Tehillim / Psalms 104, ספר תהילים קד, Part 2, Man, a Combination of Neshamah (נשמה) and Nefesh (נפש)

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In this week’s study from Tehillim / Psalms 104:1-35, the Psalm opens saying, א בָּרֲכִי נַפְשִׁי אֶת-יְהוָה יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהַי גָּדַלְתָּ מְּאֹד הוֹד וְהָדָר לָבָשְׁתָּ: ב עֹטֶה אוֹר כַּשַּׂלְמָה נוֹטֶה שָׁמַיִם כַּיְרִיעָה: A Psalm of David 104:1 Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, You are very great; You are clothed with splendor and majesty, 104:2 Covering Yourself with light as with a cloak, Stretching out heaven like a tent curtain. (NASB) The Lord is described here as powerful and as the creator. His ways are above our ways as the Psalmist continues saying, 104:3 He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters; He makes the clouds His chariot; He walks upon the wings of the wind; ד עֹשֶֹה מַלְאָכָיו רוּחוֹת מְשָׁרְתָיו אֵשׁ לֹהֵט: 104:4 He makes the winds His messengers, Flaming fire His ministers. 104:5 He established the earth upon its foundations, So that it will not totter forever and ever. (NASB) David states in the best way that he can and in the way that he understands, the Lord is the creator. He speaks of the Lord making the winds His messengers who are as flaming fire. It is interesting how he uses the word רוח in reference to His messengers. The Hebrew rûach (רוּחַ) has the meanings “wind, spirit, breath,” but the traditional Jewish interpretation here is “wind,” as “spirit,” as it is related to God’s messengers of fire. David continues describing the creation saying, the Lord covers the deep with a garment (104:6), He rebukes the waters and they flee (104:7), the mountains rose (104:8), and the Lord set the boundary of the earth (104:9). It is the Lord who sends forth rains and springs (104:10), and He sustains beasts (104:11), birds (104:12), and man with the vegetation of the earth (104:14). In this way it is the Lord who produces wine making man’s heart glad (104:15), he feeds and waters the trees (104:16), and provides a place for the birds to roost (104:17), and for the wild goats to dwell (104:18). The Lord made the sun and moon for seasons (104:19), and night time for the predators to seek their prey (104:21). The Lord provides all of these things so man may go out to work (104:23), and may recognize how the Lord is awesome and wise (104:24). The psalm concludes saying, 104:31 Let the glory of the Lord endure forever; Let the Lord be glad in His works; 104:32 He looks at the earth, and it trembles; He touches the mountains, and they smoke. 104:33 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. 104:34 Let my meditation be pleasing to Him; As for me, I shall be glad in the Lord. 104:35 Let sinners be consumed from the earth And let the wicked be no more. Bless the Lord, O my soul. Praise the Lord! (NASB)

עברית Hebrew ארמי Aramaic ελληνικός Greek

ספר תהלים פרק קד

א בָּרֲכִי נַפְשִׁי אֶת-יְהוָה יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהַי גָּדַלְתָּ מְּאֹד הוֹד וְהָדָר לָבָשְׁתָּ: ב עֹטֶה אוֹר כַּשַּׂלְמָה נוֹטֶה שָׁמַיִם כַּיְרִיעָה: ג הַמְקָרֶה בַמַּיִם עֲלִיּוֹתָיו הַשָּׂם-עָבִים רְכוּבוֹ הַמְהַלֵּךְ עַל-כַּנְפֵי-רוּחַ: ד עֹשֶֹה מַלְאָכָיו רוּחוֹת מְשָׁרְתָיו אֵשׁ לֹהֵט:

סםר טוביה פרק קד

א בריכי נפשי ית שמא דיהוה יהוה אלהי איתגדלתא לחדא שבחא ושבהורא אלבישתא׃ ב דמיתעטף נהורא היך סדינא דמתח שמיא היך יריעתא׃ ג דטליל במיא היך בינינא דכשורי במיא אכסדרוי דשוי על עננין קלילין היך ארתיכיה דאזיל על כנפי נישרא׃ ד דעבד אזגדוי סרהובין היך רוחא שמשוי תקיפין היך אשא מצלהבא׃

ΨΑΛΜΟΙ 104

104:1 τῷ Δαυιδ εὐλόγει ἡ ψυχή μου τὸν κύριον κύριε ὁ θεός μου ἐμεγαλύνθης σφόδρα ἐξομολόγησιν καὶ εὐπρέπειαν ἐνεδύσω 104:2 ἀναβαλλόμενος φῶς ὡς ἱμάτιον ἐκτείνων τὸν οὐρανὸν ὡσεὶ δέρριν 104:3 ὁ στεγάζων ἐν ὕδασιν τὰ ὑπερῷα αὐτοῦ ὁ τιθεὶς νέφη τὴν ἐπίβασιν αὐτοῦ ὁ περιπατῶν ἐπὶ πτερύγων ἀνέμων 104:4 ὁ ποιῶν τοὺς ἀγγέλους αὐτοῦ πνεύματα καὶ τοὺς λειτουργοὺς αὐτοῦ πῦρ φλέγον

ה יָסַד אֶרֶץ עַל-מְכוֹנֶיהָ בַּל-תִּמּוֹט עוֹלָם וָעֶד: ו תְּהוֹם כַּלְּבוּשׁ כִּסִּיתוֹ עַל-הָרִים יַעַמְדוּ-מָיִם: ז מִן-גַּעֲרָתְךָ יְנוּסוּן מִן-קוֹל רַעַמְךָ יֵחָפֵזוּן: ח יַעֲלוּ הָרִים יֵרְדוּ בְקָעוֹת אֶל-מְקוֹם זֶה | יָסַדְתָּ לָהֶם: ט גְּבוּל-שַֹמְתָּ בַּל-יַעֲבֹרוּן בַּל-יְשׁוּבוּן לְכַסּוֹת הָאָרֶץ: י הַמְשַׁלֵּחַ מַעְיָנִים בַּנְּחָלִים בֵּין הָרִים יְהַלֵּכוּן: יא יַשְׁקוּ כָּל-חַיְתוֹ שָֹדָי יִשְׁבְּרוּ פְרָאִים צְמָאָם: יב עֲלֵיהֶם עוֹף-הַשָּׁמַיִם יִשְׁכּוֹן מִבֵּין עֳפָאיִם יִתְּנוּ-קוֹל: יג מַשְׁקֶה הָרִים מֵעֲלִיּוֹתָיו מִפְּרִי מַעֲשֶֹיךָ תִּשְֹבַּע הָאָרֶץ: יד מַצְמִיחַ חָצִיר | לַבְּהֵמָה וְעֵשֶֹב לַעֲבֹדַת הָאָדָם לְהוֹצִיא לֶחֶם מִן-הָאָרֶץ: טו וְיַיִן | יְשַֹמַּח לְבַב-אֱנוֹשׁ לְהַצְהִיל פָּנִים מִשָּׁמֶן וְלֶחֶם לְבַב-אֱנוֹשׁ יִסְעָד: טז יִשְֹבְּעוּ עֲצֵי יְהֹוָה אַרְזֵי לְבָנוֹן אֲשֶׁר נָטָע: יז אֲשֶׁר-שָׁם צִפֳּרִים יְקַנֵּנוּ חֲסִידָה בְּרוֹשִׁים בֵּיתָהּ: יח הָרִים הַגְּבֹהִים לַיְּעֵלִים סְלָעִים מַחְסֶה לַשְׁפַנִּים: יט עָשָֹה יָרֵחַ לְמוֹעֲדִים שֶׁמֶשׁ יָדַע מְבוֹאוֹ: כ תָּשֶׁת חשֶׁךְ וִיהִי לָיְלָה בּוֹ-תִרְמֹשֹ כָּל-חַיְתוֹ-יָעַר: כא הַכְּפִירִים שֹׁאֲגִים לַטָּרֶף וּלְבַקֵּשׁ מֵאֵל אָכְלָם: כב תִּזְרַח הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ יֵאָסֵפוּן וְאֶל-מְעוֹנֹתָם יִרְבָּצוּן: כג יֵצֵא אָדָם לְפָעֳלוֹ וְלַעֲבֹדָתוֹ עֲדֵי-עָרֶב:

ה די מיסד ארעא עלוי בסיסה דלא תזוע לעלמי עלמין׃ ו תהומא כד בלבושא חפיתה ומבזעין על טוריא וקיימין מיא׃ ז מן מזופיתך יערקון למיגר מן קל אכלייתך יתבהלון למישפך׃ ח יסלקון מן תהומא לטוריא ונחתין בבקעתא לאתר דנן דיסדתא להון׃ ט תחום שויתא לגללי ימא די לא יעיברון די לא יתובון למחפי ארעא׃ י די משלח מעייני בנהרותא ביני טוריא מהלכין׃ יא משקין כל חיות ברא יתברון ערודיא צהותהון׃ יב עילויהון צפרי שמיא ישרון מביני זאזיא יתנון קל זמר׃ יג דמשקי טוריא מן בית גנזי עילאי די ליה מן פירי עובדיך תשבע ארעא׃ יד דמרבי עסבא לבעירי וירקי לפולחנא דבר נשא למיפק לחמא מן ארעא׃ טו וחמרא דמחדי ליבא דבר נשא לאנהרא אפיא מן משחא ולחמא ליבא דבר נשא יסעד׃ טז שבעין אילניא די ברא יהוה ארזי ליבנן די נציב׃ יז די תמן ציפריא עבדין שרכפי ותא חיוריתא בראתי בית מדורה׃ יח טוריא רמיא ליעלי כיפי רוחצן לטפזיא׃ יט עבד סיהרא למימני ביה זימניא שמשא ידע עידן טמועיה׃ כ תשוי חשוך והוי ליליא ביה רחשין כל חיות חורשא׃ כא בני אריוון אמכלין למשכח מזונא ולמבעי מן אלהא מיכלהון׃ כב תדנח שימשא מתכנשין ולבית מדורהון רביעין׃ כג יפוק בר נשא לעובדיה ולפולחניה עד עירובי עידוני רמשא׃

104:5 ἐθεμελίωσεν τὴν γῆν ἐπὶ τὴν ἀσφάλειαν αὐτῆς οὐ κλιθήσεται εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα τοῦ αἰῶνος 104:6 ἄβυσσος ὡς ἱμάτιον τὸ περιβόλαιον αὐτοῦ ἐπὶ τῶν ὀρέων στήσονται ὕδατα 104:7 ἀπὸ ἐπιτιμήσεώς σου φεύξονται ἀπὸ φωνῆς βροντῆς σου δειλιάσουσιν 104:8 ἀναβαίνουσιν ὄρη καὶ καταβαίνουσιν πεδία εἰς τόπον ὃν ἐθεμελίωσας αὐτοῖς 104:9 ὅριον ἔθου ὃ οὐ παρελεύσονται οὐδὲ ἐπιστρέψουσιν καλύψαι τὴν γῆν 104:10 ὁ ἐξαποστέλλων πηγὰς ἐν φάραγξιν ἀνὰ μέσον τῶν ὀρέων διελεύσονται ὕδατα 104:11 ποτιοῦσιν πάντα τὰ θηρία τοῦ ἀγροῦ προσδέξονται ὄναγροι εἰς δίψαν αὐτῶν 104:12 ἐπ᾽ αὐτὰ τὰ πετεινὰ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ κατασκηνώσει ἐκ μέσου τῶν πετρῶν δώσουσιν φωνήν 104:13 ποτίζων ὄρη ἐκ τῶν ὑπερῴων αὐτοῦ ἀπὸ καρποῦ τῶν ἔργων σου χορτασθήσεται ἡ γῆ 104:14 ἐξανατέλλων χόρτον τοῖς κτήνεσιν καὶ χλόην τῇ δουλείᾳ τῶν ἀνθρώπων τοῦ ἐξαγαγεῖν ἄρτον ἐκ τῆς γῆς 104:15 καὶ οἶνος εὐφραίνει καρδίαν ἀνθρώπου τοῦ ἱλαρῦναι πρόσωπον ἐν ἐλαίῳ καὶ ἄρτος καρδίαν ἀνθρώπου στηρίζει 104:16 χορτασθήσεται τὰ ξύλα τοῦ πεδίου αἱ κέδροι τοῦ Λιβάνου ἃς ἐφύτευσεν 104:17 ἐκεῖ στρουθία ἐννοσσεύσουσιν τοῦ ἐρωδιοῦ ἡ οἰκία ἡγεῖται αὐτῶν 104:18 ὄρη τὰ ὑψηλὰ ταῖς ἐλάφοις πέτρα καταφυγὴ τοῖς χοιρογρυλλίοις 104:19 ἐποίησεν σελήνην εἰς καιρούς ὁ ἥλιος ἔγνω τὴν δύσιν αὐτοῦ 104:20 ἔθου σκότος καὶ ἐγένετο νύξ ἐν αὐτῇ διελεύσονται πάντα τὰ θηρία τοῦ δρυμοῦ 104:21 σκύμνοι ὠρυόμενοι ἁρπάσαι καὶ ζητῆσαι παρὰ τοῦ θεοῦ βρῶσιν αὐτοῖς 104:22 ἀνέτειλεν ὁ ἥλιος καὶ συνήχθησαν καὶ ἐν ταῖς μάνδραις αὐτῶν κοιτασθήσονται 104:23 ἐξελεύσεται ἄνθρωπος ἐπὶ τὸ ἔργον αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐπὶ τὴν ἐργασίαν αὐτοῦ ἕως ἑσπέρας

