|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
104:19-30 We are to praise and magnify God for the constant succession of day and night. And see how those are like to the wild beasts, who wait for the twilight, and have fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. Does God listen to the language of mere nature, even in ravenous creatures, and shall he not much more interpret favourably the language of grace in his own people, though weak and broken groanings which cannot be uttered? There is the work of every day, which is to be done in its day, which man must apply to every morning, and which he must continue in till evening; it will be time enough to rest when the night comes, in which no man can work. The psalmist wonders at the works of God. The works of art, the more closely they are looked upon, the more rough they appear; the works of nature appear more fine and exact. They are all made in wisdom, for they all answer the end they were designed to serve. Every spring is an emblem of the resurrection, when a new world rises, as it were, out of the ruins of the old one. But man alone lives beyond death. When the Lord takes away his breath, his soul enters on another state, and his body will be raised, either to glory or to misery. May the Lord send forth his Spirit, and new-create our souls to holiness.
Verse 25. - So is this great and wide sea; rather, yonder sea too (is thy work), so great and wide stretching. Wherein are things creeping (rather, moving things) innumerable. The abundant life of the sea, even in its depths, is the admiration of all naturalists. Tens of thousands of microscopic shells have been brought to light by the dredger's labours almost everywhere. Both small and great beasts. Microscopic shellfish on the one hand; seals, walruses, sharks, whales, on the other.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
So is this great and wide sea,.... One of the great and manifold works of God, made in his wisdom, and full of his riches and possessions, as the earth is; this is that collection of waters which God called seas, Genesis 1:10 and is, as Kimchi observes, great in length, and wide and spacious in breadth; or "broad of hands" (i), as in the original; or spacious in borders, as the Targum; it washing the several parts of the continent, and encompassing and embracing the whole earth with both arms as it were. Nor is it unusual with other writers to call the sea the great sea (k), and to speak of an arm or arms of the sea (l), as we do. Isidore says (m), the great sea is that which flows out of the ocean from the west, and goes to the south, and then to the north, called so in comparison of other seas that are less, and is the Mediterranean sea, This is an emblem of the world, which may be compared to the sea for the multitude of nations and people in it, as numerous as the waves of the sea; for the temper of the inhabitants of it, being like the troubled sea, restless and uneasy, casting up the mire of dirt and sin; and for the instability of it, and the fluctuating state and condition of all things in it.
Wherein are things creeping innumerable; so that it seems there are reptiles in the water as well as on land; and indeed every creature without feet, and that goes upon its belly, in the element where it is, whether earth or water, is a creeping thing; of these swimming or creeping things the number is exceeding great, especially of the latter sort; fishes increasing much more than the beasts of the earth. Their species are innumerable; so their kinds or sorts are reckoned up by some one hundred and forty four (n), by others one hundred and fifty three (o), and by others one hundred and seventy six (p); the Malabarians reckon, up 900,000 fishes, and 1,100,000 creeping things (q). These are an emblem of the common people of the world, which are innumerable; see Habakkuk 1:14.
Both small and great beasts; for there are creatures in the seas which answer to those on the dry land, both of the lesser and greater sort, as sea lions, sea horses, sea cows, sea hogs, &c. these may represent the rulers and governors of the world, supreme and subordinate; it is no unusual thing for great monarchies, and persons of great power and authority, to be signified by beasts rising out of the sea, Daniel 7:3.
(i) "latum manibus", Montanus; "spatiosum manibus", V. L. "amplum manibus", Vatablus. (k) Virgil. Aeneid. 5. Lucretius, l. 6. (l) "Veluti par divexum in mare brachium transitum tentaturus", Liv. Hist. l. 44. c. 35. "Nec brachia longos" &c. Ovid. Metamorph. l. 1. Fab. 1. v. 13, 14. (m) Origin. l. 13. c. 16. (n) Origin. l. 12. c. 6. (o) Oppianus in Halienticis. Vid. Hieron. in Ezekiel 47. fol. 260. (p) Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 32. c. 11. (q) Scheuchzer. Physic. Sacr. vol. 4. p. 963.
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