Friday, March 21, 2014

The Lent 3 Offertory: Iustitiae Domini ("The judgements of the Lord")

Iustitiae Domini is the beautiful Offertory for the 3rd Sunday in Lent, sung here by the Nova Schola Gregoriana:

This is the English translation of this chant, from Prosper Gueringer 's book on the Liturgical Year:
The justices of the Lord are right, rejoicing hearts; his ordinances are sweeter than honey and the honey-comb: therefore thy servant observeth them.
(Another, better translation of "justices" there might be "judgements," or "just decrees."  I do believe Iustitiae is plural.) 

The text comes from Psalm (18/)19: vv. 9 - 11:
9 the fear of the Lord is clean,
    enduring forever;
the rules[d] of the Lord are true,
    and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold,
    even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
    and drippings of the honeycomb.
11 Moreover, by them is your servant warned;
    in keeping them there is great reward.
Here's the chant score:

There is more in the video than just what's included on this score; I'm still trying to work out what it is, and where it came from.  [EDIT:  it seems to be a continuation of some of the verses of Psalm 19, although I don't know why it's here.   Here's the Latin text sung after the end of what's on the score above (and thus officially part of the Offertory itself), as far as I can make it out.  The numbering between the Latin Vulgate and English Book of Common Prayer 1662 is different, though:
9  Justitiae Domini rectae, laetificantes corda; praeceptum Domini lucidum, illuminans oculos.
10  Timor Domini sanctus, permanens in saeculum saeculi; judicia Domini vera
, justificata in semetipsa,
8  The statutes of the Lord are right, and rejoice the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, and giveth light unto the eyes.
9  The fear of the Lord is clean, and endureth for ever: the judgements of the Lord are true
, and righteous altogether.
But again, I'm not sure at the moment why this added text is there.  Perhaps it's an alternate version of the Offertory; will try to find out.]

Here's something from Wikipedia about Psalm 19:
Psalm 19 is the 19th psalm in the Book of Psalms (the 18th in the Septuagint numbering). It is ascribed to David.

The psalm considers the glory of God in creation, and moves to reflect on the character and use of "the law of the LORD". A comparison is made between the law and the sun, which lends a degree of unity to the psalm. C. S. Lewis suggested that in verse 7, the Psalmist starts talking about something else, "which hardly seems to him like something else because it is so like the all-piercing, all-detecting sunshine."[1] Like the Sun, the law is able to uncover hidden faults, and nothing can hide from it. As the Psalmist meditates on the excellencies of the law, he feels that his sins have been laid open before God's word, and asks for forgiveness and help.


Verses 7–11: The law – sweeter than honey
Psalm 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.
8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.
9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.
Psalm 19:7–11 King James Version
Psalm 19:7-11 Other versions
In verses 7–11 the law of the LORD, that is the Torah, is presented as another source of revelation about God's character and expectations. The instructions are referred to as "direct" from the Hebrew yesharim meaning to make straight, smooth, right or upright. One commentator's[7] interpretation indicates that since this law shows a person what to do and keep in mind, what to avoid, how to please God, and what help he can expect from God, they are highly desirable and valuable.

The description of the law as radiant and enlightening ties the earlier references to the lights of nature to the character of God and to his laws as revealing truths.[2] The Torah is associated with light in other passages as well, such as Proverbs 6:23 "For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life:"

Here are all the chant propers for the day, sung by the Sao Paulo Benedictines:
Hebdomada tertia quadragesimæ
Introitus: Ps. 24, 15.16 et 1-2 Oculi mei (3m02.3s - 2852 kb) score
Graduale: Ps. 9, 20. V. 4 Exsurge... non prævaleat (3m46.7s - 3546 kb) score
Tractus: Ps. 122, 1-3 Ad te levavi (1m45.2s - 1646 kb) score
Offertorium: Ps. 18, 9.11.12 Iustitiæ Domini (1m21.7s - 1278 kb) score
                 Quando legitur Evangelium de Samaritana:
                 Io. 4, 13.14 Qui biberit aquam (3m02.3s - 2852 kb)
                 Quando legitur aliud Evangelium:
                 Ps. 83, 4.5 Passer invenit (3m30.3s - 3288 kb) score

Here are posts on Chantblog for other propers of this day:

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