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David as a Prefiguration of Christ and Redeemed Humanity in the Works of Hilary of Poitiers

David comme préfiguration du Christ et de l’humanité rachetée chez Hilaire de Poitiers
Almudena Alba López
p. 261-282

Résumés

À l’instar de nombre de ses prédécesseurs, Hilaire de Poitiers ne fut pas indifférent à la richesse des motifs christologiques de la figure de David. Roi, prophète et berger, David prend sa place dans l’histoire du salut entre Adam et Christ en tant que représentation de l’humanité qui cherche la réconciliation avec Dieu. En le choisissant parmi ses frères et en le préférant à Saül, en lui donnant l’onction, Dieu lui confère une place centrale dans l’histoire et le charge de la mission d’anticiper le royaume du Christ et d’être un réceptacle du Saint-Esprit qui annonce le mystère pascal et le salut de l’humanité. En transcendant l’image traditionnelle de simple préfiguration du Christ ou de prophète du Messie, le roi d’Israël parvient dans la théologie d’Hilaire à un niveau supérieur de développement et de complexité en devenant également le héraut des chrétiens qui, moyennant l’onction du baptême, sont intégrés dans la mission de Dieu et deviennent cohéritiers de son Royaume.

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Texte intégral

I would like to thank the reviewers for their apt and constructive comments which have significantly contributed to improving this work.

  • 1  J. Lössl, “Julian of Aeclanum’s Prophetic Exegesis,” in: F. Young – M. Edwards – P. Parvis (ed.), (...)
  • 2  E. Dassmann, “Umfang, Kriterien und Methoden frühchristlicher Prophetenexegese,” Jahrbuch für bibl (...)
  • 3  B. E. Daley, “Finding the Right Key: The Aims and Strategies of Early Christian Interpretation of (...)

1In Early Christianity, the Old Testament was deemed to be a prophetic book insofar as it was, as a whole, an announcement of the coming of Christ.1 The prophets, in particular, took on special significance, as can be seen in the fact that the first Christian Bible commentaries focused on the prophetic books of the Old Testament. Indeed, even authors such as Origen and Diodorus of Tarsus who commented the Old Testament as a whole paid special attention to prophetic exegesis, and the main Church Fathers of the fourth and fifth centuries also followed this trend.2 Judging by the number of works commenting and interpreting it, the Book of Psalms drew the most attention from commentators and exegetes among all prophetic books, with at least 20 books by Greek and Latin authors prior to the year 600.3

  • 4  Tertullian, Aduersus Marcionem (Adu. Marc.) III, 20, 1-10 (R. Braun, SC 399, p. 172‑180); IV,36,8- (...)
  • 5  Cyprian, Testimonia ad Quirinum II, 11 (R. Weber – M. Bénevot, CCSL 3, p. 43-44).
  • 6  Cyprian, in the passage of Testimonia ad Quirinum to which we referred in the note above, is essen (...)
  • 7  J. Sidaway, The Human factor: “Deification” as Transformation in the Theology of Hilary of Poitier (...)
  • 8  N. J. Gastaldi, Hilario de Poitiers exegeta del Salterio: un estudio de su exégesis en los comenta (...)
  • 9  Commentarium in Matthaeum (In Matt.) 4, 14 (J. Doignon, SC 254, p. 132, l. 7-10). Cf. Tractatus my (...)
  • 10  Christ himself is the object of the prophecies, and they can only be interpreted based on him, Ins (...)
  • 11  According to Hilary, the identification of David with Christ is absolute in such a manner that the (...)
  • 12  Tr. Ps. 118, (heth) 8, 10 (M. Milhau, SC 344, p. 268, l. 2-4); (teth) 9, 1 (M. Milhau, SC 347, p. (...)

2From early on, Christian thinkers have seen David as a prophet of Christ and have related the Davidic Messiah to Jesus, making him something much greater than a mere king. Tertullian4 and Cyprian,5 who exerted significant influence on the works of Hilary, saw an announcement of the universal king in the king of Israel anointed by God. Specifically, Cyprian uses tradition6 to prove the unity of Christ with the royalty of David, by linking the kingdom of David, the Holy Spirit, the Incarnation and the ultimate Kingdom in order to argue why Christ had to be a descendant of David according to the flesh and, as we will see, this line of reasoning can be found repeatedly throughout the works of Hilary of Poitiers, who can in all fairness be described as one of the central figures in fourth-century Latin theology. His doctrinal work and his activity as a bishop committed towards the liberty and integrity of the Church in the turbulent times he lived in cannot be dissociated from his most remarkable facet as an experienced exegete. It is important to point out that, despite his contact with Eastern Christian currents of thought as a result of his exile, which was decreed in Béziers in 356, and the knowledge of the works of Origen he acquired during that time,7 the hermeneutical principles that guided his interpretation remained the same as the ones he applied at the time of the writing of his Commentarium in Matthaeum with the exception that, being Old Testament books, he understood that the key to their spiritual intelligence was to be found in the New Testament.8 Thus, even though this principle could already be found in his first work,9 it would reach its fullness in his Tractatus super Psalmos, a work based on Christological hermeneutics that delves into the spiritual meaning of the figures and meaning of the Book of Psalms.10 In this regard, it is unsurprising that the bishop of Poitiers was not indifferent to the figurative and spiritual wealth of David as a key for the interpretation and understanding of Christ in the Old Testament11 both with regards to his Incarnation and Paschal mystery and to his salvific mission, not to mention the image, in Christ, of a redeemed humanity destined to salvation, showing the path to redemption through example.12

3Hilary subscribed to the traditional opinion according to which David was both the ancestor of Christ and the author of the Psalms. For this reason, the figure of David is present throughout the near-entirety of the works of Hilary of Poitiers, illuminating his Christological and eschatological thought through his twofold figurative and prophetic dimension. For this reason, in Hilary’s works, David’s prophetic nature shows his facet as a prefiguration of Christ to transcend the most obvious use of this figure as a shepherd, king and prophet announcing these figures in Jesus. Throughout the following pages, I will carry out a transversal analysis of the exegetic and doctrinal use of David and Davidic motifs in the main works of Hilary of Poitiers, focusing on his pneumatology and soteriology, without losing sight of the role David plays in his anthropological thought, which allows us to discover the originality and significance of his theology on the relationship between man and God.

I. David, the figure of humanity between Adam and Christ

  • 13  Myst. 1, 1 (SC 19, p. 72, l. 7-11). Cf. L. F. Ladaria, “Dispensatio en San Hilario de Poitiers,” G (...)
  • 14  See A. Orazzo, “Ilario di Poitiers e la universa caro assunta dal Verbo nei Tractatus super Psalmo (...)
  • 15  Tr. Ps. 136, 5, in crimine primi parentis Adae exsulem (CSEL 22, p. 726, l. 21).
  • 16  Tr. Ps. 118 (he) 5, 16 (SC 344, p. 220, l. 14-16).
  • 17  See Scully, Physicalist Soteriology, p. 142-143.

4The economy of salvation not only finds its fullness in Christ incarnate, dead, reborn, and ascended, but also the very key to its meaning. Hence, everything that is told in the Old Testament is a preparation and prefiguration of what will happen after the Incarnation of the Word, an event whose preparation began from the time of creation itself.13 In Hilary’s thought, David is often portrayed as a representation of humanity. Sin entered humanity through Adam, and this state of sin has been handed down over the generations through the flesh.14 As Adam was exiled for his original sinful condition, so is David an exile due to Adam’s wrongdoing,15 as well as for what happened with Bathsheba (2 Sam 11 – 12). Through David’s state, Hilary shows that humanity as a whole has condemned itself, underlining the fact that the prophet himself echoes the notion that no human being is free from sin,16 as it is through Adam that mankind loses what was given to Adam.17

  • 18  Inst. Ps. 11 (SC 515, p. 144-146, l. 1-8). See M. Milhau, “Sur la division tripartite du Psautier (...)
  • 19  Tr. Ps. 150, 1 (CSEL 22, p. 871, l. 10-13).

5However, in Hilary we find that David offers us a path of salvation and liberation from sin. Following the plan laid out by Hilary for the drafting of his Tractatus super Psalmos18 and to establish a parallel with what he deems to be the three stages in Christian life (baptismum, resurrectio, demutatio continentur),19 we find that David fits those stages acting as a prefiguration and even a model for them. The first one requires the transition or conversion into a “new man” reborn and cleansed from sin through the anointment of baptism. This results from Hilary’s exegesis of 1 Sam 16:1-13, when God sends Samuel to Jesse’s house to anoint one of his children, which displays David’s more human side in his thought:

  • 20  Tr. Ps. 118 (zade) 18, 6, Samuel enim propheta uenire ad Iesse domum a Deo iussus est, ut unum ex (...)

Indeed, God gave Samuel the order to go to Jesse’s house to anoint one of his children as king. When he got there, he ordered all of Jesse’s children to come before him. He soon espied the eldest son, who had a handsome countenance and distinguished dress and bearing. However, he was met with this warning: Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature: for God sees not as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart (1 Sam 16:7) […] But, as Samuel knew that He who had sent him there was not a liar and that none of those present was God’s chosen, he asked Jesse: Are these all the sons you have? He replied: there is still one left, he is looking after the sheep (1 Sam 16:11). It was he, therefore, who had been chosen by the Holy Spirit and who was anointed king; and the youngest, most despised one received the dignity of prophet and king.20

  • 21  Tr. Ps. 118 (zade) 18, 7 (SC 347, p. 236, l. 1-6).

