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Bible Commentaries

The Pulpit Commentaries

Psalms 110

Verses 1-7


ACCORDING to the recent criticism, which calls itself "advanced," this psalm is the composition of an unknown prophet, addressed to his earthly sovereign, communicating to him certain Divine utterances, or oracles (Psalms 110:1, Psalms 110:5), of great weight and strangeness, and promising him complete victory over all his enemies. The king is supposed by some to be David; by others, a Davidic monarch; by others, again, a Maccabee prince or king. According to its "title," it is "a Psalm of David;" according to our Lord's comment upon it, it is an address of David to the Messiah; according to every Christian commentator for fifteen centuries, it is Messianic and Davidic. Even Professor Cheyne, who inclines so strongly to the skeptical school, grants that "it may perhaps refer to the ideal or Messianic King himself," though he thinks it "equally possible to explain it of some historical ruler." The style and language are generally allowed to be Davidic, and many, even of the "advanced" critics, refer the composition to his time Ewald suggested that Gad or Nathan might have been the author. Recently, Canon Gore has embraced the skeptical view, and has suggested that our Lord either did not know who was the author, or did not mean to touch the question of the authorship. But the expressions, "David calleth him Lord," "David himself saith in the Book of Psalms, The Lord said unto my Lord," are difficult to explain away.

There seem to be no sufficient grounds for rejecting the traditional views of the authorship and the interpretation. The psalm belongs to the same class as Psalm it. It is wholly Messianic. David has had revelations made to him concerning the kingdom, the priesthood, and the ultimate victory of the Messiah over the entire power of evil. In a grand burst of song, rough and rugged, no doubt, but full of energy and genius, he addresses Messiah, and sets forth his praise and glory, the mighty offices which he holds, and the wonderful triumph which awaits him. Metrically, the psalm consists of two stanzas—one of three, and the other of four versos (verses 1-3, 4-7).

Psalms 110:1

The Lord said unto my Lord. Jehovah said unto him who is my Lord and Master, i.e. to Messiah, who is my liege Lord, although about to be, in some mysterious way, my descendant. Sit thou at my right hand. An exaltation too high for any merely human personage (comp. Acts 2:33; Acts 7:56; Hebrews 1:3). Until I make thine enemies thy footstool. To place the foot upon the neck or body of defeated enemies was a common practice of Oriental conquerors.

Psalms 110:2

The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion. "The rod of thy strength," or "thy strong scepter," is the same thing as "thy ruling power" (see Jeremiah 48:17; Ezekiel 19:11). The ruling power of Messiah was to go forth from Jerusalem (Acts 1:4-8; Acts 2:1-4). Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. Ac cording to Professor Cheyne, these are the words of Jehovah—a continuation of the address in Psalms 110:1; but they are more gene rally regarded as the words of the writer of the psalm, i.e; according to our exegesis, of David. He calls on the Messiah to take his power and reign.

Psalms 110:3

Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power. In the full sense of the word, Messiah can only rule over "willing" hearts. In the day of his power, his people will offer themselves gladly to be his soldiers and servants, and flock to his banner, as the Israelites to that of Deborah and Barak, when "the people willingly offered themselves" (Judges 5:2, Judges 5:9; comp. Isaiah 49:18-23; Isaiah 60:1-5; Isaiah 66:19-23). In the beauties of holiness. At once warriors and saints, meet for the service of one who was at once Priest (Psalms 110:4) and King. From the womb of the morning thou hast the dew of thy youth. This is the division of the clauses now generally adopted; but the intention of this last clause is very doubtful. Some understand it of Messiah himself, and explain, "As the dew of the morning, abundant, refreshing, spreading far and wide, miraculous, so is the might of thy perpetual youth"; others, and the larger number, interpret it of Messiah's army, "As dew out el the early morning dawn, descending by a silent, mysterious birth from the star-lit heaven, so comes to Messiah his mighty host of followers" (comp. Isaiah 26:19).

