista: ita enim universa Christi Ecclesieque misteria ad liquidam prosecutus est, ut non eum putes de futuro vaticinari sed de preteritis hystoriam texere. Unde conicio noluisse tunc temporis Septuaginta interpretes fidei sue sacramenta perspicue ethnicis prodere, ne sanctum canibus et margaritas porcis darent; que, cum hanc editionem legeritis, ab illis animadvertetis abscondita.Next also is this added, that he does not so much speak as a prophet but as an evangelist. For thus all the mysteries of Christ and the Church are pursued to [such] clarity that you would not think of them as prophecies of the future, but as a narrative composed of past events. Therefore I contend the Seventy Interpreters were unwilling at that time to clearly reveal the holy secrets of their faith to the nations, nor were they willing to cast what was holy to dogs or pearls to swine; when you read this edition, you will observe those things which were hidden by them.Nec ignoro quanti laboris sit prophetas intelligere, nec facile quempiam posse iudicare de interpretatione nisi intellexerit antequam legerit, nosque patere morsibus plurimorum qui stimulante invidia quod consequi non valent despiciunt. Sciens ergo et prudens in flammam mitto manum, et nichilominus hoc a fastidiosis lectoribus precor: ut quomodo Greci, post Septuaginta translatores Aquilam et Simmachum et Theodotionem legunt, vel ob studium doctrine sue vel ut Septuaginta magis ex collatione eorum intelligant, sic et isti saltem unum post priores habere dignentur interpretem. Legant prius, et posteades piciant, ne videantur non ex iudicio sed et ex odii presumptione ignorata dampnare.For I am not ignorant as to how much work it is to understand the prophets, nor is anyone easily able to judge of their interpretation unless they have understood before they read, but we suffer the malicious attacks of a great many who, roused by envy, despise what they do not have the strength to understand. Understanding, therefore, and knowing full well that I am putting my hand into the flame, nonetheless, to the unhappy readers I ask this: that in the way the Greeks read Aquila, Symacchus, and Theodotion after the Seventy translators—either on account of the fondness of their teaching, or that they might understand the Seventy all the more from their being gathered together—thus this also might be deemed worthy, after the previous ones, to have at least one interpreter. First they read, and afterwards they inspect, that they might not seem to be condemned out of judgment, but rather (being ignorant) by the confidence of hatred.Prophetavit autem Ysaias in Ierusalem et in Iudea necdum decem tribibus in captivitatem ductis; ac de utroque regno, nunc commixtim nunc separatim, texit oraculum; et cum interdum ad presentem respiciat hystoriam, et post Babilonie captivitatem reditum populi significet in Iudeam, tamen omnis eius cura de vocatione gentium et de adventu Christi est. Quem quanto plus amatis, o Paula et Eustochium, tanto magis ab eo petite ut pro obtrectatione presenti qua me indesinenter emuli laniant, ipse michi mercedem restituat in futuro, qui scit me ob hoc in peregrine lingue eruditione sudasse, ne Iudei de falsitate scripturarum ecclesiis eius diutius insultarent.Isaiah prophesied in Jerusalem and in Judea, when the ten tribes had not yet been lead into captivity, and composed oracles concerning both kingdoms: at one time mingled together, at another time separated. And although at times he turns his gaze to the present history, and [at times] might prophesy the return of the people into Judea after the Babylonian captivity, nevertheless all his attention is on the calling of the nations and on the arrival of Christ. Whom, O Paula and Eustochium, by as much more you love, of such a greater measure you must seek from him, that in the face of the present disparagement in which my incessant rivals rend me into pieces, that He Himself might restore to me a reward in the future, who knows me to have drenched myself with sweat in the study of a foreign language [so that] the Jews might not long pounce upon the falsity of the scriptures of His churches.St. Thomas’ Commentary on Jerome’s PrefaceHuic autem operi praemittit Hieronymus prologum, in quo tria facit. Primo ostendit modum dicendi; secundo modum prophetandi, ibi, deinde etiam hoc adjiciendum; tertio modum tractandi, ibi, prophetavit autem.Jerome here sets forth a preface to the work, in which he does three things: first he shows the way