15 million Ukrainian are displaced by Russia's war.
Millions miss a meal or two each day.
Help us change that! Click to donate today!

Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

Psalms 110

Verse 1

Though His reign on earth shall then openly begin, He shall, as God, no less than now, continue to sit on His heavenly throne, which he mounted at His ascension. Acts 2:31-35 goes upon the supposition that His sitting on His invisible throne now is for the purpose of making His foes His footstool. Other passages show that the consummation of their overthrow shall begin just before the millennial visible reign, and be completed at its close, (Revelation 19:1-21; Revelation 20:1-15; Revelation 21:1-27.) The Hebrew, until, often marks a process continued up to a certain point (Genesis 3:19). Messiah does not even now sit inactive, but reigns (Psalms 29:10); though the fullness of His power is to be manifested at the millennium.

Verse 2

The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.

The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion - i:e., thy strong rod. Not a sceptre, but a rod of slaughter and punishment [ maTeeh (H4294)] (Jeremiah 48:17; Ezekiel 19:11-12; Ezekiel 19:14; Isaiah 9:4; Isaiah 10:5; Isaiah 10:15; Isaiah 14:5; Ezekiel 7:11). The rod, like the sharp, two-edged sword out of His mouth (Revelation 1:16), called "the rod of His mouth" (Isaiah 11:4), symbolizes not government, but victory (over) and punishment of resisting enemies (Psalms 2:9; Revelation 2:27). The rod of Moses, wherewith he was empowered to inflict the plagues on Egypt, is a type of the rod of judgment in Messiah's hand (Isaiah 10:26).

Out of Zion - the ancient seat of David's royal line, which culminated in Messiah; the center from which went forth the Gospel Law at the beginning of our dispensation, and from which it shall go forth with greater power in the last days (Psalms 2:6; Isaiah 2:3-4; Micah 4:2-3; Luke 1:32-33).

Rule thou - not 'reign,' but 'lord it over' [ rªdeeh (H7287)]. The imperative expresses a gratulatory prophecy.

In the midst of thine enemies - not merely in some corner of them. Christ rules on every side now, however enemies rage and oppose His Kingdom and His people round about. Or rather, the phrase refers to His future reign, and is an idiom for '(Thou shalt rule) openly as Supreme Lord over them;' their opposition then having been constrained to cease.

Verse 3

Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.

Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power. The King, Messiah, has not only "enemies," but a "people" peculiarly His own, who are also His warriors. 'In seasons of danger all subjects are also warriors: he is a bad servant who dares to stand still when he sees the general advancing' (Hengstenberg). The Hebrew [ nªdaabowt (H5071)] is 'thy people of (or, are) free-will gifts.' 'A people of free-will gifts' is a people freely consecrating themselves to the Lord. So Psalms 68:9, "a plentiful rain" - literally, a rain of liberalities. The image is from the free-will offerings in the temple (Exodus 25:2; Exodus 35:29; Exodus 36:3; 1 Chronicles 29:14; 1 Chronicles 29:17). The parallel passage which David had in mind was Judges 5:2; Judges 5:9, "when the people willingly offered themselves" - namely, as soldiers for the war in the cause of the Lord and Israel. So 2 Chronicles 17:16. So here it is for the battle of God Almighty that willing soldiers offer themselves to serve under Messiah against the enemy, both in the present "good fight of faith" (1 Timothy 6:12), and in the final and decisive conflict (Revelation 19:14; Revelation 16:14: cf. Isaiah 66:20; Romans 12:1). The ground of their thus giving themselves as free-will offerings follows in Psalms 110:4 - namely, the mediating priesthood of Messiah. They unreservedly, in the present time of warfare, are moved by "the power" of God's Spirit (2 Timothy 1:7; Acts 1:8; Luke 24:49) to dedicate themselves to God through their High Priest. "The day of" Messiah's "power" is the day when He shall manifest openly that "power" which He now wields unobserved by the worldly. Revelation 11:17, "thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and reigned." It answers to 'the rod of His strength' sent out of Zion, Psalms 110:2: cf. also 2 Peter 1:16. The Hebrew [ chaayil (H2428)] is the same for "power" here, and "valiantly," Psalms 108:13 and Numbers 24:18.

