Psalm 77:18
The voice of your thunder was in the heaven: the lightning lightened the world: the earth trembled and shook.
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(18) In the heavens.—Literally, in the vault. The Hebrew, galgal, from gālal, “to roll,” has the same derivation as “vault” (volutum, from volvo). It is strange that this rendering, which so well suits the parallelism, should have been set aside by modern scholars in favour of “whirlwind” or “rolling chariot wheels.” The LXX. and Vulg. have “wheel,” but possibly with reference to the apparent revolution of the sky. The word, where it occurs in Isaiah 17:13, means something rolled by the whirlwind, not the whirlwind itself.

77:11-20 The remembrance of the works of God, will be a powerful remedy against distrust of his promise and goodness; for he is God, and changes not. God's way is in the sanctuary. We are sure that God is holy in all his works. God's ways are like the deep waters, which cannot be fathomed; like the way of a ship, which cannot be tracked. God brought Israel out of Egypt. This was typical of the great redemption to be wrought out in the fulness of time, both by price and power. If we have harboured doubtful thoughts, we should, without delay, turn our minds to meditate on that God, who spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, that with him, he might freely give us all things.The voice of thy thunder was in the heaven - Compare the notes at Psalm 29:1-11. The word rendered "heaven" here - גלגל galgal - means properly "a wheel," as of a chariot, Isaiah 5:28; Ezekiel 10:2, Ezekiel 10:6; Ezekiel 23:24; Ezekiel 26:10. Then it means a "whirlwind," as that which rolls along, Ezekiel 10:13. Then it is used to denote chaff or stubble, as driven along before a whirlwind, Psalm 83:13; Isaiah 17:13. It is never used to denote heaven. It means here, undoubtedly, the whirlwind; and the idea is, that in the ragings of the storm, or of the whirlwind, the voice of God was heard - the deep bellowing thunder - as if God spoke to people.

The lightnings lightened the world - The whole earth seemed to be in a blaze.

The earth trembled and shook - See the notes at Psalm 29:1-11.

15. Jacob and Joseph—representing all. This tempest is not particularly recorded in its proper place, yet it may well be gathered from what is said Exodus 14:24,25, and is in effect acknowledged by Josephus in his history. And this is no new thing in Scripture, for some circumstances of history omitted in the first and properest places to be supplied in following passages; whereof instances have been already given. The voice of thy thunder was in the heaven,.... Thunder is the voice of God, Job 37:5 this is heard in "the orb" (b), or the air, so called, because spherical; the Targum is

"the voice of thy thunder was heard in the wheel;''

so the word here used sometimes signifies; so Ezekiel 10:13, and is so rendered here by some (c); some think this refers to the wheels of the chariots of the Egyptians, which were taken off, it may be by the force of thunder and lightning, so that they drove on heavily, Exodus 14:25,

the lightnings lightened the world; not only that part of the world where the Israelites and Egyptians were, but the whole world; for lightning comes out of the east, and shines to the west, Matthew 24:27, this was in the night, and a very dark night it was, as Josephus (d) affirms; see Psalm 97:4,

the earth trembled and shook; there was an earthquake at the same time; unless this is to be understood of the panic which the inhabitants of the earth were put into on hearing of this wonderful event, Joshua 2:9.

(b) "in rotunditate", Montanus, Vatablus; "in isto orbe", Junius & Tremeullis; "in orbe", Cocceius; "in sphaera", Arab. (c) "In rota", Pagninus, Tigurine version, Musculus, Gejerus; "in rotis", Muis, Syr. vid. Suidam in voce (d) Ut supra. (Antiq. l. 2. c. 16. sect. 3.)

