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Bible Commentaries

Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable
Psalms 29



Verse 1-2

1. A call to praise Yahweh29:1-2

The phrase "sons of the mighty" (NASB) or "mighty ones" (NIV) probably refers to the angels. The Old Testament writers called Israel "God"s Song of Solomon ," but they did not refer to individual believers that way. The idea that every believer is God"s son was a revelation that Jesus Christ introduced for the first time ( Matthew 6:9; et al.).

These verses are an excellent example of climactic parallelism. In climactic parallelism, the writer makes a statement, and every time he repeats the same idea in a succeeding line, he does so more forcefully. Holy array was the dress morally, more than physically, with which the Israelites were to worship God when they assembled for their national festivals at the sanctuary.

Verses 1-11

Psalm 29

David praised God for His awesome power as a consequence of contemplating a severe thunderstorm, either a real storm or one in his mind"s eye.

"David was an outdoorsman who appreciated nature and celebrated the power of Jehovah the Creator. Jewish worshipers today use this psalm in the synagogue as a part of their celebration of Pentecost." [Note: Wiersbe, The . . . Wisdom . . ., p147.]

Israel"s pagan neighbors gave the credit for storms and other natural phenomena to their gods. Consequently, this creation psalm was a polemic against belief in these idols, as well as a tribute to the uniqueness of Yahweh.

"Whether David was building the psalm out of an ancient fragment, or turning to a style that would recall the old battle-hymns of God"s salvation, the primitive vigour of the verse, with its eighteen reiterations of the name Yahweh (the Lord), wonderfully matches the theme, while the structure of the poem averts the danger of monotony by its movement from heaven to earth, by the path of the storm and by the final transition from nature in uproar to the people of God in peace." [Note: Kidner, pp124-25.]

Verse 3-4

David evidently saw the storm first over a large body of water, perhaps the Mediterranean Sea. He spoke of the thunder as God"s voice. This is an apt comparison, since thunder is a noise that comes from "heaven," i.e, the sky. However, he may also have used this figure to imply Yahweh"s control over His creation. God brought the creation into existence with a word ( Genesis 1:3; Genesis 1:6; Genesis 1:9; Genesis 1:14; Genesis 1:20; Genesis 1:24).

Verses 3-9

2. Reasons to praise Yahweh29:3-9

This section pictures a thunderstorm.

Verses 5-7

David"s description of the progress of the storm pictured it moving inland over Lebanon to the north of Israel. The Lord"s voice (thunder) seemingly split the mighty cedars of Lebanon and tossed them about like matchsticks. Of course, the lightning and wind were probably the actual agents of this devastation, but the psalmist described it as the result of Yahweh"s decree. Likewise, he said God called forth flames of fire (lightning). Both Old and New Testaments speak of lightning as God"s tool of judgment (e.g, 2 Samuel 22:15; Job 28:26; Matthew 24:27; et al.). Lebanon and Sirion (Mt. Hermon, Deuteronomy 3:9) are names of mountains in the Anti-Lebanon Range, Baal"s supposed territory.

Verse 8-9

As the storm moved eastward into the wilderness area near Kadesh north of Damascus, it shook the earth. It made the deer give birth to their calves prematurely and blew the leaves off the trees. Consequently, all God"s angelic host glorified Him for His great power.

It is probably significant that the phrase "voice of the Lord" occurs seven times in Psalm 29:3-9. The Israelites often regarded things done seven times as perfect acts of God, such as the creation that God accomplished in seven days.

Verse 10

The present storm reminded David of the inundation of the whole world in Noah"s day. The Hebrew word for flood here occurs elsewhere in the Old Testament only in Genesis 6-11. As Yahweh ruled over His creation then, so He did in David"s day, and so He does forever. Thunderstorms reminded the psalmist of this truth.

Verse 10-11

3. The sovereignty of Yahweh29:10-11

Verse 11

The same power Yahweh employs in storms is available to His people. As He can cause a storm to subside, so He can bring peace into our lives (cf. Mark 4:37-39). Thus the Lord is not just transcendent over all and able to control the forces of nature. He is also a resource for those to whom He has committed Himself with covenant promises.

"The subject of the psalm is the demonstration of God"s glory in nature, but its impact is the opposite. It gives a sense of tranquility and awe. Yahweh, our God, is powerful in his glory. He can and does protect his people. He opens heaven up to unleash his blessings of protection, victory, and peace (cf. Psalm 28:8-9; Psalm 46:1-3; Numbers 6:24-26). There is quietness within the storm for those who belong to the people of God." [Note: VanGemeren, p257.]

Believers should see in nature the attributes of God and glorify Him for His mighty power (cf. Psalm 19:1-6). We should also remember that His power is a resource for us. The God of creation is also the God who saves His people.


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentary on Psalms 29:4". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". 2012.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, September 18th, 2019
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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