In the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth. So the accents require the clauses to be joined. The English version reading is more probable than that which alters a Hebrew letter-`on the mountains of holiness.' "In the beauties of holiness" is a poetical phrase for 'in holy garments,' such as those worn by the high priest on the great day of atonement (Leviticus 16:4). Psalms 29:2 is not parallel; because there the singular is used, "in the beauty of holiness" - i:e., 'in the beautiful sanctuary.' But here the plural (Revelation 19:14) is parallel in sense, and refers to the same coming event. Though now, too, Messiah's people wear as their priestly garb the beauties of holiness unseen by the world, then their king-priesthood and its beauties shall be manifested. Compare Colossians 3:10; 1 Peter 3:4, with Isaiah 61:10. David, at the bringing in of the ark to Zion, wore sacerdotal garments (2 Samuel 6:1-23), thereby typifying the heavenly garments of Messiah and His army at the future restoring again of the kingdom to Israel (Acts 1:6).

From the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth - literally, 'out of the womb of the morning, heaven to thee (is) thy youth dew;' i:e., thy ever-youthful soldiery (Isaiah 40:30-31). Messiah's warriors, clothed in holy attire as the 'royal priesthood' (Exodus 19:6; 1 Peter 2:5; 1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:6), resemble the dew in their beauty, vigour, and countless numbers. The dew of Messiah is similarly associated with Christ's coming, and the resurrection of the saints with Him (Isaiah 26:19). On the attribution of a womb to the morning-heaven, cf. Job 38:8; Job 38:28-29. "The remnant of Jacob," in Micah 5:7, is called "a dew from the Lord," in respect to its numbers and fresh vigour. It shall fall, overwhelming the enemies, "as the dew falleth on the ground" (2 Samuel 17:12). The dew comes pure from heaven, even as Messiah's people are 'born from above,' (John 3:3, margin.) The dew glistening in the morning light, after the night has passed, symbolizes the spiritual seed sprung from Messiah, "the dayspring from on high," who has dispelled the darkness of pagandom and the moonlight of the Mosaic dispensation (cf. Hosea 6:3). Others translate, 'the dew of thy birth,' referring it to Messiah's own pure sinless conception. The Syriac and the Septuagint apply it to Messiah, with some variation of reading. But this verse evidently refers to 'His people,' as the parallelism of the second clause to the first shows. The ground of their willing spirit, beauty of attire, and ever-fresh youthfulness, is stated in Psalms 110:4 as due to the everlasting priesthood of their King.

Verse 4

The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.

The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek - who in Zion ("Salem," Hebrews 7:1) united the priestly with the kingly office. David could bring judgment on his people, but could not effect an atonement and reconciliation (2 Samuel 24:17). He was not a priest. The Son of David, our ever continuing Priest (as contrasted with the Aaronic priests, ever needing, through death, renewal) puts away the sin of His people (God's hand having been against Him instead of against us), so that they wear the holy garment of His perfectly imputed righteousness, and shall be finally sanctified wholly. God Himself "swears" irrevocably (Numbers 23:19) for our assurance, that this everlasting Priest is of His own appointment. The final victory of Messiah's people over the world and Satan is therefore certain. The oath of God did not accompany the Aaronic priesthood, as it does our Melchizedek-like Priest, who "is made not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life" (see notes, Hebrews 7:1-3; Hebrews 7:16-28). "After the order of Melchizedek" is explained, Hebrews 7:15, "after the similitude of Melchizedek." The oath of covenant on the part of the Father to the Son is for the comfort of Messiah's people. Uzziah's punishment for his usurpation of the functions of priest shows that David cannot be the King-Priest here described (2 Chronicles 26:16-21). The extraordinary oath of God shows that the King-Priesthood here is something unparalleled. David died, but this Melchizedek-like Priest lives forever. Zechariah 6:9-15, especially 13, similarly describes Messiah - "He shall sit and rule upon His throne, and He shall be a Priest upon His throne."

Verse 5

The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath.

