A Psalm of David.
1 Give unto the Lord, O you mighty ones,
Give unto the Lord glory and strength.
2 Give unto the Lord the glory due to His name;
Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
3 The voice of the Lord is over the waters;
The God of glory thunders;
The Lord is over many waters.
4 The voice of the Lord is powerful;
The voice of the Lord is full of majesty.
5 The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars,
Yes, the Lord splinters the cedars of Lebanon.
6 He makes them also skip like a calf,
Lebanon and Sirion like a young wild ox.
7 The voice of the Lord divides the flames of fire.
8 The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness;
The Lord shakes the Wilderness of Kadesh.
9 The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth,
And strips the forests bare;
And in His temple everyone says, “Glory!”
10 The Lord sat enthroned at the Flood,
And the Lord sits as King forever.
11 The Lord will give strength to His people;
The Lord will bless His people with peace.
According to early Jewish tradition, this psalm, which concerns God’s transcendent power and its ultimate application to the full restoration of His people, was recited by the Levites on the Feast of Tabernacles, which festival likewise commemorates God’s power and ability to supply His people’s needs in the desert (see Leviticus 23:34-43) as well as His ultimate application of that power to fully restore Israel and establish His Tabernacle over all Creation (see Zechariah 14:16-18; Revelation 21:3). — Wechsler, page 89
Lord (v.1) — Jehovah — the name appears 18 times in the Psalm
mighty ones (v.1) — most commentaries say that this is the assembly of heavenly beings who surround the throne of God. Wechsler has a different view (below).
David begins by affirming the absolute sovereignty and preeminence of God, both in glory and in strength, not just over all men, but over all other gods. This is indicated by the phrase bene elim, which, though sometimes translated “sons of the mighty” and explained as referring to the angels, properly means “sons of gods,” since the term elim (as opposed to el or elohim), which occurs only three times elsewhere (Exodus 15:11; Psalm 89:6; Daniel 11:36), refers to pagan gods — the existence of whom Scripture accepts apologetically (i.e., for the sake of argument), as a matter of course (see Genesis 31:19; 35:2; Exodus 23:32, Numbers 33:4, Deuteronomy 6:14, Joshua 24:16; Ruth 1:15; etc.). The word “sons” in this expression does not denote descendancy, but rather — as the term “son(s)” is also commonly used in Hebrew — to denote association or characterization, the reference being here to anything (i.e., idols, supposed living embodiments or representatives, conceptions) associated with or characterized by pagan deity. — Wechsler, pages 89-90
A perfect specimen of Hebrew poetry, giving a magnificent description of a thunderstorm, marching from north to south of Palestine. We hear first the low distant muttering of thunder. The “many waters” may refer to the Mediterranean, from which the storm arose. Coming nearer, the tempest breaks on Lebanon and Sirion, the Sidonian name for Hermon; the cedars of which sway to and fro before the wild fury of the storm. And each thunder peal is accompanied by the zig-zag of lightning. The storm passes southwards to the desert Kadesh, and to the rock-hewn cities of Petra. The very beasts are stricken with terror, and the forests are stripped of their leafy dress, so that their ground and floor is discovered. — Meyer, page 40.
flood (v.10) — The Hebrew word for “flood” occurs twelve times in the Bible — eleven times in Genesis and once in this Psalm. The argument of the verse is that even the Flood — nature’s mightiest convulsion — was controlled by this mightier Power; and that that is the mighty God who gives His own strength and His own peace to His people (v.11) — Williams, page 319.
David concludes by affirming God’s glory and sovereign power as manifest even before the Exodus at the Flood, the first historical event of divine deliverance and judgment. The fact that the Lord sat (i.e., exercised full authority and control) at that event, which was worldwide in scope, leaves no doubt that it is He who has sat as king over all human affairs ever since then, and that He will continue to sit over all Creation as King forever. As such, He is certainly able to control all mattes relating to the welfare of His people, ultimately and fulfilling all that He promised them by blessing His people — both the remnant of ethnic Israel and those joined to them by faith — with peace (literally signifying ‘completeness” in every sense, both physically/circumstantially and spiritually). — Wechsler, page 91.