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104. Psalm 104

1Bless Jehovah, O my soul.

O Jehovah my God, thou art very great;

Thou art clothed with honor and majesty:

2Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment;

Who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain;

3Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters;

Who maketh the clouds his chariot;

Who walketh upon the wings of the wind;

4Who maketh awinds his messengers;

Flames of fire his ministers;

5 aWho laid the foundations of the earth,

That it should not be moved for ever.

6Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a vesture;

The waters stood above the mountains.

7At thy rebuke they fled;

At the voice of thy thunder they hasted away

8 a(The mountains rose, the valleys sank down)

Unto the place which thou hadst founded for them.

9Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over;

That they turn not again to cover the earth.

10He sendeth forth springs into the valleys;

They run among the mountains;

11They give drink to every beast of the field;

The wild asses quench their thirst.

12By them the birds of the heavens have their habitation;

They asing among the branches.

13He watereth the mountains from his chambers:

The earth is filled with the fruit of thy works.

14He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle,

And herb for the aservice of man;

That he may bring forth afood out of the earth,

15And wine that maketh glad the heart of man,

aAnd oil to make his face to shine,

And bread that strengtheneth man's heart.

16The trees of Jehovah are filled with moisture,

The cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted;

17Where the birds make their nests:

As for the stork, the fir-trees are her house.

18The high mountains are for the wild goats;

The rocks are a refuge for the conies.

19He appointed the moon for seasons:

The sun knoweth his going down.

20Thou makest darkness, and it is night,

Wherein all the beasts of the forest creep forth.

21The young lions roar after their prey,

And seek their food from God.

22The sun ariseth, they get them away,

And lay them down in their dens.

23Man goeth forth unto his work

And to his labor until the evening.

24O Jehovah, how manifold are thy works!

In wisdom hast thou made them all:

The earth is full of thy ariches.

25Yonder is the sea, great and wide,

Wherein are things creeping innumerable,

Both small and great beasts.

26There go the ships;

There is leviathan, whom thou hast formed to play atherein.

27These wait all for thee,

That thou mayest give them their food in due season.

28Thou givest unto them, they gather;

Thou openest thy hand, they are satisfied with good.

29Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled;

Thou atakest away their breath, they die,

And return to their dust.

30Thou sendest forth thy Spirit, they are created;

And thou renewest the face of the ground.

31Let the glory of Jehovah endure for ever;

Let Jehovah rejoice in his works:

32Who looketh on the earth, and it trembleth;

He toucheth the mountains, and they smoke.

33I will sing unto Jehovah as long as I live:

I will sing praise to my God while I have any being.

34Let thy meditation be sweet unto him:

I will rejoice in Jehovah.

35Let sinners be consumed out of the earth.

And let the wicked be no more.

Bless Jehovah, O my soul.

aPraise ye Jehovah.

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6. He hath covered it with the deep as with a garment, This may be understood in two ways, either as implying that now the sea covers the earth as a garment, or that at the beginning, before God by his omnipotent word held gathered the waters together into one place, the earth was covered with the deep. But the more suitable sense appears to be, that the sea is now the covering of the earth. At the first creation the deep was not so much a garment as a grave, inasmuch as nothing bears less resemblance to the adorning of apparel than the state of confused desolation and shapeless chaos in which the earth then was. Accordingly, in my judgment, there is here celebrated that wonderful arrangement by which the deep, although without form, is yet the garment of the earth. But as the context seems to lead to a different view, interpreters are rather inclined to explain the language as denoting, That the earth was covered with the deep before the waters had been collected into a separate place. This difficulty is however easily solved, if the words of the prophet, The waters shall stand above the mountains, are resolved into the potential mood thus, The waters would stand above the mountains; which is sufficiently vindicated from the usage of the Hebrew language. I have indeed no doubt that the prophet, after having said that God had clothed the earth with waters, adds, by way of exposition, that the waters would stand above the mountains, were it not that they flee away at God’s rebuke. Whence is it that the mountains are elevated, and that the valleys sink down, but because bounds are set to the waters, that they may not return to overwhelm the earth? The passage then, it is obvious, may very properly be understood thus, — that the sea, although a mighty deep, which strikes terror by its vastness, is yet as a beautiful garment to the earth. The reason of the metaphor is, because the surface of the earth stands uncovered. The prophet affirms that this does not happen by chance; for, if the providence of God did not restrain the waters, would they not immediately rush forth to overwhelm the whole earth? He, therefore, speaks advisedly when he maintains that the appearance of any part of the earth’s surface is not the effect of nature, but is an evident miracle. Were God to give loose reins to the sea, the waters would suddenly cover the mountains. But now, fleeing at God’s rebuke, they retire to a different quarter. By the rebuke of God, and the voice of his thunder, is meant the awful command of God, by which he restrains the violent raging of the sea. Although at the beginning, by his word alone, he confined the sea within determinate bounds, and continues to this day to keep it within them, yet if we consider how tumultuously its billows cast up their foam when it is agitated, it is not without reason that the prophet speaks of it, as kept in check by the powerful command of God; just as, both in Jeremiah, (Jeremiah 5:22) and in Job, (Job 28:25) God, with much sublimity, commends his power, as displayed in the ocean. The ascending of the mountains, and the descending of the valleys, are poetical figures, implying, that unless God confined the deep within bounds, the distinction between mountains and valleys, which contributes to the beauty of the earth, would cease to exist, for it would engulf the whole earth. It is said that God has founded a place for the valleys; for there would be no dry land at the foot of the mountains, but the deep would bear sway, did not God command the space there to be unoccupied by the sea, as it were contrary to nature.