He putteth forth his hand upon the rock
The discourse is carried on concerning the miner, and digger in the earth for metals and precious stones; who meeting with a rock or flint, and a ridge of them, is not discouraged, but goes to work therewith, and with his hammer in his hand lays upon the rock or flint, and beats it to pieces, and with proper instruments cuts through it; and using fire and vinegar, as Pliny F7 observes, makes his way into it, and oftentimes by splitting it discovers gold F8 or silver, or precious stones, in it:
he overturneth the mountains by the roots;
or turns them up from the roots; he roots them up, he undermines them; he turns up the earth at the roots of them, to get what is hid at the bottom, or in the bowels of them. Some understand this, and what is said in the following verses, of God, and of wonderful things done by him; so Jarchi, Aben Ezra, and others; and to whom indeed such things are sometimes ascribed in Scripture: he touches the hills, and they smoke, ( Psalms 104:32 ) ; lays his hand on the rock, and removes it out of its place, ( Job 14:18 ) ; it was he that smote and opened the rock at Horeb, and the waters gushed out, ( Exodus 17:6 ) ; yea, turned the rock into standing water, and the flint into a fountain of water, ( Psalms 114:8 ) : and he, in a figurative sense, has laid his hand on the rock Christ, and smote him with the rod of justice, whereby the blessings of grace come flowing down upon his people; and he it is that puts forth his hand of powerful and efficacious grace upon the rocky hearts of men, and with the hammer of his word breaks them to pieces, ( Jeremiah 23:29 ) , and takes away the stony heart, and gives an heart of flesh, ( Ezekiel 11:19 ) ( 36:26 ) : and he also, in a literal sense, overturns hills and mountains by their roots, through storms, and tempests, and earthquakes; and figuratively, kingdoms and states, that lie in the way of his interest; for what are these mountains before the great Zerubbabel? they soon and easily become a plain; and so breaks through all difficulties, which proverbially may be signified by removing mountains, that seem to obstruct and hinder the conversion and salvation of his people; he makes those mountains a way, and his highways are exalted; see ( Song of Solomon 2:8 ) ( Isaiah 49:11 ) ( Zechariah 4:7 ) ; but the former sense is best, and most agreeable to the context.
F7 Nat. Hist. l. 33. c. 4. "----Montem rumpit aceto", Juvenal. Sat. 10. v. 153.