6By anointing the youngest son, who tends the sheep, insignificant to the point of having been concealed by his father and ruled out in favour of his elder brothers, God shows compassion towards sinful humanity, which he redeems through anointment, turning it also into a “king and prophet” by looking at its heart, rather than its appearance. Hilary unequivocally states that this story refers to sinful humanity, submerged in the fog of ignorance, from which God separates “new” humanity from the “old” to give it “its family inheritance” (hic reprobato populo seniore iunior in hereditatem familiae eligitur),21 namely, participation in the Kingdom as joint heirs of God united to him in Christ.

  • 22  Tr. Ps. 118 (phe) 17, 13 (SC 347, p. 222, l. 15-20). Cf. Tr. Ps. 131, 3 (CSEL 22, p. 662, l. 23-26 (...)
  • 23  Tr. Ps. 118 (zain), 7, 5 […] intellegens se mundi huius esse peregrinum (cf. Gen 23:4. SC 344, p. (...)
  • 24  Tr. Ps. 118 (gimel) 3, 3 (SC 344, p. 150, l. 17-19).
  • 25  Tr. Ps. 118 (gimel) 3, 9 (SC 344, p. 160, l. 16-18).
  • 26  Tr. Ps. 118 (daleth) 4, 2 (SC 344, p. 178, l. 10-12).
  • 27  Tr. Ps. 118 (nun) 14, 8 (SC 347, p. 132, l. 15-18).
  • 28  Tr. Ps. 118 (resch) 20, 1 (SC 347, p. 268, l. 19-20).
  • 29  Tr. Ps. 53, 4; Tr. Ps. 118 (nun) 14, 12 (SC 347, p. 138, l. 1-5), among others.
  • 30  Tr. Ps. 118 (nun), 10-11. On the importance of Phil 2:6-11 in Hilary, see Ladaria, La cristología, (...)

7The second stage requires profound and sincere repentance that allows for the acknowledgement of sin and the ensuing confession of faith in order to be worthy of divine mercy and forgiveness. Indeed, by transcending the strictly literal interpretation of Scripture and the characters that inhabit it, Hilary sees David as humanity redeemed from sin and forgiven by virtue of its faith, becoming the object of divine mercy.22 In this regard, David understands that he is a pilgrim in this world,23 because, as a “new man”, he has gone beyond the path of the law and of precepts, he has ceased to see himself as an end in itself, and he has therefore become worthy of divine mercy and forgiveness, being born to eternal life (the third and last stage) by transcending the shadows of the present life to access the “land of the living” (Ps 114:9).24 This path is none other than a reflection and announcement of humanity saved and redeemed, whose journey begins with the anointment of baptism25 and achieves its fullness after death,26 conforming to the commandments and virtues received from Christ in its pilgrimage. Among these, humility stands out in particular27 as it is considered to be the quintessence of all commandments and of all of the gifts of faith.28 Far from becoming vain and full of pride due to this noble lineage, his talents and wealth, David is meek, and he finds divine mercy for himself and for humanity in his humility,29 prefiguring Christ, who is able to divest himself of his glory in divine eternity (forma Dei) to empty himself, taking on a humble form (forma serui) through Incarnation.30

  • 31  In Matt. 9, 2 (SC 254, p. 204, l. 14-19); 12, 5 (SC 254, p. 272, l. 4-6). Cf. Tr. Ps. 118 (iod) 10 (...)
  • 32  Tr. Ps. 62, 5-7 (CSEL 22, p. 219-220); 67, 22 (CSEL 22, p. 297, l. 13-22); 118 (resch) 20, 9 (SC 3 (...)
  • 33 Tr. Ps. 65, 10 (CSEL 22, p. 255, l. 2-6).
  • 34 Tr. Ps. 118 (sin) 21, 1 (SC 347, p. 282, l. 4-5).
  • 35  Tr. Ps. 118 (phe) 17, 13 (SC 347, p. 222, l. 18-25); Tr. Ps. 131, 3 (CSEL 22, p. 662, l. 18-26).
  • 36  Tr. Ps. 118 (nun) 14, 13 (SC 347, p. 140-142, l. 5-8). M. Dulaey, “L’histoire de David lue par les (...)
  • 37  Tr. Ps. 118 (nun) 14, 13 (SC 347, p. 142, l. 8-21). M. Dulaey, “L’histoire de David lue par les éc (...)
  • 38  Tr. Ps. 14, 11 (SC 515, p. 344, l. 5-17); 55, 8 (CSEL 22, p. 166, l. 16-20); Tr. Ps. 118 (phe) 17, (...)

8Thus, salvation is the fruit of divine mercy rather than the sacrifices of the law, which are powerless to achieve it,31 and it is lavished upon the merciful and upon those who follow God’s will and wish to be worthy of him, providing them with an afterlife alongside the resurrected.32 In this context, David holds a significant place in Hilary’s reflections on mercy. Indeed, by conceptualising him as a prophet of the Gospel, Hilary saw in him the ability to announce and make understandable the works of salvation the Word had already carried out in the Old Testament and those yet to be fulfilled with His coming,33 thus becoming the prefiguration of the man of the New Covenant,34 that is, humanity redeemed and forgiven of its sins thanks to the Incarnation and the Paschal mystery of Christ.35 David becomes therefore the annunciation of the new economy inaugurated by the Incarnation, which changes the paradigm of the old one: by exerting forgiveness and mercy himself, he overturns the traditional punitive model based on an eye for an eye.36 In this way, David finds mercy in the eyes of God by forgiving Saul (1 Sam 24:7-11), who had persecuted him, or by weeping for his son Absalom (2 Sam 18:33),37 putting in practice during the saving dispensation that which Christ himself would preach in the Sermon on the Mount. In this regard, repentance plays a fundamental role, as it is that which ultimately makes man worthy of salvation.38

II. David as an image of the kingship of Christ, the good shepherd

  • 39  Tr. Ps. 118 (nun) 14, 13 (SC 347, p. 142, l. 8-21); (zade) 18, 6 (SC 347, p. 234, l. 5-7); 119, 2 (...)
  • 40 Simonetti, Lettera e/o allegoria, p. 259-261; Ladaria, La cristología, p. 25.
  • 41 Myst. 1, 32 (SC 19, p. 126, l. 14-20).
  • 42 Tr. Ps. 139, 1 (CSEL 22, p. 777, l. 10-18).
  • 43 Tr. Ps. 53, 2 (CSEL 22, p. 136, l. 2-7).
  • 44 Tr. Ps. 131, 2 (CSEL 22, p. 661-662). Cf. John 10:11; 1:21; 5:22; 1:49.
  • 45 Tr. Ps. 141, 1 (CSEL 22, p. 800, l. 1-12).

9Hilary mentions passages from the life of David on several occasions39 to illustrate that prophecies are not only words, but also the events told in them.40 Thus, within them we find figures and episodes experienced by them which, as happens with David, prefigure what will be fulfilled in Christ:41 his persecution and suffering under Saul in various situations, or the tribulations caused by his son Absalom, which we referred to previously, announce the suffering of Christ,42 which David, like Christ himself, faces with introspection and meekness.43 Moreover, he is the shepherd who risks his life for his sheep; he is the king of Israel, to whom the Father has given judgment, he is the true light and the example of all virtues44 but he is also, as we saw above, the Incarnation of human frailty, a forgiven sinner who announces God’s mercy and the resurrection of man in Christ.45 In the former aspect he announces the Redeemer, and, in the latter, the redeemed. As a whole, he announces the story of Salvation.

  • 46  Hilary of Poitiers covers the parable of the good shepherd (Matt 18:12-14; Luke 15:3-7; John 10:9- (...)
  • 47  W. Brueggemann, First and Second Samuel (Interpretation. A Bible Commentary for Teaching or Preach (...)
  • 48 Tr. Ps. 131, 12-13 (CSEL 22, p. 671-672, l. 11-13).
  • 49  In Matt. 10, 1, even though Hilary does not mention David in this passage, his interpretation is i (...)
  • 50  Tr. Ps. 68, 23 (CSEL 22, p. 333, l. 7-8). Jesus takes on the sins of humanity like a shepherd who (...)
  • 51  Especially in Justin Martyr, who presents the combination of royalty and priesthood in Christ (Dia (...)
  • 52 In Matt. 1, 1 (SC 254, p. 90, l. 4-13). Cf. Tr. Ps. 149, 3 (CSEL 22, p. 868, l. 11-15).
  • 53 Tr. Ps. 119, 5 (CSEL 22, p. 547, l. 5.17-22).

10The king of Israel’s facet as a shepherd and his association with shepherding metaphors evoked by Jesus in various passages of the Gospels provide Hilary with the most obvious material to see in David a figure of Christ.46 The first time the reader approaches David in the Biblical narrative, he is shown as the shepherd of his father’s flock (1 Sam 16:11) and this is also how he appears when he is chosen to serve Saul as a musician (1 Sam 16:19). David’s identity as a shepherd is also relevant in the tale of his confrontation with Goliath, in which the tools and skills acquired in his trade play a crucial role (1 Sam 17:31-40). The image of the shepherd once again becomes relevant when David becomes the “shepherd” of God’s people (2 Sam 5:2), when the tribal leaders of Israel agree to make David the king of a unified kingdom, acknowledging the will of God, who ordered that he be anointed in his father’s house.47 Once again, Hilary finds meaning in these images in the life and teachings of Jesus, who is the Davidic “shepherd king” announced in Matt 2:6,48 who has compassion on the sheep having no shepherd (Matt 9:36),49 and who, wounded and with his flock scattered (Matt 26:31) announces his Passion.50 The image of the shepherd is also found in Christ’s facet as a priest and mediator between the Father and mankind, which has been widely studied by other authors,51 and upon which Hilary of Poitiers provides a modest but interesting elaboration. By underlining the progeny of Judah from the very first moment in his Commentarium in Matthaeum, he presents Jesus as the eternal king and priest, making him the saviour of nations.52 Here David announces his eternal priesthood as a prophet (Ps 109:4),53 which he associates with his royalty and the voluntary sacrifice of his flesh which he does not regret:

  • 54  Tr. Ps. 149, 3, Reconciliati enim sumus per corpus et sanguinem Christi ex inimicis in filios Deo, (...)

