Psalm 104:25
So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts.
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(25) So is . . .Better, Yonder is the sea great and broad. For a moment the poet, “lost in wonder, love and praise,” has forgotten his model, the Mosaic account of creation. But suddenly, as his eye catches sight of the sea—we imagine him on some hill-top, commanding on the one hand the range of Lebanon, on the other the Mediterranean—the words recur to him, “Let the waters bring forth abundantly,” &c

Creeping.—See Psalm 104:20. Perhaps here, “swarming.”

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.So is this great and wide sea ... - Our translation here does not quite express the beauty and the force of the original; "This sea! Great and broad of hands! There is the creeping thing - and there is no number; animals - the little with the great." The reference here is, undoubtedly to the Mediterranean Sea, which not improbably was in sight when the psalm was composed - as it is in sight not only along the coast, but from many of the elevations in Palestine. The phrase "wide of hands" applied to the sea, means that it seems to stretch out in all directions. Compare the notes at Isaiah 33:21. The "creeping things" refer to the variety of inhabitants of the deep that glide along as if they crept. See the notes at Psalm 104:20. The word "beasts" refers to any of the inhabitants of the deep, and the idea is that there is an endless variety "there." This reflection cannot but impress itself on the mind of anyone when looking on the ocean: What a countless number, and what a vast variety of inhabitants are there in these waters - all created by God; all provided for by his bounty! 24-26. From a view of the earth thus full of God's blessings, the writer passes to the sea, which, in its immensity, and as a scene and means of man's activity in commerce, and the home of countless multitudes of creatures, also displays divine power and beneficence. The mention of Creeping: this word is common to all creatures that move without feet, touching with their belly the element in which they move, whether they creep upon the earth or swim in the sea.

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.

So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts.
25. So is this great and wide sea] R.V. rightly, Yonder is the sea, great and wide. It would almost seem as if the sea lay stretched before the Psalmist’s gaze as he composed his poem. Dean Stanley has pointed out that all the natural features of the Psalm are in sight from the cedar grove of Lebanon (Sermons in the East, p. 217).

things creeping] Or, things moving; cp. Genesis 1:21; Psalm 69:34. The word (used in Psalm 104:20 of the stealthy movement of animals in quest of their prey) is not limited to reptiles properly so called. It may refer either to land animals or water animals, or may include both.

both small and great beasts] Living creatures, both small and great.

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. Psalm 104:25Fixing his eye upon the sea with its small and great creatures, and the care of God for all self-living beings, the poet passes over to the fifth and sixth days of creation. The rich contents of this sixth group flow over and exceed the decastich. With מה־רבּוּ (not מה־גּדלוּ, Psalm 92:6) the poet expresses his wonder at the great number of God's works, each one at the same time having its adjustment in accordance with its design, and all, mutually serving one another, co-operating one with another. קנין, which signifies both bringing forth and acquiring, has the former meaning here according to the predicate: full of creatures, which bear in themselves the traces of the Name of their Creator (קנה). Beside קיניך, however, we also find the reading קנינך, which is adopted by Norzi, Heidenheim, and Baer, represented by the versions (lxx, Vulgate, and Jerome), by expositors (Rashi: קנין שׁלּך), by the majority of the MSS (according to Norzi) and old printed copies, which would signify τῆς κτίσεώς σου, or according to the Latin versions κτήσεώς σου (possessione tua, Luther "they possessions"), but is inferior to the plural ktisma'toon σου, as an accusative of the object to מלאה. The sea more particularly is a world of moving creatures innumerable (Psalm 69:35). זה היּם does not properly signify this sea, but that sea, yonder sea (cf. Psalm 68:9, Isaiah 23:13; Joshua 9:13). The attributes follow in an appositional relation, the looseness of which admits of the non-determination (cf. Psalm 68:28; Jeremiah 2:21; Genesis 43:14, and the reverse case above in Psalm 104:18). אניּה .) in relation to אני is a nomen unitatis (the single ship). It is an old word, which is also Egyptian in the form hani and ana.

(Note: Vide Chabas, Le papyrus magique Harris, p. 246, No. 826: HANI (אני), vaisseau, navire, and the Book of the Dead 1. 10, where hani occurs with the determinative picture of a ship. As to the form ana, vid., Chabas loc. cit. p. 33.)

Leviathan, in the Book of Job, the crocodile, is in this passage the name of the whale (vid., Lewysohn, Zoologie des Talmuds, 178-180, 505). Ewald and Hitzig, with the Jewish tradition, understand בּו in Psalm 104:26 according to Job 41:5 : in order to play with him, which, however, gives no idea that is worthy of God. It may be taken as an alternative word for שׁם (cf. בּו in Psalm 104:20, Job 40:20): to play therein, viz., in the sea (Saadia). In כּלּם, Psalm 104:27, the range of vision is widened from the creatures of the sea to all the living things of the earth; cf. the borrowed passages Psalm 145:15., Psalm 147:9. כּלּם, by an obliteration of the suffix, signifies directly "altogether," and בּעתּו (cf. Job 38:32): when it is time for it. With reference to the change of the subject in the principal and in the infinitival clause, vid., Ew. 338, a. The existence, passing away, and origin of all beings is conditioned by God. His hand provides everything; the turning of His countenance towards them upholds everything; and His breath, the creative breath, animates and renews all things. The spirit of life of every creature is the disposing of the divine Spirit, which hovered over the primordial waters and transformed the chaos into the cosmos. תּסף in Psalm 104:29 is equivalent to תּאסף, as in 1 Samuel 15:6, and frequently. The full future forms accented on the ultima, from Psalm 104:27 onwards, give emphasis to the statements. Job 34:14. may be compared with Psalm 104:29.

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