Psalm 29:9
The voice of the LORD maketh the hinds to calve, and discovereth the forests: and in his temple doth every one speak of his glory.
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(9) Maketh the hinds to calve.—Literally, maketh the hinds writhe (with pain). (See margin. Comp. Job 39:1, where the hind’s habit of hiding its young for safety is alluded to, a habit which the violence of the storm makes it forget.) Both Plutarch and Pliny notice the custom of shepherds to collect their flocks during a thunderstorm, for such as are left alone and are separated, are apt, through terror, to cast their young.

Discovereth the forests.—The word “discovereth” comes from the LXX. and Vulgate. Literally, peels or strips—the effects both of wind and lightning. Passing over the sands of the Arabah, the storm has reached the “acacias and palms and vegetation which clothe the rocks of granite and porphyry in the neighbourhood of Petra.” Forests may seem rather a large word for such vegetation, but Stanley remarks of the Arabah that “the shrubs at times give it almost the appearance of a jungle.” Similar effects of a storm upon a forest are described by Tennyson in Vivien:

“Scarce had she ceased when out of heaven a bolt

(For now the storm was close above them) struck,

Furrowing a giant oak, and javelining

With darted spikes and splinters of the wood

The dark earth round. He raised his eyes and saw

The tree that shone white-listed thro’ the gloom.”

In his temple.—Better, in his palacei.e., the heavenly palace, as in Psalm 11:4; Psalm 18:6. (See Psalm 29:1.) The angelic spectators of the magnificent drama enacted below them cry (not merely speak of, as Authorised Version, but utter the word) each one, “Glory,” obeying the poet’s invocation in the prelude.

Notice that the effect of the storm on men is supposed to be all summed up in the poet’s own attitude of listening awe. There is no actual mention of this part of creation; but one feels from the poem that while inanimate nature trembles and suffers, and the godlike intelligences of heaven are engaged in praise, man listens and is mute.

Psalm 29:9. Maketh the hinds to calve — Through the terror which it causeth, which hastens parturition in these and some other creatures. But he names hinds, because they usually bring forth their young with difficulty. See note on Job 39:1. And discovereth the forests — Hebrew יחשׂŠ, jechesoph, maketh bare, &c., either of their trees, which it breaks and strips of their leaves; or of the beasts, which it forces to run into their dens. And, or but, in his temple doth every one speak, &c. — Having shown the terrible effects of God’s power in other places, he now shows the blessed privilege of God’s people, that are praising and glorifying God, and receiving the comfortable influences of his grace in his temple, when the world are trembling under the tokens of his displeasure. By this he secretly invites and persuades the Gentiles, for their own safety and comfort, to own the true God, and to worship him in his sanctuary, as he exhorted, Psalm 29:2. Or, therefore in his temple, that is, because of these, and such like discoveries of God’s excellent majesty and power, his people fear, praise, and adore him in his temple.

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.The voice of the Lord maketh the hinds to calve - The deer. The object of the psalmist here is to show the effects of the storm in producing consternation, especially on the weak and timid animals of the forest. The effect here adverted to is that of fear or consternation in bringing on the throes of parturition. Compare Job 39:1, Job 39:3. No one can doubt that the effect here described may occur in the violence of a tempest; and perhaps no image could more vividly describe the terrors of the storm than the consternation thus produced. The margin here is, "to be in pain." The Hebrew means "to bring forth," referring to the pains of parturition.

And discovereth the forests - The word used here means "to strip off, to uncover;" and, as used here, it means to strip off the leaves of the forest; to make the trees bare - referring to an effect which is often produced by a violent storm.

And in his temple doth every one speak of his glory - Margin, "every whit of it uttereth," etc. The word here rendered "temple" does not refer in this place to the tabernacle, or to the temple at Jerusalem, but rather "to the world itself," considered as the residence or dwelling-place of God. Perhaps the true translation would be, "And in his temple everything says, Glory!" That is, in the dwelling-place of God - the world of nature - the sky, the earth, the forests, the waters, everything in the storm, echoes "glory, glory!" All these things declare the glory of God; all these wonders - the voice of God upon the waters; the thunder; the crash of the trees upon the hills; the shaking of the wilderness; the universal consternation; the leaves stripped from the trees and flying in every direction - all proclaim the majesty and glory of Yahweh.

