You have multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before you according to the joy in harvest…
We may look upon the words of our text as a kind of double picture set in a single frame, so that its component parts may be contrasted as well as compared together. On one side is placed before us a merry harvest scene — just like what you might see going on in many a smiling cornfield of this happy English land. On the other side is depicted the confused noise of battle, and warriors with garments rolled in blood, exulting in that fierce joy which foemen feel in prospect of hard earned victory. Gradually the tumult passes on, and the ground is strewn with the dead and dying, with here and there a broken chariot and many a shivered spear. And then the camp followers issue forth to strip the slain, and to carry off the spoil to their tents until the pursuers shall return, when it shall be divided share and share to every man with boisterous mirth and songs of revelry. You will see, therefore, that our attention is directed first of all to the joy of harvest — man's triumph in the labours of the field. And then we can almost fancy that we hear the ringing shout of victory as the battle sweeps across the plain. Dissimilar though such things may be, yet there is more than one connecting link between them. For "peace hath her victories no less renowned than war." We might even say that they are more real, more complete, more generally shared in. The rejoicing after some successful campaign is often loud and great; the news comes in, the cities are illuminated, the joy bells are rung, the excitement is intense, and outwardly there is every appearance of extreme delight; but it is only a one-sided gratification after all. For many feel, alas! how keenly, that the victory has been purchased at the cost of many a valued life, and that warfare is always accompanied by desolation, and mourning, and woe. But in harvest joy this is not the case. Here we have an unmingled glad. mess; especially in a year when the crops are reported from all quarters to be unusually good — the triumphant result of toil and industry rewarded by the fruits of the ground.
Parallel VersesKJV: Thou hast multiplied the nation, and not increased the joy: they joy before thee according to the joy in harvest, and as men rejoice when they divide the spoil.