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Psalm 104[a]

104 Praise the Lord, O my soul!
O Lord my God, you are magnificent.[b]
You are robed in splendor and majesty.
He covers himself with light as if it were a garment.
He stretches out the skies like a tent curtain,
and lays the beams of the upper rooms of his palace on the rain clouds.[c]
He makes the clouds his chariot,
and travels on the wings of the wind.[d]
He makes the winds his messengers,
and the flaming fire his attendant.[e]
He established the earth on its foundations;
it will never be moved.
The watery deep covered it[f] like a garment;
the waters reached[g] above the mountains.[h]
Your shout made the waters retreat;
at the sound of your thunderous voice they hurried off—
as the mountains rose up,
and the valleys went down—
to the place you appointed for them.[i]
You set up a boundary for them that they could not cross,
so that they would not cover the earth again.[j]
10 He turns springs into streams;[k]
they flow between the mountains.
11 They provide water for all the animals in the field;
the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
12 The birds of the sky live beside them;
they chirp among the bushes.[l]
13 He waters the mountains from the upper rooms of his palace;[m]
the earth is full of the fruit you cause to grow.[n]
14 He provides grass[o] for the cattle,
and crops for people to cultivate,[p]
so they can produce food from the ground,[q]
15 as well as wine that makes people glad,[r]
and olive oil to make their faces shine,[s]
as well as bread that sustains them.[t]
16 The trees of the Lord[u] receive all the rain they need,[v]
the cedars of Lebanon that he planted,
17 where the birds make nests,
near the evergreens in which the herons live.[w]
18 The wild goats live in the high mountains;[x]
the rock badgers find safety in the cliffs.
19 He made the moon to mark the months,[y]
and the sun sets according to a regular schedule.[z]
20 You make it dark and night comes,[aa]
during which all the beasts of the forest prowl around.
21 The lions roar for prey,
seeking their food from God.[ab]
22 When the sun rises, they withdraw
and sleep[ac] in their dens.
23 People then go out to do their work,
and they labor until evening.[ad]
24 How many living things you have made, O Lord![ae]
You have exhibited great skill in making all of them;[af]
the earth is full of the living things you have made.
25 Over here is the deep, wide sea,[ag]
which teems with innumerable swimming creatures,[ah]
living things both small and large.
26 The ships travel there,
and over here swims the whale[ai] you made to play in it.
27 All your creatures[aj] wait for you
to provide them with food on a regular basis.[ak]
28 You give food to them and they receive it;
you open your hand and they are filled with food.[al]
29 When you ignore them, they panic.[am]
When you take away their life’s breath,
they die and return to dust.
30 When you send your life-giving breath, they are created,
and you replenish the surface of the ground.
31 May the splendor of the Lord endure.[an]
May the Lord find pleasure in the living things he has made.[ao]
32 He looks down on the earth and it shakes;
he touches the mountains and they start to smolder.
33 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I exist.[ap]
34 May my thoughts[aq] be pleasing to him.
I will rejoice in the Lord.
35 May sinners disappear[ar] from the earth,
and the wicked vanish.
Praise the Lord, O my soul.
Praise the Lord.

