April 21, 2016

Tom Lowe




Title: Things Touching the King

(To the chief Musician, a Psalm and Song of David.)


Theme: Songs of the Millennium



Psalm 65


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

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

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

4 Blessed 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.

5 By 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:

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

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

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

9 Thou 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.

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

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

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

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




Though the psalm is credited to David, and though there is nothing in its content which is inconsistent with this supposition, yet some commentators insist that some of the expressions in Psalm 65:4 show that the psalm was composed after the temple was erected, and therefore David could not be the author. The argument for this supposition is that the words "courts," "house," and "holy temple," occurring in that verse, is applicable only to the temple. This, however, is not decisive and has been challenged, for all these words may have been used in reference to the tabernacle, or to the tent which David erected on Mount Zion (2 Chronicles 1:4), and where he was accustomed to worship. (See the notes at Psalm 65:4.) If this is so, then there is nothing to rule out the supposition that the psalm was composed by David.  It is known as a restoration psalm—“. . . Heaven must receive him until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets” (Acts 3:21).


The occasion on which it was written is not indicated in the title, and it is impossible now to determine it. It would seem from the psalm itself to have been composed after an abundant and much-needed rain, perhaps after a long drought, when the earth was again refreshed by showers from heaven. The language, however, is of such a general nature that it may have had no particular reference to any recent event in the time of the psalmist, but may have been suggested, like Psalm 104, by a contemplation of the power and the lovingkindness of God as manifested in his providential dealings. It may possibly have been a song composed for some annual occasion, during which the acts of God were read before the people or recited from memory—listing the general reasons which His people had to praise Him. It evidently refers to some public ceremony which included some acts of praise to God performed in His house (Psalm 65:1Psalm 65:4), and would be especially appropriate when His people approached him in an annual event of thanksgiving.


The contents of the psalm are as follows:

1)      The blessedness of praising God or of coming before him in his house with the language of prayer and praise: Psalm 65:1-4.

a)      Praise "waits" for God.

b)      He is the hearer of prayer.

c)      He alone can cleanse the soul from sin.

d)     It is a blessed privilege to be permitted to come before Him, and to dwell in His courts.

2)      The things for which He is to be praised: Psalm 65:5-13.

a)      He is to be praised for the demonstrations of His power, or as the Almighty God; as One who answers the prayers of His people with severe judgments; as One who shows that all may have confidence in Him, on the earth and on the sea; as One who makes the mountains firm, who quiets the noise of the waves, who calms the outcry of the people, who displays the signs of His power everywhere, and makes those that go out to praise Him in the  morning and evening to rejoice: Psalm 65:5-8.

b)      He is to be praised for His lovingkindness (acts of kindness, motivated by love), especially in sending down refreshing rains upon the earth, and causing the grain to spring up, the grass to grow, and the hills to rejoice on every side: Psalm 65:9-13.




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


“Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Sion,” that is, all the arrangements have been made; the people are assembled; their hearts are prepared to praise Thee.  Sion is the same as Zion, and this verse is not speaking about a heavenly Zion.  It is a geographical spot down here on earth.  You may have visited that place in Israel; it is called Mount Zion.  When David speaks of Sion, he means that place. The fact that Zion is mentioned here as the gathering place for those who desire to praise Almighty God would seem to imply that this psalm was composed before the building of the temple, contrary to the opinion of some commentators—as mentioned in the introduction to the psalm—for after the building of the temple the center of worship was moved from Mount Zion, where David had placed the ark and prepared a tent for it (1 Chronicles 15:1; 1 Chronicles 16:1; 2 Chronicles 1:4), to Mount Moriah. It is true that the general name Zion was given informally to Jerusalem as a city, but it is also true that the particular place for the worship of God in the time of David was Mount Zion. See the notes at Psalm 2:6. The Hebrew for this phrase is, "To thee is silence praise," a kind of compound phrase, not meaning "silent praise," but referring to a condition where everything is ready; where the preparations have been completed; where the noise usually associated with preparation for an event has ceased, and all is in readiness as if waiting for the One for which the arrangements had been made. The noise of building—of preparation—was now hushed, and all was calm. The language here would also indicate the state of feeling in an individual or an assembly, when the heart was well-prepared for praise; when it was filled with a deep sense of the majesty and goodness of God; when all feelings of anxiety were calmed down, or were in a state of rest; when the soul was ready to burst forth in expressions of thanksgiving, and nothing would meet its needs but praise for Him—my God and yours.


