Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Psalms 104:17

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Where the birds make their nests - צפרים tsipporim signifies swallows, sparrows, and small birds in general; here opposed to the חסידה chasidah or stork. Perhaps the heron may be understood, which is said to be the first of all birds to build her nest, and she builds it on the very highest trees. The general meaning is, that God has provided shelter and support for the greatest and smallest birds; they are all objects of his providential regard.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Where the birds make their nests - Furnishing a home for the birds where they may breed their young. In Psalm 104:12, the birds are introduced as singing among the foliage of trees and shrubs by the water-courses; here they are introduced as having their home in the lofty cedars in places which God had made for them. The word rendered “birds” here is the word which in Psalm 84:3 is translated “sparrow,” and which is commonly used to denote “small birds.” Compare Leviticus 14:4 (margin), and Leviticus 14:5-7, Leviticus 14:49-53. It is used, however, to denote birds of any kind. See Genesis 7:14; Psalm 8:8; Psalm 11:1; Psalm 148:10.

As for the stork - See the notes at Job 39:13.

The fir trees are her house - Her retreat; her abode. The stork here is used to represent the larger class of birds. The meaning is, that they build their nests among the fir-trees or cypresses. See the notes at Isaiah 14:8; notes at Isaiah 41:19. So Milton says:

“The eagle and the stork

On cliffs and cedar-tops their eyries build.”

They build their nests, however, not only on fir and pine trees, but on houses and castles. Dr. Thomson (“Land and the Book,” vol. i. p. 504), says of them, “These singular birds do not breed in Syria, but pass over it to Asia Minor, and into Northwestern Europe, where they not only build in fir and pine trees upon the mountains, but also enter cities and villages, and make their nests on houses, castles, and minarets.”

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
When we reflect upon the provision made for all creatures, we should also notice the natural worship they render to God. Yet man, forgetful ungrateful man, enjoys the largest measure of his Creator's kindness. the earth, varying in different lands. Nor let us forget spiritual blessings; the fruitfulness of the church through grace, the bread of everlasting life, the cup of salvation, and the oil of gladness. Does God provide for the inferior creatures, and will he not be a refuge to his people?
Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, 273-5

Not even a sparrow falls to the ground without the Father's notice. Satan's hatred against God leads him to delight in destroying even the dumb creatures. It is only through God's protecting care that the birds are preserved to gladden us with their songs of joy. But He does not forget even the sparrows. “Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:31. 8T 273.1

“Bless Jehovah, O my soul.
O Jehovah my God, Thou art very great;
Thou art clothed with honor and majesty:
Who coverest Thyself with light as with a garment;
Who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain;
Who layeth the beams of His chambers in the waters;
Who maketh the clouds His chariot;
Who walketh upon the wings of the wind;
Who maketh winds His messengers;
Flames of fire His ministers;
8T 273.2

“Who laid the foundations of the earth,
That it should not be moved forever.
Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a vesture;
The waters stood above the mountains.
At Thy rebuke they fled;
At the voice of Thy thunder they hasted away
(The mountains rose, the valleys sank down)
Unto the place which Thou hadst founded for them.
Thou hast set a bound that they may not pass over;
That they turn not again to cover the earth.
8T 273.3

Read in context »