Psalm 144:5

Bow Your heavens, O LORD, and come down; Touch the mountains, that they may smoke.

What are these moutains and why do they smoke?

According to the RCC


The Catholic New American Bible says that Psalm 144:5-7 is adapted in large part from Psalm 18:10, 15, 17; 104:32. Parallel passages:

Psalm 144:5-7: LORD, incline your heavens and come; touch the mountains and make them smoke. Flash forth lightning and scatter my foes; shoot your arrows and rout them. Reach out your hand from on high; deliver me from the many waters; rescue me from the hands of foreign foes.

Psalm 18:10: He parted the heavens and came down, a dark cloud under his feet.
Psalm 18:15: He let fly his arrows and scattered them; shot his lightning bolts and dispersed them.
Psalm 18:17: He reached down from on high and seized me; drew me out of the deep waters. Psalm 104:32: If God glares at the earth, it trembles; if God touches the mountains, they smoke!

We can see that the mountains in Psalm 104 are figurative, to portray the absolute power of God. No doubt the psalmist was aware of volcanoes and attributed the eruptions to the fury of God. And so in Psalm 144, the mountains are not particular mountains but, once again, figurative. The psalmist want God to cause awe and fear in the minds of his enemies.

  • "" volcanoes and attributed the eruptions to the fury of God" sounds right
    – Aigle
    Jan 19 '17 at 13:19

The Catholic Study Bible (Oxford Press) says that Psalm 144:3-7 is a:

humble acknowledgement of man's nothingness and a supplication that God show forth His saving might.

And also that Psalm 144 is like a "best of" psalm composed of other verses.

But, if you read a few books earlier in Job. God is talking about all the other great and mighty things He did to the Earth before you or I were around to witness. This is not so different!

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