on Psalms 68 :15
The hill of God is as the hill of Bashan - This and the following verse should be read thus: "Is Mount Bashan the craggy mount, Mount Bashan, the mount of God? Why envy ye, ye craggy mounts? This is the mount of God in which he has desired to dwell." The Targum countenances this translation: Mount Moriah, the place where our fathers of old worshipped God, is chosen to build on it the house of the sanctuary, and Mount Sinai for the giving of the law. Mount Bashan, Mount Tabor, and Carmel are rejected; they are made as Mount Bashan."
on Psalms 68 :15
The hill of God - The phrase "the hill of God," or the mountain of God, is elsewhere applied in the Scriptures only to Mount Horeb or Sinai Exodus 3:1; Exodus 18:5; Exodus 24:13; 1 Kings 19:8, and to Mount Zion, Psalm 24:3; Isaiah 30:29. There is no reason for supposing that there is a reference here to Mount Horeb or Sinai, as the psalm does not particularly relate to that mountain, and as there is nothing in the psalm to bring that mountain into comparison with other mountains. The allusion is, I think, clearly to Mount Zion; and the idea is, that that mountain, though it was not distinguished for its elevation or grandeur - though it had nothing in itself to claim attention, or to excite wonder - yet, from the fact that it had been selected as the place where God was to be worshipped, had an honor not less than that of the loftiest mountain, or than those which showed forth the divine perfections by their loftiness and sublimity. There is connected with this, also, the idea that, although it might be less defensible by its natural position, yet, because God resided there, it was defended by his presence more certainly than loftier mountains were by their natural strength. It should be remarked, however, that many other interpretations have been given of the passage, but this seems to me to be its natural meaning.
Is as the hill of Bashan - Luther renders this, "The mount of God is a fruit-bearing hill; a great and fruitbearing mountain." On the word Bashan, see the notes at Isaiah 2:13; notes at Isaiah 33:9; notes at Psalm 22:12. Bashan was properly the region beyond Jordan, bounded on the north by Mount Hermon or the Anti-Libanus, and extending south as far as the stream Jabbok, and the mountains of Gilead. The "hill" of Bashan, or the "mountain of Bashan," was properly Mount Hermon - the principal mountain pertaining to Bashan. The name Bashan was properly given to the country, and not to the mountain. The mountain referred to - Hermon - is that lofty range which lies on the east of the Jordan, and in the northern part of the country - a range some twelve thousand feet in height. See the notes at Psalm 42:6. It is the most lofty and distinguished mountain in Palestine, and the idea here, as above expressed, is, that Mount Zion, though not so lofty, or not having so much in itself to attract attention, was not less honored, and not less safe, as being the special dwelling-place of God.
An high hill ... - Or rather; a mount of peaks or ridges as Bashan. Mount Hermon was not a single hill, or a detached mountain, but a chain of mountains - a range of lofty peaks or summits. So of Zion. It was by the presence and protection of God what Bashan was by its natural strength and grandeur. Comparatively low and unimportant as Zion was, it had in fact more in it to show what God is, and to constitute safety, than there was in the loftiness and grandeur of Bashan. The latter, though thus lofty and grand, had no "advantage" over Zion, but Zion might in every way be compared with that lofty range of hills which, by their natural position, their strength, and their grandeur, showed forth so much the greatness and glory of God. The teaching would be, as applied to Zion, or the Church, that there is "as much" there to show the divine perfections, to illustrate the greatness and the power of God, as there is in the most sublime works of nature; or that they who look upon the works of God in nature to learn his perfections, have no advantage over those who seek to learn what he is in his church.
on Psalms 68 :15