Psalm 104:3

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 3. Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the water's. His lofty halls are framed with the waters which are above the firmament. The upper rooms of God's great house, the secret stories far above our ken, the palatial chambers wherein he resides, are based upon the floods which form the upper ocean. To the unsubstantial he lends stability; he needs no joists and rafters, for his palace is sustained by his own power. We are not to interpret literally where the language is poetical, it would be simple absurdity to do so.

Who maketh the clouds his chariot. When he comes forth from his secret pavilion it is thus he makes his royal progress. "It is chariot of wrath deep thunder clouds form," and his chariot of mercy drops plenty as it traverses the celestial road.

Who walketh or rather goes upon the wings of the wind. With the clouds for a car, and the winds for winged steeds, the Great King hastens on his movements whether for mercy or for judgment. Thus we have the idea of a king still further elaborated -- his lofty palace, his chariot, and his coursers are before us; but what a palace must we imagine, whose beams are of crystal, and whose base is consolidated vapour! What a stately car is that which is fashioned out of the flying clouds, whose gorgeous colours Solomon in all his glory could not rival; and what a Godlike progress is that in which spirit wings and breath of winds bear up the moving throne. "O Lord, my God, thou art very great!"

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 3. -- The metaphorical representation of God, as laying the beams of his chambers in the waters, seems somewhat difficult to understand; but it was the design of the prophet, from a thing incomprehensible to us, to ravish us with the greater admiration. Unless beams be substantial and strong, they will not be able to sustain even the weight of an ordinary house. When, therefore, God makes the waters the foundation of his heavenly palace, who can fail to be astonished at a miracle so wonderful? When we take into account our slowness of apprehension, such hyperbolical expressions are by no means superfluous; for it is with difficulty that they awaken and enable us to attain even a slight knowledge of God. --John Calvin.

Verse 3. -- Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters; or, "who layeth his upper chambers above the waters." His upper chamber (people in the East used to retire to the upper chamber when they wished for solitude) is reared up in bright other on the slender foundation of rainy clouds. --A.F. Tholuck.

Verse 3. -- Who layeth the beams, etc. "He floodeth his chambers with waters," i.e., the clouds make the flooring of his heavens. --Zachary Mudge.

Verse 3. -- Who walketh upon the wings of the wind; see Psalms 18:10 ; which is expressive of his swiftness in coming to helped assist his people in time of need; who helps, and that right early; and may very well be applied both to the first and second coming of Christ, who came leaping Upon the mountains, and skipping upon the hills, when he first came; and, when he comes a second time will be as a roe or a young hart upon the mountains of spices, Song of Solomon 2:8 8:14 The Targum is, "upon the swift clouds, like the wings of an eagle"; hence, perhaps, it is the heathens have a notion that Jupiter is being carried in a chariot through the air when it thunders and lightens. --John Gill.

Verse 3. -- Who walketh upon the wings of the wind. In these words there is an unequalled elegance; not, he fleeth -- he runneth, but -- he walketh; and that on the very wings of the wind; on the most impetuous element raised into the utmost rage, and sweeping along with incredible rapidity. We cannot have a more sublime idea of the deity; serenely walking on an element of inconceivable swiftness, and, as it seems to us, uncontrollable impetuosity! --James Hervey, 1713-14--1758.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 3. (last clause). --

  1. God is leisurely in his haste: "he walketh," etc.
  2. God is swift even in his slackness: "he walketh on the wings of the wind."
  3. The practical conclusions are that there is time enough for the divine purposes but none for our trifling; and that we should both wait with patience for the victory of his cause and hasten it by holy activity.