Psalm 77:17
The clouds poured out water: the skies sent out a sound: your arrows also went abroad.
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77:11-20 The remembrance of the works of God, will be a powerful remedy against distrust of his promise and goodness; for he is God, and changes not. God's way is in the sanctuary. We are sure that God is holy in all his works. God's ways are like the deep waters, which cannot be fathomed; like the way of a ship, which cannot be tracked. God brought Israel out of Egypt. This was typical of the great redemption to be wrought out in the fulness of time, both by price and power. If we have harboured doubtful thoughts, we should, without delay, turn our minds to meditate on that God, who spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, that with him, he might freely give us all things.The clouds poured out water - Margin, "The clouds were poured forth with water." The translation in the text is the more correct. This is a description of a storm; but to what particular storm in history does not appear. It was evidently some exhibition of the divine greatness and power in delivering the children of Israel, and may have referred to the extraordinary manifestation of God at Mount Sinai, amidst lightnings, and thunders, and tempests. Exodus 19:16. For a general description of a storm, as illustrating this passage, see Job 36:26-33, notes; Job 37:1-5, notes; and Psalm 29:1-11.

The skies sent out a sound - The voice of thunder, which seems to come from the sky.

Thine arrows also - The lightnings - compared with burning or ignited arrows. Such arrows were anciently used in war. They were bound round with rags, and dipped in some combustible substance - as turpentine - and shot into houses, grain-fields, haystacks, or towns, for the purpose of setting them on fire. It was not unnatural to compare the rapid lightnings with such blazing arrows.

Went abroad - They moved rapidly in all directions.

15. Jacob and Joseph—representing all. The clouds poured out water, when the Israelites passed over the sea; in respect whereof the Israelites are said to have been baptized in the cloud (i.e. sprinkled with water poured forth from the clouds) and in the sea, 1 Corinthians 10:2.

Thine arrows; either hail-stones, or rather lightnings or thunder-bolts, which are called Gods arrows, Psalm 18:14 144:6. The clouds poured out water,.... This, with some other circumstances which follow, are not related by Moses in the history of this affair; but as they are here recorded by an inspired penman, there is no doubt to be made of the truth of them; besides Josephus (a) relates the same things; he says, that at the time when the Egyptians were drowned in the Red sea, rains descended from heaven, and there were terrible thunders, lightnings, and thunderbolts; this was when the Lord looked through the cloud, and troubled the host of the Egyptians, Exodus 14:24,

the skies sent out a sound; or the airy clouds, the lighter ones, and which were higher in the heavens, as the others before mentioned were thick clouds, full of water, and hung lower; these were thunderclouds, and thunder is the sound which they sent forth, as in the following verse:

thine arrows also went abroad: that is, lightnings, as in Psalm 18:14, so Aben Ezra; but Kimchi interprets them of hailstones.

(a) Antiqu. l. 2. c. 16. sect. 3.

The clouds poured out water: the skies sent out a {l} sound: thine arrows also went abroad.

(l) That is, thundered and lightninged.

17. God came in storm and earthquake. So the poet develops the thought of Exodus 14:24-25. Cp. Psalm 18:7 ff; Psalm 97:3 ff.; and the parallel passage in Habakkuk 3:10-11, where tempest (R.V.) is the cognate substantive to the verb rendered poured out here.

