Keil and Delitzsch OT Commentary
Thanksgiving Song for Victory and Blessings Bestowed
In this Psalm, the placing of which immediatley after the preceding is at once explicable by reason of the ויּיראוּ so prominent in both (Psalm 64:10; Psalm 65:9), we come upon the same intermingling of the natural and the historical as in Psalm 8:1-9; Psalm 19:1-14; Psalm 29:1-11. The congregation gathered around the sanctuary on Zion praises its God, by whose mercy its imperilled position in relation to other nations has been rescued, and by whose goodness it again finds itself at peace, surrounded by fields rich in promise. In addition to the blessing which it has received in the bounties of nature, it does not lose sight of the answer to prayer which it has experienced in its relation to the world of nations. His rule in human history and His rule in nature are, to the church, reflected the one in the other. In the latter, as in the former, it sees the almighty and bountiful hand of Him who answers prayer and expiates sins, and through judgment opens up a way for His love. The deliverance which it has experienced redounds to the acknowledgment of the God of its salvation among the most distant peoples; the beneficial results of Jahve's interposition in the events transpiring in the world extend temporally as well as spiritually far beyond the bounds of Israel; it is therefore apparently the relief of Israel and of the peoples in general from the oppression of some worldly power that is referred to. The spring of the third year spoken of in Isaiah 37:30, when to Judah the overthrow of Assyria was a thing of the past, and they again had the fields ripening for the harvest before their eyes, offers the most appropriate historical basis for the twofold purport of the Psalm. The inscription, To the Precentor, a Psalm, by David, a song (cf. Psalm 75:1; Psalm 76:1), does not mislead us in this matter. For even we regard it as uncritical to assign to David all the Psalms bearing the inscription לדוד. The Psalm in many MSS (Complutensian, Vulgate), beside the words Εἰς τὸ τέλος ψαλμός τῷ Δαυίδ ᾠδὴ, has the addition ᾠδὴ Ἱιερεμίου καὶ Ἰεζεκιὴλ, (ἐκ) τοῦ λαοῦ τῆς παροικίας ὄτε ἔμελλον ἐκπορεύεσθαι. At the head of the following Psalm it might have some meaning - here, however, it has none.
To the chief Musician, A Psalm and Song of David. Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Sion: and unto thee shall the vow be performed.The praise of God on account of the mercy with which He rules out of Zion. The lxx renders σοὶ πρέπει ὕμνος, but דּומיּה, tibi par est, h. e. convenit laus (Ewald), is not a usage of the language (cf. Psalm 33:1; Jeremiah 10:7). דּמיּה signifies, according to Psalm 22:3, silence, and as an ethical notion, resignation, Psalm 62:2. According to the position of the words it looks like the subject, and תּהלּה like the predicate. The accents at least (Illuj, Shalsheleth) assume the relationship of the one word to the other to be that of predicate and subject; consequently it is not: To Thee belongeth resignation, praise (Hengstenberg), but: To Thee is resignation praise, i.e., resignation is (given or presented) to Thee as praise. Hitzig obtains the same meaning by an alteration of the text: לך דמיה תהלּל; but opposed to this is the fact that הלּל ל is not found anywhere in the Psalter, but only in the writings of the chronicler. And since it is clear that the words לך תהלה belong together (Psalm 40:4), the poet had no need to fear any ambiguity when he inserted dmyh between them as that which is given to God as praise in Zion. What is intended is that submission or resignation to God which gives up its cause to God and allows Him to act on its behalf, renouncing all impatient meddling and interference (Exodus 14:14). The second member of the sentence affirms that this praise of pious resignation does not remain unanswered. Just as God in Zion is praised by prayer which resigns our own will silently to His, so also to Him are vows paid when He fulfils such prayer. That the answers to prayer are evidently thought of in connection with this, we see from Psalm 65:3, where God is addressed as the "Hearer or Answerer of prayer." To Him as being the Hearer and Answerer of prayer all flesh comes, and in fact, as עדיך implies (cf. Isaiah 45:24), without finding help anywhere else, it clear a way for itself until it gets to Him; i.e., men, absolutely dependent, impotent in themselves and helpless, both collectively and individually (those only excepted who are determined to perish or despair), flee to Him as their final refuge and help. Before all else it is the prayer for the forgiveness of sin which He graciously answers. The perfect in Psalm 65:4 is followed by the future in Psalm 65:4. The former, in accordance with the sense, forms a hypothetical protasis: granted that the instances of faults have been too powerful for me, i.e., (cf. Genesis 4:13) an intolerable burden to me, our transgressions are expiated by Thee (who alone canst and also art willing to do it). דּברי is not less significant than in Psalm 35:20; Psalm 105:27; Psalm 145:5, cf. 1 Samuel 10:2; 2 Samuel 11:18.: it separates the general fact into its separate instances and circumstances. How blessed therefore is the lot of that man whom (supply אשׁר) God chooses and brings near, i.e., removes into His vicinity, that he may inhabit His courts (future with the force of a clause expressing a purpose, as e.g., in Job 30:28, which see), i.e., that there, where He sits enthroned and reveals Himself, he may have his true home and be as if at home (vid., Psalm 15:1)! The congregation gathered around Zion is esteemed worthy of this distinction among the nations of the earth; it therefore encourages itself in the blessed consciousness of this its privilege flowing from free grace (בחר), to enjoy in full draughts (שּבע with בּ as in Psalm 103:5) the abundant goodness or blessing (טוּב) of God's house, of the holy (ἅγιον) of His temple, i.e., of His holy temple (קדשׁ as in Psalm 46:5, cf. Isaiah 57:15). For for all that God's grace offers us we can give Him no better thanks than to hunger and thirst after it, and satisfy our poor soul therewith.
