Psalms 89:25 Commentary

Psa 89:25  I will set his hand on the sea and his right hand on the rivers. 

In Psalms 89:25, God promises to give David control over vast tracks of land. A metaphor is employed. God will set David’s “hand” on the sea and set his “hand” on the river. Idiomatically this means David will have military control over the land between both locations.

Of interest is the use of language in this verse. It is a metaphor, but if the language was used of God it would be called “anthropomorphic”. The metaphor is not inherently about if King David has hands or doesn’t hand hands. King David could have lost his hands in combat and the metaphor still holds.

When using metaphors, about God or man, the language of the metaphor is not automatically false (i.e. God repenting). The language is about the meaning behind the metaphor (i.e. hands being a stand-in for power). To use metaphors (“anthropomorphisms”) to prove or not prove the face value language of the metaphor is besides the point. Language has meaning. The idiomatic meaning is what matters.

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