9. Terror-stricken animals and denuded forests close the illustration. In view of this scene of awful sublimity, God's worshippers respond to the call of Ps 29:2, and speak or cry, "Glory!" By "temple," or "palace" (God's residence, Ps 5:7), may here be meant heaven, or the whole frame of nature, as the angels are called on for praise. Maketh the hinds to calve, through the terror which it causeth, which hastens the birth in these and other places: see 1 Samuel 4:19. He nameth the

hinds, because they bring forth their young with difficulty, Job 39:1,2.

Discovereth, Heb. maketh bare; either of its trees, which it either breaks or strips off their leaves; or of the beasts, which it forceth to run into their dens.

And in his temple; or, but. Having showed the terrible effects of God’s power in other places, he now shows the blessed privilege of God’s people, that are praising and glorifying God, and receiving the comfortable influences of his grace in his temple, when the rest of the world are trembling under the tokens of his displeasure; by which he secretly invites and persuades the Gentiles, for their own safety and comfort, to own the true God and to worship him in his sanctuary, as he did exhort them, Psalm 29:2. Or, therefore, i.e. because of these and such-like discoveries of God’s excellent majesty and power, his people fear, and praise, and adore him in his temple.

The voice of the Lord maketh the hinds to calve,.... Which being timorous creatures, the bringing forth of their young, which is naturally very painful and difficult, is lessened and facilitated by thunder; they being either so frightened with it that they feel not their pains; or their pains, being hastened by it, become more easy; and naturalists observe, that the time of bringing forth their young is at that season of the year when thunder is most frequent; see Job 39:1. Thunder has a like effect on sheep, and makes them abortive (g): this may be applied to the Gospel, which is the means of bringing forth souls to Christ by his churches and ministers; who may very fitly be compared to hinds for their love and loveliness, their swiftness and readiness to do the will of Christ, and their eager desires after communion with him, Proverbs 5:19;

and discovereth the forests; or "maketh bare" (h): by beating off the leaves and branches of trees, and them to the ground; or by causing the wild beasts that frequent them to retire to their holes and dens; which effects are produced by thunder; and this aptly agrees with the Gospel, which is a revelation of secrets, of the thickets and deep things of God; of his council, covenant, mind, and will; and of the mysteries of his grace to the sons of men, and generally to babes, or men of their capacities; and of its stripping them of all their own righteousness, and dependence on it;

and in his temple doth everyone speak of his glory; either in heaven, where angels and glorified saints are continually employed in speaking of his glorious name, nature, and works; or in the temple, or tabernacle at Jerusalem, where the Levites stood to praise the Lord morning and evening, and where the tribes went up to worship, and to give thanks unto the Lord, 1 Chronicles 23:30; or the church of God, which is the temple of the living God, whither saints resort, and where they dwell, and speak of the glory of God, of his divine perfections, and of his works of creation and providence; and of the glory of the person of Christ, and salvation by him; and of the glorious work of grace begun in their souls by the blessed Spirit; for hither such as have heard the voice of Christ, and have felt the power of it, and have found it to be a soul-shaking, an heart-breaking, and an illuminating voice, come, and declare it to the glory of the grace of God.

(g) Aristot. Hist. Animal. l. 9. c. 3. Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 8. c. 47. (h) "et denudat", Musculus, Vatablus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Gejerus; so Cocceius, Michaelis, Ainsworth.

The voice of the LORD maketh the hinds to {g} calve, and {h} discovereth the forests: and in his {i} temple doth every one speak of his glory.

(g) For fear makes them deliver their calves.

(h) Makes the trees bare, or pierces the most secret places.

(i) Though the wicked are not moved by these lights, yet the faithful praise God.

9. maketh the hinds to calve] Prematurely, in fear; an observed fact. There is no need to emend (though the change required would be very slight), shaketh (or, pierceth) the oaks.

discovereth] i.e. as R.V., strippeth the forests bare, of branches, leaves, bark. Discover is an archaism for uncover (Psalm 18:15, note).

and in his temple &c.] R.V., And in his temple everything saith, Glory. It is tempting to understand his temple of heaven and earth, and to regard the line as a summary of the message of the storm; but temple (or, palace) must mean heaven; and the meaning is better given by rendering

While in his temple all are saying, Glory.

