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PSALM 104

  1. Bless jehovah, O my soul! O jehovah, my god, you are very great, you are clothed with glory and majesty.
  2. Who covers himself with light as with a garment; who stretches out the heavens like a curtain;
  3. Who lays the beams of his chambers in the waters; who makes the clouds his chariot; who walks upon the wings of the wind;
  4. Who makes his angels winds, his ministers a flaming fire;
  5. Who founded the earth upon its foundations; it shall never be moved.
  6. You did cover it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains.
  7. At your rebuke they fled! at the voice of your thunder they hastened away!
  8. The mountains arose, the valleys sank down, to the place which you have founded for them.
  9. You have set a boundary, they shall not pass over; they shall not return to cover the earth.
  10. He sends forth springs into rivers; they run between the mountains.
  11. They give drink to every beast of the field; the wild asses quench their thirst;
  12. About them do the birds of the heavens dwell, from amidst the branches they utter their song.
  13. He waters the mountains out of his chambers; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your works.
  14. He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man, that he may bring forth bread out of the earth;
  15. And wine which gladdens the heart of man; he makes his face to shine with oil, and with bread does he support the heart of man.
  16. The trees of jehovah are full; even the cedars of Lebanon which he planted.
  17. Wherein the birds make their nests; the stork makes the fir-trees her house.
  18. The lofty mountains are a refuge for the wild goats, the rocks for the conies.
  19. He made the moon for the appointed seasons; the sun knows his setting.
  20. You make darkness and it is night, when all the beasts of the forest creep forth.
  21. The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their food from god;
  22. The sun arises, they gather themselves together, and lie down in their dwellings.
  23. Man goes forth to his work, and to his labour until the evening.
  24. How manifold are your works, O jehovah! in wisdom have you made them all; the earth is filled with your riches.
  25. This great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts.
  26. There go the ships; that leviathan, which you have made to sport therein.
  27. All these wait upon you, to give them their food in due season.
  28. You give it to them, they gather it; you open your hand, they are filled with good.
  29. You hide your face, they are troubled; you take away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.
  30. You sendest forth your spirit, they are created, and you do renew the face of the earth.
  31. The glory of jehovah endures for ever; jehovah rejoices in his works;
  32. He looks down upon the earth, and it trembles; he touches the mountains, and they smoke!
  33. I will sing to jehovah, while I live; I will sing praise to my god, while I have my being
  34. May my meditation be pleasing to him! I will be glad in jehovah.
  35. Sinners shall be consumed out of the earth, and the wicked shall be no more: bless jehovah, O my soul! hallelujah!

The Internal Sense

Celebration of the lord, because from him are Divine truths from the Word, verses 1 to 4; of the literal sense of the Word, upon which the church is founded, verses 5 to 9; that from there all may be instructed, each according to the state of his understanding, verses 10 to 23; that from there are the knowledges of truth and goodness, of which consists spiritual nourishment, verses 24 to 30; that the good may be saved, and that the wicked may perish, verses 31 to 35.

Exposition

Verse 1. O my soul, see Psalm 103:1, Exposition.

Verses 1 to 9. jehovah my god, you are very great, you are clothed with glory and majesty, etc. etc. The glory and majesty with which jehovah, that is, the lord, clothes himself, is Divine truth; the light with which he is covered as with a garment, is the Divine truth, such as it is in heaven and in the church; that this truth in the world is light, see what is cited above, AC 9429; the chambers of which he lays the beams in the waters, are the heavenly societies, and the waters are truths; the clouds which he makes his chariot, are truths from which doctrine is derived; the earth, concerning which it is said that it is founded upon its foundations, and that it shall never be moved, is the church; the foundations on which it is founded, are truths in ultimates, such as are those of the Word in its literal sense, hence it is said, that it shall never be moved; the deep, or abyss with which it is covered as with a garment, is scientific truth for the natural man; hence is evident what is meant by the boundary which they may not pass, namely that it is the ultimate of truth divine into which the interior things close, and on which as on a prop or foundation they subsist and rest. AC 9433.

Verse 2. He stretches out the heavens like a curtain. To cover himself with light as with a garment denotes Divine truths; hence to stretch out the heavens as a curtain denotes to enlarge the heavens by the influx of truth divine, whence comes intelligence and wisdom. AC 9595.

