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Bible Commentaries
Psalms 29

Trapp's Complete CommentaryTrapp's Commentary

Verse 1

« A Psalm of David. » Give unto the LORD, O ye mighty, give unto the LORD glory and strength.

Give unto the LordVerbo et confessione, saith Kimchi. By word and confession, as Joshua 7:19 Jeremiah 13:16 ; acknowledge him the King immortal, invisible, …, and yourselves his vassals; as did those three best emperors, Constantine, Theodosius, and Valentinian. Cedite, colite, step back, stoop, humble and tremble before this dread Sovereign of the world; bear an awful respect to the Divine Majesty, the high thunderer, the great wonder worker, unless you will come short of brute beasts and dumb creatures.

O ye mighty — Heb. Ye sons of the mighty, grandees and potentates, who are readiest to rob God of his glory, and being tumoured up by their worldly wealth and greatness, to deem or rather dream themselves demi-gods, such as may do what they list, as not accountable to any mortal. The Septuagint render it, O ye sons of rams. These bellweathers should not cast their noses into the air, and carry their crest the higher, because the shepherd hath bestowed a bell upon them more than upon the rest of the flock.

Give unto the Lord — Give, give, give. This showeth how unwilling such are usually to give God his right, or to suffer a word of exhortation to this purpose.

Glory and strength — By ascribing all to him, casting down your crowns at his feet, setting up his sincere service wherever ye have to do, …

Verse 2

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

Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name — Which yet you cannot do, for his name is above all praise, Nominatissimam et celeberrimam (Jan.), Psalms 148:13 , but you must aim at it. The Rabbis observe that God’s holy name is mentioned eighteen different times in this psalm; that great men especially may give him the honour of his name, that they may stand in awe and not sin, that they may bring presents to him who ought to be feared, and those also the very best of the best, since he is a great King, and standeth much upon his seniority, Malachi 1:14 .

Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness — Or, in his glorious sanctuary; therefore glorious, because there they might see God’s face, and hear his voice in his ordinances. Away, therefore, with your superstitions and will worships, and bring your gifts to his beautiful sanctuary; for nowhere else will he receive them. Send a lamb to this ruler of the earth, Isaiah 16:1 , as a homage penny.

Verse 3

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

The voice of the Lord is upon the waters — Thunder is here called, and fitly, the voice of the Lord (being brought, as one instance of those many other glorious works of his in nature), because it comes from him alone. Natural causes there are assigned of it; but we must not stick in them, as Epicurus and his hogs would have us. (The ancient Romans said Deus tonat, Deus fulgurat, for which now tonat, fulgurat. ) The best philosophy in this behalf is to hear God Almighty by his thunder speaking unto us from heaven, as if he were present; and to see him in his lightnings, as if he cast his eyes upon us, to behold what we had been doing. This voice of the Lord is fitly instanced as an evidence of the Divine power and majesty; because it is so dreadful, even to the greatest atheists; as it was to Caius Caligula, that potent emperor, ready to run into a mouse hole in a time of thunder (Sueton.).

The God of glory thundereth — And men quake before him; as worms at such a time wriggle into the corners of the earth. And yet your dive clappers duck net at this rattle in the air, though they do at a far smaller matter. So, many tremble not at God’s terrible threats, that yet are afraid of a penal statute.

The Lord is upon many waters — viz. When he thundereth. De aquis pendulis loquitur, saith Vatablus; He speaketh of the waters in the clouds, which are many, and of great force, as appeared in the general deluge; and doth still appear by that infinite inundation of rain that followeth upon the thunder claps. Some render it, The Lord, or, The voice of the Lord, is above many waters, i.e. above the loud roaring of many waters, which is even drowned by the thunder.

Verse 4

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

The voice of the Lord is powerful — So that it shaketh heaven and earth, Hebrews 12:26 . Cogitent ergo principes quantum infra Deum subsidant, … (Validum est et vehemens tonitru. Vat. Beza). Let those that think themselves some great business consider God’s infinite power, putting forth itself in thunders and tempests, and they will soon be crest fallen.

The voice of the Lord is full of majesty — Heb. in majesty; it is magnificent and immutable, though some fools have attempted to imitate it (as a certain king of Egypt, and Caligula, the emperor), by certain engines and devices.

