The Waters of the Earth: An Exegetical Study of Psalm 104:1-9 -- By: David G. Barker

Journal: Grace Theological Journal
Volume: GTJ 07:1 (Spring 1986)
Article: The Waters of the Earth: An Exegetical Study of Psalm 104:1-9
Author: David G. Barker

The Waters of the Earth:
An Exegetical Study of Psalm 104:1-9

David G. Barker

Ps 104:6–9 is viewed as a reference to the flood of Noah, not the original creation week. Support for this interpretation is drawn from broad studies in the psalms setting, literary structure, and grammar. Current literature on the psalm is brought into the discussion. The conclusion is drawn that the psalm displays a unique cosmology and a perspective including not only Yahwehs creative power, but also Yahwehs providential control in judgment and blessing. More specifically, Ps 104:8a speaks of the catastrophic tectonic activities associated with the Genesis flood.

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Psalm 104 is a majestic hymn of praise which extols Yahweh as creator and sustainer of the natural world. As a companion hymn to Psalm 103, it calls upon the individual worshiper to add his voice to the vast chorus of praise ascending to the very heavenly dwelling place of God.

The specific issue for discussion in this study is the meaning of vv 6–9. Most would argue that the psalm reflects the six day creation week of Genesis 1, and that the specific reference in Ps 104:6–9 is to the events of the first two days of the week which culminate in Gen 1:9. However, others have suggested that the Noahic flood is in view here, and that the psalm goes far beyond the limits of Genesis 1.

Additionally, a specific problem is encountered in the translation and interpretation of v 8a of the psalm. What is going up and down? Is it the waters or the mountains? If the former is accepted, both textual and imagery problems develop; if the latter, contextual problems arise.

The purpose of this article, therefore, is to determine if it is a viable alternative to interpret Ps 104:6–9 as a reference to the Noahic deluge. Additionally, it will seek to determine the best translation of v 8a in light of syntax, imagery and context. A more general purpose

of this study, however, is to exegete Ps 104:1–9 taking into consideration factors...

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