We have been reconciled through the blood and the body of Christ (2 Cor 5:18), we have gone from being enemies to being children of God, after having promised us the atonement of the eternal priest with an oath he does not regret […] he was pleased to make an oath without regret to he who reigns as per the order of Melchisedech: that is, to the king and priest of nations, first as salvation for the meek, then as splendour for the holy, who rejoice in their king.54

  • 55  In Matt. 1, 1 (SC 254, p. 90, l. 10-13). Eusebius of Caesarea, Demonstratio euangelica 7, 3, bases (...)
  • 56 In Matt. 15, 3 (SC 258, p. 36, l. 18-20).
  • 57  S. E. Johnson, “The Davidic-Royal Motif in the Gospels,” Journal of Biblical Literature 87, 2, 196 (...)
  • 58  Matt 22:41-45. Cf. In Matt. 23, 8 (SC 258, p. 162, l. 8-17); Trin. IX, 26 (P. Smulders – G.-M. de (...)
  • 59  Trin. II, 33. L.-F. Ladaria, “La pneumatologie de la Trinité,” in: D. Bertrand (ed.), Dieu Trinité (...)
  • 60  In Matt. 23, 8 (SC 258, p. 162, l. 14-17). Cf. Tr. Ps. 118 (lamed) 12, 8 (SC347, p. 84, l. 10‑17).
  • 61 In Matt. 12, 3 (SC 254, p. 270, l. 1-12).

11The link between David and Christ as shepherds of Israel becomes all the more obvious in the light of their shared lineage, which is highlighted to signify Jesus’ royal nature.55 Due to this common lineage, Jesus is the son of David and the branch that grows out of the root of Jesse (Isa 11:1), but unlike his predecessor, he is not the king of Israel, but rather of an eternal and celestial Kingdom.56 Nevertheless, even though Jesus is the “son of David”,57 in him is the divine nature by virtue of which he is the “Lord” of David himself.58 Hilary also picked up on the motif of the Davidic messiah, portraying David as the prophet who predicts the coming of Jesus as the Messiah.59 Thus, Hilary points out that David’s inspired statement in Ps 110:1, explained and illustrated by Jesus before the Pharisees (Matt 22:41-46), states that the Davidic Messiah, rather than a king, is God himself dwelling in a man.60 Jesus draws a parallel between the gathering of heads of grain on the Sabbath (Matt 12:3; Mark 2:23-28) with David’s entrance in the temple to obtain food (1 Sam 21:2-7), in which David prophesizes through his actions when he allows his men to eat the consecrated bread which was not lawful for them to eat. In doing so, Jesus himself carries out an exercise in prophetic exegesis and, highlighting his lineage, presents himself as a new David, signifying through this act that he and his apostles would satiate themselves on the salvation of gentiles, which the Jews deemed unlawful.61

III. David, a prophet through whom the Spirit speaks

  • 62  Tr. Ps. 1, Persona itaque prophetae, cuius ore Spiritus sanctus loquatur (SC 515, p. 172, l. 30-31 (...)
  • 63 Tr. Ps. 66, 1 (CSEL 22, p. 269, l. 18-21).
  • 64 Trin. II, 32; 5, 19; Myst. 1, 24-26; Tr. Ps. 59, 10; In Matt. 22, 1.
  • 65 Trin. XI, 18 (SC 462, p. 328, l. 1-3).

12If we had to choose a single facet of David in the thought of Hilary of Poitiers, it would be that of a prophet through whom the Holy Spirit speaks,62 and the most significant action of the Spirit throughout the history of Israel is being the vessel of prophetic inspiration leading to announce Jesus Christ prior to his Incarnation.63 Indeed, Hilary of Poitiers deems the Spirit to have already been acting prior to the coming of Christ, being one everywhere, illuminating the righteous, the patriarchs and prophets alike.64 Could we therefore state that, according to Hilary of Poitiers, the Spirit is a gift of Christ among the patriarchs and prophets? Providing a systematic answer to this question is no easy task, but he did hint to the fact that the effects of the Incarnation took place prior to its historical moment, which explains why Christ is present in the prophets through the Spirit and that the Spirit, being changeless, remained the same despite the passage of time.65 This leads Hilary to assert that it is Christ that abides within the prophets by virtue of the Spirit; in other words, the Spirit that speaks through the mouth of the prophets is, in a way, the gift of the divine power of Christ, and this power would reach its fullness at the time of the resurrection when, by filling the universe, it could be transmitted to mankind.

  • 66  Tr. Ps. 63, 10 (CSEL 22, p. 231, l. 17-19); Trin. 5, 29 (P. Smulders – G.-M. de Durand – C. Morel (...)

13Thus, Hilary seems to suggest that the power of the resurrected Christ not only transcends the limits of space but also time, being able to manifest in an ineffable and mysterious way before the events of salvation took place. The unity of the Spirit and Christ, demonstrated in the prophets and, especially, in David, highlights the unity of the mission of the prophets of the Old and New Testaments to underline the notion that it is the same God, the same Word and the same Spirit acting in the same manner before and after the Incarnation, and that the Son, as the sole mediator due to the future Incarnation, manifests himself in the prophets.66 In any event, Hilary of Poitiers was convinced that the action of the Spirit before and after the coming of the Son could not be understood other than in the light of the Incarnation and the Paschal mystery of Christ.

  • 67 In Matt. 2, 4; 21, 13; 20, 12.
  • 68 In Matt. 4, 15 (SC 254, p. 134, l. 1-6); Tr. Ps. 68, 18 (CSEL 22, p. 329, l. 1-6).
  • 69  Inst. Ps. 5, […] ut ex quacumque licet persona prophetiae Spiritus sit locutus, tamen totum illud (...)
  • 70  Tr. Ps. 118 (tau) 22, 2-3 (SC 347, p. 296-298); (phe) 17, 1 (SC 347, p. 202, l. 26-31).

14The Psalms and David himself are particularly important in Hilary’s broad notion of what constitutes prophecy. According to him, the mission of prophecy is to make a call to conversion, reminding the people of their sins while underlining the importance of humility and service.67 Being vessels of the Spirit, the patriarchs and the prophets (and, among them, David) illustrate the work of salvation God has already carried out in the Old Testament, and in Christ all the prophecies once announced have been fulfilled.68 According to Hilary, all that is said within the Psalms must be understood in the light of the Gospel and, regardless of the person in whose name the Spirit of prophecy has spoken, “everything refers to the knowledge of the coming of Christ, his Incarnation, passion, his Kingdom and the glory and power of our resurrection”.69 It is worth pointing out that, according to Hilary of Poitiers, the field of prophecy was not governed by the rules of human intelligence, but rather by those of the Spirit. This implies that, in prophecy, intelligence intervenes after the Spirit, and that intelligence does not use language to allow the soul to express itself; rather, the prophet speaks before intelligence intervenes, which leads him to prophesize in three different ways: by catching a glimpse of things to come, by seeing reality as it will take place, or by unravelling the deeper meaning of divine words.70

  • 71 Tr. Ps. 53, 1 (CSEL 22, p. 135, l. 1-2).
  • 72 For example, in Tr. Ps. 1, 3; 51, 22; 52, 20; 58, 1; 64, 2.7.
  • 73 In Matt. 21, 2; Trin. 6, 20-21; 8, 3; 12, 3; Tr. Ps. 66, 1.
  • 74  Hilary repeatedly underlines the close relationship between prophetic inspiration and the announce (...)
  • 75 In Matt. 18, 3; 20, 10; 23, 7; Tr. Ps. 66, 1.
  • 76  Divine paternity is underlined more obviously in De Trinitate, see Trin. I, 27; III, 17; IV, 34-42 (...)
  • 77  In Matt. 22, 1 (SC 258, p. 142, l. 12-14). On the different denominations the Spirit receives, In (...)
  • 78  Tr. Ps. 118 (daleth) 4, 9 (SC 344, p. 188-190, l. 6-14). Hilary displays the novelty of the New Te (...)

