Psalm 104:18
The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats; and the rocks for the conies.
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(18) Wild goats.—Heb., climbers, and so at home on the “high hills.” (See 1Samuel 24:2, “the rocks of the wild goats.”) “This animal, which is a relation of the Swiss ibex or steinbock, is now called the beden or jaela “(Bible Educator, II., 104).

Conies.—Heb., shāphan, i.e., “hider.” (Comp. Leviticus 11:5, and Bible Educator, II., 201.) Naturalists know it as the hyrax Syriacus. The LXX., Vulg., and Aquila have “hedgehogs.”

Psalm 104:18. The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats — As if he had said, “even those parts of the earth which may seem barren and useless, have yet their uses, and serve to shelter certain animals that are adapted to them.” The psalmist, having alluded to the force of what we call instinct in birds, influencing them to choose secret and secure places in which to fix their habitation, and place their young, proceeds to show the power of the same principle in terrestrial animals, directing them to places of refuge, where they may be safe from their enemies. “Thus the wild goats climb, with ease, to the tops and crags of mountains, where they deposite their young. And thus animals of another kind, which are more defenceless than goats, and not able to climb like them, have yet a way of intrenching themselves in a situation perfectly impregnable among the rocks:” see on Leviticus 11:5.

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?The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats - Still keeping up the description of animated nature - the carrying out of the work of creation. The idea is, that nature is full of life. Even the most inaccessible places - the rocks - the high hills - have their inhabitants. Where man cannot climb or dwell, there are abodes of animals which God has made to dwell there, and which find there a refuge - a shelter - a home. On the word used here, and rendered "wild goats," see the notes at Job 39:1. The word occurs elsewhere only in 1 Samuel 24:2.

And the rocks for the conies - The word here "employed" - שׁפן shâphân - denotes a quadruped that chews the cud, in the manner of a hare Leviticus 11:5; Deuteronomy 14:7, and living in flocks. The rabbis render it the "coney," or rabbit, as our translators have done. The habits of the rabbit accord with this description. The word occurs nowhere else, except in Proverbs 30:26, where it is rendered, as here, "conies."

16-19. God's care of even wild animals and uncultivated parts of the earth. So he passeth from the rain to other works of God’s providence, as that God hath made suitable and sufficient provision for the security of these creatures against their persecutors. Although this verse also may have a reference to the former work, and the barren and rocky hills may be mentioned as receiving benefit by the rain, and it may be thus rendered, And

the high hills, ( understand, are satisfied, which is expressed Psalm 104:16, and may very well be carried hither) which (that particle being frequently understood) are

a refuge for wild goats, and the rocks (understand out of the former branch, according to the usual manner, which are a refuge) for the conies; or, as others translate this word, for the mountain mice.

The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats,.... Who have their name in Hebrew (d) from their climbing and ascending them. What we commonly call "a wild goose chase" should be expressed "a wild goat's chase"; for not geese, but goats, are chased; and when they are, they flee to the hills for refuge. Hence they are sometimes called the wild goats of the rocks, Job 39:1, and sometimes the rocks are called from them the rocks of wild goats, 1 Samuel 24:2. The Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, and Arabic versions, render it "for the harts", or deer; and so Apollinarius: but the word is not used of them.

And the rocks for the conies; who being a feeble folk, make their houses in them, to protect them from creatures of superior power and strength, Proverbs 30:26. Some interpret it of the "hedgehog", as the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions: others of "hares", as the Syriac and Arabic, and so Apollinarius; and others of "mountain mice". Now what the hills and rocks are to the above creatures, a refuge and a habitation for them, that Christ is to those that fly to him for refuge; though weak and feeble, sinful and unworthy, he is their rock, the rock of their refuge, their strong tower, and place of defence.

(d) ab Buxtorf. Lexic. fol. 322.

The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats; and the rocks for the conies.
18. From the lofty trees which are the home of birds it is a natural transition to the lofty mountains which are the home of animals. The Syrian wild goat, lit. ‘the climber,’ is a species of ibex (1 Samuel 24:2; Job 39:1): see Tristram, p. 95. The ‘coney,’ Heb. shâphân = ‘the hider,’ is not the rabbit, but the hyrax Syriacus, a peculiar animal, not unlike a marmot in appearance, which “lives in holes in the rocks, where it makes its nest and conceals its young, and to which it retires at the least alarm.” See Tristram, p. 75.