Footnotes

  1. Psalm 104:1 sn Psalm 104. The psalmist praises God as the ruler of the world who sustains all life.
  2. Psalm 104:1 tn Heb “very great.”
  3. Psalm 104:3 tn Heb “one who lays the beams on water [in] his upper rooms.” The “water” mentioned here corresponds to the “waters above” mentioned in Gen 1:7. For a discussion of the picture envisioned by the psalmist, see L. I. J. Stadelmann, The Hebrew Conception of the World, 44-45.
  4. Psalm 104:3 sn Verse 3 may depict the Lord riding a cherub, which is in turn propelled by the wind current. Another option is that the wind is personified as a cherub. See Ps 18:10 and the discussion of ancient Near Eastern parallels to the imagery in M. Weinfeld, “‘Rider of the Clouds’ and ‘Gatherer of the Clouds’,” JANESCU 5 (1973): 422-24.
  5. Psalm 104:4 tc Heb “and his attendants a flaming fire.” The lack of agreement between the singular “fire” and plural “attendants” has prompted various emendations. Some read “fire and flame.” The present translation assumes an emendation from מְשָׁרְתָיו (mesharetayv, “his attendants”) to מְשָׁרְתוֹ (meshareto, “his attendant”), a reading supported by one of the Dead Sea Scrolls, 4Q93.sn In Ugaritic mythology Yam’s messengers appear as flaming fire before the assembly of the gods. See G. R. Driver, Canaanite Myths and Legends, 42.
  6. Psalm 104:6 tc Heb “you covered it.” The masculine suffix is problematic if the grammatically feminine noun “earth” is the antecedent. For this reason some emend the form from כִּסִּיתוֹ (kissito) to a feminine verb with feminine suffix, כִּסַּתָּה (kissattah, “[the watery deep] covered it [i.e., the earth]”), a reading assumed by the present translation.
  7. Psalm 104:6 tn Heb “stood.”
  8. Psalm 104:6 sn Verse 6 refers to the condition described in Gen 1:2 (note the use of the Hebrew term תְּהוֹם [tehom, “watery deep”] in both texts).
  9. Psalm 104:8 tn Heb “from your shout they fled, from the sound of your thunder they hurried off.”sn Verses 7-8 poetically depict Gen 1:9-10.
  10. Psalm 104:9 tn Heb “a boundary you set up, they will not cross, they will not return to cover the earth.”
  11. Psalm 104:10 tn Heb “[the] one who sends springs into streams.” Another option is to translate, “he sends streams [i.e., streams that originate from springs] into the valleys” (cf. NIV).
  12. Psalm 104:12 tn Heb “among the thick foliage they give a sound.”
  13. Psalm 104:13 tn Heb “from his upper rooms.”
  14. Psalm 104:13 tn Heb “from the fruit of your works the earth is full.” The translation assumes that “fruit” is literal here. If “fruit” is understood more abstractly as “product; result,” then one could translate, “the earth flourishes as a result of your deeds” (cf. NIV, NRSV, REB).
  15. Psalm 104:14 tn Heb “causes the grass to sprout up.”
  16. Psalm 104:14 tn Heb “for the service of man” (see Gen 2:5).
  17. Psalm 104:14 tn Heb “to cause food to come out from the earth.”
  18. Psalm 104:15 tn Heb “and wine [that] makes the heart of man happy.”
  19. Psalm 104:15 tn Heb “to make [the] face shine from oil.” The Hebrew verb צָהַל (tsahal, “to shine”) occurs only here in the OT. It appears to be an alternate form of צָהַר (tsahar), a derivative from צָהָרִים (tsaharim, “noon”).
  20. Psalm 104:15 tn Heb “and food [that] sustains the heart of man.”
  21. Psalm 104:16 sn The trees of the Lord are the cedars of Lebanon (see the next line), which are viewed as special because of their great size and grandeur. The Lebanon forest was viewed elsewhere in the OT as the “garden of God” (see Ezek 31:8).
  22. Psalm 104:16 tn Heb “are satisfied,” which means here that they receive abundant rain (see v. 13).
  23. Psalm 104:17 tn Heb “[the] heron [in the] evergreens [is] its home.”sn The cedars and evergreens of the Lebanon forest are frequently associated (see, for example, 2 Chr 2:8; Isa 14:8; 37:24; Ezek 31:8).
  24. Psalm 104:18 tn Heb “the high mountains [are] for the goats.”
  25. Psalm 104:19 tn Heb “he made [the] moon for appointed times.” The phrase “appointed times” probably refers to the months of the Hebrew lunar calendar.
  26. Psalm 104:19 tn Heb more metaphorically, “knows its setting.”
  27. Psalm 104:20 tn Heb “you make darkness, so that it might be night.”
  28. Psalm 104:21 sn The lions’ roaring is viewed as a request for food from God.
  29. Psalm 104:22 tn Heb “lie down.”
  30. Psalm 104:23 tn Heb “man goes out to his work, and to his labor until evening.”
  31. Psalm 104:24 tn Heb “How many [are] your works, O Lord.” In this case the Lord’s “works” are the creatures he has made, as the preceding and following contexts make clear.
  32. Psalm 104:24 tn Heb “all of them with wisdom you have made.”
  33. Psalm 104:25 tn Heb “this [is] the sea, great and broad of hands [i.e., “sides” or “shores”].”
  34. Psalm 104:25 tn Heb “where [there are] swimming things, and without number.”
  35. Psalm 104:26 tn Heb “[and] this Leviathan, [which] you formed to play in it.” Elsewhere Leviathan is a multiheaded sea monster that symbolizes forces hostile to God (see Ps 74:14; Isa 27:1), but here it appears to be an actual marine creature created by God, probably some type of whale.
  36. Psalm 104:27 tn Heb “All of them.” The pronoun “them” refers not just to the sea creatures mentioned in vv. 25-26, but to all living things (see v. 24). This has been specified in the translation as “all of your creatures” for clarity.
  37. Psalm 104:27 tn Heb “to give their food in its time.”
  38. Psalm 104:28 tn Heb “they are satisfied [with] good.”
  39. Psalm 104:29 tn Heb “you hide your face, they are terrified.”
  40. Psalm 104:31 tn Heb “be forever.”
  41. Psalm 104:31 tn Or “rejoice in his works.”
  42. Psalm 104:33 tn Heb “in my duration.”
  43. Psalm 104:34 tn That is, the psalmist’s thoughts as expressed in his songs of praise.
  44. Psalm 104:35 tn Or “be destroyed.”