Psalms 110:4

The Lord hath sworn, and he will not repent. "A fresh revelation" (Cheyne). David, admitted into the councils of the Most High, has been made aware that the Messiah is, by God's decree, to be both King and Priest. God has "sworn" this, and will certainly not draw back from his oath. Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. Not, like ordinary priests, a priest for a few years, or for a lifetime, but a priest forever and ever (לעולם)—seeing "he ever liveth to make intercession for us" (Hebrews 7:25). And a priest "after the order of Melchizedek." Not, that is, after the order of Aaron, who was a priest and nothing more, but after that of Melchizedek, the elder priesthood, which combined the offices of priest and king (see Hebrews 5:6-10; Hebrews 7:1-10, Hebrews 7:20-28).

Psalms 110:5

The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath. "Adonai" here is certainly Jehovah (Cheyne). He stands at Messiah's right hand (comp. Psalms 16:8; Psalms 121:5) to protect and defend him, and give him victory in the battle. Psalms 110:5 carries on the description of Messiah's triumph begun in Psalms 110:3. The kings to be "struck through" are those that resist the progress of the gospel—Herod Agrippa, Galerius, Julian, and the like.

Psalms 110:6

He shall judge among the heathen; i.e. execute the royal office not only over Israel, but over the nations of the earth generally (comp. Psalms 7:9; Psalms 9:9; Psalms 96:10, etc.). He shall fill the places with the dead bodies; rather, he shall fill the earth with dead bodies; i.e. with the corpses of those whom he has slain while executing judgment. He shall wound the heads over many countries. Thus translated, the clause merely repeats Psalms 110:5. Perhaps a better rendering is that of Dr. Kay, "He shall smite him that is head over the wide earth"—either Satan or "the central power of the whole confederacy of evil."

Psalms 110:7

He shall drink of the brook in the way. Primarily, the action described is that of pausing in the pursuit of enemies to refresh one's self with a draught of water from a brook by the wayside; but, if we interpret the passage of the Messiah, we must understand the refreshing draughts which he ever draws from the well-spring of truth and righteousness as he advances on his career of victory. Therefore (i.e. because of these draughts) he shall lift up the head. He shall never faint nor be weary (Isaiah 40:28), but shall continue the pursuit of his enemies unremittingly, as Bishop Perowne says, "with renewed ardor, with head erect and kindling eye," never resting until at length all things shall have been put in subjection under his feet (Hebrews 2:8).


Psalms 110:1-7

The victorious King.

New Testament references leave no doubt as to the Messianic character of this psalm. "The image of a warrior destroying his foes may seem a strange representation of the establishment upon earth of Christ's spiritual dominion. But David described Messiah's victory over his enemies by images familiar to him as a warrior; so Ezekiel drew his images out of the forms of the Assyrian world." Here, in prophetic vision, we see Christ our Lord—

I. HOLDING THE MOST EXALTED STATION. He is at the right hand of God (verse 1). This is he who is "highly exalted;" who has "sat down at the right hand of God;" who receives the adoration of the heavenly host along with "him that sitteth on the throne" (Revelation 5:13).

II. WIELDING THE HIGHEST AUTHORITY. (Verse 2.) He is to sway the scepter, to receive the commission, "Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies."

III. EXERTING IRRESISTIBLE POWER. (Verse 2.) His is "the rod of strength," and "the Lord at his right hand shall strike through kings," etc. (verse 5). Who shall measure the power of Christ today? What forces are there in the world that are not Christian in their origin and in their character? The name of Christ, the truth and principles of Christ, the spirit of Christ,—this is leavening the literature, the laws, the institutions, the habits, and customs of the world. Other great forces have disappeared or are waning, but the power of Jesus Christ not only survives the changes of eighteen centuries, but it is spreading and deepening from year to year.

