Psalm 104:4
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
He makes winds his messengers, flames of fire his servants.

New Living Translation
The winds are your messengers; flames of fire are your servants.

English Standard Version
he makes his messengers winds, his ministers a flaming fire.

New American Standard Bible
He makes the winds His messengers, Flaming fire His ministers.

King James Bible
Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire:

Holman Christian Standard Bible
and making the winds His messengers, flames of fire His servants.

International Standard Version
He makes the winds his messengers, blazing fires his servants.

NET Bible
He makes the winds his messengers, and the flaming fire his attendant.

New Heart English Bible
He makes his angels winds, and his servants flames of fire.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
He makes his Angels the wind and his ministers burning fire.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
You make your angels winds and your servants flames of fire.

JPS Tanakh 1917
Who makest winds Thy messengers, The flaming fire Thy ministers.

New American Standard 1977
He makes the winds His messengers,
            Flaming fire His ministers.

Jubilee Bible 2000
who makes his angels spirits, his ministers a flaming fire,

King James 2000 Bible
Who makes his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire:

American King James Version
Who makes his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire:

American Standard Version
Who maketh winds his messengers; Flames of fire his ministers;

Douay-Rheims Bible
Who makest thy angels spirits: and thy ministers a burning fire.

Darby Bible Translation
Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flame of fire.

English Revised Version
Who maketh winds his messengers; his ministers a flaming fire:

Webster's Bible Translation
Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire:

World English Bible
He makes his messengers winds; his servants flames of fire.

Young's Literal Translation
Making His messengers -- the winds, His ministers -- the flaming fire.
Study Bible
O Lord, My God, You are Very Great
3He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters; He makes the clouds His chariot; He walks upon the wings of the wind; 4He makes the winds His messengers, Flaming fire His ministers. 5He established the earth upon its foundations, So that it will not totter forever and ever.…
Cross References
Hebrews 1:7
Now about the angels He says: "He makes His angels winds, His servants flames of fire."

Genesis 3:24
So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.

2 Kings 2:11
As they were going along and talking, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire which separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven.

2 Kings 6:17
Then Elisha prayed and said, "O LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see." And the LORD opened the servant's eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

Psalm 103:21
Bless the LORD, all you His hosts, You who serve Him, doing His will.

Psalm 147:15
He sends forth His command to the earth; His word runs very swiftly.

Psalm 148:8
Fire and hail, snow and clouds; Stormy wind, fulfilling His word;

Ezekiel 1:13
In the midst of the living beings there was something that looked like burning coals of fire, like torches darting back and forth among the living beings. The fire was bright, and lightning was flashing from the fire.
Treasury of Scripture

Who makes his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire:

who maketh

Acts 23:8 For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, …

Hebrews 1:7,14 And of the angels he said, Who makes his angels spirits, and his …

ministers

2 Kings 2:11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, …

2 Kings 6:17 And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray you, open his eyes, that …

Ezekiel 1:13 As for the likeness of the living creatures, their appearance was …

(4) Who maketh . . .--Rather,

Who maketh winds His messenger

A flaming fire His ministers.

Or, keeping the order of the Hebrew,

Who maketh His messengers of winds,

And His ministers of flaming fire.

This is plainly the meaning required by the context, which deals with the use made by the Divine King of the various forms and forces of Nature. Just as He makes the clouds serve as a chariot and the sky as a tent, so he employs the winds as messengers and the lightnings as servants.

Taken quite alone, the construction and arrangement of the verse favours the interpretation of the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews (Hebrews 1:7, Note, New Testament Commentary). This was the traditional Jewish interpretation, and on it were founded various theories of angelic agency.

But not only do the exigencies of the context set aside this interpretation, but Hebrew literature offers enough instances to show that the order in which a poet arranged his words was comparatively immaterial. Indeed, Dean Perowne has adduced two instances (Isaiah 37:26; Isaiah 60:18) of precisely similar inversion of the natural order of immediate object and predicate. (See Expositor, December, 1878.) And no difficulty need be made about the change of number in flame of fire and ministers, since even if the former were not synonymous with lightnings, its predicate might be plural. (See Proverbs 16:14, "The wrath of a king is messengers of death.")

Verse 4. - Who maketh his angels spirits. Professor Cheyne renders, "Who maketh his messengers of winds;" and so (in substance) Jarchi, Aben. Ezra, Rosenmuller, Professor Alexander, and even Hengstenberg. The difficulty in adopting this rendering is that furnished by the application of the passage in Hebrews 1:7; but the arguments of Hengstenberg go far to meet that difficulty. It is to be noted that our Revisers, while admitting either rendering, have preferred that of Professor Cheyne. And his ministers a flaming fire; or, "his ministers of flame and fire." Who maketh his angels spirits,.... The angels are spirits, or spiritual substances, yet created ones; and so differ from God, who is a spirit, and from the Holy Spirit of God, who are Creators and not creatures; angels are spirits without bodies, and so differ from the souls or spirits of men, and are immaterial, and so die not; these are made by Christ, by whom all things are made, Colossians 1:16 and so he must be greater and more excellent than they; for which purpose the passage is quoted in Hebrews 1:7. Some render it, "who maketh his angels as the winds"; to which they may be compared for their invisibility, they being not to be seen, no more than the wind, unless when they assume an external form; and for their penetration through bodies in a very surprising manner; see Acts 12:6, and for their great force and power, being mighty angels, and said to excel in strength, Psalm 103:20, and for their swiftness in obeying the divine commands; so the Targum,

"he maketh his messengers, or angels, swift as the wind.''

His ministers a flaming fire; angels are ministers to God, stand before him, behold his face, wait for and listen to his orders, and execute them; they are ministers to Christ, they were so at his incarnation, in his infancy, when in the wilderness and in the garden, at his resurrection and ascension, and will attend him at his second coming; and these are ministers to his people, take the care of them, encamp about them, do many good offices to them in life, and at death carry their souls to Abraham's bosom: these are made a flaming fire, or "as" flaming fire, for their force and power; so the Targum,

"his ministers strong as flaming fire;''

and for their swiftness as before; and because of their burning love to God, Christ, and his people, and their flaming zeal for his cause and interest; hence thought by some to be called "seraphim": and because they are sometimes the executioners of God's wrath; and have sometimes appeared in fiery forms, as in forms of horses of fire and chariots of fire, and will descend with Christ in flaming fire at the last day; see 2 Kings 2:11. Some invert the words, both reading and sense, thus, "who maketh the winds his angels, or messengers, and flaming fire his ministers"; so Jarchi, Aben Ezra, and Kimchi; we read of stormy wind fulfilling his word, Psalm 148:8, he sends out his winds at his pleasure to do his errands; as to dry up the waters of the flood, to drive back the waters of the Red sea, and make dry land, to bring quails from thence, and scatter them about the camp of Israel, and in many other instances. So flaming fire was used as his ministers in burning Sodom and Gomorrah; and multitudes of the murmuring Israelites, and the captains with their fifties; but this sense is contrary to the order of the words, and the design of them, and to the apostle's sense of them, Hebrews 1:7 which is confirmed by the Targum, Septuagint, and all the Oriental versions. 4. This is quoted by Paul (Heb 1:7) to denote the subordinate position of angels; that is, they are only messengers as other and material agencies.

spirits—literally, "winds."

flaming fire—(Ps 105:32) being here so called.104:1-9 Every object we behold calls on us to bless and praise the Lord, who is great. His eternal power and Godhead are clearly shown by the things which he hath made. God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. The Lord Jesus, the Son of his love, is the Light of the world.
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