Psalm 104: Appendix, Translation, and Notes



(1) Bless the Lord,

0 my inmost being!0 Lord, my God, you are very great;

You are clothed with majesty and splendor.

(2) He spreads out

light like a covering;

He stretches out the heavens as a tent.1

(3) He fills his

upper chambers with water;2

He makes the clouds his chariot;

He travels on the wings of the wind.3

(4) He makes the

winds his messengers,

Fire and flame his servants.4

(5) He established

the earth on its foundations;

It shall not be moved forever and ever.(6) The primeval ocean

covered it like a garment;5

The waters stood over the mountains.

(7) Prom your rebuke

they fled;

From your thunderous voice they rushed away.

(8) They went up to

the mountains, down to the netherworld chasms,

To the place which you appointed for them.6

(9) You set them a

limit which they cannot transgress;

They will not return to cover the earth.

(10) He sends forth

springs in the wadis;

They flow between the mountains.

(11) He makes all

the beasts of the field drink;

He makes the onagers shatter their thirst.7

(12) Near them (the

streams) the birds of heaven nest;

Among them the ravens give forth their voice.8

(13) He waters[9]

the mountains from his upper chambers;

From the fruit of his work, the earth is well supplied.10

(14) He brings forth

grain for the animals;

And grass for those who serve man.11

He indeed brings

grain from the earth;12

(15) And wine which gladdens the heart of man.

He indeed makes

their faces shine with oil;

And bread, which strengthens the heart of man.

(16) The trees of

the Lord have plenty;

The cedars of Lebanon which he planted,

(17) Where the birds

make their nests;

As for the stork, her house is among their tops.

(18) The high

mountains are for the mountain goats;

The rocky places are for the coneys.

(19) He made the

moon for appointed times;

The sun knows when to go down.(20) It darkens, and becomes night;13

In it creep all the beasts of the thicket.

(21) The lions roar

for their prey;

They seek their food from God.14

(22) The sun rises,

so they may be gathered,

So they may lie down in their dens

(2)) Man goes forth

to his work,

And to his labor until the evening.

(24) How marvelous

are your works, 0 Lord!

You made them all wisely.

The earth is full of your created things.15(25) This sea, great and wide


In which are uncountable creatures,

Living things, both small and great —

(26) There the ships


Leviathan which you made,

Plays in it.17

(27) All of them

look to you,18

To give them their food on time.

(28) You give to

them, so they may gather;

You open your hand, so they may be satisfied with good.

(29) You hide your

face, and they are disturbed;

You bring their breath to an end,19

And they return to their dust.

(30) You send forth

your breath, and they are created;

So you renew the face of the ground.

(31) Let the glory

of the Lord. be eternal;

Let the Lord rejoice in his works –(32) He who looks at the

earth, and it trembles;

Who touches the mountains, and they smoke.

(33) I will sing to

the Lord while I live.

I will sing to my God while I continue to exist.

(34) Let my song be

pleasing to him,

I will rejoice in the Lord.

(35) Sinners shall

be removed from the earth,

And the wicked will be no more.

Bless the Lord, 0 my

inmost being!


1He spreads out

literally-should read, “He covers himself with,” but

here, in the light of the parallelism, I have translated as

above. slmh

normally means mantle or covering, thus the movement is from the

general to the specific, which is fairly common in this Psalm.

(7ab, qOwl ra;amkA – ga;arAtkA; 11ab, hayetOw-sAday

– perA’iym; 12ab, ;owf

– ;Afa’yim; 14ab, behEmAh

– ;obedot-hA’AdAm; 16ab, ;aTey-yhwh

– ‘arzEy-lebanown; Thus here, “He spreads

out light as a covering (general) // He stretches out the heavens

as a tent (specific type of covering).

2See Mitchell

Dahood, Psalms, 3 vols., The Anchor Bible (Garden City, N. Y.:

Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1970), 3:34.

3Because of the

translation of the first line, these three lines fit together as

a tricolon. The imagery evokes the second day of creation.

4These could

equally well be translated with the object and the subject

reversed. For reasons of context, which have been discussed above

in Chapter V, they are translated thus. “Fire and

flame” may simply be viewed as the omission of the

conjunction for poetic reasons.

5Emending kaSSiytOw to kaSSetAh. If the Psalm was written originally

without vowel pointing, this error would be easy. with the h

misunderstood as the older form of the suffix, having become kstw

with the newer form. In order to make sense of this form, the

yodh would be introduced. This is a more logical preparation of

the reader for the battle to come.

6See Dahood,

3:36, 37 for the translation of hAriym and beqa;owt.

7Emending yisberUw

to yasbi(y)rUw a

change only in vowel pointing. This is supported by the



“ravens,” see Dahood, 3:38, 39.


participle, “he causes the mountains to drink.”

10For ma;asekA

see Dahood, 3:39.

11Point le:Obdot

feminine plural participle, and view as a specific class of


12Taking the l

on lehOwTiy’

as a lamedh emphaticum as in v. 15b. Also see Dahood, 3:39-41.

13Reading tistahsEk

instead of tAset-hOsek.

See Dahood, 3:43.

14Reading UwlebiqqesUw.

Lamedh emphaticum with a plural perfect piel. With the use of the

lamedh emphaticum lost in the time when the vowel pointing was

added, this would be a simple error. If the Psalm was written

originally without vowel letters, there would also be a

difficulty in distinguishing between the singular and the plural.


see Dahood, 3:44.


“wide of reach.”

17Reading lesaheq

lamedh emphaticum — “he plays in it.”


“hope towards you.”

19Reading tASi(y)f

rather than tOSef with or without yodh. No

consonantal changes are necessary.