Psalm 148:8
Fire, and hail; snow, and vapors; stormy wind fulfilling his word:
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(8) Fire.—Lightning, as in Psalm 18:12; Psalm 105:32. where it is also found with “hail.”

Vapours.—The same Hebrew word in Genesis 19:28 and Psalm 119:83 is rendered “smoke,” and from the use of the cognate verb is certainly connected with “burning.” Hence we probably have here the figure chiasmus (fire and hail, snow and smoke), the smoke answering to the fire, as the snow to the hail. On the other hand, from Psalm 18:8, Psa_144:5, it is plain that the driving mists of a storm were regarded as smoke. (Comp. “The smoky mountain tops.”—TENNYSON.)

This invocation of the powers of the air is a fine poetic touch, and shows the freedom of lyric treatment of the story of Creation, which in Genesis passes at once from the monsters of the deep to the land and its creatures. To the poet there is another region of life and power; other voices, which, though wild and fierce, may yet join in the grand anthem of praise.

Stormy wind.—As in Psalm 107:25. This, to us, free and uncontrollable agent is yet but a messenger of Jehovah, fulfilling his word (Psalm 104:4).

Psalm 148:8. Fire — Lightning, thunderbolts, fiery meteors, in which God shows his wonderful power, lighting up those powerful flames, even in cold regions, which are far removed from subterraneous fires. And the noise and stupendous effects of these fires, and especially of thunder and lightning, are such, that they have been justly termed, the voice of God, and the arrows of the almighty. Hail, snow, and vapour — It is really wonderful, that from the same places where the hot lightnings flash, and from whence the thunderbolts are thrown, hail and snow should also descend: nor could this possibly happen, but by the power and wisdom of that Being that can effect every thing. The word קישׂיר, here rendered vapour, signifies fumes, or hot exhalations, as cold exhalations are comprehended under the title of snow; and both of them, arising from the earth, are here fitly mentioned as belonging to it. Stormy wind — Which is of very great use in vehemently agitating the air, and thereby keeping it from stagnating and becoming unwholesome. But the expression, סערה

רוח, ought, perhaps, rather to be rendered whirlwind, a wind which moves in a spiral direction, as well as horizontally, and is exceedingly rapid and impetuous: see on Job 37:9. This also wonderfully displays the power of God. Fulfilling his word — Going forth as so many messengers to execute his commands and effect his purposes, either of mercy for the comfort, or of judgment for the punishment of the inhabitants of the earth. And they all praise and glorify God after their manner, while they accomplish his pleasure.148:7-14 Even in this world, dark and bad as it is, God is praised. The powers of nature, be they ever so strong, so stormy, do what God appoints them, and no more. Those that rebel against God's word, show themselves to be more violent than even the stormy winds, yet they fulfil it. View the surface of the earth, mountains and all hills; from the barren tops of some, and the fruitful tops of others, we may fetch matter for praise. And assuredly creatures which have the powers of reason, ought to employ themselves in praising God. Let all manner of persons praise God. Those of every rank, high and low. Let us show that we are his saints by praising his name continually. He is not only our Creator, but our Redeemer; who made us a people near unto him. We may by the Horn of his people understand Christ, whom God has exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour, who is indeed the defence and the praise of all his saints, and will be so for ever. In redemption, that unspeakable glory is displayed, which forms the source of all our hopes and joys. May the Lord pardon us, and teach our hearts to love him more and praise him better.Fire, and hail - Fire, when accompanied by hail; that is, the lightning. See Psalm 18:12.

Snow, and vapors - Snow and clouds. It was not unnatural that these should be combined, or suggested together to the mind.

Stormy wind - The storm; the tempest.

Fulfilling his word - Obeying his command; accomplishing his purpose. Let the storm-wind, which seems to be so little under any control, speak his praise by showing how obedient it is to his will, and how exactly it carries out his designs. Its perfect submission to his laws - the exactness with which, though apparently so fierce, raging, and lawless, it carries out his plans, and pauses when he commands it - is in fact an act of praise or homage, as it proclaims his majesty, his supremacy, and his power. On the sentiment here expressed, compare Psalm 107:29, note; Psalm 89:9, note.

8. fulfilling his word—or, law, may be understood of each. Next the most distinguished productions of the vegetable world. Fire; lightnings and other fire-works of the air.

Vapours, or fumes; hot exhalations, as the word properly signifies, as cold exhalations are comprehended under the title of snow. And both of them, arising from the earth, are here fitly mentioned as belonging to it.

Fulfilling his word; executing his commands, either for the comfort and refreshment, or for the punishment, of the inhabitants of the earth. Fire, and hail,.... These, and what follow in this verse, are in the air, but are what are exhaled or drawn up from the earth or water; "fire" is lightning, which is very swift in its motion, and powerful in its effects; this is the fire which consumed Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities of the plain; which in Elijah's time came down and destroyed the captains and their fifties; and which attended the Lord's appearance on Mount Sinai; when "the voice of his thunder was in the heaven, the lightnings lightened the world, and the earth trembled and shook", Psalm 77:18; and by which the power, majesty, and glory of God are greatly displayed; see Psalm 29:3; "hail", which is water frozen in the air and congealed; this was one of the plagues of Egypt; and with hailstones many of the Canaanites were slain in the times of Joshua; and by these God has shown his power, and has got himself praise from his people by destroying their enemies, though they have blasphemed his name on account of them, as they will when the great hailstorm of all shall fall, Revelation 16:21;

