Psalm 29 – The Power of God

Translation & Sermon By Nate Wilson for Christ the Redeemer Church, Manhattan, KS, 14 May 2017

Omitting greyed-out text should get verbal delivery down to 45 min.

Introduction: Preparing for war

2 Samuel 10:16-17 NKJV  Then Hadadezer sent and brought out the Syrians who were beyond the River, and they came to Helam. And Shobach the commander of Hadadezer's army went before them.  17  When it was told David, he gathered all Israel, crossed over the Jordan, and came to Helam. And the Syrians set themselves in battle array against David and fought with him.


The Commands (vs. 1-2)

1 Psalm by David. Children of mighty men, render to Yahweh; render to Yahweh glory and strength.
2 Render to Yahweh the glory of His name; bow before Yahweh in an adornment of holiness.

As our psalm opens in v.1, it’s important to understand the first word. Some versions translate it “ascribe” as if to say that we are to merely recognize that God has wisdom and strength and properly attribute it to Him, but that is never how the word yahav is used anywhere else in the Bible. It always occurs in a context where a person is obliged to render a service (Gen. 11:7, 38:16) or a resource.


The subject of this verb is also challenging to interpret. Beni elim in Hebrew. Elim is translated “goats” in 2 Chron. 29:22, “oak trees” in Isaiah 57:5, and “gods” in Daniel 11:36 – and, in fact the word el shows up again in the singular in v.3 translated “God” in most English versions. The root meaning of this word is “strong.”


Here is some of the entry for cavod/glory in the Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament:


Verse 2 uses a synonym for “glory” – hadrat, translated beauty/splendor/courts/array/majesty.

·         The word “due” in the first half of v.2 is not in the Hebrew; it is an interpretation of the construct form of the  word “glory” which indicates in Hebrew that the word “glory” is in a subordinate relationship to the word “name.” Certainly it is fitting to talk up the reputation of God, but this phrase literally says “render the glory of His name.” Even just saying the name Jesus reverently is a way to worship Him.

The Voice of the Lord (vs.3-9)

v    In verse 3, the Psalm makes an abrupt change, beginning a refrain about the voice of the Lord which is repeated seven times.

v    The “voice of the Lord”

Ø      is what Adam and Eve heard after they sinned in the Garden of Eden (Gen. 3:8).

Ø      It is what the Hebrews heard thundering out the law at Mt. Sinai (Ex. 15:10),

Ø      it represented the 10 commandments and the whole covenant with Israel (Deut. 30:8ff),

Ø      that covenant which they broke through disobedience (Jer. 42:21), but which was renewed after the exile (Hag. 1:12, Zech 6:15),

Ø      and, in the prophecies of Isaiah, “the voice of the LORD” also represents the Lord’s coming to judge all the nations (30:31).

Ø      The “voice of the LORD” prefigures Christ (Isa. 66:6), the Word of God (John 1:1) who created all things (Col. 1:16), is the lawmaker (James 4:12), and will come to judge the world in righteousness (Acts 17:31).

v    Perhaps the “many waters” of v.3 are literal rainwaters, or are symbolic of stressful troubles (Psalm 32:6), or of God providing “abundant waters” from the rock through Moses at Meribah (Num. 20:21), or of the triune God “hovering over the surface of the waters” and speaking the world into existence (Gen. 1, Ps. 136:6), but I want to suggest something different: David and other prophets spoke of “many waters” as a metaphor describing foreign nations (That’s also the way Augustine interpreted this passage[3].):

Ø      2 Samuel 22:17-18 NKJV  "He sent from above, He took me, He drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, From those who hated me; For they were too strong for me.

Ø      Psalm 144:7 NKJV  Stretch out Your hand from above; Rescue me and deliver me out of great waters, From the hand of foreigners,

Ø      Isaiah 17:12-13 NKJV  Woe to the multitude of many people Who make a noise like the roar of the seas, And to the rushing of nations That make a rushing like the rushing of mighty waters! The nations will rush like the rushing of many waters; But God will rebuke them and they will flee far away, And be chased like the chaff of the mountains before the wind...

Ø      The statement about God thundering isn’t in the creation account, but there is one story which would have been well-known to David in which God thundered from heaven against the Philistine army when they tried to interrupt a worship service led by the prophet Samuel in Israel. (1 Samuel 7:10 NKJV  Now as Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel. But the LORD thundered with a loud thunder upon the Philistines that day, and so confused them that they were overcome before Israel.)