The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath - the description of the final and decisive blow inflicted by Messiah and His hosts on the enemies. David, as representative of Israel, addresses Messiah: 'the Lord ( 'Adonaay (H136)) at thy (Messiah's) right hand' resumes Psalms 110:1 (cf. Psalms 109:31). His sitting at the right hand of Yahweh now ensures that 'the Lord (Hebrew, 'Adonaay (H136)) shall stand at His (Messiah's) right hand,' as His Almighty Ally, in striking through hostile kings in the coming day of His wrath. As in Psalms 109:31 He stood at the right hand, and helped the seed of David when poor (i:e., Christ in His humiliation), so here, in His exaltation, He stands at Messiah's right hand, and by Him smites through kings. I prefer in this interpretation, which is Hengstenberg's, to read Yahweh for 'Adonaay (H136), for Yahweh, in Psalms 110:1, represented God the Father, and 'Adonaay (H136), God the Son. If we retain 'Adonaay (H136), Messiah seems to be meant by it, as in Psalms 110:1, He is represented at the right hand of God the Father; and He is the subject of the verbs, "judge ... fill,' etc. in Psalms 110:6-7. 'Adonaay (H136) Messiah at GOD'S right hand (cf. Psalms 110:1) strikes through kings, etc. Eighteen manuscripts and one edition of Kennicott read Yahweh for 'Adonaay (H136) (Rogers). "The day of His wrath" is 'the day of His power' (Psalms 110:3; Psalms 2:5; Psalms 2:12: cf. Psalms 68:21-23; Psalms 2:9; Psalms 18:38; Revelation 6:17; Revelation 11:18).

Verse 6

He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries.

He shall judge among the heathen. "He" - namely, Messiah. "The pagan" are the nations and peoples confederate against Him.

He shall fill (the places) with the dead bodies - rather supply the ellipsis from the end of the verse with 'the earth,' instead of "the places."

He shall wound the heads over many countries - Hebrew, singular, 'He shall wound the head (of his enemies) upon the wide earth,' in contrast to Messiah, who 'shall lift up the head' (Psalms 110:7). The head must be taken, not figuratively for a leader or prince, but in its literal sense, as in Psalms 110:7; so in Psalms 110:6. So Psalms 68:21. In Joshua 10:24 Joshua made the captains put their feet upon the necks of the kings (cf. Psalms 110:1, and Habakkuk 3:13-14, where, however, "head" seems to be used in the figurative sense. The singular may possibly hint at there being ONE Antichrist over the many confederate peoples who oppose Messiah. So explain 'He shall wound the head of him who is over many countries of the earth' (Revelation 13:14; Revelation 16:14; Revelation 17:12-14; Revelation 19:19-21).

Verse 7

He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head.

He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head. He shall be like an ardent warrior who, in pursuing the enemy ("in the way"), does not turn in to any place of entertainment to refresh himself, but contents himself with water, which he hastily drinks from any brook or pool [ nachal (H5158), properly a valley in the channel of which rain forms a pool]. The point is His hasty refreshment amidst His untiring zeal for the honour of God. The allusion is not specially (as Hengstenberg thinks) to Samson's being refreshed by the water produced by God at Lehi (Judges 15:15-19); for there is no mention there of "a brook," but 'a well.' The emphatic "therefore" that follows implies that this clause is the ground of the following "He shall lift up the head" (cf. Psalms 27:6). Christ's zeal appears in Hebrews 10:5-7: cf. Psalms 40:6; Luke 22:15; Luke 9:51; Isaiah 50:7. At the same time, it is His zeal against the foes of God at His coming in glory that is the prominent thought, as the general scope of the psalm is His glorification.

Thus Isaiah 59:17-19 is strictly parallel, "He put on ... vengeance ... and was clad with zeal as a cloak ... He will repay, fury ... recompence to His enemies ... So (answering to the "therefore," etc., here) shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and His glory from the rising of the sun." David, pursuing after the Amalekites, and pressing on over the brook Besor, where 200 of his men stayed behind through faintness, is a general type (1 Samuel 30:9-10). Gideon's 300 men, who, in their eagerness of faith, bowed not the knees to drink (Judges 7:5-6) is another. Samson, revived with water by the Lord at Lehi, is another (Judges 15:17-19). There is no one scripture to establish the sense given by the Fathers, "He shall drink of the brook" OF SUFFERING, though it is true that His exaltation is founded on His sufferings (Philippians 2:7-10; 1 Peter 1:11; Luke 24:26; Isaiah 53:12). To drink of the brook invariably means refreshment, as Elijah was refreshed at the brook Cherith (1 Kings 17:6: cf. Psalms 42:1). Matthew 20:22 has the image of a cup of suffering; but that is not a brook. Evidently His refreshment by God amidst His zeal against God's foes is the ground of exaltation implied in "therefore shall he lift up the head." This latter phrase hints by contrast at His previous humiliation (Psalms 109:22-25). Contrast with His lifting up the head in triumph hereafter, John 19:30, "Jesus bowed His head, and gave up the ghost." The stooping of the head to "drink" in the first clause, may hint at this, though the fact that this is not expressed, but simply "He shall drink," shows that not humiliation, but refreshment amidst ardent zeal, is the primary sentiment.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Psalms 110". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". 1871-8.