Psalm 65:9
You visit the earth, and water it: you greatly enrich it with the river of God, which is full of water: you prepare them corn, when you have so provided for it.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(9) Thou visitest . . .—Better, Thou hast visited. Even if there is not reference to some particular season of plenty, yet with a glance back on the memory of such. Instead of “earth,” perhaps, here, “land.”

Waterest.—Or, floodest. The river of God stands for the rain. There is a Arabic proverb, “When the river of God comes, the river Isa (in Bagdad) ceases.” The Rabbins say, God has four keys which He never entrusts to any angel, and chief of these is the key of the rain.” (Comp. Job 26:8; Job 28:26; Job 38:28.) The expression “river” for rain is very appropriate of the downpour of a country that has its rainy season. (Comp. “the rushing of the river rain,” Tennyson’s Vivien.)

Thou preparest . . .—The Authorised Version misses the sense, which is, thou preparest their corn when thou hast prepared it (the land) soi.e., in the manner now to be described. Thus LXX. and Vulgate.

Psalm 65:9-10. Thou visitest — In mercy, or with thy favour, the earth, and waterest it — The whole earth, which is full of thy bounty. So understood, he continues to speak of the general providence of God over all people. Or, he may mean, Thou visitest the land — Namely, the land of Israel; and so he proceeds, from God’s general providence over all places and nations, to his particular and special providence over his people in the land of Canaan, whereof he gives one eminent and considerable instance, namely, his giving them rain and fruitful seasons, and that after a time of drought and scarcity, to which, it is not improbably supposed, this Psalm refers. And this may be the particular occasion, for which the psalmist said, that praise waited for God in Zion. Thou enrichest it with the river of God — With rain, which he calls a river for his plenty, and the river of God, because it is of his immediate providing; which is full of water — The clouds, like a vast river, are never exhausted, or, if they empty themselves upon the earth, they are soon and easily replenished again. Thou preparest them corn — By these means thou causest the earth to bring forth and ripen corn for its inhabitants; when thou hast so provided for it — Hebrew, כן תכינה, cheen techineah, hast so ordered, disposed, or prepared it; namely, the earth by thus watering it, which would otherwise be hard and barren. Thou settlest the furrows thereof — Which are turned up by the plough or spade. Or, thou bringest them down, as נחת, nachath, rather signifies: for the rain dissolves the high and hard clods of the earth. Thou blessest the springing thereof — When all is done, the fruitfulness of the earth must not be ascribed to the rain or sun, or any second causes, but to thy blessing alone.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.Thou visitest the earth - God seems to come down 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.

And waterest it - Margin, After thou hadst made it to desire rain. This difference between the translations in the text and in the margin can be accounted for by the various meanings of the original word. The Hebrew term - שׁוק shûq - means properly:

(a) to run;

(b) to run after anything, to desire, to look for;

(c) to run over, to overflow; and then,

(d) to cause to overflow.

The meaning here evidently is, he drenched the earth, or caused the water to run abundantly. The reference is to a copious rain after a drought.

Thou greatly enrichest it - That is, Thou givest to it abundance; thou pourest water upon it in such quantities, and in such a manner, as to make it rich in its productions.

With the river of God - A river so abundant and full that it seems to come from God; it is such as we should expect to flow from a Being infinite in resources and in benevolence. Anything great is in the Scriptures often described as belonging to God, or his name is added to it to denote its greatness. Thus, hills of God mean lofty hills; cedars of God, lofty 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. Thou givest to those who cultivate the earth an abundant harvest.

When thou hast so provided for it - Or rather, When thou hast thus prepared the earth, to wit, by sending down abundant rains upon it. God prepares the earth to bear an abundant harvest, and then he gives that harvest. The preparation of the earth for the harvest, and then the givinq of the harvest, are alike from him. The harvest could not be without the previous rain, and neither the rain nor the harvest could be without God. He does not create a harvest by miracle, but follows the order which he has himself ordained, and has respect to his own laws.

9. visitest—in mercy (compare Ps 8:4).

river of God—His exhaustless resources.

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.

Psalm 65:9

"Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it." God's visits leave a blessing behind; this is more than can be said of every visitor. When the Lord goes on visitations of mercy, he has abundance of necessary things for all his needy creatures. He is represented here as going round the earth, as a gardener surveys his garden, and as giving water to every plant that requires it, and that not in small quantities, but until the earth is drenched and soaked with a rich supply of refreshment. O Lord, in this manner visit thy church, and my poor, parched, and withering piety. Make thy grace to overflow towards my graces; water me, for no plant of thy garden needs it more.