“To thee is silence praise," doesn’t convey very much.  The New American Standard Bible provides this translation, “There will be silence before Thee, and praise in Zion, O God.” The Hebrew word for “silence” is very similar to the word for “fitting, proper,” so some translate it, “Praise is fitting for You,” that is, “It is fitting that your people praise you.” But silence is also a part of worship, and we must learn to wait quietly before the lord (Psalm 62:1).


“And unto thee shall the vow be performed”—See the notes for Psalm 22:25; Psalm 50:14; Psalm 56:12. The reference here is to the vows or promises which the people had made because of the obvious judgments of God and the proofs of His goodness. They were now ready to carry out those vows through expressions of praise.



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


“O thou that hearest prayer,” or “Who has revealed Yourself as a God hearing prayer.”  Indeed, this is one of the leading characteristics of One whose nature it is to hear prayer. Literally, "Hearer of prayer, to thee shall all flesh come." Nothing that has been applied even to God is more uplifting and beautiful than the title, "Hearer of prayer." Nothing in His attributes is of more interest and importance to man. Nothing indicates his compassion and goodness better; nothing encourages us more in the attempt to overcome our sins, to do good, to save our souls, and to save the souls of others. This world would be dark and dismal, if God did not hear prayer. The prospects of man would be gloomy, inexpressibly gloomy, if he did not have the assurance that God is a prayer-hearing God; if he could not come to God anytime with the assurance that it is His very nature to hear prayer, and that He is always listening for the cries of the guilty, the suffering, the sad, the troubled, the dying.


“Unto thee shall all flesh come,” that is, all people, for the word “flesh” is used here to denote mankind.  By the word “flesh” the Psalmist would call attention to our weakness and need as men (Genesis 9:11, 15; 136:25; Isaiah 40:5), each deficiency on our part pointing us to God.  The needier we are, the greater cause is there for going to God.  And He answers prayer.  There is no description of the kind of prayer which He answers, because the outward expression matters nothing (zilch), if the heart speaks.  And wherever the heart speaks, God hears. The idea is that there is no other resource for man, no other help, no other refuge, but the God that hears prayer. No other being can meet his actual needs; and those needs are to be met only as the result of prayer. All people are permitted to come to God in this way; all have need of His kindness and support; all will most assuredly perish unless, in answer to prayer, He steps in and saves their soul. It is also true that the time will arrive on earth when all flesh—all people—will come to God and worship Him; when, instead of the scattered few who now approach him, all nations, all who dwell on the world’s continents and islands, will worship Him; will look to Him when they’re in trouble; will acknowledge Him as God; will beg for His kindness and support.



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


 “Iniquities prevail against me.”In Hebrew, the psalmist would be referring to words, or iniquities (gross injustice or wickedness). The literal meaning is words; and the idea may be that words spoken in iniquity, or slanderous words spoken by others, prevailed against him. The phrase, however, suggests the interpretation which calls to mind iniquity itself; meaning the matter of iniquity—the thing—iniquity itself—as if that is what overcame him, or got the mastery over him. The psalmist seems to represent the people who approached God, for the psalm refers to the worship of an assembly or a congregation. The idea is that when they came before God in the proper manner; when they had prepared all things for his praise Psalm 65:1; when they approached him in an attitude of prayer, they were so bowed down under a load of transgression—the weight of sin—that it prevented their easy access to His throne. They were so conscious of their own unworthiness; their sin had such an effect on their minds; it made them so dull, cold, and stupid, that they could not find access to the throne of God. How often do the people of God find this to be the case!


“As for our transgressions, thou shalt purge them away,” that is, in reference to these very transgressions or iniquities that now press us down, You will remove them. The language expresses the rising confidence and hope of the worshippers that God would not allow those transgressions to prevail to the extent that they prevent their worshipping God acceptably. Heavy as was the burden of sin they carried, and as much as the consciousness of guilt tended to impede their worship, yet they felt assured that God would remove their transgressions so that they might have access to His mercy-seat. The word translated "purge away" is the word which is commonly translated "to atone for," or which is used to represent the idea of atonement. See the notes at Isaiah 43:3. Here the word has the sense of cleansing or purifying, but in the Scriptures, it always carries with it a reference to that through which the heart is cleansed—the atonement or Divine offering made for sin, which is Christ. The language here expresses the feeling which all may have, and should have, and which very many do have, when they approach God, that, although they are deeply conscious of sin, God will so graciously remove the guilt of sin, and lift off the burden, cleansing the soul by His grace, making it not improper for us to approach Him, and that He will enable us to do it with peace, and joy, and hope. Compare the notes at Psalm 51:2.