Verse 3. Who lays the beams of his chambers in the waters, who makes the clouds his chariot, who walks upon the wings of the wind. By waters, clouds, and wings of the wind is signified Divine Truth in ultimates, which is as the truth, or the sense of the letter of the Word; inasmuch as this is in ultimates, it is said that he lays the beams of his chambers in the waters, that he makes the clouds his chariot, that he walks on the wings of the wind; waters are truths in ultimates, in like manner clouds and wings of the wind; chariot is the truth of doctrine; that he makes his angels winds and his ministers a flaming fire, signifies that he makes them to become receptions of Divine truth and Divine good; by angels are meant those who are in the lord's spiritual kingdom, who as being receptive of Divine truth, it is said that he makes them winds, and by ministers are meant those who are in the Lord's celestial kingdom, who as being receptive of Divine good, it is said of them, that he makes them a flaming fire. AE 419.

In these few words are described heaven and the church, and at the same time doctrine from the Word, he lays the beams of his chambers in the waters, signifies that the lord forms heaven and the church from Divine truths; waters signify Divine truths, the chambers of jehovah signify the heavens and the church, and to lay beams signifies to form; he makes his clouds his chariot, signifies doctrine from ultimate Divine truths; clouds are ultimate Divine truths, such as are in the sense of the letter of the Word, and chariot is doctrine; this is said because the all of the doctrine of the Word must be formed from the sense of the letter of the Word; he walks on the wings of the wind, signifies life from spiritual influx; to walk, signifies to live, and when it relates to the Lord, signifies life itself; the wings of the wind are the spiritual things of the Lord. AE 594.

Verse 3. Who walks upon the wings of the wind. That wings denote truth divine, is manifest from the following passages: "They that wait on jehovah are renewed in strength, they ascend on wings as eagles," Isaiah 11:31; and in David, "god rode upon the clouds and did fly, he was carried on the wings of the wind" Psalm 18:10. Psalm 104:3, speaking of the Divine truth and its power. AC 8764.

Verse 4. jehovah makes his angels winds; his ministers a flaming fire. Thatfire signifies love, is evident from these words; that he makes his angels winds signifies that he makes them receptive of Divine truth, consequently Divine truths; and that he makes his ministers a flaming fire signifies that they are receptive of Divine good, consequently that they are Divine goods; that by angels in the Word is meant the lord as to Divine truth, and in a respective sense are meant the recipients of Divine truth from the lord, may be seen above, AE 130, 200; and that by ministers are signified the recipients of Divine good, which is of the Divine love, may be seen also above, AE 155; hence it is evident that by flaming fire is signified the good of love. AE 504.

Verses 10, 11, 12. He sends forth springs into rivers, they run between the mountains. They give drink to every beast of the field; the wild asses quench their thirst. About them do the birds of the heavens dwell, from amidst the branches they utter their song. To send forth springs into rivers signifies to give intelligence by truths from the Word; they run between the mountains signifies that they must be from the good of love; springs are truths from the Word, rivers are those things which are of intelligence, mountains are the goods of love; the instruction of those who are in the good of the church, is signified by giving drink to the beasts of the fields; the instruction of those in the church who desire truths is signified by the wild asses quenching their thirst; that hence the understanding is perfected, is signified by the birds dwelling near them; by the beasts of the fields in a spiritual sense are meant the nations which are in the good of life; by wild asses are signified natural truths, by thirst desire for truths, and by the birds of the heavens are signified thoughts grounded in understanding. AE 423.

Springs or fountains signify knowledges, beasts of the field goodness, wild asses rational truths. AC 1949.

Springs or fountains denote truths; mountains the love of good and of truth; to afford drink is to instruct; the beasts of the field are those who live thereby; the wild asses are those who are principled only in rational truth. AC 2702.

Verse 13. He waters the mountains out of his chambers; the earth is satisfied with the fruit of your works. To water the mountains in the spiritual sense is to bless those who are principled in love to the lord, and in love towards their neighbour; that mountain denotes the celestial principle of love, see AC 795; hence out of his chambers denotes from the interiors of heaven. AC 5694.

Such things would not have been said in the Divine Word, unless each of them had been correspondences of spiritual and celestial things, and hence holy, for otherwise what had been meant by rivers from springs, by going among the mountains, by affording drink to the wild beast of the field, by the wild asses thence quenching their thirst, and by the birds of the heavens dwelling near them, and uttering their song among the branches; but when by springs are meant the truths of the Word, by rivers intelligence thence derived, by mountains the good things of love, by the wild beasts of the field the affections of truth, by the wild asses the rational principle, and by birds of the heavens knowledges from Divine truths, in this case the Word is holy and Divine, which otherwise would be merely huma. AE 1100.