כד מָה-רַבּוּ מַעֲשֶֹיךָ | יְהוָה כֻּלָּם בְּחָכְמָה עָשִֹיתָ מָלְאָה הָאָרֶץ קִנְיָנֶךָ: כה זֶה | הַיָּם גָּדוֹל וּרְחַב יָדָיִם שָׁם רֶמֶשֹ וְאֵין מִסְפָּר חַיּוֹת קְטַנּוֹת עִם-גְּדֹלוֹת: כו שָׁם אֳנִיּוֹת יְהַלֵּכוּן לִוְיָתָן זֶה יָצַרְתָּ לְשַֹחֶק-בּוֹ: כז כֻּלָּם אֵלֶיךָ יְשַֹבֵּרוּן לָתֵת אָכְלָם בְּעִתּוֹ: כח תִּתֵּן לָהֶם יִלְקֹטוּן תִּפְתַּח יָדְךָ יִשְֹבְּעוּן טוֹב: כט תַּסְתִּיר פָּנֶיךָ יִבָּהֵלוּן תֹּסֵף רוּחָם יִגְוָעוּן וְאֶל-עֲפָרָם יְשׁוּבוּן: ל תְּשַׁלַּח רוּחֲךָ יִבָּרֵאוּן וּתְחַדֵּשׁ פְּנֵי אֲדָמָה: לא יְהִי כְבוֹד יְהֹוָה לְעוֹלָם יִשְֹמַח יְהֹוָה בְּמַעֲשָֹיו: לב הַמַּבִּיט לָאָרֶץ וַתִּרְעָד יִגַּע בֶּהָרִים וְיֶעֱשָׁנוּ: לג אָשִׁירָה לַיהֹוָה בְּחַיָּי אֲזַמְּרָה לֵאלֹהַי בְּעוֹדִי: לד יֶעֱרַב עָלָיו שִֹיחִי אָנֹכִי אֶשְֹמַח בַּיהֹוָה: לה יִתַּמּוּ חַטָּאִים | מִן-הָאָרֶץ וּרְשָׁעִים | עוֹד אֵינָם בָּרֲכִי נַפְשִׁי אֶת-יְהֹוָה הַלְלוּיָהּ:

כד מה סגיעין הינון עובדך יהוה כולהון בחכמתא עבדתא מליא ארעא קניינך׃ כה דנן ימא רבא ופתאי תחומין תמן ריחשא ולית מניין חיותא זעירתא זוטרתא עם רברבתא׃ כו תמן אילפיא אזלן לויתן דין בריתא למגחך לצדיקיא בסעודת בית מדוריה׃ כז כולהון עלך סבירן למיתן מזונהון בזימניה׃ כח תתן להון וכנשין תפתח אידך ושבעין טבא׃ כט תסלק שכינתך מתבהלין תכנוש רוחהון ומתנגדין ולות עפרהון תייבין׃ ל תשלח רוח קודשך ומתבריין ותחדת אפי ארעא׃ לא יהא איקר יהוה לעלם יחדי יהוה בעובדוי׃ לב דמסתכל לארעא ומיתרגפא מקרב בטוריא ומסקין תננא׃ לג אשבח קדם יהוה בחיי אזמר לאלהי בעוד איתי׃ לד יבסם קדמוי קומוי שותי אנא אחדי במימרא דיהוה׃ לה ישתצון חטאיא מן ארעא ורשיעיא תוב ליתיהון בריכי נפשי ית שמא דיהוה הללויה׃

104:24 ὡς ἐμεγαλύνθη τὰ ἔργα σου κύριε πάντα ἐν σοφίᾳ ἐποίησας ἐπληρώθη ἡ γῆ τῆς κτήσεώς σου 104:25 αὕτη ἡ θάλασσα ἡ μεγάλη καὶ εὐρύχωρος ἐκεῖ ἑρπετά ὧν οὐκ ἔστιν ἀριθμός ζῷα μικρὰ μετὰ μεγάλων 104:26 ἐκεῖ πλοῖα διαπορεύονται δράκων οὗτος ὃν ἔπλασας ἐμπαίζειν αὐτῷ 104:27 πάντα πρὸς σὲ προσδοκῶσιν δοῦναι τὴν τροφὴν αὐτοῖς εὔκαιρον 104:28 δόντος σου αὐτοῖς συλλέξουσιν ἀνοίξαντος δέ σου τὴν χεῖρα τὰ σύμπαντα πλησθήσονται χρηστότητος 104:29 ἀποστρέψαντος δέ σου τὸ πρόσωπον ταραχθήσονται ἀντανελεῖς τὸ πνεῦμα αὐτῶν καὶ ἐκλείψουσιν καὶ εἰς τὸν χοῦν αὐτῶν ἐπιστρέψουσιν 104:30 ἐξαποστελεῖς τὸ πνεῦμά σου καὶ κτισθήσονται καὶ ἀνακαινιεῖς τὸ πρόσωπον τῆς γῆς 104:31 ἤτω ἡ δόξα κυρίου εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα εὐφρανθήσεται κύριος ἐπὶ τοῖς ἔργοις αὐτοῦ 104:32 ὁ ἐπιβλέπων ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν καὶ ποιῶν αὐτὴν τρέμειν ὁ ἁπτόμενος τῶν ὀρέων καὶ καπνίζονται 104:33 ᾄσω τῷ κυρίῳ ἐν τῇ ζωῇ μου ψαλῶ τῷ θεῷ μου ἕως ὑπάρχω 104:34 ἡδυνθείη αὐτῷ ἡ διαλογή μου ἐγὼ δὲ εὐφρανθήσομαι ἐπὶ τῷ κυρίῳ 104:35 ἐκλίποισαν ἁμαρτωλοὶ ἀπὸ τῆς γῆς καὶ ἄνομοι ὥστε μὴ ὑπάρχειν αὐτούς εὐλόγει ἡ ψυχή μου τὸν κύριον

Tehillim / Psalms 104

A Psalm of David 104:1 Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, You are very great; You are clothed with splendor and majesty, 104:2 Covering Yourself with light as with a cloak, Stretching out heaven like a tent curtain. 104:3 He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters; He makes the clouds His chariot; He walks upon the wings of the wind; 104:4 He makes the winds His messengers, Flaming fire His ministers. 104:5 He established the earth upon its foundations, So that it will not totter forever and ever. 104:6 You covered it with the deep as with a garment; The waters were standing above the mountains. 104:7 At Your rebuke they fled, At the sound of Your thunder they hurried away. 104:8 The mountains rose; the valleys sank down To the place which You established for them. 104:9 You set a boundary that they may not pass over, So that they will not return to cover the earth. 104:10 He sends forth springs in the valleys; They flow between the mountains; 104:11 They give drink to every beast of the field; The wild donkeys quench their thirst. 104:12 Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell; They lift up their voices among the branches. 104:13 He waters the mountains from His upper chambers; The earth is satisfied with the fruit of His works. 104:14 He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, And vegetation for the labor of man, So that he may bring forth food from the earth, 104:15 And wine which makes man’s heart glad, So that he may make his face glisten with oil, And food which sustains man’s heart. 104:16 The trees of the Lord drink their fill, The cedars of Lebanon which He planted, (NASB)

Toviyah / Psalms 104

A Psalm of David 104:1 Bless, O my soul, the name of the Lord. O Lord my God, you are greatly exalted; you have put on praise and splendor. 104:2 Who wraps himself in light like a sheet, who stretches out the heavens like a curtain. 104:3 Who covers his chambers with water like a building with beams; who placed his chariot, as it were, upon swift clouds; who goes on the wings of an eagle. 104:4 Who made his messengers as swift as wind; his servants, as strong as burning fire. 104:5 Who lays the foundation of the earth upon its base, so that it will not shake for ages upon ages. 104:6 You have covered over the abyss as with a garment; and the waters split on the mountains, and endure. 104:7 At your rebuke, they will flee, flowing down; at the sound of your shout, they will be frightened, pouring themselves out. 104:8 They will go up from the abyss to the mountains, and descend to the valleys, to this place that you founded for them. 104:9 You have placed a boundary for the waves of the sea that they will not cross, lest they return to cover the earth. 104:10 Who releases springs into rivers; they flow between the mountains. 104:11 They water all the wild animals; the asses will break their thirst. 104:12 The birds of heaven will settle on them; they will give out a sound of singing from among the branches. 104:13 Who waters the mountains from his upper treasury; the earth will be satisfied with the fruit of your deeds. 104:14 Who makes grass grow for beasts, and herbs for the cultivation of the son of man, that bread may come forth from the earth; 104:15 And wine that gladdens the heart of the son of man, to make the face shine by oil; and bread will support the heart of the son of man. 104:16 The trees that the Lord created are satisfied, the cedars of Lebanon that he planted: (EMC)

Psalmoi / Psalms 104

A Psalm of David. 104:1 Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, thou art very great; thou hast clothed thyself with praise and honour: 104:2 who dost robe thyself with light as with a garment; spreading out the heaven as a curtain. 104:3 Who covers his chambers with waters; who makes the clouds his chariot; who walks on the wings of the wind. 104:4 Who makes his angels spirits, and his ministers a flaming fire. 104:5 Who establishes the earth on her sure foundation: it shall not be moved for ever. 104:6 The deep, as it were a garment, is his covering: the waters shall stand on the hills. 104:7 At thy rebuke they shall flee; at the voice of thy thunder they shall be alarmed. 104:8 They go up to the mountains, and down to the plains, to the place which thou hast founded for them. 104:9 Thou hast set a bound which they shall not pass, neither shall they turn again to cover the earth. 104:10 He sends forth his fountains among the valleys: the waters shall run between the mountains. 104:11 They shall give drink to all the wild beasts of the field: the wild asses shall take of them to quench their thirst. 104:12 By them shall the birds of the sky lodge: they shall utter a voice out of the midst of the rocks. 104:13 He waters the mountains from his chambers: the earth shall be satisfied with the fruit of thy works. 104:14 He makes grass to grow for the cattle, and green herb for the service of men, to bring bread out of the earth; 104:15 and wine makes glad the heart of man, to make his face cheerful with oil: and bread strengthens man’s heart. 104:16 The trees of the plain shall be full of sap; even the cedars of Libanus which he has planted. (LXX)

Tehillim / Psalms 104

104:17 Where the birds build their nests, And the stork, whose home is the fir trees. 104:18 The high mountains are for the wild goats; The cliffs are a refuge for the shephanim. 104:19 He made the moon for the seasons; The sun knows the place of its setting. 104:20 You appoint darkness and it becomes night, In which all the beasts of the forest prowl about. 104:21 The young lions roar after their prey And seek their food from God. 104:22 When the sun rises they withdraw And lie down in their dens. 104:23 Man goes forth to his work And to his labor until evening. 104:24 O Lord, how many are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all; The earth is full of Your possessions. 104:25 There is the sea, great and broad, In which are swarms without number, Animals both small and great. 104:26 There the ships move along, And Leviathan, which You have formed to sport in it. 104:27 They all wait for You To give them their food in due season. 104:28 You give to them, they gather it up; You open Your hand, they are satisfied with good. 104:29 You hide Your face, they are dismayed; You take away their spirit, they expire And return to their dust. 104:30 You send forth Your Spirit, they are created; And You renew the face of the ground. 104:31 Let the glory of the Lord endure forever; Let the Lord be glad in His works; 104:32 He looks at the earth, and it trembles; He touches the mountains, and they smoke. 104:33 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. 104:34 Let my meditation be pleasing to Him; As for me, I shall be glad in the Lord. 104:35 Let sinners be consumed from the earth And let the wicked be no more. Bless the Lord, O my soul. Praise the Lord! (NASB)

