Verse 9. Mountains, and all hills. Towering steeps and swelling knolls alike declare their Creator. "All hills" are to be consecrated; we have no longer Ebal and Gerizim, the hill of the curse and the hill of the blessing, but all our Ebals are turned to Gerizims. Tabor and Hermon, Lebanon and Carmel, rejoice in the name of the Lord. The greater and the lesser mounts are one in their adoration. Not only the Alps and the mountains of the Jura thunder out his praise; but our own Cotswolds and Grampians are vocal with songs in his honour.
Fruitful trees, and all cedars. Fruit trees and forest trees, trees deciduous or evergreen, are equally full of benevolent design, and alike subserve some purpose of love; therefore for all and by all let the great Designer be praised. There are many species of cedar, but they all reveal the wisdom of their Maker. When kings fell them, that they may make beams for their palaces, they do but confess their obligation to the King of trees, and to the King of kings, whose trees they are. Varieties in the landscape are produced by the rising and falling of the soil, and by the many kinds of trees which adorn the land: let all, and all alike, glorify their one Lord. When the trees clap their hands in the wind, or their leaves rustle in the gentle breath of Zephyr, they do to their best ability sing out unto the Lord.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 9. Mountains and all hills, etc. The diversifying of the face of the earth with higher and lower parts, with mountains, hills, and valleys, and the adorning of the face thereof with trees of varied sorts, contributes much to the praise of God. --David Dickson.
Verse 9. Mountains and all hills. What voices have the hills! How solemn the sounds of the mountains from their sublime solitudes! The mountains thunder, and the hills reecho; but they speak peace and send down plenty to the vales in running rivulets. --Thomas Le Blanc.
Verse 9. Fruitful trees and all cedars. The praise of God is in the rustling voices of the trees. They fulfil his purpose in giving fruit to refresh, and shelter and shadow for a covert, and their murmur is the soft cadence that chants mercy and grace. In India, the ancients reported that the trees were worshipped as divine, and death was a penalty awarded to those who cut them down. In classic mythology the groves were the homes of gods. Jehovah decreed that an ark of safety for man, and also a temple for himself, should be constructed of wood. Thus more than any other created things, the trees of the wood have redounded to his glory. --Le Blanc.
Verse 9. Fruitful trees. Rather fruit trees; the fruit bearing tree being representative of one division of the vegetable world, planted and reared by man; the "cedars" of the other, which are ( Psalms 104:16 ) of God's own plantation. So in Psalms 148:10 we have wild animals and domesticated animals. --A.S. Aglen.
Verse 9. Trees.
All creatures of the eternal God but man,
In several sorts do glorify his name;
Each tree doth seem ten thousand tongues to have,
With them to laud the Lord omnipotent;
Each leaf that with wind's gentle breath doth wave,
Seems as a tongue to speak to that intent,
In language admirably excellent.
The sundry sorts of fragrant flowers do seem
Sundry discourses God to glorify,
And sweetest volumes may we them esteem;
For all these creatures in their several sort
Praise God, and man unto the same exhort. --Peter Pett, 1599.
Verse 9. All cedars. Beautiful indeed is the pine forest in all seasons: in the freshness of spring, when the gnarled boughs are penetrated and mollified by the soft wind and the warm sun, and, thrilled with new life, burst out into fringes and tassels of the richest green, and cones of the most tender purple; beautiful in the sultry summer, when among its cool, dim shadows the heated hours all day sing vespers, while the open landscape is palpitating in the scorching heat; beautiful in the sadness of autumn, when its unfading verdure stands out in striking relief amid changing scenes, that have no sympathy with anything earthly save sorrow and decay, and directs the thoughts to the imperishableness of the heavenly Paradise; beautiful exceedingly in the depth of winter, when the tiers of branches are covered with pure, unsullied wreaths of snow, sculptured by the wind into curves of exquisite grace. It is beautiful in calm, when the tree tops scarce whisper to each other, and the twitter of the golden wren sounds loud in the expectant hush; it is more than beautiful in storm, when the wild fingers of the wind play the most mournful music on its great harp strings, and its full diapason is sublime as the roar of the ocean on a rock bound shore. I do not wonder that the northern imagination in heathen times should have invested it with awe and fear as the favourite haunt of Odin and Thor; or that, in after times, its long rows of trunks, vanishing in the dim perspective, should have furnished designs for the aisles of Christian temples, and the sunset, burning among its fretted branches, should have suggested the gorgeous painted window of the cathedral. It looks like a place made for worship, all its sentiments and associations seem of a sacred and solemn character. Nature, with folded hands, as Longfellow says, seems kneeling there in prayer. It certainly reminds us in various ways of the power, wisdom, and goodness of him who thus spake by the mouth of his prophet: "I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the fir tree, and the pine, and the box tree together: that they may see, and know, and consider, and understand together, that the hand of the Lord hath done this, and the Holy One of Israel hath created it." --Hugh Macmillan, in "Bible Teachings in Nature", 1867.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 9. Trees. The glory of God as seen in trees.