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65. Psalm 65

Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Sion: and unto thee shall the vow be performed.

2O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come.

3Iniquities prevail against me: as for our transgressions, thou shalt purge them away.

4Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thy holy temple.

5By terrible things in righteousness wilt thou answer us, O God of our salvation; who art the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of them that are afar off upon the sea:

6Which by his strength setteth fast the mountains; being girded with power:

7Which stilleth the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves, and the tumult of the people.

8They also that dwell in the uttermost parts are afraid at thy tokens: thou makest the outgoings of the morning and evening to rejoice.

9Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water: thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it.

10Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly: thou settlest the furrows thereof: thou makest it soft with showers: thou blessest the springing thereof.

11Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy paths drop fatness.

12They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness: and the little hills rejoice on every side.

13The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing.

11 Thou crownest the year with thy goodness 461461     This, say some, was probably the year which followed the three years of famine, after Absalom’s rebellion. Some read — Thou crownest the year of thy goodness; as if the Psalmist meant that the fertile year had a peculiar glory attached to it, and were crowned, so to speak, by God. Thus, if there was a more abundant crop or vintage than usual, this would be the crown of the year. And it must be granted that God does not bless every year alike. Still there is none but what is crowned with some measure of excellency; and for that reason it would seem best to retain the simpler rendering of the words, and view them as meaning that the Divine goodness is apparent in the annual returns of the season. The Psalmist further explains what he intended, when he adds, that the paths of God dropped fatness, — using this as a metaphorical term for the clouds, upon which God rideth, as upon chariots, as we read in Psalm 104:3 462462     Some have imagined that instead of paths we should render cloud; but the former reading is more poetical. The original word מעגלך, paths, is derived from עגל, round, circular, smooth, because paths are made by cart-wheels turning round upon them. Accordingly, Horsley renders it, “thy chariot-wheels,” and French and Skinner, “the tracts of thy chariot-wheels.” God is here represented as driving round the earth, and from the clouds the paths of his chariot everywhere scattering blessings upon mankind. This is an instance of the bold and sublime imagery for which the Hebrew poetry is so remarkably distinguished. God is elsewhere described as riding on the clouds during a storm of rain or thunder, Psalm 18:9, 10, 11. Some read, “thy orbits,” and understand all the circling seasons of the year, as ruled by the courses of the heavenly bodies. The earth derives its fruitfulness from the sap or moisture; this comes from the rain, and the rain from the clouds. With a singular gracefulness of expression, these are therefore represented as dropping fatness, and this because they are the paths or vehicles of God; as if he had said, that, wherever the Deity walked there flowed down from his feet fruits in endless variety and abundance. He amplifies this goodness of God, by adding, that his fatness drops even upon the wilder and more uncultivated districts. The wilderness is not to be taken here for the absolute waste where nothing grows, but for such places as are not so well cultivated, where there are few inhabitants, and where, notwithstanding, the Divine goodness is even more illustrated than elsewhere in dropping down fatness upon the tops of the mountains. 463463     “By desert or wilderness,” observes Dr Shaw, “the reader is not always to understand a country altogether barren and unfruitful, but such only as is rarely or never sown or cultivated; which, though it yields no crops of corn or fruit, yet affords herbage, more or less, for the grazing of cattle, with fountains or rills of water, though more sparingly interspersed than in other places.” Notice is next taken of the valleys and level grounds, to show that there is no part of the earth overlooked by God, and that the riches of his liberality extend over all the world. The variety of its manifestation is commended when it is added, that the valleys and lower grounds are clothed with flocks, 464464     The phrase, “the pastures are clothed with flocks,” cannot be regarded as the vulgar language of poetry. It appears peculiarly beautiful and appropriate, when we consider the numerous flocks which whitened the plains of Syria and Canaan. In the Eastern countries, sheep are much more prolific than with us, and they derive their name from their great fruitfulness; bringing forth, as they are said to do, “thousands and ten thousands in their streets,” Psalm 144:13. They, therefore, formed no mean part of the wealth of the East. as well as with corn. He represents inanimate things as rejoicing, which may be said of them in a certain sense, as when we speak of the fields smiling, when they refresh our eye with their beauty. It may seem strange, that he should first tell us, that they shout for joy, and then add the feebler expression, that they sing; interposing, too, the intensative particle, אף, aph, they shout for joy, yea, they also sing The verb, however, admits of being taken in the future tense, they shall sing, and this denotes a continuation of joy, that they would rejoice, not only one year, but through the endless succession of the seasons. I may add, what is well known, that in Hebrew the order of expression is frequently inverted in this way.


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