Psalm 29:7

 

EXPOSITION

Verse 7. The voice of the Lord divideth the flames of fire. As when sparks fly from the anvil by blows of a ponderous hammer, so the lightning attends the thundering strokes of Jehovah.

"At first heard solemn over the verge of heaven,
The tempest growls; but as it nearer comes,
And rolls its awful burden on the wind,
The lightnings flash a larger curve, and more
The noise astounds: till overhead a sheet
Of livid flame discloses wide; then shuts
And opens wider; shuts and opens still
Expansive, wrapping ether in a blaze."

The thunder seems to divide one flash from another, interposing its deepening roar between the flash which precedes it and the next. That the flashes are truly flames of fire is witnessed by their frequently falling upon houses, churches, etc., and wrapping them in a blaze. How easily could the Lord destroy his rebellious creatures with his hot thunderbolts! how gracious is the hand which spares such great offenders, when to crush them would be so easy!

Flames of fire attend the voice of God in the gospel, illuminating and melting the hearts of men: by those he consumes our lusts and kindles in us a holy flame of ever aspiring love and holiness. Pentecost is a suggestive commentary upon this verse.

 

EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS

Verse 3-10. The Lord, etc. See Psalms on "Psalms 29:3" for further information.

Verse 3-10. See Psalms on "Psalms 29:3" for further information.

Verse 3-11: -- See Psalms on "Psalms 29:3" for further information.

Verse 7. The voice of the Lord divideth the flames of fire. By the power of God, the "flames of fire" are "divided" and sent abroad from the clouds upon the earth, in the terrible form of lightning, that sharp and glittering sword of the Almighty, which no substance can withstand. The same power of God goeth forth by his word, "quick and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword." penetrating, melting, enlightening, and inflaming the hearts of men, Acts 2:3 Hebrews 4:12 . George Horne.

Verse 7. The voice of the Lord divideth the flames of fire. The voice of the Lord is here said to divide the flames; literally, to hew out flames, (latomein flaj). The Septuagint has (diakoptei floga puroz). In the words of Gensenius, "The voice of Jehovah cutteth out flames of fire," i.e., "sendeth out divided flames of fire." This is (as Theodoret has observed) very descriptive of the divine action at Pentecost, sending forth divided flames, like "tela trisulca," in the tongues of fire which were divided off from one heavenly source or fountain of flame, and sat upon the heads of the apostles, and which filled them with the fire of holy zeal and love. Christopher Wordsworth.

Verse 7. Divideth the flames of fire. Margin, cutteth out. The Hebrew word (bcx) khatzab means properly to cut, to hew, to hew out; as for example, stones. The allusion here is undoubtedly to lightning; and the image is either that it seems to be cut out, or cut into tongues and streaks -- or, more probably, that the clouds seem to be cut or hewed, so as to make openings or paths for the lightning. The eye is evidently fixed on the clouds, and on the sudden flash of lightning, as if the clouds has been cleaved or opened for the passage of it. The idea of the psalmist is, that the "voice of the Lord," or the thunder, seems to cleave or open the clouds for the flames of fire to play amidst the tempest. Albert Barnes.

 

HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS

Verse 7. The fire which goes with the word. This is a wide subject.