Ø      The only verb in v.3 is perfect tense in Hebrew, indicating that the voice of the LORD thundering over many waters is speaking of events in the past, so I suggest David is using poetic language to recall times in the past when God defended Israel from foreign armies.

Ø      But every time we hear thunder, it should remind us that God is infinitely more powerful than mankind and able to squash even the most powerful forces of wickedness. It is said that the Roman Emperor Caligula, as depraved as he was, still hid under his bed every time there was a thunderstorm.

v    V.4 says that the voice of the LORD is “powerful” and “majestic.”

Ø      Although I’m not aware of any allusions in v.4 to any other particular passage in the Bible[4], the scriptures are clear that God and His works are characterized by כֹּחַ/power in places like Miriam’s song: Exodus 15:4-7 NKJV  Pharaoh's chariots and his army He has… drowned in the Red Sea… Your right hand, O LORD, has become glorious in power; Your right hand, O LORD, has dashed the enemy in pieces. And in the greatness of Your excellence You have overthrown those who rose against You...” (cf. 2 Chron 20:6) Psalm 147:5a NKJV  “Great is our Lord, and mighty in power...

Ø      And God is characterized by הָדָר/majesty in places like 1 Chronicles 16:24-27 NKJV  “Declare His glory among the nations, His wonders among all peoples.  For the LORD is great and greatly to be praised; He is also to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are idols, But the LORD made the heavens.  Honor and majesty are before Him; Strength and gladness are in His place.” (cf. Ps. 90:16, 96:6, etc.)

Ø      And the attribute of majesty also seems to be attributed to Christ in the messianic Psalms (8:5, 21:5, 45:3-4)!

v    V.5 mentions God’s voice “breaking cedars.”

Ø      The cedars of Lebanon were thought of as gigantic trees[5] by the Jews, but the Psalmist knew that God planted them and God owns them (Psalm 104:16 NKJV “The trees of the LORD are full of sap, The cedars of Lebanon which He planted”)

Ø      Even the mightiest of trees are no match for the power of tornado-force winds. Several years ago, a tornado ripped through the woods just south of this building, and when we drove up Scenic Drive, we were awestruck at the carnage. Trees were thrown around like match-sticks. An avenue that would have taken a phalanx of bulldozers weeks to clear through the forest had been carved out in a matter of seconds by that twister.

Ø      The Bible doesn’t describe any occasion where there was a supernatural shattering of Lebanon’s cedars, but it does describe the very deliberate cutting down and milling of many Lebanese cedar trees to be used as offerings and decorations for worshipping God!

§         Every year on the Day of Atonement (Num. 19:6), and every time a house or a person was cleansed (Lev. 14), a piece of a cedar tree was to be offered to God. The voice of the LORD commanded this to be done, and so His people milled cedar trees.

§         Later on, much bigger milling projects were undertaken when a King of Lebanon shipped a bunch of cedar trees to David to build a palace (1 Chron. 14:1 NKJV  Now Hiram king of Tyre sent messengers to David, and cedar trees, with masons and carpenters, to build him a house.) and then a bunch more to Solomon to build the temple (2 Chron. 2:11-16).

Ø      Later on, the prophet Ezekiel spoke figuratively of Syria being like a cedar tree that God would break down, and that’s interesting, because Syria was a foreign enemy that David had trouble with as well. The cedar-growing hills of Lebanon were also part of Syria. (Ezekiel 31:3-12 NKJV  Indeed Assyria was a cedar in Lebanon, With fine branches that shaded the forest, And of high stature; And its top was among the thick boughs…  10  Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: 'Because you have increased in height, and it set its top among the thick boughs, and its heart was lifted up in its height, therefore I will deliver it into the hand of the mighty one of the nations, and he shall surely deal with it; I have driven it out for its wickedness. And aliens, the most terrible of the nations, have cut it down and left it; its branches have fallen on the mountains and in all the valleys; its boughs lie broken by all the rivers of the land...”)

v    Like we saw in Psalm 28, today’s Psalm is a chiasm, and V.6 is the center of it.

Ø      The Psalm began with 4 commands to worship God[6] followed by 3 statements about His voice-power over nature, Verse 6 stands alone in the center, speaking explicitly of God’s power over foreign nations. Then we have 3 more statements about God’s voice-power over nature, and the psalm ends with 5 indicative statements about God as king.