The voice of thy thunder was in the heaven: the lightnings lightened the world: the earth trembled and shook.
18. in the heaven] The word galgal, derived from a root meaning to roll, was understood by the Jewish commentators to mean the vault or circuit of the heaven. More probably it should be rendered in the whirlwind (R.V.), or, with rumbling, the rolling of the thunder being conceived of as the rolling of God’s chariot-wheels. Cp. Habakkuk 3:8.Verse 18. - The voice of thy thunder was in the heavens; rather, in the whirlwind (Kay, Cheyne, Revised Version). A storm of wind usually accompanies thunder and lightning. This the author, with poetical exaggeration, heightens into a "whirlwind" (comp. Psalm 83:13; Isaiah 17:13). The lightnings lightened the world. More hyperbole. Not only did they "go abroad" (ver. 17), darting hither and thither, but their intense brightness illuminated the whole earth. The earth trembled and shook. Through the reverberation of air, the earth seems to shake in a heavy thunderstorm. With ואמר the poet introduces the self-encouragement with which he has hitherto calmed himself when such questions of temptation were wont to intrude themselves upon him, and with which he still soothes himself. In the rendering of הלּותי (with the tone regularly drawn back before the following monosyllable) even the Targum wavers between מרעוּתי (my affliction) and בּעוּתי (my supplication); and just in the same way, in the rendering of Psalm 77:11, between אשׁתּניו (have changed) and שׁנין (years). שׁנות cannot possibly signify "change" in an active sense, as Luther renders: "The right hand of the Most High can change everything," but only a having become different (lxx and the Quinta ἀλλοίωσις, Symmachus ἐπιδευτέρωσις), after which Maurer, Hupfeld, and Hitzig render thus: my affliction is this, that the right hand of the Most High has changed. But after we have read שׁנות in Psalm 77:6 as a poetical plural of שׁנה, a year, we have first of all to see whether it may not have the same signification here. And many possible interpretations present themselves. It can be interpreted: "my supplication is this: years of the right hand of the Most High" (viz., that years like to the former ones may be renewed); but this thought is not suited to the introduction with ואמר. We must either interpret it: my sickness, viz., from the side of God, i.e., the temptation which befalls me from Him, the affliction ordained by Him for me (Aquila ἀῤῥωστία μου), is this (cf. Jeremiah 10:19); or, since in this case the unambiguous חלותי would have been used instead of the Piel: my being pierced, my wounding, my sorrow is this (Symmachus τρῶσίς μου, inf. Kal from חלל, Psalm 109:22, after the form חנּות from חנן) - they are years of the right hand of the Most High, i.e., those which God's mighty hand, under which I have to humble myself (1 Peter 5:6), has formed and measured out to me. In connection with this way of taking Psalm 77:11, Psalm 77:12 is now suitably and easily attached to what has gone before. The poet says to himself that the affliction allotted to him has its time, and will not last for ever. Therein lies a hope which makes the retrospective glance into the happier past a source of consolation to him. In Psalm 77:12 the Chethb אזכיר is to be retained, for the כי in Psalm 77:12 is thus best explained: "I bring to remembrance, i.e., make known with praise or celebrate (Isaiah 63:7), the deeds of Jāh, for I will remember Thy wondrous doing from days of old." His sorrow over the distance between the present and the past is now mitigated by the hope that God's right hand, which now casts down, will also again in His own time raise up. Therefore he will now, as the advance from the indicative to the cohortative (cf. Psalm 17:15) imports, thoroughly console and refresh himself with God's work of salvation in all its miraculous manifestations from the earliest times. יהּ is the most concise and comprehensive appellation for the God of the history of redemption, who, as Habakkuk prays, will revive His work of redemption in the midst of the years to come, and bring it to a glorious issue. To Him who then was and who will yet come the poet now brings praise and celebration. The way of God is His historical rule, and more especially, as in Habakkuk 3:6, הליכות, His redemptive rule. The primary passage Exodus 15:11 (cf. Psalm 68:25) shows that בּקּדשׁ is not to be rendered "in the sanctuary" (lxx ἐν τῷ ἁγίῳ), but "in holiness" (Symmachus ἐν ἁγιασμῷ). Holy and glorious in love and in anger. God goes through history, and shows Himself there as the incomparable One, with whose greatness no being, and least of all any one of the beingless gods, can be measured. He is האל, the God, God absolutely and exclusively, a miracle-working (עשׂה פלא, not עשׂה פלא cf. Genesis 1:11)

(Note: The joining of the second word, accented on the first syllable and closely allied in sense, on to the first, which is accented on the ultima (the tone of which, under certain circumstances, retreats to the penult., נסוג אחור) or monosyllabic, by means of the hardening Dagesh (the so-called דחיק), only takes place when that first word ends in ה- or ה-, not when it ends in ה-.))

God, and a God who by these very means reveals Himself as the living and supra-mundane God. He has made His omnipotence known among the peoples, viz., as Exodus 15:16 says, by the redemption of His people, the tribes of Jacob and the double tribe of Joseph, out of Egypt, - a deed of His arm, i.e., the work of His own might, by which He has proved Himself to all peoples and to the whole earth to be the Lord of the world and the God of salvation (Exodus 9:16; Exodus 15:14). בּזרוע, brachio scil. extenso (Exodus 6:6; Deuteronomy 4:34, and frequently), just as in Psalm 75:6, בּצוּאר, collo scil. erecto. The music here strikes in; the whole strophe is an overture to the following hymn in celebration of God, the Redeemer out of Egypt.

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