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Psalms 46:3

Context

46:3 when its waves 1  crash 2  and foam,

and the mountains shake 3  before the surging sea. 4  (Selah)

1 tn Heb “its waters.”

2 tn Or “roar.”

3 tn The three imperfect verbal forms in v. 3 draw attention to the characteristic nature of the activity described.

4 tn Heb “at its swelling.” The Hebrew word often means “pride.” If the sea is symbolic of hostile nations, then this may be a case of double entendre. The surging, swelling sea symbolizes the proud, hostile nations. On the surface the psalmist appears to be depicting a major natural catastrophe, perhaps a tidal wave. If so, then the situation would be hypothetical. However, the repetition of the verbs הָמָה (hamah, “crash; roar,” v. 3) and מוֹט (mot, “shake,” v. 2) in v. 6, where nations/kingdoms “roar” and “shake,” suggests that the language of vv. 2-3 is symbolic and depicts the upheaval that characterizes relationships between the nations of the earth. As some nations (symbolized by the surging, chaotic waters) show hostility, others (symbolized by the mountains) come crashing down to destruction. The surging waters are symbolic of chaotic forces in other poetic texts (see, for example, Isa 17:12; Jer 51:42) and mountains can symbolize strong kingdoms (see, for example, Jer 51:25).



TIP #08: Use the Strong Number links to learn about the original Hebrew and Greek text. [ALL]
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