Psalm 104:11
They give drink to every beast of the field: the wild asses quench their thirst.
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(11) Wild asses.—See Job 39:5-8.

104:10-18 When we reflect upon the provision made for all creatures, we should also notice the natural worship they render to God. Yet man, forgetful ungrateful man, enjoys the largest measure of his Creator's kindness. the earth, varying in different lands. Nor let us forget spiritual blessings; the fruitfulness of the church through grace, the bread of everlasting life, the cup of salvation, and the oil of gladness. Does God provide for the inferior creatures, and will he not be a refuge to his people?They give drink to every beast of the field - All are thus kept alive. The wild beasts that roam at large, find water thus provided for them.

The wild donkeys quench their thirst - Margin, as in Hebrew, "break." The meaning is, that the most wild and ungovernable of beasts - those which are farthest from the habits of domesticated animals, and the most independent of any aid derived from man, find abundance everywhere. On the word rendered "wild asses," and on the habits of the animals here referred to, see the notes at Job 11:12.

10-13. Once destructive, these waters are subjected to the service of God's creatures. In rain and dew from His chambers (compare Ps 104:3), and fountains and streams, they give drink to thirsting animals and fertilize the soil. Trees thus nourished supply homes to singing birds, and the earth teems with the productions of God's wise agencies, Which he mentions, partly because they are dry and thirsty creatures; and partly because they live in dry and desolate wildernesses, and are neither ruled nor regarded by men, and are most stupid creatures, and yet are plentifully provided for by the care and bounty of Divine Providence. They give drink to every beast of the field,.... These fountains, springs, and rivers, afford water for all the beasts of the field; who are therefore said to honour and praise the Lord on account of it, Isaiah 43:19.

The wild asses quench their thirst; or "break" (n) it. Those creatures that live in dry and desert places, and are themselves dry and thirsty; and though so stupid as they be, yet provision of water is made for them, and they are directed where to seek for it, and find it; see Job 39:5. And if God takes care of the beasts of the field, even the most wild and stupid, will he not take care of his own people? He will, and does. He opens rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; he gives waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to his people, his chosen, Isaiah 41:18.

(n) "frangent", Pagninus, Montanus; "frangunt", Vatablus, Cocceius, Gejerus, Michaelis; so Ainsworth.

They give drink to every {e} beast of the field: the wild asses quench their thirst.

(e) If God provides for the beasts, much more will he extend his provident care to man.

11. every beast of the field] Wild animals, as distinguished from domesticated animals, the ‘cattle’ of Psalm 104:14.

the wild asses] Mentioned particularly as one of the most striking and beautiful of wild animals. See Davidson’s note on Job 39:7, a passage which may have been in the Psalmist’s mind, for he was evidently familiar with Job. Jeremiah (Jeremiah 14:6) draws a graphic picture of the sufferings of the wild ass in a drought.

quench] Lit. break. Cp. frangere sitim.Verse 11. - They give drink to every beast of the field. God's mercy is "over all his works" (Psalm 145:9). He careth for the whole animal creation (see Exodus 20:10; Exodus 23:19; Deuteronomy 25:4; Psalm 104:27; Psalm 145:15, 16; Jonah 4:11, etc.). The wild asses quench their thirst. Herodotus (4:192) says that wild asses are ἄποτοι - i.e. "do not drink" but modern travellers declare the contrary. They drink infrequently, and are so shy, that at such times they rarely fall under human observation. In a second decastich the poet speaks of the restraining of the lower waters and the establishing of the land standing out of the water. The suffix, referring back to ארץ, is intended to say that the earth hanging free in space (Job 26:7) has its internal supports. Its eternal stability is preserved even amidst the judgment predicted in Isaiah 24:16., since it comes forth out of it, unremoved from its former station, as a transformed, glorified earth. The deep (תּהום) with which God covers it is that primordial mass of water in which it lay first of all as it were in embryo, for it came into being ἐξ ὕδατος καὶ δι ̓ ὕδατος (2 Peter 3:5). כּסּיתו does not refer to תהום (masc. as in Job 28:14), because then עליה would be required, but to ארץ, and the masculine is to be explained either by attraction) according to the model of 1 Samuel 2:4), or by a reversion to the masculine ground-form as the discourse proceeds (cf. the same thing with עיר 2 Samuel 17:13, צעקה Exodus 11:6, יד Ezekiel 2:9). According to Psalm 104:6, the earth thus overflowed with water was already mountainous; the primal formation of the mountains is therefore just as old as the תהום mentioned in direct succession to the תהו ובהו. After this, Psalm 104:7 describe the subduing of the primordial waters by raising up the dry land and the confining of these waters in basins surrounded by banks. Terrified by the despotic command of God, they started asunder, and mountains rose aloft, the dry land with its heights and its low grounds appeared. The rendering that the waters, thrown into wild excitement, rose up the mountains and descended again (Hengstenberg), does not harmonize with the fact that they are represented in Psalm 104:6 as standing above the mountains. Accordingly, too, it is not to be interpreted after Psalm 107:26 : they (the waters) rose mountain-high, they sunk down like valleys. The reference of the description to the coming forth of the dry land on the third day of creation requires that הרים should be taken as subject to יעלוּ. But then, too, the בקעות are the subject to ירדוּ, as Hilary of Poictiers renders it in his Genesis, 5:97, etc.: subsidunt valles, and not the waters as subsiding into the valleys. Hupfeld is correct; Psalm 104:8 is a parenthesis which affirms that, inasmuch as the waters retreating laid the solid land bare, mountains and valleys as such came forth visibly; cf. Ovid, Metam. i.:344: Flumina subsidunt, montes exire videntur.
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