IV. WORKING THROUGH A BEAUTIFUL AND HOLY WILLINGHOOD. (Verse 3.) The people (the subjects) of Messiah are to be "willing," or to be free offerings; they will offer themselves to him; they will serve under him with cheerful self-surrender. When forced, reluctant levies will win his victories, but they who hasten to his side, who long to strike bravely and earnestly in his cause, who rejoice in his watchwords, who are prepared to lay down their lives in his cause. When "the day of his power" comes, the day of battle, they will be found eager to obey the summons. And these subjects of his will be clothed with the beautiful garment of holiness. With no tawdry finery, in no massive and burdensome armor, will they be clad; they will be invested with purity, piety, love, patience, unselfishness, all-consuming zeal; fairer in the sight of truth will they be than the most splendid pageantry—the army of goodness, the hosts of Christ, separated in space but united in aim and spirit.

V. POSSESSED OF AN INEXHAUSTIBLE ENERGY. "Thou hast the dew of thy youth" may refer to Christ's soldiery or to himself. In either case, it is an ascription of unfailing vigor to his cause.

"Ever new and ever young,
And firm endures tho' endless years

Their everlasting circles run,"

may be affirmed of the cause of Christianity. It is always morning; there is no sign of sunset. It knows nothing of decline. It absorbs the new forms of activity and association, and employs them. It uses the latest knowledge, the latest arts. Instead of crumbling with age, it gathers strength and energy with time.

VI. MEETING THE DEEPER NECESSITIES OF MANKIND. (Verse 4.) The warrior and the priest do not ordinarily meet in one person. Our Lord, however, is a Conqueror who subdues, and also a Savior who cleanses and redeems. He is more to our race than can be indicated by an image drawn from one vocation; so much more that the unity of the sacred poem must be disregarded. His Priesthood, after the order of Melchizedek, cannot be omitted. On that heavenly throne is he who once gave himself as a sacrifice for us, and redeemed us from sin and death; an unchanging and eternal Priest, in whom to trust so long as time endures.

VII. CROWNED WITH GLORIOUS VICTORY. This once crucified One, exalted to the right hand of God, who completed his redeeming work when amongst us, and who has such followers to fight beneath his banner, will one day have his enemies beneath his feet (verse 1). Great conquests have been won already. Immeasurably greater these would have been if his people had adhered to his truth and done his bidding. But now they hear the call of their Leader and the cry of their brethren, and are hastening to the field. To-day the triumphs of the cross are vastly greater than they were a century ago; and at the present rate of advance, with such signs of progress as have never been known before, there is every reason to expect that, a hundred years hence, the gospel will have covered and conquered a very large part of heathendom. Nor will the glorious struggle end until the whole world is won, and the crown of victory is placed on the Divine Sovereign's head.


Psalms 110:3

The day of Christ's power.

Luther calls this psalm "the true high main psalm of our beloved Lord Jesus Christ." Our Lord himself attests that it is inspired of the Holy Ghost, and there is no other Scripture in the Old Testament that is so frequently quoted in the New. The occasion of the psalm seems to have been the great festival of the bringing up of the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to Jerusalem. On that day David assumed the double function of priest and king, for he was vested in priestly raiment, and fulfilling the priestly office, whilst at the same time he was the victorious king. But this double character which in this day David bore became the prefigurement and type of the twofold character of him who was to be in all respects a King infinitely more glorious than David, and a Priest whose office should never fail. It is of the vision of him that this psalm tells. The sacred poet pictures our Savior as a mighty monarch surrounded by his youthful warriors, bright and numberless as the dew-drops on a summer's morn, willing to shed their heart's blood in his service, each one rated as a priest, each one a soldier of God. That is what is foretold of Christ. Let us speak of—

I. THE DAY OF CHRIST'S POWER, His resurrection-day; Pentecost; all days when Christ is vividly realized by the soul;—such are days of his power. And there is yet a future day which will emphatically deserve to be thus called. Then the vision of this psalm finds fulfillment; there is the glad rush of the young to his standard, and their willing surrender to his service. And in the history of the Church there have been from time to time such blessed days. Eternal things became real to his people, the old words and truths shone out with a new luster. Christ drew near to his people's souls, and they welcomed him as their Lord. Such days have come to scattered congregations and to individual believing souls. The secret of all real revivals of religion with which the Church has once and again been blessed has been this—that Christ came to them, as at Pentecost, in power. And if his presence were more hungered after, there would be more of such days.


