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Psalm 104

God the Creator and Provider

1

Bless the Lord, O my soul.

O Lord my God, you are very great.

You are clothed with honor and majesty,

2

wrapped in light as with a garment.

You stretch out the heavens like a tent,

3

you set the beams of your chambers on the waters,

you make the clouds your chariot,

you ride on the wings of the wind,

4

you make the winds your messengers,

fire and flame your ministers.

 

5

You set the earth on its foundations,

so that it shall never be shaken.

6

You cover it with the deep as with a garment;

the waters stood above the mountains.

7

At your rebuke they flee;

at the sound of your thunder they take to flight.

8

They rose up to the mountains, ran down to the valleys

to the place that you appointed for them.

9

You set a boundary that they may not pass,

so that they might not again cover the earth.

 

10

You make springs gush forth in the valleys;

they flow between the hills,

11

giving drink to every wild animal;

the wild asses quench their thirst.

12

By the streams the birds of the air have their habitation;

they sing among the branches.

13

From your lofty abode you water the mountains;

the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your work.

 

14

You cause the grass to grow for the cattle,

and plants for people to use,

to bring forth food from the earth,

15

and wine to gladden the human heart,

oil to make the face shine,

and bread to strengthen the human heart.

16

The trees of the Lord are watered abundantly,

the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.

17

In them the birds build their nests;

the stork has its home in the fir trees.

18

The high mountains are for the wild goats;

the rocks are a refuge for the coneys.

19

You have made the moon to mark the seasons;

the sun knows its time for setting.

20

You make darkness, and it is night,

when all the animals of the forest come creeping out.

21

The young lions roar for their prey,

seeking their food from God.

22

When the sun rises, they withdraw

and lie down in their dens.

23

People go out to their work

and to their labor until the evening.

 

24

O Lord, how manifold are your works!

In wisdom you have made them all;

the earth is full of your creatures.

25

Yonder is the sea, great and wide,

creeping things innumerable are there,

living things both small and great.

26

There go the ships,

and Leviathan that you formed to sport in it.

 

27

These all look to you

to give them their food in due season;

28

when you give to them, they gather it up;

when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.

29

When you hide your face, they are dismayed;

when you take away their breath, they die

and return to their dust.

30

When you send forth your spirit, they are created;

and you renew the face of the ground.

 

31

May the glory of the Lord endure forever;

may the Lord rejoice in his works—

32

who looks on the earth and it trembles,

who touches the mountains and they smoke.

33

I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;

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

34

May my meditation be pleasing to him,

for I rejoice in the Lord.

35

Let sinners be consumed from the earth,

and let the wicked be no more.

Bless the Lord, O my soul.

Praise the Lord!

Psalm 105

God’s Faithfulness to Israel

1

O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name,

make known his deeds among the peoples.

2

Sing to him, sing praises to him;

tell of all his wonderful works.

3

Glory in his holy name;

let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice.

4

Seek the Lord and his strength;

seek his presence continually.

5

Remember the wonderful works he has done,

his miracles, and the judgments he has uttered,

6

O offspring of his servant Abraham,

children of Jacob, his chosen ones.

 

7

He is the Lord our God;

his judgments are in all the earth.

8

He is mindful of his covenant forever,

of the word that he commanded, for a thousand generations,

9

the covenant that he made with Abraham,

his sworn promise to Isaac,

10

which he confirmed to Jacob as a statute,

to Israel as an everlasting covenant,

11

saying, “To you I will give the land of Canaan

as your portion for an inheritance.”

 

12

When they were few in number,

of little account, and strangers in it,

13

wandering from nation to nation,

from one kingdom to another people,

14

he allowed no one to oppress them;

he rebuked kings on their account,

15

saying, “Do not touch my anointed ones;

do my prophets no harm.”

 

16

When he summoned famine against the land,

and broke every staff of bread,

17

he had sent a man ahead of them,

Joseph, who was sold as a slave.

18

His feet were hurt with fetters,

his neck was put in a collar of iron;

19

until what he had said came to pass,

the word of the Lord kept testing him.

20

The king sent and released him;

the ruler of the peoples set him free.

21

He made him lord of his house,

and ruler of all his possessions,

22

to instruct his officials at his pleasure,

and to teach his elders wisdom.

 

23

Then Israel came to Egypt;

Jacob lived as an alien in the land of Ham.

24

And the Lord made his people very fruitful,

and made them stronger than their foes,

25

whose hearts he then turned to hate his people,

to deal craftily with his servants.

 

26

He sent his servant Moses,

and Aaron whom he had chosen.

27

They performed his signs among them,

and miracles in the land of Ham.

28

He sent darkness, and made the land dark;

they rebelled against his words.

29

He turned their waters into blood,

and caused their fish to die.

30

Their land swarmed with frogs,

even in the chambers of their kings.

31

He spoke, and there came swarms of flies,

and gnats throughout their country.

32

He gave them hail for rain,

and lightning that flashed through their land.

