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Psalms 104:2-5

Context

104:2 He covers himself with light as if it were a garment.

He stretches out the skies like a tent curtain,

104:3 and lays the beams of the upper rooms of his palace on the rain clouds. 1 

He makes the clouds his chariot,

and travels along on the wings of the wind. 2 

104:4 He makes the winds his messengers,

and the flaming fire his attendant. 3 

104:5 He established the earth on its foundations;

it will never be upended.

Psalms 136:5

Context

136:5 to the one who used wisdom to make the heavens,

for his loyal love endures,

1 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.

2 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.

3 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.



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