Psalm 104:2-3

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BibleOld TestamentPsalms

Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain:
Who layeth the beams of his chambers in the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind:
Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire:


    wrapped in light as with a garment.
You stretch out the heavens like a tent,
    you set the beams of your[a] chambers on the waters,
you make the clouds your[b] chariot,
    you ride on the wings of the wind,

[a] Heb his
[b] Heb his
New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

God riding on the wings of the wind

See The Cloud Rider.

The Tablet of Shamash

Ancient depictions exist of the beams of God's heavenly palace founded on the waters above the firmament. A famous example is this depiction of the Babylonian sun god Shamash, enthroned above the heavenly waters. The “beams” that support his throne room are clearly depicted. — Bruce

← prev. . . . references relevant to the waters above the firmament and/or below the earth . . . next →

Literal Reading

Figures of speech in these verses make nonsense of any attempt at literal reading:

  • wearing light: a metaphor
  • as a garment: simile
  • stretching out the heavens like a tent: simile — see list at Unfurling the Heavens
  • making the clouds his chariot: a metaphor
  • riding on the wings of the wind: a metaphor
(setting the beams of the heavenly palace on the waters is at least picturesque language, but similar things were believed literally in the Ancient Near East. See the four beams, end on, in the waters underneath the enthroned sun god Shamash and his attendants, in the stele linked above.)

This passage is cited Comment on Creation/EC/TE - Bible implications#lit|here (but with v.3 left out) as "accepting" events of early Genesis "as literally true". See listing here. Similarly the AACE's document "Bible Teaching on Creation" cites other verses from this psalm but overlooks these verses.

[Edit March 2023: It seems that literal readers find it easier to ignore this scripture than to take it seriously. This wiki is in good company.]
← prev. . . . references said to "accept" a literal Genesis . . . next →

Problem with the King James Version

Readings of the King James translation of this psalm that see it as inspired commentary on the creation account of Genesis are unaware, apparently, that the verbs ending in -est and -eth are in the present tense.