Verse 5

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

The voice of the Lord breaketh the cedarsi.e. The thunder, and those things that either go before it or follow it, as lightnings, thunder bolts, storms, tempest, …, breaking and turning up by the roots huge trees.

The Lord breaketh the cedars of Lebanon — Which are the tallest, thickest, and most durable of any place in the habitable world. What a shame is it, then, that our hard hearts break not, yield not, though thunderstruck with the dreadful menaces of God’s mouth! Corripimur sad non corrigimur, … A fearful case. Let the tall cedars see to it. Nam per Cedros intelligit αλληγορικως quicquid est eximium in mundo. Where is that hammer of the nations, Nebuchadnezzar? that terror of the world, Tamerlane, …? Are they not broken in pieces as a potter’s vessel?

Verse 6

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

He maketh them also to skip like a calf — Young living creatures are full of motion. God by his thunder and earthquake thereupon (for so the Hebrews understand it) maketh not only those huge trees, the splinters of them, to fly up into the air, but also the mountains, whereupon they grow, to skip and jump out of their places and aloft from their centre.

Lebanon and Sirion, … — Or, Harmon, two known mountains, Deuteronomy 3:9 .

Verse 7

The voice of the LORD divideth the flames of fire.

The voice of the Lord divideth (Heb. cutteth out) the flames of firei.e. The lightniugs, which the thunder is said to strike, or cut out, because it causeth them to shoot and glide; it immediately followeth one flash, and goeth before another; dispersing and darting them hither and thither.

Verse 8

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

The voice of the Lord shaketh the wildernessi.e. The beasts abiding in the wildernesses; the most savage creatures, those that lie in woods, and are most fearless of men, are put to pain by thunder, and made to travail with trembling.

The Lord shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh — Through which the Israelites passed into Canaan, Numbers 13:27 , the beasts whereof were cruel, Deuteronomy 8:15 ; Deuteronomy 32:10 . Animalia quantumvis horrifica (Jun.). Beza paraphraseth, et Arabum tesqua succutit, it shaketh the cottages of the Arabians.

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.

The voice of the Lord maketh the hinds to calve — Which they naturally do not without a great deal of difficulty, Job 39:4-6 . See Trapp on "Job "39:4" See Trapp on "Job "39:5" See Trapp on "Job "39:6"

And discovereth the forests — By driving the beasts into their dens, baring the forests of their leaves and fruits, turning up trees by the roots, and so making a clear prospect through woods and groves, as one phraseth it.

And in his temple doth every one speak of his glory — Heb. every one, or, every whit of it, saith Glory; every godly man observing his dreadful thunder, and other his stupendous works, saith Glory be to God on high. Some conceive this psalm was appointed by David to be sung in the temple in time of thunder; which is not unlikely (Moiler.). There are that make God to be the nominative case to the verb speaketh, and render it thus; and in his temple, or palace, doth he utter all his glory (Tremel.). As if the psalmist should say, Much of his glory God uttereth in his thunder; but all in his temple. For whatsoever there he speaketh with his mouth he fulfilleth it with his hand, Psalms 115:3 ; Psalms 119:91 ; Psalms 33:9 Isaiah 44:26 . See a like collation of God’s works and word, with a praelation of this above those, Psalms 19:1-7 ; Psalms 111:7 .

Verse 10

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

The Lord sitteth upon the flood — He reigned in that general deluge in Noah’s days, Genesis 6:7 , and doth still over those horrible inundations that follow upon thunder and strong tempests; ruling that raging element, and governing all by his providence and sovereign power.

Yea, the Lord sitteth King for ever — And over all; therefore all, even the mightiest, should give him glory, as Psalms 29:1 .

Verse 11

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

The Lord will give strength unto his people — To bear up their hearts in time of thunder or other terrible occurrences, In tempore tonitru (Aben Ezra).

The Lord will bless his people with peacePace omnimoda, with peace internal, external, eternal: for godliness hath the promises of both lives, of prosperity, safety, and welfare both of soul and body.

Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 29". Trapp's Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jtc/psalms-29.html. 1865-1868.
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