Toviyah / Psalms 104

104:17 Where the birds make nests; the stork’s dwelling is in the cypresses. 104:18 The high mountains are for the wild goats; the rocks are security for the conies. 104:19 He made the moon to calculate times by; the sun knows the time of his setting. 104:20 You will make darkness and it will be night; in it all the beasts of the forest creep about. 104:21 The offspring of lions roar to find food, and to seek their sustenance from God. 104:22 The sun will shine, they gather together; and they lay down in their dwelling place. 104:23 A son of man will go forth to his work and to his cultivation, until the sunset of evening. 104:24 How many are your works, O Lord! You have made all of them in wisdom; the earth is full of your possessions. 104:25 This sea is great and broad in extent; creeping things are there without number, both tiny creatures and large. 104:26 There the ships go about, [and] this Leviathan you created for the sport of the righteous at the supper of his dwelling place. 104:27 All of them rely on you to give their food in its time. 104:28 You will give it to them, and they gather it; you will open your hand, and they are satisfied with goodness. 104:29 You will remove your presence, they are dazed; you will gather their spirit and they expire, and return to their dust. 104:30 You will send out your holy spirit and they are created; and you will make new the surface of the earth. 104:31 May the glory of the Lord be eternal; the Lord will rejoice in his works. 104:32 Who looks at the earth, and it shakes; he draws near to the mountains, and they emit smoke. 104:33 I will sing praise in the presence of the Lord during my life; I will make music to my God while I exist. 104:34 May my talk be pleasing in his presence; I will rejoice in the word of the Lord. 104:35 The sinners will be destroyed from the earth, and wicked exist no longer. Bless, O my soul, the name of the Lord. Hallelujah! (EMC)

Psalmoi / Psalms 104

104:17 There the sparrows will build their nests; and the house of the heron takes the lead among them. 104:18 The high mountains are a refuge for the stags, and the rock for the rabbits. 104:19 He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knows his going down. 104:20 Thou didst make darkness, and it was night; in it all the wild beasts of the forest will be abroad: 104:21 even young lions roaring for prey, and to seek meat for themselves from God. 104:22 The sun arises, and they shall be gathered together, and shall lie down in their dens. 104:23 Man shall go forth to his work, and to his labour till evening. 104:24 How great are thy works, O Lord! in wisdom hast thou wrought them all: the earth is filled with thy creation. 104:25 So is this great and wide sea: there are things creeping innumerable, small animals and great. 104:26 There go the ships; and this dragon whom thou hast made to play in it. 104:27 All wait upon thee, to give them their food in due season. 104:28 When thou hast given it them, they will gather it; and when thou hast opened thine hand, they shall all be filled with good. 104:29 But when thou hast turned away thy face, they shall be troubled: thou wilt take away their breath, and they shall fail, and return to their dust. 104:30 Thou shalt send forth thy Spirit, and they shall be created; and thou shalt renew the face of the earth. 104:31 Let the glory of the Lord be for ever: the Lord shall rejoice in his works; 104:32 who looks upon the earth, and makes it tremble; who touches the mountains, and they smoke. 104:33 I will sing to the Lord while I live; I will sing praise to my God while I exist. 104:34 Let my meditation be sweet to him: and I will rejoice in the Lord. 104:35 Let the sinners fail from off the earth, and transgressors, so that they shall be no more. Bless the Lord, O my soul. (LXX)

In this week’s study from Tehillim / Psalms 104:1-35, the Psalm opens saying, א בָּרֲכִי נַפְשִׁי אֶת-יְהוָה יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהַי גָּדַלְתָּ מְּאֹד הוֹד וְהָדָר לָבָשְׁתָּ: ב עֹטֶה אוֹר כַּשַּׂלְמָה נוֹטֶה שָׁמַיִם כַּיְרִיעָה: A Psalm of David 104:1 Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, You are very great; You are clothed with splendor and majesty, 104:2 Covering Yourself with light as with a cloak, Stretching out heaven like a tent curtain. (NASB) The Lord is described here as powerful and as the creator. Note how David speaks to his soul to bless the Lord using the word נַפְשִׁי as opposed to רוח meaning “wind,” “breath,” or “spirit.” The Lord God of Israel made Adam as a combination of spirit and flesh. Judaism teaches that man possesses two souls, a “divine” soul called the neshamah (נשמה) and the “animal” soul called the nefesh (נפש) based upon Bereshit / Genesis 2:7 (ז וַיִּיצֶר יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהִים אֶת-הָאָדָם עָפָר מִן-הָאֲדָמָה וַיִּפַּח בְּאַפָּיו נִשְׁמַת חַיִּים וַיְהִי הָאָדָם לְנֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה:). Both the nefesh and the neshamah are mentioned in Bereshit / Genesis 2:7 (Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath {neshamah, נשמה} of life; and man became a living being {nefesh, נפש}.) Judaism teaches that the word neshamah (נשמה) for breath in Bereshit / Genesis 2:7 is a reference to the divine soul, where the biblical text states the Lord God of Israel breathed into man. This is the reference to the part of man that has the desire to draw near to the Lord. In the Apostolic Writings, this is referred to as the “spirit” of a man. According to the theology of Paul, this spirit within a man is dead until it is made alive by salvation through faith in the Messiah, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God. King Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 12:7 “Then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it,” so the idea is that the neshamah (divine soul) leaves its abode in heaven to dwell in the human body. It is the combination of the neshamah and the nefesh that produce the personality of each individual. David said א בָּרֲכִי נַפְשִׁי אֶת-יְהוָה יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהַי גָּדַלְתָּ מְּאֹד הוֹד וְהָדָר לָבָשְׁתָּ: ב עֹטֶה אוֹר כַּשַּׂלְמָה נוֹטֶה שָׁמַיִם כַּיְרִיעָה: A Psalm of David 104:1 Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, You are very great; You are clothed with splendor and majesty, 104:2 Covering Yourself with light as with a cloak, Stretching out heaven like a tent curtain. (NASB) The Aramaic Targum states, א בריכי נפשי ית שמא דיהוה יהוה אלהי איתגדלתא לחדא שבחא ושבהורא אלבישתא׃ ב דמיתעטף נהורא היך סדינא דמתח שמיא היך יריעתא׃ A Psalm of David 104:1 Bless, O my soul, the name of the Lord. O Lord my God, you are greatly exalted; you have put on praise and splendor. 104:2 Who wraps himself in light like a sheet, who stretches out the heavens like a curtain. (EMC) He used the words בָּרֲכִי נַפְשִׁי making reference to the non-spiritual aspect of his soul, calling out to his soul to bless the Lord God of Israel. To magnify the Lord God in heaven, and to recognize His majesty and splendor because He is the creator of all things. This calling of the soul to the service of worship is very significant because it should be a daily aspect of our lives to give glory to the Lord not only in our deeds but also by our thought-life.

The psalmist states that His ways are above our ways as he continues saying, ג הַמְקָרֶה בַמַּיִם עֲלִיּוֹתָיו הַשָּׂם-עָבִים רְכוּבוֹ הַמְהַלֵּךְ עַל-כַּנְפֵי-רוּחַ: ד עֹשֶֹה מַלְאָכָיו רוּחוֹת מְשָׁרְתָיו אֵשׁ לֹהֵט: ה יָסַד אֶרֶץ עַל-מְכוֹנֶיהָ בַּל-תִּמּוֹט עוֹלָם וָעֶד: 104:3 He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters; He makes the clouds His chariot; He walks upon the wings of the wind; ד עֹשֶֹה מַלְאָכָיו רוּחוֹת מְשָׁרְתָיו אֵשׁ לֹהֵט: 104:4 He makes the winds His messengers, Flaming fire His ministers. 104:5 He established the earth upon its foundations, So that it will not totter forever and ever. (NASB) The Aramaic Targum states, ג דטליל במיא היך בינינא דכשורי במיא אכסדרוי דשוי על עננין קלילין היך ארתיכיה דאזיל על כנפי נישרא׃ ד דעבד אזגדוי סרהובין היך רוחא שמשוי תקיפין היך אשא מצלהבא׃ ה די מיסד ארעא עלוי בסיסה דלא תזוע לעלמי עלמין׃ 104:3 Who covers his chambers with water like a building with beams; who placed his chariot, as it were, upon swift clouds; who goes on the wings of an eagle. 104:4 Who made his messengers as swift as wind; his servants, as strong as burning fire. 104:5 Who lays the foundation of the earth upon its base, so that it will not shake for ages upon ages.(EMC) David states in the best way that he can and in the way that he understands, the Lord is the creator. In addition, He speaks of the Lord making the winds His messengers who are as flaming fire. It is interesting how he uses the word רוח (ruach) in reference to His messengers. The Hebrew word ruach means “wind,” “breath,” or “spirit” and truth and is the manner in which Job used this word saying, “As long as I have life within me, the breath (ruach) of God in my nostrils” (Job 27:3). The word rûach (רוּחַ), the traditional Jewish interpretation is “wind,” as “spirit,” as it is related to God’s messengers of fire. If we consider the NT (Apostolic Writings) connection, ruach as a reference to the neshamah, the divine soul, David is speaking of the Lord setting on fire this aspect of man, his divine soul, that part that has come from God, as His ministers. This is related to a distinctive change at the center of a persons life that is connected to one’s relationship with God. A parallel thought may be found in the act of obedience to the command as it is related to sin, Teshuvah (Repentance), and the Mikvah (baptism). The Mikvah was a physical demonstration of a believers faith to turn his life over to the Lord, of his death to sin, and his returning to the way, the commands of God to walk in newness of life. This is the testimony of each believer, to be changed by God in a unique way and to live a life that has overcome sin by the power of God. These things appear to be related to the New Covenant that we have in the Messiah, as Yohanan HaMatbil (John the Baptist) said in Matthew 3:11, Mark 1:8, and Luke 3:16.

Matthew 3:11

3:11 “As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” (NASB)

Mark 1:8

1:8 “I baptized you with water; but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” (NASB)

Luke 3:16

3:16 John answered and said to them all, “As for me, I baptize you with water; but One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. (NASB)

John speaks of a time when the Messiah will come, in which he will baptize us with the Holy Spirit of God and with fire. Note the connection to the neshamah (נשמה) the divine soul, to our relationship with God, seeking Him and His will for our lives, and our relationships with others. The baptism of the Holy Spirit, this setting on fire comes by seeking first the kingdom of heaven and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33). Could this be the underlying principle in regard to how the Lord will be working in our lives, reviving and raising us from the dead by the renewing of the neshamah, נשמה, which then causes us to have the desire to live according to God’s Word? Could the power of God being held back because of these things being lacking in the modern Church today? Isaiah said in Isaiah 4:4 When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and purged the bloodshed of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning (NASB) Here he mentions the pride of Israel and a day coming when the Lord will bring the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning upon the people. What is the spirit of burning? Could this be a conviction of heart and soul concerning sin? Rambam on the Mishnah Sanhedrin 10:1 Part 1 has the following to say.