"My stock lies dead, and no increase

Doth my dull husbandry improve;

O let thy graces without cease

Drop from above."

"Thou greatly enrichest it." Millions of money could not so much enrich mankind as the showers do. The soil is made rich by the rain, and then yields its riches to man; but God is the first giver of all. How truly rich are those who are enriched with grace; this is great riches. "With the river of God, which is full of water." The brooks of earth are soon dried up, and all human resources, being finite, are liable to failure; but God's provision for the supply of rain is inexhaustible; there is no bottom or shore to his river. The deluge poured from the clouds yesterday may be succeeded by another tomorrow, and yet the waters above the firmament shall not fail. How true is this in the realm of grace; there "the river of God is full of water," and "of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace." The ancients in their fables spake of Pactolus, which flowed over sands of gold; but this river of God, which flows above and from which the rain is poured, is far more enriching; for, after all, the wealth of men lies mainly in the harvest of their fields, without which even gold would be of no value whatever. "Thou preparest them corn." Corn is specially set apart to be the food of man. In its various species it is a divine provision for the nutriment of our race, and is truly called the staff of life. We hear in commerce of "prepared corn-flour" but God prepared it long before man touched it. As surely as the manna was prepared of God for the tribes, so certainly is corn made and sent by God for our daily use. What is the difference whether we gather wheat-ears or manna, and what matters it if the first comes upward to us and the second downward? God is as much present beneath as above; it is as great a marvel that food should rise out of the dust, as that it should fall from the skies. "When thou hast so provided for it." When all is prepared to produce corn, the Lord puts the finishing stroke, and the grain is forthcoming; not even, when all the material is prepared, will the wheat be perfected without the continuous and perfecting operation of the Most High. Blessed be the Great Householder; he does not suffer the harvest to fail, he supplies the teeming myriads of earth with bread enough from year to year. Even thus does he vouchsafe heavenly food to his redeemed ones: "He hath given meat unto them that fear him; he is ever mindful of his covenant."

Psalm 65:10

"Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly: thou settlest the furrows thereof." Ridge and furrow are drenched. The ridges beaten down and settled, and the furrows made to stand like gutters flooded to the full. "Thou makest it soft with showers." The drought turned the clods into iron, but the plenteous showers dissolve and loosen the soil. "Thou blessest the springing thereof." Vegetation enlivened by the moisture leaps into rigour, the seed germinates and sends forth its green shoot, and the smell is that of a field which the Lord has blessed. All this may furnish us with a figure of the operations of the Holy Spirit in beating down high thoughts, filling our lowly desires, softening the soul, and causing every holy thing to increase and spread.

continued...

Visitest, to wit, in mercy, or with thy favour, as this word is oft used.

The earth; the whole earth, which is full of thy bounty. So he continues to declare the general providence of God to all men and people. Or rather the land, or this land, for here is an emphatical article. And so he comes from God’s general providence over all places and nations, to his particular and special providence over his people in the land of Canaan, whereof he gives one eminent and considerable instance, to wit. his giving them rain and fruitful seasons, and that after a time of drought and scarcity, to which it is not improbably supposed that this Psalm relates. And this may be the particular occasion for which the psalmist said that praise waited for God in Zion, Psalm 65:1. Waterest it: this is added to determine and explain the former general word, or to show how or wherein God visited it.

With the river of God; either,

1. With the rivers which God hath made in the several parts of the earth, to make it moist and fruitful; although the fertility of the greatest part of the earth doth not depend so much upon the rivers below, as upon the rains from above. Or,

2. With the river Jordan, which sometimes overflowed its banks. But that overflow reached only to a small part of the land. Or rather,

3. With showers of rain, which he very significantly calls a river for their plenty, and the river of God, i.e. of God’s immediate making and providing when he sees fit; which is opposed both to those little rivulets or channels which husbandmen or gardeners cut for the watering of their grounds; and to those greater rivers which run with a constant course, and by their little channels derived from them, or by their overflows, do water and enrich the earth, as Nilus did Egypt; to which these words may seem to have a special reference, especially if they be compared with Deu 11:10-12, &c.

Thou preparest; by this means thou preparest the earth for bringing forth corn, and ripenest the corn in the earth. Preparest them; for them, to wit, the inhabitants of the earth or land here mentioned, for their use and benefit.

