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Psalms 104:3

Context

104:3 and lays the beams of the upper rooms of his palace on the rain clouds. 1 

He makes the clouds his chariot,

and travels along on the wings of the wind. 2 

Psalms 104:5-9

Context

104:5 He established the earth on its foundations;

it will never be upended.

104:6 The watery deep covered it 3  like a garment;

the waters reached 4  above the mountains. 5 

104:7 Your shout made the waters retreat;

at the sound of your thunderous voice they hurried off –

104:8 as the mountains rose up,

and the valleys went down –

to the place you appointed for them. 6 

104:9 You set up a boundary for them that they could not cross,

so that they would not cover the earth again. 7 

1 tn Heb “one who lays the beams on water [in] his upper rooms.” The “water” mentioned here corresponds to the “waters above” mentioned in Gen 1:7. For a discussion of the picture envisioned by the psalmist, see L. I. J. Stadelmann, The Hebrew Conception of the World, 44-45.

2 sn Verse 3 may depict the Lord riding a cherub, which is in turn propelled by the wind current. Another option is that the wind is personified as a cherub. See Ps 18:10 and the discussion of ancient Near Eastern parallels to the imagery in M. Weinfeld, “‘Rider of the Clouds’ and ‘Gatherer of the Clouds’,” JANESCU 5 (1973): 422-24.

3 tc Heb “you covered it.” The masculine suffix is problematic if the grammatically feminine noun “earth” is the antecedent. For this reason some emend the form to a feminine verb with feminine suffix, כִּסַּתָּה (kisattah, “[the watery deep] covered it [i.e., the earth]”), a reading assumed by the present translation.

4 tn Heb “stood.”

5 sn Verse 6 refers to the condition described in Gen 1:2 (note the use of the Hebrew term תְּהוֹם [tÿhom, “watery deep”] in both texts).

6 tn Heb “from your shout they fled, from the sound of your thunder they hurried off.”

sn Verses 7-8 poetically depict Gen 1:9-10.

7 tn Heb “a boundary you set up, they will not cross, they will not return to cover the earth.”



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