Rambam on Mishnah Sanhedrin 10:1 Part 1

“… Rather, there are those that say that the sun will approach them and burn them, and their proof to this is from that which is stated (Malachi 3:19), “behold [the sun of] the day is coming, burning like a furnace.” And there are some that say that a strange heating up will begin in their bodies and burn them, and their proof to this is from that which it states (Isaiah 33:11), “your spirit is fire, it shall consume you.” And the revival of the dead is from the main fundamental principles of Moshe, our teacher – peace be upon him. And there is no religion and no attachment to the Jewish religion for the one who does not believe [in] this. But it is [only] for the righteous, and so [too] is [this found in] the language of Bereishit Rabbah, “The power of rain is for the righteous and for the evildoers, but the revival of the dead is only for the righteous.” And how should the evildoers be revived – as they are dead even in their lifetime? And so [too] did they say (Berakhot 18b), “Evildoers are called dead even in their lives, righteous people are called living even in their death.” And you should know that man, per force, must die and decompose and return to what he is composed of. The days of the Messiah, however, is the time when rulership will return to Israrel and that they will go back to the land of Israel and that this king will be very great, and the seat of his rulership will be in Zion (Jerusalem)…”

Note how Rambam states the resurrection (revival) of the dead is a fundamental principle of Moshe our teacher. Moshe brought the Torah to Israel, and this holy Word of God. Where in the Torah does Moshe teach resurrection? The turning from sin is equated to the revival of the dead because of the renewing of the neshamah, נשמה, which causes us to have the desire to live according to God’s Word. Isaiah said the Lord’s Spirit is fire, and for the one whom the Lord dwells, the Holy Spirit will set his life on fire both in power and in deed for the glory of God.

David describes the creation to demonstrate the power and majesty of God according to the Masoretic Text and the Tagrum translations in the following way.

Masoretic Text

Tehillim / Psalms 104:6-24

104:6 You covered it with the deep as with a garment; The waters were standing above the mountains. 104:7 At Your rebuke they fled, At the sound of Your thunder they hurried away. 104:8 The mountains rose; the valleys sank down To the place which You established for them. 104:9 You set a boundary that they may not pass over, So that they will not return to cover the earth. 104:10 He sends forth springs in the valleys; They flow between the mountains; 104:11 They give drink to every beast of the field; The wild donkeys quench their thirst. 104:12 Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell; They lift up their voices among the branches. 104:13 He waters the mountains from His upper chambers; The earth is satisfied with the fruit of His works. 104:14 He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, And vegetation for the labor of man, So that he may bring forth food from the earth, 104:15 And wine which makes man’s heart glad, So that he may make his face glisten with oil, And food which sustains man’s heart. 104:16 The trees of the Lord drink their fill, The cedars of Lebanon which He planted, 104:17 Where the birds build their nests, And the stork, whose home is the fir trees. 104:18 The high mountains are for the wild goats; The cliffs are a refuge for the shephanim. 104:19 He made the moon for the seasons; The sun knows the place of its setting. 104:20 You appoint darkness and it becomes night, In which all the beasts of the forest prowl about. 104:21 The young lions roar after their prey And seek their food from God. 104:22 When the sun rises they withdraw And lie down in their dens. 104:23 Man goes forth to his work And to his labor until evening. 104:24 O Lord, how many are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all; The earth is full of Your possessions. (NASB)

ו תְּהוֹם כַּלְּבוּשׁ כִּסִּיתוֹ עַל-הָרִים יַעַמְדוּ-מָיִם: ז מִן-גַּעֲרָתְךָ יְנוּסוּן מִן-קוֹל רַעַמְךָ יֵחָפֵזוּן: ח יַעֲלוּ הָרִים יֵרְדוּ בְקָעוֹת אֶל-מְקוֹם זֶה | יָסַדְתָּ לָהֶם: ט גְּבוּל-שַֹמְתָּ בַּל-יַעֲבֹרוּן בַּל-יְשׁוּבוּן לְכַסּוֹת הָאָרֶץ: י הַמְשַׁלֵּחַ מַעְיָנִים בַּנְּחָלִים בֵּין הָרִים יְהַלֵּכוּן: יא יַשְׁקוּ כָּל-חַיְתוֹ שָֹדָי יִשְׁבְּרוּ פְרָאִים צְמָאָם: יב עֲלֵיהֶם עוֹף-הַשָּׁמַיִם יִשְׁכּוֹן מִבֵּין עֳפָאיִם יִתְּנוּ-קוֹל: יג מַשְׁקֶה הָרִים מֵעֲלִיּוֹתָיו מִפְּרִי מַעֲשֶֹיךָ תִּשְֹבַּע הָאָרֶץ: יד מַצְמִיחַ חָצִיר | לַבְּהֵמָה וְעֵשֶֹב לַעֲבֹדַת הָאָדָם לְהוֹצִיא לֶחֶם מִן-הָאָרֶץ: טו וְיַיִן | יְשַֹמַּח לְבַב-אֱנוֹשׁ לְהַצְהִיל פָּנִים מִשָּׁמֶן וְלֶחֶם לְבַב-אֱנוֹשׁ יִסְעָד: טז יִשְֹבְּעוּ עֲצֵי יְהֹוָה אַרְזֵי לְבָנוֹן אֲשֶׁר נָטָע: יז אֲשֶׁר-שָׁם צִפֳּרִים יְקַנֵּנוּ חֲסִידָה בְּרוֹשִׁים בֵּיתָהּ: יח הָרִים הַגְּבֹהִים לַיְּעֵלִים סְלָעִים מַחְסֶה לַשְׁפַנִּים: יט עָשָֹה יָרֵחַ לְמוֹעֲדִים שֶׁמֶשׁ יָדַע מְבוֹאוֹ: כ תָּשֶׁת חשֶׁךְ וִיהִי לָיְלָה בּוֹ-תִרְמֹשֹ כָּל-חַיְתוֹ-יָעַר: כא הַכְּפִירִים שֹׁאֲגִים לַטָּרֶף וּלְבַקֵּשׁ מֵאֵל אָכְלָם: כב תִּזְרַח הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ יֵאָסֵפוּן וְאֶל-מְעוֹנֹתָם יִרְבָּצוּן: כג יֵצֵא אָדָם לְפָעֳלוֹ וְלַעֲבֹדָתוֹ עֲדֵי-עָרֶב: כד מָה-רַבּוּ מַעֲשֶֹיךָ | יְהוָה כֻּלָּם בְּחָכְמָה עָשִֹיתָ מָלְאָה הָאָרֶץ קִנְיָנֶךָ:

Aramaic Targum

Toviyah / Psalms 104:6-24

104:6 You have covered over the abyss as with a garment; and the waters split on the mountains, and endure. 104:7 At your rebuke, they will flee, flowing down; at the sound of your shout, they will be frightened, pouring themselves out. 104:8 They will go up from the abyss to the mountains, and descend to the valleys, to this place that you founded for them. 104:9 You have placed a boundary for the waves of the sea that they will not cross, lest they return to cover the earth. 104:10 Who releases springs into rivers; they flow between the mountains. 104:11 They water all the wild animals; the asses will break their thirst. 104:12 The birds of heaven will settle on them; they will give out a sound of singing from among the branches. 104:13 Who waters the mountains from his upper treasury; the earth will be satisfied with the fruit of your deeds. 104:14 Who makes grass grow for beasts, and herbs for the cultivation of the son of man, that bread may come forth from the earth; 104:15 And wine that gladdens the heart of the son of man, to make the face shine by oil; and bread will support the heart of the son of man. 104:16 The trees that the Lord created are satisfied, the cedars of Lebanon that he planted: 104:17 Where the birds make nests; the stork’s dwelling is in the cypresses. 104:18 The high mountains are for the wild goats; the rocks are security for the conies. 104:19 He made the moon to calculate times by; the sun knows the time of his setting. 104:20 You will make darkness and it will be night; in it all the beasts of the forest creep about. 104:21 The offspring of lions roar to find food, and to seek their sustenance from God. 104:22 The sun will shine, they gather together; and they lay down in their dwelling place. 104:23 A son of man will go forth to his work and to his cultivation, until the sunset of evening. 104:24 How many are your works, O Lord! You have made all of them in wisdom; the earth is full of your possessions. (EMC)

ו תהומא כד בלבושא חפיתה ומבזעין על טוריא וקיימין מיא׃ ז מן מזופיתך יערקון למיגר מן קל אכלייתך יתבהלון למישפך׃ ח יסלקון מן תהומא לטוריא ונחתין בבקעתא לאתר דנן דיסדתא להון׃ ט תחום שויתא לגללי ימא די לא יעיברון די לא יתובון למחפי ארעא׃ י די משלח מעייני בנהרותא ביני טוריא מהלכין׃ יא משקין כל חיות ברא יתברון ערודיא צהותהון׃ יב עילויהון צפרי שמיא ישרון מביני זאזיא יתנון קל זמר׃ יג דמשקי טוריא מן בית גנזי עילאי די ליה מן פירי עובדיך תשבע ארעא׃ יד דמרבי עסבא לבעירי וירקי לפולחנא דבר נשא למיפק לחמא מן ארעא׃ טו וחמרא דמחדי ליבא דבר נשא לאנהרא אפיא מן משחא ולחמא ליבא דבר נשא יסעד׃ טז שבעין אילניא די ברא יהוה ארזי ליבנן די נציב׃ יז די תמן ציפריא עבדין שרכפי ותא חיוריתא בראתי בית מדורה׃ יח טוריא רמיא ליעלי כיפי רוחצן לטפזיא׃ יט עבד סיהרא למימני ביה זימניא שמשא ידע עידן טמועיה׃ כ תשוי חשוך והוי ליליא ביה רחשין כל חיות חורשא׃ כא בני אריוון אמכלין למשכח מזונא ולמבעי מן אלהא מיכלהון׃ כב תדנח שימשא מתכנשין ולבית מדורהון רביעין׃ כג יפוק בר נשא לעובדיה ולפולחניה עד עירובי עידוני רמשא׃ כד מה סגיעין הינון עובדך יהוה כולהון בחכמתא עבדתא מליא ארעא קניינך׃

In Tehillim / Psalms 104:7-9, David states that the waters stood above the mountains which sounds like a reference to the flood. David says at the rebuke of the Lord the waters fled, the mountains rose, and the valleys sank down to the place established for them. This sounds a lot like plate tectonics. Plate tectonics is a scientific theory describing the large-scale motion of 7 large plates and the movements of a larger number of smaller plates of the Earth’s lithosphere. The theoretical model builds on the concept of continental drift developed during the first few decades of the 20th century. The geo-scientific community accepted plate-tectonic theory after sea-floor spreading was validated in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Some believe the plate movement occurred very rapidly over a short period of time when the earth was covered with water, and was the mechanism for the “receding” of the waters and the lifting of the continents following Noah’s flood. The relative movement of the plates today typically ranges from zero to 100 mm annually. The psalmist’s descriptions of the mountains raising and the valleys sinking are amazing, and are something that has been validated by observable science according to the plate tectonic theory and continental drift. God’s Word is very reliable!

David continues describing the creation saying, the Lord covers the deep with a garment (104:6), He rebukes the waters and they flee (104:7), the mountains rose (104:8), and the Lord set the boundary of the earth (104:9). It is the Lord who sends forth rains and springs (104:10), and He sustains beasts (104:11), birds (104:12), and man with the vegetation of the earth (104:14). In this way it is the Lord who produces wine making man’s heart glad (104:15), he feeds and waters the trees (104:16), and provides a place for the birds to roost (104:17), and for the wild goats to dwell (104:18). The Lord made the sun and moon for seasons (104:19), and night time for the predators to seek their prey (104:21). The Lord provides all of these things so man may go out to work (104:23), and may recognize how the Lord is awesome and wise (104:24).