This is the chant of the angelic worshippers (Psalm 29:1-2) as they watch the manifestation of Jehovah’s majesty.

Verse 9. - The voice of the Lord maketh the hinds to calve. Plutarch says, "Shepherds accustom their flocks in a thunderstorm to keep together, and put their heads in the same direction; for such as are left alone and separated from the rest through terror cast their young" ('Sympos.,' Quest. 2.). And Pliny, "Solitary sheep cast their lambs in thunderstorms; the remedy is to keep the flock together, since it helps them to have company." A traveller in South Africa observes, "In Bechuanaland, when there are heavy thunderstorms, the antelopes flee in consternation; and the poor Bechuanas start off on the morning following such a storm in quest of the young which have been cast through horror" (see Moffat's 'South Africa,' quoted by Dr. Kay, in his 'Commentary on the Psalms,' p. 93). And discovereth the forests; or, strippeth the forests. Denudes them of their leaves and branches. And in his temple doth every one speak of his glory; i.e. his grand temple, or palace (heykal), of heaven and earth. In this temple "every one," or rather everything, all that is in it. is continually speaking of his glory (literally, "says, Glory!"). Psalm 29:9Now follows the description of the revelation of God's power, which is the ground of the summons, and is to be the subject-matter of their praise. The All-glorious One makes Himself heard in the language (Revelation 10:3.) of the thunder, and reveals Himself in the storm. There are fifteen lines, which naturally arrange themselves into three five-line strophes. The chief matter with the poet, however, is the sevenfold קול ה. Although קול is sometimes used almost as an ejaculatory "Hark!" (Genesis 4:10; Isaiah 52:8), this must not, with Ewald (286, f), be applied to the קול ה of the Psalm before us, the theme of which is the voice of God, who announced Himself from heaven - a voice which moves the world. The dull sounding קול serves not merely to denote the thunder of the storm, but even the thunder of the earthquake, the roar of the tempest, and in general, every low, dull, rumbling sound, by which God makes Himself audible to the world, and more especially from the wrathful side of His doxa. The waters in Psalm 29:3 are not the lower waters. Then the question arises what are they? Were the waters of the Mediterranean intended, they would be more definitely denoted in such a vivid description. It is, however, far more appropriate to the commencement of this description to understand them to mean the mass of water gathered together in the thick, black storm-clouds (vid., Psalm 18:12; Jeremiah 10:13). The rumbling

(Note: The simple rendering of קול by "voice" has been retained in the text of the Psalm, as in the Authorised Version. The word, however, which Dr. Delitzsch uses is Gedrhn, the best English equivalent of which is a "rumbling." - Tr.)

of Jahve is, as the poet himself explains in Psalm 29:3, the thunder produced on high by the אל הכּבוד (cf. מלך הכבוד, Psalm 24:7.), which rolls over the sea of waters floating above the earth in the sky. Psalm 29:4 and Psalm 29:4, just like Psalm 29:3 and Psalm 29:3, are independent substantival clauses. The rumbling of Jahve is, issues forth, or passes by; ב with the abstract article as in Psalm 77:14; Proverbs 24:5 (cf. Proverbs 8:8; Luke 4:32, ἐν ἰσχύΐ Revelation 18:2), is the ב of the distinctive attribute. In Psalm 29:3 the first peals of thunder are heard; in Psalm 29:4 the storm is coming nearer, and the peals become stronger, and now it bursts forth with its full violence: Psalm 29:5 describes this in a general form, and Psalm 29:5 expresses by the fut. consec., as it were inferentially, that which is at present taking place: amidst the rolling of the thunder the descending lightning flashes rive the cedars of Lebanon (as is well-known, the lightning takes the outermost points). The suffix in Psalm 29:6 does not refer proleptically to the mountains mentioned afterwards, but naturally to the cedars (Hengst., Hupf., Hitz.), which bend down before the storm and quickly rise up again. The skipping of Lebanon and Sirion, however, is not to be referred to the fact, that their wooded summits bend down and rise again, but, according to Psalm 114:4, to their being shaken by the crash of the thunder-a feature in the picture which certainly does not rest upon what is actually true in nature, but figuratively describes the apparent quaking of the earth during a heavy thunderstorm. שריון, according to Deuteronomy 3:9, is the Sidonian name of Hermon, and therefore side by side with Lebanon it represents Anti-Lebanon. The word, according to the Masora, has ש sinistrum, and consequently is isriyown, wherefore Hitzig correctly derives it from Arab. srâ, fut. i., to gleam, sparkle, cf. the passage from an Arab poet at Psalm 133:3. The lightning makes these mountains bound (Luther, lecken, i.e., according to his explanation: to spring, skip) like young antelopes. ראם,

