65:1. It is the duty of grateful people to render thanks to God in the sanctuary. Praise is silent before God. The heart is so full that momentarily it can find no means of expression. Silence can be as full of praise as song and shout. In respectful silence the believers can perform their vows in offerings at the sanctuary.
65:2. Yahweh is the God who hears prayer. He is so addressed because once again he had demonstrated his willingness to respond to the cries of his people. David foresees the day when Yahweh’s sanctuary would become a house of prayer for all nations.
65:3. The assembled congregation speaks of itself first as an individual (“against me”), then as an aggregate of individuals (“our transgressions”). The worshipers cannot defeat sin, but God can. He will “purge away” (cover, blot out) that sin.
65:4. A beatitude is pronounced on those fortunate enough to be chosen to approach God in the sanctuary. Visiting the sanctuary was a badge of membership in the Old Covenant Israel. True believers found satisfaction in that holy place.
65:5. In the future, as in the past, Yahweh will prove his righteousness by awe-inspiring deeds on behalf of his people in answer to their prayers. God’s acts are “terrible” in that they strike fear into the hearts of his enemies, and fill his people with reverent awe. “Righteousness” is the principle of the divine government; it is closely related to “salvation.” By righteousness, God’s honor is pledged to answer prayer and deliver his people. Yahweh’s mighty acts on behalf of his people in destroying their oppressors will lead all the oppressed and needy throughout the world to turn to him in trust.
65:6–8. Yahweh’s power is demonstrated in that he created and sustains the mountains, the strongest and most solid parts of the earth. He controls the turbulent elements of nature and the tumultuous hosts of the nations which they symbolize. These mighty works impress distant people. From the furthest east to the furthest west he makes earth’s inhabitants to shout for joy.
65:9–10. The special object of this psalm is now taken up. David wishes to express thanksgiving for the plenty of the year. He gratefully acknowledges that the rains which have fertilized the soil were God’s gift. God’s “stream” is the rain, with which he irrigates the land as out of a brimming aqueduct. The rains had prepared the ground for the seed and fostered its growth.
65:11–12. The Lord had crowned the year with his goodness, i.e., added fresh beauty and perfection to a year already marked by special bounty. Wherever he traverses on the earth he leaves rich blessings. This again is probably a reference to the latter rain which was more uncertain than the early rain, and was generally regarded as special blessing. The pastures of the uncultivated countryside and hills rejoice over the outpouring of the rain.
65:13. Sheep and wheat in abundance clothe the land because of the bountiful rains.