Psalms 8:8 – The Paths of the Sea

By Wayne Jackson

In Psalm 8, David extols the glory of Jehovah, and he marvels that God has been so mindful of man as to place the creation under his dominion. The context stresses man’s responsibility over the earth.

In discussing some of earth’s creatures, of which man is in charge, the writer mentions “whatsoever passes through the paths of the seas” (Psalms 8:8). This expression is interesting because the phrase contains a precise fact about the seas that David, whose experience was limited to a tiny country on the Mediterranean coast, could never have known from firsthand information.

It was not until the mid-nineteenth century that the connection was made regarding currents (literally “paths”) in the sea and the statement from the Psalms a thousand years before Christ. In 1860, a pioneer in oceanography, Matthew Fontaine Maury, called attention to the fact that the ocean was a circulating system. His book on physical oceanography is still a highly regarded source of information on this science.

Consider, for example, the Gulf Stream. The Gulf Stream flows from the east coast of North America toward Europe. It is about 50 miles wide and 3,000 feet deep. Its rate of flow, measured in volume per second, is about 1,000 times greater than the Mississippi River. Many ocean vessels “ride” this current in order to save valuable shipping time.

Underline the expression “paths of the sea” in Psalm 8, and in your margin write: Confirmed by Matthew Maury in 1860. God’s word is accurate!

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About the Author

Wayne Jackson has written for and edited the Christian Courier since its inception in 1965. He has also written several books on a variety of biblical topics including The Bible and Science, Creation, Evolution, and the Age of the Earth, The Bible on Trial, and a number of commentaries. He lives in Stockton, California with his dear wife, and life-long partner, Betty.