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New American Bible

2002 11 11
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Chapter 104


1 Bless the LORD, my soul! LORD, my God, you are great indeed! You are clothed with majesty and glory,


robed in light as with a cloak. You spread out the heavens like a tent;


2 you raised your palace upon the waters. You make the clouds your chariot; you travel on the wings of the wind.


You make the winds your messengers; flaming fire, your ministers.


3 You fixed the earth on its foundation, never to be moved.


The ocean covered it like a garment; above the mountains stood the waters.


At your roar they took flight; at the sound of your thunder they fled.


They rushed up the mountains, down the valleys to the place you had fixed for them.


You set a limit they cannot pass; never again will they cover the earth.


You made springs flow into channels that wind among the mountains.


They give drink to every beast of the field; here wild asses quench their thirst.


Beside them the birds of heaven nest; among the branches they sing.


You water the mountains from your palace; by your labor the earth abounds.


You raise grass for the cattle and plants for our beasts of burden. You bring bread from the earth,


and wine to gladden our hearts, Oil to make our faces gleam, food to build our strength.


4 The trees of the LORD drink their fill, the cedars of Lebanon, which you planted.


There the birds build their nests; junipers are the home of the stork.


The high mountains are for wild goats; the rocky cliffs, a refuge for badgers.


You made the moon to mark the seasons, the sun that knows the hour of its setting.


You bring darkness and night falls, then all the beasts of the forest roam abroad.


Young lions roar for prey; they seek their food from God.


When the sun rises, they steal away and rest in their dens.


People go forth to their work, to their labor till evening falls.


How varied are your works, LORD! In wisdom you have wrought them all; the earth is full of your creatures.


Look at the sea, great and wide! It teems with countless beings, living things both large and small.


5 Here ships ply their course; here Leviathan, your creature, plays.


All of these look to you to give them food in due time.


When you give to them, they gather; when you open your hand, they are well filled.


6 When you hide your face, they are lost. When you take away their breath, they perish and return to the dust from which they came.


When you send forth your breath, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth.


May the glory of the LORD endure forever; may the LORD be glad in these works!


If God glares at the earth, it trembles; if God touches the mountains, they smoke!


I will sing to the LORD all my life; I will sing praise to my God while I live.


May my theme be pleasing to God; I will rejoice in the LORD.


7 May sinners vanish from the earth, and the wicked be no more. Bless the LORD, my soul! Hallelujah!



1 [Psalm 104] A hymn praising God who easily and skillfully made rampaging waters and primordial night into a world vibrant with life. The psalmist describes God's splendor in the heavens ( Psalm 104:1-4), how the chaotic waters were tamed to fertilize and feed the world ( 104:5-18), and how primordial night was made into a gentle time of refreshment ( Psalm 104:19-23). The picture is like Genesis 1:1-2: a dark and watery chaos is made dry and lighted so that creatures might live. The psalmist reacts to the beauty of creation with awe ( Psalm 104:24-34). May sin not deface God's work ( Psalm 104:35)!

2 [3] Your palace upon the waters: God's heavenly dwelling above the upper waters of the sky. Cf Genesis 1:6-7; Psalm 29:10.

3 [5-9] God places the gigantic disk of the earth securely on its foundation and then, as a warrior, chases away the enveloping waters and confines them under, above, and around the earth.

4 [16-18] Even the exotic flora and fauna of the high mountains of the Lebanon range receive adequate water.

5 [26] Leviathan: a sea monster symbolizing primeval chaos. Cf Psalm 74:14; Isaiah 27:1; Job 40:25. God does not destroy chaos but makes it part of the created order.

6 [29-30] On one level, the spirit (or wind) of God is the fall and winter rains that provide food for all creatures. On another, it is the breath (or spirit) of God that makes beings live.

7 [35] Hallelujah: a frequent word in the last third of the Psalter. The word combines the plural imperative of praise (hallelu) with an abbreviated form of the divine name Yah(weh).

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