Verse 13. The pastures are clothed with flocks. The clothing of man first clothes the fields. Pastures appear to be quite covered with numerous flocks when the grass is abundant.
The valleys also are covered over with corn. The arable as well as the pasture land is rendered fruitful. God's clouds, like ravens, bring us both bread and flesh. Grazing flocks and waving crops are equally the gifts of the Preserver of men, and for both praise should be rendered. Sheep shearing and harvest should both be holiness unto the Lord.
They shout for joy. The bounty of God makes the earth vocal with his praise, and in opened ears it lifts up a joyous shout. The cattle low out the divine praises, and the rustling ears of grain sing a soft sweet melody unto the Lord.
"Ye forests bend, ye harvests wave to him;
Breathe your still song into the reaper's heart,
As home he goes beneath the joyous moon.
Bleat out afresh, ye hills; ye mossy rocks
Retain the sound; the broad responsive low
Ye valleys raise; for the GREAT SHEPHERD reigns,
And his unsuffering kingdom yet will come."
They also sing. The voice of nature is articulate to God; it is not only a shout, but a song. Well ordered are the sounds of animate creation as they combine with the equally well tuned ripple of the waters, and sighings of the wind. Nature has no discords. Her airs are melodious, her chorus is full of harmony. All, all is for the Lord; the world is a hymn to the Eternal, blessed is he who, hearing, joins in it, and makes one singer in the mighty chorus.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 13. The phrase, the pastures are clothed with flocks, cannot be regarded as the vulgar language of poetry. It appears peculiarly beautiful and appropriate, when we consider the numerous flocks which whitened the plains of Syria and Canaan. In the eastern countries, sheep are much more prolific than with us, and they derive their name from their great fruitfulness; bringing forth, as they are said to do, "thousands and ten thousands in their streets," Psalms 144:13 . They, therefore, formed no mean part of the wealth of the East. James Anderson, in editorial Note to Calvin in loc.
Verse 13. The hills, where not tilled, were bushy and green, and sprinkled with numerous flocks; the valleys broad and covered with a rich crop of wheat; the fields full of reapers and gleaners in the midst of the harvest, with asses and camels receiving their loads of sheaves, and feeding unmuzzled and undisturbed upon the ripe grain. Edward Robinson.
Verse 13. It may seem strange, that he should first tell us, that they shout for joy, and then add the feebler expression, that they sing; interposing, too, the insensitive particle, pa, aph, they shout for joy, YEA, they also sing. The verb, however, admits of being taken in the future tense, they shall sing; and this denotes a continuation of joy, that they would rejoice, not only one year, but through the endless succession of the seasons. I may add, what is well known, that in Hebrew the order of expression is frequently inverted in this way. John Calvin.
Verse 13. They also sing. They ardently sing: such is the real meaning of pa; primarily "heat" or "warmth," thence "ardour, passion, anger," and thence again "the nostrils," as the supposed seat of this feeling. John Mason Good.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 9-13. A Harvest Sermon.
- The general goodness of God, Visiting the earth
in rotation of seasons: "Seed time and harvest," etc.
- The greatness of his resources: The river of
God, which is full of water; not like Elijah's
brook, which dried up.
- The variety of his benefactions: Corn; Water;
Blessest the springing thereof, etc.
- The perpetuity of his blessings; Crownest the
year. E. G. G.
Verse 13. The song of nature and the ear which hears it.