The boat in the middle of the sea (Mt 14:24-14:24)

“But by this time,

The boat,

Battered by the waves,

Was far from the land.

The wind

Was against them.”

 

τὸ δὲ πλοῖον ἤδη σταδίους πολλοὺς ἀπὸ τῆς γῆς ἀπεῖχεν, βασανιζόμενον ὑπὸ τῶν κυμάτων, ἦν γὰρ ἐναντίος ὁ ἄνεμος.

 

This incident about the disciples in the boat at sea can be found in Mark, chapter 6:47, and John, chapter 6:18-19.  By this time, instead of the disciples waiting near shore, their boat was far from the land, many “stadiums” “σταδίους” from the shoreland (τὸ δὲ πλοῖον ἤδη σταδίους πολλοὺς ἀπὸ τῆς γῆς).  A stadium was about 1/8 of a mile based on the race tracks in the Roman arenas.  The waves tossed the boat (ἀπεῖχεν βασανιζόμενον ὑπὸ τῶν κυμάτων) and the wind was against them (ἦν γὰρ ἐναντίος ὁ ἄνεμος).  In other words, they were in a little trouble.

The stormy boat ride (Mt 8:24-8:24)

“A windstorm arose

On the sea.

Thus,

The boat

Was being swamped

By the waves.

But Jesus was asleep.”

 

καὶ ἰδοὺ σεισμὸς μέγας ἐγένετο ἐν τῇ θαλάσσῃ, ὥστε τὸ πλοῖον καλύπτεσθαι ὑπὸ τῶν κυμάτων· αὐτὸς δὲ ἐκάθευδεν.

 

This stormy boat ride episode can be found in Mark, chapter 4:37-38, and Luke, chapter 8:23, somewhat the same as here.  A great severe storm, almost like an earthquake, arouse (καὶ ἰδοὺ σεισμὸς μέγας ἐγένετο), while they were at sea (ἐν τῇ θαλάσσῃ).  Their boat was being enveloped or swamped with surging waves (ὥστε τὸ πλοῖον καλύπτεσθαι ὑπὸ τῶν κυμάτων).  However, Jesus was asleep (αὐτὸς δὲ ἐκάθευδεν), while this storm was hitting their boat.

Jonah was in the sea (Jon 2:2-2:3)

“Jonah said.

‘I called

To Yahweh,

Out of my distress.

He answered me.

Out of the belly

Of Sheol,

I cried.

You heard

My voice.

You cast me

Into the deep,

Into the heart

Of the seas.

The flood

Surrounded me.

All your waves

Passed over me.

All your billows

Passed over me.’”

Jonah said that he called out to Yahweh when he was distressed. The good thing was that Yahweh responded to Jonah. Thus, Jonah cried out from the belly of Sheol, the shadowy afterlife. Once again, Yahweh heard his voice. Jonah had been cast into the deep sea surrounded by water. As the waves were all around him, he nearly drowned.

The stubborn rebellious heart (Jer 5:22-5:25)

“‘Do you not fear me?’

Says Yahweh.

‘Do you not tremble before me?

I placed the sand

As a boundary for the sea.

This is a perpetual barrier

That it cannot pass.

Though the waves toss,

They cannot prevail.

Though they roar,

They cannot pass over it.

But these people have a stubborn heart.

They have a rebellious heart.

They have turned aside.

They have gone away.

They do not say in their hearts.

‘Let us fear Yahweh our God.

He gives the rain in its season.

He gives the autumn rain.

He gives the spring rain.

He keeps for us

The weeks appointed for the harvest.’

Your iniquities have turned these away.

Your sins have deprived you of good.”

Why don’t they fear Yahweh? Why don’t they tremble before him? Yahweh has placed sand as a perpetual barrier against the sea so that the sea cannot pass over it. Even though the waves toss and roar, they still were not able to prevail and pass over the sand. They have a stubborn and rebellious heart. They have turned away and gone astray. They do not fear Yahweh their God. Yahweh gives the perfect rain for every season with autumn and spring rains. Yet they have sunshine for the harvest time. Yahweh, via Jeremiah reminds them that their iniquities have turned them away from him. Their sins have deprived them of the good things in life.

Yahweh helped those at sea (Ps 107:23-107:32)

“Some went down to the sea in ships.

He did business on the mighty waters.

They saw the deeds of Yahweh.

They saw his wondrous works in the deep.

He commanded.

He raised the stormy wind.

He lifted up the waves of the sea.

They mounted up to heaven.

They went down to the depths.

Their courage melted away in their calamity.

They reeled.

They staggered like drunkards.

They were at their wits’ end.

Then they cried to Yahweh in their trouble.

He brought them out from their distress.

He made the storm be still.

The waves of the sea were hushed.

Then they were glad

Because they had quiet.

He brought them to their desired haven.

Let them thank Yahweh

For his steadfast love!

Let them thank Yahweh

For his wonderful works to humankind!

Let them extol him

In the congregation of the people.

Let them praise him

In the assembly of the elders.”

This is the case where those who were seafarers saw the great deeds of Yahweh.   Yahweh commanded the storms. He commanded the waves to go high and low so that their ships often reeled like drunken sailors. However, when they cried to Yahweh, he heard them in their distress. Yahweh stilled the storms and urged the waves to be quiet. Then like in the preceding verses, they had to give thanks for Yahweh’s steadfast love and wonderful works. They also had to praise him among the people and the elders.

Majestic Yahweh (Ps 93:3-93:4)

“The floods have lifted up!

Yahweh!

The floods have lifted up their voice.

The floods have lifted up their roaring.

More majestic

Than the thunders of many waters,

More majestic

Than the waves of the sea,

Majestic on high is Yahweh!”

The chaotic flood waters have lifted up their roaring voice. However, more majestic than the thundering waters and the waves of the sea is the majesty of Yahweh.

At the doorstep of death (Ps 88:3-88:7)

“My soul is full of troubles.

My life draws near to Sheol.

I am counted

Among those who go down to the Pit.

I am like

Those who have no strength.

I am like

Those forsaken among the dead.

I am like

Those slain that lie in the grave.

I am like

Those whom you remember no more.

Thus they are cut off from your hand.

You have put me

In the depths of the Pit.

You have put me

In the regions dark and deep.

Your wrath lies heavy upon me.

You overwhelm me with all your waves.”

Selah

This psalmist is in bad shape, near death. He was full of troubles. He was counted as dead already. He was like a dead man with no one to help him. He was like a forsaken dead person that nobody cared about. No one remembered him. He sounds a little like Job. He was cut off from the hand of God as if he were already in the deepest pit in some dark area. God’s wrath had come upon him as he was overwhelmed with the waves. This section ends with the musical interlude meditative pause of Selah.