Psalms 29:8 MEANING

Psalm 29:8
(8) The voice of the Lord shaketh.--Literally, maketh to tremble. The allusion is, doubtless, to the effect of the storm on the sands of the desert. The tempest has moved southward over Palestine, and spends its last fury on the southern wilderness, and the poet seizes on what is one of the most striking phenomena of a storm in such a district--the whirlwind of sand. "But soon Red Sea and all were lost in a sandstorm, which lasted the whole day. Imagine all distant objects entirely lost to view, the sheets of sand fleeting along the surface of the desert like streams of water, the whole air filled, though invisibly, with a tempest of sand, driving in your face like sleet" (Stanley, Sinai and Palestine, p. 67). For Kadesh, see Numbers 13:26. Here the term appears to be used in a large and general sense for the whole southern desert.

Verse 8. - The voice of the Lord shaketh the wilderness; yea, the Lord shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh. Kadesh seems to be mentioned as lying at the opposite extremity of Palestine from Lebanon and Hermon, so that the storm is made, by a magnificent hyperbole, to extend over the entire Holy Land, from the far north to the extreme south, and to embrace at once the lofty mountain-chains which are rather Syrian than Palestinian, the hills and valleys of Palestine proper, and the arid region of the south where Judaea merges into Arabia.

29:1-11 Exhortation to give glory to God. - The mighty and honourable of the earth are especially bound to honour and worship him; but, alas, few attempt to worship him in the beauty of holiness. When we come before him as the Redeemer of sinners, in repentance faith, and love, he will accept our defective services, pardon the sin that cleaves to them, and approve of that measure of holiness which the Holy Spirit enables us to exercise. We have here the nature of religious worship; it is giving to the Lord the glory due to his name. We must be holy in all our religious services, devoted to God, and to his will and glory. There is a beauty in holiness, and that puts beauty upon all acts of worship. The psalmist here sets forth God's dominion in the kingdom of nature. In the thunder, and lightning, and storm, we may see and hear his glory. Let our hearts be thereby filled with great, and high, and honourable thoughts of God, in the holy adoring of whom, the power of godliness so much consists. O Lord our God, thou art very great! The power of the lightning equals the terror of the thunder. The fear caused by these effects of the Divine power, should remind us of the mighty power of God, of man's weakness, and of the defenceless and desperate condition of the wicked in the day of judgment. But the effects of the Divine word upon the souls of men, under the power of the Holy Spirit, are far greater than those of thunder storms in the nature world. Thereby the stoutest are made to tremble, the proudest are cast down, the secrets of the heart are brought to light, sinners are converted, the savage, sensual, and unclean, become harmless, gentle, and pure. If we have heard God's voice, and have fled for refuge to the hope set before us, let us remember that children need not fear their Father's voice, when he speaks in anger to his enemies. While those tremble who are without shelter, let those who abide in his appointed refuge bless him for their security, looking forward to the day of judgment without dismay, safe as Noah in the ark.The voice of the Lord shaketh the wilderness,.... The ground of it, the trees in it, and the beasts that harbour there; and causes them to be in pain, and to bring forth their young, as the (g) word signifies, and as it is rendered in Psalm 29:9; all which effects thunder produces, and may mystically signify the preaching of the Gospel among the Gentiles, and the consequence of it. The Gentile world may be compared to a wilderness, and is called the wilderness of the people, Ezekiel 20:35; the inhabitants of it being ignorant, barren, and unfruitful; and the conversion of them is expressed by turning a wilderness into a fruitful land, Isaiah 35:1; and the Gospel being sent thither has been the means of shaking the minds of many with strong and saving convictions; which made them tremble and cry out, what shall we do to be saved?

the Lord shaketh the wilderness of Kadesh; which was the terrible wilderness that the children of Israel passed through to Canaan's land; the same with the wilderness of Zin, Numbers 33:36; and was called Kadesh from the city of that name, on the borders of Edom, Numbers 20:1; the Targum paraphrases it,

"The word of the Lord shaketh the wilderness of Rekam;''

in the Targum in the King's Bible it is,

"makes the serpents in the wilderness of Rekam to tremble;''

but that thunder frightens them, I have not met with in any writer.

(g) "parturire faciet", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus, Michaelis; "dolore parturientis afflicit", Piscator.

Courtesy of Open Bible