New Defender's Study Bible Notes
29:1 mighty. “Mighty” is the Hebrew bene elim, “sons of the mighty,” practically equivalent to bene elohim, “sons of God” (Genesis 6:4; Job 38:7). David’s vision is where the angelic host is assembled in the heavenly sanctuary (i.e., “the beauty of holiness”—Psalm 29:2), just before God unleashes on the earth the judgment of the great Flood. This interpretation is certified by use of the Hebrew mabbul for “flood” in Psalm 29:10, a word otherwise used only in Genesis 6–9 and only for the great Flood. The exhortation to the heavenly host is occasioned by God’s victory over the rebellious men and angels by the great Flood itself.
29:3 voice of the LORD. This phrase, “the voice of the LORD” occurs seven times in Psalm 29:3-9. It is interesting that there were also just seven times when God spoke to Noah Genesis 6:13; 7:1; 8:15; 9:1,8, 12,17).
29:3 thundereth. This was the first thunder in earth history, as there was no rain on the earth until the Flood (Genesis 2:5). It is noteworthy that there also are “seven thunders” in the future judgment on the earth (Revelation 10:3,4).
29:3 many waters. “Many waters”—surely an apt description of the onset of the great Flood.
29:5 cedars of Lebanon. As David apparently is viewing the actions of a great storm blowing inland from the Mediterranean, he seems to be translated in the Spirit back in time to that greatest of all storms, the Genesis flood itself. The luxuriant forests of the antediluvian world are seen being broken and uprooted by the rushing waters, and the only way he can describe it is to visualize the mighty cedar forests of Lebanon being torn up and carried down in great floating mats of vegetation (these would eventually become the fossil forests and coal beds in the great depths of sediment also being translated and deposited by the torrential waters).
29:6 skip like a calf. While the rains were pouring down from the skies, the fountains of the great deep were also being cleaved open (see Genesis 7:11). This necessarily caused tremendous earth movements, which to David appeared as though the greatest mountains he had seen (that is, Lebanon and Sirion—same as Mount Hermon) would be skipping like a young bull.
29:7 divideth. The Hebrew for “divideth” means “digs out.” The mighty earthquakes open great rifts in the denuded lands, and flaming magmas emerge from the depths to form vast volcanic rock formations all over the earth.
29:8 shaketh. The word for “shaketh” is the same as “travaileth.” The terrible wilderness, reminding David only of the forbidding wilderness of Kadesh, left around the world by the retreating flood waters (the waters themselves rush off into new ocean basins—see notes on Psalm 104:6-9), begins to shake like a woman in travail, as the earth prepares to bring forth new plant life to its surface.
29:9 discovereth the forests. The last “voice of the LORD” speaks to renew the world’s animal and plant life, after the great destruction. “Calve” and “shaketh” (Psalm 29:8) are the same word, and “discovereth” means “draws out.”
29:9 speak of his glory. That is, after the purifying judgment of the Flood, the heavenly host of angels all cry: “Glory!”
29:10 sitteth upon the flood. Seven different other Hebrew words are translated “flood,” but this is the only place outside the flood story (Genesis 6–9) where mabbul is used, referring to the great Flood. The Lord emerged fully victorious over the Satanic host at the Flood, sitting as King forever. God’s voice alone wrought the victory. He did not even have to rise from His throne.