O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come.
Iniquities prevail against me: as for our transgressions, thou shalt purge them away.
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.
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:The praise of God on account of the lovingkindness which Israel as a people among the peoples has experienced. The future תּעננוּ confesses, as a present, a fact of experience that still holds good in all times to come. נוראות might, according to Psalm 20:7, as in Psalm 139:14, be an accusative of the more exact definition; but why not, according to 1 Samuel 20:10; Job 9:3, a second accusative under the government of the verb? God answers the prayer of His people superabundantly. He replies to it גוראות, terrible deeds, viz., בּצדק, by a rule which stringently executes the will of His righteousness (vid., on Jeremiah 42:6); in this instance against the oppressors of His people, so that henceforth everywhere upon earth He is a ground of confidence to all those who are oppressed. "The sea (ים construct state, as is frequently the case, with the retention of the ) of the distant ones" is that of the regions lying afar off (cf. Psalm 56:1). Venema observes, Significatur, Deum esse certissimum praesidium, sive agnoscatur ab hominibus et ei fidatur, sive non (therefore similar to γνόντες, Romans 1:21; Psychol. S. 347; tr. p. 408). But according tot he connection and the subjective colouring the idea seems to have, מבטח וגו is to be understood of the believing acknowledgment which the God of Israel attains among all mankind by reason of His judicial and redemptive self-attestation (cf. Isaiah 33:13; 2 Chronicles 32:22.). In the natural world and among men He proves Himself to be the Being girded with power to whom everything must yield. He it is who setteth fast the mountains (cf. Jeremiah 10:12) and stilleth the raging of the ocean. In connection with the giant mountains the poet may have had even the worldly powers (vid., Isaiah 41:15) in his mind; in connection with the seas he gives expression to this allegorical conjunction of thoughts. The roaring of the billows and the wild tumult of the nations as a mass in the empire of the world, both are stilled by the threatening of the God of Israel (Isaiah 17:12-14). When He shall overthrow the proud empire of the world, whose tyranny the earth has been made to feel far and wide, then will reverential fear of Him and exultant joy at the end of the thraldom (vid., Isaiah 13:4-8) become universal. אותת (from the originally feminine אות equals ăwăjat, from אוה, to mark, Numbers 34:10), σημεῖα, is the name given here to His marvellous interpositions in the history of our earth. קצוי, Psalm 65:6 (also in Isaiah 26:15), out of construction is קצות. "The exit places of the morning and of the evening" are the East and West with reference to those who dwell there. Luther erroneously understands מוצאי as directly referring to the creatures which at morning and evening "sport about (webern), i.e., go safely and joyfully out and in." The meaning is, the regions whence the morning breaks forth and where the evening sets. The construction is zeugmatic so far as בּוא, not יצא, is said of the evening sun, but only to a certain extent, for neither does one say נבוא ערב (Ewald). Perret-Gentil renders it correctly: les lieux d'o surgissent l'aube et le crepuscule. God makes both these to shout for joy, inasmuch as He commands a calm to the din of war.
Which by his strength setteth fast the mountains; being girded with power:
Which stilleth the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves, and the tumult of the people.
They also that dwell in the uttermost parts are afraid at thy tokens: thou makest the outgoings of the morning and evening to rejoice.
