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Psalms 104:21-29

Context

104:21 The lions roar for prey,

seeking their food from God. 1 

104:22 When the sun rises, they withdraw

and sleep 2  in their dens.

104:23 Men then go out to do their work,

and labor away until evening. 3 

104:24 How many living things you have made, O Lord! 4 

You have exhibited great skill in making all of them; 5 

the earth is full of the living things you have made.

104:25 Over here is the deep, wide sea, 6 

which teems with innumerable swimming creatures, 7 

living things both small and large.

104:26 The ships travel there,

and over here swims the whale 8  you made to play in it.

104:27 All of your creatures 9  wait for you

to provide them with food on a regular basis. 10 

104:28 You give food to them and they receive it;

you open your hand and they are filled with food. 11 

104:29 When you ignore them, they panic. 12 

When you take away their life’s breath, they die

and return to dust.

1 sn The lions’ roaring is viewed as a request for food from God.

2 tn Heb “lie down.”

3 tn Heb “man goes out to his work, and to his labor until evening.”

4 tn Heb “How many [are] your works, O Lord.” In this case the Lord’s “works” are the creatures he has made, as the preceding and following contexts make clear.

5 tn Heb “all of them with wisdom you have made.”

6 tn Heb “this [is] the sea, great and broad of hands [i.e., “sides” or “shores”].”

7 tn Heb “where [there are] swimming things, and without number.”

8 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.

9 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.

10 tn Heb “to give their food in its time.”

11 tn Heb “they are satisfied [with] good.”

12 tn Heb “you hide your face, they are terrified.”



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