Psalm 104: Appendix A – Translation and Notes



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;
You are clothed with majesty and splendor.

(2) He spreads out light like a covering;
He stretches out the heavens as a tent.1

(3) He fills his upper chambers with water;2
He makes the clouds his chariot;
He travels on the wings of the wind.3

(4) He makes the winds his messengers,
Fire and flame his servants.4


(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
The waters stood over the mountains.

(7) Prom your rebuke they fled;
From your thunderous voice they rushed away.

(8) They went up to the mountains, down to the netherworld chasms,
To the place which you appointed for them.6

(9) You set them a limit which they cannot transgress;
They will not return to cover the earth.

(10) He sends forth springs in the wadis;
They flow between the mountains.

(11) He makes all the beasts of the field drink;
He makes the onagers shatter their thirst.7

(12) Near them (the streams) the birds of heaven nest;
Among them the ravens give forth their voice.8

(13) He waters[9] the mountains from his upper chambers;
From the fruit of his work, the earth is well supplied.10

(14) He brings forth grain for the animals;
And grass for those who serve man.11

He indeed brings grain from the earth;12
(15) And wine which gladdens the heart of man.

He indeed makes their faces shine with oil;
And bread, which strengthens the heart of man.

(16) The trees of the Lord have plenty;
The cedars of Lebanon which he planted,

(17) Where the birds make their nests;
As for the stork, her house is among their tops.

(18) The high mountains are for the mountain goats;
The rocky places are for the coneys.


(19) He made the moon for appointed times;
The sun knows when to go down.

(20) It darkens, and becomes night;13
In it creep all the beasts of the thicket.

(21) The lions roar for their prey;
They seek their food from God.14

(22) The sun rises, so they may be gathered,
So they may lie down in their dens

(2)) Man goes forth to his work,
And to his labor until the evening.


(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
In which are uncountable creatures,
Living things, both small and great —

(26) There the ships travel;
Leviathan which you made,
Plays in it.17

(27) All of them look to you,18
To give them their food on time.

(28) You give to them, so they may gather;
You open your hand, so they may be satisfied with good.

(29) You hide your face, and they are disturbed;
You bring their breath to an end,19
And they return to their dust.

(30) You send forth your breath, and they are created;
So you renew the face of the ground.


(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;
Who touches the mountains, and they smoke.

(33) I will sing to the Lord while I live.
I will sing to my God while I continue to exist.

(34) Let my song be pleasing to him,
I will rejoice in the Lord.

(35) Sinners shall be removed from the earth,
And the wicked will be no more.

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 tAsethOsek. 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.