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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 29

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 1

Give unto the LORD, O ye mighty, give unto the LORD glory and strength.

The voice of Yahweh is so all-powerful, that, however weak the Church be, and however strong her foes, He will give her "strength" and "peace." Psalms 29:1-11.-Call to the sons of the mighty to glorify Yahweh's might (Psalms 29:1-2); His glorious might detailed; their glorification of Him in His temple (Psalms 29:3-9); His people's assurance that however high the flood of foes arises, the Lord sits above it, and will give His people peace (Psalms 29:10-11). The "seven thunders" in Revelation 10:3-4, answer to the seven-fold "voice of Yahweh" here.

Give glory and strength. Recognize that Yahweh hath both glory and strength, and glorify Him accordingly. The design in Psalms 29:1-9 is to awaken us to realize vividly the truth, that the Lord hath in perfection "glory and strength;" from which follows the grand inference, "The Lord will give strength unto His people" (Psalms 29:11; cf. Psalms 96:7-8), based on the primary passage, Deuteronomy 32:3. "Glory" [ kaabowd (H3519)] - literally, gravity, weight (cf. "weight of glory," 2 Corinthians 4:17).

O ye mighty - Hebrew, 'sons of the mighty' [ bªneey (H1121)]. The sons of 'Eeliym (H410), or 'Elohiym O ye mighty - Hebrew, 'sons of the mighty' [ bªneey (H1121)]. The sons of 'Eeliym (H410), or 'Elohiym (H430), are plainly here the angels (Job 38:7). Seeing that the heavenly beings ascribe glory and strength to the Lord, the children of God on earth may be encouraged, by the proofs which He gives of His majestic might, to fear no adverse power which can withstand His interposition in their behalf. The plural form, ''Elohiym,' implies that though God is one, yet He hath an infinite fullness of attributes; in contrast to the pagan idols, to each of which only some one attribute was assigned. So Psalms 89:7, where only besides the phrase occurs. 'Eeliym (H410) is the abbreviated form of 'Eel (H410) 'Eeliym (H410) (cf. Deuteronomy 10:17). This view is confirmed by Isaiah 6:1-3, where the seraphim similarly ascribe the glory which fills the whole earth to the Lord. Also Psalms 103:20, "Bless the Lord, ye His angels, that excel in strength." Others take it kings and mighty men of the earth, as in Psalms 82:6. But (Psalms 29:9) "in His temple (i:e., His heavenly sanctuary) doth everyone speak of His glory" favours the opinion that angels are meant by 'sons of the mighty.' In Psalms 96:7 it is "Give unto the Lord glory and strength, ye, kindreds of the people." Thus the reasoning is 'a fortiori.' If angels who excel in might ascribe glorious strength to God, the Church on earth has no reason to doubt His power of saving her from the most mighty assailants. The mighty ones of heaven are tacitly contrasted with the mighty ones of earth (cf. note, Psalms 29:5).

Verse 2

Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.

Glory due unto his name - namely, the glory which is His due because of His name; i:e., His manifested attributes, His power, wisdom, and goodness.

Beauty of holiness, [ bªhadrat (H1927) qodesh (H6944)]; or as margin, after the Septuagint [en aulee agia autou], Vulgate, Syriac, and Arabic, 'in (His) glorious sanctuary.' So Psalms 96:9; 1 Chronicles 16:29; 2 Chronicles 20:21. In Psalms 110:3 the plural is used, "in the beauties of holiness." Hengstenberg, etc., less probably, translate, 'in holy attire;' for in Psalms 29:9, "in His temple doth everyone speak of His glory," is the response to the exhortation here, "worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness" - i:e., in His glorious sanctuary.

Verse 3

The voice of the LORD is upon the waters: the God of glory thundereth: the LORD is upon many waters.

One, singled out of many grounds, why the sons of God in heaven and those on earth should "give unto the Lord glory and strength" (Psalms 29:1-2) - namely, His sublime Majesty awfully revealed in the thunder-storm.

The voice ... The godly recognize 'the voice of Yahweh' in the thunder-peal (Job 37:4). Even the ungodly, who will not recognize His voice in the calmer phenomena of nature, are constrained, in spite of themselves, to admit His powerful presence in the terrible crash which accompanies the lightning-flash. The "waters," and "many waters," upon which the voice of Yahweh is, refer to the clouds, or "waters which are above the firmament" (Genesis 1:7). So Psalms 18:11; Jeremiah 10:13. God of glory - referring back to Psalms 29:1, "give unto the Lord glory," the ground for which is here set forth.

Verse 4

The voice of the LORD is powerful; the voice of the LORD is full of majesty.

The voice ... powerful ... majesty - Hebrew, 'is in power,' 'is in majesty.' The "in" [bª-] implies that 'power' and "majesty" are attributes IN which Yahweh is essentially and inseparably invested.

Verse 5

The voice of the LORD breaketh the cedars; yea, the LORD breaketh the cedars of Lebanon.

The voice ... the cedars. "The cedars" are specified, being the stateliest of trees; among them those of Lebanon were pre- eminent. As the voice of Yahweh can instantly break these, so can it break the mightiest of the Church's foes (Psalms 29:10-11), who are often symbolized by cedars (Ezekiel 17:3-4; Ezekiel 17:22-24).

Verse 6

He maketh them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn.

He maketh them ... - "He maketh them" (namely, the cedars Psalms 29:5) to move to and fro, with the hills on which they stand, by reason of the earthquake.

