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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 29:9

Context

29:9 The Lord’s shout bends 6  the large trees 7 

and strips 8  the leaves from the forests. 9 

Everyone in his temple says, “Majestic!” 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 Hebrew imperfect verbal form is descriptive in function; the psalmist depicts the action as underway.

7 tc Heb “the deer.” Preserving this reading, some translate the preceding verb, “causes [the deer] to give premature birth” (cf. NEB, NASB). But the Polel of חוּל/חִיל (khul/khil) means “give birth,” not “cause to give birth,” and the statement “the Lord’s shout gives birth to deer” is absurd. In light of the parallelism (note “forests” in the next line) and v. 5, it is preferable to emend אַיָּלוֹת (’ayyalot, “deer”) to אֵילוֹת (’elot, “large trees”) understanding the latter as an alternate form of the usual plural form אַיָּלִים (’ayyalim).

8 tn The verb is used in Joel 1:7 of locusts stripping the leaves from a tree. The prefixed verbal form with vav (ו) consecutive here carries the descriptive function of the preceding imperfect. See GKC 329 §111.t.

9 tn The usual form of the plural of יַעַר (yaar, “forest”) is יְעָרִים (yÿarim). For this reason some propose an emendation to יְעָלוֹת (yÿalot, “female mountain goats”) which would fit nicely in the parallelism with “deer” (cf. NEB “brings kids early to birth”). In this case one would have to understand the verb חָשַׂף (khasaf) to mean “cause premature birth,” an otherwise unattested homonym of the more common חָשַׂף (“strip bare”).

sn The Lord’s thunderous shout is accompanied by high winds which damage the trees of the forest.

10 tn Heb “In his temple, all of it says, ‘Glory.’”



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