Who passing through the valley of Baca
Kimchi interprets it a valley of springs, or fountains, taking the word to be of the same signification as in ( Job 38:16 ) , and mention being made of a well and pools in it, or of mulberry trees, which grow, as he says, in a place where there is no water, and such a place was this; and therefore pools or ditches were dug in it, and built of stone, to catch rain water for the supply of travellers; and so Aben Ezra says, it is the name of a place or valley where were trees, called mulberries; and is by some thought to be the same with the valley of Rephaim, where we read of mulberry trees, ( 2 Samuel 5:22 2 Samuel 5:23 ) , the Septuagint render it "the valley of weeping", and the Vulgate Latin version "the valley of tears"; which have led some interpreters to think of Bochim, a place so called from the children of Israel weeping there, ( Judges 2:1 Judges 2:5 ) , it does not seem to design any particular place, through which all the males could not pass from the different parts of the land of Israel, as they came to Zion at the three grand festivals; but any difficult and troublesome place, any rough valley, or dry and thirsty land, where there was no water: so saints are passengers, travellers, or pilgrims, in this world, and often pass through a valley; are in a low valley, through the weakness of grace; a rough one, through affliction; and a dark one, through desertion and temptation; and a valley of weeping and tears, on account both of outward and inward trials. The way to Zion, or to the house and ordinances of God below, lies through the valley of weeping; none come rightly thither but who come weeping over their sins and unworthiness; or by repentance towards God, and by looking by faith to Christ whom they have pierced, and mourning for it; see ( Jeremiah 50:4 Jeremiah 50:5 ) and the way to Zion above lies through a vale of tears, shed in plenty by reason of sin, a man's own, original and actual, the sins of professors and profane, by reason of Satan's temptations, the hidings of God's face, and the distresses, divisions, and declensions of Zion; yet relief is afforded, help is given, refreshment is had, in this valley, for such passengers:
they make it a well;
either the valley a well with their tears, an hyperbolical expression, like that in ( Lamentations 2:18 ) or they account it as such, a dry valley, as if it was a well watered place; look upon all their toil and labour in going to the house of God as a pleasure; and esteem all reproach, afflictions, and persecutions, they meet with from the world, or relations, for the sake of religion, as riches and honours; or they find a supply, which is kindly and graciously given, even rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of valleys, streams of divine love, and precious promises in a wilderness, ( Isaiah 41:18 ) ( 35:6 ) "or make him a well" F1: that is, God himself; they account of him as such; they find him to be so, and make use of him as one, who is a well of living waters; such are his love, his covenant, and his grace; such are his Son and his fulness, his Spirit, the gifts and graces of it; all which yield a rich supply:
the rain also filleth the pools;
of the word and ordinances: "or the rain covereth with blessings" F2; the rain of divine love covers the passengers with spiritual blessings, which flow from it; Christ, whose coming is compared to the rain, brings a train of blessings with him to his people; and the Gospel, which drops as the rain, and distils as the dew, is full of the blessings of Christ; is a glorious revelation of them, and is the means of conveying them to the saints; or the "teacher covereth", or "is covered with blessings" F3; the great Teacher of all, God, Father, Son, and Spirit; the Father teaches all his children to great profit and advantage, and covers or blesses them with all spiritual blessings; the Son is a teacher come from God, and is covered or loaded with the blessings of goodness, and communicates them to his disciples and followers; and the Spirit teacheth all things, and takes of the things of Christ, the blessings of his grace, and covers his people with them; and all under teachers, ministers of the Gospel, are clothed with salvation, and come forth in the fulness of the blessing of the Gospel of Christ.
F1 (whwtyvy Nyem) "fontem constituunt eum", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Ainsworth; "Deum ipsum", Piscator, Gejerus, Michaelis.
F2 (hrwm hjey twkrb) "quam in benedictionibus operit pluvia", Cocceius.
F3 "Benedictionibus operietur docens", Montanus; "benedictiones induit doctor", Gejerus, Michaelis; so Gussetius, p. 725.