David then proceeds concluding in his psalm with the reasons why the Lord is to be praised saying the following:

Masoretic Text

Tehillim / Psalms 104:31-35

104:31 Let the glory of the Lord endure forever; Let the Lord be glad in His works; 104:32 He looks at the earth, and it trembles; He touches the mountains, and they smoke. 104:33 I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. 104:34 Let my meditation be pleasing to Him; As for me, I shall be glad in the Lord. 104:35 Let sinners be consumed from the earth And let the wicked be no more. Bless the Lord, O my soul. Praise the Lord! (NASB)

לא יְהִי כְבוֹד יְהֹוָה לְעוֹלָם יִשְֹמַח יְהֹוָה בְּמַעֲשָֹיו: לב הַמַּבִּיט לָאָרֶץ וַתִּרְעָד יִגַּע בֶּהָרִים וְיֶעֱשָׁנוּ: לג אָשִׁירָה לַיהֹוָה בְּחַיָּי אֲזַמְּרָה לֵאלֹהַי בְּעוֹדִי: לד יֶעֱרַב עָלָיו שִֹיחִי אָנֹכִי אֶשְֹמַח בַּיהֹוָה: לה יִתַּמּוּ חַטָּאִים | מִן-הָאָרֶץ וּרְשָׁעִים | עוֹד אֵינָם בָּרֲכִי נַפְשִׁי אֶת-יְהֹוָה הַלְלוּיָהּ:

Aramaic Targum

Toviyah / Psalms 104:31-35

104:31 May the glory of the Lord be eternal; the Lord will rejoice in his works. 104:32 Who looks at the earth, and it shakes; he draws near to the mountains, and they emit smoke. 104:33 I will sing praise in the presence of the Lord during my life; I will make music to my God while I exist. 104:34 May my talk be pleasing in his presence; I will rejoice in the word of the Lord. 104:35 The sinners will be destroyed from the earth, and wicked exist no longer. Bless, O my soul, the name of the Lord. Hallelujah! (EMC)

לא יהא איקר יהוה לעלם יחדי יהוה בעובדוי׃ לב דמסתכל לארעא ומיתרגפא מקרב בטוריא ומסקין תננא׃ לג אשבח קדם יהוה בחיי אזמר לאלהי בעוד איתי׃ לד יבסם קדמוי קומוי שותי אנא אחדי במימרא דיהוה׃ לה ישתצון חטאיא מן ארעא ורשיעיא תוב ליתיהון בריכי נפשי ית שמא דיהוה הללויה׃

Septuagint

Psalmoi / Psalms 104:31-35

104:31 Let the glory of the Lord be for ever: the Lord shall rejoice in his works; 104:32 who looks upon the earth, and makes it tremble; who touches the mountains, and they smoke. 104:33 I will sing to the Lord while I live; I will sing praise to my God while I exist. 104:34 Let my meditation be sweet to him: and I will rejoice in the Lord. 104:35 Let the sinners fail from off the earth, and transgressors, so that they shall be no more. Bless the Lord, O my soul. (LXX)

104:31 ἤτω ἡ δόξα κυρίου εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα εὐφρανθήσεται κύριος ἐπὶ τοῖς ἔργοις αὐτοῦ 104:32 ὁ ἐπιβλέπων ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν καὶ ποιῶν αὐτὴν τρέμειν ὁ ἁπτόμενος τῶν ὀρέων καὶ καπνίζονται 104:33 ᾄσω τῷ κυρίῳ ἐν τῇ ζωῇ μου ψαλῶ τῷ θεῷ μου ἕως ὑπάρχω 104:34 ἡδυνθείη αὐτῷ ἡ διαλογή μου ἐγὼ δὲ εὐφρανθήσομαι ἐπὶ τῷ κυρίῳ 104:35 ἐκλίποισαν ἁμαρτωλοὶ ἀπὸ τῆς γῆς καὶ ἄνομοι ὥστε μὴ ὑπάρχειν αὐτούς εὐλόγει ἡ ψυχή μου τὸν κύριον

The rabbis translate in the Targum that we are to rejoice in the Word (memra) of the Lord. Do you rejoice in God’s word today? The Targum Johnathan on Deuteronomy 28:63 states that the Lord God rejoices over us.

Targum Johnathan on Deuteronomy 28:63

וִיהֵי הֵיכְמָא דְחָדֵי מֵימְרָא דַיְיָ עֲלֵיכוֹן לְאוֹטָבוּתְכוֹן וּלְאַסְגָאָה יַתְכוֹן הֵיכְדֵין יֶחְדֵי מֵימְרָא דַיְיָ עֲלֵיכוֹן עַמְמִין נוּכְרָאִין לְהוֹבְדָא יַתְכוֹן וּלְמֵשַׁצְיָא יַתְכוֹן וְתִיתְעַקְרוּן מֵעִילַוֵי אַרְעָא דְאַתּוּן עַלְלִין לְתַמָן לְמֵירְתָהּ And as the Word of the Lord rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you, so will He rejoice (in sending) against you strange nations to destroy and make you desolate, and you shall be uprooted from the land which you are going to possess.

Notice how the Lord God rejoices over us who obey His words. This is the interpretation, by applying God’s Word to our lives, not only are we rejoicing in God’s word, the Lord God of Israel is also rejoicing in His word which was created from the beginning as a way of life for us, and to bring glory to the Name of God. The Targum is a translation of Devarim / Deuteronomy 28:63 which states “And as the LORD once delighted in making you prosperous and many, so will the LORD now delight in causing you to perish and in wiping you out; you shall be torn from the land that you are about to enter and possess.” Rashi interprets this saying, “‘כן ישיש ה SO WILL THE LORD MAKE your enemies REJOICE עליכם OVER YOU, להאביד וגו׳ TO DESTROY [YOU] (Megillah 10b). ונסחתם is an expression denoting “uprooting”. Similar is, (Proverbs 15:25) “The Lord will uproot (יסח) the house of the haughty”.” Our rejoicing in the Lord, in His word, is also synonymous to our living humble lives for the Lord God in heaven in righteousness, holiness, justice, and truth, which produces an effect upon the nations. The nations will see the love God has for us, as well as our applying God’s word to love our enemies and to tread them with justice and truth. This will have the effect of drawing the nations to the Lord God of Israel (Isaiah 2). The advantage of living for the glory of the Lord is in the ability to draw the lost, the nations, ultimately to faith in the Lord God of Israel and to faith in His Messiah Yeshua. Let’s Pray!

Rabbinic Commentary

The Rabbinic Commentary (Midrash) on Tehillim / Psalms 104 has 27 parts. Reading through the Midrash we will be looking at Part 1, 4, ,10, 18, and 23. Let’s begin by outlining Midrash Tehillim Chapter 104, Parts 1, 4, 10, 18, and 23.

Outline of Midrash Tehillim / Psalms, Chapter 104, Part 1, 4, 10, 18, and 23

Part 1

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying, “Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God; You are very great; You are clothed with glory and majesty (Tehillim / Psalms 104:1).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Elsewhere, this is what Scripture says, Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and in it the head is exalted above all (1 Chronicles 29:11).
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis open the midrash with a discussion on the head being exalted.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis say the head is exalted because of the voice which gives praise to the Lord. Could there also be a parallel to the head being exalted in Paul’s words in reference to the Messiah as pertaining also to one’s actions?
  • The Concluding phrase says, “Hence, the head of Yours is the kingdom and in it the head is exalted above all is none other than Israel, of whom it is said, You exalt the head, the children of Israel (Shemot / Exodus 30:12); in the same way, holiness is none other than Israel, as in the verse, Israel is holiness unto the Lord (Jeremiah 2:3).”

Part 4

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying, “In further exposition of Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, You are very great (Tehillim / Psalms 104:1)”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Rabbi Berechiah said in the name of Rabbi Eleazar and also in the name of Rabbi Joshua, You were great in the world before the world was created.
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis open with a statement of the Lord being great before the creation.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), the rabbis expand upon the mashal saying the Lord was great before anything he had done. It was in the physical manifestation of God’s power that we know, without a doubt the Lord is great!
  • The Concluding phrase says, “Rabbi Berechiah said in the name of Rabbi Isaac, God diffused it from the Holy Temple, as is said, And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east, and the earth’s light came from His glory (Ezekiel 43:2).”

Part 10

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying, “In a different exposition, the verse is read, Upon them the fowl of the heaven make their habitation (Tehillim / Psalms 104:12)”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “that is, heathen nations of the earth, like birds of prey, gather against the children of Israel and work upon them, trying to make them forsake the Holy One blessed be He.
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis speak of the nations desiring to turn Israel from the Lord God in heaven.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal), why do you think the nations try to turn believers from the Lord God of Israel?
  • The Concluding phrase says, “… the Holy One blessed be He, saying, Hear, O Lord, The Lord our God, the Lord is One (Devarim / Deuteronomy 6:4).”

Part 18

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying, “The sun arises, they slink away (Tehillim / Psalms 104:22)…”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “When the sun of the king Messiah rises, heathen nations of the earth will slink away, and couch in their dens.
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis opens with statements regarding the power of the King Messiah in relation to the nations hiding.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal) contrast this to the man who’s reward is Gehenna.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “Also, the worker must be at the place of his work when the sun rises, and the employer must see to it that the worker return to his house when the sun sets.”

Part 23

  • The Midrash introduces the Psalm with the דיבור המתחיל (Dibur Hamathil) saying, “Another exposition, Yonder sea, great and wide is Gehenna, of which is said, Therefore hell has made greater her desire (Isaiah 5:14).”
  • The פתיחתא (Petihta) the homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Therein are creeping things innumerable, wicked men, sectarians, and infidels.
  • The משל (mashal) “the parable,” goes on to explain the פתיחתא (Petihta), the rabbis open with a comment on how Hell as been broadened and expanded and has a desire for me.
  • The נמשל (Nimshal) “expansion on the parable” expands upon the משל (mashal) saying those who wait upon the Lord, the resurrection awaits.
  • The Concluding phrase says, “Rabbi Isaac son of Maryon said, Were it not written, Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters (Isaiah 43:16), any man that went upon the sea would die.”

Midrash Tehillim 104, Part 1 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying, “Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God; You are very great; You are clothed with glory and majesty (Tehillim / Psalms 104:1).” The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Elsewhere, this is what Scripture says, Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, Yours is the kingdom, O Lord, and in it the head is exalted above all (1 Chronicles 29:11). The Midrash opens with a discussion on the head as being exalted above all. The rabbis reference 1 Chronicles 29:11.

1 Chronicles 29:11

29:11 Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, indeed everything that is in the heavens and the earth; Yours is the dominion, O Lord, and You exalt Yourself as head over all. (NASB, יא לְךָ יְהֹוָה הַגְּדֻלָּה וְהַגְּבוּרָה וְהַתִּפְאֶרֶת וְהַנֵּצַח וְהַהוֹד כִּי-כֹל בַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ לְךָ יְהֹוָה הַמַּמְלָכָה וְהַמִּתְנַשֵּׂא לְכֹל | לְרֹאשׁ:)

Notice how the Midrash states in the kingdom of God the head is exalted above all, however in 1 Chronicles 29:11, the Lord has exalted Himself as head over all. The Midrash uses this verse to say the head is exalted, because it is the place of residence of the Neshamah and the Nefesh which give glory to the Lord. The rabbis use this verse to interpret the head is exalted. Note the parallel manner in which the Apostle Paul interprets the position of the Messiah according to Colossians 1:18.

Colossians 1:18

1:18 He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. (NASB, καὶ αὐτός ἐστιν ἡ κεφαλὴ τοῦ σώματος, τῆς ἐκκλησίας: ὅς ἐστιν ἀρχή, πρωτότοκος ἐκ τῶν νεκρῶν, ἵνα γένηται ἐν πᾶσιν αὐτὸς πρωτεύων)

He says that the Messiah is head over the body, over the ekklesia (ἐκκλησίας), by reason that he is the beginning referring to the first born from the dead. Because of this he comes first and is also exalted over all. Note these reference to the Scriptures regarding the Messiah being the head and the authority and position that he has been given as a result of these things.

Philippians 2:9-11

For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (NASB)

Hebrews 13:21

Equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen (NASB)

2 Peter 3:18

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ To Him be the glory, both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. (NASB)

Revelation 5:11-12

Then I looked, and I heard the voice of many angels around the throne and the living creatures and the elders; and the number of them was myriads of myriads, and thousands of thousands, saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing.” (NASB)

Revelation 7:9-12

After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever Amen.” (NASB)

These Scriptures refer to the one who is head over all (the Messiah) as being exalted. This is consistent with the rabbinic thought in the sense of the head of man being exalted. The Midrash continues saying the following:

Rabbi Huna asked, Who is referred to by the head? You find that all things offer praise to the Holy One blessed be He, as is From the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof the Lord’s name is praised (Tehillim / Psalms 113:3), yet to the Holy One blessed be He, no praise means more than the praise offered by Israel, The people which I formed for Myself, that they might tell of My praise (Isaiah 43:21). This you can see for yourself from the preceding Psalm, where it is written Bless the Lord, you angels of His, you mighty in strength, that do His word, listening unto the voice of His word (Tehillim / Psalms 103:20). One would expect the verse to put listening unto the voice of His word before that do His word, for ordinarily a man must first listen to word of what he is to do before he does it. Why, then, does the verse read this way? Because it is speaking of the people of Israel who stood at Sinai, willing to do the will of God even before listening to word of what they were to do, for they said, All that the Lord had spoken we will do, and then listen (Shemot / Exodus 24:7). After Israel offer praise, the angels follow them in offering praise, as is evident from the next verse in the Psalm, Bless the Lord, all you His hosts (Tehillim / Psalms 103:21), these being the angels, of whom it is said, The Lord will punish the host of the high heaven on high (Isaiah 24:21).

