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Psalm 65

Thanksgiving for Earth’s Bounty

To the leader. A Psalm of David. A Song.


Praise is due to you,

O God, in Zion;

and to you shall vows be performed,


O you who answer prayer!

To you all flesh shall come.


When deeds of iniquity overwhelm us,

you forgive our transgressions.


Happy are those whom you choose and bring near

to live in your courts.

We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house,

your holy temple.



By awesome deeds you answer us with deliverance,

O God of our salvation;

you are the hope of all the ends of the earth

and of the farthest seas.


By your strength you established the mountains;

you are girded with might.


You silence the roaring of the seas,

the roaring of their waves,

the tumult of the peoples.


Those who live at earth’s farthest bounds are awed by your signs;

you make the gateways of the morning and the evening shout for joy.



You visit the earth and water it,

you greatly enrich it;

the river of God is full of water;

you provide the people with grain,

for so you have prepared it.


You water its furrows abundantly,

settling its ridges,

softening it with showers,

and blessing its growth.


You crown the year with your bounty;

your wagon tracks overflow with richness.


The pastures of the wilderness overflow,

the hills gird themselves with joy,


the meadows clothe themselves with flocks,

the valleys deck themselves with grain,

they shout and sing together for joy.

9. Thou hast visited the earth, and watered it This and the verbs which follow denote action continually going forward, and may therefore be rendered in the present tense. The exact meaning of the second verb in the sentence has been disputed. Some derive it from the verb שוק, shuk, signifying to desire; and giving this meaning, that God visits the earth after it has been made dry and thirsty by long drought. 456456     This is the sense preferred by Aben Ezra and Kimchi. Thou hast visited in mercy; i.e., blessed the earth or land, after thou hast made it dry or thirsty; thou hast or dost enrich it greatly; i.e., thou, the same God, who hast punished and made thirsty dost again return in mercy, enriching the land and restoring plenty to it. Thus it was after the three years’ famine recorded in 2 Samuel 21:1. But the Septuagint, Arabic, Chaldee, and Syriac versions, interpret the word in the sense of watering. Others derive it from the verb שקה, shakah, signifying to give drink. This seems the most natural interpretation — Thou visitest the earth by watering it. It suits the connection better, for it follows, thou plentifully enrichest it, an expression obviously added by way of amplification. Whether the Psalmist speaks of Judea only, or of the world at large, is a point as to which different opinions may be held. I am disposed myself to think, that although what he says applies to the earth generally, he refers more particularly to Judea, as the former part of the psalm has been occupied with recounting the kindness of God to his own Church and people more especially. This view is confirmed by what is added, the stream or river of God is full of water Some take the river of God to mean a great or mighty river, 457457     Some think reference is made to the overflowing of the Jordan after a long drought. but such a rendering is harsh and overstrained, and on that supposition, rivers, in the plural number, would have been the form of expression used. I consider that he singles out the small rivulet of Siloah, 458458     This river ran through Jerusalem, the city of God. Bishop Hare, following Simeon de Muis, is of opinion that this river is meant. and sets it in opposition to the natural rivers which enrich other countries, intending an allusion to the word of Moses, (Deuteronomy 11:10,) that the land which the Lord their God should give unto his people would not be as the land of Egypt, fertilized by the overflowings of the Nile, but a land drinking water of the rain of heaven. Or we may suppose that he calls the rain itself metaphorically the river of God 459459     “The stream of God, i e., copious rain, according to the Oriental idiom.” — Dr Geddes. See p. 7, note 1, of this volume. And without supposing this Hebraism, the treasures of water which descend from the clouds may, with great poetical beauty, be termed the river of God He collects them there by the wonderful process of evaporation, and he pours them down. They are entirely in his hand, and absolutely beyond the control of man. “The keys of the clouds,” say the Jews, “are peculiarly kept in God’s hand, as the keys of life and resurrection.” He can employ them as the instruments of his mercy, by pouring down from them upon the earth copious and refreshing showers, to promote vegetation and produce fruitful seasons; and he can also make them when he pleases the instruments of judgment, either by bottling them up, or by pouring from them floods of rain, as in the deluge, and when the harvest is made a heap in the day of grief and desperate sorrow, Isaiah 17:11. Horsley, instead of פלג, peleg, in the singular, proposes to read פלגות, pelagoth, in the plural, and translates, “God is he who filleth the rivulets with water.” “The word פלג,” says he, “as remarked by “Archbishop Secker, is very rarely used as a noun in the singular number. Mr Bates, indeed, takes it to be a noun in Psalm 55:9; but his interpretation of that text is very doubtful. In the plural it never signifies large rivers, but small brooks and rivulets. We have the authority of the Syriac for reading it in the plural.” The words must, at any rate, be restricted to Judea, as by the pastures or dwellings of the wilderness, we are also to understand the more dry and uncultivated districts, called in Scripture “the hill country.” But while it is the kindness of God to his own people which is here more particularly celebrated as being better known, we are bound, in whatever part of the world we live, to acknowledge the riches of the Divine goodness seen in the earth’s fertility and increase. It is not of itself that it brings forth such an inexhaustible variety of fruits, but only in so far as it has been fitted by God for producing the food of man. Accordingly, there is a propriety and force in the form of expression used by the Psalmist when he adds, that corn is provided for man, because the earth has been so prepared by God; 460460     In the Septuagint the last clause reads, “Οτι οὕτῶς ἡ ἑτοιμασία,” “For thus is the preparation;” that is, the earth was thus prepared. In the Syriac it is, “When thou didst found or establish it;” and in the Chaldee, “Seeing thou hast so founded it.” which means, that the reason of that abundance with which the earth teems, is its having been expressly formed by God in his fatherly care of the great household of mankind, to supply the wants of his children.

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