15In this context, Hilary of Poitiers deems David to be a “prophet of evangelical doctrine” (propheta euangelicae doctrinae)71 and, for this reason, prophetic references to Christ and the Church are a constant throughout the Tractatus super Psalmos.72 The preaching of the patriarchs, the Law, the prophets and the apostles always refer to Christ73 because they all tie into the story by sharing one same mission given by God. This God-given mission suits itself to each moment in history and the specific time when each of these individuals are called to participate in it and carry it out.74 The prophets have preached the coming in the flesh and the Passion75 but also the divinity of the Son and, in consequence, his divine filiation.76 The prophets can act as messengers of Christ because they are full of the Holy Spirit, regardless of the name Hilary uses in his works to refer to the Third Person.77 Hilary of Poitiers draws a special link between the Spirit that acts in the prophet and the Incarnation, as the prophet is able to speak about the one who will take on flesh by virtue of the Spirit.78

  • 79  Inst. Ps. 6. Cf. Rev 3:7. Note also the implied reference to Isa 22:22, in which the prophet highl (...)
  • 80  See Origen, Philocalia (fragmenta) 2, 1, 1-10. See Burns, A Model for the Christian Life, p. 73; D (...)
  • 81 Instr. Ps 6 (SC 515, p. 136, l. 1-5); Tr. Ps. 138, 1 (CSEL 22, p. 745, l. 10-13).
  • 82  For instance, in Tr. Ps. 63, 10 (CSEL 22, p. 231, l. 17-19); 131, 3 (CSEL 22, p. 662, l. 18‑21).
  • 83 Tr. Ps. 52, 1; 53, 1; 144, 1.
  • 84  Thus, for instance, the passion of David is the passion of Christ Tr. Ps. 53, 2.4; 129, 4.
  • 85  Tr. Ps. 68, 1, Non ambigitur autem psalmus ipse sacramentum passionis domini continere (CSEL 22, p (...)
  • 86  Tr. Ps. 121, 10 (CSEL 22, p. 576, l. 10-13). Jesus also speaks through David, Trin. XI, 18 (SC 462 (...)
  • 87  There is a reflection on this Pauline notion in several of Hilary’s works to highlight the divinit (...)
  • 88  Many Church Fathers use beautiful metaphors and musical images to express the functioning and the (...)
  • 89 Tr. Ps. 118 (mem) 13, 5 (SC 347, p. 108, l. 14-17).
  • 90 Inst. Ps. 7 (SC 515, p. 140, l. 4-13).

16In this regard, David is superior to all other prophets because he holds the key to the interpretation of Scripture (clauem igitur Dauid habet)79 and only this key can open the book whose seal can only be broken by the sacrificial lamb.80 Thus, only Christ can reveal the meaning of Scripture, and therefore, that of prophecy. In the same way, solely accepting Christ and believing in those things which imply the fulfilment of the prophecies will the lock of prophecy81 and Psalms be opened. Guided by the Son, who inspires the Old Testament prophets to prefigure his future Incarnation,82 the Spirit reflects all the gifts it offers to man on David, as the munus Spiritus sancti is God’s gift to mankind par excellence, although it is not the only one. As we stated above, according to Hilary, David is most remarkable due to the fact that he composed the Psalms that speak of Christ, the true David.83 It is Jesus who fulfils all of the prophecies of the king of Israel,84 whose Psalms are best understood in the light of the person they refer to, namely, Christ,85 so that, on occasion, Jesus takes on the name of David,86 his father “according to the flesh” (Rom 1:3) in the Psalms.87 Moreover, just as David plays his harp, he himself is an instrument played by the Word, modulating revealed words88 full of the Holy Spirit and awaiting God’s only begotten son to come from the flesh.89 From this point of view, David is, once again, seen as an instrument of God, namely, as a servant and minister, as it is he who plays the most perfect instrument in existence, compared to the body of Christ in its perfection, and inspired by the celestial and prophetic Spirit.90

IV. David, prophet of the mission of Christ

  • 91 Trin. VI, 27; 9, 20-22.
  • 92 Trin. VI, 29-31.36.
  • 93 In Matt. 12, 17 (SC 254, p. 284, p. 11-16). Cf. Matt 12:28.31 and 2 Cor 5:19.
  • 94 In Matt. 13, 4.5.7; 17, 7-8.
  • 95  Tr. Ps. 2, 22-33 (SC 515, p. 248-270). On the exegesis of Ps 2 in Hilary, S. E. Gillingham, A Jour (...)

17The sending of the Son and of the Holy Spirit by the Father is particularly relevant in the thought of Hilary of Poitiers. On the one hand, this mission attests to the fact that the Son comes forth from the Father:91 Jesus has emerged from God and come to this world, not on his own, but because his Father has sent him, and to accomplish the mysteries of our salvation.92 This salvation arrives through Christ, who performs all the works in the Spirit of God and who is the Kingdom of Heaven himself, through whom God reconciles the world with him.93 When commenting the parables of the Kingdom, Hilary constantly identifies Christ with the Kingdom itself,94 a kingdom that becomes present in the world but that will manifest itself fully in the end of time. This eschatological perspective appears recurrently throughout the Psalms. Thus, through David (Ps 2:6-8) we learn more about the nature and mission of Christ: he himself, who is the Son of God, is also the son of man, and he achieves the fullness of his power in resurrection.95

  • 96  On the image of the celestial Jerusalem in Hilary, see J.-P. Pettorelli, “Le thème de Sion, expres (...)
  • 97 Tr. Ps. 2, 31 (SC 515, p. 266, l. 20-21).
  • 98  We are transformed and reborn in a new state, cf. Tr. Ps. 2, 39-41 (SC 515, p. 278‑282). See also (...)

18For Christ qua man, the divine generation this Psalm refers to takes place in the resurrection, and the king of which David speaks is Christ, the Son, who has become the king of the celestial Jerusalem96 through resurrection, and who exerts his power over all nations without exception and without exclusivity, as they have all been made his inheritance (hereditas) by his Father. This means that all humanity constitutes the inheritance of he who arose from the dead (aeterna haec omnium ex mortuis resurgentium primogeniti huius ex mortuis aeterni heredis hereditas est)97 and that, therefore, the Kingdom of God is made up from all those who, having been saved by Christ, rule with him.98 Hilary of Poitiers unravels the Davidic prophecy drawing a beautiful link between it and humanity as the co-regent of the Kingdom:

  • 99  Tr. Ps. 2, 42, Per hoc Dei regnum regno peccati dissoluto ipsisque iam nobis regibus regno aduersa (...)

By virtue of that Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of sin having been dissolved, the enemy kingdom having been defeated, and having become kings ourselves, we will possess the Kingdom of God when, having annihilated the stingers of our vices, the stain of our bodily weakness will be absorbed.99

  • 100  Tr. Ps. 144, 2 (CSEL 22, p. 829, l. 23-25). Cf. In Matt. 10, 4 (SC 254, p. 220, l. 7-9).
  • 101  Tr. Ps. 144, 16 (CSEL 22, p. 836, l. 29-31). See Pelland, “Le thème biblique du Règne,” p. 658-664 (...)

19He adds that David praises the glory of the eternal Kingdom in Christ, in which he will reign alongside the saints (hic ob aeterni regni gloriam, qua sanctis conregnantibus ipse regnabit, laus Deo prophetae confessione cantetur)100 and this eternal Kingdom gives hope to humanity; by virtue of its eternity, it requires someone to govern it eternally (regni Gloria in aeternitate dominatus est, dominatus aeternitas eos necesse est habeat, in quos agatur aeternus).101

  • 102  Trin. XI, 21-49 (SC 462, p. 334-382). See G. Pelland, “La subjectio du Christ chez Saint Hilaire d (...)
  • 103 Tr. Ps. 118 (heth) 8, 16 (SC 344, p. 278, l. 4-8).
  • 104  Trin. 11, 19, Vnguetur ergo Deus a Deo suo prae consortes suos (SC 462, p. 330, l. 7). L. F. Ladar (...)

20We will not dwell upon this point, which has been studied extensively,102 as we prefer to draw attention towards the mission of the Son and its relationship with the figure of David. In this regard, Hilary’s joint exegesis of Ps 44:8 and 118 is essential, as they speak of anointment as the means through which we become participants (participes) in Christ.103 By receiving anointment, David participates in Christ’s glory and pain, and anticipates Jesus’ mission as the king of the Kingdom of God, but also that of Christians, who are anointed and entrusted with a mission through baptism. Through this grace, the baptized, David, and Christ are united as members of a single body (1 Cor 12:26-27) in the single mission sent by God, and which he adapts to each moment in history and to the moment in which he calls us to complete the divine plan. Thus, returning to the interpretation of Psalm 44:8, this time in the light of baptism, Hilary states that Christ is anointed in the same manner as his companions, that is, in the flesh,104 and in preference to them, underlining the prophetic value of David’s anointment.

  • 105 Tr. Ps. 51, 3-4; 121, 1-2; 126, 2; 143, 21.

21The faithful, as joint heirs of the Kingdom of God, must in turn be kings in order to participate in the inheritance, and to do so they must become Christ-like (1 Cor 15:48), so as to form a royal nation.105 Here, baptism as the anointment of the faithful plays a crucial role: through his baptism in the Jordan, Jesus sanctifies his humanity and, therefore, sanctifies ours; indeed, as a man, he is reborn as the son of God, prefiguring the glorious future resurrection:

  • 106  Tr. Ps. 2, 29. Hilary understands the baptism of Christ as the moment when men become sons of God (...)

For he who was born from the Virgin is a man, and he was also then the Son of God, reborn through baptism and then Son of God so that he was born both in one state and the other. For it is written that, when he emerged from the water, (a voice came from heaven): You are my son, today have I fathered you (Ps 2:7). But, according to the generation of the man who was then reborn, He himself was also reborn to God as the Perfect Son so that, when he received baptism, he was the Son of Man and the Son of God.106

  • 107  Trin. XI, 19. Christ does not need to be cleansed through baptism, he receives it as a man born fr (...)
  • 108  Tr. Ps. 91, 9. Cf. In Matt. 10, 24; Tr. Ps. 1, 41; 15, 13. See M. C. McCarthy, “Expectatio beatitu (...)
  • 109 Ladaria, “El bautismo y la unción,” p. 284.
  • 110  P. Burns, The Christology in Hilary of Poitiers’ Commentary on Matthew (Studia Ephemeridis ‟August (...)