(Note: On Arab. r'm vid., Seetzen's Reisen iii. 339 and also iv. 496.)

like βούβαλος, βούβαλις, is a generic name of the antelope, and of the buffalo that roams in herds through the forests beyond the Jordan even at the present day; for there are antelopes that resemble the buffalo and also (except in the formation of the head and the cloven hoofs) those that resemble the horse, the lxx renders: ὡς υἱὸς μονοκερώτων. Does this mean the unicorn Germ. one-horn depicted on Persian and African monuments? Is this unicorn distinct from the one horned antelope? Neither an unicorn nor an one horned antelope have been seen to the present day by any traveller. Both animals, and consequently also their relation to one another, are up to the present time still undefinable from a scientific point of view.

(Note: By ראם Ludolf in opposition to Bochart understands the rhinoceros; but this animal, belonging to the swine tribe, is certainly not meant, or even merely associated with it. Moreover, the rhinoceros Germ. nose-horn is called in Egypt charnin (from Arab. chrn equals qrn), but the unicorn, charnit. "In the year 1862 the French archaeologist, M. Waddington, was with me in Damascus when an antiquary brought me an ancient vessel on which a number of animals were engraved, their names being written on their bellies. Among the well known animals there was also an unicorn, exactly like a zebra or a horse, but with a long horn standing out upon its forehead; on its body was the word Arab. chrnı̂t. M. Waddington wished to have the vessel and I gave it up to him; and he took it with him to Paris. We talked a good deal about this unicorn, and felt obliged to come to the conclusion that the form of the fabulous animal might have become known to the Arabs at the time of the crusades, when the English coat of arms came to Syria." - Wetzstein.)

Each peal of thunder is immediately followed by a flash of lightning; Jahve's thunder cleaveth flames of fire, i.e., forms (as it were λατομεῖ) the fire-matter of the storm-clouds into cloven flames of fire, into lightnings that pass swiftly along; in connection with which it must be remembered that קול ה denotes not merely the thunder as a phenomenon, but at the same time it denotes the omnipotence of God expressing itself therein. The brevity and threefold division of Psalm 29:7 depicts the incessant, zigzag, quivering movement of the lightning (tela trisulca, ignes trisulci, in Ovid). From the northern mountains the storm sweeps on towards the south of Palestine into the Arabian desert, viz., as we are told in Psalm 29:8 (cf. Psalm 29:5, according to the schema of "parallelism by reservation"), the wilderness region of Kadesh (Kadesh Barnea), which, however we may define its position, must certainly have lain near the steep western slope of the mountains of Edom toward the Arabah. Jahve's thunder, viz., the thunderstorm, puts this desert in a state of whirl, inasmuch as it drives the sand (חול) before it in whirlwinds; and among the mountains it, viz., the strong lightning and thundering, makes the hinds to writhe, inasmuch as from fright they bring forth prematurely. both the Hiph. יהיל and the Pil. יחולל are used with a causative meaning (root חו, חי, to move in a circle, to encircle). The poet continues with ויּחשׂף, since he makes one effect of the storm to develope from another, merging as it were out of its chrysalis state. יערות is a poetical plural form; and חשׂף describes the effect of the storm which "shells" the woods, inasmuch as it beats down the branches of the trees, both the tops and the foliage. While Jahve thus reveals Himself from heaven upon the earth in all His irresistible power, בּהיכלו, in His heavenly palace (Psalm 11:4; Psalm 18:7), כּלּו (note how בהיכלו resolves this כלו out of itself), i.e., each of the beings therein, says: כבוד. That which the poet, in Psalm 29:1, has called upon them to do, now takes place. Jahve receives back His glory, which is immanent in the universe, in the thousand-voiced echo of adoration.

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