Psalm 89:1-26 – You Rule the Raging of the Sea

We will take up the first half of this rather long psalm today through verse 26. It is a community lament that many scholars attribute to the time after the fall of Jerusalem and the capture of king Jehoiachin. There is nothing in the text that this blogger can see to really confirm that, and a time that late for the writing of the entire psalm seems somewhat problematic. Adam Clarke suggested that a better translation would have been that it was for “the instruction of Ethan the Ezrahite.” So, the writer certainly could have adapted an earlier song of Ethan’s for this psalm.


English: The Harlot of Jericho and the Two Spi...

English: The Harlot of Jericho and the Two Spies, c. 1896-1902, by James Jacques Joseph Tissot (French, 1836-1902) or follower, gouache on board, 9 1/16 x 6 5/8 in. (23.1 x 16.9 cm), at the Jewish Museum, New York (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


We have stated before that the superscriptions at some of the Bible’s headings are not of the inspired word, and in many cases their application can be considered dubious. Still, those of a factual, rather than an interpretative nature have proven to be pretty reliable over time. In this superscription, the “maskil” is stated to be of “Ethan the Ezrahite.” He was probably a musician for corporate worship, and is probably the same one that is mentioned in 1 Chronicles 2:5-6, and certainly the same as mentioned in 1 Kings 4:29-31, where it was said of Solomon that he was wiser than Ethan the Ezrahite. Pretty impressive to have your wisdom compared to that of Solomon.


The chapter begins with praise for the steadfast love and faithfulness of the Lord to His people and to the promises He made to David (verses 1-4). Verses 5-13 are beautiful poetry offering praise to the mighty power of God over all things. “Rahab” in verse 10 does not refer to the woman who helped the Israelite spies in Joshua 2. It is a term that is ascribed to Egypt (and to monsters of the sea); and if one substitutes the work Egypt for Rahab in that verse, it makes sense.


Verses 14-18 praise God for being the strength and glory of His people. Verses 18-26 exalt God for choosing David, giving him strength and might over his enemies, and making the point that just as God had said that David was a man after His own heart, David would be faithful to the Lord, as shown in verse 26 below. It is very much a celebration of the throne and the line of David. But as we will see when we pick the chapter back up, there is more. Of David, it refers to God as saying (very much in the manner in which David wrote):


He shall cry to me, ‘You are my Father,
my God, and the Rock of my salvation.’


Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.


/Bob’s boy




some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers


Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at  



One comment on “Psalm 89:1-26 – You Rule the Raging of the Sea

  1. Pingback: My strength, my song, my salvation | daily meditation

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