Psalm 104 Correlated with the Great Hymn to the Aten[1]

1 Bless Yahweh, o my soul!
     Yahweh, my God, you are very great.
     You are clothed with honor and majesty;

2 Wrapping yourself with light as with a garment.
      Stretching out the sky like a curtain;
3 Laying his upper chamber in the waters.
     Making the clouds his chariot;
     Walking on the wings of the wind.
4 Making the winds his messengers;
     His servants are fire and flame.

5 He founded the earth on its pillars;
     It will never, ever, be moved.
6 You covered ith with the Deep like a garment;
     The waters stood above the mountains.
7 At your rebuke they fled;
     At the sound of your thunder they hastened away.
8 They climbed to the mountains, descended into the valleys,
     To the place you had founded for them.
9 You set a boundary they could never cross over,
     Nor could they return to cover the earth.

10 You are the one dispatching springs into the streams;
     They pass between the mountains.[2]
11 There all the animals of the field drink;
     Wild asses slake their thirst.
12 By streams the birds of the sky live;[3]
     Amid the foliage they give forth their voice.
13 You are the one watering the mountains from his upper chamber;
     By the fruit of your deeds the earth is satisfied.

14 You are the one making grass sprout for the cattle;[4]
     Vegetation for people to cultivate,
     in order to bring forth bread from the earth,
15 And wine which makes human hearts glad,
     helping human faces to gleam with oil.
     He sustains human hearts with bread.
16 The trees of Yahweh are satisfied;
     The cedars of Lebanon which he planted,
17 Where the birds make their nests,
     Storks, whose home is the firs.
18 The high mountains are for the ibexes;
     The rocks offer a refuge for coneys.
19 You are the one making the moon for the seasons;
     while the sun knows its time for setting.
20 You make darkness and then comes night;
     In it all the animals of the forest prowl.[5]
21 The young lions are roaring for prey;
     and to seek their food from God.
22 When the sun rises,[6] they are all taken away;
     they slink off to their lairs.
23 Then humans go out to their work,
     and to their service until evening.[7]

24 How manifold are yours works, Yahweh;[8]
    All of them you made in wisdom;
    The world is full of your creatures.
25 There is the sea, great and broad;
     Therein are creeping things without number,
     Animals both small great.[9]
26 There goes the ships,[10]
       and Leviathan you formed to play in the sea.

27 All of them look to you
     to give them their food at the appropriate time.[11]
28 You give it to them, they harvest it;
    You open your hand, they are satisfied with good things.
29 If you hide your face, they are completely disoriented;
     You call in their breath and they die;
     they return to their dust.
30 You send out your breath, they are created;
     You renew the surface of the earth.[12]

31 Let the glory of Yahweh last forever;
     Let Yahweh rejoice in his works.
32 He looks at the earth and it quakes;
     He touches the mountains and they smoke.
33 I will sing to Yahweh as long as I live.
    I will chant to my God as long as I exist.
34 Let my musing be pleasant to him;
     I will rejoice in Yahweh.
35 Let sinners be wiped off from the earth;
     Let the wicked exist no longer.
     Bless Yahweh, O my soul!

© 2008 Ralph W. Klein


[1]Translated by Miria Lichtheim in Context of Scripture 1:44-46. Leslie C. Allen, WBC 21, 41, however, notes the following: K.-H. Bernhardt...contrasted the evil association of night in the Aten him with its positive value in the psalm, the role of the sun as subject of creation in the Egyptian text and object in the Hebrew one…A. Barucq…stressed two other types of difference, the material in the Aten hymn that is missing, such as Aten’s care for the embryos of the baby in the womb and of the chick in the egg, and the different order in which the comparable material is found in the two texts.

[2] You made a heavenly Hapy [Nile] descend from them; he makes waves on the mountains like the sea.

[3] Birds fly from their nests, their wings greeting your ka.

[4] All beasts browse on their herbs; trees, herbs are spouting.

[5] When you set in western lightland, Earth is in darkness as if in death….Every lion comes from its den.

[6] Earth brightens when you dawn in lightland, when you shine as Aten of daytime.

[7] The Two Lands are in festivity. Awake they stand on their feet….The entire land sets out to work.

[8] How many are your deeds…O sole God beside whom there is none!

[9] Your rays are the midst the sea….The fish in the river dart before you.

[10] Ships fare north, fare south as well.

[11] You supply their needs; everyone has his food.

[12] When you have dawned they live, when you set they die.