1. The spontaneity and willingness with which the people offer themselves. They have not to be dragged to his service, forced to do his will.

2. Their sanctity. They are vested "in the beauties of holiness." They are to be priests of God as well as his soldiers. When this is the case with the Church, then indeed it will be a day of Christ's power. It is what the world waits to see, and insists upon it that it as yet cannot see.

3. Their numbers; as the drops of dew on a summer morning, innumerable; and heaven-born, and for the earth's refreshment and fertility. Not a solitary convert here and there as now, but they shall come in multitudes.

4. Their youthfulness. Not worn-out lives and faded energies are offered, but "the dew of thy youth." Do we not long to see such a day? Fervent, believing, persevering, and obedient prayer shall surely bring such days.—S.C.

Psalms 110:4


This name meets us first in Genesis 14:18; then in the text; then it is referred to in Zechariah 6:13, where it is said Messiah shall be a priest upon his throne, and then in Hebrews 7:1-28. The record in Genesis is but brief, but the recurrence of the name leads to the inquiry as to the meaning and significance of that early record. The Epistle to the Hebrews supplies the answer. Note—

I. THE FACTS CONNECTED WITH MELCHIZEDEK. He is mentioned in the account of Abraham's intervention on behalf of the inhabitants of the district in which Abraham's nephew Lot lived. He was probably a Canaanitish chief, lived at Salem—that is, Jerusalem; was evidently a man of much distinction. He was "great" because of the combined high office he held; he was both priest and king. But yet more from his character—peaceful, righteous.

II. His RELATIONSHIP TO CHRIST. From this psalm and from Hebrews 7:1-28. we learn that he did bear such relationship. He was a type of Christ:

1. In the mystery of his person. We read of no predecessor or progenitor, nor of any successor. Human records are silent on all these points. And so with our Lord—"great is the mystery of godliness."

2. In his priesthood. It is to this that the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews mainly refers, and argues from Christ being a Priest after the order of Melchizedek, that therefore his Priesthood was far superior to that of Aaron; for Melchizedek was like Christ, and greater than Aaron in antiquity, catholicity, independence, perpetuity, and spirituality of his priesthood.

3. In his kingly character. No king could be a priest, no priest a king, in the Jewish dispensation; but Melchizedek and Christ were both.

4. In the effects of his administration. Righteousness and peace.

5. In his ministry of blessing.

CONCLUSION. Abraham shows us our duty to Christ, in self-dedication; this the meaning of the tithe offering.—S.C.

Psalms 110:7

The brook by the way.

This psalm tells of the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ, but all that it tells of has not yet been fulfilled. But the Church is still confidently assisting the glory of the Lord. Our text is difficult of completely satisfactory explanation. Three chief interpretations have been given.

I. THAT IT TELLS OF OUR LORD'S BEING MADE A CURSE FOR US. The wrath of God running in the channel of the curse of the Law was "the brook by the way" of which our Savior drank, and concerning which he said, "The cup which my Father hath given me shall I not drink it?" Calvin, Hengstenberg, and Matthew Henry thus explain this verse. And then the glorious triumphs of the cross of Christ, past, present, and yet to come, are the lifting up of the head which is said to result.

II. THAT IT DENOTES HIS INTENTNESS AND EAGERNESS IN THE PURSUIT OF HIS GREAT END, which was the destruction of the works of the devil. He would not turn aside for refreshment or rest, but like Gideon (Judges 7:1-25.), though faint, he kept pursuing. Like as the chosen soldiers of Gideon were known by their eager lapping of the water as distinguished from the mere leisurely lying down to drink of the rest, so our Lord was intent on his work, and nothing could stay his pursuit (cf. Luke 12:50). He would drink of the brook by the way, and then on again.

