World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
He made darkness his covering around him,
his canopy thick clouds dark with water.
10. He rode also upon a cherub. The Psalmist having exhibited to us a sign of the wrath of God in the clouds, and in the darkening of the air, representing him as if he breathed out smoke, 401401 “Tout ainsi que s’il jettoit une fureur par les narines.” — Fr. “As if he cast forth fury from his nostrils.” from his nostrils, and descended with a threatening countenance, to afflict men by the dreadful weight of his power; and having also represented lightnings and thunderbolts as flaming fire proceeding from his mouths — he now introduces him as riding upon the winds and tempests, to take a survey of the whole world with rapid speed, or rather with the swiftness of flying. We meet with a similar description in Psalm 104:3, where God is said to “walk upon the wings of the winds,” and to send them forth in every direction as his swift messengers. David does not, however, simply represent God as the governor of the winds, who drives them by his power whithersoever he pleases; he at the same time tells us that he rides upon a cherub, to teach us that the very violence of the winds is governed by angels as God has ordained. We know that the angels were represented under the figure of the cherubim. David, therefore, I have no doubt, here intended to make an allusion to the ark of the covenant. In proposing for our consideration the power of God as manifested in the wonders of nature, he does it in such a manner as all the time to have an eye to the temple, where he knew God had made himself known in a peculiar manner to the children of Abraham. He therefore celebrates God not only as creator of the world, but as He who entered into covenant with Israel, and chose for himself a holy dwelling-place in the midst of that people. David might have called the angels by their common name, but he has expressly made use of a term which has a reference to the visible symbol of the ark, that true believers, in singing this psalm, might always have their minds directed to the service of God which was performed in the temple. What follows with respect, to God’s dark pavilion or tent, is a repetition of the preceding sentence in different words, namely, that when God covers the air with dark clouds, it is as if he spread a thick veil between him and men, to deprive them of the sight of his countenance, 402402 “C’est comme s’il tendoit un voile espes entre luy et les hommes, afin de leur oster le regard de sa face.” — Fr. just as if a king, incensed against his subjects, should retire into his secret chamber and hide himself from them. Those take a mistaken view of this verse who bring it forward to prove, in general, the hidden and mysterious character of the glory of God, as if David, with the view of restraining the presumption of human curiosity, had said that God is hidden in darkness in regard to men. God, it is true, is said to dwell in the light which no man can approach unto” (1 Timothy 6:16;) but the form of expression which David here employs, I have no doubt, ought to be restricted, according to the scope of the passage, to the sense which I have given.