Psalm 104:30
Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth.
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(30) Spirit.—Rather, breath, as in Psalm 104:29. We must not here think of the later theological doctrine of the Holy Spirit. The psalmist evidently regards the breath of God only as the vivifying power that gives matter a distinct and individual, but transient, existence. Even in the speculative book of Ecclesiastes, the idea of a human soul having a permanent separate existence does not make its appearance. At death the dust, no longer animate, returns to the earth as it was, and the breath, which had given it life, returns to God who gave it—gave it as an emanation, to be resumed unto Himself when its work was done. Still less, then, must we look in poetry for any more developed doctrine.

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.Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created - That is, New races are created in their place, or start up as if they were created directly by God. They derive their being from him as really as those did which were first formed by his hand, and the work of creation is constantly going on.

And thou renewest the face of the earth - The earth is not suffered to become desolate. Though one generation passes off, yet a new one is made in its place, and the face of the earth constantly puts on the aspect of freshness and newness.

27-30. The entire dependence of this immense family on God is set forth. With Him, to kill or make alive is equally easy. To hide His face is to withdraw favor (Ps 13:1). By His spirit, or breath, or mere word, He gives life. It is His constant providence which repairs the wastes of time and disease. Thy spirit; either,

1. That spirit by which they live, which is called the spirit of a beast, Ecclesiastes 3:21, which is called their breath or spirit, (for the word is the same there and here,) Psalm 104:29, and here may be called God’s spirit, because it was given and preserved by him. Or rather,

2. Thy quickening spirit; for here seems to be an opposition between their spirit, Psalm 104:29, and thy spirit here, and this latter is mentioned as the creating or productive cause of the former. And this may be understood either,

1. Of the Holy Ghost; to whom, no less than to the Father and the Son, the work of creation is ascribed, Job 33:4 Psalm 33:6. Or rather,

2. That quickening power of God by which he produceth life in the creatures from time to time. For he speaks not here of the first creation, but of the continued and repeated production of living creatures.

They are created; either,

1. The same living creatures which were languishing and dying are strangely revived and restored; which may not unfitly be called a creation, as that word is sometimes used, because it is in a manner the giving of a new life and being to a creature. Or,

Thou sendest forth thy Spirit, they are created,.... Thy Holy Spirit, as the Targum, who was at first concerned in the creation of all things, the heavens and the earth, and man upon it, Genesis 1:2, Job 26:13 which may be alluded to here; though it seems chiefly to intend the generation and production of creatures in the room of those that die off; that so their species may be preserved, and there may be a constant succession of them, as there is in all ages, Ecclesiastes 1:4.

And thou renewest the face of the earth; by a new set of creatures of all kinds being brought upon it to fill it. As there is also a daily renewing it every morning by the rising sun, giving fresh life and vigour to all created beings; and a yearly one every spring, when the face of all nature is renewed and revived. Jarchi and Arama understand it of the resurrection of the dead; this sense Kimchi mentions as an article of their faith, but not as the sense of the text. It may be applied to the renewing work of the Spirit of God in the souls of men, by whom they are made new, and by whom they are daily renewed in the Spirit of their minds. And there are particular seasons in which God sends forth his Spirit and renews the face of things in the world, and in his churches; upon the effusion of his Spirit in the first times of the Gospels, there was a new face of things, not only in the land of Judea, but throughout the whole Gentile world, where old things passed away, and all things became new; as in the latter day, when the Spirit shall be poured forth from on high, there will be a renewing of the face of the earth again; it will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea; the kingdoms of it will become Christ's; new heavens and a new earth will be created, and Jerusalem will be made a rejoicing, and her people a joy, Isaiah 65:17.

Thou {q} sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth.

(q) As the death of creatures shows that we are nothing of ourselves: so their generation declares that we receive all things from our Creator.

30. But life not death rules in Nature. A new generation takes the place of the old. Creation continues, for God is perpetually sending forth His spirit, and renewing the face of the earth with fresh life.

Verse 30. - Thou sendest forth thy spirit; or, thy breath. As God "breathed into man's nostrils the breath of life" (Genesis 2:7), so it is an effluence from him that gives life to every living thing. They are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth. As after the Deluge (see Genesis 7:4; Genesis 8:17). Psalm 104:30Fixing 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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