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Psalms 77:13-20

Context

77:13 1 O God, your deeds are extraordinary! 2 

What god can compare to our great God? 3 

77:14 You are the God who does amazing things;

you have revealed your strength among the nations.

77:15 You delivered 4  your people by your strength 5 

the children of Jacob and Joseph. (Selah)

77:16 The waters 6  saw you, O God,

the waters saw you and trembled. 7 

Yes, the depths of the sea 8  shook with fear. 9 

77:17 The clouds poured down rain; 10 

the skies thundered. 11 

Yes, your arrows 12  flashed about.

77:18 Your thunderous voice was heard in the wind;

the lightning bolts lit up the world;

the earth trembled and shook. 13 

77:19 You walked through the sea; 14 

you passed through the surging waters, 15 

but left no footprints. 16 

77:20 You led your people like a flock of sheep,

by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

1 sn Verses 13-20 are the content of the psalmist’s reflection (see vv. 11-12). As he thought about God’s work in Israel’s past, he reached the place where he could confidently cry out for God’s help (see v. 1).

2 tn Heb “O God, in holiness [is] your way.” God’s “way” here refers to his actions. “Holiness” is used here in the sense of “set apart, unique,” rather than in a moral/ethical sense. As the next line and the next verse emphasize, God’s deeds are incomparable and set him apart as the one true God.

3 tn Heb “Who [is] a great god like God?” The rhetorical question assumes the answer, “No one!”

4 tn Or “redeemed.”

5 tn Heb “with [your] arm.”

6 tn The waters of the Red Sea are here personified; they are portrayed as seeing God and fearing him.

7 tn The prefixed verbal form may be taken as a preterite or as an imperfect with past progressive force.

8 tn The words “of the sea” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

9 tn The prefixed verbal form may be taken as a preterite or as an imperfect with past progressive force.

10 tn Heb “water.”

11 tn Heb “a sound the clouds gave.”

12 tn The lightning accompanying the storm is portrayed as the Lord’s “arrows” (see v. 18).

13 tn The prefixed verbal form may be taken as a preterite or as an imperfect with past progressive force.

sn Verses 16-18 depict the Lord coming in the storm to battle his enemies and subdue the sea. There is no record of such a storm in the historical account of the Red Sea crossing. The language the psalmist uses here is stereotypical and originates in Canaanite myth, where the storm god Baal subdues the sea in his quest for kingship. The psalmist has employed the stereotypical imagery to portray the exodus vividly and at the same time affirm that it is not Baal who subdues the sea, but Yahweh.

14 tn Heb “in the sea [was] your way.”

15 tn Heb “and your paths [were] in the mighty waters.”

16 tn Heb “and your footprints were not known.”



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