III. THAT IT SETS FORTH THE HUMILIATION OF CHRIST, ill that he placed himself on a level with us by stooping to need and to partake of those spiritual refreshments which in this life God provides for us. He humbled himself to need and share these with men. This is the interpretation which we prefer. What, then, for our Lord, were these brooks? They were such as these—prayer; fellowship with kindred minds; affection and sympathy from those who loved him; the "joy set before him;" the Holy Scriptures.

IV. THUS UNDERSTOOD, THE TEXT APPLIES TO CHRISTIANS NOW. For brooks by the way are provided for us by means of which we shall be, as was our Lord, strengthened and refreshed. And ours are as his, even as his were as ours.—S.C.


Psalms 110:1

War-figures applied to Messiah.

It is remarkable that the prevailing political and national associations always color both the literature and the religious sentiments of an age. Our associations provide our figures and illustrations, and these vary and change according to the altering of associations. This may be shown by comparing the age of Cromwell with this latter half of the nineteenth century. War associations prevailed then; peace associations prevail now. The sterner views of God prevailed then; the milder views of God prevail now. Redemption was then mainly regarded as a vindication; redemption is now regarded mainly as a moral force. It is quite natural that the conceptions of the promised and coming Messiah should vary at different times, according to the varying conditions of the Jewish people. In Moses' days he was thought of as a "Prophet" like Moses, an inspired Teacher, Revealer, and Leader. In David's days we find both the earlier warlike associations, and the later suffering associations, coloring the anticipations of Messiah. In the prophets the suffering idea is prominent, and Messiah is thought of, largely, as a "Servant of the Lord," who succeeds no better than the prophets did. The Book of Daniel, and more especially the careers of the patriotic Maccabees, bring back strongly the war associations and king-figures.

I. THE WAR-FIGURES ARE SUGGESTIVE AND HELPFUL. We should be weak in our conceptions of Messiah if we had not these war-figures. Loving peace as we do, it is astonishing how interesting to everybody the associations of war are. Everybody is excited when a regiment comes into a town. The "Salvation Army' appeal to a sentiment which seems universal in human nature. To young and old the literature of war is fascinating. And war-figures may be used in connection with Messiah, because sin is properly conceived of as an active hostile force, which man has to oppose, but is helpless to overcome. Messiah is well thought of as the Champion that undertakes man's cause, and leads man in the fight. Those two ideas, of Champion and Captain, suggest the two important sides of Messiah's work. He acts for us. He acts with us.

II. THE WAR-FIGURES BLEND WITH OTHER FIGURES. So much mistake has been made by taking them exclusively: then a one-sided theological system is constructed. They must always be treated as giving only a portion of the Messianic representation, and illustrating only certain sides and aspects of the Redeemer's work. He is the King, and he is the Lamb, and he is the Teacher. Blended figures alone bring apprehensions of the full truth.—R.T.

Psalms 110:2

God in world-success.

Messiah does but illustrate universal human experience. He is successful, but it is God who gives him his success. "The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion." This inmost truth of things is too often disregarded. The pious soul fully recognizes it and rejoices in it. His refrain in all life's toils and successes is this, "The Lord of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our Refuge."

I. WORLD-SUCCESS IS LARGELY DUE TO GOOD FORTUNE. Some men seem born to succeed. We can find no reason, in either their ability or their character, why they should succeed when others fail. We speak of their "good luck." Take any department of life, business, or profession, and we plainly see that some are the children of fortune. They seem born favorites, and they are the world's favorites as long as they live. This may, indeed, be an incorrect view to take; we only note that it is the common and usual view. There may be reasons, in character and in entrusted mission, which are simply beyond our discernment and appraisement. Now men may look on the success of Messiah, and say of it, "It is only a piece of good fortune. He just happened to fit to the needs of his age."

II. WORLD-SUCCESS IS LARGELY DUE TO ENERGY. Many a man, by the force of his own vitality, and by the concentration of his powers, has mastered disabilities and difficulties, and gained for himself a place. The energy that is quick-witted to seize opportunities, skilful to use opportunities, and persistent in carrying out resolves, seldom fails to win world-success. And it may be said of the success of Messiah—It is sufficiently explained by the vital force that was in him, by his energy and enterprise. The boast of Nebuchadnezzar has many and many a time been repeated since his day, "Is not this great Babylon which I have builded?"