Psalm 104

Praise the Lord, my soul.(A)

Lord my God, you are very great;
    you are clothed with splendor and majesty.(B)

The Lord wraps(C) himself in light(D) as with a garment;
    he stretches(E) out the heavens(F) like a tent(G)
    and lays the beams(H) of his upper chambers on their waters.(I)
He makes the clouds(J) his chariot(K)
    and rides on the wings of the wind.(L)
He makes winds his messengers,[a](M)
    flames of fire(N) his servants.

He set the earth(O) on its foundations;(P)
    it can never be moved.
You covered it(Q) with the watery depths(R) as with a garment;
    the waters stood(S) above the mountains.
But at your rebuke(T) the waters fled,
    at the sound of your thunder(U) they took to flight;
they flowed over the mountains,
    they went down into the valleys,
    to the place you assigned(V) for them.
You set a boundary(W) they cannot cross;
    never again will they cover the earth.

10 He makes springs(X) pour water into the ravines;
    it flows between the mountains.
11 They give water(Y) to all the beasts of the field;
    the wild donkeys(Z) quench their thirst.
12 The birds of the sky(AA) nest by the waters;
    they sing among the branches.(AB)
13 He waters the mountains(AC) from his upper chambers;(AD)
    the land is satisfied by the fruit of his work.(AE)
14 He makes grass grow(AF) for the cattle,
    and plants for people to cultivate—
    bringing forth food(AG) from the earth:
15 wine(AH) that gladdens human hearts,
    oil(AI) to make their faces shine,
    and bread that sustains(AJ) their hearts.
16 The trees of the Lord(AK) are well watered,
    the cedars of Lebanon(AL) that he planted.
17 There the birds(AM) make their nests;
    the stork has its home in the junipers.
18 The high mountains belong to the wild goats;(AN)
    the crags are a refuge for the hyrax.(AO)

19 He made the moon to mark the seasons,(AP)
    and the sun(AQ) knows when to go down.
20 You bring darkness,(AR) it becomes night,(AS)
    and all the beasts of the forest(AT) prowl.
21 The lions roar for their prey(AU)
    and seek their food from God.(AV)
22 The sun rises, and they steal away;
    they return and lie down in their dens.(AW)
23 Then people go out to their work,(AX)
    to their labor until evening.(AY)

24 How many are your works,(AZ) Lord!
    In wisdom you made(BA) them all;
    the earth is full of your creatures.(BB)
25 There is the sea,(BC) vast and spacious,
    teeming with creatures beyond number—
    living things both large and small.(BD)
26 There the ships(BE) go to and fro,
    and Leviathan,(BF) which you formed to frolic(BG) there.(BH)

27 All creatures look to you
    to give them their food(BI) at the proper time.
28 When you give it to them,
    they gather it up;
when you open your hand,
    they are satisfied(BJ) with good things.
29 When you hide your face,(BK)
    they are terrified;
when you take away their breath,
    they die and return to the dust.(BL)
30 When you send your Spirit,(BM)
    they are created,
    and you renew the face of the ground.

31 May the glory of the Lord(BN) endure forever;
    may the Lord rejoice in his works(BO)
32 he who looks at the earth, and it trembles,(BP)
    who touches the mountains,(BQ) and they smoke.(BR)

33 I will sing(BS) to the Lord all my life;
    I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
34 May my meditation be pleasing to him,
    as I rejoice(BT) in the Lord.
35 But may sinners vanish(BU) from the earth
    and the wicked be no more.(BV)

Praise the Lord, my soul.

Praise the Lord.[b](BW)

Footnotes

  1. Psalm 104:4 Or angels
  2. Psalm 104:35 Hebrew Hallelu Yah; in the Septuagint this line stands at the beginning of Psalm 105.

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