104:1 Praise the Lord, O my soul!
O Lord my God, you are magnificent. 2
You are robed in splendor and majesty.
104:2 He covers himself with light as if it were a garment.
He stretches out the skies like a tent curtain,
He makes the clouds his chariot,
and travels along on the wings of the wind. 4
104:4 He makes the winds his messengers,
and the flaming fire his attendant. 5
104:5 He established the earth on its foundations;
it will never be upended.
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. 9
104:9 You set up a boundary for them that they could not cross,
so that they would not cover the earth again. 10
they flow between the mountains.
104:11 They provide water for all the animals in the field;
the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
104:12 The birds of the sky live beside them;
they chirp among the bushes. 12
the earth is full of the fruit you cause to grow. 14
and crops for people to cultivate, 16
so they can produce food from the ground, 17
and so they can have oil to make their faces shine, 19
as well as food that sustains people’s lives. 20
the cedars of Lebanon which he planted,
104:17 where the birds make nests,
near the evergreens in which the herons live. 23
the rock badgers find safety in the cliffs.
and the sun sets according to a regular schedule. 26
during which all the beasts of the forest prowl around.
104:21 The lions roar for prey,
seeking their food from God. 28
104:22 When the sun rises, they withdraw
and sleep 29 in their dens.
104:23 Men then go out to do their work,
and labor away until evening. 30
You have exhibited great skill in making all of them; 32
the earth is full of the living things you have made.
which teems with innumerable swimming creatures, 34
living things both small and large.
104:26 The ships travel there,
and over here swims the whale 35 you made to play in it.
to provide them with food on a regular basis. 37
104:28 You give food to them and they receive it;
you open your hand and they are filled with food. 38
When you take away their life’s breath, they die
and return to dust.
104:30 When you send your life-giving breath, they are created,
and you replenish the surface of the ground.
May the Lord find pleasure in the living things he has made! 41
104:32 He looks down on the earth and it shakes;
he touches the mountains and they start to smolder.
104:33 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I exist! 42
I will rejoice in the Lord.
and the wicked vanish!
Praise the Lord, O my soul!
Praise the Lord!
2 tn Heb “very great.”
3 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.
4 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.
5 tc Heb “and his attendants a flaming fire.” The lack of agreement between the singular “fire” and plural “attendants” has prompted various emendations. Some read “fire and flame.” The present translation assumes an emendation to “his attendant” (יו in the Hebrew text being virtually dittographic).
sn In Ugaritic mythology Yam’s messengers appear as flaming fire before the assembly of the gods. See G. R. Driver, Canaanite Myths and Legends, 42.
6 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.
7 tn Heb “stood.”
9 tn Heb “from your shout they fled, from the sound of your thunder they hurried off.”
10 tn Heb “a boundary you set up, they will not cross, they will not return to cover the earth.”
11 tn Heb “[the] one who sends springs into streams.” Another option is to translate, “he sends streams [i.e., streams that originate from springs] into the valleys” (cf. NIV).
12 tn Heb “among the thick foliage they give a sound.”
13 tn Heb “from his upper rooms.”
14 tn Heb “from the fruit of your works the earth is full.” The translation assumes that “fruit” is literal here. If “fruit” is understood more abstractly as “product; result,” then one could translate, “the earth flourishes as a result of your deeds” (cf. NIV, NRSV, REB).
15 tn Heb “causes the grass to sprout up.”
17 tn Heb “to cause food to come out from the earth.”
18 tn Heb “and wine [that] makes the heart of man happy.”
19 tn Heb “to make [the] face shine from oil.” The Hebrew verb צָהַל (tsahal, “to shine”) occurs only here in the OT. It appears to be an alternate form of צָהַר (tsahar), a derivative from צָהָרִים (tsaharim, “noon”).
20 tn Heb “and food [that] sustains the heart of man.”
21 sn The trees of the
23 tn Heb “[the] heron [in the] evergreens [is] its home.”
24 tn Heb “the high mountains [are] for the goats.”
25 tn Heb “he made [the] moon for appointed times.” The phrase “appointed times” probably refers to the months of the Hebrew lunar calendar.
26 tn Heb more metaphorically, “knows its setting.”
27 tn Heb “you make darkness, so that it might be night.”
28 sn The lions’ roaring is viewed as a request for food from God.
29 tn Heb “lie down.”
30 tn Heb “man goes out to his work, and to his labor until evening.”
31 tn Heb “How many [are] your works, O
32 tn Heb “all of them with wisdom you have made.”
33 tn Heb “this [is] the sea, great and broad of hands [i.e., “sides” or “shores”].”
34 tn Heb “where [there are] swimming things, and without number.”
35 tn Heb “[and] this Leviathan, [which] you formed to play in it.” Elsewhere Leviathan is a multiheaded sea monster that symbolizes forces hostile to God (see Ps 74:14; Isa 27:1), but here it appears to be an actual marine creature created by God, probably some type of whale.
36 tn Heb “All of them.” The pronoun “them” refers not just to the sea creatures mentioned in vv. 25-26, but to all living things (see v. 24). This has been specified in the translation as “all of your creatures” for clarity.
37 tn Heb “to give their food in its time.”
38 tn Heb “they are satisfied [with] good.”
39 tn Heb “you hide your face, they are terrified.”
40 tn Heb “be forever.”
41 tn Or “rejoice in his works.”
42 tn Heb “in my duration.”
43 tn That is, the psalmist’s thoughts as expressed in his songs of praise.
44 tn Or “be destroyed.”