Ps 104:1-35. The Psalmist celebrates God's glory in
His works of creation and providence, teaching the dependence of all
living creatures; and contrasting the happiness of those who praise Him
with the awful end of the wicked.
1. God's essential glory, and also that
displayed by His mighty works, afford ground for praise.
2. light—is a figurative representation
of the glory of the invisible God (Mt 17:2; 1Ti 6:16). Its use in this connection may refer
to the first work of creation (Ge 1:3).
stretchest out the heavens—the visible
heavens or sky which cover the earth as a curtain (Isa 40:12).
3. in the waters—or, it may be "with";
using this fluid for the beams, or frames, of His residence accords
with the figure of clouds for chariots, and wind as a means of
walketh—or, "moveth" (compare Ps
18:10, 11; Am 9:6).
4. This is quoted by Paul (Heb 1:7) to denote the subordinate position of
angels; that is, they are only messengers as other and material
flaming fire—(Ps 105:32) being here so called.
5. The earth is firmly fixed by His power.
6-9. These verses rather describe the wonders
of the flood than the creation (Ge 7:19, 20; 2Pe 3:5, 6). God's method of arresting the
flood and making its waters subside is poetically called a "rebuke"
76:6; Isa 50:2), and the
process of the flood's subsiding by undulations among the hills and
valleys is vividly described.
10-13. Once destructive, these waters are
subjected to the service of God's creatures. In rain and dew from His
chambers (compare Ps 104:3),
and fountains and streams, they give drink to thirsting animals and
fertilize the soil. Trees thus nourished supply homes to singing birds,
and the earth teems with the productions of God's wise agencies,
14, 15. so that men and beasts are abundantly
provided with food.
for the service—literally, "for the
culture," &c., by which he secures the results.
oil … shine—literally, "makes
his face to shine more than oil," that is, so cheers and invigorates
him, that outwardly he appears better than if anointed.
strengtheneth … heart—gives
vigor to man (compare Jud 19:5).
16-19. God's care of even wild animals and
uncultivated parts of the earth.
20-23. He provides and adapts to man's wants
the appointed times and seasons.
24-26. From a view of the earth thus full of
God's blessings, the writer passes to the sea, which, in its immensity,
and as a scene and means of man's activity in commerce, and the home of
countless multitudes of creatures, also displays divine power and
beneficence. The mention of
26. leviathan—(Job 40:20) heightens the estimate of the sea's
greatness, and of His power who gives such a place for sport to one of
27-30. The entire dependence of this immense
family on God is set forth. With Him, to kill or make alive is equally
easy. To hide His face is to withdraw favor (Ps 13:1). By His spirit, or breath, or mere
word, He gives life. It is His constant providence which repairs the
wastes of time and disease.
31-34. While God could equally glorify His
power in destruction, that He does it in preservation is of His rich
goodness and mercy, so that we may well spend our lives in grateful
praise, honoring to Him, and delightful to pious hearts (Ps 147:1).
35. Those who refuse such a protector and
withhold such a service mar the beauty of His works, and must perish
from His presence.
Praise ye the Lord—The Psalm closes
with an invocation of praise, the translation of a Hebrew
phrase, which is used as an English word, "Hallelujah," and may have
served the purpose of a chorus, as often in our psalmody, or to give
fuller expression to the writer's emotions. It is peculiar to Psalms
composed after the captivity, as "Selah" is to those of an earlier