22Through this baptismal anointment, Christ reborn in perfect divine filiation as a man can extend this mystery to the rest of humankind, making them joint participants in it through his human nature.107 Therefore, it is through baptism that we participate in salvation in Christ, we are regenerated by the Holy Spirit and made children and, therefore, joint heirs of God.108 Thus, owing to the Incarnation and assumption of all of humanity by the Son, humankind is integrated in the Kingdom Christ hands over to the Father, thus becoming the joint heir that rules with both in eternity. This assumption of all humanity by the Son and salvation for all carried out in this humanity through the Incarnation is not incompatible with the salvific action of baptism, but rather, they complete each other: Jesus has been the Son of God since eternity, but through the Incarnation he also becomes the Son of Man and, as such he requires the anointment (which only makes sense from the perspective of the saving dispensation, as Luis Ladaria correctly points out)109 to be filled with the divine Spirit and to carry out all the operations required for salvation.110

23All in all, Christ’s mission is to defeat sin and to lay it at the feet of the Father. The entire history of humanity advances towards that final moment. In this regard, David is anointed as king because he has a mission: to be the prophet of the universal and eternal reign of the Son, which reaches all of humanity and achieves its fullness in the end of time, in the Kingdom of the Father.

  • 111  Hilary saw a prefiguration of the life of Christ in that of Moses (Myst. 1, 27-42), which helps hi (...)
  • 112  According to Hilary, Abraham essentially represents the model of the disciples (In Matt 10, 14, SC (...)

24Throughout the works of Hilary of Poitiers, the Psalms and King David, whom he believed to be their author, play an essential role in the structuring of his pneumatological, Christological and eschatological thought, with significant contributions to the definition of his soteriology. For this reason, David plays a much more significant role in his works than other figures such as Moses111 or Abraham.112 Indeed, through David’s prophetic activity, Hilary presents the mission of the Word throughout the economy of salvation, going beyond the exegesis of the theophanies and prefigurations of Christ to which he relegates other figures from the Old Testament.

  • 113 Tr. Ps. 52, 9, Dauid secundum cor Dei sit (CSEL 22, p. 123, l. 2).

25Likewise, through David, Hilary defends the full divinity and equality of the Second Person before and after the Incarnation, developing facets of the Messiah king and shepherd that underline his divine filiation and his priesthood with regards to the Paschal mystery. As a prefiguration of humanity redeemed, David is displayed in a particularly original light as an intermediate stage in the process of redemption of humanity between Adam and Christ. The king of Israel, preferred among his brothers, anointed and forgiven of his sins, in whom God “has discovered a man according to His own heart”113 (1 Sam 13:14), represents the baptized person who becomes connected to God’s mission thanks to he who is the Son of David and the Son of God (Ps 2:7), who has been sanctified insofar as he is a man like us, and who provides us with the key to these mysteries through baptismal anointment.

26Conversely, according to Hilary and from a Christological perspective, David is the recipient and witness of all of God’s promises to Israel and, by being anointed king, he establishes an eternal dynasty that plays an essential role in the Incarnation and prefigures the reign of Christ, the Davidic Messiah announced by the prophets. Thus, the house of David plays a long-lasting soteriological role in the lights of the promises made in 2 Sam 7:12-16, transcending the traditional role as a Christ figure generally attributed to him by other Fathers, to announce the fulfilment of the promises of the Word made throughout the saving dispensation and the establishment of a new covenant between God and humanity through Christ.

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Notes

1  J. Lössl, “Julian of Aeclanum’s Prophetic Exegesis,” in: F. Young – M. Edwards – P. Parvis (ed.), Studia Patristica 43, 2006, p. 409-421 (p. 411).

2  E. Dassmann, “Umfang, Kriterien und Methoden frühchristlicher Prophetenexegese,” Jahrbuch für biblische Theologie 14, 1999, p. 117-143 (p. 117-122).

3  B. E. Daley, “Finding the Right Key: The Aims and Strategies of Early Christian Interpretation of the Psalms,” in: B. E. Daley – P. R. Kolbet (ed.), The Harp of Prophecy. Early Christian Interpretation of the Psalms (Christianity and Judaism in Antiquity Series 20), Notre Dame, University Press, 2015, p. 11; G. Dorival, “Introduction,” in: A. Aliau-Milhaud et al., Lire les Psaumes à l’école des Pères (Les Pères dans la foi 108), Paris, Cerf, 2019, p. 13-46.

4  Tertullian, Aduersus Marcionem (Adu. Marc.) III, 20, 1-10 (R. Braun, SC 399, p. 172‑180); IV,36,8-14 (C. Moreschini – R. Braun, SC 456, p. 450-456). David predicts the Christian mission among nations in the Psalms (De spectaculis, 3, 5-7, M. Turcan, SC 332, p. 108-112).

5  Cyprian, Testimonia ad Quirinum II, 11 (R. Weber – M. Bénevot, CCSL 3, p. 43-44).

6  Cyprian, in the passage of Testimonia ad Quirinum to which we referred in the note above, is essentially based on 2 Sam 7:4-5, 12-14 and 16; Isa 11:1-3; Ps 131:11; Luke 1:30-33; Rev 5:1-5.

7  J. Sidaway, The Human factor: “Deification” as Transformation in the Theology of Hilary of Poitiers (Studia Patristica. Supplement 6), Leuven, Peeters, 2016, p. 91-92.

8  N. J. Gastaldi, Hilario de Poitiers exegeta del Salterio: un estudio de su exégesis en los comentarios sobre los Salmos (Église nouvelle, Église ancienne, Série patristique 1), Paris, Beauchesne, 1969, p. 77-93; C. Kannengiesser, “L’exégèse d’Hilaire,” in: N. N. (ed), Hilaire et son temps. Actes du colloque de Poitiers (29 septembre–3 octobre 1968) à l’occasion du XVIe centenaire de la mort de Saint Hilaire (Collection des études augustiniennes. Série Antiquité 35), Paris, Études augustiniennes, 1969, p. 127-142; M. Simonetti, Lettera e/o allegoria. Un contributo alla storia dell’esegesi patristica (Studia Ephemeridis ‟Augustinianum” 23), Roma, Istituto Patristico Augustinianum, 1985, p. 254-264; M.‑J. Rondeau, Les commentaires patristiques du Psautier (iiie-ve siècles), vol. 1: Les travaux des pères grecs et latins sur le Psautier. Recherches et bilan (Orientalia Christiana Analecta 219), Roma, Pontificium Institutum Studiorum Orientalium, 1982, p. 145-149; T. F. Torrance, Divine Meaning. Studies in Patristic Hermeneutics, Edinburgh, T.&T. Clark, 1995, p. 396-397; G. B. Colautti, Las figuras eclesiológicas en san Hilario de Poitiers (Tesi Gregoriana. Serie Teologia 130), Roma, Pontificia Università Gregoriana, 2005, p. 15-17; P. C. Burns, A Model for the Christian Life. Hilary of Poitiers’ Commentary on the Psalms, Washington (DC), The Catholic University of America Press, 2012, p. 77.

9  Commentarium in Matthaeum (In Matt.) 4, 14 (J. Doignon, SC 254, p. 132, l. 7-10). Cf. Tractatus mysteriorum (Myst.) 1, 1 (J.-P. Brisson, SC 19, p. 72, l. 7-11).

10  Christ himself is the object of the prophecies, and they can only be interpreted based on him, Instructio Psalmorum (Instr. Ps.) 5 (P. Descourtieux, SC 515, p. 132-134, l. 1-6).

11  According to Hilary, the identification of David with Christ is absolute in such a manner that the Psalms by the former refer to the latter, see Tractatus super Psalmos (Tr. Ps.) 53, 1 (A. Zingerle, CSEL 22, p. 135, l. 6-10); 54, 9 (CSEL 22, p. 153, l. 18-21); 55, 1 (CSEL 22, p. 162, l. 20-21); 56, 1-2 (CSEL 22, p. 168, l. 25-28 and p. 169, l. 1‑4); 57, 1 (CSEL 22, p. 175, l. 12-14).

12  Tr. Ps. 118, (heth) 8, 10 (M. Milhau, SC 344, p. 268, l. 2-4); (teth) 9, 1 (M. Milhau, SC 347, p. 10, l. 4-7); (iod) 10, 9 (SC 347, p. 38, l. 11-13).

13  Myst. 1, 1 (SC 19, p. 72, l. 7-11). Cf. L. F. Ladaria, “Dispensatio en San Hilario de Poitiers,” Gregorianum 66, 1985, p. 429-455 (p. 431-433); Id., La cristología de Hilario de Poitiers (Analecta Gregoriana 255), Roma, Pontificia Università Gregoriana, 1989, p. 1-11.

