Psalm 147:8
Who covers the heaven with clouds, who prepares rain for the earth, who makes grass to grow on the mountains.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
147:1-11 Praising God is work that is its own wages. It is comely; it becomes us as reasonable creatures, much more as people in covenant with God. He gathers outcast sinners by his grace, and will bring them into his holy habitation. To those whom God heals with the consolations of his Spirit, he speaks peace, assures them their sins are pardoned. And for this, let others praise him also. Man's knowledge is soon ended; but God's knowledge is a dept that can never be fathomed. And while he telleth the number of the stars, he condescends to hear the broken-hearted sinner. While he feeds the young ravens, he will not leave his praying people destitute. Clouds look dull and melancholy, yet without them we could have no rain, therefore no fruit. Thus afflictions look black and unpleasant; but from clouds of affliction come showers that make the soul to yield the peaceable fruits of righteousness. The psalmist delights not in things wherein sinners trust and glory; but a serious and suitable regard to God is, in his sight, of very great price. We are not to be in doubt between hope and fear, but to act under the gracious influences of hope and fear united.Who covereth the heaven with clouds - Clouds that are designed to convey refreshing rain to the earth. The reasons for praise here stated Psalm 147:8-9 are derived from the goodness of God as exhibited in his providential arrangements for the good of man.

Who prepareth rain for the earth - By causing it to be taken from the sea, carried by the clouds, and conveyed through the air to the places where it is needed, and then gently sprinkled on the earth. Compare the notes at Psalm 104:13 : "He watereth the hills from his chambers." See also Job 5:10, note; Job 28:26, note; Job 36:27-28, notes; Job 38:28, note; Job 38:37, note.

Who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains - Which would be barren but for the rain. Who conveys the water thus to the very tops of the mountains, and causes it to descend on their sides, so that even the mountains are clothed with verdure and beauty. Compare the notes at Psalm 104:14 : "He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle."

7-9. His providence supplies bountifully the wild animals in their mountain homes.

Sing … Lord—literally, "Answer the Lord," that is, in grateful praise to His goodness, thus declared in His acts.

No text from Poole on this verse. Who covereth the heaven with clouds,.... Which are exhalations of vapours out of the earth, and of waters out of the sea, by the sun, and formed into clouds; which are carried about in the air, and let down in showers of rain upon the earth, in proper places, for the good of the inhabitants; and sometimes, when necessary, the heavens are covered and become black with them, as in the times of Ahab, 2 Kings 18:35; and though they look dark, dull, and melancholy, yet are for great usefulness: hereby, as it follows, rain is prepared for the earth, to make it fruitful, to bring forth an increase for men and beasts; and is a wonderful display of the wisdom, power, and goodness of God, for which he is to be praised. This may be either an emblem of afflictive dispensations of Providence, which sometimes make a dark and cloudy day, a day of clouds and thick darkness; especially when the Lord covers himself with a cloud, or hides his face from his people; their sins, as clouds interposing between him and them; and yet these afflictions and desertions, though not joyous, but grievous, tend to make the saints more holy, humble, and fruitful: or else of the churches being supplied with Gospel ministers; the "heaven", and so the "kingdom of heaven", often signifies the church of God or Christ; consisting of men, partakers of the heavenly calling, being born from above; and in which the Gospel and ordinances, that come from heaven, are ministered; and which, for the communion had with God, and the privileges of it, is as it were the suburbs and gate of heaven. Ministers of the word are "clouds" full of the rain of heavenly and evangelic doctrine, which they drop and distil as the rain and dew upon the mown grass; and the covering the heavens with them may denote the plenty of them, or a sufficient number of them, as in the first times of the Gospel: all which are of God, who gives to his churches pastors after his own heart; and commands and directs those where to drop the rain of doctrine, and where not, for which he is to be praised; see Isaiah 5:6;

who prepareth rain for the earth; which is purely his preparation, production, and gift, to water the earth and make it fruitful, and is what none of the vanities or idols of the Gentiles could give; and what he prepares in the clouds, the heavens are covered with: to this the word of God and the evangelic doctrine is compared, because of its original; it is of God, and from heaven; it is dispensed and falls by divine direction, and sometimes in one place, and sometimes in another; and often in great plenty, as at the first, so in the last times of the Gospel dispensation; and brings many blessings of grace and goodness with it; and, like rain, is cooling, softening, refreshing, and fructifying; and this is prepared of God, and ordained by him before the world was, for the good of his people; see Deuteronomy 32:2, 1 Corinthians 2:6;

who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains; which would be otherwise dry and barren; but, by the clouds letting down rain upon them, grass grows on them for the cattle on a thousand hills. "Mountains", in a figurative sense, signify churches, high, strong, well-rounded, visible, and where God makes a feast of fat things for his people, Isaiah 25:6; "grass" denotes true believers, they of the city which flourish like grass; to which they are like, for their weakness in themselves, their number, verdure, and fruitfulness, and for their growth in the church; which is greatly owing to the Gospel and ordinances as means, the ram of Gospel doctrine, the pure, sincere, and unadulterated word of God; by which souls grow in grace, and in the knowledge of divine things; see Psalm 72:16.