33

He struck their vines and fig trees,

and shattered the trees of their country.

34

He spoke, and the locusts came,

and young locusts without number;

35

they devoured all the vegetation in their land,

and ate up the fruit of their ground.

36

He struck down all the firstborn in their land,

the first issue of all their strength.

 

37

Then he brought Israel out with silver and gold,

and there was no one among their tribes who stumbled.

38

Egypt was glad when they departed,

for dread of them had fallen upon it.

39

He spread a cloud for a covering,

and fire to give light by night.

40

They asked, and he brought quails,

and gave them food from heaven in abundance.

41

He opened the rock, and water gushed out;

it flowed through the desert like a river.

42

For he remembered his holy promise,

and Abraham, his servant.

 

43

So he brought his people out with joy,

his chosen ones with singing.

44

He gave them the lands of the nations,

and they took possession of the wealth of the peoples,

45

that they might keep his statutes

and observe his laws.

Praise the Lord!


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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.

2. light—is a figurative representation of the glory of the invisible God (Mt 17:2; 1Ti 6:16). Its use in this connection may refer to the first work of creation (Ge 1:3).

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.

walketh—or, "moveth" (compare Ps 18:10, 11; Am 9:6).

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.

spirits—literally, "winds."

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.

Ps 105:1-45. After an exhortation to praise God, addressed especially to the chosen people, the writer presents the special reason for praise, in a summary of their history from the calling of Abraham to their settlement in Canaan, and reminds them that their obedience was the end of all God's gracious dealings.

1. call … name—(Ps 79:6; Ro 10:13). Call on Him, according to His historically manifested glory. After the example of Abraham, who, as often as God acquired for Himself a name in guiding him, called in solemn worship upon the name of the Lord (Ge 12:8; 13:4).

among the people—or, "peoples" (Ps 18:49).

deeds—or, "wonders" (Ps 103:7).

3, 4. Seeking God's favor is the only true mode of getting true happiness, and His strength [Ps 105:4] is the only true source of protection (compare Ps 32:11; 40:16).

Glory … name—boast in His perfections. The world glories in its horses and chariots against the Church of God lying in the dust; but our hope is in the name, that is, the power and love of God to His people, manifested in past deliverances.

5, 6. judgments … mouth—His judicial decisions for the good and against the wicked.

6. chosen—rather qualifies "children" than "Jacob," as a plural.

7. Rather, "He, Jehovah, is our God." His title, "Jehovah," implies that He, the unchangeable, self-existing Being, makes things to be, that is, fulfils His promises, and therefore will not forsake His people. Though specially of His people, He is God over all.

8-11. The covenant was often ratified.

word—answering to "covenant" [Ps 105:9] in the parallel clause, namely, the word of promise, which, according to Ps 105:10, He set forth for an inviolable law.

commanded—or, "ordained" (Ps 68:28).

to a thousand generations—perpetually. A verbal allusion to De 7:9 (compare Ex 20:6).

9. Which covenant—or, "Word" (Ps 105:8).

10, 11. Alluding to God's promise to Jacob (Ge 28:13). Out of the whole storehouse of the promises of God, only one is prominently brought forward, namely, that concerning the possession of Canaan [Ps 105:11]. Everything revolves around this. The wonders and judgments have all for their ultimate design the fulfilment of this promise.

12-15. few … in number—alluding to Jacob's words (Ge 34:30), "I being few in number."

yea, very few—literally, "as a few," that is, like fewness itself (compare Isa 1:9).

strangers—sojourners in the land of their future inheritance, as in a strange country (Heb 11:9).

13. from one nation to another—and so from danger to danger; now in Egypt, now in the wilderness, and lastly in Canaan. Though a few strangers, wandering among various nations, God protected them.

14. reproved kings—Pharaoh of Egypt and Abimelech of Gerar (Ge 12:17; 20:3).

15. Touch not—referring to Ge 26:11, where Abimelech says of Isaac, "He that toucheth this man or his wife shall surely be put to death."

mine anointed—as specially consecrated to Me (Ps 2:2). The patriarch was the prophet, priest, and king of his family.

my prophets—in a similar sense, compare Ge 20:7. The "anointed" are those vessels of God, consecrated to His service, "in whom (as Pharaoh said of Joseph, Ge 41:38) the Spirit of God is" [Hengstenberg].

16. God ordered the famine. God

called for a famine—as if it were a servant, ready to come at God's bidding. Compare the centurion's words, as to disease being God's servant (Mt 8:8, 9).

upon the land—namely, Canaan (Ge 41:54).

staff of bread—what supports life (Le 26:26; Ps 104:15; Isa 3:1).

17-21. Joseph was sent of God (Ge 45:5).

18. hurt with fetters—(Ge 40:3).

was laid in iron—literally, "his soul" (see on Ps 16:10), or, "he came into iron," or, he was bound to his grief (compare Ps 3:2; 11:1). The "soul" is put for the whole person, because the soul of the captive suffers still more than the body. Joseph is referred to as being an appropriate type of those "bound in affliction and iron" (Ps 107:10).

