Psalm 29:6
He makes them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn.
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(6) Those trees that are not snapped off, bending to the storm, and swaying in the wind, seem to bound like wild buffaloes. (Comp. Psalm 114:4.)

Sirion, according to Deuteronomy 3:9 (which see), was the Sidonian name of Hermon. Here the whole of the range of Anti-Libanus.

Unicorn.—See Psalm 22:21, Note.

There is some ambiguity about the suffix, them. It may relate to the mountains instead of the cedars, and some commentators divide the clauses thus: “He maketh them skip; like a calf Lebanon, and Sirion like a young buffalo.” It is not, however, necessary to suppose, with some, that an earthquake accompanies the storm; the apparent movement of the hills beingintroduced to heighten the effect of the violence of the tempest.

29:1-11 Exhortation to give glory to God. - The mighty and honourable of the earth are especially bound to honour and worship him; but, alas, few attempt to worship him in the beauty of holiness. When we come before him as the Redeemer of sinners, in repentance faith, and love, he will accept our defective services, pardon the sin that cleaves to them, and approve of that measure of holiness which the Holy Spirit enables us to exercise. We have here the nature of religious worship; it is giving to the Lord the glory due to his name. We must be holy in all our religious services, devoted to God, and to his will and glory. There is a beauty in holiness, and that puts beauty upon all acts of worship. The psalmist here sets forth God's dominion in the kingdom of nature. In the thunder, and lightning, and storm, we may see and hear his glory. Let our hearts be thereby filled with great, and high, and honourable thoughts of God, in the holy adoring of whom, the power of godliness so much consists. O Lord our God, thou art very great! The power of the lightning equals the terror of the thunder. The fear caused by these effects of the Divine power, should remind us of the mighty power of God, of man's weakness, and of the defenceless and desperate condition of the wicked in the day of judgment. But the effects of the Divine word upon the souls of men, under the power of the Holy Spirit, are far greater than those of thunder storms in the nature world. Thereby the stoutest are made to tremble, the proudest are cast down, the secrets of the heart are brought to light, sinners are converted, the savage, sensual, and unclean, become harmless, gentle, and pure. If we have heard God's voice, and have fled for refuge to the hope set before us, let us remember that children need not fear their Father's voice, when he speaks in anger to his enemies. While those tremble who are without shelter, let those who abide in his appointed refuge bless him for their security, looking forward to the day of judgment without dismay, safe as Noah in the ark.He maketh them also to skip like a calf - That is, the cedars of Lebanon. Compare Psalm 114:4, "The mountains skipped like rams, and the little hills like lambs." Psalm 68:16, "why leap ye, ye high hills?" The meaning is plain. The lightning tore off the large branches, and uprooted the loftiest trees, so that they seemed to play and dance like calves in their gambols. Nothing could be more strikingly descriptive of "power."

Lebanon and Sirion - Sirion was the name by which Mount Hermon was known among the Sidonians: Deuteronomy 3:9, "Which Hermon the Sidonians call Sirion." It is a part of the great range of Anti-libanus.

Like a young unicorn - On the meaning of the word used here, see the notes at Psalm 22:21. The illustration would be the same if any young wild animal were referred to.

5, 6. The tall and large cedars, especially of Lebanon, are shivered, utterly broken. The waving of the mountain forests before the wind is expressed by the figure of skipping or leaping. He maketh them; the cedars last mentioned; which being broken by the thunder, the parts of them are suddenly and violently hurled about hither and thither.

Sirion; a high mountain beyond Jordan joining to Lebanon; of which see Deu 3:9 4:48. Lebanon and Sirion are here understood, either,

1. Properly; and so they are said to skip or leap, both here and Psalm 114:4, by a poetical hyperbole, very usual both in Scripture and other authors; which is so known, that it is needless to give any instances of it. Or,

2. Metonymically for the trees or people of them, as the wilderness, Psalm 29:8, may seem to be taken; and as the earth, by the same figure, is frequently put for the people which dwell in it.

Unicorn, Heb. reem; of which see See Poole "Numbers 23:22 Psalm 22:21". He maketh them also to skip like a calf,.... That is, the cedars, the branches being broken off, or they torn up by the roots, and tossed about by the wind; which motion is compared to that of a calf that leaps and skips about;

Lebanon and Sirion, like a young unicorn; that is, these mountains move and skip about through the force of thunder, and the violence of an earthquake attending it; so historians report that mountains have moved from place to place, and they have met and dashed against one another (d). Sirion was a mountain in Judea near to Lebanon, and is the same with Hermon; which was called by the Sidonians Sirion, and by the Amorites Shenir, Deuteronomy 3:9. This may regard the inward motions of the mind, produced by the Gospel of Christ under a divine influence; see Isaiah 35:6.

