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Psalms 77:16-18

Context

77:16 The waters 1  saw you, O God,

the waters saw you and trembled. 2 

Yes, the depths of the sea 3  shook with fear. 4 

77:17 The clouds poured down rain; 5 

the skies thundered. 6 

Yes, your arrows 7  flashed about.

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

the lightning bolts lit up the world;

the earth trembled and shook. 8 

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

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

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

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

5 tn Heb “water.”

6 tn Heb “a sound the clouds gave.”

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

8 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.



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