19. his word came—His prophecy (Ge 41:11-20) to the officers came to pass, or was fulfilled (Jud 13:12, 17; 1Sa 9:6, explain the form of speech).

the word of the Lord—or, "saying," or "decree of the Lord."

tried him—or, "proved him," by the afflictions it appointed him to endure before his elevation (compare Ge 41:40-43).

22. To bind—Not literally bind; but exercise over them absolute control, as the parallel in the second clause shows; also Ge 41:40, 44, in which not literal fettering, but commanding obedience, is spoken of. It refers to Ps 105:18. The soul that was once bound itself now binds others, even princes. The same moral binding is assigned to the saints (Ps 149:8).

teach … senators wisdom—the ground of his exaltation by Pharaoh was his wisdom (Ge 41:39); namely, in state policy, and ordering well a kingdom.

23-25. Israel … and Jacob—that is, Jacob himself is meant, as Ps 105:24 speaks of "his people." Still, he came with his whole house (Ge 46:6, 7).

sojourned—(Ge 47:4).

land of Ham—or, Egypt (Ps 78:51).

25. turned their heart—God controls men's free acts (compare 1Sa 10:9). "When Saul had turned his back to go from (God's prophet) Samuel, God turned (Margin) him another heart" (see Ex 1:8, &c.). Whatever evil the wicked man plots against God's people, God holds bound even his heart, so as not to lay a single plan except what God permits. Thus Isaiah (Isa 43:17) says it was God who brought forth the army of Pharaoh to pursue Israel to their own destruction (Ex 4:21; 7:3).

26. Moses … chosen—both what they were by divine choice (Ps 78:70).

27. signs—literally, "words of signs," or rather, as "words" in Hebrew means "things," "things of His signs," that is, His marvellous tokens of power (Ps 145:5, Margin). Compare the same Hebraism (Ps 65:3, Margin).

28-36. The ninth plague is made prominent as peculiarly wonderful.

they rebelled not—Moses and Aaron promptly obeyed God (Heb 11:27); (compare Ex 7:1-11:10 and Ps 78:44-51, with which this summary substantially agrees). Or, rather, the "darkness" here is figurative (Jer 13:16), the literal plague of darkness (Ex 10:22, 23) being only alluded to as the symbol of God's wrath which overhung Egypt as a dark cloud during all the plagues. Hence, it is placed first, out of the historical order. Thus, "They rebelled not (that is, no longer) against His word," refers to the Egyptians. Whenever God sent a plague on them, they were ready to let Israel go, though refusing when the plague ceased.

his word—His command to let Israel go [Hengstenberg]. Of the ten plagues, only eight are mentioned, the fifth, the murrain of beasts, and the sixth, the boils, being omitted.

29-31. He deprived them of their favorite "fish," and gave them instead, [Ps 105:30] out of the water, loathsome "frogs," and (Ps 105:31) upon their land tormenting "flies" (the dog-fly, according to Maurer) and "lice" (gnats, according to Hengstenberg).

32. gave them—referring to Le 26:4, "I give you rain in due season." His "gift" to Israel's foes is one of a very different kind from that bestowed on His people.

hail for rain—instead of fertilizing showers, hail destructive to trees. This forms the transition to the vegetable kingdom. The locusts in Ps 105:34 similarly are destructive to plants.

33. their coasts—all their land (Ps 78:54).

34. caterpillars—literally, "the lickers up," devouring insects; probably the hairy-winged locust.

36. the chief—literally, "the firstlings." The ascending climax passes from the food of man to man himself. The language here is quoted from Ps 78:51.

37. with silver and goldpresented them by the Egyptians, as an acknowledgment due for their labors in their bondage (compare Ex 12:35).

one feeble person—or, "stumbler," unfit for the line of march. Compare "harnessed," that is, accoutred and marshalled as an army on march (Ex 13:18; Isa 5:27).

38. (Compare Ex 12:33; De 11:25).

39. covering—in sense of protection (compare Ex 13:21; Nu 10:34). In the burning sands of the desert the cloud protected the congregation from the heat of the sun; an emblem of God's protecting favor of His people, as interpreted by Isaiah (Isa 4:5, 6; compare Nu 9:16).

42-45. The reasons for these dealings: (1) God's faithfulness to His covenant, "His holy promise" of Canaan, is the fountain whence flowed so many acts of marvellous kindness to His people (compare Ps 105:8, 11). Ex 2:24 is the fundamental passage [Hengstenberg]. (2) That they might be obedient. The observance of God's commands by Abraham was the object of the covenant with him (Ge 18:19), as it was also the object of the covenant with Israel, that they might observe God's statutes.

remembered … and Abraham—or, "remembered His holy word (that is, covenant confirmed) with Abraham."

44. inherited the labour—that is, the fruits of their labor; their corn and vineyards (Jos 21:43-45).




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