(d) Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 2. c. 83. Joseph. Antiqu. l. 9. c. 11.

He maketh them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and {d} Sirion like a young unicorn.

(d) Called also Hermon.

6. them] Not the cedars, but the mountains generally, to be understood from Lebanon and Sirion in the next line. Cp. Psalm 114:4; Psalm 114:6; Psalm 18:7 ff.

Sirion] The old Sidonian name for Hermon (Deuteronomy 3:9), derived probably from the glistening of the snow on its summit. Lebanon and Sirion are specified as the noblest mountains of Palestine, and also as forming the northern boundary of the land.

unicorn] R.V. wild ox. See note on Psalm 22:21.Verse 6. - He maketh them also to skip like a calf (comp. Psalm 18:7). As the thunder crashes and rolls and reverberates among the mountains, it seems as though the mountains themselves shook, and were moved from their places. This is expressed with extreme vividness, though no doubt with truly Oriental hyperbole, in the present passage. Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn; rather, like a young wild ox. Lebanon and Sirion, or Hermon (Deuteronomy 3:9), are the two principal mountains of Palestine, Hermon being visible throughout almost the whole extent of the Holy Land, and Lebanon enjoying a commanding position beyond Galilee to the north. The storm which shook these lofty mountain-tracts would indeed be a manifestation of power, The first half of the Psalm prayed for deliverance and for judgment; this second half gives thanks for both. If the poet wrote the Psalm at one sitting then at this point the certainty of being answered dawns upon him. But it is even possible that he added this second part later on, as a memorial of the answer he experienced to his prayer (Hitzig, Ewald). It sounds, at all events, like the record of something that has actually taken place. Jahve is his defence and shield. The conjoined perfects in Psalm 28:7 denote that which is closely united in actual realisation; and in the fut. consec., as is frequently the case, e.g., in Job 14:2, the historical signification retreats into the background before the more essential idea of that which has been produced. In משּׁירי, the song is conceived as the spring whence the הודות bubble forth; and instead of אודנּוּ we have the more impressive form אהודנּוּ, as in Psalm 45:18; Psalm 116:6; 1 Samuel 17:47, the syncope being omitted. From suffering (Leid) springs song (Lied), and from song springs the praise (Lob) of Him, who has "turned" the suffering, just as it is attuned in Psalm 28:6 and Psalm 28:8.

(Note: There is a play of words and an alliteration in this sentence which we cannot fully reproduce in the English. - Tr.)

The αὐτοί, who are intended by למו in Psalm 28:8, are those of Israel, as in Psalm 12:8; Isaiah 33:2 (Hitzig). The lxx (κραταίωμα τοῦ λαοῦ αὐτοῦ) reads לעמּו, as in Psalm 29:11, which is approved by Bצttcher, Olshausen and Hupfeld; but למו yields a similar sense. First of all David thinks of the people, then of himself; for his private character retreats behind his official, by virtue of which he is the head of Israel. For this very reason his deliverance is the deliverance of Israel, to whom, so far as they have become unfaithful to His anointed, Jahve has not requited this faithlessness, and to whom, so far as they have remained true to him, He has rewarded this fidelity. Jahve is a עז a si evhaJ to them, inasmuch as He preserves them by His might from the destruction into which they would have precipitated themselves, or into which others would have precipitated them; and He is the מעוז ישׁוּעות of His anointed inasmuch as He surrounds him as an inaccessible place of refuge which secures to him salvation in all its fulness instead of the destruction anticipated. Israel's salvation and blessing were at stake; but Israel is in fact God's people and God's inheritance - may He, then, work salvation for them in every future need and bless them. Apostatised from David, it was a flock in the hands of the hireling - may He ever take the place of shepherd to them and carry them in His arms through the destruction. The נשּׂאם coupled with וּרעם (thus it is to be pointed according to Ben-Asher) calls to mind Deuteronomy 1:31, "Jahve carried Israel as a man doth carry his son," and Exodus 19:4; Deuteronomy 32:11, "as on eagles' wings." The Piel, as in Isaiah 63:9, is used of carrying the weak, whom one lifts up and thus removes out of its helplessness and danger. Psalm 3:1-8 closes just in the same way with an intercession; and the close of Psalm 29:1-11 is similar, but promissory, and consequently it is placed next to Psalm 28:1-9.

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