Ø      I don’t want to read too much into things, but if this chiastic structure is intended to emphasize the statement in the middle, then we have a Psalm organized around how powerful God is, and which emphasizes that God will send away foreign invaders and preserve peace for his nation. When we look at the life of David, we certainly see him having to deal with that kind of military threat time and time again.

Ø      To what event was David referring when he wrote of Lebanon’s cedars – and even the land of Lebanon and Sirion skipping like a calf? Sirion was one of the tallest mountains in that region north of Israel. For some reason David uses its Sidonian name (Deuteronomy 3:9 NKJV “the Sidonians call Hermon Sirion, and the Amorites call it Senir”); the Jews re-named it “Hermon,” which means “devoted” to the LORD, and David refers to it by that name in Psalm 133.

§         One idea that comes to my mind is that David saw King Hiram’s raftsmen floating those cedar trees Lebanon and the slopes of Mt. Hermon down the Mediterranian coast from Tyre to the port of Joppa, where they would be carried by oxcarts up to Jerusalem to build his palace. Perhaps David came out to see the work and was impressed by those mighty trees bobbing in the water.

§         Another possible interpretation comes from Psalm 114, describing the entry of the Hebrews into the Promised Land: “When Israel went out of Egypt, The house of Jacob from a people of strange language,  Judah became His sanctuary, And Israel His dominion. The sea saw it and fled; Jordan turned back. The mountains skipped like rams, The little hills like lambs.” (Psalm 114:1-4 NKJV) Perhaps it’s describing an earthquake (some people have postulated that an earthquake in that seismically-active Jordan valley might have been the mechanism God used to interrupt the flow of the River for the nation of Israel to cross into the Promised Land).

§         Or perhaps it’s describing the Canaanite peoples fleeing before the army of Israel[7].

§         The wild oxen (or “unicorn,” which at the time of the writing of the KJV just meant a type of wild cattle, and which John Calvin described as one of the swiftest animals. Even as late as 1828, Webster’s dictionary gives no hint of the word being used to describe a mythical creature, but by the 1860’s when Delitzsch wrote his commentary, he was not aware of anyone living who had seen one.[8]) Anyway, you aren’t going to get a wild deer or goat or ox to stand still for you. That’s the whole idea behind bull-riding. Those beasts prance around so much that even experienced cowboys can’t stay on them for more than a few seconds at the rodeo!

§         David has already used the wild oxen (or unicorn) as a symbol for enemy soldiers back in Psalm 22: “Please deliver my life from the sword… Answer me even before the horns of the wild-oxen.” (Psalm 22:20-21, NAW)

§         I get the picture of soldiers getting really nervous and jumpy because they are so frightened. I think David is telling his mighty men that this is what to expect. These foreign armies that are currently threatening Israel are going to turn tail and run away when God comes through.

v    V.7 The voice of the LORD divides/strikes/flashes/hews flame of fire/lightening

Ø      The only two thing that the Bible says God “hewed” was Egypt, characterized as a dragon named Rahab: Isa. 51:9-10 NAW “Awake! Awake, arm of Jehovah! Put on strength! Awake like the days of old... Were you not the one that hewed Rahab, piercing the dragon? Were you not the one that dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep – the one that set a way (in the) depths of the sea for the redeemed ones to pass over?”

Ø      The lahavot aish “flame of fire” occurs many times throughout Biblical history:

§         When the angel of the LORD commanded Moses to deliver the Jews from captivity in Egypt, it was out of a burning bush, with a “flame of fire” (Ex. 3:2)

§         Then the “flame of fire” shows up as a description of one of the 10 plagues on Egypt in Psalm 105:32. It also shows up several more times in the Prophets to describe God’s judgment against the wicked (Psalm 106:18, Isa 5:24, Lam. 2:3, Ezek. 20:47).

§         Isaiah 4:5 speaks of the “flame of fire” by night and the cloud of smoke by day over the people of God which was there at their deliverance from Egypt all the way through their desert wanderings.

§         Jewish commentaries relate this to the thunder and lightening when God revealed Himself at Mt. Sinai in the giving of the law.

§         Then the army of Israel under the command of Moses is called a “flame” and a “fire” that “devoured Moab and the heights of the Arnon” on the East side of the Jordan before Israel entered the promised land. (Obadiah 1:18, uses the same imagery to describe the Israelite army conquering Edom, and Isaiah, uses this imagery to describe the divinely-orchestrated defeat of the Assyrians at the gates of Jerusalem (Isa. 10:17 NAW “The light of Israel will become a fire, and his Holy One a flame, and it will burn and devour his thorns and briers in one day.”)

