Psalm 148 talks of the sun, moon, heavens, stars, and more giving praise to G.

How can we understand this concept of inanimate objects praising G?

3 Answers 3


They weren't believed to be innanimate.

See MT (Yesodei hatorah 3:9): כָּל הַכּוֹכָבִים וְהַגַּלְגַּלִּים כֻּלָּן בַּעֲלֵי נֶפֶשׁ וְדֵעָה וְהַשְׂכֵּל הֵם. וְהֵם חַיִּים וְעוֹמְדִים וּמַכִּירִין אֶת מִי שֶׁאָמַר וְהָיָה הָעוֹלָם. כָּל אֶחָד וְאֶחָד לְפִי גָּדְלוֹ וּלְפִי מַעֲלָתוֹ מְשַׁבְּחִים וּמְפָאֲרִים לְיוֹצְרָם כְּמוֹ הַמַּלְאָכִים. וּכְשֵׁם שֶׁמַּכִּירִין הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא כָּךְ מַכִּירִין אֶת עַצְמָן וּמַכִּירִין אֶת הַמַּלְאָכִים שֶׁלְּמַעְלָה מֵהֶן. וְדַעַת הַכּוֹכָבִים וְהַגַּלְגַּלִּים מְעוּטָה מִדַּעַת הַמַּלְאָכִים וּגְדוֹלָה מִדַּעַת בְּנֵי אָדָם.


The Radaq has a similar question about 148:7 which states:

הללו את ה' מן הארץ תנינים וכל תהמות

Praise the LORD from the earth, ye sea-monsters (tannin), and all deeps

He writes:

והם אינם בני דעה? רוצה לומר , שבני אדם יהללוהו מנפלאות האל , שרואים בהם ומשכילים בהם.

But they are not intelligent [i.e. as humans, and therefore cannot praise God]? That is to say, that humans praise the wonders of God when they observe them and they are thereby enlightened by them.

Though some medieval exegetes perhaps took the praise of celestial entities literally (as a function of the physics/metaphysics of their time), we can still apply the Radaq's methodology to this question. When we observe the various aspects of celestial creation and the profound wisdom of their governing systems, we don't just see the moon and say "meh, just a dumb rock stuck in orbit" - rather we turn in awe to our Creator. And in that way, the sun, the moon, the stars, etc. sing the praises of God.


I recall hearing something about it being a poetic way of saying that we should look at them, appreciate their greatness and appreciate how infinitely greater the Creator is that He created them. Sorry, I can't remember the source though

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