Perhaps this verse suggests the annual Day of Atonement that ushered in the Feast of Tabernacles, a harvest festival (Leviticus 17; 23:26-44).



Blessed 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.


“Blessed is the man whom thou choosest,” that is, Happy is the man; or, "Oh, the happiness of the man whom You do thus permit to approach You." As a redeemed people, they express their happiness.  The word “choosest” refers to the fact that true piety regards all such blessings as the result of the divine favor; the fruit of His electing grace and love. Compare the notes at Ephesians 1:3-4; 1 Peter 1:2-3.  God hath chosen Christ and all who are one when Him (Ephesians 1:4).  And because He chooses us, we approach God with confidence, with the spirit of true worshippers, with the spirit of His children, only as He inclines us to Him, and calls us to partake of his favor (lovingkindness). Compare John 6:44.


Before we approach the Lord, we must confess our sins and trust Him for forgiveness (1 John 1:9, and see Psalm 15 and Isaiah 6).  The priests were chosen by God to serve in the sanctuary (Numbers 16:5), but God wanted all of His “chosen people” to live like priests (Exodus 19:3-8; Deuteronomy 7:6-11; Psalm 33:12). Believers today are “a kingdom of priests (1 Peter 2:9-10; Revelation 1:5-6), chosen by the Lord, offering Him their praise and worship.  We have all these blessings only because of the grace of God; He chose us (John 15:16).  God has chosen to forgive us (v. 3).  And if such forgiveness comes about by God’s choice, then it cannot come about through the strivings or merit of man; it is simply and magnificently a gift of God (Ephesians 2: 8-9).


“And causest to approach unto thee,” that is, so that he may worship Thee. The idea is found here in the word "causest," meaning that it is only by a divine influence that people are led to worship God. The cause—the real reason—why any man worships his Maker at all, is to be found in God Himself. This idea is reasonably implied in the form of the word as it is used in the Hebrew.

“That he may dwell in thy courts,” that is, either temporarily for the purpose of worship; or permanently, so that he may serve Thee in the sanctuary. See Psalm 23:6, and Psalm 27:4, notes. Compare Psalm 15:1. The word "courts" refers to the area around the tabernacle or the temple, and not to the tabernacle or temple itself. The worship of the people was offered in those courts, and not in the tabernacle or temple. (Matthew 21:12.)


“We shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house.”  Our souls will find what they need; what they long for (Psalm 36:8). It is the nature of religion to satisfy the mind; that is, the soul finds in religion what meets its needs, for true religion leaves no necessity of its nature unsupplied. It may be added that nothing else will do this but religion. The word "house" denotes a place where God dwells, and it might be applied to the temple, as it often is in the Scriptures (compare Isaiah 2:3; Isaiah 56:7; Matthew 21:13; Mark 11:17; Luke 19: John 2:16; etc.); or to the tabernacle, before the temple was built. (Psalm 42:4; Matthew 12:4; Judges 18:31; Judges 20:18, Judges 20:26, Judges 20:31) The reference here is to the tabernacle or tent which David had set up on Mount Zion, and where the worship of God was celebrated before the temple was built.


"Even of thy holy temple." The word "temple" is most commonly applied in the Scriptures to the structure which Solomon built for the worship of God; and it is on this basis that the Word is usually applied. It was mentioned in 65:1 that some commentators and others have argued that this psalm could not have been written by David, but that it was composed after the temple was built. But the word rendered "temple" is of such a general nature that it may be applied to any house erected for the worship of God. It is not infrequently applied to the tabernacle. See the notes at Psalm 5:7. This psalm, therefore, may have been composed while the tabernacle was standing, and before the temple was built, and hence, may have been composed by David, as the title indicates.



5 By 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:


“By terrible things in righteousness wilt thou answer us,” that is, by things capable of inspiring us and all people with awe, or with a deep sense of Thy majesty, Thy power, and Thy glory. The answer to their prayers would be such as would deeply impress their minds and hearts. God's judgments on His foes, and the manner in which He manifests His lovingkindness to His people, would be sure to impress the mind with a deep sense of His own greatness. Yet all this would be done in righteousness; in decreeing a just sentence on the wicked; in direct intervention in favor of the righteous. Perhaps God had disciplined His people by sending drought and famine (Leviticus 26:3-6) and allowing other nations to threaten Israel. The judgments of God on guilty people have always been such as would keep the world in awe; such as were adapted to impress mankind with a sense of his own majesty and glory.