sent out a sound] Better (cp. Hab.), uttered a voice, i.e. thundered. God’s arrows are the flashes of lightning.Verse 17. - The clouds poured out water. The description here becomes more poetical than historical, unless, indeed, we may suppose that the writer possessed, besides what is said in Exodus, some traditional account of the passage. The skies sent out a sound; or, "uttered a voice" - the voice of the thunder, beyond a doubt (compare next verse). Thine arrows also went abroad; i.e. lightnings darted hither and thither (see Psalm 18:14; 2 Samuel 22:15). With ואמר the poet introduces the self-encouragement with which he has hitherto calmed himself when such questions of temptation were wont to intrude themselves upon him, and with which he still soothes himself. In the rendering of הלּותי (with the tone regularly drawn back before the following monosyllable) even the Targum wavers between מרעוּתי (my affliction) and בּעוּתי (my supplication); and just in the same way, in the rendering of Psalm 77:11, between אשׁתּניו (have changed) and שׁנין (years). שׁנות cannot possibly signify "change" in an active sense, as Luther renders: "The right hand of the Most High can change everything," but only a having become different (lxx and the Quinta ἀλλοίωσις, Symmachus ἐπιδευτέρωσις), after which Maurer, Hupfeld, and Hitzig render thus: my affliction is this, that the right hand of the Most High has changed. But after we have read שׁנות in Psalm 77:6 as a poetical plural of שׁנה, a year, we have first of all to see whether it may not have the same signification here. And many possible interpretations present themselves. It can be interpreted: "my supplication is this: years of the right hand of the Most High" (viz., that years like to the former ones may be renewed); but this thought is not suited to the introduction with ואמר. We must either interpret it: my sickness, viz., from the side of God, i.e., the temptation which befalls me from Him, the affliction ordained by Him for me (Aquila ἀῤῥωστία μου), is this (cf. Jeremiah 10:19); or, since in this case the unambiguous חלותי would have been used instead of the Piel: my being pierced, my wounding, my sorrow is this (Symmachus τρῶσίς μου, inf. Kal from חלל, Psalm 109:22, after the form חנּות from חנן) - they are years of the right hand of the Most High, i.e., those which God's mighty hand, under which I have to humble myself (1 Peter 5:6), has formed and measured out to me. In connection with this way of taking Psalm 77:11, Psalm 77:12 is now suitably and easily attached to what has gone before. The poet says to himself that the affliction allotted to him has its time, and will not last for ever. Therein lies a hope which makes the retrospective glance into the happier past a source of consolation to him. In Psalm 77:12 the Chethb אזכיר is to be retained, for the כי in Psalm 77:12 is thus best explained: "I bring to remembrance, i.e., make known with praise or celebrate (Isaiah 63:7), the deeds of Jāh, for I will remember Thy wondrous doing from days of old." His sorrow over the distance between the present and the past is now mitigated by the hope that God's right hand, which now casts down, will also again in His own time raise up. Therefore he will now, as the advance from the indicative to the cohortative (cf. Psalm 17:15) imports, thoroughly console and refresh himself with God's work of salvation in all its miraculous manifestations from the earliest times. יהּ is the most concise and comprehensive appellation for the God of the history of redemption, who, as Habakkuk prays, will revive His work of redemption in the midst of the years to come, and bring it to a glorious issue. To Him who then was and who will yet come the poet now brings praise and celebration. The way of God is His historical rule, and more especially, as in Habakkuk 3:6, הליכות, His redemptive rule. The primary passage Exodus 15:11 (cf. Psalm 68:25) shows that בּקּדשׁ is not to be rendered "in the sanctuary" (lxx ἐν τῷ ἁγίῳ), but "in holiness" (Symmachus ἐν ἁγιασμῷ). Holy and glorious in love and in anger. God goes through history, and shows Himself there as the incomparable One, with whose greatness no being, and least of all any one of the beingless gods, can be measured. He is האל, the God, God absolutely and exclusively, a miracle-working (עשׂה פלא, not עשׂה פלא cf. Genesis 1:11)

(Note: The joining of the second word, accented on the first syllable and closely allied in sense, on to the first, which is accented on the ultima (the tone of which, under certain circumstances, retreats to the penult., נסוג אחור) or monosyllabic, by means of the hardening Dagesh (the so-called דחיק), only takes place when that first word ends in ה- or ה-, not when it ends in ה-.))

God, and a God who by these very means reveals Himself as the living and supra-mundane God. He has made His omnipotence known among the peoples, viz., as Exodus 15:16 says, by the redemption of His people, the tribes of Jacob and the double tribe of Joseph, out of Egypt, - a deed of His arm, i.e., the work of His own might, by which He has proved Himself to all peoples and to the whole earth to be the Lord of the world and the God of salvation (Exodus 9:16; Exodus 15:14). בּזרוע, brachio scil. extenso (Exodus 6:6; Deuteronomy 4:34, and frequently), just as in Psalm 75:6, בּצוּאר, collo scil. erecto. The music here strikes in; the whole strophe is an overture to the following hymn in celebration of God, the Redeemer out of Egypt.

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