Lectionary Calendar
Saturday, May 18th, 2024
Eve of Pentacost
Partner with StudyLight.org as God uses us to make a difference for those displaced by Russia's war on Ukraine.
Click to donate today!

Bible Commentaries
Psalms 29

Kingcomments on the Whole BibleKingcomments

Verses 1-2


In this psalm, God’s answer to the prayer in Psalm 28, in which judgment on the enemies was asked, is given. God will make sound His voice full of power and majesty at His time. That will mean judgment for the wicked and salvation and joy for the remnant.

In this psalm we do not hear the cry of an afflicted in distress, but the power of God is displayed. This is done to encourage the faithful. He Who cares for them is more powerful than all the mighty rulers of earth who are still in control today and who often make life so difficult for the faithful.

The description of God’s power is connected to His voice which is compared to a violent thunderstorm. This makes it clear that God is greater than Baal, the Canaanite idol of storm and thunder. His voice is the answer to the voice of David (Psalms 28:2). One of the characteristic features of a person is his voice. David recognizes in the thunder the voice of God (cf. Job 37:2-Deuteronomy :).

Ascribe to the LORD Glory

For “a Psalm of David” (Psalms 29:1) see at Psalm 3:1.

In this psalm, David calls on “the sons of the mighty” the mighty rulers, the great ones of the earth, to “ascribe to the LORD glory and strength” (Psalms 29:1). With this he is calling for their acknowledgment. They are to ascribe to Him “the glory due to His Name” (Psalms 29:2). Several times in Psalms 29:1-Exodus : the mighty rulers are told that He is “the LORD”, the Name that emphasizes His covenant with His people. In the entire psalm, that Name occurs eighteen times. There is clear emphasis on it (cf. Isaiah 42:8).

The command is appropriate: “Worship the LORD in holy array”. This will happen without any resistance. Where He dwells, everything is glorious and holy. With Him there is no contradiction between glory and holiness. One of His glories is His holiness. Both features of Him compel the rulers of the earth to bow before Him.

The three times repeated “ascribe”, seems to imply a certain unwillingness. But they cannot escape it. One day every knee will bow to Him and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:10-1 Kings :).

Verses 3-9

The Mighty Voice of God

The psalm is characterized by a repetition of words, giving the impression of repeating thunders. Seven times in these verses “the voice of the LORD” is spoken of. This gives this psalm its nickname: the psalm of the seven thunders.

With the exception of the seventh time, “the voice of the LORD” always speaks in connection with judgment. The seventh time the voice of God speaks to bring forth new life. That His voice sounds mighty seven times cannot but work deep awe for that Majesty. His works are mighty and mighty is also His directing of history. These verses describe His glory and honor over all creation: over the air, the sea, the land and the wilderness.

The first time we hear the voice of the LORD sound “upon the waters” (Psalms 29:3). Waters are often a picture of the nations living in rebellion against God (cf. Isaiah 57:20). “The God of glory thunders” terrifyingly over them. God is “over many waters”, He rules over them, they are in His power. Therefore, He can save His people when they have to go through the waters (Isaiah 43:2; Exodus 14:21-Song of Solomon :).

The voice of God is powerful and majestic (Psalms 29:4). When God speaks, it is always with power. He reveals Himself in His speaking, something of Him then becomes visible. We see this in creation (Genesis 1:3; Genesis 1:6Genesis 1:9; Genesis 1:11Genesis 1:14; Genesis 1:20Genesis 1:24). Everything comes about by His mighty speaking; and whatever He has created, He also upholds by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:3). In creation we see “His eternal power and divine nature” (Romans 1:20). In it He speaks (Psalms 19:1) and reveals Himself. And when He reveals Himself, He glorifies Himself.

God’s power and majesty are expressed in a storm; they become tangible in it. A storm is a way of speaking of God. As a result, cedars are broken, “yes, the LORD breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon” (Psalms 29:5). Cedars here are a picture of prideful man, who will be humbled by the LORD (Isaiah 2:11-1 Chronicles :; Isaiah 2:17). Not only the prideful man will be humbled, but whole nations, which are compared to mountains like “Lebanon” and “Sirion” (Psalms 29:6), which is Mount Hermon (Deuteronomy 3:8-1 Samuel :). Sirion is the Phoenician name for Mount Hermon. The Phoenician name emphasizes that in this psalm a contradiction with the Phoenician idol Baal is highlighted.

