Psalms 65:1 « To the chief Musician, A Psalm [and] Song of David. » Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Sion: and unto thee shall the vow be performed.
A Psalm and Song of David] Made by him, as it is thought, when the people were delivered from that three years’ famine for the slaughter of the Gibeonites, 2 Samuel 21:1, and that three days’ pestilence for David’s sin, in numbering the people, 2 Samuel 24:13-15
Ver. 1. Praise waiteth for thee, O God, in Sion] Tibi silentinm, laus tibi, Deus, in Zion; so Beza rendereth it. There is first a deep silence in Sion, and then due praise; a silence of admiration, a silence of religious awe and devotion, such as was afterwards that in the Christian Church, Revelation 8:1, or a silence of expectation to receive mercies; and a praise, by way of retribution, for mercies received. Or, silence in all other places (not sensible of God’s favours), but praise in the Church, where God is magnified: first, for blessings proper and peculiar to his own people; secondly, for preserving commonwealths, and thereby providing graciously for human society; and, thirdly, for giving men all things richly to enjoy, as in the end of this psalm.
And unto thee shall the vow be performed] That is, solemn thanks shall be rendered. Thy people stand ready pressed with their praises and memories, as Joseph’s brethren once did with their presents, against the time that he showed himself.
Psalms 65:2 O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come.
Ver. 2. O thou that hearest prayer] And art thereby known to be the true God, 1 Kings 18:38-39, and no such dull deity as the heathens worshipped, Isaiah 45:16; Isaiah 45:19, Micah 7:17-18. O happy we that have to deal with such a prayer hearing, sin pardoning God! Psalms 65:3. Basil compareth prayer to a chain, the one end whereof is linked to God’s ear, and the other to man’s tongue.
Flectitur iratus voce rogante Deus.
Unto thee shall all flesh come] And well they may, since he keepeth open house; his mercy doors are ever wide open, as were the doors of the Aediles, or city chamberlains in Rome, that all who had occasion of complaint might have free access unto them at any time. A good housekeeper is seldom without company. Why ply we not the throne of grace upon such encouragement? Why, since we are not straitened in God, are we straitened in our own bowels? Why make we not ourselves happy by asking, since we may have but what we will of God, even all that heaven and his grace can afford us?
Psalms 65:3 Iniquities prevail against me: [as for] our transgressions, thou shalt purge them away.
Ver. 3. Iniquities prevail against me] And seek to choke my prayers; they prick me in the foot, as it were, that I cannot come to thee in prayer; or not with that confidence; but that is more than needs, since
As for our transgressions, thou shalt purge them away] So that if we turn from them they shall not hinder good things from us. No man was ever rejected by God for his confessed badness, as sundry have been for their supposed goodness: witness the publican and the Pharisee, Luke 18:9-14
Psalms 65:4 Blessed [is the man whom] thou choosest, and causest to approach [unto thee, that] he may dwell in thy courts: we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, [even] of thy holy temple.
Ver. 4. Blessed is the man whom thou choosest] Whom thou choosest for thy love, and then lovest him for thy choice.
And causest to approach unto thee] i.e. Effectually callest. Here vocation is fetched from the fountain (as is also justification in the former verse), viz. God’s free election. See that golden chain, Romans 8:30.
That he may dwell in thy courts] viz. To bear thy word, and partake of thine ordinances. For our Saviour telleth the Jews, He that is of God heareth God’s words; ye therefore hear him not, because ye are not of God, John 8:4; our worship scorners, then, have a black brand upon them.
We shall be satisfied] He maketh himself one of the number of God’s elect (as Paul also doth often), and therehence concludeth to himself and the rest a beatifical communion of all good things.
Psalms 65:5 [By] terrible things in righteousness wilt thou answer us, O God of our salvation; [who art] the confidence of all the ends of the earth, and of them that are afar off [upon] the sea:
Ver. 5. By terrible things in righteousness wilt thou answer us] As he did when he gave the law in Mount Sinai, and ever after in his oracles and ordinances. God loveth at once familiarity and fear; familiarity in our conversation, and fear in his worships; he loves to be acquainted with men in the walks of their obedience; yet he taketh state upon him in his ordinances, and will be trembled at in his word and judgments.
Who art the confidence of all the ends of the earth, &c.] i.e. Of all thine elect abroad the whole world.
Of them that are afar off upon the sea] The islanders,
Ut penitus toto disiuncti abs orbe Britanni.
Venice is said to be situated six miles distant from any firm land, and built in the heart of the Adriatic Sea, the waters whereof do flow into the city, and beat upon it, through all the streets thereof. Now, it may be hoped that God hath many souls even in such places; since there are thought to be no fewer than twenty thousand Protestants in Seville itself, a chief city of Spain (Spec. Europ.). It was long since foretold that the isles should wait for God’s law, Isaiah 42:4; Isaiah 51:5; Isaiah 60:9.