Sirion - "Sirion," the Sidonian name of Hermon, as 'Shenir' was its Amorite name.

Unicorn - rather, 'buffalo" (Psalms 31:21, note), or else 'wild ox,' the reem.

Verse 7

The voice of the LORD divideth the flames of fire.

Divideth - Hebrew, heweth; i:e., heweth asunder all opponents with the forked lightnings (Psalms 29:5) (Gejer, Hengstenberg). "O arm of the Lord ... that hath CUT [ chaatsab (H2672), the same verb as here] Rahab" (Isaiah 51:9; Hosea 6:5). The Chaldaic, Septuagint, Vulgate Arabic, and Syriac support the English version. As Yahweh's voice calls forth, so it cleaves through the lightning flame: the thunder pealing through the lightning. The brevity of the verse corresponds to the rapidity of the lightning.

Verse 8

The voice of the LORD shaketh the wilderness; the LORD shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh.

Shaketh the wilderness. The wilderness expresses the idea of vastness and terror, such as Israel experienced it (Deuteronomy 1:19), "that great and terrible wilderness," 8:15; 32:10, "the waste, howling wilderness." Like the hills, the wilderness symbolizes the power of the world distressing the Church. 'The voice of Yahweh' shaking it, or making it to quiver, implies how every power which now afflicts God's people shall, at His will, be overthrown when He cometh to shake the earth and heaven (Hebrews 12:26-27; Haggai 2:6; Joel 3:16; Isaiah 2:19, end).

Wilderness of Kadesh - the northern portion of the terror- abounding Arabian desert, touching the south of Palestine. As "Lebanon" marks the north boundary of the Holy Land so "the wilderness of Kadesh" marks the south. It is called also "the wilderness of Zin" (Numbers 33:36), near Mount Hor, and the land of Edom (Numbers 20:1; Numbers 20:16; Numbers 20:22-23; Numbers 21:4).

Kadesh was a city on the uttermost border of Edom. The hill and the wilderness, north and south alike, tremble to their very center at the voice of Yahweh. What, then, have His people to fear, come the danger from whatever quarter, and in what form it will?

Verse 9

The voice of the LORD maketh the hinds to calve, and discovereth the forests: and in his temple doth every one speak of his glory.

Hinds to calve The thunder strikes such terror into them that they prematurely bring forth. So in the case of Phineas' wife (1 Samuel 4:19; cf. as to the hinds, Job 39:1; Job 39:3).

Discovereth - `uncovers,' or 'strips the forests' of branches, bark, and leaves; or else, of their wild beasts, which leave the open pasture glades, to hide in their dens through fear. The contrast, between the stately "forests" and the timid "hinds" implies that in the thunder- storm neither the greatest objects can escape Yahweh's power by their greatness, nor the smaller by their smallness. In his temple ... - `in His (heavenly) temple (cf. Psalms 18:6; Psalms 11:4) all the celestial beings there (literally, all of it - i:e., whatever there is in it of celestial being) say "glory."' Thus, the call made to the angelic 'sons of the mighty' (Psalms 29:1-2), to 'give glory' to Yahweh, 'in the glorious sanctuary,' (margin), is here responded to by their 'saying every one in His temple, "glory" (cf. Isaiah 6:1-3).

Verse 10

The LORD sitteth upon the flood; yea, the LORD sitteth King for ever.

The conclusion applies to the case of God's people the lesson of confidence in the power of Yahweh their God, to be derived from the body of the psalm.

The Lord sitteth ... Chaldaic paraphrase, 'The Lord sat in judgment in the generation of the flood.' Compare the Vulgate [Dominus diluvium inhabitare facit], and Septuagint [kurios ton kataklusmon katoikiei].

Moreover, the Hebrew [ mabuwl (H3999)] for "the flood" is exclusively applied to the Noachian deluge. Therefore, with Gejer, Hengstenberg, and Muis, translate, 'The Lord sat (so sit, Psalms 9:4; Psalms 9:7-8; Joel 3:12) AT lª- the flood (as the King and Judge, vindicating His people, and destroying the ungodly foe; whence follows the triumphant inference), and therefore the Lord will sit King forever.' The Hebrew article, too, points to a particular flood. As God delivered His people at the flood so will He now. God's people have no cause to fear, as having so Almighty and all-just a God on their side. Their foes now are what "the flood" was then (Isaiah 28:2; Isaiah 59:19; Jeremiah 46:7-8; Jeremiah 47:2). "The voice of the Lord is upon the (figurative) waters" now, as it was upon the literal waters then, and as it is upon the watery clouds in every thunder-storm even still (Psalms 29:3). If the English version be retained, still take "the flood" as primarily the Noachian deluge. "The Lord sitteth upon the flood," restraining it from overwhelming His people, as in the days of Noah.

Sitteth king. He hath for ever the power of commanding all the elements, being their King.

Verse 11

The LORD will give strength unto his people; the LORD will bless his people with peace.

Give strength ... - answering to Psalms 29:1, "give unto the Lord ... strength;" i:e., the strength which belongs to Him preeminently and inherently, as it belongs to no creature. Since "strength" is peculiarly His, He "will give strength to His people."

Bless his people. According to the first and last benedictions of the three-fold Mosaic blessing - "the Lord bless thee ... and give thee peace."

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 29". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/psalms-29.html. 1871-8.
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