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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Psalms 77:16

 

 

The waters saw You, O God; The waters saw You, they were in anguish; The deeps also trembled.

Adam Clarke Commentary

The waters saw thee - What a fine image! He represents God approaching the Red Sea; and the waters, seeing him, took fright, and ran off before him, dividing to the right and left to let him pass. I have not found any thing more majestic than this.

The depths also were troubled - Every thing appears here to have life and perception. The waters see the Almighty, do not wait his coming, but in terror flee away! The deeps, uncovered, are astonished at the circumstance; and as they cannot fly, they are filled with trouble and dismay. Under the hand of such a poet, inanimate nature springs into life; all thinks, speaks, acts; all is in motion, and the dismay is general.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Psalms 77:16". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/psalms-77.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

The waters saw thee … - The waters of the Red Sea and the Jordan. There is great sublimity in this expression; in representing the waters as conscious of the presence of God, and as fleeing in consternation at his presence. Compare Revelation 20:11; Habakkuk 3:10-11.

They were afraid - On the word used here - חול chûl - see Psalm 10:5, note; Psalm 55:4, note. It may mean here to tremble or quake, as in pain Deuteronomy 2:25; Joel 2:6. - Alarm, distress, anguish, came over the waters at the presence of God; and they trembled, and fled.

The depths also were troubled - The deep waters, or the waters “in” the depths. It was not a ripple on the surface; but the very depths - the usually calm and undisturbed waters that lie below the surface - were heaved into commotion at the divine presence.

sa40


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Psalms 77:16". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/psalms-77.html. 1870.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

THE MARVELOUS MIRACLE AT THE RED SEA

"The waters saw thee, O God;

The waters saw thee, they were afraid:

The depths also trembled.

The clouds poured out water;

The skies sent out a sound:

Thine arrows also went abroad.

The voice of thy thunder was in the whirlwind;

The lightnings lightened the world: The earth trembled and shook.

Thy way was in the sea,

And thy paths in the great waters,

And thy footsteps were not known."

Dummelow considered these words a reference to the Red Sea crossing; and McCullough affirmed that, "Psalms 77:20 interprets the preceding verses (Psalms 77:16-19) as pertinent to the Exodus."[8] Rawlinson likewise called these verses, "A magnificent description of the deliverance of Israel at the Red Sea."[9]

The problem with this understanding is that the account of the Red Sea crossing in Exodus says nothing about the clouds, the rain, the thunder and the lightning which are mentioned here. It could be that this information is supplementary to that given in Exodus; and we do not rule that out as a possibility. We have also observed that in the Psalms, the sacred writers often preempt language used by the pagans in speaking of their false gods to describe the actions of the true God. Baal, for example, was the storm God; but Baal never did anything, even in the false claims of mythology, that could be compared to what God did at the Red Sea.

We do not know, of course, that such an adaptation of mythological terminology is in view here; but one thing we feel very sure about is that, we do not have a separate psalm in these last five verses, describing God's appearance in a thunderstorm, as in Psalms 29. This, of course, is the view of Briggs who said, "Psalms 77 is a composite";[10] and the last five verses, "Describe the advent of Yahweh in a storm."[11]

To us, by far the most acceptable interpretation is that which refers these verses to the Crossing of the Red Sea.

"And thy footsteps were not known" (Psalms 77:19). The strong suggestion here is that men cannot certainly know the purposes and intentions of Almighty God. His ways are above our ways; he has not revealed to men the reasons behind any of his actions; his deeds, as far as men are concerned, are indeed inscrutable.

Even today, when men are tempted to doubt because of conditions in the world which seem contrary to all truth and righteousness, it is the duty of all believers to "trust where they cannot see." "God's in his heaven," all right, "But all is not well with the world." There are many conditions that upright people recognize as contrary to the will of God; and such things should not be allowed to foster doubt in Christian hearts. Even though we do not know what it is, God surely knows what he is doing!

"Thy way was in the sea ... paths in the great waters" (Psalms 77:19). As Kidner said, "All of the words here are a true picture of God's sway over nature. Even when He was incarnate, the winds and the waves obeyed him, and the sea provided a path for Him."[12]


Copyright Statement
James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Psalms 77:16". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/psalms-77.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

The waters saw thee, O God,.... The waters not of Jordan, but of the Red sea; these felt and perceived the power of God, in causing a strong east wind, which dried it up, and made way for the children of Israel to pass through it as on dry land: compare with this Psalm 114:3,

the waters saw thee; which is repeated for the confirmation of it, and to excite attention to it, as well as to express the psalmist's admiration at it; the Targum is,

