Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Psalm 104:5-9); (2) the clothing of the earth with grass, herbs, and trees (Psalm 104:10-18). The poet, however, ranges beyond the Mosaic account, and already peoples the earth with the living creatures of the fifth day. “It is not a picture of still life like that of Genesis, but a living, moving, animated scene” (Perowne).
The inconsistency of this with Job 26:7, “He laid the earth upon nothing,” need not cause difficulty. Both treatments are poetical, not scientific. The word foundations implies stability and endurance (comp. Psalm 82:5), as in Shakespeare’s
“The frame and huge foundation of the earth.”
The verse has a historical interest from having supplied the Inquisition with an argument against Galileo.Psalm 104:5. Who laid the foundations of the earth — Hebrew, יסד ארצ על מכוניה, jasad eretz gnal mechoneah, who hath founded the earth upon its own bases, or foundations, that is, upon itself, or its own centre of gravity, by which it is self-balanced, and by which it stands as fast and immoveable as if it were built upon the strongest foundation imaginable, which is a most stupendous work of divine wisdom and power; that it should not be removed — Out of its proper place; for ever — Or, till the end of time, when it must give way to the new earth. “God,” says Dr. Hammond, “has fixed so strange a place for the earth, that, being a heavy body, one would think it should fall every moment: and yet, which way so- ever we should imagine it to stir, it must, contrary to the nature of such a body, fall upward, and so can have no possible ruin, but by tumbling into heaven,” namely, which surrounds it on all sides.Job 38:4.
That it should not be removed for ever - So that it cannot be shaken out of its place. That is, It is fixed, permanent, solid. Its foundations do not give way, as edifices reared by man. but it abides the same from age to age - the most fixed and stable object of which we have any knowledge. Compare the notes at Psalm 78:69.He hath founded or established the earth upon its own basis or foundations, i.e. upon itself, or its own weight, whereby it stands as fast and unmovable, as if it were built upon the strongest foundations imaginable; which is a stupendous work of Divine power and wisdom. That it should not be removed out of its proper place, which is the lowest part of the world.
For ever; as long as the world continues. Psalm 24:2, others the centre of gravity in it; others the mountains; others the circumambient air, by which it is poised; rather the almighty power of God, by which it subsists; this is the work of Christ the Almighty; see Hebrews 1:3.
That it should not be removed for ever: for though it may be shaken by earthquakes, yet not removed; nor will it be until the dissolution of all things, when it shall flee away before the face of the Judge, and a new earth shall succeed, Revelation 20:11.Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)5. He founded the earth on its bases,
That it should not be moved for ever.
The earth is compared to a building erected upon solid foundations. Cp. Job 38:6; Proverbs 8:29.
5–9. The formation of the earth, and the separation of land and water: the work of the third day, Genesis 1:9-10; cp. Job 38:8-11.Verse 5. - Who laid the foundations of the earth; rather, as in the margin, who founded the earth upon her bases; i.e. fixed the earth in its place, on bases - not necessarily material bases - which keep it steadily where it is (comp. Job 26:7). That it should not be removed forever (comp. Psalm 93:1). Psalm 115:3; Ecclesiastes 5:12, is the unchangeable realm above the rise and fall of things here below. On Psalm 103:19 cf. 1 Chronicles 29:12. בּכּל refers to everything created without exception, the universe of created things. In connection with the heavens of glory the poet cannot but call to mind the angels. His call to these to join in the praise of Jahve has its parallel only in Psalm 29:1-11 and Psalm 148:1-14. It arises from the consciousness of the church on earth that it stands in living like-minded fellowship with the angels of God, and that it possesses a dignity which rises above all created things, even the angels which are appointed to serve it (Psalm 91:11). They are called גּבּרים as in Joel 3:11, and in fact גּבּרי כּח, as the strong to whom belongs strength unequalled. Their life endowed with heroic strength is spent entirely - an example for mortals - in an obedient execution of the word of God. לשׁמע is a definition not of the purpose, but of the manner: obediendo (as in Genesis 2:3 perficiendo). Hearing the call of His word, they also forthwith put it into execution. the hosts (צבאיו), as משׁרתיו shows, are the celestial spirits gathered around the angels of a higher rank (cf. Luke 2:13), the innumerable λειτουργικὰ πνεῦματα (Psalm 104:4, Daniel 7:10; Hebrews 1:14), for there is a hierarchia caelestis. From the archangels the poet comes to the myriads of the heavenly hosts, and from these to all creatures, that they, wheresoever they may be throughout Jahve's wide domain, may join in the song of praise that is to be struck up; and from this point he comes back to his own soul, which he modestly includes among the creatures mentioned in the third passage. A threefold בּרכי נפשׁי now corresponds to the threefold בּרכוּ; and inasmuch as the poet thus comes back to his own soul, his Psalm also turns back into itself and assumes the form of a converging circle.
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