It is to be noted that in several passages, at one time mention is made of beasts, and at another time of wild beasts, and that by wild beasts is not meant wild beasts in that sense in which it is generally received, for wild beast in the Hebrew tongue is derived from an expression which signifies life, hence instead of wild beasts in certain passages it would have been better called animal, which may also appear from this, that the four animals, in which the cherubs were seen, by which is signified Divine providence and protection, in Ezekiel i to x, are called wild beasts, in like manner by John in the Apocalypse, where the subject treated of is concerning the four animals about the throne, by which are also meant cherubim; still however in the Word a distinction is clearly made between beasts and wild beasts, and by beasts are signified the affections of the natural man, which are of his will, and by wild beasts the affections of the natural man, which are of his understanding. AE 650. See Psalm 50:10, Exposition.

Verse 14. He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man, that he may bring forth bread out of the earth. Here also grass denotes the produce of the field, and by it in the internal sense is there signified truth. AC 7571.

Verses 14, 15. Bread,wine. Few know what is meant by the bread and wine in the Holy Supper. The Holy Supper was instituted by the lord, that by means thereof there may be conjunction of the church with heaven, thus with the lord: it is therefore the most holy thing of worship.

But in what manner conjunction is effected by it is not apprehended by those who do not know any thing concerning the internal or spiritual sense of the Word, for they do not think beyond the external sense, which is the sense of the letter. From the internal or spiritual sense of the Word it is known what is signified by body and blood, and what by bread and wine, also what is signified by eating.

In that sense, the body or flesh of the lord is the good of love, as is the bread likewise; and the blood of the lord is the good of faith, as is the wine likewise; and eating is appropriation and conjunction. The angels who are attendant on man when he receives the sacrament of the supper, understand those things in no other manner, for they perceive all things spiritually; hence it is that a holy principle of love, and a holy principle of faith then flows in with man from the angels, thus through heaven from the lord; hence a conjunction takes place.

From these considerations it is evident, that when man takes the bread, which is the body, he is conjoined to the lord by means of the good of love to him from him; and when he takes the wine, which is the blood, he is conjoined to the lord by means of the good of faith in him from him. But it is to be noted, that conjunction with the lord by means of the sacrament of the holy supper takes place solely with those who are in the good of love to, and faith in the lord from the lord: with these, there is conjunction by means of the Holy Supper; with others, there is presence but not conjunction.

Besides, the Holy Supper includes and comprehends all the divine worship instituted in the Israelitish church; for the burnt offerings and sacrifices, in which the worship of that church principally consisted, were called, in a single word, bread; hence also the Holy Supper is the completion [or fullness] of that representative worship. NJHD 210214.

Verses 16, 17. The trees of jehovah are full; the cedars of Lebanon which he has planted. Wherein the birds make their nests; the stork makes the fir-trees her house. The trees of jehovah and the cedars of Lebanon denote the spiritual man, birds denote his rational or natural truths, which are a kind of nest. AC 776.

Verse 19. He made the moon for the appointed seasons; the sun knows his setting. Where the moon denotes intelligence, and the sun wisdom from the lord; the setting of the sun denotes the obscurity of each principle; to make darkness and it is night denotes the moderating a state of obscurity; for, that the angels have changes of state between the highest degree of light and a less degree, or between the highest degree of wisdom and a less degree, and that these changes of state are as the morning when the sun rises, and as mid-day when he is in his meridian height, and as the evening when he sets, and afterwards as morning again, by the Divine mercy of the lord will be shown elsewhere. AC 3623. See also the Work on Heaven and Hell, 154,161.

Verses 21, 22. The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their food from god; the sun arises, they gather themselves together, and lie down in their dwellings. By these words is described the state of the angels of heaven when they are not in a state of intense love and of wisdom thence derived, and when they return into that state; the former state is described by the young lions roaring for their prey, and by seeking their food from god; the latter state is described by the sun arising, and their being gathered together, and lying down in their dwellings; by the young lions are understood the angels of heaven; by roaring is understood desire, by prey and food the good which is of love, and the truth which is of wisdom; by the sun arising is understood the lord as to love, and thence wisdom; by being gathered together, their returning into a celestial state, and by lying down in their dwellings, a state of tranquillity and peace, concerning these two states of the angels of heaven, see the Work on Heaven and Hell, 154 to 161. Not only the angels, but the lord himself is called a lion; " Behold, the lion has conquered, who is of the tribe of Judah, the root of David," Apoc 5:5. AE 278.

