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Psalms 29:1-2

Context
Psalm 29 1 

A psalm of David.

29:1 Acknowledge the Lord, you heavenly beings, 2 

acknowledge the Lord’s majesty and power! 3 

29:2 Acknowledge the majesty of the Lord’s reputation! 4 

Worship the Lord in holy attire! 5 

Psalms 29:10-11

Context

29:10 The Lord sits enthroned over the engulfing waters, 6 

the Lord sits enthroned 7  as the eternal king.

29:11 The Lord gives 8  his people strength; 9 

the Lord grants his people security. 10 

1 sn Psalm 29. In this hymn of praise the psalmist calls upon the heavenly assembly to acknowledge the royal splendor of the Lord. He describes the Lord’s devastating power as revealed in the thunderstorm and affirms that the Lord exerts this awesome might on behalf of his people. In its original context the psalm was a bold polemic against the Canaanite storm god Baal, for it affirms that the Lord is the real king who controls the elements of the storm, contrary to pagan belief. See R. B. Chisholm, Jr., “The Polemic against Baalism in Israel’s Early History and Literature,” BSac 150 (1994): 280-82.

2 tc Heb “sons of gods,” or “sons of God.” Though אֵלִים (’elim) is vocalized as a plural form (“gods”) in the MT, it is likely that the final mem is actually enclitic, rather than a plural marker. In this case one may read “God.” Some, following a Qumran text and the LXX, also propose the phrase occurred in the original text of Deut 32:8.

tn The phrase בְּנֵי אֵלִים (bÿneyelim, “sons of gods” or “sons of God”) occurs only here and in Ps 89:6 (89:7 HT). In Ps 89 the “sons of gods/God” are also called “the assembly of the holy ones” and “council of the holy ones.” The heavenly assembly, comprised of so-called “angels” and other supernatural beings, appears to be in view. See Job 5:1; 15:15 and Zech 14:5, where these supernatural beings are referred to as “holy ones.” In Canaanite mythological texts the divine council of the high god El is referred to as “the sons of El.” The OT apparently borrows the Canaanite phrase and applies it to the supernatural beings that surround the heavenly throne.

3 tn Or “ascribe to the Lord glory and strength.”

4 tn Heb “ascribe to the Lord the glory of his name.” The Hebrew term שֵׁם (shem, “name”) refers here to the Lord’s reputation. (The English term “name” is often used the same way.)

5 tn That is, properly dressed for the occasion.

6 tn The noun מַּבּוּל (mabbul, “flood”) appears only here and in Gen 6-11, where it refers to the Noahic flood. Some see a reference to that event here. The presence of the article (perhaps indicating uniqueness) and the switch to the perfect verbal form (which could be taken as describing a past situation) might support this. However, the immediate context indicates that the referent of מַּבּוּל is the “surging waters” mentioned in v. 3. The article indicates waters that are definite in the mind of the speaker and the perfect is probably descriptive in function, like “thunders” in v. 3. However, even though the historical flood is not the primary referent here, there may be a literary allusion involved. The psalmist views the threatening chaotic sea as a contemporary manifestation of the destructive waters of old.

7 tn The prefixed verbal form with vav (ו) consecutive here carries the descriptive function of the preceding perfect.

8 tn The imperfect verbal forms in v. 11 are either descriptive or generalizing.

9 sn Strength. This probably refers to military power; see the use of the noun in 1 Sam 2:10 and Ps 86:16.

10 tn Heb “blesses his people with peace.” The Hebrew term שָׁלוֹם (shalom, “peace”) probably refers here to the protection and prosperity experienced by God’s people after the Lord intervenes in battle on their behalf.



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