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Psalms 77:17-18

Context

77:17 The clouds poured down rain; 1 

the skies thundered. 2 

Yes, your arrows 3  flashed about.

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

the lightning bolts lit up the world;

the earth trembled and shook. 4 

Psalms 144:6

Context

144:6 Hurl lightning bolts and scatter them!

Shoot your arrows and rout them! 5 

1 tn Heb “water.”

2 tn Heb “a sound the clouds gave.”

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

4 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.

5 sn Arrows and lightning bolts are associated in other texts (see Pss 18:14; 77:17-18; Zech 9:14), as well as in ancient Near Eastern art (see R. B. Chisholm, “An Exegetical and Theological study of Psalm 18/2 Samuel 22” [Th.D. diss., Dallas Theological Seminary, 1983], 187).



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