on Psalms 36 :6
Thy righteousness is like the great mountains - כהררי אל keharerey El, like the mountains of God; exceeding high mountains; what, in the present language of geology, would be called primitive mountains, those that were formed at the beginning; and are not the effects of earthquakes or inundations, as secondary and alluvial mountains are supposed to be.
Thy judgments are a great deep - תהום רבה tehom rabbah, the great abyss; as incomprehensible as the great chaos, or first matter of all things which God created in the beginning, and which is mentioned Genesis 1:2, and darkness was on the face, תהום tehom, of the deep, the vast profound, or what is below all conjecturable profundity. How astonishing are the thoughts in these two verses! What an idea do they give us of the mercy, truth, righteousness, and judgments of God!
The old Psalter, in paraphrasing mountains of God, says, Thi ryghtwisnes, that es, ryghtwis men, er gastly hilles of God; for that er hee in contemplacioun, and soner resayves the lyght of Crist. Here is a metaphor taken from the tops of mountains and high hills first catching the rays of the rising sun. "Righteous men are spiritual hills of God; for they are high in contemplation, and sooner receive the light of Christ." It is really a very fine thought; and much beyond the rudeness of the times in which this Psalter was written.
Man and beast - Doth God take care of cattle? Yes, he appoints the lions their food, and hears the cry of the young ravens; and will he not provide for the poor, especially the poor of his people? He will. So infinitely and intensely good is the nature of God, that it is his delight to make all his creatures happy. He preserves the man, and he preserves the beast; and it is his providence which supplies the man, when his propensities and actions level him with the beasts that perish.
on Psalms 36 :6
Thy righteousness - Thy justice; that is, the justice of God considered as residing in his own nature; his justice in his laws; his justice in his providential dealings; his justice in his plan of delivering man from sin; his justice to the universe in administering the rewards and penalties of the law.
Is like the great mountains - Margin, as in Hebrew: "the mountains of God." The name "God" is thus, in the Scriptures, often given to that which is great or exalted, as God is the greatest Being that the mind can form any conception of. So in Psalm 80:10 : "The boughs thereof were like the goodly cedars," in the Hebrew, "cedars of God." Connecting his name with "mountains" or "cedars," we have the idea of "strength" or "greatness," as being especially the work of the Almighty. The idea here is, that as the mountains are the most stable of all the objects with which we are acquainted, so it is with the justice of God. It is as fixed as the everlasting hills.
Thy judgments - The acts and records which are expressive of thy judgment in regard to what is right and best; that judgment as it is expressed in thy law, and in thy dealings with mankind. The "judgment" of God in any matter may be expressed either by a declaration or by his acts. The latter is the idea now most commonly attached to the word, and it has come to be used almost exclusively to denote "afflictive" dispensations of His Providence, or expressions of His displeasure against sin. The word is not used in that exclusive sense in the Scriptures. It refers to any divine adjudication as to what is right, whether expressed by declaration or by act, and would include his adjudications in favor of that which is right as well as those against that which is wrong.
Are a great deep - The word rendered "deep" here means properly wave, billow, surge; then, a mass of waters, a flood, a deep; and the phrase "great deep" would properly refer to the ocean, its "depth" being one of the most remarkable things in regard to it. The "idea" here is, that as we cannot fathom the ocean or penetrate to its bottom, so it is with the judgments of God. They are beyond our comprehension, and after all our efforts to understand them, we are constrained, as in measuring the depths of the ocean, to confess that we cannot reach to the bottom of them. This is true in regard to his law, in regard to the principles of his government as he has declared them, and in regard to his actual dealings with mankind. It could not be otherwise than that in the administration of an infinite God there must be much that man, in his present state, could not comprehend. Compare Job 11:7-9; Isaiah 55:8-9.
O Lord, "thou preservest man and beast - literally, thou wilt "save;" that is, thou savest them from destruction. The idea is, that he keeps them alive; or that life, where it is continued, is always continued by his agency. The psalmist evidently sees in the fact here stated an illustration of what he had just said about the "greatness" of God in His providential agency and his general government. He was struck with His greatness, and with the incomprehensible nature of His power and agency, in the fact that he kept alive continually so many myriads of creatures upon the earth - so many hundred millions of human beings - so many thousand millions of wild beasts, reptiles, fish, birds, and insects - all dependent upon Him; that He provided for their needs, and that He protected them in the dangers to which they were exposed. And who can comprehend the extent of His law, and the wonderfulness of His Providence, in thus watching over and providing for the multitudes of animated beings that swarm in the waters, in the air, and on the earth?
on Psalms 36 :6
36:6 Mountains - Stedfast and unmoveable: eminent and conspicuous to all men. Judgments - The executions of thy counsels. Deep - Unsearchable, as the ocean. Man - The worst of men; yea, the brute - beasts have experience of thy care and kindness.