God performed “awesome deeds” for Israel (47:2-4), and the sea gave witness to the pagan nations around them that Jehovah alone is the true and living God and the Lord of all nations (Romans 9:17, Joshua 2:1-14; Acts 14:15-17; 17:26-28; Amos 1-2 and 9:7).  He chose Israel to be a light to the Gentiles (Isaiah 42:6; 49:6), and this was ultimately fulfilled in the coming of Christ to the world (Luke 2:32; Acts 13:47).


“O God of our salvation”—the God on whom our salvation and our safety depends.


“Who art the confidence of all the ends of the earth,” that is, of all parts of the earth, the word "ends" being used on the supposition that the earth is a plain having appropriate limits. This allusion, which we now know is wrong, is often found in the Scriptures, the sacred writers speaking, as all men do, as things appear to be. Thus all philosophers, as well as other people, speak of the sun as rising and setting, which is, in itself, no more accurate than it is to speak of the earth as if it had limits or boundaries. The word “confidence” as used here means that God is the source of trust, or, that all proper reliance, by all people, in all parts of the earth and on the sea, must be in Him; that is, that there is no other on whom people can properly rely. It does not mean that all people actually place such confidence in Him, which would not be true—but that he is the only true source of confidence.


“And of them that are afar off upon the sea,” that is, of all men on sea and land. The seaman has no other source of security amidst the dangers of the deep than God. (Psalm 107:23-30.) The language does not mean that all mariners actually do put their trust in God, but that they cannot confide in the winds and the waves—in the strength of their vessel—or their own power or skill in managing it—but that the true and only basis for trust is God.



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


“Which by his strength setteth fast the mountains,” that is, putting them firmly in place on their foundations. This is an exhibition of limitless strength or power on the part of God, as if He attached them so firmly that they could not be moved—as if he handled with ease those vast masses of matter, with all their rocks and forests—and caused them to rest steadily and serenely on their foundations. We have few more glorious perceptions of the power of God than to imagine Him lifting with ease an immense mountain, and then setting it down where he pleases, and anchoring it so firmly that it cannot be moved.


“Being girded with power,” that is, “the mountains,” seemed to be enclosed with or wrapped-up in power, like a man who rolls-up his sleeves and braces himself before he attempts some great feat of strength.



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


“Which stilleth the noise of the seas.” He calms the seas after they have been agitated by the storm. He causes the mighty waves to settle down, and the whole surface of the ocean becomes calm and smooth. The storm subsides at His command, and the sea is still. It was the manifestation of this power which demonstrated so clearly the divinity of the Lord Jesus, when he said to the troubled waves, "Peace, be still, and the wind ceased, and there was a great calm." (Mark 4:39). Compare Psalm 107:29.


“The noise of their waves,” that is, He quiets the loud roar of the waters, so that they are calm and smooth.


“And the tumult of the people;” the raging, the fury, the excitement of assembled multitudes, which resembles the raging waves of the ocean. This comparison is very common. (See Isaiah 17:12-13; and Compare the notes at Revelation 19:6.) This is perhaps a more striking and wonderful exhibition of the power of God than was the calming down of the waves of the ocean. In the one case, it is the application of Divine power on nature, acting through its established laws, and where there is no resistance of will; in the other, it is power exerted over the will; power over people that are conscious that they are free, and where the worst passions meet and mingle and rage.



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


“They also that dwell in the utter-most parts,” that is, those who live in the remotest regions; far from civilized countries; far from those places where people are taught concerning the causes of the events which occur, and the teachings and character of the great God who performs these wonders. The idea is that even they can see enough of the evidences of the divine presence and power in nature to fill their minds with awe. In other words, evidences of the Divine existence and might are present in all lands. There is enough to fill the minds of people with awe, and to make them believers in the Great God. It is never the case that there isn’t enough information about Him, it is that people just don’t care to look for it.


“Are afraid,” that is, the thunder, the storm, the tempest, the earthquake, the eclipse of the sun or the moon, fill the minds of heathen nations with terror.


“At thy tokens,” or signs, that is, the signs which really indicate the existence, the presence, and the power of God.


“Thou makest the outgoings.” The word correctly translated “outgoings” means a going forth or moving on, like the rising of the sun (Psalm 19:7); hence, there is a place of going forth, or from which anything goes forth, like a gate or door (Ezekiel 42:11), or fountains from which water emerges and flows away (Isaiah 41:18); and hence, the east, where the sun seems to come forth from his hiding-place. The idea here is that the morning seems to come forth, or that the rays of light stream out from the east; and, in like manner, the fading light of the evening—the twilight—seems to come from the west.


