My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil
Which some, as Aben Ezra, take to be a prayer or wish, that the doctrine spoken by him might fall upon men like rain and dew on the earth, penetrate into their hearts, and influence them, and produce good effects there; but the words rather seem to be a prophecy of what would be: and by his "doctrine" and "speech", which signify the same thing, is meant, not his law, which was fiery, this cooling, like rain and dew; that was like a storm, this as a gentle rain; that was terrible, this desirable; that was distressing, this refreshing, this no other than the Gospel, the speech of God, the doctrine of Christ, the doctrine of grace, and mercy through him, and of life and salvation by him: it has its name from a word, which signifies to "receive" F6; for it was received from God by Moses, and by the prophets after him, by Christ himself, as Mediator, and by the apostles from him, and is worthy of the acceptation of all: this is comparable to "rain", because, like that, it comes from heaven, is the gift of God, tarries not for man, but comes without any desert of man, and often without his desire; falls by divine direction in places and on persons, as the Lord's will and pleasure is, and that in great plenty, with a fulness of spiritual blessings, and precious promises; and for its effects, it cools the conscience, filled with fiery wrath and indignation, moistens and softens the hard heart, like the dry and parched earth, refreshes and revives the drooping spirit, and makes barren souls fruitful in grace and good works: and it is like "dew", which also is from heaven, and of God, fell in the night of the world; and as that falls in a temperate air, so this, when the stormy dispensation of the law was over; and though but a small thing in the eyes of the world, is of great influence, the power of God unto salvation, very grateful and delightful, and of great moment and importance; hereby the love and favour of God is diffused, the blessings of grace dispensed, the heavenly manna communicated, and the Spirit and his graces received: and this, like rain and dew, "drops" and "distils" silently, not in a noisy manner as the law; insensibly, falling on persons at an unawares, in great abundance, like the drops of rain and dew; and effectually, working in all that believe: dew was a symbol of doctrine with the Egyptians F7: this is further illustrated:
as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers
the first of those words for "rain", according to Jarchi, has the signification of a stormy wind, but that seems to contradict the gentle dropping and distilling of it; rather it signifies "hairs" F8, and denotes, as our version, the smallness of the rain, being as small, thin, and light as hairs; and the latter word F9 has the signification of millions and thousands, there being such vast, numbers as those in a shower of rain: the "tender herb" and "grass" may denote the multitude of persons to whom the Gospel would come, and be made useful; and may describe sensible sinners, tender consciences, such as are weak in themselves, with whom it is the day of small things, are newborn babes, little children; who are just springing up in grace, as among the grass, and as willows by the water courses: now all this is said by Moses, to recommend his doctrine, as well as what follows.
F6 (yxql) a (xql) "accepit".
F7 Hor. Hieroglyph. l. 1. c. 26.
F8 (Mryev) a (rev) "pilus", Lev. xiii. 10.
F9 (Mybybr) a (bbr) "multum", see Psal. cxliv. 13.