III. WORLD-SUCCESS IS REALLY DUE TO DIVINE PERMISSION, ARRANGEMENT, AND AID. But the discernment of this comes only to those whose eyes have been spirituality opened. The success of Messiah really has explanation, "The Lord sends the rod of his strength out of Zion."

1. There is no such thing as good fortune. Everything stands in Divine adjustment. A man's "destiny" is the arrangement of infinite wisdom.

2. Back of a man's energy is the Divine vitalizing. A man's bodily health and mental power are absolutely in God's hands, and are God's providings. Man plans, but he must lean on God for power to execute his plans. God may say, "This night shall thy soul be required of thee."—R.T.

Psalms 110:3

The power of recognizing power.

"The people shall be willing in the day of thy power." Power to submit, power to accept, power to respond, power to offer allegiance, come to the people when they recognize Messiah's power. Illustrated on the Day of Pentecost, when Messiah's power was so convincingly displayed. "They then that received Peter's words were baptized; and there were added unto them in that day about three thousand souls." In common history and common life, the principle is seen working. As soon as a man is successful, as soon as his power is manifest, the crowd will flock to him. This is put into the motto, "Nothing succeeds like success." An illustration may be found in the time of the Judges. When the people were convinced of the power of Deborah and Barak, "they willingly offered themselves for the avenging of Israel" (Judges 5:2).

I. RECOGNIZING POWER. There is much power that is unrecognized; and there are many persons unable to recognize power.

1. Power may be undeveloped, and so not efficiently showing itself. The most we can see is the promise of what is yet to he. We do not feel the impulse of power that is only in its unfolding.

2. Power may take forms that surprise. As it does when we expect material power, and that presented to our view is spiritual power. This was the case with Messiah's power.

3. Power may cross our power, and then our pride may prevent recognition, as in the case of the Pharisees of our Lord's time. Certain moral conditions must be attained before moral power can be rightly valued. There is a spiritual vision which alone enables us to discern moral power.

II. THE MORAL INFLUENCE OF HAVING RECOGNIZED POWER. "The people offer themselves willingly." This point may be illustrated by the effects of our Lord's word on certain sufferers. A man was before him who had a withered hand. Jesus said, "Stretch forth thy hand." The man recognized his power; that gave him power, and he did stretch it forth, and it was made whole. So in Bethesda Jesus saw a helpless cripple, and said, "Take up thy bed, and walk." The man felt our Lord's power; it exerted a mighty influence on him; he took up his bed and walked. In the higher regions of the spiritual life this truth finds further illustration. It is a matter of experience that it was the discernment of Christ's power to save which brought us conscious power over sin, which persuaded us to yield ourselves to him. It is every fresh apprehension of his power to sanctify that brings us power to wrestle with evil.—R.T.

Psalms 110:4

The priesthoods of David and Messiah.

It cannot be safely asserted that this psalm belongs exclusively to Messiah. Every Messianic reference in the Old Testament probably has a first and local application. This psalm refers, then, to David, and through him to Messiah. If this be so, the application of the Melchizedek type of priest to David may help us in tracing the application of the same type to Messiah. The points dwelt on by the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews (Hebrews 7:1-22) are not prominent in this psalm. The point here is, that the Aaronic priesthood was only a priesthood; but the priesthood of Melchizedek was a royal priesthood.

I. DAVID'S PRIESTHOOD WAS OF MELCHIZEDEK'S KIND. Priesthood is but ministry; only it is ministry in sacred and Divine things, The essential idea of a priest is one who represents God on earth in some particular sphere. So a king who is loyal to Jehovah, and represents him in the political and national spheres, is properly a priest; just as the man who represents Jehovah in the moral and religious spheres is called a priest. Evidently Melchizedek was the Divine representative for his day and his country, just as Abraham was for his tribe; and so he is called a king-priest. It is noticed that David, and perhaps all the kings of Israel, assumed certain priestly functions. "David himself, as at the bringing up of the ark, and Solomon, as at the consecration of the temple, had some shadow of the priestly office."