These mighty mountains in the north of Israel skip by His voice “like a calf” and “like a young wild ox”. He deals with them as if they were playful, young animals. Mountains are immovable to us humans, but by the voice of God even these immovable mountains start skipping like a calf and a young wild ox.

Unlike the surrounding verses which consist of two parallel phrases, Psalms 29:7 consists of only one powerful verse which we can therefore consider the center and core of this psalm. The earthquake created by God’s speaking in the previous verse is accompanied by the fiery flames that God hews out of the clouds, as it were. It resembles His glittering sword with which He brings vengeance upon His adversaries (Deuteronomy 32:41; cf. Revelation 19:15). In the face of that greatness, man shrinks (Jeremiah 10:13-2 Chronicles :).

From Lebanon and the Sirion in the north, the storm rages on to the wilderness of Kadesh in the south (Psalms 29:8). The entire land is ravaged by God’s judgments to requite the shedding of the blood of innocent people.

By His voice, God brings forth new life (Psalms 29:9). This verse refers back to the beginning of Psalm 22, ‘the hind of the dawn’ (Psalms 22:1). That deer or hind here becomes deer that cast young. Through the connection to Psalm 22, we can say that God gives new life on the basis of the death of the Anointed. The deer is a picture of the faithful remnant (cf. Psalms 42:1). They go through the great tribulation, in which they have so often despaired of life, and then come to new life, as it were.

The forests are striped bare by the storm. The trees stand bare after the storm. All their glory is gone. The trees here are a picture of the greatness of man (Daniel 4:20-Song of Solomon :). In this picture we see that after the judgments of God man is completely stripped of all his glory and stands naked before God. God glorifies Himself through judgment.

After the cleansing of the land, the sanctuary will be cleansed. The temple will be rebuilt by the antichrist who will let himself be worshiped there as God. Then God intervenes, for whoever comes into His temple must give Him glory. Everywhere, in all creation, the honor of God is visible. No one will worship anything or anyone else anymore. Everyone will say to Him what they see: Glory!

Verses 10-11

God Is King Forever

These verses are the answer to the prayer in Psalms 29:1-Exodus :. In Psalms 29:10 we see Who the LORD is as the One Who has power over everything. In Psalms 29:11 we see Who He is to His people.

His dominion over all is shown in His rule over the flood (Psalms 29:10). This speaks of the judgment He brings on the earth, a judgment similar to the “flood” of the deluge (Genesis 6:17). The LORD “sits as King” above it, He rules over it, it is His judgment. But just as with the deluge then, He preserves a remnant during the judgments.

Just as a new world emerged after the deluge, so also this judgment storm is needed if there is to be a new world, a new heaven and a new earth (Isaiah 65:17-Lamentations :). On that earth cleansed by judgment, the remnant spared by Him may dwell under the rule of the Lord Jesus, Who reigns as King from Jerusalem. His reign does not end; it is an eternal reign (Daniel 2:44).

God has taken away the power of the mighty rulers of Psalms 29:2 and hands it over to “His people” (Psalms 29:11). Israel will exercise world domination with the LORD in their midst and do so from the peace with which it has been blessed by His God. There will be an abundance of peace that will fill the whole earth (Psalms 72:7-Ruth :). It is the peace that prevails on earth after the tempestuous storms.

For the practice of our life of faith, the psalm is an encouragement. Those who are in trouble because they are treated with hostility by the world see here that God is in control of everything. He has the power to strike down the strongest opposition. When the believing heart considers this, it receives strength to persevere and there is peace in Him.

Bibliographical Information
de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Psalms 29". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/kng/psalms-29.html. 'Stichting Titus' / 'Stichting Uitgeverij Daniël', Zwolle, Nederland. 2021.
Ads FreeProfile