What does Psalms 29 mean?
Chapter Commentary:
This psalm begins with an appeal from David: for the angels to speak of the Lord's glory and strength. He tells these spiritual beings to give God the glory He deserves and to worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness (Psalm 29:1–2).

David then draws attention to the Lord's power, speaking often of "the voice of the LORD." God's voice is not simply His speech or how He communicates. When God speaks, He wills something to be (Genesis 1:1–3; Psalm 33:6). When David speaks of the power of God's voice, he refers to the omnipotent power held by the Creator. This passage may have been inspired by powerful storms coming into Israel from the Mediterranean Sea. In that sense, God's voice shatters trees, moves mountains, shakes deserts, and strips forests bare (Psalm 29:3–9). Those in the temple—possibly meaning the angels in heaven (Psalm 11:4)—shout out God's glory.

In all these things, God is sovereign. Even over the greatest of all natural disasters—the flood of Noah (Genesis 7:4)—God was seated on His throne. The psalm closes as David asks for strength. In this context, that likely means courage and conviction (Hebrews 10:23), maintaining faith by relying on God's power instead of our own (Psalm 29:10–11).
Verse Context:
Psalm 29:1–2 call on angels to credit God for his glory and power. Three times David uses a word translated "ascribe" to direct the angels. In response to all that the Lord stands for, these spiritual beings should worship Him in the splendor of holiness. These two verses are an apt introduction. What follows is the psalmist's description of the Lord's power and sovereign control of nature.
Psalm 29:3–9 uses the phrase "the voice of the LORD" seven times. Each time, the designation precedes an example of God's power over nature. God's speech represents His will: that which He commands to happen will always happen. These examples offer a strong reason to associate God with glory and to give Him worship. Psalm 8 also expresses wonder at God's creative power.
Psalm 29:10–11 is the closing section of David's proclamation. He lifts up the Lord as King forever and prays the King will strengthen and bless His people with peace. This is a fitting conclusion to a psalm that extols the Lord's omnipotent power over nature. The eternal King, who is strong enough to control nature, is strong enough to empower and calm His people.
Chapter Summary:
David depicts the power of God's will—referred to as His "voice"—using imagery from thunderstorms and earthquakes. He calls on heaven to praise God. The Lord's voice has the power to shatter great trees, uproot mountains, shake deserts, strip forests, and strike terror into all living things. None of these events are mere change, but God is control of them all. David asks God to provide confidence and strength to Israel as they remember His omnipotent power.
Chapter Context:
This psalm of David magnifies the Lord's attribute of omnipotence. David draws pictures from nature to illustrate God's power. The psalm parallels Psalm 8 in its revelation of God through nature. Based on the imagery, David may have witnessed a potent thunderstorm moving from the Mediterranean Sea across the region. The theme of trust in God, thanks to His demonstrated power, is common in Scripture (Hebrews 11).
Book Summary:
The book of Psalms is composed of individual songs, hymns, or poems, each of which is a ''Psalm'' in and of itself. These works contain a wide variety of themes. Some Psalms focus on praising and worshipping God. Others cry out in anguish over the pain of life. Still other Psalms look forward to the coming of the Messiah. While some Psalms are related, each has its own historical and biblical context.
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