§         In the New Testament, the flame or tongue of fire shows up again on the day of Pentecost, with the apostles preaching the word of the Lord and conquering the hearts of thousands of people from all over the world!

v    Vs. 8-9 repeat the verb chil three times, each time making the subject more specific. The basic meaning of this verb is to twist or writhe under a disturbance. At first we see the wilderness/ desert in general “shaking/writhing[9],” then it focuses in on a particular wilderness area, that of Kadesh – the desert that the Hebrews marched through on their way from Egypt to the Promised land (Judges 11:16ff), and then it zooms in on what I believe is a particular city writhing under the influence of the voice of the LORD – the KJV calls them “hinds,” the NAS calls them “deer,” and the NIV leaves its usual preference for the Septuagint and translates them “oak trees[10].” Three other times in the Bible, however, this word is transliterated “Elath,” a city in Edom on the coast[11]. Following this theme of remembering military victories early in Israel’s history, this seems to me to fit well, and this town is in the Kadesh wilderness. History tells us that the Canaanites were indeed panicking at the advance of the Hebrews into their territory[12]. This advance came at the voice of the LORD:

Ø      Deuteronomy 2:17-25 NKJV the LORD spoke to me [Moses], saying:  18  'This day you are to cross over at Ar, the boundary of Moab...  24 …Look, I have given into your hand Sihon the Amorite, king of Heshbon, and his land. Begin to possess it, and engage him in battle.  This day I will begin to put the dread and fear of you upon the nations under the whole heaven, who shall hear the report of you, and shall tremble and be in anguish because of you.'

Ø      Psalm 77:16-20 NKJV “The waters saw You, O God; The waters saw You, they were afraid [writhed]; The depths also trembled. The clouds poured out water; The skies sent out a sound; Your arrows also flashed about. The voice of Your thunder was in the whirlwind; The lightnings lit up the world; The earth trembled and shook. Your way was in the sea, Your path in the great waters, And Your footsteps were not known. You led Your people like a flock By the hand of Moses and Aaron.”

Ø      Psalm 114:5-8 NKJV “What ails you, O sea, that you fled? O Jordan, that you turned back? O mountains, that you skipped like rams? O little hills, like lambs? Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, At the presence of the God of Jacob, Who turned the rock into a pool of water, The flint into a fountain of waters. (Psalm 114 seems to refer to the same events in the desert with Moses and the people of Israel.)

Ø      “Strips/uncovers forests”

§         The verb doesn’t even occur in Hebrew in the Pentateuch or history books of the Bible, although “uncovering/laying bare” is mentioned as a judgment of God against idolatrous nations in the books of the prophets (Isaiah 20:4; 30:14; 47:2; Jer. 13:26; 49:10; Joel 1:7)

§         And cutting down forests is used in several places to denote conquering an enemy, such as the campaign of Ephraim and Manasseh against the Canaanites in Joshua 17:17-18 NKJV “And Joshua spoke to the house of Joseph—to Ephraim and Manasseh—saying, "You are a great people and have great power; you shall not have only one lot, but the mountain country shall be yours. Although it is wooded, you shall cut it down, and its farthest extent shall be yours; for you shall drive out the Canaanites, though they have iron chariots and are strong.”

§         the defeat of the Assyrian army by Judah in Isaiah 10:12-34 NKJV   "I will punish the fruit of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his haughty looks… 16  Therefore the Lord, the Lord of hosts… will kindle a burning… So the Light of Israel will be for a fire, And his Holy One for a flame; It will burn and devour His thorns and his briers in one day. And it will consume the glory of his forest and of his fruitful field, Both soul and body; And they will be as when a sick man wastes away.  19  Then the rest of the trees of his forest Will be so few in number That a child may write them… 33  Behold, the Lord, The LORD of hosts, Will lop off the bough with terror; Those of high stature will be hewn down, And the haughty will be humbled. He will cut down the thickets of the forest with iron, And Lebanon will fall by the Mighty One.”

§         The defeat of Egypt in Jeremiah 46:23-24 NKJV  "They shall cut down her forest," says the LORD… The daughter of Egypt shall be ashamed; She shall be delivered into the hand Of the people of the north."

§         And the defeat of Jerusalem in Zachariah 11, which is also spoken of as “cutting down her forest.”