Provided for it; or, disposed, or ordered, or prepared it, to wit, the earth, which without this would be hard and barren. Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it,.... So the Lord looked upon the earth, quickly after its formation, before rain came upon it, and he watered the whole face of the ground, Genesis 2:5; so he cared for the land of Judea in particular, and watered it with the rain of heaven, Deuteronomy 11:11; see 2 Samuel 21:1; to which some think reference is had here; and so he visits and waters the whole earth in general, at certain times and seasons, Acts 14:16; this may be applied to the church and people of God in Gospel times, who are his husbandry, and the good ground on which the seed falls and is received, and brings forth fruit; and are comparable to the earth that drinks in the rain that comes oft upon it, and brings forth herbs meet for those that dress it, and receives a blessing from God, Hebrews 6:7; thus the Lord visited his people, by the mission of his Son to redeem them, whose coming was as the rain, the former and latter, to the earth, Luke 1:68; so he visited the Gentile world, by the preaching of the Gospel by his apostles, whose doctrines dropped as the rain, and distilled as the dew and small rain on the tender herb, and as showers on the grass; and so made a wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water, Acts 15:14; and in like manner he visits particular persons in conversion, and waters them with the graces of his Spirit, by which he regenerates, quickens, and sanctifies them, and makes them fruitful, Isaiah 44:3;

thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, which is full of water; not Shiloah nor Jordan; but the clouds which are full of rain, which falling upon the earth, impregnate it with rich particles, which make it very fertile and fruitful; so the Targum,

"with a multitude of fruits thou enrichest it out of the river of God, which is in heaven, which is full of rain:''

this may mystically denote the river of God's everlasting love, which is full of the blessings of grace, and which flowing upon his people, makes them fruitful, and enriches them with the riches of grace and glory; see Psalm 46:4;

thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it; or because thou hast so prepared it (o); that is, the earth being disposed and prepared by the Lord, watered and enriched with the rain of heaven, produces corn in great plenty for the inhabitants of the earth; which may spiritually design either the fruitfulness of the saints, whose hearts are disposed and prepared by the grace of God to receive the seed of the word, which brings forth fruit in them; or the bread corn, that wheat of the Gospel, and Christ the sum and substance of it, which is of God's preparing for his people, and by which they are nourished and made comfortable; see Zechariah 9:17.

(o) "quia sic parasti eam", Pagninus; so Cocceius.

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

(g) That is, with rain.

(h) That is, Shiloh or the rain.

(i) You have appointed the earth to bring forth food to man's use.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
9. Thou hast visited the land, and made it plentiful, greatly enriching it:

The stream of God is full of water;

Thou preparest their corn, for so thou preparest it.

The A.V. visitest turns the special thanksgiving into a general statement. The rendering waterest follows the Ancient Versions, which may however have read the word differently. The use of the verb in Joel 2:24; Joel 3:13, points to the meaning made it overflow, made it plentiful. God’s ‘stream’ (Psalm 1:3) is the rain, with which He irrigates the land as out of a brimming aqueduct (Deuteronomy 11:11; Job 38:25), providing corn for men by preparing the earth, as the next verse goes on to describe:

9–13. The special object of the Psalm—thanksgiving for the plenty of the year. First, grateful acknowledgment that the rains which have fertilised the soil were God’s gift; then a charming picture of a joyous landscape rich with promise.Verses 9-13. - In conclusion, the psalmist praises God for his bountiful providence with respect to the harvest. According to some, the whole poem is essentially a harvest thanksgiving, and the poet now "comes at last to the point aimed at from the first." He traces the whole process by which the glorious termination is arrived at. First, the "early rain" descending from "the river of God," or the reservoir for rain which God guards in the heavens (Job 38:37), moistening the furrows, softening the ridges, and preparing the land for the seed-corn. Then the sowing, which, being man's work, is but just touched on (ver. 9, ad fin.). After that, the "latter rain" - the gentle showers of March and April - which cause the grain to burst and the blade to spring, and the ear to form itself, and turn the dull fallow into a mass of greenery (vers. 10, 12). At last, the full result - pastures clothed with flocks; valleys, the "long broad sweeps between parallel ranges of hills," covered over with corn; all nature laughing and shouting for joy (ver. 13). Verse 9. - Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it (comp. Job 36:27, 28; Job 37:6; Job 38:26-28; Psalm 147:18; Jeremiah 5:24; Matthew 5:45). Thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God. There is no "with" in the original; and the two clauses are better taken separately. Translate, Thou greatly enrichest it; the river of God is full of water. By "the river of God" is to be understood God's store of water in the clouds and atmosphere, which he can at any time retain or let loose. Thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it; rather, when thou hast so prepared her (the earth). By thus preparing the earth for the sowing. God prepares for men the corn which they ultimately obtain at the harvest. 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.
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