The pastures of the wilderness - Even the places which are not cultivated have their suffiency of moisture, so as to render them proper places of pasturage for cattle. The terms wilderness and desert, in the Sacred Writings, mean, in general, places not inhabited and uncultivated, though abounding with timber, bushes, and herbage.
The little hills rejoice - Literally, The hills gird themselves with exultation. The metaphor appears to be taken from the frisking of lambs, bounding of kids, and dancing of shepherds and shepherdesses, in the joy-inspiring summer season.
They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness - The waste places, or the waste parts of the land; the uncultivated places, the places of rocks and sands. The word wilderness in the Scriptures does not mean, as with us, a tract of country covered with trees, but a place of barren rocks or sands - an uncultivated or thinly inhabited region. See the notes at Matthew 3:1; notes at Isaiah 35:1. In those wastes, however, there would be valleys, or places watered by springs and streams that would afford pastures for flocks and herds. Such are the “pastures of the wilderness” referred to here. God‘s passing along those valleys would seem to “drop,” or distil, fertility and beauty, causing grass and flowers to spring up in abundance, and clothing them with luxuriance.
And the little hills rejoice on every side - Margin, as in Hebrew, are girded with joy. That is, Joyful, happy scenes surround them; or, they seem to be full of joy and happiness. The valleys and the hills alike seem to be made glad. The following remarks of Professor Hackett (“Illustrations of Scripture,” p. 30), will explain this passage. “Another peculiarity of the desert is that, though the soil is sandy, it rarely consists, for successive days together, of mere sand; it is interspersed, at frequent intervals, with clumps of coarse grass and low shrubs, affording very good pasturage, not only for camels, the proper tenants of the desert, but for sheep and goats. The people of the villages on the borders of the desert are accustomed to lead forth their flocks to the pastures found there. We frequently passed on our way shepherds so employed; and it was interesting to observe as a verification of what is implied in the Saviour‘s statement Matthew 25:33, that the sheep and goats were not kept distinct, but intermixed with one another. The shepherds not only frequent the parts of the desert near their places of abode, but go often to a considerable distance from them; they remain absent for weeks and months, only changing their station from time to time, as their needs in respect to water and herbage may require. The incident related of Moses shows that the pastoral habits of the people were the same in his day: ‹Now Moses kept the flock of Jethro, his father-in-law, the priest of Midian; and he led the flock to the further part of the desert, even to Horeb,‘ Exodus 3:1. It is of the desert in this sense, as supplying to some extent the means of pasturage, that the prophet Joel speaks in Joel 1:19; Joel 2:22. The psalmist also says Psalm 65:12-13, with the same reference:
Thou crownest the year with thy goodness,
And thy paths drop fatness;
They drop fatness on the pastures of the wilderness.
Through the long years of drought and famine, Elijah prayed earnestly that the hearts of Israel might be turned from idolatry to allegiance to God. Patiently the prophet waited, while the hand of the Lord rested heavily on the stricken land. As he saw evidences of suffering and want multiplying on every side, his heart was wrung with sorrow, and he longed for power to bring about a reformation quickly. But God Himself was working out His plan, and all that His servant could do was to pray on in faith and await the time for decided action. PK 133.1
The apostasy prevailing in Ahab's day was the result of many years of evil-doing. Step by step, year after year, Israel had been departing from the right way. For generation after generation they had refused to make straight paths for their feet, and at last the great majority of the people had yielded themselves to the leadership of the powers of darkness. PK 133.2
About a century had passed since, under the rulership of King David, Israel had joyfully united in chanting hymns of praise to the Most High, in recognition of their entire dependence on Him for daily mercies. Listen to their words of adoration as then they sang: PK 133.3Read in context »