Stepantsov Sergei

Sowing in Tears and Reaping in Joy: Psalm 125. 5–6 in the Interpretation of Saint Augustine

Stepantsov Sergei (2013) "Sowing in Tears and Reaping in Joy: Psalm 125. 5–6 in the Interpretation of Saint Augustine ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia I : Bogoslovie. Filosofiia, 2013, vol. 47, pp. 30-41 (in Russian).


Saint Augustine of Hippo often quoted the last verses of the 125th psalm and several times meditated its content in his tractates and sermons. The author of this article examines a selection of these citations, in which the verses are not only quoted but also, both directly and indirectly, commented upon. In his exposition of the Epistle to the Galatians, Augustine merely mentions the fact of the possibility of a spiritual understanding of the passage. The most thorough and most complete exposition of this passage is found in Augustine’s 31st Homily. This exposition is actually more thematic than exegetical. The main points of this homily include the idea of an explanation of the various reasons for tears shed by people during their earthly lives (the tears of martyrs, the tears deriving from earthly pains and sorrows, the tears of a just man separated from his God). But the most profound interpretation of these psalm verses is found in Augustines’s exposition of Psalm 125 (11–13). Here Augustine enumerates all the good actions which he considers to be symbolized by the idea of sowing (almsgiving, aid rendered through deed, aid rendered through word, the mere desire to render aid). At the same time, Augustine does not develop in this exposition the idea of forgiving offences as a type of almsgiving. On the other hand he reveals the essence of good works as charity and the Goal of those who practise good works as the union of the faithful soul with Christ. The author includes a Russian translation of the 31st homily at the end of his article.


Augustinus of Hippo, exegesis, homelies, psalms, Psalm 125, «Commentary on psalms, Epistle to the Galatians, « Commentary on Epistle to the Galatians», image of sowing, tears, good deeds, charity, mercy, love


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2. Fitzgerald A. 1989. Signum Pietatis. Festgabe fur C. P. Mayer. Wurzburg, 1989, pp. 445–459.
3. Rondeau M.-J. Les commentaires patristique du Psautier (IIIe–Ve siecles). Rome, 1985.

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Stepantsov Sergei