snow, and vapour; the former is a gift of God, and very beneficial to the earth, and the cause of praise and thankfulness to God; See Gill on Psalm 147:16; the word (f) for "vapour" signifies smoke, and is what rises out of the earth like smoke, as Kimchi and Ben Melech observe; and is hot and dry, and forms lightnings and winds, and has its place among things that occasion praise;

stormy wind fulfilling his word; which is raised up by a word of his command; he creates it, brings it out of his treasures, holds it in his lists, and lets it go out at his pleasure to fulfil his will; either, as at some times in a way of mercy, as to dry up the waters of the flood, to make a way for Israel through the Red sea, to bring quails to them in the wilderness, and rain to the land of Israel in Ahab's time; and sometimes in a way of judgment, to drown Pharaoh and his host in the Red sea, to break the ships of Tarshish, to fetch Jonah the disobedient prophet back, and to distress him afterwards; see Psalm 107:25; to do all this is an argument of divine power, and a proof of deity, as it is of our Lord's, Matthew 8:27. The Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, and Arabic versions, read it in the plural number, "which do his word"; referring it not to the stormy wind only, but to fire and hail, snow and vapour; but the Hebrew text restrains it to the stormy wind.

(f) "vapor seu fumus", Piscator, Muis, Gejerus.

{f} Fire, and hail; snow, and vapour; stormy wind fulfilling his word:

(f) Which come not by chance or fortune, but by God's appointed ordinance.

8. Fire, and hail] Lightning and hail are naturally coupled, as hail most commonly falls in thunderstorms. Cp. Psalm 18:12 ff.

vapour] The word elsewhere means smoke (Genesis 19:28; Psalm 119:83); but must here mean the mists, which drift like smoke over the mountains.Verse 8. - Fire and hail. By "fire," in this combination, we must understand "lightning," or rather the various electrical phenomena accompanying storms in the East, which are sometimes very strange and terrible. Snow and vapors; rather, vapor. The mist so often accompanying snowstorms is probably the "vapor" intended. Stormy wind fulfilling his word (comp. Psalm 107:25). The call does not rise step by step from below upwards, but begins forthwith from above in the highest and outermost spheres of creation. The place whence, before all others, the praise is to resound is the heavens; it is to resound in the heights, viz., the heights of heaven (Job 16:19; Job 25:2; Job 31:2). The מן might, it is true, also denote the birth or origin: ye of the heavens, i.e., ye celestial beings (cf. Psalm 68:27), but the parallel בּמּרומים renders the immediate construction with הללוּ more natural. Psalm 148:2-4 tell who are to praise Jahve there: first of all, all His angels, the messengers of the Ruler of the world - all His host, i.e., angels and stars, for צבאו (Chethמb) or צבאיו (Kerמ as in Psalm 103:21) is the name of the heavenly host armed with light which God Tsebaoth commands (vid., on Genesis 2:1), - a name including both stars (e.g., in Deuteronomy 4:19) and angels (e.g., in Joshua 5:14., 1 Kings 22:19); angels and stars are also united in the Scriptures in other instances (e.g., Job 38:7). When the psalmist calls upon these beings of light to praise Jahve, he does not merely express his delight in that which they do under any circumstances (Hengstenberg), but comprehends the heavenly world with the earthly, the church above with the church here below (vid., on Psalm 29:1-11; Psalm 103), and gives a special turn to the praise of the former, making it into an echo of the praise of the latter, and blending both harmoniously together. The heavens of heavens are, as in Deuteronomy 10:14; 1 Kings 8:27, Sir. 16:18, and frequently, those which lie beyond the heavens of the earth which were created on the fourth day, therefore they are the outermost and highest spheres. The waters which are above the heavens are, according to Hupfeld, "a product of the fancy, like the upper heavens and the whole of the inhabitants of heaven." But if in general the other world is not a notion to which there is no corresponding entity, this notion may also have things for its substance which lie beyond our knowledge of nature. The Scriptures, from the first page to the last, acknowledge the existence of celestial waters, to which the rain-waters stand in the relation as it were of a finger-post pointing upwards (see Genesis 1:7). All these beings belonging to the superterrestrial world are to praise the Name of Jahve, for He, the God of Israel, it is by whose fiat (צוּה, like אמר in Psalm 33:9)

(Note: The interpolated parallel member, αὐτὸς εἶπε καὶ ἐγενήθησαν, here in the lxx is taken over from that passage.))

the heavens and all their host are created (Psalm 33:6). He has set them, which did not previously exist, up (העמיד as e.g., in Nehemiah 6:7, the causative to עמד in Psalm 33:9, cf. Psalm 119:91), and that for ever and ever (Psalm 111:8), i.e., in order for ever to maintain the position in the whole of creation which He has assigned to them. He hath given a law (חק) by which its distinctive characteristic is stamped upon each of these heavenly beings, and a fixed bound is set to the nature and activity of each in its mutual relation to all, and not one transgresses (the individualizing singular) this law given to it. Thus ולא יעבר is to be understood, according to Job 14:5, cf. Jeremiah 5:22; Job 38:10; Psalm 104:9. Hitzig makes the Creator Himself the subject; but then the poet would have at least been obliged to say חק־נתן למו, and moreover it may be clearly seen from Jeremiah 31:36; Jeremiah 33:20, how the thought that God inviolably keeps the orders of nature in check is expressed θεοπρεπῶς. Jeremiah 5:22, by way of example, shows that the law itself is not, with Ewald, Maurer, and others, following the lxx, Syriac, Italic, Jerome, and Kimchi, to be made the subject: a law hath He given, and it passes not away (an imperishable one). In combination with חק, עבר always signifies "to pass over, transgress."

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