Notice how the exalting is paralleled to listening and obeying God’s Word. The rabbis speak of the willingness of God’s people to obey the Lord before even having heard the word spoken. The Midrash interprets these things in reference to the head as pertaining to all creatures giving praise to the Holy One blessed be He, and then to the praises that are offered by Israel. This is connected to the kind of people the Lord wants us to be, humble, prayerful, righteous, holy, and to live with justice, mercy, and truth, and it is by these things that we are exalted, because it is in these things that we give the Lord praise! This is what the Torah speaks of according to Devarim / Deuteronomy 26:16-19.

Devarim / Deuteronomy 26:16-19

26:16 ‘This day the Lord your God commands you to do these statutes and ordinances. You shall therefore be careful to do them with all your heart and with all your soul. 26:17 ‘You have today declared the Lord to be your God, and that you would walk in His ways and keep His statutes, His commandments and His ordinances, and listen to His voice. 26:18 ‘The Lord has today declared you to be His people, a treasured possession, as He promised you, and that you should keep all His commandments; 26:19 and that He will set you high above all nations which He has made, for praise, fame, and honor; and that you shall be a consecrated people to the Lord your God, as He has spoken.’ (NASB, טז הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ מְצַוְּךָ לַעֲשֹוֹת אֶת-הַחֻקִּים הָאֵלֶּה וְאֶת-הַמִּשְׁפָּטִים וְשָׁמַרְתָּ וְעָשִֹיתָ אוֹתָם בְּכָל-לְבָבְךָ וּבְכָל-נַפְשֶׁךָ: יז אֶת-יְהוָֹה הֶאֱמַרְתָּ הַיּוֹם לִהְיוֹת לְךָ לֵאלֹהִים וְלָלֶכֶת בִּדְרָכָיו וְלִשְׁמֹר חֻקָּיו וּמִצְוֹתָיו וּמִשְׁפָּטָיו וְלִשְׁמֹעַ בְּקֹלוֹ: יח וַיהֹוָה הֶאֱמִירְךָ הַיּוֹם לִהְיוֹת לוֹ לְעַם סְגֻלָּה כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֶּר-לָךְ וְלִשְׁמֹר כָּל-מִצְוֹתָיו: יט וּלְתִתְּךָ עֶלְיוֹן עַל כָּל-הַגּוֹיִם אֲשֶׁר עָשָֹה לִתְהִלָּה וּלְשֵׁם וּלְתִפְאָרֶת וְלִהְיֹתְךָ עַם-קָדשׁ לַיהוָֹה אֱלֹהֶיךָ כַּאֲשֶׁר דִּבֵּר: )

The verses in Devarim / Deuteronomy 26:16-19 are connected to John 15:1-10 and to the people Yeshua is speaking of as God’s “Am segulah,” according to Parashat Ki Tavo. This appears to be what the rabbis are referring to according to Midrash Tehillim 104, Part 1.

Midrash Tehillim 104, Part 1 concludes saying, “Hence, the head of Yours is the kingdom and in it the head is exalted above all is none other than Israel, of whom it is said, You exalt the head, the children of Israel (Shemot / Exodus 30:12); in the same way, holiness is none other than Israel, as in the verse, Israel is holiness unto the Lord (Jeremiah 2:3).” The Midrash concludes directly saying the head that is exalted above all is Israel, and the reason being, Israel was meant to lead the nations to the Lord God in heaven by her righteous deeds, where righteousness, holiness, and justice all go hand in hand.

Midrash Tehillim 104, Part 4 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying, “In further exposition of Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, You are very great (Tehillim / Psalms 104:1)” The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Rabbi Berechiah said in the name of Rabbi Eleazar and also in the name of Rabbi Joshua, You were great in the world before the world was created. The Midrash is speaking of the power and greatness of God before the creation. Note something the Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 1:4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 1:5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will. (NASB) The Lord is great because he already knew what He had planned for mankind.

The entire midrash states the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק קד סימן ד

ד דבר אחר ברכי נפשי את ה׳ ה׳ אלהי גדלת מאד. אמר ר׳ ברכי׳ בשם ר׳ אלעזר (בר) [ור׳] יהושע עד שלא נברא העולם היית גדול בעולם, משבראת את עולמך גדלת מאד, עד שלא יצאו ישראל ממצרים גדול היית, וכשיצאו ישראל ממצרים נתגדלת מאד, עד שלא קילסו אותך הנביאים גדול היית, משקילסו אותך הנביאים גדלת מאד [הוד והדר לבשת]. ר׳ שמעון בן יהוצדק שאל את ר׳ שמואל בר נחמני ואמר לו כיצד ברא הקב״ה את האורה, אמר לו נתעטף בטלית לבנה והבהיק העולם מאורו, אמר לו בלחישה, אמר לו ולאו מקרא מלא הוא, עוטה אור כשלמה, אמר לו כשם שקבלתי אותו בלחישה, כך אמרתי לך בלחישה. אמר ר׳ ברכי׳ אלולי דשמעית לר׳ יצחק דדרשיה ברבים לא אמרית ברבים, ומהיכן הביא הקב״ה את האורה, ר׳ ברכי׳ בשם ר׳ יצחק אמר מבית המקדש הביאו, שנאמר והנה כבוד (ה׳) אלהי ישראל בא (מארץ) [מדרך] הקדים [וגו׳] והארץ האירה מכבודו (יחזקאל מג ב).

Midrash Tehillim 104, Part 4

4. In further exposition of Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, You are very great (Tehillim / Psalms 104:1), Rabbi Berechiah said in the name of Rabbi Eleazar and also in the name of Rabbi Joshua, You were great in the world before the world was created. But after You created Your world, it is written, You are very great. You were great before the children of Israel went forth out of Egypt. But after they went forth out of Egypt, it is written, You are very great. You were great before the Prophets offered praise to You. But after the Prophets offered praise to You, it is written You are very great. You are clothed with glory and majesty. Rabbi Simeon son of Jehozadak interrogated Rabbi Samuel son of Nahmani saying, How did the Holy One blessed be He, create the light? Rabbi Samuel son of Nahmani replied, God covered Himself with a white garment and suffused the world with His light. But since Rabbi Samuel son of Nahmani gave his reply in a wisper, Rabbi Simeon son of Jehozadak pressed him further, Os this not said outspokenly in the verse, Who covered Yourself with light as with a garment (Tehillim / Psalms 104:2)? Thereupon, Rabbi Samuel son of Nahmani said to him, As in a whisper I received this tradition, so in a whisper I answered you. Rabbi Berechiah said, Had I not heard that Rabbi Isaac expounded this verse in public, I, too, would not expound it in public. And whence did the Holy One blessed be He, diffuse the light? Rabbi Berechiah said in the name of Rabbi Isaac, God diffused it from the Holy Temple, as is said, And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east, and the earth’s light came from His glory (Ezekiel 43:2).

The rabbis say before the creation the Lord was גדול (great) and following having performed the creation the Lord was גדלת מאד (very great). This description of God’s greatness continues, with the going out of Israel from Egypt, saying the Lord was גדול (great) prior to Israel going out, and following having performed their deliverance, the Lord was נתגדלת מאד (very great). The same is said of the prophets giving praise, the Lord was great before, and after the prophets gave praise, the Lord was very great (גדלת מאד). This concept of the “foundation of the world” is frequently mentioned in the Scriptures, and we are given this concept in the phrase נברא העולם היית (before the world existed). This is the point in time at which human history begins (Matthew 13:35, 25:34, Luke 11:50, Hebrews 4:3, 9:26, Revelation 13:8, 17:8) but yet the Lord knew those who were His, by the reference to those whose names were found written in the book of life נברא העולם היית (before the world existed). These Scriptures speak of the preexistence of God which incorporated His Chesed (חסד, mercy and grace) and that the Lord God of Israel was pleased to create the world and in His love and foreknowledge, he purposed His promise of eternal life to those who seek and love Him. The plans of the infinite love of God were formulated נברא העולם היית (before the world existed). The counsels of the grace of God were in existence before the creation the Lord was גדול (great) and following having performed the creation the Lord was גדלת מאד (very great) by the bringing of His plans to action. These things are further illustrated by the rabbis discussion on the creation of light. “Rabbi Simeon son of Jehozadak interrogated Rabbi Samuel son of Nahmani saying, How did the Holy One blessed be He, create the light?” The response was that the Lord created the light by wrapping himself in a white garment. Note, in the biblical context, the light and white are paralleled to righteousness and holiness. So, the conclusion may be that in the beginning, נברא העולם היית (before the world existed), the Lord said, Bereshit / Genesis 1:3 ג וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים יְהִי-אוֹר וַיְהִי-אוֹר: 1:3 … ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. (NASB) In the process of the creation of life, He put on righteousness, and the light shown forth to illuminate the uncreated world. The reason the light in the beginning was the shekhina glory of God in the creation account, is due to the sun, moon, and stars being created at a much later time. The Lord God Almighty is the only source of light prior to the creation of these other things.

Midrash Tehillim 104, Part 4 concludes saying, “Rabbi Berechiah said in the name of Rabbi Isaac, God diffused it from the Holy Temple, as is said, And, behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east, and the earth’s light came from His glory (Ezekiel 43:2).” The conclusion of the Midrash is that the Lord was establishing His ways prior to all of creation, beginning with the light of His glory shining forth as the rabbis say being diffused from the Holy Temple. The Jewish Encyclopedia speaks of similar related things in regard to the preexistence of the Messiah saying:

Two Biblical passages favor the view of the preexistence of the Messiah: Micah v. 1 (A. V. 2), speaking of the Bethlehemite ruler, says that his “goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting”; Dan. vii. 13 speaks of “one like the Son of man,” who “came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days.” In the Messianic similitudes of Enoch (xxxvii.-lxxi.) the three preexistences are spoken of: “The Messiah was chosen of God before the creation of the world, and he shall be before Him to eternity” (xlviii. 6). Before the sun and the signs of the zodiac were created, or ever the stars of heaven were formed his name was uttered in the presence of the Lord of Spirits (= God; xlviii. 3). Apart from these passages, there are only general statements that the Messiah was hidden and preserved by God (lxii. 6-7, xlvi. 1-3), without any declaration as to when he began to be. His preexistence is affirmed also in II Esdras (about 90 C.E.), According to which he has been preserved and hidden by God “a great season”; nor shall mankind see him save at the hour of his appointed day (xii. 32; xiii. 26, 52; xiv. 9), although no mention is made of the antemundane existence either of his person or of his name (comp. Syriac Apoc. Baruch, xxix. 3).

Thus also the Rabbis. Of the seven things fashioned before the creation of the world, the last was the name of the Messiah (comp. Ps. lxxii. 17; Pes. 54a; Tan., Naso, ed. Buber, No. 19; and parallels); and the Targum regards the preexistence of the Messiah’s name as implied in Micah v. 1 (A. V. 2), Zech. iv. 7, and Ps. lxxii. 17. (Jewish Encyclopedia)

There are many examples of the Lord being גדול (great) and following having performed the work of His hand, the Lord was גדלת מאד (very great). In everything He takes preeminence and receives the glory.