Conclusion (vs. 9b-11) The Regnant King’s Gifts

9b in His temple, everyone says, “Glory!” 10 It is Yahweh who held office before the flood, and Yahweh will sit as King forever. 11 It is Yahweh who will give strength to His people; it is Yahweh who will bless His people with peace.

v    Since David is writing this psalm, the temple had not been built yet, so perhaps this is a heavenly scenario of everyone saying, “Glory.”

Ø      It’s certainly what we see in the book of Revelation in chapters 4-7: Revelation 4:9-11 NKJV  Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanks to Him who sits on the throne, who lives forever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying: "You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created."

Ø      The Hebrew word for “glory” cavod has a root meaning of “heavy” and indeed God’s killing people in judgement is not a light topic.

v    The emphasis in verses 10-11 in Hebrew is on the subject: It is the LORD who reigns and no one else. It is the LORD who gives strength and peace to His people; no one else can do that like He can.

v    The word for “flood” in v.10 is never used anywhere else in the Bible except to describe the worldwide flood at the time of Noah. Even way back then, God was in control, and He was holding the wicked accountable for their sin, and He is still on the throne judging justly. More than one New Testament saint has seen Jesus seated at the right hand of God. Jesus will never lose that position of ultimate power!

v    The two gifts that this awesome king gives to the people of His kingdom are strength and peace.

Ø      That strength which He gives us He expects to spend in service to Him, just as the opening verse of this Psalm said to do.

Ø      The peace comes outwardly as a result of God’s intervention to protect His people from enemies, but it also comes inwardly to His people as they realize that with such a powerful king watching out for them, they need never worry about any enemy in the future either.

Ø      These gifts were also given by Jesus to His followers:

§         2 Corinthians 12:9 NKJV  And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

§         John 14:27 NKJV “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

§         Romans 5:1 NKJV “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”

§         Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”


To the atheist, all this is nonsense. The atheist can see nothing more than a thunderstorm in this Psalm and attribute it to natural causes. That’s what my Jewish commentary says. Or if they can follow the allusions to battles in Biblical history they will analyze the winners and losers merely in terms of their natural resources and strategies. John Calvin wrote: “It is a diabolical science, however, which fixes our contemplations on the works of nature, and turns them away from God. If any one who wished to know a man should take no notice of his face, but should fix his eyes only on the points of his nails, his folly might justly be derided. But far greater is the folly of those philosophers, who, out of mediate and proximate causes, weave themselves vails, lest they should be compelled to acknowledge the hand of God, which manifestly displays itself in his works.”

“To deny God's rights is most dangerous; nor should we pay him merely a part and not the whole of what he claims. He is infinitely amiable, and so should be unspeakably loved ; he is infinitely powerful and majestic, and so is entitled to the most awful reverence.” ~William Plumer


“From this we may learn, that we ought to stand in awe of the majesty of God, in such a manner as, notwithstanding, to hope from him all that is necessary to our prosperity; and let us be assuredly persuaded, that since his power is infinite, we are defended by an invincible fortress.”~Calvin


“Whenever it thunders let us think of this psalm; and, whenever we sing this psalm, let us think of the dreadful thunder-claps we have sometimes heard, and thus bring God's words and his works together, that by both we may be directed and quickened to give unto him the glory due unto his name; and let us bless him that there is another voice of his besides this dreadful one, by which God now speaks to us, even the still small voice of his gospel, the terror of which shall not make us afraid.” ~Matthew Henry


Modern commentator Gerald Wilson wrote: “How long has it been since you were overwhelmed in this way by a sense of God's powerful presence? Too often today God has become our “buddy” and “pal.” As Christians we sometimes become so comfortable with the salvation we have received in Christ that we forget just how undeserved it is. When we focus on God only as Redeemer, Savior, and friend, and not as powerful God, creator, and hater of sin and evil, it is easy (often unintentionally) to emasculate our understanding of God until he is like our human buddies and pals who accept us as we are and do not challenge us to change. Isaiah did not equate the saving nature of God with "buddy-ship"! When he saw that “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty" (Isa. 613), he did not grin and slap God on the back. He didn't even give him a friendly hug or handshake. Rather, he found himself prostrate on the ground, fearful even to look at God… Similarly, Simon Peter in the New Testament found himself overwhelmed with such a clear sense of God's power that resided in Jesus that he was knocked to his knees… [When] the nets were overflowing, and the boat was so full of fish that it was in danger of sinking… where was Peter? Not slapping Jesus on the back and laughing about his good fortune, instead, he found himself flat on his face at Jesus’ feet, acknowledging his sinfulness; “Go away from me, Lord, I am a sinful man! … Prostrate in the slippery fish bottom of the boat, Peter had to acknowledge that he too was one of the ‘fish’ Jesus had come to catch!”


