World Wide Study Bible
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104. Psalm 104
1Bless, O my soul, Jehovah! Jehovah, my God, Thou hast been very great, Honour and majesty Thou hast put on. 2Covering himself [with] light as a garment, Stretching out the heavens as a curtain, 3Who is laying the beam of His upper chambers in the waters, Who is making thick clouds His chariot, Who is walking on wings of wind, 4Making His messengers -- the winds, His ministers -- the flaming fire. 5He hath founded earth on its bases, It is not moved to the age and for ever. 6The abyss! as with clothing Thou hast covered it, Above hills do waters stand. 7From Thy rebuke they flee, From the voice of Thy thunder haste away. 8They go up hills -- they go down valleys, Unto a place Thou hast founded for them. 9A border Thou hast set, they pass not over, They turn not back to cover the earth. 10Who is sending forth fountains in valleys, Between hills they go on. 11They water every beast of the field, Wild asses break their thirst. 12By them the fowl of the heavens doth dwell, From between the branches They give forth the voice. 13Watering hills from His upper chambers, From the fruit of Thy works is the earth satisfied. 14Causing grass to spring up for cattle, And herb for the service of man, To bring forth bread from the earth, 15And wine -- it rejoiceth the heart of man, To cause the face to shine from oil, And bread -- the heart of man it supporteth. 16Satisfied [are] the trees of Jehovah, Cedars of Lebanon that He hath planted, 17Where birds do make nests, The stork -- the firs [are] her house. 18The high hills [are] for wild goats, Rocks [are] a refuge for conies, 19He made the moon for seasons, The sun hath known his place of entrance. 20Thou settest darkness, and it is night, In it doth every beast of the forest creep. 21The young lions are roaring for prey, And to seek from God their food. 22The sun riseth, they are gathered, And in their dens they crouch. 23Man goeth forth to his work, And to his service -- till evening. 24How many have been Thy works, O Jehovah, All of them in wisdom Thou hast made, Full is the earth of thy possessions. 25This, the sea, great and broad of sides, There [are] moving things -- innumerable, Living creatures -- small with great. 26There do ships go: leviathan, That Thou hast formed to play in it. 27All of them unto Thee do look, To give their food in its season. 28Thou dost give to them -- they gather, Thou dost open Thy hand -- they [are] satisfied [with] good. 29Thou hidest Thy face -- they are troubled, Thou gatherest their spirit -- they expire, And unto their dust they turn back. 30Thou sendest out Thy Spirit, they are created, And Thou renewest the face of the ground. 31The honour of Jehovah is to the age, Jehovah rejoiceth in His works, 32Who is looking to earth, and it trembleth, He cometh against hills, and they smoke. 33I sing to Jehovah during my life, I sing praise to my God while I exist. 34Sweet is my meditation on Him, I -- I do rejoice in Jehovah. 35Consumed are sinners from the earth, And the wicked are no more. Bless, O my soul, Jehovah. Praise ye Jehovah!
5 He hath founded the earth upon its foundations Here the prophet celebrates the glory of God, as manifested in the stability of the earth. Since it is suspended in the midst of the air, and is supported only by pillars of water, how does it keep its place so steadfastly that it cannot be moved? This I indeed grant may be explained on natural principles; for the earth, as it occupies the lowest place, being the center of the world, naturally settles down there. But even in this contrivance there shines forth the wonderful power of God. Again, if the waters are higher than the earth, because they are lighter, why do they not cover the whole earth round about? Certainly the only answer which philosophers can give to this is, that the tendency of the waters to do so is counteracted by the providence of God, that a dwelling-place might be provided for man. If they do not admit that the waters are restrained by the determinate appointment of God, they betray not only their depravity and unthankfulness, but also their ignorance, and are altogether barbarous. The prophet, therefore, not without reason, recounts among the miracles of God, that which would be to us wholly incredible, did not even experience show its truth. We are very base indeed if, taught by such undoubted a proof, we do not learn that nothing in the world is stable except in as far as it is sustained by the hand of God. The world did not originate from itself, consequently, the whole order of nature depends on nothing else than his appointment, by which each element has its own peculiar property. Nor is the language of the prophet to be viewed merely as an exhortation to give thanks to God; it is also intended to strengthen our confidence in regard to the future, that we may not live in the world in a state of constant fear and anxiety, as we must have done had not God testified that he has given the earth for a habitation to men. It is a singular blessing, which he bestows upon us, in his causing us to dwell upon the earth with undisturbed minds, by giving us the assurance that he has established it upon everlasting pillars. Although cities often perish by earthquakes, yet the body of the earth itself remains. Yea, all the agitations which befall it more fully confirm to us the truth, that the earth would be swallowed up every moment were it not preserved by the secret power of God.