Verse 15. Here the priests on the summit of the chosen hill begin to extol the Lord for his choice of Zion as his dwelling place.
The hill of God is as the hill of Bashan, or more accurately, "a hill of God is Bashan," that is to say, Bashan is an eminent mountain, far exceeding Zion in height. According to the Hebrew custom, every great or remarkable thing is thus designated. Where we talk of the Devil's Dyke, the Devil's Ditch, the Devil's Punch Bowl, etc., the more commendable idiom of the Hebrews speaks of the hill of God, the trees of the Lord, the river of God, etc.
An high hill as the hill of Bashan, or rather, "a mount of peaks is Bashan." It does not appear that Zion is compared with Bashan, but contrasted with it. Zion certainly was not a high hill comparatively; and it is here conceded that Bashan is a greater mount, but not so glorious, for the Lord in choosing Zion had exalted it above the loftier hills. The loftiness of nature is made as nothing before the Lord. He chooses as pleases him, and, according to the counsel of his own will, he selects Zion, and passes by the proud, uplifted peaks of Bashan; thus doth he make the base things of this world, and things that are despised, to become monuments of his grace and sovereignty.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 15. Hill of Bashan. The world's physical greatness must yield to the church's spiritual grandeur. The "hill of God" is here an emblem of the world kingdoms, which ( Psalms 65:6 ) are great only by the grace of God. A great hill reminds us of the creative power of God. Hence, "the hill of Elohim" (the general name of God as the Creator) stands in contrast to the hill which ( Psalms 68:16 ) "the Lord" (Jehovah) will dwell in for ever. It lay in the north, in the region east of Jordan, or the land of Hermon, the kingdom of Og, the most formidable enemy whom Israel encountered on their march to Canaan. "The hill of Bashan is the high snow summit of Anti Lebanon, or Hermon, the extreme limit of Bashan. There was a peculiar propriety, from its position on the boundary between Judaea and the heathen world, in employing it as a symbol of the world's might ( Psalms 68:22 42:6 89:12)" (Hengstenberg). The original name of Hermon as Sion; i.e., lofty ( Deuteronomy 4:48 ); allied in sound to Zion, which suggested the contrast here between the world hills and the Lord's hill. A. R. Fausset.
"A mountain of God Mount Bashan is.
A mountain of peaks Mount Bashan is,
Why are ye piqued, ye peaked mountains?
At the mountain which God desires to dwell in?
Yea, Jehovah will dwell therein forever." Frederic Fysh's Version.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
- The superiority of the hill of Zion.
- In fertility, to the hill of Bashan; to earthly pleasures.
- In glory, to other hills; to human heights of learning and power.
- The reason of that superiority.
- The place of God's choice.
- Of his delight
- Of his abode.
- Of his continuance for ever. G. R.