Midrash Tehillim 104, Part 10 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying, “In a different exposition, the verse is read, Upon them the fowl of the heaven make their habitation (Tehillim / Psalms 104:12)” The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “that is, heathen nations of the earth, like birds of prey, gather against the children of Israel and work upon them, trying to make them forsake the Holy One blessed be He. Why do the nations seek the cause God’s people to forsake the Lord God of Israel? The Midrash describes this in the form of the nations behaving as birds of prey, circling, and waiting for the proper moment to fall upon its prey. When we think of the nations in regards to having the desire to lead God’s people away from His instructions, we generally think in terms of the nations gods as opposed to the One true God in heaven. When the Torah speaks of the gods of the nations, there are several common characteristics of the gods that can be observed. First, the “gods” of the nations are the object of man’s worship and service. Whenever someone is working in service to their god, they are doing so visibly and the natural consequence is someone notices. When a person worships their god through service, there is a certain authority and claim this god has over men, in which men acknowledge by their worship and service of the one they are bound to. The strength of this authority and claim over men is seen by the price which men are willing to pay in order to worship their gods. In the biblical context, taken from the history of Israel, pagans have actually offer their children as sacrifices to the gods (molech, 2 Kings 16:12). Within this context, the value or price attributed to serving these gods is therefore extremely high. The gods are worshiped for practical reasons, for example, the gods are not worshiped for their intrinsic beauty or goodness, but for what they control. In Greek mythology, the hostile, capricious gods are worshiped to appease their anger and to avert the outpouring of their wrath. Others are worshiped largely due to the powers which they possess and the benefits which they produce to the worshiper. These gods are essentially viewed by their subjects as a means to a desired end. (i.e. what can I get out of worshiping this god, etc.). So there is a selfish act that is involved in the motivation to worship a false god, to become joined with the worship and service of the god in order to manipulate the god to do one’s bidding. This is the reason the worship of false gods is called harlotry in the Tanach. Note how our relationship with the Lord God of Israel is one of a marriage relationship, therefore, the relationship between men and the gods is closely akin to prostitution. In the example given above on the worship of Molech, a price is paid (sacrificed child) and a service is rendered, but there is certainly no love between the two parties. In addition, the gods of the nations are seldom worshiped alone, but are generally worshiped in a plurality. Pagan worship almost always involves a plurality of gods where more than one god is assumed to be at work. This may be illustrated from the Neviim (Prophets) where the Philistines assumed Israel was delivered from the Egyptians by her gods (plural, 1 Samuel 4:8), rather than by her God (singular). The pagan conclusion of the plurality of gods is that each god is limited in its power and function, a different god must be served and worshiped for each desired end. Worship becomes a matter of covetousness as opposed to love. (i.e. A god of war must be worshiped for military might; a fertility god was served to produce offspring; and the list may go on.) As a result of these things, the pagan was always inclined to be on the lookout for a new god, who would produce even further benefits (Consider the Apostle Paul and what he found in Acts 17:23 ‘For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. NASB). As a result of these things, the mentality of the pagan and the nature of their worship and service to their gods, they seek to cause God’s children to have doubt about the Lord God in heaven, and see “to make them forsake the Holy One blessed be He.

The entire midrash states the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק קד סימן י

י דבר אחר עליהם עוף השמים ישכון. אלו אומות העולם שהן מתכנסין על ישראל ומעבידים בהם להרחיקם מן הקב״ה, אעפ״כ אינן מניחין אותו, שנאמר מבין עפאים יתנו קול, שמייחדים שמו של הקב״ה פעמים ביום, ואומרים שמע ישראל ה׳ אלהינו ה׳ אחד (דברים ו ד)

Midrash Tehillim 104, Part 10

10. In a different exposition, the verse is read, Upon them the fowl of the heaven make their habitation (Tehillim / Psalms 104:12) that is, heathen nations of the earth, like birds of prey, gather against the children of Israel and work upon them, trying to make them forsake the Holy One blessed be He. Nevertheless, the children of Israel do not forsake God, as is said, From among the weary ones they give voice to a song, that is, twice daily the children of Israel voice the unity of the Holy One blessed be He, saying, Hear, O Lord, The Lord our God, the Lord is One (Devarim / Deuteronomy 6:4).

The gods of the nations are man made, and as a result, these gods are fashioned into idols. An idol is a representation of a particular god and used as a focal point for worship. The idol in some cases represent the god itself (as in Greek mythology), or may represent some symbolic attribute of characteristic of the god, or the power over which the god has control of, for example, the bull was used symbolically to represent the strength of a god.

As a result of the neighboring nations influences, these pagan idols were misused in the sense that they represented pagan gods (Isaiah 42:17) and were later taken and applied to represent the God of Israel (Shemot / Exodus 32:1-8 and 1 Kings 12:28). These idols were used as a place and presence of their god, a place of power. Note how the Ark of the Covenant was placed in the temple of Dagon (1 Samuel 5:2) because they attributed their victory over Israel to their god Dagon and placed the spoils, the Ark of the Covenant, before and in the presence of their god. The Scriptures state that all the gods of the peoples are idols, “But the Lord made the heavens” (1 Chronicles 16:26, Tehillim / Psalm 96:5). As the idol was made to represent the gods of the nations and became an object of worship of their god itself (Isaiah 42:17), and so these idols become a place of power for unleashing the power of their gods. Note that this idea of an object of worship having the ability to release the power of God was even practiced by Israel, in the use of the Ark of the Covenant being taken to war as an instrument, which would assure the Israelites of military victory (see 1 Samuel 4:3 and 2 Kings 18:4). Because of her sins however victory was not won, the Lord allowed the Philistines to overpower and subdue Israel for the purpose of drawing her back to the Lord and His ways.

The Lord God of Israel however is awesome and powerful, and nothing a man can make will do justice in reflecting God’s perfection in righteousness and holiness. All of creation reflects the power of God (Romans 1:20) where the Lord God of Israel revealed Himself to men through His word (Torah) and through his actions (i.e. the exodus from Egypt, etc). The commandments were given in order to provide instruction on how we are to serve the Lord God of Israel.

Devarim / Deuteronomy 4:10-23

4:10 ‘Remember the day you stood before the Lord your God at Horeb, when the Lord said to me, ‘Assemble the people to Me, that I may let them hear My words so they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children.’ 4:11 ‘You came near and stood at the foot of the mountain, and the mountain burned with fire to the very heart of the heavens: darkness, cloud and thick gloom. 4:12 ‘Then the Lord spoke to you from the midst of the fire; you heard the sound of words, but you saw no form only a voice. 4:13 ‘So He declared to you His covenant which He commanded you to perform, that is, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tablets of stone. 4:14 ‘The Lord commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and judgments, that you might perform them in the land where you are going over to possess it. 4:15 ‘So watch yourselves carefully, since you did not see any form on the day the Lord spoke to you at Horeb from the midst of the fire, 4:16 so that you do not act corruptly and make a graven image for yourselves in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, 4:17 the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the sky, 4:18 the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water below the earth. 4:19 ‘And beware not to lift up your eyes to heaven and see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, and be drawn away and worship them and serve them, those which the Lord your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven. 4:20 ‘But the Lord has taken you and brought you out of the iron furnace, from Egypt, to be a people for His own possession, as today. 4:21 ‘Now the Lord was angry with me on your account, and swore that I would not cross the Jordan, and that I would not enter the good land which the Lord your God is giving you as an inheritance. 4:22 ‘For I will die in this land, I shall not cross the Jordan, but you shall cross and take possession of this good land. 4:23 ‘So watch yourselves, that you do not forget the covenant of the Lord your God which He made with you, and make for yourselves a graven image in the form of anything against which the Lord your God has commanded you. (NASB)

The Torah states that the Lord spoke from the midst of the fire and Israel heard the sound of words, but saw no form, only a voice. It is for this reason we are commanded to watch ourselves carefully, because Israel did not see any form on the day the Lord spoke at Horeb from the midst of the fire, so that we do not act corruptly and make, worship, and serve a graven image. These instructions are as valid for us today as they were back in the giving of the Torah.

The real issue, then, between false gods and the one true God is related to whom do we trust? To believe God alone is trustworthy leads to worshiping and serving Him only. To believe that God is inadequate and untrustworthy is to turn to other “gods” which will do those things we think God cannot do. For example, in many instances, we are trusting more in our money than we trust in our God. (i.e. As long as we have a nest egg in the bank we feel secure.) The evil here is not in having money, but in trusting in money, rather than in God (1 Timothy 6:17). Yeshua said that it is possible to serve money rather than God (Matthew 6:24).

Midrash Tehillim 104, Part 10 concludes saying, “… the Holy One blessed be He, saying, Hear, O Lord, The Lord our God, the Lord is One (Devarim / Deuteronomy 6:4).” Notice the imperative and definitiveness of declaring the Lord is One in the Shema and the necessity of having faith in the Lord God of Israel as One! In the American culture, the number one god that is trusted in is in the “god of our inner, hidden, abilities” of in other words, “the god of self.” Others may trust in education, or in one’s position, or in technology. Whatever we place our trust in besides the Lord God of Israel and His Messiah Yeshua is idolatry. We cannot trust these things and the Lord God of Israel at the same time. The Midrash states “Nevertheless, the children of Israel do not forsake God, as is said, From among the weary ones they give voice to a song.” Pray that we are not deceived and we trust completely and without doubt in the power of God to deliver us and to provide for our needs.

Midrash Tehillim 104, Part 18 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying, “The sun arises, they slink away (Tehillim / Psalms 104:22)…” The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “When the sun of the king Messiah rises, heathen nations of the earth will slink away, and couch in their dens. The entire midrash states the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק קד סימן יח

יח תזרח השמש יאספון. כשתזרח שמשו של מלך המשיח יאספון אומות העולם, ואל מעונתם ירבצון, ולהיכן הם הולכים, לגיהנם. יצא אדם לפעלו ולעבודתו עדי ערב. אמר ר׳ אסי אלו בני אדם שמתעסקין בתורה מערב עד בוקר, שהן עתידין לקבל שכרן. ד״א יצא אדם לפעלו ולעבודתו עדי ערב. אמר ר׳ אבהו בשם ר׳ שמעון בן לקיש כך דרשו חכמים שתהא היציאה של בעל הבית, והכנסה של פועל, וצריך לו הפועל שתזרח לו השמש במלאכתו, וצריך בעל הבית שיהא משקיעת החמה הפועל בביתו.

Midrash Tehillim 104, Part 18

18. The sun arises, they slink away (Tehillim / Psalms 104:22), When the sun of the king Messiah rises, heathen nations of the earth will slink away, and couch in their dens. Whither will they go? To Gehenna. Man comes to his reward when he is at his labor all through the evening (Tehillim / Psalms 104:23). According to Rabbi Asi, such men as occupy themselves with Torah from evening until morning are men who will come to have their reward. In another comment, the verse is read, The sun raises, Man goes forth to his work and is at his labor until evening. Rabbi Abbahu said in the name of Rabbi Simeon son of Lakish that the Sages interpreted the verse as follows, The going forth of the worker to the place of his work is on the employer’s time; but the return of the worker to his house is on his own time. Also, the worker must be at the place of his work when the sun rises, and the employer must see to it that the worker return to his house when the sun sets.

The rabbinic opinion on the actions of the Messiah are to cause the heathen nations to slink away, and this occurs by his coming in the righteousness of God and having the ability to judge by the power of God and His righteousness. Note the Midrash states, “Whither will they go? To Gehenna. Man comes to his reward when he is at his labor all through the evening (Tehillim / Psalms 104:23).” According to Isaiah 11:4, the Messiah will come to destroy the wicked. The midrash uses the word shamash (שמש) as a reference to the righteous servant and to the light of the sun which again parallels the light of the day to righteousness, as opposed to the darkness of the night and unrighteousness. The Midrash states that when the Messiah comes, the nations will fear him. The concepts here to the day, the light of the sun, is a reference to the righteousness of God which the Messiah will bring as judgment upon the wicked (Isaiah 66:15 , Matthew 25:31, 2 Thessalonians 1:8). When the Messiah comes, he will bring with him the reward of God. The reward for the wicked is to descend into Gehenna (Hell). Rabbi Asi says, “such men as occupy themselves with Torah from evening until morning are men who will come to have their reward.” The commentary on Pirkei Avot in R Yaakov Emden’s sidur Bes Yaakov says: “It’s known that at the time of the [messianic] redemption is a revelation of Torah acquisition, for ‘the land will be filled with knowledge’. Because [redemption] causes a revelation of Torah knowledge, it is indeed among the forty-eight things through which Torah is acquired.” This emphasizes the importance of occupying one’s self with the study of God’s Word as it is connected to the Messiah, according to the Midrash and the commentary on Pirkei Avot. How important is studying God’s Word for you today?