14  See A. Orazzo, “Ilario di Poitiers e la universa caro assunta dal Verbo nei Tractatus super Psalmos,” Augustinianum 23, 1983, p. 399-419; L. F. Ladaria, “Adán y Cristo: un motivo soteriológico en el In Matthaeum de Hilario de Poitiers,” in: E. Romero Pose (ed.), Pléroma. Salus carnis. Homenaje Antonio Orbe, S.J., Santiago de Compostela, Intituto Teológico Compostelano, 1989, p. 443-460; Id., “Adán y Cristo en los Tractatus super Psalmos de san Hilario de Poitiers,” Gregorianum 73, 1992, p. 97-122; E. Scully, Physicalist Soteriology in Hilary of Poitiers (Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae 130), Leiden, Brill, 2011, p. 138-145; I. Image, The Human Condition in Hilary of Poitiers: The Will and Original Sin between Origen and Augustine (Oxford Theology and Religion Monographs), Oxford, University Press, 2017, p. 164-168 and 170-172; J. A. Mercer, Divine Perfection and Human Potentiality: The Trinitarian Anthropology of Hilary of Poitiers (Oxford Studies in Historical Theology), Oxford, University Press, 2019, p. 233-234.

15  Tr. Ps. 136, 5, in crimine primi parentis Adae exsulem (CSEL 22, p. 726, l. 21).

16  Tr. Ps. 118 (he) 5, 16 (SC 344, p. 220, l. 14-16).

17  See Scully, Physicalist Soteriology, p. 142-143.

18  Inst. Ps. 11 (SC 515, p. 144-146, l. 1-8). See M. Milhau, “Sur la division tripartite du Psautier (Hilaire de Poitiers, tr. ps. intr. 11),” in: P. Maraval (ed.), Le Psautier chez les Pères (Cahiers de Biblia Patristica 4), Strasbourg, Centre d’analyse et de documentation patristiques, 1993, p. 55-72; Burns, A Model for the Christian Life, p. 38-42.

19  Tr. Ps. 150, 1 (CSEL 22, p. 871, l. 10-13).

20  Tr. Ps. 118 (zade) 18, 6, Samuel enim propheta uenire ad Iesse domum a Deo iussus est, ut unum ex filiis eius in regem ungueret. Quo cum uenisset, adesse omnes filios Iesse iubet. Videt deinde natu maiorem, specie pulchrum, habitu et proceritate eminentem; sed responso ita monetur: Ne inspexeris in pulchritudinem eius ac magnitudinem, quia non ita uidet homo, ut Deus. Homo enim in facie uidet, Deus autem in corde. […] Verum quia propheta Samuel non mendacem sciret eum, qui se adesse iussisset, et ex his qui praesentes erant intellegeret nullum a Deo esse dilectum, Iesse ait: Numquid est tibi adhuc filius? Qui respondit: Est mihi modicus, quem reliqui in pastorali. Hic ergo electus a sancto spiritu et unctus in regem est; et ex iuniore atque contempto gloriam et prophetae et regis accepit (SC 347, p. 234, l. 5-22). See M. Dulaey, “L’histoire de David lue par les écrivains des premiers siècles chrétiens. (I) Le roi caché,” Revue d’études augustiniennes et patristiques 60/2, 2014, p. 175-212 (p. 184).

21  Tr. Ps. 118 (zade) 18, 7 (SC 347, p. 236, l. 1-6).

22  Tr. Ps. 118 (phe) 17, 13 (SC 347, p. 222, l. 15-20). Cf. Tr. Ps. 131, 3 (CSEL 22, p. 662, l. 23-26; p. 663, l. 7-10).

23  Tr. Ps. 118 (zain), 7, 5 […] intellegens se mundi huius esse peregrinum (cf. Gen 23:4. SC 344, p. 252, l. 16). In this regard, we can see a certain parallel with Irenaeus of Lyon’s vision of Abraham as a paradigm of conversion, who feels the urge to make a pilgrimage for seventy years, looking for God in silence, moved by the Spirit (Epideixis 24, L.-M. Froidevaux, SC 62, p. 67-69). Irenaeus states that the Word embodied the flesh of Adam in its image, taking dust from the Earth mixed with virtue from God (Epid. 11, SC 62, p. 48-50). This virtue is the Holy Spirit, which moistens the dry dust to form the mud from which the first living man is embodied by the Word. The memory of this action remains in Abraham, where the Spirit remains active even though the Word remains silent, infusing him with a burning desire to find it and thus showing that God bestows the grace of the Holy Spirit upon anyone, but that it only bears fruit in those who accept and obey it. Abraham’s faith and willingness to allow himself to be molded by the Word are the keys to the friendship and the covenant sealed between them, and the more man grows in the Spirit, the more aware he becomes of the distance that separates him from God. This acknowledgement of his smallness makes him more workable by the action of the Word and, in any event, the anointment of the Spirit and the wish to search for God are essential to give an answer to faith. See M. Aróztegui Esnaola, La amistad del Verbo con Abraham según San Ireneo de Lyon (Analecta Gregoriana 294), Roma, Pontificia Università Gregoriana, 2005, p. 77-97, on this point.

24  Tr. Ps. 118 (gimel) 3, 3 (SC 344, p. 150, l. 17-19).

25  Tr. Ps. 118 (gimel) 3, 9 (SC 344, p. 160, l. 16-18).

26  Tr. Ps. 118 (daleth) 4, 2 (SC 344, p. 178, l. 10-12).

27  Tr. Ps. 118 (nun) 14, 8 (SC 347, p. 132, l. 15-18).

28  Tr. Ps. 118 (resch) 20, 1 (SC 347, p. 268, l. 19-20).

29  Tr. Ps. 53, 4; Tr. Ps. 118 (nun) 14, 12 (SC 347, p. 138, l. 1-5), among others.

30  Tr. Ps. 118 (nun), 10-11. On the importance of Phil 2:6-11 in Hilary, see Ladaria, La cristología, p. 70-80; M. Weedman, The Trinitarian Theology of Hilary of Poitiers (Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae 89), Leiden, Brill, p. 161-173; Scully, Physicalist Soteriology, p. 124-133; Burns, A Model for the Christian Life, p. 149-164; Mercer, Divine Perfection, p. 180-183, among others.

31  In Matt. 9, 2 (SC 254, p. 204, l. 14-19); 12, 5 (SC 254, p. 272, l. 4-6). Cf. Tr. Ps. 118 (iod) 10, 15 (SC 347, p. 46-48).

32  Tr. Ps. 62, 5-7 (CSEL 22, p. 219-220); 67, 22 (CSEL 22, p. 297, l. 13-22); 118 (resch) 20, 9 (SC 347, p. 278, l. 4-11); 142, 10 (CSEL 22, p. 809, l. 19-22).

33 Tr. Ps. 65, 10 (CSEL 22, p. 255, l. 2-6).

34 Tr. Ps. 118 (sin) 21, 1 (SC 347, p. 282, l. 4-5).

35  Tr. Ps. 118 (phe) 17, 13 (SC 347, p. 222, l. 18-25); Tr. Ps. 131, 3 (CSEL 22, p. 662, l. 18-26).

36  Tr. Ps. 118 (nun) 14, 13 (SC 347, p. 140-142, l. 5-8). M. Dulaey, “L’histoire de David lue par les écrivains des premiers siècles chrétiens. (II) Le roi sans terre persécuté,” Revue d’études augustiniennes et patristiques 61/1, 2015, p. 1-39 (p. 32).

37  Tr. Ps. 118 (nun) 14, 13 (SC 347, p. 142, l. 8-21). M. Dulaey, “L’histoire de David lue par les écrivains des premiers siècles chrétiens. (III) Heurs et malheurs d’un roi,” Revue d’études augustiniennes et patristiques 61/2, 2015, p. 197-237 (p. 219).

38  Tr. Ps. 14, 11 (SC 515, p. 344, l. 5-17); 55, 8 (CSEL 22, p. 166, l. 16-20); Tr. Ps. 118 (phe) 17, 7 (SC 347, p. 212, l. 1-5).

39  Tr. Ps. 118 (nun) 14, 13 (SC 347, p. 142, l. 8-21); (zade) 18, 6 (SC 347, p. 234, l. 5-7); 119, 2 (CSEL 22, p. 544-545, l. 20-3).

40 Simonetti, Lettera e/o allegoria, p. 259-261; Ladaria, La cristología, p. 25.

41 Myst. 1, 32 (SC 19, p. 126, l. 14-20).

42 Tr. Ps. 139, 1 (CSEL 22, p. 777, l. 10-18).

43 Tr. Ps. 53, 2 (CSEL 22, p. 136, l. 2-7).

44 Tr. Ps. 131, 2 (CSEL 22, p. 661-662). Cf. John 10:11; 1:21; 5:22; 1:49.

45 Tr. Ps. 141, 1 (CSEL 22, p. 800, l. 1-12).

46  Hilary of Poitiers covers the parable of the good shepherd (Matt 18:12-14; Luke 15:3-7; John 10:9-16) on several occasions in In Matt. 18:6; 20:4; Myst. 1, 18; Tr. Ps. 2, 35; 68, 31; 118 (tau) 22, 7; 120, 16; 131, 2; 134, 14. We are particularly interested in his interpretation of Matt 2:6 (Tr. Ps. 131, 13); 9:36 (In Matt. 10, 1); 10:6 (In Matt. 2, 1; 10, 3; 11, 7.10; 19, 3) and 26:31 (In Matt. 30, 3; 31, 1.4-5; De Trinitate [Trin.] X, 37; Tr. Ps. 52, 12; 54, 12; 68, 23).

