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New American Bible

2002 11 11
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Chapter 114


1 When Israel came forth from Egypt, the house of Jacob from an alien people,


Judah became God's holy place, Israel, God's domain.


2 The sea beheld and fled; the Jordan turned back.


The mountains skipped like rams; the hills, like lambs of the flock.


Why was it, sea, that you fled? Jordan, that you turned back?


You mountains, that you skipped like rams? You hills, like lambs of the flock?


Tremble, earth, before the Lord, before the God of Jacob,


3 Who turned rock into pools of water, stone into flowing springs.


1 [Psalm 114] A hymn celebrating Israel's escape from Egypt, journey through the wilderness, and entry into the promised land, and the miracles of nature that bore witness to God's presence in their midst. In the perspective of the psalm, the people proceed directly from Egypt into the promised land ( Psalm 114:1-2). Sea and Jordan, which stood like soldiers barring the people from their land, flee before the mighty God as the earth recoils from the battle ( Psalm 114:3-4). The poet taunts the natural elements as one taunts defeated enemies ( Psalm 114:5-6).

2 [3-4] Pairs of cosmic elements such as sea and rivers, mountains and hills, are sometimes mentioned in creation accounts. Personified here as warriors, the pairs tremble in fear before the Divine Warrior. The quaking also recalls the divine appearance in the storm at Sinai ( Exodus 19:16-19) and elsewhere ( Judges 5:4-5; Psalm 18:7-15).

3 [8] The miracles of giving drink to the people in the arid desert. Cf Exodus 17:1-7; Isaiah 41:17-18.

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