“Of the morning and evening to rejoice.” The allusion is to the east and the west. The sun in his rising and his setting seems to rejoice; that is, he appears happy, bright, and cheerful. This is a poetic expression indicating exultation and joy.  “The morning and evening” may mean dwellers in East and West; or the mercies which characterize dawn and eve, and which leads us to new songs and joys.


Day and night, God’s creation witnesses to the nations and they are without excuse (19:1-6; Romans 1:18-25; 10:14-18).  Jesus Christ is the only hope of this world.  The “roaring seas” are a symbol of the nations in tumult and confusion (Isaiah 17:12-13; 60:5; Daniel 7:2-3; Revelation 13:1; 17:15).  From the east to the west (sunrise to sunset), His name will be a reverenced.  What a missionary text!  The nations of the earth need to know the Gospel of Jesus Christ so they can sing songs of joy to the Lord.



9 Thou 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.


“Thou visitest the earth.” God seems to come down to earth, so that he may attend to the needs of the earth, survey the condition of things, arrange for the welfare of the world which he has made, and supply the needs of those whom he has created to dwell upon it. See the notes at Psalm 8:4.  The psalm opened in the tiny land of Israel (God’s grace) and moved from there to the nations of the earth (God’s government).  Now the entire universe comes into the picture, for the Creator of the universe provides the sunshine and rain in their times and seasons so that people can plow the earth, plant seeds, and eventually harvest food.  (Genesis 8:20-9:17).


“And waterest it.” The meaning here, it would seem, is that He drenched the earth, or caused the water to run abundantly. The reference is to a bountiful rain after a drought.


“Thou greatly enrichest it,” that is, You give to it abundantly; You pour water upon it in such quantities, and in such a manner that it is made rich and able to produce abundantly.


“With the river of God,” a river so abundant and full that it seems to come directly from God; it is just what we would expect to flow from a Being infinite in resources and in generosity. Anything that is great in the Scriptures is often described as belonging to God, or his name is added to it to denote its greatness. Thus, hills of God means lofty hills; cedars of God means very tall cedars, etc.


“Which is full of water”; the waters are so abundant that it seems as if they must come from God.


“Thou preparest them corn”—grain—You give to those who cultivate the earth an abundant harvest.


“When thou hast so provided for it,” or rather, when You have prepared the earth by sending down abundant rains upon it. God prepares the earth to produce an abundant harvest, and then he gives that harvest to the people who live there. The preparation of the earth for the harvest, and the giving-away of the harvest, is both from him. The harvest would not be possible without the earlier rain, and neither the rain nor the harvest could happen without God. He does not create a harvest with a miracle, but follows the order which he has himself ordained, because He respects His own laws.


The emphasis is on God’s goodness and generosity to His people.  The rains came in abundance; the rivers and streams overflow; the harvest is plenteous; the grain wagons are full; and the grain spills into the wagon ruts.  Why?  Because God covenanted to care for the land of Israel and visit it with His blessing, if His people honored and obeyed Him (Deuteronomy 11:8-15; Leviticus 26:3-5).



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


“Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly,” or rather, its furrows, for that is what the Hebrew word that is translated “ridges” means (Job 31:38; Job 39:10). The allusion is to the furrows made by the plow, which are filled with water from the rains.


“Thou settlest the furrows thereof,” or rather, You beat down the ridges made by the plow. Literally, thou makest them to descend. That is, the rain—falling on them—beats them down, so that the ground becomes level.


“Thou makest it soft with showers,” or rather, the idea is, to soften, to loosen, to make the soil light and open. All farmers know that this is necessary, and that it cannot be done without water.  The early rains usually began in late October, softening the hard soil and enabling the farmers to plow the ground and sow their seed.


“Thou blessest the springing thereof ,” or, what springs from it; the vegetation, vegetables, fruit, etc. You bless it by causing it to grow luxuriously, thus producing an abundant harvest.