Psalms 65:6 Which by his strength setteth fast the mountains; [being] girded with power:
Ver. 6. Which by his strength setteth fast the mountains] Why, then, should it seem incredible that he will do all manner of good to his elect, for whose sake he made all at first, and still upholdeth all by the word of his power? so he doth also states and kingdoms (oft compared to mountains in Scripture; see Jeremiah 51:25, Isaiah 13:2, Zechariah 4:7), that the Lord God might dwell among men, viz. in his Church and chosen people.
Being girded with power] With prevailing power, as the word signifieth.
Psalms 65:7 Which stilleth the noise of the seas, the noise of their waves, and the tumult of the people.
Ver. 7. Which stilleth the noise of the seas] Making a calm at his pleasure; he hath the sea itself, that brutish creature, at his beck and check; so hath he also devils, and masterless men, who seek to subvert civil government, and to lay all level. Hence it followeth,
The noise of their waves, and the tumult of the people] When they are in hurly-burly, and contentions among themselves (Virg. Æneid).
- Saevitque animis ignobile vulgus,
Iamque faces et saxa volant, furor arms ministrat.
Now it is God only that can assuage these tumults; others may stir strife, but God only can stint it, saith Pindarus, Rαδιον πολιν σεισαι και του τυχοντος, αλλ αυθις καθισταναι μονου θεου θερας. It is he alone
Qui terram inertem, qui mare temperat
Ventosum, et urbes regnaque tristia,
Divosque mortalesque turbas
Imperio regit unus aequo.
(Horat. Od. 4, lib. 3.)
Psalms 65:8 They also that dwell in the uttermost parts are afraid at thy tokens: thou makest the outgoings of the morning and evening to rejoice.
Ver. 8. They also that dwell in the uttermost parts, &c.] And are, therefore, Duri, horridi, immanes, latrociniis dediti, omnium denique pessimi, not farther distant from the sun than from all humanity, except the Sun of righteousness shine upon them, as he hath done upon us here in England.
Are afraid at thy tokens] Thy notable works, thine executions.
Thou makest the outgoings of the morning, &c.] That is, the inhabitants of east and west, or the vicissitudes of day and night, whereby men are occasioned to praise and glorify God. See Jeremiah 31:35. The Jews at this day, as they are bound to say over a hundred benedictions every day, so these two among the rest: when they go forth in a morning they say, Blessed be he who hath created the greater lights; and in the evening they say, Blessed be he who causeth the darkness of the night (R. Solom. in loc.).
Psalms 65:9 Thou visitest the earth, and waterest it: thou greatly enrichest it with the river of God, [which] is full of water: thou preparest them corn, when thou hast so provided for it.
Ver. 9. Thou visitest the earth, &c.] i.e. With a gracious rain, and so makest it to become an alma parens to men and beasts.
With the river of God] With thy sweet showers coming out of the clouds, as out of a great watering pot, Psalms 147:8, Pluvia de coelo replens flumina (Aben Ezra).
Thou preparest them corn] As a good housekeeper doth for his family. How easy were it with God to starve us all!
Psalms 65:10 Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly: thou settlest the furrows thereof: thou makest it soft with showers: thou blessest the springing thereof.
Ver. 10. Thou waterest the ridges, &c.] The forementioned mercy of God in producing a harvest he further amplifieth and explaineth by the parts, that men might be the more sensible; and not, like brute beasts, content themselves with a natural use of the creature, but taste and see how good the Lord is.
Psalms 65:11 Thou crownest the year with thy goodness; and thy paths drop fatness.
Ver. 11. Thou crownest the year with thy goodness] While each month produceth its several fruits or commodities; so that the whole is, as it were, a crown royal; but especially a year of extraordinary plenty, such as was the last of Queen Mary, when wheat was sold for five shillings a quarter, malt for four shillings and eightpence, and a bushel of rye for fourpence (Mr Clark’s Martyrol.).
Thy paths drop] Thy wagon tracks; the clouds are God’s chariot; or, wheresoever thou passest there is plenty.
Psalms 65:12 They drop [upon] the pastures of the wilderness: and the little hills rejoice on every side.
Ver. 12. Rejoice on every side] Heb. Are girded with joy, which in time of drought seems to be clad in sackcloth.
Psalms 65:13 The pastures are clothed with flocks; the valleys also are covered over with corn; they shout for joy, they also sing.
Ver. 13. The pastures, &c.] Here is stately rhetoric all along.
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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Psalms 65". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week after Epiphany