Lectionary Year B
June 11, 2000
Psalm 104:24-34, 35b

Step I: Initial Acquaintance


The New American Standard Bible Update, 1995, quantifies the first phrase of verse 24, “many”, while the New King James Version, 1982 and the New Revised Standard Version, 1989, have, “manifold”. The NASB and the NRSV both end the second phrase of that verse with a semicolon, while the NKJV has a period to end it as a complete sentence. Then the NASB and the NKJV end that verse with the word, “possessions” while the NRSV has, “creatures”. The NASB has a footnote, among 14 in this passage, that says, “Or creatures”.

In verse 25, the NASB calls the sea, “great and broad”, with a footnote, “Or broad of dimensions (lit hands)” and the NKJV and the NRSV read, “great and wide”. The “things” in the sea are, for the NASB, “swarms without number”, for the NKJV, “innumerable teeming things” and for the NRSV, “creeping things innumerable”. Then, the NASB calls then, “animals”, while the NKJV and the NRSV name them, “living things”.

In the 26th verse, we read of “ships moving along” according to the NASB, “ships sail about” in the NKJV and “go the ships” in the NRSV. Then, the NASB and the NRSV note that Leviathan (NASB footnotes, “Or a sea monster) is formed “to sport in it” while NKJV has it, “to play there”.

The 27th verse has those in the sea “waiting” for food in the NASB and NKJV “looking” for the food to come in the NRSV. At the end of that verse (27) NASB footnotes, “Lit its appointed time”. Thereafter, in both verses 27 and 28, NASB footnotes, “Or breath”.

In verse 28, the food fills to “satisfaction” for the NASB and to “filled” for NKJV and NRSV.

The face hiding of God, in the 29th verse, “dismayed” according to the NASB and “troubled” according to the NKJV and the NRSV. Then, NASB says God takes away “their Spirit, they expire And return to their dust”, where the NKJV and the NRSV have, “take away their breath, they die and return to their dust”.

All three translations translate God’s sending forth “Your Spirit” in verse 30 and NASB and NRSV footnote, “Or breath”, except NRSV alone keeps those words in lower case. NASB ends that verse with God’s renewing “the face of the ground” where NKJV and NRSV call it “the face of the earth”.

Here, at verse 31, NRSV alone makes a paragraph. NASB wants the Lord to “be glad in His works” while the NKJV and the NRSV read, “rejoice in His works”, except the NRSV leaves the pronoun in lower case.

In verse 32, God “touches the mountains” in the NASB and “touches the hills” in the NKJV and the NRSV.

In the 34th verse, the NASB and the NRSV want meditation to be “pleasing” to God, while the NKJV wants it to be “sweet”.

In the last verse (35b) NASB footnotes, “Or Hallelujah!”


In verse 24, kelam behachmah yashit probably belongs after verse 25, according to the apparatus. No, that word occurs as the last one in the verse and, besides, the longer version is more likely the original. Then, many manuscripts would do something with maliah haarets if it belongs elsewhere, as it probably could.

Then, in verse 26, the apparatus proposes taninim or aemvot or also perhaps add aemvot to replace aniyiot. Well, serpents, dragons or sea monsters might fit the rest of the description, that’s for sure. However, ships would note so terribly out of place, either. Furthermore, tribes or people (aemvot) could fit here, too, but replace ships? Perhaps the most likely alteration could be in using aembot to indicate the “swarms” mentioned in the previous verse could be meant originally, if any change is warranted.

In verse 28, Syriac versions prefer to omit tov. Well, it probably is unnecessary for understanding and appreciating what the verse says without it. However, the longer, inclusion might be more nearly original.

In verse 29, the apparatus proposes deleting veel-aparam iesuvun. No, the longer was probably originally intended and, besides it adds some emphasis to the situation there.


24 How manifold are Your works Yahweh,
      from the whole of in wisdom You made them,
      is full of the earth Your possessions.
25 There is a great and broad sea.
      There gliding things (of sea animals) and innumerable small to great.
26 There ships move.
      Leviathan which You fashioned to make sport in it.
27 All of them for You wait for You to give to them their food as readied.
28 You give to them, they gather it up;
      You open Your hand, they are satisfied with good.
29 You conceal Your face, they are vexed
      You have withdrawn their spirit, they die and unto dust they return.
30 You send forth Your Spirit,
      they are created and You renew the face of the ground.
31 May it be that the glory of Yahweh is forever.
      May be glad Yahweh in His works.
32 He has come into the land, and it was trembling.
      He strikes upon the mountains and they smoke.
33 Shall I sing unto Yahweh in (throughout) my lifetime.
      I shall sing praise to Him in (all) my continuance.
34 Shall be pleasing unto Him my meditation and,
      as for me, I shall rejoice in Yahweh.
35b I shall bless my spirit Yahweh, Hallelujah!

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