Who {f} covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains.

(f) He shows by the example of God's mighty power, goodness, and wisdom, that he can never lack just opportunity to praise God.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
8. Cp. Psalm 104:13-14.

upon the mountains] Without man’s care and cultivation.

The LXX adds καὶ χλὁην τῇ δουλείᾳ τῶν ἀνθρώπων from Psalm 104:14, Vulg. ‘herbam servituti hominum,’ which appears in P.B.V. as and herb for the use of men.Verse 8. - Who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth. In the parched and sultry East "clouds" and "rain" are a boon that we of the temperate West can scarcely appreciate. The cruel heat of the solar rays in a clear sky for weeks or months together causes a longing of the intensest kind for shade and moisture. Man and beast alike rejoice when the time of the autumn rains draws near, and the cloudless blue of the summer heaven gives place (of a sky that is gray and overcast (comp. Job 38:25-41; Psalm 104:13). Who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains. The "mountains," and even the plains of Palestine, are, with rare exceptions, completely burnt up at the close of summer, and show no verdure, but merely an arid sapless, brown or buff vegetation. When the" former rain" begins, a great change begins. Tender green blades of grass at once sprout up, and in a little time the whole country shows a tinge of verdure. The Hallelujah, as in Psalm 135:3, is based upon the fact, that to sing of our God, or to celebrate our God in song (זמּר with an accusative of the object, as in Psalm 30:13, and frequently), is a discharge of duty that reacts healthfully and beneficially upon ourselves: "comely is a hymn of praise" (taken from Psalm 33:1), both in respect of the worthiness of God to be praised, and of the gratitude that is due to Him. Instead of זמּר or לזמּר, Psalm 92:2, the expression is זמּרה, a form of the infin. Piel, which at least can still be proved to be possible by ליסּרה in Leviticus 26:18. The two כּי are co-ordinate, and כּי־נעים no more refers to God here than in Psalm 135:3, as Hitzig supposes when he alters Psalm 147:1 so that it reads: "Praise ye Jah because He is good, play unto our God because He is lovely." Psalm 92:2 shows that כּי־טוב can refer to God; but נעים said of God is contrary to the custom and spirit of the Old Testament, whereas טוב and נעים are also in Psalm 133:1 neuter predicates of a subject that is set forth in the infinitive form. In Psalm 147:2 the praise begins, and at the same time the confirmation of the delightful duty. Jahve is the builder up of Jerusalem, He brings together (כּנּס as in Ezekiel, the later wozd for אסף and קבּץ) the outcasts of Israel (as in Isaiah 11:12; Isaiah 56:8); the building of Jerusalem is therefore intended of the rebuilding up, and to the dispersion of Israel corresponds the holy city laid in ruins. Jahve healeth the heart-broken, as He has shown in the case of the exiles, and bindeth up their pains (Psalm 16:4), i.e., smarting wounds; רפא, which is here followed by חבּשׁ, also takes to itself a dative object in other instances, both in an active and (Isaiah 6:10) an impersonal application; but for שׁבוּרי לב the older language says נשׁבּרי לב, Psalm 34:19, Isaiah 61:1. The connection of the thoughts, which the poet now brings to the stars, becomes clear from the primary passage, Isaiah 40:26, cf. Isaiah 40:27. To be acquainted with human woe and to relieve it is an easy and small matter to Him who allots a number to the stars, that are to man innumerable (Genesis 15:5), i.e., who has called them into being by His creative power in whatever number He has pleased, and yet a number known to Him (מנה, the part. praes., which occurs frequently in descriptions of the Creator), and calls to them all names, i.e., names them all by names which are the expression of their true nature, which is well known to Him, the Creator. What Isaiah says (Isaiah 40:26) with the words, "because of the greatness of might, and as being strong in power," and (Isaiah 40:28) "His understanding is unsearchable," is here asserted in Psalm 147:5 (cf. Psalm 145:3): great is our Lord, and capable of much (as in Job 37:23, שׂגּיא כּח), and to His understanding there is no number, i.e., in its depth and fulness it cannot be defined by any number. What a comfort for the church as it traverses its ways, that are often so labyrinthine and entangled! Its Lord is the Omniscient as well as the Almighty One. Its history, like the universe, is a work of God's infinitely profound and rich understanding. It is a mirror of gracious love and righteous anger. The patient sufferers (ענוים) He strengthens (מעודד as in Psalm 146:9); malevolent sinners (רשׁעים), on the other hand, He casts down to the earth (עדי־ארץ, cf. Isaiah 26:5), casting deep down to the ground those who exalt themselves to the skies.
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