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


“Thou crownest the year with thy goodness,” that is, the year of thy goodness. The Hebrew is literally the year of thy goodness, meaning a year made remarkable by the manifestation of thy kindness; or a year of abundant harvests. But the Hebrew will accept other interpretations; one being that God crowns or adorns the year with His goodness; another being that the harvests, the fruits, the flowers of the year are, as it were, a crown set on the head of the year. The Septuagint renders it, "Thou wilt bless the crown of the year of thy goodness." DeWette renders it, "Thou crownest the year with thy blessing." Luther, "Thou crownest the year with good." Generally speaking, the most probable meaning is that expressed in our most common version of God’s Word, which refers to the beauty of the fields and the abundant harvests of the year as if they were a crown on its head. The seasons are often personified, and the year is represented here as a beautiful female, perhaps walking down the aisle with a crown on her head. There is yet another interpretation of the phrase, “Thou crownest the year with thy goodness.” The phrase suggests a harvest festival in October, the first month of Israel’s civil year (The religious calendar opened with Passover; Exodus 12:2.).


This blessing was promised all during the year and year after year, even during the Sabbatical years when the people didn’t cultivate the land (Leviticus 25:1-22).


“And thy paths drop fatness,” that is, fertility; or, fertility accompanies You wherever You go. The word rendered "drop," means to let fall gently, as the rain or the dew falls to the earth; and the idea is, that wherever God goes, marching through the earth, fertility, beauty, and abundance seems to fall gently along His path. God, in the advancing seasons, passes along through the earth, and rich abundance springs up wherever He goes.



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


“They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness”—the waste places, or the wasted parts of the land (deserts, swamps, etc.); the uncultivated places, the places of rocks and sand. The word wilderness in the Scriptures does not mean, as it does with us, a tract of country covered with trees, but a place of barren rocks or sands - an uncultivated or thinly inhabited region. See the notes at Matthew 3:1; at Isaiah 35:1. In those wastelands (wilderness), however, there would be valleys in which to grow grain, or places watered by springs and streams that would afford pastures for flocks and herds. Such are the "pastures of the wilderness" referred to here. God's passing along those valleys would seem to "drop" fertility and beauty, causing grass and flowers to spring up in abundance, and clothing them with lushness.


“And the little hills rejoice on every side,” that is, joyful, happy scenes surround them; or, they seem to be full of joy and happiness. The valleys and the hills alike seem to be made glad. The following remarks from one who traveled through the Middle East will help to explain this passage. "Another peculiarity of the desert is that, though the soil is sandy, it rarely consists, for successive days together, of mere sand; it is interspersed, at frequent intervals, with clumps of coarse grass and low shrubs, affording very good pasturage, not only for camels, the proper tenants of the desert, but for sheep and goats. The people of the villages on the borders of the desert are accustomed to lead forth their flocks to the pastures found there. We frequently passed on our way shepherds so employed; and it was interesting to observe as a verification of what is implied in the Saviour's statement in Matthew 25:33, that the sheep and goats were not kept distinct, but intermixed with one another. The shepherds not only frequent the parts of the desert near their places of abode, but go often to a considerable distance from them; they remain absent for weeks and months, only changing their station from time to time, as their needs in respect to water and herbage may require. The incident related of Moses shows that the pastoral habits of the people were the same in his day: ‘Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law, the priest of Midian; and he led the flock to the further part of the desert, even to Horeb’ (Exodus 3:1). It is of the desert in this sense, as supplying to some extent the means of pasturage, that the prophet Joel speaks in Joel 1:19 and Joel 2:22. The psalmist also says (Psalm 65:12-13), with the same reference:

Thou crownest the year with thy goodness,

And thy paths drop fatness;

They drop fatness on the pastures of the wilderness.”



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


“The pastures are clothed with flocks.” The flocks stand so thick together, and are spread so far, that they seem to be clothing for the pasture; or, the fields are entirely covered with them.


“The valleys also are covered over with corn,” or rather, with grain. That is, the parts of the land—the fertile valleys—which are devoted to farming. They are covered over, or clothed with waving grain, as the pasture-fields are with flocks.


“They shout for joy, they also sing.” They seem to be full of joy and happiness. What a beautiful image we have here! How well it expresses the loveliness of nature; how appropriately does it describe the goodness of God! Everything seems to be happy; to be full of song; and all this is to be traced to the goodness of God, since it all serves to express that goodness.  This is a beautiful picture of the Millennium, when the desert blossoms like the rose and the earth at last is at peace.  Strange that there should be an atheist in such a world as this; strange that there would be an unhappy man; strange that amidst such beauty, while all nature joins in rejoicing and praise—pastures, cultivated fields, valleys, hills—there can be found a human being who, instead of uniting in the language of joy, makes himself miserable by attempting to cherish the feeling that God is not good!