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.The praise of God on account of the present year's rich blessing, which He has bestowed upon the land of His people. In Psalm 65:10, Psalm 65:11 God is thanked for having sent down the rain required for the ploughing (vid., Commentary on Isaiah, ii. 522) and for the increase of the seed sown, so that, as vv. 12-14 affirm, there is the prospect of a rich harvest. The harvest itself, as follows from v. 14b, is not yet housed. The whole of Psalm 65:10, Psalm 65:11 is a retrospect; in vv. 12-14 the whole is a description of the blessing standing before their eyes, which God has put upon the year now drawing to a close. Certainly, if the forms רוּה and נחת were supplicatory imperatives, then the prayer for the early or seed-time rain would attach itself to the retrospect in Psalm 65:11, and the standpoint would be not about the time of the Passover and Pentecost, both festivals belonging to the beginning of the harvest, but about the time of the feast of Tabernacles, the festival of thanksgiving for the harvest, and vv. 12-14 would be a glance into the future (Hitzig). But there is nothing to indicate that in Psalm 65:11 the retrospect changes into a looking forward. The poet goes on with the same theme, and also arranges the words accordingly, for which reason רוּה and נחת are not to be understood in any other way. שׁקק beside העשׁיר (to enrich) signifies to cause to run over, overflow, i.e., to put anything in a state of plenty or abundance, from שׁוּק (Hiph. Joel 2:24, to yield in abundance), Arab, sâq, to push, impel, to cause to go on in succession and to follow in succession. רבּת (for which we find רבּה in Psalm 62:3) is an adverb, copiously, richly (Psalm 120:6; Psalm 123:4; Psalm 129:1), like מאת, a hundred times (Ecclesiastes 8:12). תּעשׁרנּה is Hiph. with the middle syllable shortened, Ges. 53, 3, rem. 4. The fountain (פּלג) of God is the name given here to His inexhaustible stores of blessing, and more particularly the fulness of the waters of the heavens from which He showers down fertilizing rain. כּן, "thus thoroughly," forms an alliteration with הכין, to prepare, and thereby receives a peculiar twofold colouring. The meaning is: God, by raising and tending, prepared the produce of the field which the inhabitants of the land needed; for He thus thoroughly prepared the land in conformity with the fulness of His fountain, viz., by copiously watering (רוּה infin. absol. instead of רוּה, as in 1 Samuel 3:12; 2 Chronicles 24:10; Exodus 22:22; Jeremiah 14:19; Hosea 6:9) the furrows of the land and pressing down, i.e., softening by means of rain, its ridges (גּדוּדה, defective plural, as e.g., in Ruth 2:13), which the ploughshare has made. תּלם (related by root with Arab. tll, tell, a hill, prop. that which is thrown out to a place, that which is thrown up, a mound) signifies a furrow as being formed by casting up or (if from Arab. ṯlm, ébrécher, to make a fracture, rent, or notch in anything) by tearing into, breaking up the ground; גּדוּד (related by root with uchdûd and chaṭṭ, the usual Arabic words for a furrow
(Note: Frst erroneously explains תּלם as a bed or strip of ground between two deep furrows, in distinction from מענה or מענית (vid., on Psalm 129:3), a furrow. Beds such as we have in our potato fields are unknown to Syrian agriculture. There is a mode which may be approximately compared with it called ketif (כּתף), another far wider called meskeba (משׂכּבה). The Arabic tilm (תּלם, Hebrew תּלם equals talm), according to the Kams (as actually in Magrebinish Arabic) talam (תּלם), corresponds exact to our furrow, i.e., (as the Turkish Kams explains) a ditch-like fissure which the iron of the plough cuts into the field. Neshwn (i. 491) says: "The verb talam, fut. jatlum and jatlim, signifies in Jemen and in the Ghr (the land on the shore of the Red Sea) the crevices (Arab. 'l-šuqûq) which the ploughman forms, and tilm, collective plural tilâm, is, in the countries mentioned, a furrow of the corn-field. Some persons pronounce the word even thilm, collective plural thilâm." Thus it is at the present day universally in Ḥaurân; in Edre‛ât I heard the water-furrow of a corn-field called thilm el-kanâh (Arab. ṯlm 'l-qnât). But this pronunciation with Arab. ṯ is certainly not the original one, but has arisen through a substitution of the cognate and more familiar verbal stem Arab. ṯlm, cf. šrm, to slit (shurêm, a harelip). In other parts of Syria and Palestine, also where the distinction between the sounds Arab. t and ṯ is carefully observed, I have only heard the pronunciation tilm. - Wetzstein.))
as being formed by cutting into the ground.
In Psalm 65:12 the year in itself appears as a year of divine goodness (טובה, bonitas), and the prospective blessing of harvest as the crown which is set upon it. For Thou hast crowned "the year of Thy goodness" and "with Thy goodness" are different assertions, with which also different (although kindred as to substance) ideas are associated. The futures after עטרתּ depict its results as they now lie out to view. The chariot-tracks (vid., Deuteronomy 33:26) drop with exuberant fruitfulness, even the meadows of the uncultivated and, without rain, unproductive pasture land (Job 38:26.). The hills are personified in Psalm 65:13 in the manner of which Isaiah in particular is so fond (e.g., Psalm 44:23; Psalm 49:13), and which we find in the Psalms of his type (Psalm 96:11., Psalm 98:7., cf. Psalm 89:13). Their fresh, verdant appearance is compared to a festive garment, with which those which previously looked bare and dreary gird themselves; and the corn to a mantle in which the valleys completely envelope themselves (עטף with the accusative, like Arab. t‛ṭṭf with b of the garment: to throw it around one, to put it on one's self). The closing words, locking themselves as it were with the beginning of the Psalm together, speak of joyous shouting and singing that continues into the present time. The meadows and valleys (Bttcher) are not the subject, of which it cannot be said that they sing; nor can the same be said of the rustling of the waving corn-fields (Kimchi). The expression requires men to be the subject, and refers to men in the widest and most general sense. Everywhere there is shouting coming up from the very depths of the breast (Hithpal.), everywhere songs of joy; for this is denoted by שׁיר in distinction from קנן.
Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly: thou settlest the furrows thereof: thou makest it soft with showers: thou blessest the springing thereof.
Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy paths drop fatness.
They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness: and the little hills rejoice on every side.
The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing.