Psalm 104: Appendix A – Translation and Notes
TEXT OF PSALM 104
This text is used as the basis for my paper Psalm 104: God – Creator and Sustainer
|(1) Bless the Lord, O my inmost being!
O Lord, my God, you are very great;
(2) He spreads out light like a covering;
(3) He fills his upper chambers with water;2
(4) He makes the winds his messengers,
|(5) He established the earth on its foundations;
It shall not be moved forever and ever.
(6) The primeval ocean covered it like a garment;5
(7) Prom your rebuke they fled;
(8) They went up to the mountains, down to the netherworld chasms,
(9) You set them a limit which they cannot transgress;
(10) He sends forth springs in the wadis;
(11) He makes all the beasts of the field drink;
(12) Near them (the streams) the birds of heaven nest;
(13) He waters the mountains from his upper chambers;
(14) He brings forth grain for the animals;
He indeed brings grain from the earth;12
He indeed makes their faces shine with oil;
(16) The trees of the Lord have plenty;
(17) Where the birds make their nests;
(18) The high mountains are for the mountain goats;
|(19) He made the moon for appointed times;
The sun knows when to go down.
(20) It darkens, and becomes night;13
(21) The lions roar for their prey;
(22) The sun rises, so they may be gathered,
(2)) Man goes forth to his work,
|(24) How marvelous are your works, 0 Lord!
You made them all wisely.
The earth is full of your created things.15
(25) This sea, great and wide across,16
(26) There the ships travel;
(27) All of them look to you,18
(28) You give to them, so they may gather;
(29) You hide your face, and they are disturbed;
(30) You send forth your breath, and they are created;
|(31) Let the glory of the Lord. be eternal;
Let the Lord rejoice in his works —
(32) He who looks at the earth, and it trembles;
(33) I will sing to the Lord while I live.
(34) Let my song be pleasing to him,
(35) Sinners shall be removed from the earth,
Bless the Lord, 0 my inmost being!
1He spreads out literally-should read, “He covers himself with,” but here, in the light of the parallelism, I have translated as above. slmh normally means mantle or covering, thus the movement is from the general to the specific, which is fairly common in this Psalm. (7ab, qOwl ra;amkA – ga;arAtkA; 11ab, hayetOw-sAday – perA’iym; 12ab, ;owf – ;Afa’yim; 14ab, behEmAh – ;obedot-hA’AdAm; 16ab, ;aTey-yhwh – ‘arzEy-lebanown; Thus here, “He spreads out light as a covering (general) // He stretches out the heavens as a tent (specific type of covering).
2See Mitchell Dahood, Psalms, 3 vols., The Anchor Bible (Garden City, N. Y.: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1970), 3:34.
3Because of the translation of the first line, these three lines fit together as a tricolon. The imagery evokes the second day of creation.
4These could equally well be translated with the object and the subject reversed. For reasons of context, which have been discussed above in Chapter V, they are translated thus. “Fire and flame” may simply be viewed as the omission of the conjunction for poetic reasons.
5Emending kaSSiytOw to kaSSetAh. If the Psalm was written originally without vowel pointing, this error would be easy. with the h misunderstood as the older form of the suffix, having become kstw with the newer form. In order to make sense of this form, the yodh would be introduced. This is a more logical preparation of the reader for the battle to come.
6See Dahood, 3:36, 37 for the translation of hAriym and beqa;owt.
7Emending yisberUw to yasbi(y)rUw a change only in vowel pointing. This is supported by the parallelism.
8For “ravens,” see Dahood, 3:38, 39.
9Hiphil participle, “he causes the mountains to drink.”
10For ma;asekA see Dahood, 3:39.
11Point le:Obdot feminine plural participle, and view as a specific class of animals.
12Taking the l on lehOwTiy’ as a lamedh emphaticum as in v. 15b. Also see Dahood, 3:39-41.
13Reading tistahsEk instead of tAset–hOsek. See Dahood, 3:43.
14Reading UwlebiqqesUw. Lamedh emphaticum with a plural perfect piel. With the use of the lamedh emphaticum lost in the time when the vowel pointing was added, this would be a simple error. If the Psalm was written originally without vowel letters, there would also be a difficulty in distinguishing between the singular and the plural.
15qinyAneykA see Dahood, 3:44.
16Perhaps “wide of reach.”
17Reading lesaheq lamedh emphaticum — “he plays in it.”
18Literally “hope towards you.”
19Reading tASi(y)f rather than tOSef with or without yodh. No consonantal changes are necessary.