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Psalm 29:9

ESV The voice of the LORD makes the deer give birth and strips the forests bare, and in his temple all cry, “Glory!”
NIV The voice of the LORD twists the oaks and strips the forests bare. And in his temple all cry, 'Glory!'
NASB The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth And strips the forests bare; And in His temple everything says, 'Glory!'
CSB The voice of the Lord makes the deer give birth and strips the woodlands bare. In his temple all cry, "Glory! "
NLT The voice of the Lord twists mighty oaks and strips the forests bare. In his Temple everyone shouts, 'Glory!'
KJV The voice of the LORD maketh the hinds to calve, and discovereth the forests: and in his temple doth every one speak of his glory.

What does Psalm 29:9 mean?

God's power and glory are being described using terms referring to thunderstorms and earthquakes (Psalm 29:3–8). God's will is represented by His voice (Genesis 1:1–3; Psalm 33:6). His voice has the power to shatter great trees, uproot mountains, and shake deserts.

Here, David implies the fear that God's unlimited power can cause: a terror that would cause premature labor in deer. Pet owners know how terrified of thunder and lightning their pets may be. Young children—even some adults—dread a storm's thunder and lightning. Under a tornado warning, many adults seek shelter in closets or basements.

Some scholars note that the Hebrew phrase used here, often interpreted as deer going into premature labor, can also be pronounced in a way that implies "making the oaks to shake." That would dovetail with the next phrase, where David continues the storm imagery, speaking of forests being stripped bare. A strong wind may take some leaves from trees, but only a tremendous blast would rip every leaf from a forest. The terminology used here, in fact, echoes Joel 1:7, which suggests trees having their bark blasted from the trunk.

As the storm David describes caused fear and defoliation, those who watch give praise. The reference to the temple may mean the heavenly "temple" of God (Psalm 11:4; Revelation 11:19), where the angels are. The cry of "Glory!'" follows David's earlier plea for heaven to praise God (Psalm 29:1–2). Angels rejoiced in God's creative power and artistry. Job 38:7 states: "The morning stars [angels] sang together and all the sons of God [angels] shouted for joy." First Timothy 3:16 points out that angels observed Jesus' life and ministry. Believers today can follow the example of the angels mentioned in this psalm by giving glory to God for His wonderful works.
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