God's power revealed in a storm at the time of the winter rains

In the time of Jesus (Yeshua), this psalm was sung in the Temple at the afternoon sacrifice of the Feast of Trumpets (Yom Teruah, today's Rosh HaShanah). It is a symbol of the approaching presence of God in the High Holy Days of the sacred seventh month of Tishri, as well as of the approaching winter rains.  It was also sung on the second day of the Feast of Tabernacles (Sukkoth), and in the weekly welcoming of the Sabbath (Kabbalat Shabbat).*
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Credit to YAHUEH,1 sons of the gods,2
Credit to YAHUEH glory and strength.
Credit to YAHUEH the glory of his name.
Prostrate3 yourselves before YAHUEH
in the splendor of holiness.4

The voice of YAHUEH is over the waters.5
The God of glory thunders,
YAHUEH, over many waters:
The voice of YAHUEH in power,
The voice of YAHUEH in splendor,

The voice of YAHUEH, breaker of cedars.6
And YAHUEH breaks the cedars of
Lebanon.7
And he causes them to leap as a calf,8
Lebanon
And Sirion,9 as the offspring of oryxes.10
The voice of YAHUEH, hewer of blades of
fire.11

The voice of YAHUEH causes the desert to
whirl.12
YAHUEH causes the desert of Kadesh13
to whirl.
The voice of YAHUEH causes the deer to
writhe14
And he strips bare the forests.15
And in his sanctuary, everything speaks
glory.16

YAHUEH sat as king for the Flood17
And YAHUEH sits, king forever.
YAHUEH will give strength to his people.
YAHUEH will bless his people with peace.


1 The personal name of God.  Its pronunciation is uncertain, replaced with "Adonai" when reading by the Jewish people.  This is one of several possible reconstructions.  For more on God's Name, click here.
2 Worshippers of pagan gods. This opening section is a call to those worshipping other gods to accept the God of Israel.
3 Prostration (kneeling with face to the ground) was a gesture of humble submission.
4 That is, the splendor or glory that results from obedience to his commands.
5 The voice of God over the waters is an image rich in associations:  as with the Creation or the Flood (see below), or with the crashing thunder of a winter storm over the Mediterranean Sea.
6 An image of lightning striking a forest, as it does at the time of the winter rains.  The cedars of Lebanon (see next line) were huge trees up to 120 ft in height and 30-40 ft in circumference. A lightning bolt crashing into a cedar tree was thus an image of awesome power.
7 Famous for its mountains, once covered with cedar forests, that stretch northward from Israel's northern border.
8 The inhabitans of Lebanon and Sirion jump with fright at the crashing of lightning, as young animals do when frightened by a storm.
9 Mt. Hermon in the north.  Together with Lebanon, these were pagan areas outside of Israel, over which God shows his authority.
10 Native antelopes with long horns.
11 Lightning described as the flash of a sword.
12 A description of sand and dust storms in the deserts of the south, which also take place in the winter.
13 Kadesh Barnea in the deserts of Sinai in the south.
14 In giving birth, as they do in the winter season, an image associated with the forests in the north, where deer once lived.
15 The forests lose their leaves because of the cold air in the time of the winter storms.
16 An allusion to the glory of the Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the High Holy Days of Tishri, which take place at the time of the approach of the winter rains. The first rain of the season often takes place during the week-long Feast of Tabernacles (the concluding festival of the High Holy Days).
17 That God reigned during the Flood of Noah implies that he controlled and directed that terrible and awesome event.

* In Israel, the season of storms and rain is the winter (from about Oct. to April).  The beginning of this important season is marked by the High Holy Days of the 7th month (the Feast of Trumpets, Lev. 23:24; the Day of Atonement, Lev. 23:27; and the Feast of Tabernacles, Lev. 23:34).  This is a time when huge, white clouds first appear in the sky after many months with no clouds at all.  The reappearance of these majestic clouds together with the storms they bring are an image of the heavenly glory of God.

The seven appearances of the "voice" of the Lord in this Psalm (printed in bold letters) may be the source of the mysterious "seven thunders" (the voice of the Father) in Rev. 10:3,4.  (Cmp. John 12:28,29.)



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Upated 5/14/04.  Translation, notes, and pop-up photos by Jeffrey J. Harrison.  Copyright © 2002 by Jeffrey J. Harrison. All rights reserved.
Please do not copy without permission. For permission to reproduce this article, contact Jeff@totheends.com
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www.totheends.com.