Psalm 104 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Psalm 104)

Verse 2

[2] Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain:

Light — With that first created light, which the psalmist fitly puts in the first place, as being the first of God's visible works.

Verse 3

[3] Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind:

Waters — In the waters above the heavens, as they are called, Genesis 1:7.

Verse 4

[4] Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire:

Spirits — Of a spiritual or incorporeal nature, that they might be fitter for their employments.

Fire — So called for their irresistible force and agility, and fervency in the execution of God's commands.

Verse 5

[5] Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed for ever.

Who laid — Heb. he hath established the earth upon its own basis, whereby it stands as fast and unmoveable, as if it were built upon the strongest foundations.

Forever — As long as the world continues. God has fixt so strange a place for the earth, that being an heavy body, one would think it should fall every moment. And yet which way so ever we would imagine it to stir, it must, contrary to the nature of such a body, fall upwards, and so can have no possible ruin, but by tumbling into heaven.

Verse 6

[6] Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment: the waters stood above the mountains.

The deep — In the first creation, Genesis 1:2,9.

Verse 7

[7] At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away.

Rebuke — Upon thy command, Genesis 1:9.

Fled — They immediately went to the place which God had allotted them.

Verse 8

[8] They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which thou hast founded for them.

Go up — In that first division of the waters from the earth, part went upwards, and became springs in the mountains, the greatest part went downwards to the channels made for them.

Verse 9

[9] Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth.

A bound — Even the sand of the sea-shore.

Verse 11

[11] They give drink to every beast of the field: the wild asses quench their thirst.

Wild asses — Stupid creatures, and yet plentifully provided for by the Divine providence.

Verse 13

[13] He watereth the hills from his chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works.

The hills — Which most need moisture.

From — From the clouds.

Satisfied — By this means all the parts of the earth, are made fruitful.

The fruit — With the effects of those sweet showers.

Verse 15

[15] And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man's heart.

Oil — He alludes to the custom of those times and places, which was upon festival occasions to anoint their faces with oil.

Bread — Which preserves or renews our strength and vigour.

Verse 16

[16] The trees of the LORD are full of sap; the cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted;

Trees — Which come up, and thrive not by man's industry, but merely by the care of God's providence.

Verse 19

[19] He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth his going down.

For seasons — To distinguish the times, the seasons of divers natural events, as of the ebbing and flowing of waters, and other seasons for sacred and civil affairs, which were commonly regulated by the moon.

Verse 21

[21] The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God.

Roar — They roar when they come within sight of their prey.

Seek — Their roaring is a kind of natural prayer to God, for relief.

Verse 25

[25] So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts.

Creeping — This word is common to all creatures that move without feet.

Verse 26

[26] There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein.

Leviathan — The whale.

Therein — Who being of such a vast strength and absolute dominion in the sea, tumbles in it with great security, and sports himself with other creatures.

Verse 20

[20] Thou makest darkness, and it is night: wherein all the beasts of the forest do creep forth.

Darkness — Which succeeds the light by virtue of thy decree.

Verse 29

[29] Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.

Hidest — Withdrawest the care of thy providence.

Verse 30

[30] Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth.

Spirit — That quickening power of God, by which he produces life in the creatures from time to time. For he speaks not here of the first creation, but of the continued production of living creatures.

Created — Other living creatures are produced; the word created being taken in its largest sense for the production of things by second causes.

Renewest — And thus by thy wise and wonderful providence thou preservest the succession of living creatures.

Verse 31

[31] The glory of the LORD shall endure for ever: the LORD shall rejoice in his works.

Rejoice — Thus God advances the glory of his wisdom and power and goodness, in upholding the works of his hands from generation to generation, and he takes pleasure in the preservation of his works, as also in his reflection upon these works of his providence.

Verse 32

[32] He looketh on the earth, and it trembleth: he toucheth the hills, and they smoke.

He looketh — This is a farther illustration of God's powerful providence: as when he affords his favour to creatures, they live and thrive, so on the contrary, one angry look or touch of his upon the hills or earth, makes them tremble and smoke, as Sinai did when God appeared in it.

Verse 35

[35] Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more. Bless thou the LORD, O my soul. Praise ye the LORD.

Praise ye the Lord — Heb. Hallelujah. This is the first time that this word occurs. And it comes in here on occasion of the destruction of the wicked. And the last time it occurs, 3,4,6, it is on a like occasion, the destruction of Babylon.