"they saw thy majesty in the midst of the sea, O God; they saw thy power upon the sea;'

not the Egyptians, but the sons of Jacob and Joseph; the old Syriac church understood these waters of the waters of Jordan, at the baptism of Christ, when in their way they saw the incarnate God, and felt his sacred body laid in them, by which he was made manifest to Israel; but Jerom better interprets them, by the help of Revelation 17:15 of people, nations, and tongues; some of which saw Christ corporeally, others spiritually, and by faith, as preached in the Gospel to the Gentile world:

they were afraid; of the majesty of God, obeyed their Sovereign, of whom they stood in awe, gave way unto him, and fled at his rebuke, see Psalm 114:5 or "were in pain"F26חילו "parturierunt", Montanus, Vatablus; "dolore corruptae sunt, videl dolore parturientium", Piscator; so Ainsworth. , as a woman in travail, as were the Gentile world at the preaching of the Gospel of redemption and salvation by Christ, Romans 8:22,

the depths also were troubled; not only the surface, or waves of the waters, were moved by the strong east wind, through the power of God, but the bottom of the sea was reached by it; the depths were congealed in the midst of it, the channels of water were seen, and the foundation of the world discovered, and the children of Israel went through the deep as on dry land, see Exodus 15:8.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Psalms 77:16". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/psalms-77.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

The k waters saw thee, O God, the waters saw thee; they were afraid: the depths also were troubled.

(k) He declares how the power of God was declared when he delivered the Israelites through the Red Sea.

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Bibliography
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Psalms 77:16". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/psalms-77.html. 1599-1645.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

The waters saw thee, O God, the waters saw thee; they were afraid: the depths also were troubled.

Afraid — And stood still, as men astonished, do.


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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Psalms 77:16". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/psalms-77.html. 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

16.The waters saw thee, O God! Some of the miracles in which God had displayed the power of his arm are here briefly adverted to. When it is said that the waters saw God, the language is figurative, implying that they were moved, as it were, by a secret instinct and impulse to obey the divine command in opening up a passage for the chosen people. Neither the sea nor the Jordan would have altered their nature, and by giving place have spontaneously afforded a passage to them, had they not both felt upon them the power of God. (303) It is not meant that they retired backward because of any judgment and understanding which they possessed, but that in receding as they did, God showed that even the inanimate elements are ready to yield obedience to him. There is here an indirect contrast, it being intended to rebuke the stupidity of men if they do not acknowledge in the redemption of the Israelites from Egypt the presence and hand of God, which were seen even by the waters. What is added concerning the deeps intimates, that not only the surface of the waters were agitated at the sight of God, but that his power penetrated even to the deepest gulfs.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Psalms 77:16". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/psalms-77.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Psalms 77:16 The waters saw thee, O God, the waters saw thee; they were afraid: the depths also were troubled.

Ver. 16. The waters saw thee, O God … they were afraid] This is check to such as will not see to fear so mighty a God. "Lord," saith the prophet, "when thy hand is lifted up, they will not see; but they shall see and be ashamed for their envy at the people; yea, the fire of thine enemies shall devour them," Isaiah 26:11.


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 77:16". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/psalms-77.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

The waters saw thee; they felt the visible effects of thy powerful presence.

They were afraid; and stood still, as men or beasts astonished commonly do.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Psalms 77:16". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/psalms-77.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

16. The waters saw thee—A bold figure. The waters saw God fighting for his people, and were afraid, or seized with pain, as the word denotes.

Troubled—Agitated. The word indicates an irregular motion, like an army which trembles, wavers, and staggers when stricken with fear. The allusion is to the Red Sea passage. Compare Psalms 104:7-9


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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Psalms 77:16". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/psalms-77.html. 1874-1909.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

The waters. Figure of speech Epizeuxis (App-6), for emphasis: i.e. the waters of the Nile, and the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21-31).

The depths. Not referring to the "abyss" of Babylonian mythology, which was a corruption of primitive truth (Genesis 1:2), but the Red Sea emphasized in the preceding clause.


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Bibliography
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Psalms 77:16". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/psalms-77.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

The waters saw thee, O God, the waters saw thee; they were afraid: the depths also were troubled.

The waters saw thee, O God ... they were afraid - (Psalms 114:3; Habakkuk 3:8-10).


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 77:16". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/psalms-77.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(16) The waters saw thee.—Possibly alluding to the “look” which troubled the Egyptians (Exodus 14:24).

Were afraid.—Better, writhed, as in travail pains.

Went abroad—i.e., darted hither and thither. The arrows are the lightnings.


Copyright Statement
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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Psalms 77:16". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/psalms-77.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

The waters saw thee, O God, the waters saw thee; they were afraid: the depths also were troubled.
114:3-6; Exodus 14:21; Joshua 3:15,16; Habakkuk 3:8-10,15

Copyright Statement
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.

Bibliography
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Psalms 77:16". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/psalms-77.html.

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