Psalms 104:14 MEANING

Psalm 104:14
(14) For the service of man--i.e., for his use (so Gesenius). But some deny this meaning to the Hebrew, which properly means "labour" or "office." (In 1 Chronicles 27:26; Nehemiah 10:37, it means "agriculture," "tillage.") Hence they render, "And herbs for man's labour in bringing them forth from the earth," alluding to his task of cultivating the soil. Standing by itself the clause would indeed naturally require this sense, but the parallelism is against it, and in 1 Chronicles 26:30, "service of a king," we have a near approach to the meaning "use."

That he may.--Better, bringing food out of the earth, taking the verb as gerund instead of infinitive absolute.

Verse 14. - He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle. The results of God's careful arrangements are now spoken cf. In the first place, grass - fodder of every kind - is provided for the beasts on which man's life so greatly depends - a boon both to man and beast, of inestimable value. Next, there is brought forth herb for the service of man - i.e. for his direct service - vegetables and fruits for his food; spicy shrubs for his delectation; flax, papyrus, saffron, aloes, etc., for his use. That he may bring forth food out of the earth. That man himself may by his labour, by the cultivation of the natural products, obtain from the earth the food suitable to him.

104:10-18 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?He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle,.... By means of rain falling upon the tender herb, and upon the mown grass, whereby provision of food is made for those creatures that live upon grass.

And herb for the service of man: some herbs being for physic for him, and others for food, and all more or less for his use. Herbs were the original food of man, Genesis 1:29 and still a dinner of herbs, where love is, is better than a stalled ox, and hatred therewith, Proverbs 15:17. Some render it, "and herb at the tillage of man" (o): grass grows of itself for the use of the cattle; but the herb, as wheat and the like, which is for the use of man, is caused to grow when man has taken some pains with the earth, and has tilled and manured it: but the former sense seems best.

That he may bring forth food out of the earth; either that man may do it by his tillage; or rather that the Lord may do it, by sending rain, and causing the grass and herbs to grow. However, man's food, as well as the food of beasts, comes out of the earth, as he himself does, and to which he must return.

(o) "ad culturam", Cocceius, some in Vatablus, and Michaelis; so Gussetius, p. 572.

Courtesy of Open Bible