Psalm 65:12
They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness: and the little hills rejoice on every side.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) They drop upon.—Supply “fatness” from the last verse.

And the little hills.—See margin. The freshness and beauty of plant life, which suddenly, as by a miracle, in Eastern lands clothes the hill-sides, resembles a fair mantle thrown round their shoulders, as if to deck them for some festival.

65:6-13 That Almighty strength which sets fast the mountains, upholds the believer. That word which stills the stormy ocean, and speaks it into a calm, can silence our enemies. How contrary soever light and darkness are to each other, it is hard to say which is most welcome. Does the watchman wait for the morning? so does the labourer earnestly desire the shades of evening. Some understand it of the morning and evening sacrifices. We are to look upon daily worship, both alone and with our families, to be the most needful of our daily occupations, the most delightful of our daily comforts. How much the fruitfulness of this lower part of the creation depends upon the influence of the upper, is easy to observe; every good and perfect gift is from above. He who enriches the earth, which is filled with man's sins, by his abundant and varied bounty, can neither want power nor will to feed the souls of his people. Temporal mercies to us unworthy creatures, shadow forth more important blessings. The rising of the Sun of righteousness, and the pouring forth of the influences of the Holy Spirit, that river of God, full of the waters of life and salvation, render the hard, barren, worthless hearts of sinners fruitful in every good work, and change the face of nations more than the sun and rain change the face of nature. Wherever the Lord passes, by his preached gospel, attended by his Holy Spirit, his paths drop fatness, and numbers are taught to rejoice in and praise him. They will descend upon the pastures of the wilderness, all the earth shall hear and embrace the gospel, and bring forth abundantly the fruits of righteousness which are, through Jesus Christ, to the glory of the Father. Manifold and marvellous, O Lord, are thy works, whether of nature or of grace; surely in loving-kindness hast thou made them all.They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness - The waste places, or the waste parts of the land; the uncultivated places, the places of rocks and sands. The word wilderness in the Scriptures does not mean, as 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; notes at Isaiah 35:1. In those wastes, however, there would be valleys, 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," or distil, fertility and beauty, causing grass and flowers to spring up in abundance, and clothing them with luxuriance.

And the little hills rejoice on every side - Margin, as in Hebrew, are girded with joy. 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 of Professor Hackett ("Illustrations of Scripture," p. 30), will 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 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; 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.

12. wilderness—places, though not inhabited by men, fit for pasture (Le 16:21, 22; Job 24:5).

pastures—is literally, "folds," or "enclosures for flocks"; and in Ps 65:13 it may be "lambs," the same word used and so translated in Ps 37:20; so that "the flocks are clothed with lambs" (a figure for abundant increase) would be the form of expression.

They, God’s paths,

drop upon the pastures of the wilderness; which, though neglected by men, are furnished by God with food for wild beasts, which, being his creatures, he careth for by this means.

The little hills; the hills of Canaan, which for the generality of them were but small, if compared with the great and high mountains in divers parts of the world. He mentions

the hills, because these being most dry and parched with the sun, most need and are most refreshed with the rain.

Rejoice on every side; as being moistened and satisfied with rain in all parts and sides of them.

They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness,.... As well as upon the ploughed land, and turn them into a fruitful field; which may denote the Gentile world, whither the Gospel was sent by Christ, and preached by his apostles; and whose doctrines dropped as the rain, and prospered to the thing whereunto they were sent, and made this wilderness as the garden of God;

and the little hills rejoice on every side; or "joy girds the hills"; or "they are girded with joy" (r); or "gird themselves with joy", as the Targum; being covered on all sides with grass, herbs, and trees: these may denote the churches of Christ, and little hills of Sion, who rejoice when the interest of Christ flourishes, Psalm 68:14.

(r) "collesque exultatione accinguntur", Tigurine version, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; so Ainsworth; "accinxerunt se", Pagninus; "accingent se", Montanus.

They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness: and the little hills rejoice on every side.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12. the pastures of the wilderness] Jeremiah 9:10; Jeremiah 23:10; Joel 1:19-20; Joel 2:22. ‘Wilderness’ denotes the open uncultivated country used for pasturage, in contrast to the cultivated land or ‘field.’

and the little hills &c.] R.V., And the hills are girded with joy. For the personification of nature cp. Psalm 96:11 ff; Isaiah 44:23; &c.

Verse 12. - They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness; rather, the pastures of the wilderness drip with it; i.e. with the "fatness" which is shed from God's presence. And the little hills rejoice on every side; literally, are girded with joy. Psalm 65:12The 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.

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