47  W. Brueggemann, First and Second Samuel (Interpretation. A Bible Commentary for Teaching or Preaching), Louisville (KY), Westminster John Knox Press, 1990, p. 237-238; T. W. Cartledge, 1 & 2 Samuel (Smyth & Helwys Bible Commentary 7), Macon (GA), Smyth & Helwys, 2001, p. 218-219; R. Hunziker-Rodewald, Hirt und Herde. Ein Beitrag zum alttestamentlichen Gottesverständnis (Beiträge zur Wissenschaft vom Alten und Neuen Testament 155), Stuttgart, Kohlhammer, 2001, p. 47; J. Willitts, Matthew’s Messianic Shepherd-King. In Search of ‟The Lost Sheep of the House of Israel” (Beiheft zur Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft und die Kunde der älteren Kirche 147), Berlin, De Gruyter, 2007, p. 54-56.

48 Tr. Ps. 131, 12-13 (CSEL 22, p. 671-672, l. 11-13).

49  In Matt. 10, 1, even though Hilary does not mention David in this passage, his interpretation is interesting as it argues in favor of the prophetic value of the facts we referred to above (Verborum uirtutes non minus oportet introspicere quam rerum, quia, ut diximus, paria in dictis atque in factis significationum momenta consistunt, SC 254, p. 214-216, l. 2-5), anticipating their future meaning (Haec igitur licet in praesens gesta sint, quid tamen in futurum significent contuendum est, SC 254, p. 216, l. 11‑13).

50  Tr. Ps. 68, 23 (CSEL 22, p. 333, l. 7-8). Jesus takes on the sins of humanity like a shepherd who is responsible for his sheep.

51  Especially in Justin Martyr, who presents the combination of royalty and priesthood in Christ (Dialogus cum Tryphone 36, 1, with references to eternity in 86, 3; 96, 1; 113, 5; 118, 2); in Irenaeus, who states that all the righteous have the ordo sacer­dotalis and that they are always in God’s service (Aduersus haereses IV, 8, 3; see also his interpretation of the subject with regards to Rom 8:36 in Adu. haer. IV, 16, 1) and in Tertullian, for whom the priesthood of Christians originates in and is based on Christ, the high priest of the Father and pontifex of salvation (Adu. Marc. III, 7, 6; De pudicitia 14, 7; 20, 10; De carne Christi 5, 10).

52 In Matt. 1, 1 (SC 254, p. 90, l. 4-13). Cf. Tr. Ps. 149, 3 (CSEL 22, p. 868, l. 11-15).

53 Tr. Ps. 119, 5 (CSEL 22, p. 547, l. 5.17-22).

54  Tr. Ps. 149, 3, Reconciliati enim sumus per corpus et sanguinem Christi ex inimicis in filios Deo, cum nobis aeterni sacerdotis placationem inpaenitenti sacramento spopondisset […] Complacitum ergo est, quod inpaenitens esse iuratum est ei, quo regnante secundum ordinem Melchisedech, id est gentium et rege et sacerdote primum mansuetis salus, deinde splendor est sanctis exultantibus super regem suum (CSEL 22, p. 868, l. 7-15).

55  In Matt. 1, 1 (SC 254, p. 90, l. 10-13). Eusebius of Caesarea, Demonstratio euangelica 7, 3, bases the Davidic progeny on Ps 89, which emphasizes the permanent nature of the progeny of David. Eusebius knows the end of the lineage of David and the Babylonian exile, but he states that Jesus is the direct successor of the prophet and that, with him, his lineage is renewed, fulfilling the prophecy of Nathan (2 Sam 7) in himself. A. Moore believes Ps 89 to be post-exilic (Moving beyond Symbol and Myth: Understanding the Kingship of God of the Hebrew Bible through Metaphor [Studies in Biblical Literature 99], New York, Peter Lang, 2009, p. 214).

56 In Matt. 15, 3 (SC 258, p. 36, l. 18-20).

57  S. E. Johnson, “The Davidic-Royal Motif in the Gospels,” Journal of Biblical Literature 87, 2, 1968, p. 136-150 (p. 140-143); J. D. Kingsbury, Matthew: Structure, Christology, Kingdom, Minneapolis, Fortress Press, 19892, p. 86-87; M. L. Strauss, The Davidic Messiah in Luke-Acts. The Promise and its Fulfillment in Lukan Christology (Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplement Series 110), Sheffield, Academic Press, 1995, p. 57-74; L. Novakovic, “Jesus as the Davidic Messiah in Matthew,” Horizons in Biblical Theology 19/1, 1997, p. 148-191 (p. 148-149).

58  Matt 22:41-45. Cf. In Matt. 23, 8 (SC 258, p. 162, l. 8-17); Trin. IX, 26 (P. Smulders – G.-M. de Durand – G. Pelland – C. Morel, SC 462, p. 68, l. 13-22).

59  Trin. II, 33. L.-F. Ladaria, “La pneumatologie de la Trinité,” in: D. Bertrand (ed.), Dieu Trinité d’hier à demain avec Hilaire de Poitiers. Actes du congrès-colloque du Futuroscope de Poitiers (15–17 novembre 2002) (Patrimoines. Christianisme), Paris, Cerf, 2010, p. 158-159.

60  In Matt. 23, 8 (SC 258, p. 162, l. 14-17). Cf. Tr. Ps. 118 (lamed) 12, 8 (SC347, p. 84, l. 10‑17).

61 In Matt. 12, 3 (SC 254, p. 270, l. 1-12).

62  Tr. Ps. 1, Persona itaque prophetae, cuius ore Spiritus sanctus loquatur (SC 515, p. 172, l. 30-31); Inst. Ps. 7 (SC 515, p. 140, l. 1-4). Cf. L.-F. Ladaria, El Espíritu santo en san Hilario de Poitiers (Publicaciones de la Universidad Pontificia Comillas. Serie 1. Estudios 8), Madrid, Universidad Pontificia de Comillas, 1977, p. 61.

63 Tr. Ps. 66, 1 (CSEL 22, p. 269, l. 18-21).

64 Trin. II, 32; 5, 19; Myst. 1, 24-26; Tr. Ps. 59, 10; In Matt. 22, 1.

65 Trin. XI, 18 (SC 462, p. 328, l. 1-3).

66  Tr. Ps. 63, 10 (CSEL 22, p. 231, l. 17-19); Trin. 5, 29 (P. Smulders – G.-M. de Durand – C. Morel – G. Peland, SC 448, 148, 11).

67 In Matt. 2, 4; 21, 13; 20, 12.

68 In Matt. 4, 15 (SC 254, p. 134, l. 1-6); Tr. Ps. 68, 18 (CSEL 22, p. 329, l. 1-6).

69  Inst. Ps. 5, […] ut ex quacumque licet persona prophetiae Spiritus sit locutus, tamen totum illud ad cognitionem aduentus Domini nostri Iesu Christi, et corporationis, et passionis, et regni, et resurrectionis nostrae gloriam uirtutemque referatur (SC 515, p. 132-134, l. 2-6). Cf. Tr. Ps. 138, 1 (CSEL 22, p. 745, l. 10-13).

70  Tr. Ps. 118 (tau) 22, 2-3 (SC 347, p. 296-298); (phe) 17, 1 (SC 347, p. 202, l. 26-31).

71 Tr. Ps. 53, 1 (CSEL 22, p. 135, l. 1-2).

72 For example, in Tr. Ps. 1, 3; 51, 22; 52, 20; 58, 1; 64, 2.7.

73 In Matt. 21, 2; Trin. 6, 20-21; 8, 3; 12, 3; Tr. Ps. 66, 1.

74  Hilary repeatedly underlines the close relationship between prophetic inspiration and the announcement of salvation, for instance in Tr. Ps. 118 (ain) 16, 1 (SC 247, p. 174-176, l. 12-16). Cf. Tr. Ps. 1, 1 (SC 515, p. 172, l. 30-32).

75 In Matt. 18, 3; 20, 10; 23, 7; Tr. Ps. 66, 1.

76  Divine paternity is underlined more obviously in De Trinitate, see Trin. I, 27; III, 17; IV, 34-42; V, 25-39; XI, 3.

77  In Matt. 22, 1 (SC 258, p. 142, l. 12-14). On the different denominations the Spirit receives, In Matt. 13, 5-6; Trin. II, 10; V, 27; 10, 21; XI, 15.18-19; Instr. Ps. 7; Tr. Ps. 2, 18; 9, 1; 13, 5; 14, 6; 51, 22; 64, 8; 118 (ain) 16, 1.

78  Tr. Ps. 118 (daleth) 4, 9 (SC 344, p. 188-190, l. 6-14). Hilary displays the novelty of the New Testament with regards to the Old Testament, echoing the words of Irenaeus of Lyon in Aduersus haereses IV, 34, 1.

79  Inst. Ps. 6. Cf. Rev 3:7. Note also the implied reference to Isa 22:22, in which the prophet highlights David’s prerogative to “open” or “shut” which no-one can oppose, and which Hilary refers to in Tr. Ps. 53, 2 (CSEL 22, p. 136, l. 7-10).