Comparison of editions and versions of Psalm 29

Only one word of this Psalm survives in the Dead Sea Scrolls. It’s in the Nahal Hever Psalms Scroll, and is the word “holy” in verse 2.


Greek OT (LXX Ps. 28)

Brenton LXX




1 Ψαλμὸς[A] τῷ Δαυιδ· [ἐξοδίου σκηνῆς]. Ἐνέγκατε τῷ κυρίῳ, υἱοὶ θεοῦ, [ἐνέγκατε τῷ κυρίῳ υἱοὺς κριῶν[B]], ἐνέγκατε τῷ κυρίῳ δόξαν καὶ τιμήν[C],

1 A Psalm of David [on the occasion of the solemn assembly of the Tabernacle.] Bring to the Lord, ye sons of God, [bring to the Lord young rams]; bring to the Lord glory and honour.

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

1 Psalm by David.

Sons of the mighty men, render to Yahweh; render to Yahweh glory and strength.

א מִזְמוֹר לְדָוִד הָבוּ לַיהוָה בְּנֵי אֵלִים הָבוּ לַיהוָה כָּבוֹד וָעֹז.

2 ἐνέγκατε τῷ κυρίῳ δόξαν ὀνόματι αὐτοῦ, προσκυνήσατε τῷ κυρίῳ ἐν αὐλῇ[D] ἁγίᾳ [αὐτοῦ].

2 Bring to the Lord glory, due to his name; worship the lord in [his] holy court.

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

2 Render to Yahweh the glory of His name; bow before Yahweh in majesty of holiness.

ב הָבוּ לַיהוָה כְּבוֹד שְׁמוֹ הִשְׁתַּחֲווּ לַיהוָה בְּהַדְרַת קֹדֶשׁ.

3 φωνὴ κυρίου ἐπὶ τῶν ὑδάτων, θεὸς τῆς δόξης[E] ἐβρόντησεν, κύριος ἐπὶ ὑδάτων πολλῶν.

3 The voice of the Lord is upon the waters: the God of glory has thundered: the Lord is upon many waters.

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

3 Yahweh’s voice has been over the waters; the might of His glory caused thunder! Yahweh has been over many waters.

ג קוֹל יְהוָה עַל הַמָּיִם אֵל הַכָּבוֹד הִרְעִים יְהוָה עַל מַיִם רַבִּים.

4 φωνὴ κυρίου ἐν ἰσχύι, φωνὴ κυρίου ἐν μεγαλοπρεπείᾳ.

4 The voice of the Lord is mighty; the voice of the Lord is [full of] majesty.

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

4 Yahweh’s voice has existed with power; Yahweh’s voice has existed with majesty.

ד קוֹל יְהוָה בַּכֹּחַ קוֹל יְהוָה בֶּהָדָר.

5 φωνὴ κυρίου συντρίβοντος[F] κέδρους, καὶ συντρίψει κύριος τὰς κέδρους τοῦ Λιβάνου

5 There is the voice of the Lord who breaks the cedars; the Lord will break the cedars of Libanus.

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

5 Yahweh’s voice broke cedars; Yahweh even broke in peices the cedars of Lebanon,

ה קוֹל יְהוָה שֹׁבֵר אֲרָזִים וַיְשַׁבֵּר יְהוָה אֶת אַרְזֵי הַלְּבָנוֹן.

6 καὶ λεπτυνεῖ[G] αὐτὰς ὡς [τὸν] μόσχον τὸν Λίβανον, καὶ ἠγαπημένος[H] ὡς υἱὸς μονοκερώτων.

6 And he will beat them small, even Libanus itself, like a calf; and the beloved one is as a young unicorn.

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

6 and made them skip like a calf – Lebanon and Sirion [a.k.a. Mt. Hermon] like the offspring of wild oxen.

ו וַיַּרְקִידֵם כְּמוֹ עֵגֶל לְבָנוֹן וְשִׂרְיֹן כְּמוֹ בֶן רְאֵמִים.

Greek OT (LXX Ps. 28)

Brenton LXX




7 φωνὴ κυρίου διακόπτοντος[I] φλόγα πυρός,

7 [There is] a voice of the Lord who divides a flame of fire.

7 The voice of the LORD divideth the flames of fire.

7 Yahweh’s voice has hewed the flame of fire.

ז קוֹל יְהוָה חֹצֵב לַהֲבוֹת אֵשׁ.

