World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
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.
Ps 104:1-35. The Psalmist celebrates God's glory in His works of creation and providence, teaching the dependence of all living creatures; and contrasting the happiness of those who praise Him with the awful end of the wicked.
1. God's essential glory, and also that displayed by His mighty works, afford ground for praise.
stretchest out the heavens—the visible heavens or sky which cover the earth as a curtain (Isa 40:12).
3. in the waters—or, it may be "with"; using this fluid for the beams, or frames, of His residence accords with the figure of clouds for chariots, and wind as a means of conveyance.
4. This is quoted by Paul (Heb 1:7) to denote the subordinate position of angels; that is, they are only messengers as other and material agencies.
flaming fire—(Ps 105:32) being here so called.
5. The earth is firmly fixed by His power.
6-9. These verses rather describe the wonders of the flood than the creation (Ge 7:19, 20; 2Pe 3:5, 6). God's method of arresting the flood and making its waters subside is poetically called a "rebuke" (Ps 76:6; Isa 50:2), and the process of the flood's subsiding by undulations among the hills and valleys is vividly described.
10-13. Once destructive, these waters are subjected to the service of God's creatures. In rain and dew from His chambers (compare Ps 104:3), and fountains and streams, they give drink to thirsting animals and fertilize the soil. Trees thus nourished supply homes to singing birds, and the earth teems with the productions of God's wise agencies,
14, 15. so that men and beasts are abundantly provided with food.
for the service—literally, "for the culture," &c., by which he secures the results.
oil … shine—literally, "makes his face to shine more than oil," that is, so cheers and invigorates him, that outwardly he appears better than if anointed.
strengtheneth … heart—gives vigor to man (compare Jud 19:5).
16-19. God's care of even wild animals and uncultivated parts of the earth.
20-23. He provides and adapts to man's wants the appointed times and seasons.
24-26. From a view of the earth thus full of God's blessings, the writer passes to the sea, which, in its immensity, and as a scene and means of man's activity in commerce, and the home of countless multitudes of creatures, also displays divine power and beneficence. The mention of
26. leviathan—(Job 40:20) heightens the estimate of the sea's greatness, and of His power who gives such a place for sport to one of His creatures.
27-30. The entire dependence of this immense family on God is set forth. With Him, to kill or make alive is equally easy. To hide His face is to withdraw favor (Ps 13:1). By His spirit, or breath, or mere word, He gives life. It is His constant providence which repairs the wastes of time and disease.
31-34. While God could equally glorify His power in destruction, that He does it in preservation is of His rich goodness and mercy, so that we may well spend our lives in grateful praise, honoring to Him, and delightful to pious hearts (Ps 147:1).
35. Those who refuse such a protector and withhold such a service mar the beauty of His works, and must perish from His presence.
Praise ye the Lord—The Psalm closes with an invocation of praise, the translation of a Hebrew phrase, which is used as an English word, "Hallelujah," and may have served the purpose of a chorus, as often in our psalmody, or to give fuller expression to the writer's emotions. It is peculiar to Psalms composed after the captivity, as "Selah" is to those of an earlier date.