Psalm 89:9
Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them.
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89:5-14 The more God's works are known, the more they are admired. And to praise the Lord, is to acknowledge him to be such a one that there is none like him. Surely then we should feel and express reverence when we worship God. But how little of this appears in our congregations, and how much cause have we to humble ourselves on this account! That almighty power which smote Egypt, will scatter the enemies of the church, while all who trust in God's mercy will rejoice in his name; for mercy and truth direct all he does. His counsels from eternity, and their consequences to eternity, are all justice and judgment.Thou rulest the raging of the sea - The pride; the anger; the lifting up of the sea. That is, when the sea is raging and boisterous; when it seems as if everything would be swept away before it, thou hast absolute control over it. There is, perhaps, no more impressive exhibition of divine power than the control which God has over the raging waves of the ocean: and yet this was the power which Jesus exercised over the raging sea of Galilee - showing that he had the power of God. Mark 4:39-41.

When the waves thereof arise - In the lifting up of the waves; when they seem to raise themselves up in defiance.

Thou stillest them - At thy pleasure. They rise no higher than thou dost permit; at thy command they settle down into a calm. So in the troubles of life - the storms - the waves of affliction; they rise as high as God permits, and no higher; when he commands they subside, and leave the mind as calm as the smooth sea when not a breath of wind moves over its surface, or makes a ripple on its placid bosom.

8-14. To illustrate His power and faithfulness examples are cited from history. His control of the sea (the most mighty and unstable object in nature), and of Egypt (Ps 87:4), the first great foe of Israel (subjected to utter helplessness from pride and insolence), are specimens. At the same time, the whole frame of nature founded and sustained by Him, Tabor and Hermon for "east and west," and "north and south," together representing the whole world, declare the same truth as to His attributes. Giving commands and setting bounds to its waves when they are most impetuous and unruly.

Thou rulest the raging of the sea,.... The power, pride, and elation of it, when it swells, and foams, and rages, and becomes boisterous, and threatens vessels upon it with utter ruin and destruction; but the Lord, who has it under his dominion and government, restrains it; he has made and can manage it, and he only: his power over it is seen in assigning it its place, and ordering the waters of it to it when first made; in placing the sand for its boundary by a perpetual decree, which it cannot pass; by commanding the stormy wind to lift up its waves, and by making the storm a calm, and the waves thereof still; see Psalm 107:25, instances of this were at the universal deluge, and at the Red sea:

when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them; when the sea lifts up its waves, and both lift up their voice, and make a noise, and roar, the Lord hushes them, and makes them still and quiet, as a parent its child when it cries, or a master his scholars, when they are noisy and tumultuous; so Christ rebuked the wind, and checked the raging sea, and made it calm, when the ship in which he was with his disciples was covered with its waves; and as this is mentioned here as an instance of the great power and strength of the Lord of hosts, so that was a proof and evidence of the true and proper divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, Matthew 8:24, all this may be understood, in a mystical sense, of the sea of this world, and the wicked inhabitants of it, who are as the troubled sea, and cannot rest, casting up mire and dirt, reproaching and blaspheming God and man; and particularly of tyrannical princes and potentates, who are like the proud waters and raging waves of the sea; but the Lord on high is mightier than they, and can and does restrain their wrath and rage, so that his people have nothing to fear from them; see Psalm 124:3.

{i} Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them.

(i) For as he delivered the Church by the Red sea, and by destroying Rahab, that is, the Egyptians, so will he deliver it, when the dangers are great.

9, 10. In this and the following verses thou, thine are the emphatic words.

the raging] Or, proud swelling. Cp. Psalm 46:3. The sea represents the most turbulent and formidable of the powers of nature. Cp. Psalm 93:3 f.; Job 38:11. From the sea of nature the poet turns to the sea of nations of which it is the emblem (Psalm 65:7). At the Red Sea God proved His sovereignty over both. For Rahab as a name of Egypt see note on Psalm 87:4. Broken in pieces denotes crushing defeat (Psalm 44:19): as one that is slain expresses the result; the ferocious monster lies pierced through and harmless. A comparison of Job 26:12-13 (on which see Dr Davidson’s notes) suggests that the language is chosen so as to allude not only to the destruction of the Egyptians at the Red Sea, but to the primitive mythological idea of a conflict between God and the powers of nature personified as ‘Rahab.’

with thy strong arm] Better, With the arm of thy strength didst thou scatter thine enemies. Cp. Isaiah 51:9-10.

Verse 9. - Thou rulest the raging of the sea. There is no reason why this should not be understood literally. God's power over the sea is constantly put forward by the sacred writers as very specially indicative of his might and greatness (comp. Job 38:8-11; Psalm 107:29; Proverbs 8:29; Jeremiah 5:22, etc.). When the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them (comp. Psalm 65:7; Psalm 107:23-30; Matthew 8:26, 27). Psalm 89:9At the time of the poet the nation of the house of David was threatened with assault from violent foes; and this fact gives occasion for this picture of God's power in the kingdom of nature. He who rules the raging of the sea, also rules the raging of the sea of the peoples, Psalm 65:8. גּאוּת, a proud rising, here of the sea, like גּאוה in Psalm 46:4. Instead of בּשׂוע, Hitzig pleasantly enough reads בּשׁוא equals בּשׁאו from שׁאה; but שׂוא is also possible so far as language is concerned, either as an infinitive equals נשׂוא, Psalm 28:2; Isaiah 1:14 (instead of שׂאת), or as an infinitival noun, like שׂיא, loftiness, Job 20:6, with a likewise rejected Nun. The formation of the clause favours our taking it as a verb: when its waves rise, Thou stillest them. From the natural sea the poet comes to the sea of the peoples; and in the doings of God at the Red Sea a miraculous subjugation of both seas took place at one and the same time. It is clear from Psalm 74:13-17; Isaiah 51:9, that Egypt is to be understood by Rahab in this passage as in Psalm 87:4. The word signifies first of all impetuosity, violence, then a monster, like "the wild beast of the reed," Psalm 68:31, i.e., the leviathan or the dragon. דּכּאת is conjugated after the manner of the Lamed He verbs, as in Psalm 44:20. כּחלל is to be understood as describing the event or issue (vid., Psalm 18:43): so that in its fall the proudly defiant kingdom is like one fatally smitten. Thereupon in Psalm 89:12-15 again follows in the same co-ordination first the praise of God drawn from nature, then from history. Jahve's are the heavens and the earth. He is the Creator, and for that very reason the absolute owner, of both. The north and the right hand, i.e., the south, represent the earth in its entire compass from one region of the heavens to the other. Tabor on this side of the Jordan represents the west (cf. Hosea 5:1), and Hermon opposite the east of the Holy Land. Both exult by reason of the name of God; by their fresh, cheerful look they give the impression of joy at the glorious revelation of the divine creative might manifest in themselves. In Psalm 89:14 the praise again enters upon the province of history. "An arm with (עם) heroic strength," says the poet, inasmuch as he distinguishes between the attribute inherent in God and the medium of its manifestation in history. His throne has as its מכון, i.e., its immovable foundation (Proverbs 16:12; Proverbs 25:5), righteousness of action and right, by which all action is regulated, and which is unceasingly realized by means of the action. And mercy and truth wait upon Him. קדּם פּני is not; to go before any one (הלּך לפני, Psalm 85:14), but anticipatingly to present one's self to any one, Psalm 88:14; Psalm 95:2; Micah 6:6. Mercy and truth, these two genii of sacred history (Psalm 43:3), stand before His face like waiting servants watching upon His nod.
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