8 φωνὴ κυρίου συσσείοντος[J] ἔρημον, καὶ συσσείσει κύριος τὴν ἔρημον Καδης.

8 A voice of the Lord who shakes the wilderness; the Lord will shake the wilderness of Cades.

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

8 Yahweh’s voice makes the wilderness writhe; Yahweh makes the wilderness of Kadesh writhe -

ח קוֹל יְהוָה יָחִיל מִדְבָּר יָחִיל יְהוָה מִדְבַּר קָדֵשׁ.

9 φωνὴ κυρίου καταρτιζομένου[K] ἐλάφους, καὶ ἀποκαλύψει[L] δρυμούς· καὶ ἐν τῷ ναῷ αὐτοῦ πᾶς τις[M] λέγει δόξαν.

9 The voice of the Lord strengthens the hinds, and will uncover the thickets: and in his temple every one speaks of [his] glory.

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.

9 Yahweh’s voice makes Elath writhe in labor and it strips forests bare, and in His temple, everyone says, “Glory!”

ט קוֹל יְהוָה יְחוֹלֵל אַיָּלוֹת וַיֶּחֱשֹׂף יְעָרוֹת וּבְהֵיכָלוֹ כֻּלּוֹ אֹמֵר כָּבוֹד.

10 κύριος τὸν κατακλυσμὸν κατοικιεῖ[N], καὶ καθίεται κύριος βασιλεὺς εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα.

10 The Lord will dwell on the waterflood: and the Lord will sit a king for ever.

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

10 It is Yahweh who reigned before the flood, and Yahweh will sit as King forever.

יְ֭הֹוָה לַמַּבּ֣וּל יָשָׁ֑ב וַיֵּ֥שֶׁב יְ֝הֹוָ֗ה מֶ֣לֶךְ לְעוֹלָֽם׃

11 κύριος ἰσχὺν τῷ λαῷ αὐτοῦ δώσει, κύριος εὐλογήσει τὸν λαὸν αὐτοῦ ἐν εἰρήνῃ.

11 The Lord will give strength to his people; the Lord will bless his people with peace.

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

11 It is Yahweh who will give strength to His people; it is Yahweh who will bless His people with peace.

יְֽהֹוָ֗ה עֹ֭ז לְעַמּ֣וֹ יִתֵּ֑ן יְהֹוָ֓ה׀ יְבָרֵ֖ךְ אֶת־עַמּ֣וֹ בַשָּׁלֽוֹם׃


[1] “This demand of homage from the mighty must be looked upon as directed either to the grandees of David's own kingdom, the peers of the realm, the princes of the tribes… or to the neighbouring kings whom he by his sword had made tributaries to Israel and now would persuade to become tributaries to the God of Israel.” ~Henry (the Soncino Chumash and Delitzsch disagreed, saying it could only be speaking of “gods” or heavenly beings.)

[2] The only two other places in the Bible that mention glory and strength together are also in the Psalms, and they too are ambiguous as to whether the glory and strength are the people in the temple or the God whom they are worshipping:

·         Psalm 62:7 NKJV  In God is my salvation and my glory; The rock of my strength, And my refuge, is in God.

·         Psalms 63:2 NKJV  So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, To see Your power and Your glory.

·         In a sense, it is that connection with God that makes earthly glory and strength truly glorious and eternally victorious. All earthly glory and strength exercised apart from God is sinister and counterfeit.

[3] Delitzsch however disagreed, saying, “It is, however, far more appropriate to the commencement of this description to understand them to mean the mass of water gathered together in the thick, black storm-clouds (vid., Psa. 18:12; Jer. 10:13).”

[4] The Soncino Chumash suggests it is referring specifically to “the Divine revelation at Mt. Sinai.”

[5] Augustine suggested that the cedars were symbolic of people who are big-wigs that God will cut down to size in time.. “The Lord by repentance shall break them that are lifted on high by the splendour of earthly nobility…”

[6] Delitzsch noted “In the Apocalypse, also, the songs of praise and trumpeting of the angels precede the judgments of God.”

[7] Again, many commentators just say it was describing a storm. Viz. Delitzsch: “The skipping of Lebanon and Sirion, however, is… to be referred to… their being shaken by the crash of the thunder, a feature in the picture which certainly does not rest upon what is actually true in nature, but figuratively describes the apparent quaking of the earth during a heavy thunderstorm.”

