Psalm 104 – Praise of Creator-God & The Ugaritic Text of the Myth of Baal

1 Bless the LORD, O my soul. O LORD my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honor and majesty.

2 Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain:

3 Who layeth the beams of his chambersin the waters: who maketh the clouds his chariot: who walketh upon the wings of the wind:

4 Who maketh his angels spirits; his ministers a flaming fire:

5Who laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed forever.

6 Thou coveredst it with the deep as with agarment: the waters stood above the mountains.

7 At thy rebuke they fled; at the voice of thy thunder they hasted away.

8 They go up by the mountains; they go down by the valleys unto the place which thou hast founded for them.

9 Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over; that they turn not again to cover the earth.

10 He sendeth the springs into the valleys, which run among the hills.

11 They give drink to every beast of the field: the wild asses quench their thirst.

12 By them shall the fowls of the heaven have their habitation, which sing among the branches.

13 He watereth the hills from his chambers: the earth is satisfied with the fruit of thy works.

14 He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth;

15 And wine that maketh glad the heart of man, and oil to make his face to shine, and bread which strengtheneth man’s heart.

16 The trees of the LORD are full of sap; the cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted;

17 Where the birds make their nests: as for the stork, the fir trees are her house.

18 The high hills are a refuge for the wild goats; and the rocks for the conies.

19 He appointed the moon for seasons: the sun knoweth his going down.

20 Thou makest darkness, and it is night: wherein all the beasts of the forest do creep forth.

21 The young lions roar after their prey, and seek their meat from God.

22 The sun ariseth, they gather themselves together, and lay them down in their dens.

23 Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labor until the evening.

25 So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts.

26 There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein.

27 These wait all upon thee; that thou mayest give them their meat in due season.24 O LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches.

28 That thou givest them they gather: thou openest thine hand, they are filled with good.

29 Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.

30 Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth.

31 The glory of the LORD shall endure forever: the LORD shall rejoice in his works.

32 He looketh on the earth, and it trembleth: he toucheth the hills, and they smoke.

33 I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.

34 My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD.

35 Let the sinners be consumed out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more. Bless thou the LORD, O my soul. Praise ye the LORD.

A thanksgiving to God for His benefits to His people Israel.  Learning how to enjoy God for His creation and all His works.

The Ugaritic Text
of the Myth of Baal
 

Baal was the Lord of the Canaanite religion, seen in the thunderstorms, and worshiped as the god who provided fertility.

Discovered at the site of Ras Shamra (ancient Ugarit), the Myth of Baal is one of the longest literary works of the western Semitic peoples in the second millennium B.C.  It begins with a conflict over kingship between Baal, the storm god, and Yam, the sea god.

Although Baal is victorious in this battle, he is later defeated and killed by Mot, the god of grain and death. After Baal’s sister, Anat, mourns and buries him, she kills Mot in revenge for her brother’s death.  She then grinds up his body and sows it as seed.

Subsequently, Baal and Mot come back to life and vie for power once again, with the result that Mot eventually capitulates to Baal.  The incident with Yam is interpreted as Baal’s victory over the sea, while the struggle between Baal and Mot is equate4d to the fertility cycle, with Baal seasonally “disappearing” from earth.

Ugaritic tablet describing the conflict between Baal and Mot (Death).

Psalm 104, a creation psalm, uses some of the imagery known from the Myth of Baal.  The Lord ’s power over the sea in creation is described (v 6).  While Baal is the “cloud-rider,” the Lord “makes the clouds his chariot” (v 3). Unlike Baal, however, the Lord is neither killed nor needs help in making the earth produce food (v 13).

The attribution of aspects of Baal to the Lord, along with demonstration of his superiority to Baal, served to exalt and praise the Lord as the true King and God of creation in an environment in which the temptation to worship Baal was rampant.