Verse 18. - The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats. Even the desolate ranges of the higher mountains are designed by God for the good of his creatures. They furnish a refuge for the ibex, or wild goat, when the hunter presses ca him; and, if they cannot give him food, give him safety. And the rocks for the conies; rather, for the marmots. Marmots still inhabit Palestine, though they are rarely seen; "conies," i.e. rabbits do not. The marmots are "a feeble folk, that make their houses in the rocks" (Proverbs 30:26). Psalm 104:18In the fourth decastich the poet goes further among the creatures of the field and of the forest. The subject to להוציא is מצמיח. The clause expressing the purpose, which twice begins with an infinitive, is continued in both instances, as in Isaiah 13:9, but with a change of subject (cf. e.g., Amos 1:11; Amos 2:4), in the finite verb. On what is said of wine we may compare Ecclesiastes 10:19, Sir. 40:20, and more especially Isaiah, who frequently mentions wine as a representative of all the natural sources of joy. The assertion that משּׁמן signifies "before oil equals brighter than oil," is an error that is rightly combated by Bttcher in his Proben and two of his "Gleanings,"

(Note: Proben, i.e., Specimens of Old Testament interpretation, Leipzig 1833, and Aehrenlese (Gleanings), referred to in the preface of these volumes. - Tr.)

which imputes to the poet a mention of oil that is contrary to his purpose in this connection wand inappropriate. Corn, wine, and oil are mentioned as the three chief products of the vegetable kingdom (Luther, Calvin, Grotius, Dathe, and Hupfeld), and are assumed under עשׂב in Psalm 104:14, as is also the case in other instances where distinction would be superfluous, e.g., in Exodus 9:22. With oil God makes the countenance shining, or bright and cheerful, not by means of anointing-since it was not the face but the head that was anointed (Matthew 6:17), - but by the fact of its increasing the savouriness and nutritiveness of the food. להצהיל is chosen with reference to יצהר. In Psalm 104:15 לבב־אנושׁ does not stand after, as in Psalm 104:15 (where it is לבב־ with Gaja on account of the distinctive), but before the verb, because לבב as that which is inward stands in antithesis to פנים as that which is outside. Since the fertilization of the earth by the rain is the chief subject of the predication in Psalm 104:13, Psalm 104:16 is naturally attached to what precedes without arousing critical suspicion. That which satisfies is here the rain itself, and not, as in Psalm 104:13, that which the rain matures. The "trees of Jahve" are those which before all others proclaim the greatness of their Creator. אשׁר־שׁם refers to these trees, of which the cedars and then the cypresses (ברושׁים, root בר, to cut) are mentioned. They are places where small and large birds build their nests and lodge, more particularly the stork, which is called the חסידה as being πτηνῶν εὐσεβέστατον ζώων (Barbrius, Fab. xiii.), as avis pia (pietaticultrix in Petronius, Leviticus 6), i.e., on account of its love of family life, on account of which it is also regarded as bringing good fortune to a house.

(Note: In the Merg& district, where the stork is not called leklek as it is elsewhere, but charnuk[ on account of its bill like a long horn (Arab. chrn) standing out in front, the women and children call it Arab. 'bû sa‛d, "bringer of good luck." Like the חסידה, the long-legged carrion-vulture (Vultur percnopterus) or mountain-stork, ὀρειπελαργός, is called רחם (Arab. rḥm) on account of its στοργή.)

The care of God for the lodging of His creatures leads the poet from the trees to the heights of the mountains and the hiding-places of the rocks, in a manner that is certainly abrupt and that disturbs the sketch taken from the account of the creation. הגּבהים is an apposition. יעל (Arabic wa‛il) is the steinboc, wild-goat, as being an inhabitant of יעל (wa‛l, wa‛la), i.e., the high places of the rocks, as יען, Lamentations 4:3, according to Wetzstein, is the ostrich as being an inhabitant of the wa‛na, i.e., the sterile desert; and שׁפן is the rock-badger, which dwells in the clefts of the rocks (Proverbs 30:26), and resembles the marmot - South Arabic Arab. tufun, Hyrax Syriacus (distinct from the African). By שׁפן the Jewish tradition understand the coney, after which the Peshto here renders it לחגסא (חגס, cuniculus). Both animals, the coney and the rock-badger, may be meant in Leviticus 11:5; Deuteronomy 14:7; for the sign of the cloven hoof (פּרסה שׁסוּעה) is wanting in both. The coney has four toes, and the hyrax has a peculiar formation of hoof, not cloven, but divided into several parts.

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