of speaking; second, the way of prophesying, where he says, Next also is this added; third, the way of investigating, where he says, Isaiah prophesied.Modum dicendi ostendit circa ornatum prolocutionis ex duobus. Primo ex ordine verborum; secundo ex elegantia verborum, ibi, ac primum de Isaia. Circa primum tria facit. Primo removet ordinem a quibusdam aestimatum, scilicet metricum; secundo demonstrat ordinem a propheta servatum, ibi, sed quod in Demosthene; tertio ostendit eumdem modum se esse in sua translatione imitatum, ibi, nos quoque. He indicates the way of speaking, concerning the refinement of what is spoken forth, in two ways: first from the arrangement of the words, second from the elegance of the words, where he says, And so first knowing of Isaiah. Concerning the first of these, he does three things: first he sets aside the arrangement from what is extraneous, namely the meter. Second, he explains the arrangement observed by the prophet, where he says, But considering what we are accustomed to seeing with Demosthenes. Third, he indicates that very same way to be imitated in his own translation, where he says, we also.Versibus, idest brevibus clausulis, descriptos, idest distinctos, metro ligari. Metrum Graece, mensura dicitur: unde illud dicitur metrice describi ubi servatur certa mensura pedum, syllabarum, et temporum; a qua lege prophetae soluti sunt. Et aliquid habere de Psalmis, idest eis simile, vel operibus Salomonis, quantum ad finem proverbiorum, et in canticis canticorum;By verses he means brief clauses; by written out he means divided up; by to be bound by poetic meter, this is what he means: the Greek measuring is called a “meter,” hence that thing is said to be described by “meter” where a fixed measurement is observed by foot, syllables, and times (by which the laws of the prophet are unbound). By or to liken them to the Psalms, he means those mentioned are similar, and by or of the works of Solomon, he means so far as to the end of Proverbs and in the Song of Songs.in Demosthene, Graeco, Tullio, Latino oratoribus, qui prosa scripserunt per cola et comata. Tres sunt distinctiones in Scripturis: coma, colus et periodus, ad similitudinem corporis humani, in quo sunt distinctiones quaedam in partibus unius membri; sicut sunt articuli, et distincta membra, sicut manus et pedes et iterum totum corpus.Demosthenes, a Greek, and Cicero, a Latin, were orators who wrote prose in stanzas and with spaces. There are three divisions in the Scriptures: the space, the stanza, and the period—similar to the human body, in which there are divisions: some into the parts of one limb, as are the joints, and others are distinct members, as the hands and feet, and in turn the whole body.Primae distinctioni respondet distinctio quae sit per comata, quia coma, idem est quod incisio vel divisio; secundae respondet illa quae est per cola, quia colon interpretatur membrum; sed toti respondet periodus: periodus enim dicitur circulatio a peri, quod est circum, et odos, quod est via. Sola autem linea circuli completa est, sicut probat philosophus. Sumuntur autem istae distinctiones in Scripturis tripliciter.Regarding the first of the distinctions, he answers that the distinction is made through spaces, because a space is the same as an incision or a division. Regarding the second he responds that it is made through stanzas, since a colon is interpreted as a limb. But a period corresponds to the whole, for a period is called a circulation, from “peri” [πέρι] which means “around,” and “odos” [ὁδος] which means “a way.” For the lines of a circle alone are complete, as the philosopher proves. These three distinctions are employed in Scripture in three ways.Primo, secundum Isidorum, in versibus, coma est quando post duos pedes sequitur una syllaba, quae est pars alterius pedis, quia tunc deciditur pes unus, sicut ibi: gloria, laus, et honor. Cola autem quando accipiuntur duo pedes sine syllaba sequente, ut carmina dulcia. Sed periodus, quando tota sententia metrice tradita completur.First, according to Isidore, in poetry: it is a space when, after two measures, they are followed by one syllable (which is a part of the other measure), since then one measure is put to an end, as in the following: glory, praise, and honor. But a stanza is taken to be understood when there are two measures without a syllable following, as a sweet poem. But a period [is understood] when the whole sentence, having been delivered in poetic meter, is completed.