Verses 24, 25, 26, 27. How manifold are your works, O jehovah! in wisdom have you made them all; the earth is full of your riches. This great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable; both small and great beasts. There go the ships; that leviathan, which you have made to sport therein. All these wait upon you, that you may give them their food in due season. In this passage is not meant the sea, neither are meant creeping things, animals, leviathan, and ships, but such as appertain to the man of the church, for these wait for jehovah; by the great and wide sea is signified the external or natural man, who receives goods and truths scientifically, great being predicated of good, and wide of truth; by creeping things are signified living scientifics; by great and small animals are signified the knowledges of good and truth of every kind, superior and inferior, also in general and specifically; by ships are signified doctrinals; by leviathan all things of the natural man in the complex, who is said to sport in the sea, from the delight of knowing and thence growing wise; since man by virtue of those things is affected with the desire of knowing and of understanding, it is said, all things wait for you, that you may give them their food in due season, to wait signifies to desire, and food signifies science and intelligence, for man of himself does not desire them, but by virtue of those things which appertain to him from the lord, although it appears as if man did it of himself. AE 514.

Verse 25. Things creeping innumerable; see Psalm 69:34, Exposition.

Verse 26. Leviathan which you have made to sport therein. He who does not know that there is a spiritual sense in singular the things of the Word, knows no otherwise than that by the sea and by the ships in this passage are meant the sea and ships, and by leviathan the whales that are therein, and by sporting their consociations; but the Word, which as to every iota is divine, does not consist in such things; but when the spiritual things which are signified are understood in their stead, then it becomes divine; sea in the internal sense denotes the congregation of scientific truths, thus what is external with man, and in the church; leviathan denotes the scientific principle in general, and sporting denotes the delight thence derived. AC 10416.

Verses 27, 28. All these wait upon you, that you may give them their food in due season, etc. In this passage celestial and spiritual food is meant in the internal sense, when the material is meant in the sense of the letter; hence it is evident how the interior and exterior things of the Word, or the things which are of the spirit therein, and the things which are of the letter, correspond to each other, so that whilst man understands them according to the sense of the letter, the attendant angels understand the same according to the spiritual sense; thus the Word was written, not only to be serviceable to the human race, but also to heaven, on which account all the expressions therein are significative of heavenly things, and all the things are representative thereof, and this even to the smallest jot and tittle. AC 5149.

Verses 28, 30. You give it to them, they gather it; you open your hand, they are filled with good, you sendest forth your spirit, they are created, and you renewest the face of the earth. That to create here denotes to reform is evident, for by giving to them and by their gathering is signified that they receive truths which are given by the lord; by you open your hand, they are filled with good, is signified that they receive the good which flows in from the lord; by you sendest forth your spirit, they are created, is signified that they are reformed as to life according to Divine truth; and by you renewest the face of the earth, is signified the establishment of the church. AE 294.

Verse 29. You hide your face, they are troubled, etc. What is here meant by the face of jehovah, every one may comprehend, namely the divine being, and whatever is of the divine being, thus mercy, peace, and all good, but in the universal sense the Divine truth, since in the Divine truth is all good; both with man and with angels there is Divine good in Divine truth, and without the latter there is not the former; for truth is the recipient of good, thus also of mercy and of peace; hence now it follows, that where Divine good is not in Divine truth, there the faces of jehovah are not. AC 10579.

Verse 30. You sendest forth your spirit, they are created, etc. That by the wind of jehovah, or his breath, or spirit, is signified the life which is of heaven, and which is of man who is in heaven, that is, of a regenerate man, is manifest from these words, the reason why the wind of the nostrils of jehovah or the lord denotes heaven is because by it is meant the breath of life, thus life divine, and as this constitutes the life of heaven, by the wind of the nostrils of jehovah is signified heaven. AC 8286.

By making heaven and earth in the Word is not meant the first creation itself of the visible heaven and earth, but the establishment of the church, and the regeneration of man therein; by heaven is meant his internal, and by earth his external; that this creation is meant, is manifest from the passages in the Word, where mention is made of creating, as in David, "You sendest forth your spirit, they are created, and you renewest the face of the earth." Psalm 104:30. AC 10373.

To be created denotes to be created anew, that is, to be regenerated. AC 10570.

Concerning regeneration, or being created anew, see Psalm 87:5, Exposition.

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