Posted by: davidlarkin | January 7, 2022

Exuberant Personification in Psalm 114

skipping lamb

“The mountains skipped like rams, the hills like lambs.”

Psalm 114, my Psalm for today, January 7, 2022. Eight verses celebrating God’s omnipotence and love for his people, with “Exuberant Personification!”

When Israel went out from Egypt,
the house of Jacob from a people of strange language,
Judah became his sanctuary,
Israel his dominion.
The sea looked and fled;
Jordan turned back.
The mountains skipped like rams,
the hills like lambs.
What ails you, O sea, that you flee?
O Jordan, that you turn back?
O mountains, that you skip like rams?
O hills, like lambs?
Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord,
at the presence of the God of Jacob,
who turns the rock into a pool of water,
the flint into a spring of water.

Psalm 114 (English Standard Version)

“A hymn of praise which celebrates the special status of God’s people, the house of Jacob that went out from Egypt [with Moses]. The Lord is the one whom all nature obeys, and even trembles before, and yet He has chosen little Israel to be his own, and He exerts his power on their behalf. The psalm mentions the exodus from Egypt, the covenant at Sinai that made Israel to be God’s “dominion,” the crossing of the Jordan River under Joshua’s leadership, and God’s provision for his people as they traveled through the wilderness. When the believing congregation sings this, they are better able to accept their current circumstances under God’s governance as well. The psalm uses exuberant personification, describing the Red Sea and the Jordan River as if they fled from God, the mountains skipping like lambs, and the earth trembling at God’s presence. The imagery conveys how powerful the Lord is: even the strongest natural forces would not dream of resisting him. However, the events of the Psalm are not simply displays of his raw power: God used his power for the sake of his people.
—  Explanatory Note to Psalm 114 in the English Standard Version Study Bible. For the past 13 years, I have used the Large Print version, in Leather, which costs about $100, though there is a less expensive hardbound version.


Responses

  1. Love the image. It brings that psalm to vivid life. Thank you Yahweh.


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