The last half of Midrash Tehillim 104, Part 18 concludes saying, “The sun raises, Man goes forth to his work and is at his labor until evening. Rabbi Abbahu said in the name of Rabbi Simeon son of Lakish that the Sages interpreted the verse as follows, The going forth of the worker to the place of his work is on the employer’s time; but the return of the worker to his house is on his own time. Also, the worker must be at the place of his work when the sun rises, and the employer must see to it that the worker return to his house when the sun sets.” The Midrash places a contrast between the employer’s time as opposed to the worker’s time. The idea here is related to the study of the Torah, and being about God’s work and to the reward of the righteous. Those who study during the day, are doing what they should, meaning that when the sun rises, we should be at our place of work, doing what the Lord wants us to do. In the evening, we return to our own homes, and to our own personal time, but this does not exempt us from continuing in the work of the Lord, as the Midrash states when the sun rises, and the employer must see to it that the worker return to his house when the sun sets.” The employer here being the Lord God in heaven, He ensures that we return to work in the morning, being that He also is visiting us at our homes and walking us to work each day. The conclusion is that our homes should be a place for the Lord to visit and so we should also be at work for the Lord in our private lives as well.

Midrash Tehillim 104, Part 23 opens with the Dibur Hamathil (דיבור המתחיל) saying, “Another exposition, Yonder sea, great and wide is Gehenna, of which is said, Therefore hell has made greater her desire (Isaiah 5:14).” The homiletic introduction to the midrash states, “Therein are creeping things innumerable, wicked men, sectarians, and infidels. The entire Midrash states the following:

מדרש תהלים פרק קד סימן כג

כג דבר אחר זה הים גדול ורחב ידים. זה גיהנם, שנאמר לכן הרחיבה שאול נפשה (ישעיה ה יד). שם רמש ואין מספר. אלו הרשעים והמינין והאפיקורסים. חיות קטנות עם גדולות. קטן וגדול שם הוא ועבד חפשי מאדניו (איוב ג יט). שם אניות יהלכון. כי הולך האדם אל בית עלמו (קהלת יב ה). [לויתן זה יצרת לשחק בו]. מהו לויתן זה יצרת לשחק בו, טיבוי מן ואת מלוותא. כולם אליך ישברון. אלו המתים שעיניהם תלויות לתחיית המתים, שבתחיית המתים כתיב ירנו ישבי סלע מראש הרים יצוחו ישימו לה׳ כבוד (ישעיה מב יא יב), וכאן כתיב יהי כבוד ה׳ לעולם, מה כבוד האמור כאן בתחיית המתים, אף כבוד האמור כאן בתחיית המתים, באותה שעה הם אומרם לך שירה, הדא הוא דכתיב שירו לה׳ שיר חדש (שם שם ישעיהו מ״ב י). דבר אחר שם אניות יהלכון. אמר ר׳ יצחק בר מריון אלולי שכתוב הנותן בים דרך (שם ישעיהו מג טז) מי שהיה יורד בים היה מת.

Midrash Tehillim 104, Part 23

23. Another exposition, Yonder sea, great and wide is Gehenna, of which is said, Therefore hell has made greater her desire (Isaiah 5:14). Therein are creeping things innumerable, wicked men, sectarians, and infidels. Beings small and great, The small and great are there alike; and the servant is free from his master (Job 3:19). There go the ships (Tehillim / Psalms 104:26), Man goes to his long home and the mourners go about the streets (Ecclesiastes 12:5). But He who unites himself with this, him You have formed to sport with, this being righteousness which accompanies him. All of them wait for You (Tehillim / Psalms 104:27) that is, the dead wait, their eyes hanging upon the Resurrection. Now, of the Resurrection it is written, The inhabitants of the rock will sing, they will shout from the top of the mountains. They will give glory unto the Lord (Isaiah 42:11-12). In this Psalm also it is written, The glory of the Lord will endure forever (Tehillim / Psalms 104:31). Therefore, as glory in the one verse refers to the Resurrection, so in the other, glory refers to the Resurrection. At that time the dead will sing a song to You. Of this it is written, Sing unto the Lord a new song (Isaiah 42:10). In another comment on There goes the ships (Tehillim / Psalms 104:26), Rabbi Isaac son of Maryon said, Were it not written, Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters (Isaiah 43:16), any man that went upon the sea would die.

It is interesting how the rabbis speak of Hell (Gehenna) making its place wide for the purpose of the inclusion of those who dwell there. The idea of Hell becoming wider may be found in Isaiah 5:14. (יד לָכֵן הִרְחִיבָה שְּׁאוֹל נַפְשָׁהּ וּפָעֲרָה פִיהָ לִבְלִי-חֹק וְיָרַד הֲדָרָהּ וַהֲמוֹנָהּ וּשְׁאוֹנָהּ וְעָלֵז בָּהּ:) Note the variation on this verse among the English Bible translations.

New International Version

5:14 Therefore Death expands its jaws, opening wide its mouth; into it will descend their nobles and masses with all their brawlers and revelers.

New Living Translation

5:14 The grave is licking its lips in anticipation, opening its mouth wide. The great and the lowly and all the drunken mob will be swallowed up.

English Standard Version

5:14 Therefore Sheol has enlarged its appetite and opened its mouth beyond measure, and the nobility of Jerusalem and her multitude will go down, her revelers and he who exults in her.

New American Standard Bible

5:14 Therefore Sheol has enlarged its throat and opened its mouth without measure; And Jerusalem’s splendor, her multitude, her din of revelry and the jubilant within her, descend into it.

King James Bible

5:14 Therefore hell hath enlarged herself, and opened her mouth without measure: and their glory, and their multitude, and their pomp, and he that rejoiceth, shall descend into it.

The Hebrew word שאול is used meaning “grave.” However, there is a wide variation on translation, “death,” “grave,” and “hell,” and even transliteration of the word as “Sheol.” The context of this verse is as follows:

Isaiah 5:13-25

5:13 Therefore My people go into exile for their lack of knowledge; And their honorable men are famished, And their multitude is parched with thirst. 5:14 Therefore Sheol has enlarged its throat and opened its mouth without measure; And Jerusalem’s splendor, her multitude, her din of revelry and the jubilant within her, descend into it. 5:15 So the common man will be humbled and the man of importance abased, The eyes of the proud also will be abased. 5:16 But the Lord of hosts will be exalted in judgment, And the holy God will show Himself holy in righteousness. 5:17 Then the lambs will graze as in their pasture, And strangers will eat in the waste places of the wealthy. 5:18 Woe to those who drag iniquity with the cords of falsehood, And sin as if with cart ropes; 5:19 Who say, ‘Let Him make speed, let Him hasten His work, that we may see it; And let the purpose of the Holy One of Israel draw near And come to pass, that we may know it! 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! 5:21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes And clever in their own sight! 5:22 Woe to those who are heroes in drinking wine And valiant men in mixing strong drink, 5:23 Who justify the wicked for a bribe, And take away the rights of the ones who are in the right! 5:24 Therefore, as a tongue of fire consumes stubble And dry grass collapses into the flame, So their root will become like rot and their blossom blow away as dust; For they have rejected the law of the Lord of hosts And despised the word of the Holy One of Israel. 5:25 On this account the anger of the Lord has burned against His people, And He has stretched out His hand against them and struck them down. And the mountains quaked, and their corpses lay like refuse in the middle of the streets. For all this His anger is not spent, But His hand is still stretched out. (NASB)

Note how this place (שְּׁאוֹל, Gehenna, or Hell) is described as containing “creeping things innumerable, wicked men, sectarians, and infidels.” A place for the wicked, and being irrespective of one who was small or great in this world, all who are wicked will go there. It is important to consider the description of Sheol(the grave) because Isaiah is referencing something different than a simple place as the grave where both the righteous and the unrighteous go after death. Isaiah 14:9 emphasizes his words saying, “Sheol from beneath is excited over you to meet you when you come; It arouses for you the spirits of the dead, all the leaders of the earth; It raises all the kings of the nations from their thrones.” The grave (Sheol) that is being described here is referring to hell, which is excited over the wicked and has a hunger, as Isaiah 5:14 states “Death has expanded its jaws” (NIV) which seems to parallel the snake (python) which has the ability to dislocate its jaws in order to get its mouth around its prey and swallow it whole. Understanding this context is important because there are some who say Hell does not exist. However, the Scriptures do indicate this place of torment does in fact exist. Note the slow process of digestion once the snake has its prey in its belly, which is paralleled to Gehenna (Hell) here in the Midrash. This is what unrighteousness is like, it takes a person unaware slowly to his or her final destination of destruction.

The Midrash continues with the righteous looking forward to the resurrection.

But He who unites himself with this, him You have formed to sport with, this being righteousness which accompanies him. All of them wait for You (Tehillim / Psalms 104:27) that is, the dead wait, their eyes hanging upon the Resurrection. Now, of the Resurrection it is written, The inhabitants of the rock will sing, they will shout from the top of the mountains. They will give glory unto the Lord (Isaiah 42:11-12). In this Psalm also it is written, The glory of the Lord will endure forever (Tehillim / Psalms 104:31). Therefore, as glory in the one verse refers to the Resurrection, so in the other, glory refers to the Resurrection. At that time the dead will sing a song to You. Of this it is written, Sing unto the Lord a new song (Isaiah 42:10).

This connects us back to those who study God’s Word, and take the Word of the Lord seriously enough to put it into practice. The Mishnah Pirkei Avot 2:3 states “Rabbi Chananiah ben Teradion said: If two sit together and no words of Torah are interchanged between them, theirs is the session of the scornful, as it is written (Psalm 1:1): “Nor sit in the seat of scoffers.” But when two sit together and words of Torah pass between them, the Divine Presence rests between them, as it is written (Malachi 3:16) “Then those who revered the Lord spoke with one another. The Lord took note and listened, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who revered the Lord and thought on his name.” Scripture speaks here of two. Whence do we learn that if even one sits and occupies himself in the Torah, the Holy One blessed be he, appoints him a reward? Because it is written (Lamentations 3:28): ‘to sit alone in silence when the Lord has imposed it.’” This is significant in the sense that the Lord is present in the lives of those who take His Words seriously, and put them into practice. Those who put God’s word into practice truly believe in His Word. These are who look forward to the resurrection. What do you think is going to happen to those who follow the grace movement who do not believe in the significance of living for the Lord in righteousness, justice, and truth?

Midrash Tehillim 104, Part 23 concludes saying, “Rabbi Isaac son of Maryon said, Were it not written, Thus says the Lord, who makes a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters (Isaiah 43:16), any man that went upon the sea would die.” The way of the sea and turbulent waters is said to be a path to destruction. The Lord however is able to make a way for His people to pass through. This world is filled with wickedness, the Grave (Sheol), Hell, Death, and is more than willing to swallow us up. However, the Lord God Almighty, the God of Israel has provided us with a way to walk, a path to live in, which was the purpose for His giving us the Word, the Torah, the Prophets, the Writings, and the Apostolic Scriptures, and provided us with an example in His Son Yeshua the Messiah. The Lord is trustworthy and true, and He is able to guide us, and to help us each day, saving us from death, destruction, and wickedness. Amen! Let’s Pray!

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Duane D. Miller received his Ph.D., M.S., and B.S. Degree in Chemical Engineering from The University of Akron Ohio. He is currently a Chemical Engineering Researcher. Duane’s research expertise has focused upon functional materials development for the control, conversion, and release of process gases in Energy production technologies. His R&D interests include computational chemistry, developing novel technologies for converting biomass to fuels and studying their fundamental interactions during the chemical conversion process. His past experience includes sorbent development for pre- and post-combustion CO2 and SO2 capture, selective absorption of H2S from methane streams, O2 capture for oxy-fuel combustion, photocatalytic reduction of alcohols, NOx reduction catalysis, the development of oxygen carriers to combust fossil fuels (CH4 and coal) for the chemical looping combustion processes, and the extraction of rare earth elements using patent pending sorbents. His research expertise has focused on operando-characterization using Infrared, Raman, and UV-Vis spectroscopy to observe the nature of the catalytic active sites and reaction intermediates under realistic reaction conditions, allowing direct correlation of molecular/electronic structures with catalyst performance during Gas-Solid / Liquid-Solid Adsorption and Photocatalytic Processes with real time online analysis of reaction products using ICP-MS and mass spectrometry. His current work involves a multi-disciplinary approach to developing, understanding, and improving the catalytic gasification of coal and methane, high temperature chemical looping combustion, and the catalytic decomposition and gasification of biomass and coal using novel microwave reactor.​ He has been studying the Hebrew Scriptures and the Torah for 20+ years and sharing what he has learned. The studies developed for MATSATI.COM are freely to be used by everyone, to God be the Glory!