Psalm 33:6-9

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BibleOld TestamentPsalms


By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.
He gathereth the waters of the sea together as an heap: he layeth up the depth in storehouses.
Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him.
For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.


He heaps up the ocean waters like a mound, stores the deep in vaults.


He piles up the water of the sea; he puts the oceans[a] in storehouses.

[a] tn Or "watery depths." The form תְּהוֹמוֹת (téhomot, "watery depths") is the plural form of תְּהוֹם (téhom, "great deep"; see Gen 1:2). [Gunkel identified language from ANE creation myth here. — BP]

A Creation Record

See The Primal Sea.

This psalm alludes to Genesis chapter 1. Verse 6 of this psalm refers to both the second day (the creation of the firmament) and the fourth day (the great lights and stars put in the firmament) in Genesis, while verse 7 refers to the first part of the third day.

← back to Yahweh's victory over the Primal Sea A tour of the Bible's Creation Texts next →

Fiat Creation

Verse 9 of this psalm is sometimes used out of context as a proof text of an "instantaneous" creation, but a cursory reading shows that the psalm celebrates the on-going goodness of the LORD as both Creator and Sustainer, celebrating his relationship with those who "fear him, upon them that hope in his mercy"(v. 18) — in verse 7, note the present tense (gathereth, layeth KJV, piles, puts JPS, NET)! The psalm mentions the works of God as portrayed in at least three days in the week of Genesis 1; it does not add to the meaning of Genesis, or entitle us to impose a particular meaning of instantaneity on Genesis. See F. F. Bruce, Word and Wisdom.

Logic that has a comical result if applied to Psalm 68:11! — BP

See also Psalm 33:13-15 and Created, Formed and Made.

Problems with literal reading

The claim is made here that the psalm "accepts" events of early Genesis "as literally true". A truly literal reading is impossible, however, as with Psalm 8:3-6. The psalm is poetry, and its language is poetical. The host (army) of heaven itself is a metaphor; God speaking with the breath of his mouth is metaphorical anthropomorphism.

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