Augustine. Exposition on the Book of Psalms. Schaff, Philip (editor). New York: Christian Literature Publishing Co, 1886. Nicene and Post-Nicene Church Fathers: Series 1: Volume VIII. Re-published 2014, Catholic Way Publishing. Kindle electronic edition, ISBN-13: 978-1-78379-372-3.
Commenting on the title of the Psalm, Augustine notes that the goal of God’s people is to reach the end without corruption, something they can do only by faith (Augustine Psalms, loc. 331238).
Verse one speaks of a confession prior to invoking God’s name. Augustine sees this as a significant order. God draws near to the humble and penitent. Therefore confession would naturally come first (Augustine Psalms, loc. 331247). The prayer is that God would turn away from our sins, not turn away from us. The hope is for God to ignore our wrongdoing (Augustine Psalms, loc. 331262). God’s plan, according to verse two, is to enter into judgment. Yet Augustine notes with thanksgiving that God first takes time for preaching and confession (Augustine Psalms, loc. 331283).
Verse three describes the troubled state of the world. It has “flowed down” - slid down into decline. Augustine sees this as a decline to our natural, fallen state (Augustine Psalms, loc. 331293). Despite the decline, though, Augustine sees the pillars of the faith strengthened, and interprets the pillars as the apostles and their teaching. The decline is confronted in verse four, as the guilty are called to stop their unjust works (Augustine Psalms, loc. 331313). Even though God has not necessarily punished evildoers, he still identifies good and evil. This is what Augustine sees him doing in verse 5, when he cautions against speaking iniquity against God (Augustine Psalms, loc. 331323). Augustine calls this self-destructive foolishness. God is the judge of all, no matter where we try to hide our iniquity (Augustine Psalms, loc. 331333). Rather than fleeing from God, we need to flee to him for confession and forgiveness (Augustine Psalms, loc. 331348).
In verse seven, God is shown as the one who humbles the proud and exalts the lowly. Augustine sees this work as occurring through God’s work, in verse eight, of pouring out his “cup” on people (Augustine Psalms, loc. 331358). The cup of mixed wine, then, brings blessing on the humble and humility on the arrogant. Augustine sees this happening largely through fair application of God’s Word. His Law and promises move people in the ways of God (Augustine Psalms, loc. 331379).
In the end, in verses 9-10, God’s people rejoice and sing before God. Again, he exalts the humble and humbles the proud (Augustine Psalms, loc. 331394).