Verse 6. Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well. Traversing joyfully the road to the great assembly, the happy pilgrims found refreshment even in the dreariest part of the road. As around a well men meet and converse cheerfully, being refreshed after their journey, so even in the vale of tears, or any other dreary glen, the pilgrims to the skies find sweet solace in brotherly communion and in anticipation of the general assembly above, with its joys unspeakable. Probably there is here a local allusion, which will never now be deciphered, but the general meaning is clear enough. There are joys of pilgrimage which make men forget the discomforts of the road.
The rain also filleth the pools. God gives to his people the supplies they need while traversing the roads which he points out for them. Where there were no natural supplies from below, the pilgrims found an abundant compensation in waters from above, and so also shall all the sacremental host of God's elect. Ways, which otherwise would have been deserted from want of accommodation, were made into highways abundantly furnished for the travellers' wants, because the great annual pilgrimages led in that direction; even so, Christian converse and the joy of united worship makes many duties easy and delightful which else had been difficult and painful.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 6. Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well, etc. I consider the valley here mentioned to be the same as the valley of Bochim, mentioned in Judges 2:1 Judges 2:5 , which received its name from the weeping of the Jews, when they were rebuked by an angel for their disobedience to the commands of God. This valley is called m'kkh, Habbcaim, in 2 Samuel 5:24 , the h of hkk to weep being changed into a. Josephus mentions, that the circumstance there related occurred en toij alsesi toij kaloumenoij Klauymwsi. Antiquities Jud. lib 7 c 4. my'kkh, Habb'caim, is rendered in that verse by the LXX Klauymwn, weepings; and in Judges 2:1 kykkh, Habbocim, is also rendered by the LXX. Klauymwn, weepings. The valley mentioned in Psalms 84:6 is called by the LXX. Klauymwn. I am inclined therefore to think, that in this place, joining to 'kkh the m of the following word, and supplying y before it, we ought to read nymy'kkh instead of ny`m'kkh... All the ancient versionists seem to have thought, that the valley in this verse received its name from hkk, bacah, to weep. I translate the verse, Passing through the valley of Bochim, they will make it a fountain even of blessings; it shall be covered with the former rain. The Psalm has been supposed to have been written by Jehoshaphat. Probably he passed through Bochim, which seems to have been an arid valley, when he marched against the Moabites and Ammonites; see 2 Chronicles 20. After the victory the army of Jehoshaphat assembled in a valley, where they blessed the Lord; and from this circumstance it received the name of Berachah: see 2 Chronicles 20:26 . Perhaps the word tfkrk in this verse has an allusion to that circumstance; and perhaps the valley of Berachah was, before that glorious occasion, called the valley of Bochim. Richard Dixon.
Verse 6. Passing through the valley of weeping make him, that is, Jehovah, a fountain. That is, they trust, and from him look for help, who having plain paths in their mind must pass through many difficulties. Similar help is sought by those, who, suffering from a scanty supply of water, press on through a dry valley, and yet do not despair or grow weary, but have God for their fountain, from which they drink and are refreshed. Venema.
Verse 6. The valley of Baca. Valley of tear shrubs. E. W. Hengstenberg.
Verse 6. Baca, signifieth a mulberry tree, which loves to grow in dry places that be sandy and barren, 2 Samuel 5:23-24 , or 1 Chronicles 14:14-15 . Now they whose hearts be set upon God's house and holy worship, when they go thitherward through a sandy, dry, barren valley, do make it a well, -- that is, repute and count it as a well, the word rhrtyvy signifieth to put or set, as Genesis 3:15 ; Psalms 21:6 Psalms 21:12 83:11,13. For thus will they say with themselves, thinking upon the comfort of God's favour to whom they go, that it shall be to them as the rain of blessings, a plentiful and liberal rain upon the ground. Thomas Pierson.
Verse 6. Make it a well. That which seemed an impediment turns to a furtherance; at least, no misery can be so great, no estate so barren, but a godly heart can make it a well, out of which to draw forth water of comfort; either water to cleanse, and make it a way to repentance; or water to cool, and make it a way to patience; or water to moisten, and make it a way of growing in grace; and if the well happen to be dry, and afford no water from below, yet the rain shall fill their pools, and supply them with water from above. If natural forces be not sufficient, there shall be supernatural graces added to assist them, that though troubles of the world seem rubs in the way to blessedness, yet in truth they are none, they hinder not arriving at the mark we aim at, they hinder us not from being made members of Sion, they hinder us not from approaching the presence of God. No, my soul, they are rather helps, for by this means we go from strength to strength, from strength of patience, to strength of hope; from strength of hope, to strength of faith, to strength of vision; and then will be accomplished that which David speaks here; Blessed is the man whose strength is in God, and in whose heart his ways are. Sir Richard Baker.
Verse 6. The rain. Little as there may be of water, that little suffices on their way. It is a well to them. They find only "pools (which) the early rain has (barely) covered" -- but are content with the supply by the way. It is as good and sufficient to them as if showers of the heavy autumnal rains had filled the well. Pilgrims forget the scanty supply at an inn, when they have abundance in view at the end. Israelites going up to the Passover made light of deficient water, for their hearts were set on reaching Jerusalem. Andrew A. Bonar.
Verse 6-7. The most gloomy present becomes bright to them: passing through even a terrible wilderness, they turn it into a place of springs, their joyous hope and the infinite beauty of the goal, which is worth any amount of toil and trouble, afford them enlivening comfort, refreshing, strengthening in the midst of the arid steppe. Not only does their faith bring forth water out of the sand and rocks of the desert, but God also on his part lovingly anticipates their love, and rewardingly anticipates their faithfulness: a gentle rain, like that which refreshes the sown fields in the autumn, descends from above and enwraps the valley of Baca in a fulness of blessing... the arid steppe becomes resplendent with a flowery festive garment ( Isaiah 35:1-19 ), not to outward appearance, but to them spiritually, in a manner none the less true and real. And whereas under ordinary circumstances, the strength of the traveller diminishes in proportion as he has traversed more and more of his toilsome road, with them it is the very reverse; they go from strength to strength. Franz Delitzsch.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 5-7. The blessed people are described,
- By their earnest desire and resolution to take this journey, though they dwelt far off from the tabernacle, Psalms 84:5 .
- By their painful passage, yet some refreshments by the way, Psalms 84:6 .
- By their constant progress, till they came to the place they aimed at, Psalms 84:7 . T. Manton.
- The valley of Baca. Of this valley we may observe,
- It is much frequented.
- Unpleasant to flesh and blood.
- Very healthful.
- Very safe.
- Very profitable.
- The toilsome effort: make it a well.
- Comfort may be obtained in the deepest trouble.
- Comfort must be obtained by exertion.
- Comfort obtained by one is of use to others, as a well may be.
- The heavenly supply. The rain also filleth the pools. All is from God; effort is of no avail without him.