80  See Origen, Philocalia (fragmenta) 2, 1, 1-10. See Burns, A Model for the Christian Life, p. 73; Daley, “Finding the Right Key”, p. 14

81 Instr. Ps 6 (SC 515, p. 136, l. 1-5); Tr. Ps. 138, 1 (CSEL 22, p. 745, l. 10-13).

82  For instance, in Tr. Ps. 63, 10 (CSEL 22, p. 231, l. 17-19); 131, 3 (CSEL 22, p. 662, l. 18‑21).

83 Tr. Ps. 52, 1; 53, 1; 144, 1.

84  Thus, for instance, the passion of David is the passion of Christ Tr. Ps. 53, 2.4; 129, 4.

85  Tr. Ps. 68, 1, Non ambigitur autem psalmus ipse sacramentum passionis domini continere (CSEL 22, p. 313, l. 22-23).

86  Tr. Ps. 121, 10 (CSEL 22, p. 576, l. 10-13). Jesus also speaks through David, Trin. XI, 18 (SC 462, p. 328, l. 3-7). The presence of Christ in the prophets is a recurring theme in the works of Hilary, In Matt. 16, 2 and 24, 10; Trin. IV, 42; X, 22; XI, 18. On this last text, see Ladaria, El Espíritu santo, p. 269-270; Id., La cristología, p. 27.

87  There is a reflection on this Pauline notion in several of Hilary’s works to highlight the divinity and the sanctification of the Son’s mission, of his Incarnation, in Trin. VII, 24; Tr. Ps. 118 (nun) 14, 12; Tr. Ps. 118 (resch) 20, 2.

88  Many Church Fathers use beautiful metaphors and musical images to express the functioning and the purpose of prophecy in David, including Hippolytus, De Antichristo 2 and De Dauid et Goliath 5, 2; Clement of Rome, Protrepticus 1, 5, 3-4; Stromata VI, 88, 1-5; Tertullian, De Carne Christi 20, 3; Gregory of Nazianzus, Orationes 5, 30; 17, 2; Ambrosius of Milan, In Psalmos 1, 7; Hieronymus of Stridon, Epistula 53, 8; Gregory of Nyssa, In inscriptiones Psalmorum 2, 16; Theodoret, Quaestiones in I Reg. 46. See P. Meloni, “La chitarra di David,” Sandalion 5, 1982, p. 233-261 (p. 241-260). See also Ladaria, El Espíritu santo, p. 65-66; Id., La cristología, p. 24; A. Zani, La cristologia di Ippolito (Pubblicazioni del Pontificio seminario lombardo in Roma. Ricerche di scienze teologiche 22), Brescia, Morcelliana, 1984, p. 209‑210.

89 Tr. Ps. 118 (mem) 13, 5 (SC 347, p. 108, l. 14-17).

90 Inst. Ps. 7 (SC 515, p. 140, l. 4-13).

91 Trin. VI, 27; 9, 20-22.

92 Trin. VI, 29-31.36.

93 In Matt. 12, 17 (SC 254, p. 284, p. 11-16). Cf. Matt 12:28.31 and 2 Cor 5:19.

94 In Matt. 13, 4.5.7; 17, 7-8.

95  Tr. Ps. 2, 22-33 (SC 515, p. 248-270). On the exegesis of Ps 2 in Hilary, S. E. Gillingham, A Journey of Two Psalms. The Reception of Psalms 1 and 2 in Jewish and Christian Tradition, Oxford, University Press, 2013, p. 56-57.

96  On the image of the celestial Jerusalem in Hilary, see J.-P. Pettorelli, “Le thème de Sion, expression de la théologie de la rédemption dans l’œuvre de Saint Hilaire de Poitiers,” in: N. N. (ed), Hilaire et son temps, p. 213-233; G. Pelland, “Le thème biblique du Règne chez saint Hilaire de Poitiers,” Gregorianum 60, 1979, p. 639-674 (p. 657-658); M. Figura, Das Kirchenverständnis des Hilarius von Poitiers (Freiburger theologische Studien 127), Freiburg, Herder, 1984, p. 154-158; Colautti, Las figuras eclesiológicas, p. 163; E. Scully, “Jerusalem: Image of Hilary’s Christocentric Eschatology in the Tractatus super Psalmos,” Vigiliae Christianae 66, 2012, p. 269-282 (p. 271-272); Physicalist Soteriology, p. 186-189.

97 Tr. Ps. 2, 31 (SC 515, p. 266, l. 20-21).

98  We are transformed and reborn in a new state, cf. Tr. Ps. 2, 39-41 (SC 515, p. 278‑282). See also Tr. Ps. 67, 19 (CSEL 22, p. 294, l. 16-21); 126, 16-17 (CSEL 22, p. 623‑625).

99  Tr. Ps. 2, 42, Per hoc Dei regnum regno peccati dissoluto ipsisque iam nobis regibus regno aduersante subuerso hoc nobis Dei regnum est, cum omnibus uitiorum nostrorum aculeis contusis labes erit corporeae infirmitatis absorpta (SC 515, p. 286, l. 39-43).

100  Tr. Ps. 144, 2 (CSEL 22, p. 829, l. 23-25). Cf. In Matt. 10, 4 (SC 254, p. 220, l. 7-9).

101  Tr. Ps. 144, 16 (CSEL 22, p. 836, l. 29-31). See Pelland, “Le thème biblique du Règne,” p. 658-664; Scully, Physicalist Soteriology, p. 176-177; Mercer, Divine Perfection, p. 246-254; J. Sidaway, “Making Man Manifest. Deification in Hilary of Poitiers,” in: J. Ortiz (ed.), Deification in the Latin Patristic Tradition (CUA Studies in Early Christianity), Washington (DC), The Catholic University of America Press, 2019, p. 126-128.

102  Trin. XI, 21-49 (SC 462, p. 334-382). See G. Pelland, “La subjectio du Christ chez Saint Hilaire de Poitiers,” Gregorianum 64, 1983, p. 423-452; “Le thème biblique du Règne,” p. 633-642; Ladaria, La cristología, p. 131 and 281; Scully, Physicalist Soteri­ology, p. 175-178; 191-192.

103 Tr. Ps. 118 (heth) 8, 16 (SC 344, p. 278, l. 4-8).

104  Trin. 11, 19, Vnguetur ergo Deus a Deo suo prae consortes suos (SC 462, p. 330, l. 7). L. F. Ladaria, “El bautismo y la unción de Jesús en Hilario de Poitiers,” Gregorianum 70, 1989, p. 277-290; Id., La cristología, p. 105-118; Id., “La unción de la gloria ce­leste. Gloria y Espíritu santo en Hilario de Poitiers,” Revista Catalana de Teología 25, 2000, p. 131-140 (p. 133-138).

105 Tr. Ps. 51, 3-4; 121, 1-2; 126, 2; 143, 21.

106  Tr. Ps. 2, 29. Hilary understands the baptism of Christ as the moment when men become sons of God through adoption. See E. Scully’s comments on this passage in Physicalist Soteriology, p. 98-99. Cf. J. Doignon, “La scène évangelique du Baptême commentée par Lactance (Divinae Institutiones 4,15) et Hilaire de Poitiers (In Matthaeum 2, 5-6),” in: J. Fontaine – C. Kannengiesser (ed.), Epektasis. Mélanges patristiques offerts au Cardinal Jean Daniélou, Paris, Beauchesne, 1972, p. 67-73.

107  Trin. XI, 19. Christ does not need to be cleansed through baptism, he receives it as a man born from a woman and because “our purification in the waters of baptism had to be sanctified through it” (In Matt. 2, 5, per illum in aquis ablutionis nostrae erat sanctificanda purgatio). See Ladaria, “El bautismo y la unción,”, p. 277‑278.

108  Tr. Ps. 91, 9. Cf. In Matt. 10, 24; Tr. Ps. 1, 41; 15, 13. See M. C. McCarthy, “Expectatio beatitudinis. The Eschatological Frame of Hilary of Poitiers Tractatus super Psalmos,” in: P. W. Martens (ed), In the Shadow of the Incarnation. Essays on Jesus Christ in the Early Church in Honor of Brian E. Daley, S.J., Notre Dame, IN, University Press, 2008, p. 62.

109 Ladaria, “El bautismo y la unción,” p. 284.

110  P. Burns, The Christology in Hilary of Poitiers’ Commentary on Matthew (Studia Ephemeridis ‟Augustinianum” 16), Roma, Istituto Patristico Augustinianum, 1981, p. 100, and Scully, Physicalist Soteriology, p. 102-105 do not ignore this nuance, but they make the assumption of all humanity rest fully on the Incarnation.

111  Hilary saw a prefiguration of the life of Christ in that of Moses (Myst. 1, 27-42), which helps him highlight the deep union between the two testaments. Beyond this observation, Hilary’s use of Moses is mostly limited to those Biblical passages or motifs he may be referring to at any giving moment, as in the Transfiguration (In Matt. 17, 3 and 20, 10), when he hears God’s name from the burning bush (Trin. III, 17) or when he receives the Law (Trin. V, 23; Tr. Ps. 63, 10).

112  According to Hilary, Abraham essentially represents the model of the disciples (In Matt 10, 14, SC 254, p. 232, l. 16-20) and he is a witness of the future Incarnation (Trin. IV, 27, SC 448, p. 64, l. 9-11; V, 15, SC 448, p. 120, l. 6-7).

113 Tr. Ps. 52, 9, Dauid secundum cor Dei sit (CSEL 22, p. 123, l. 2).

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Almudena Alba López, « David as a Prefiguration of Christ and Redeemed Humanity in the Works of Hilary of Poitiers »Revue des sciences religieuses, 94/2-4 | 2020, 261-282.

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Almudena Alba López, « David as a Prefiguration of Christ and Redeemed Humanity in the Works of Hilary of Poitiers »Revue des sciences religieuses [En ligne], 94/2-4 | 2020, mis en ligne le 31 décembre 2020, consulté le 15 mai 2021. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/rsr/9403 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/rsr.9403

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Almudena Alba López

Instituto de Estudios Bursátiles
Madrid

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