Psalm 104:7
At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
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.At thy rebuke they fled - At thy command; or when thou didst speak to them. The Hebrew word also implies the notion of "rebuke," or "reproof," as if there were some displeasure or dissatisfaction. Proverbs 13:1; Proverbs 17:10; Ecclesiastes 7:5; Isaiah 30:17; Psalm 76:6. It is "as if" God had been displeased that the waters prevented the appearing or the rising of the dry land, and had commanded them to "hasten" to their beds and channels, and no longer to cover the earth. The allusion is to Genesis 1:9, and there is nowhere to be found a more sublime expression than this. Even the command, "And God said, Let there be light; and there was light," so much commended by Longinus as an instance of sublimity, does not surpass this in grandeur.

At the voice of thy thunder they hasted away - They fled in dismay. The Hebrew word - חפז châphaz - contains the idea of haste, trepidation, consternation, alarm, "as if" they were frightened; Psalm 31:22. God spake in tones of thunder, and they fled. It is impossible to conceive anything more sublime than this.

6-9. These verses rather describe the wonders of the flood than the creation (Ge 7:19, 20; 2Pe 3:5, 6). God's method of arresting the flood and making its waters subside is poetically called a "rebuke" (Ps 76:6; Isa 50:2), and the process of the flood's subsiding by undulations among the hills and valleys is vividly described.7 At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away.

8 They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which thou hast founded for them.

9 Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth.

10 He sendeth the springs into the valleys, which run among the hills.

11 They give drink to every beast of the field; the wild asses quench their thirst.

12 By them shall the fowls of the heaven have their habitation, which sing among the branches.

13 He watereth the hills from his chambers; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works.

14 He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth;

15 And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man's heart.

16 The trees of the Lord are full of sap; the cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted;

17 Where the birds make their nests; as for the stork, the fir trees are her house.

18 The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats; and the rocks for the conies.

Psalm 104:7

"At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away." When the waters and vapours covered all, the Lord had but to speak and they disappeared at once. As though they had been intelligent agents the waves hurried to their appointed deeps and left the land to itself; then the mountains lifted their heads, the high lands rose from the main, and at length continents and islands, slopes and plains were left to form the habitable earth. The voice of the Lord effected this great marvel. Is not his word equal to every emergency? potent enough to work the greatest miracle? By that same word shall the waterfloods of trouble be restrained, and the raging billows of sin be rebuked the day cometh when at the thunder of Jehovah's voice all the proud waters of evil shall utterly haste away. "O Lord, my God, thou art very great."

continued...

At thy rebuke; upon thy severe command, Genesis 1:9; which he calls a rebuke, to imply that there was something in that state of things which might seem to need reproof and correction, even that confusion of earth and water together, which therefore God amended in his second day’s work.

They fled; they immediately went to the place which God had allotted to them. Of thy thunder; of thy sovereign command, which as they could not but hear, so they durst not disobey. He ascribes sense and reason to inanimate creatures by a figure called prosopopaeia.

At thy rebuke they fled,.... The depths of water that covered the earth fled, went off apace, when Christ, the essential Word, gave the word of command that they should; saying, "Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear, and it was so", Genesis 1:9 and this being called a "rebuke", suggests as if there was something amiss, irregular and disorderly, and to be amended; as if these waters were not in their proper place.

At the voice of thy thunder they hasted away; ran off with great precipitancy; just as a servant, when his master puts on a stern countenance, and speaks to him in a thundering, menacing manner, hastes away from him to do his will and work. This is an instance of the mighty power of Christ; and by the same power he removed the waters of the deluge; when they covered the earth, and the tops of the highest hills; and rebuked the Red sea, and it became dry land; and drove back the waters of Jordan for the Israelites to pass through; and who also rebuked the sea of Galilee when his disciples were in distress: and with equal ease can he and does he remove the depth of sin and darkness from his people at conversion; rebukes Satan, and delivers out of his temptations, when he comes in like a flood; and rebukes the waters of affliction when they threaten to overwhelm; who are his servants, and come when he bids them come, and go when he bids them go.

At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
7. At thy rebuke they flee,

At the voice of thy thunder they haste away,

7, 8. The graphic imperfects are continued, picturing the process of the separation of land and water.

Verse 7. - At thy rebuke they fled. It required only a few words from God (Genesis 1:9) for the whole surface of the earth to be changed. The waters "fled" - they shifted their place - removed from some portions of the earth's surface, and "gathered themselves together" into others, allowing the dry land to appear. Elevations and depressions of the land must have at the same time occurred. At the voice of thy thunder they hasted away (comp. Job 40:9, "Hast thou an arm like God, or canst thou thunder with a voice like his?"). The voice of God, especially when he speaks in "rebuke," is as thunder, Psalm 104:7In 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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