II. MESSIAH'S PRIESTHOOD WAS OF MELCHIZEDEK'S KIND. It was united with king ship, as it was in the case of Melchizedek; and we only regard Messiah aright when we fully recognize his authority to atone, and his authority to rule; his relation to the whole sphere of our worship, and his relation to our entire commonplace life and relations.

1. See the likenesses between Melchizedek and Messiah as priests, or as Divine peacemakers, ministrants of Divine reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18-21). Of Jesus it is said, "He is our Peace."

2. See the likenesses between Melchizedek and Messiah as kings, or as Divine rulers, ministrants of Divine order, in the common family, social political, and national relations of life. Perhaps it may be said with truth that, in regard to Messiah, as in regard to David, the governmental priesthood is more prominent than the sacrificial priesthood. The royalty of Melchizedek is certainly the chief point of reference to the psalmist. The Lord Jesus is our King-Priest forever.—R.T.

Psalms 110:7

Spiritual refreshment for spiritual work.

"He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head." The literal meaning of the figure is easy to trace. "The victorious leader, who has made so terrible a slaughter that the field of battle is covered with corpses, is now seen pursuing his enemies. Wearied with the battle and the pursuits, he stops for a moment on his way to refresh himself by drinking of the torrent rushing by, and then ' lifts up his head,' derives new vigor to continue the pursuit" (Perowne). But the war-figures only paint for us the spiritual work and the spiritual triumphs of Messiah; and this particular figure only suggests two things:

(1) that Messiah, in doing his spiritual work, needs refreshment; and

(2) that Messiah, in his anxiety about completing his spiritual work, scarcely stops to attend to his refreshment. To this a third thought may be added—that God provided refreshment for him who was so earnestly doing his work. It may be noticed that Eastern people have a very skilful way of drinking from a flowing stream without stopping in their running. They throw the water up into the mouth. An Eastern traveler writes, "In an excursion across an Arabian desert, some of the Arabs, on coming to water, rushed to it, and stooping sufficiently to allow the right hand to reach the water, they threw it up into their mouths so dexterously, that I never observed any of the water to fall upon the breast. I often tried to do it, but never succeeded." Applying the verse in a general way to all who, with Christ, are engaged in spiritual work, we may say—

I. SPIRITUAL WORK IS EXHAUSTING TO THE BODILY FRAME AS WELL AS TO THE SPIRITUAL NATURE. It is enough to recall the fatigue of Jesus on some memorable occasions, such as at Jacob's well, in the boat, or at Gethsemane.

II. GOD PROVIDES REFRESHMENTS FOR EXHAUSTED SPIRITUAL WORKERS. Represented by the "brook in the way." Illustrate by God's gracious treatment of exhausted Elijah. He refreshed him, bodily, with food; he refreshed him, spiritually, with visions. Water is the type of soul-refreshings.

III. THE EARNEST SPIRITUAL WORKER WILL NOT LET EVEN NECESSARY spiritual refreshings unduly detain him from his work. He will take only a passing drink. He will be "faint, yet pursuing."—R.T.


Psalms 110:1-7

Christ the Divine King and Priest.

Many difficulties in the interpretation of this psalm. Let us accept it as, in the main, a prophecy of the Jewish Messiah. Then we find the two main features of it fulfilled in the Christ of history.


1. The power by which he subdues the world is spiritual and Divine. His cross "the rod of his strength."

2. His servants are willing soldiers in the holy war. (Psalms 110:3.) Numberless as the drops of the morning dew.

3. He will reign till he has obtained a universal victory.


1. Priest by direct Divine ordination. "The Lord hath sworn."

2. A universal Priesthood. Not of the Jew only, but of the Gentile also, like Melchizedek.

3. A Priest not for a time, but forever.

4. The sacrifice he offers is—himself.S.

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Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S; Spence-Jones, Henry Donald Maurice. "Commentary on Psalms 110". The Pulpit Commentary. 1897.