[8] Augustine also mentions the unicorn. Delitzch suggested that previous generations of Arabs had seen a zebra-like animal with one straight horn and had introduced that to Europeans during the crusades, who put images of it on their coats of arms.

[9] “Jahve's thunder, viz., the thunderstorm, puts this desert in a state of whirl, inasmuch as it drives the sand (חול) before it in whirlwinds.” ~Delitzsch

[10] Here are James Anderson’s notes I found in John Calvin’s commentary: Bishop Lowth reads, “Maketh the oaks to tremble,” (Lectures on Hebrew Poetry, vol. 2, p.253,) in which he is followed by Dimock, Green, Seeker, Horsley, Fry, and others. But Dathe, Berlin, De Rossi, Dr Adam Clarke, Rogers, etc., adhere to the common interpretation, in which they are supported by all the ancient versions, except the Syriac, which seems to favor the view of Lowth. A main argument of Lowth and those who follow him in support of his rendering is, that the common translation, which supposes the passage to relate to the hinds bring forth their young, agrees very little with the rest of the imagery either in nature or dignity; whereas the oak struck with lightning, is a far nobler image, and one which falls in more naturally with the scattering of a forest’s foliage under the action of a storm. But Rogers justly observes, that “we are not warranted in altering the Hebrew text, because the oriental imagery which we meet with does not correspond with our ideas of poetical beauty and grandeur,” (Book of Psalms in Hebrew, metrically arranged, vol. it. p. 186.)

[11] 2 Kings 16:6 NKJV  At that time Rezin king of Syria captured Elath for Syria, and drove the men of Judah from Elath. Then the Edomites went to Elath, and dwell there to this day.

2 Chronicles 8:17 NKJV  Then Solomon went to Ezion Geber and Elath on the seacoast, in the land of Edom.

2 Chronicles 26:2 NKJV  He [King Uzziah] built Elath and restored it to Judah, after the king rested with his fathers.

[12] Augustine also interpreted these wilderness entities as people, but with a futuristic evangelical emphasis, claiming it is about: “The Voice of the Lord moving to the faith the Gentiles.”

[A] Other Greek translations from the first and second centuries AD use various other musical words to translate the Hebrew mizmor: Aquilla=melwdhma, Symmachus=wdh

[B] The Hebrew spelling of “God,” “exalted ones,” and “rams” is closely similar. Eusebius=iscurwn, S.=krateilwn. The parallel passages in 1 Chron 16:28 and Psalm 96:7 use the phrase “families of the peoples”

[C] Other Greek translations from the first couple centuries AD tended to render this word in terms of “power” which is more in line with the meaning of the Hebrew word in the MT  (Aquilla=kratoV, Symmachus=dunamin, Eus. & S.=iscun)

[D] Other Greek translations from the first couple of centuries AD rendered this words in terms of “beauty” which is more in accord with the Hebrew MT: Aquilla=diaprepeia, Symm. & Eus.=euprepeia. The Syriac, on the other hand, supports the LXX with “court,” so both textual traditions are ancient. Neither contradicts the rest of scripture; in fact the latter is the reading of the parallel passage in Psalm 96:8, and the former is the reading of 1 Chron 16:29.

[E] Other Greek translations from the first couple centuries AD tended to render this word in terms of “strength”: Aq. & Eu.=iscuroV, but the sense of both the LXX and MT is “glory.”

[F] Sym.=sugkateaxontoV (“leading together against”?)

[G] Other Greek translations from the first couple centuries AD tended to render this word in terms of “skipping”: Aq.=skiptwsei, Symm.=orceisqai, Eus.=skiptopoihsei

[H] Other Greek translations from the first couple centuries AD (Aq., Eu., Syr, Symm.) rendered this word as “Syria” instead of “lovers.” On this point, the NIV abandons its usual preference for the LXX.

[I] Cf. synonym in Symmachus - katadiairountoV

[J] Aq.=wdinontoV, Symm.=ektokizontoV, and similarly for the second occurrence of the same word.

[K] Aq.=wdinontoV (“suffer birth pangs”), Symm.=plhqunontoV media (“multiply”), Eus.=maioumenou (“go mad?”)

[L] More synonymns in Aq.=anasurei (“pulls up”), Symm.=gumnountoV (“denudes”)

[M] Aq.=autoV (him), Symm.=rhsiV (“oration”)

[N] Aquilla and Symmachus translated more like the MT here with the preposition eiV/peri and the verb for “sat” ekaqisen.