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scripture

 

PSALM 29*

The Lord of Majesty Acclaimed as King of the World

1A psalm of David.

I

Give to the LORD, you sons of God,*

give to the LORD glory and might;

2Give to the LORD the glory due his name.

Bow down before the LORD’s holy splendor!a

II

3The voice of the LORD* is over the waters;

the God of glory thunders,

the LORD, over the mighty waters.

4The voice of the LORD is power;

the voice of the LORD is splendor.b

5The voice of the LORD cracks the cedars;

the LORD splinters the cedars of Lebanon,

6Makes Lebanon leap like a calf,

and Sirion* like a young bull.

7The voice of the LORD strikes with fiery flame;

8the voice of the LORD shakes the desert;

the LORD shakes the desert of Kadesh.

9*The voice of the LORD makes the deer dance

and strips the forests bare.

All in his Temple say, “Glory!”

III

10The LORD sits enthroned above the flood!*c

The LORD reigns as king forever!

11May the LORD give might to his people;*

may the LORD bless his people with peace!d

* [Psalm 29] The hymn invites the members of the heavenly court to acknowledge God’s supremacy by ascribing glory and might to God alone (Ps 29:12a, 9b). Divine glory and might are dramatically visible in the storm (Ps 29:39a). The storm apparently comes from the Mediterranean onto the coast of Syria-Palestine and then moves inland. In Ps 29:10 the divine beings acclaim God’s eternal kingship. The Psalm concludes with a prayer that God will impart the power just displayed to the Israelite king and through the king to Israel.

* [29:1] Sons of God: members of the heavenly court who served Israel’s God in a variety of capacities.

* [29:3] The voice of the LORD: the sevenfold repetition of the phrase imitates the sound of crashing thunder and may allude to God’s primordial slaying of Leviathan, the seven-headed sea monster of Canaanite mythology.

* [29:6] Sirion: the Phoenician name for Mount Hermon, cf. Dt 3:9.

* [29:9b10] Having witnessed God’s supreme power (Ps 29:39a), the gods acknowledge the glory that befits the king of the divine and human world.

* [29:10] The flood: God defeated the primordial waters and made them part of the universe, cf. Ps 89:1013; 93:34.

* [29:11] His people: God’s people, Israel.

a. [29:2] Ps 68:35; 96:79.

b. [29:4] Ps 46:7; 77:1819; Jb 37:4; Is 30:30.

c. [29:10] Bar 3:3.

d. [29:11] Ps 68:36.




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