Calvin's Commentaries, Vol. 11: Psalms, Part IV, tr. by John King, [1847-50], at sacred-texts.com
In this psalm David sets forth the perpetuity of Christ’s reign, and the eternity of his priesthood; and, in the first place, he affirms, That God conferred upon Christ supreme dominion, combined with invincible power, with which he either conquers all his enemies, or compels them to submit to him. In the second place, he adds, That God would extend the boundaries of this kingdom far and wide; and, in the third place, That Christ, having been installed into the priestly office with all the solemnity of an oath, sustains the honors of that equally with those of his regal office. Finally, That this shall be a new order of priesthood, whose introduction shall put an end to the Levitical priesthood, which was temporary, and that it shall be everlasting.
A Psalm of David.
Having the testimony of Christ that this psalm was penned in reference to himself, we need not apply to any other quarter for the corroboration of this statement; and, even supposing we neither had his authority, nor the testimony of the apostle, the psalm itself would admit of no other interpretation; 317 for although we should have a dispute with the Jews, the most obstinate people in the world, about the right application of it, we are able, by the most irresistible arguments, to compel them to admit that the truths here stated relate neither to David nor to any other person than the Mediator alone. It is acknowledged that the kingdom of Christ is typified in the person of David, but it cannot be asserted of him, or of any of his successors, that he should be a king whose dominion should be widely extended, and who, at the same time, was to be a priest, not according to the law, but according to the order of Melchizedek, and that for ever; for, at that time, no new and unusual priestly dignity could be instituted, without depriving the house of Levi of this peculiar honor. Besides, the perpetuity which is ascribed to the sacerdotal office cannot belong to any man, because, with the exception of the man Christ Jesus, this honor terminates immediately at the close of the short and uncertain course of the present life. But as these topics will be considered, more at large, in their proper place, it is sufficient that we have, at this time, briefly alluded to them.
1. Jehovah said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool. 2. Jehovah shall send out of Zion the scepter of thy power: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. 3. Thy people shall come with voluntary offerings, at the time of the assembling of thine army, 318 in beauty of holiness: 319 from the womb as from the morning dawn to thee has been the dew of thy youth.
1 Jehovah said to my Lord 320 What is here stated might to some extent be applied to the person of David, inasmuch as he neither ascended the royal throne illegally, nor did he find his way to it by nefarious artifices, nor was he raised to it by the fickle suffrages of the people, but it was by the direct authority of God that he reigned over Israel. It may be justly affirmed of all the kings of the earth, that they have been placed upon their thrones by the hand of God, for the kingdoms of this world are appointed by the decree of heaven, and “there is no power but of God,” (Ro 13:1) Besides, as this kingdom was altogether peculiar, it was the design of David to make a distinction between it and all other kingdoms. God indeed invests kings with authority, but they are not consecrated as David was, that like him, in consequence of the holy anointing oil, they might be elevated to the rank of Christ’s vicegerents. In the eighty-second psalm they are called gods, because by the will of God they hold their position, and in some respects are his representatives, (all power being lodged in him;) but they are not clothed with that sacred majesty by which David was honored to be a type of God’s only begotten Son. Moreover, he justly observes that the kingdom was conferred upon him in a totally different manner from other earthly kings, who, while they acknowledge that it is by the grace of God they reign, yet, at the same time, do not consider that they are sustained by his power, but, on the contrary, imagine that they reign either by their own policy, by hereditary right, or by the kindness of fortune; and, therefore, in so far as it respects themselves, it must be affirmed, that they have no legitimate title to reign. And since they do not recognize the hand of God in what they derive from him, his command cannot be properly addressed to them. David, who was well aware that he was anointed by God to be king over Israel, and who maintained an obscure and retired position until summoned to assume the reins of government, shows good cause why he is not to be classed with the ordinary kings of the earth; meaning that he reigned by a Divine right. That the whole of what is stated in this verse cannot be entirely and exclusively applied to David, is very obvious from Christ’s reply to the Pharisees, (Mt 22:44) They having said that Christ was to be the son of David, he saith unto them, “How then doth David himself call him Lord?”
The objection started by the Jews, that Christ’s reply was captious, is entirely frivolous, because David does not speak in his own name, but in that of the people. This objection is easily repelled. For even granting that this psalm was penned in name of the whole Church, yet as David himself constituted one of the number of the godly, and was a member of the body under the same head, he could not separate himself from that class, or be dissevered from this head; what is more, he could not compose this psalm for others without, at the same time, taking part with them in it. There is besides another thing deserving of notice, the assumption of the principle or maxim then generally admitted, that David spake by the spirit of prophecy, and consequently prophesied of the future reign of Christ. This principle of interpretation being admitted, it is plainly to be inferred that he had a reference to Christ’s future manifestation in the flesh, because he is the sole and supreme Head of the Church. From which it also follows, that there is something in Christ more excellent than his humanity, on account of which he is called the Lord of David his father. This view is strengthened by what is stated in the second clause of the verse. Earthly kings may indeed be said to sit at God’s right hand, inasmuch as they reign by his authority; here, however, something more lofty is expressed, in that one king is chosen in a peculiar manner, and elevated to the rank of power and dignity next to God, of which dignity the twilight only appeared in David, while in Christ it shone forth in meridian splendor. And as God’s right hand is elevated far above all angels, it follows that he who is seated there is exalted above all creatures. We will not maintain that angels were brought down from their high estate to be put in subjection to David. What, then, is the result, but that by the spirit of prophecy Christ’s throne is exalted far above all principalities in heavenly places? The simile is borrowed from what is customary among earthly kings, that the person who is seated at his right hand is said to be next to him, and hence the Son, by whom the Father governs the world, is by this session represented as metaphorically invested with supreme dominion.
Until I make thine enemies thy footstool 321 By these words the prophet affirms that Christ would subdue all the opposition which his enemies in their tumultuous rage might employ for the subversion of his kingdom. At the same time, he intimates that the kingdom of Christ would never enjoy tranquillity until he had conquered his numerous and formidable enemies. And even should the whole world direct their machinations to the overthrow of Christ’s royal throne, David here declares that it would remain unmoved and unmoveable, while all they who rise up against it shall be ruined. From this let us learn that, however numerous those enemies may be who conspire against the Son of God, and attempt the subversion of his kingdom, all will be unavailing, for they shall never prevail against God’s immutable purpose, but, on the contrary, they shall, by the greatness of his power, be laid prostrate at Christ’s feet. And as this prediction will not be accomplished before the last day, it must be that the kingdom of Christ will be assailed by many enemies from time to time until the end of the world; and thus by-and-bye it is said, rule thou in the midst of thine enemies The particle until does not refer to that which may happen after the complete carnage of the enemies of Christ. 322 Paul certainly declares that he will then deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father, which he received from him, (1Co 15:24;) but we are not to take these words as denoting that he shall cease to reign, and become, as it were, a private individual; we are to regard them as describing the manner of his reign, that is, that his Divine majesty will be more conspicuous. Moreover, in this passage he is speaking solely of the reprobate who fall under Christ’s feet to their own ruin and destruction. All mankind are naturally opposed to Christ, and hence it is, that ere they be brought to yield a willing obedience to him, they must be subdued and humbled. This he does with regard to some of them whom he afterwards makes partakers with him in his glory; while he casts off others, so that they may remain for ever in their lost state.
2 Jehovah shall send out of Zion the scepter of thy power. The Psalmist not only confirms, in different terms, what he stated above, but also adds, that Christ’s kingdom shall be vastly extended, because God would make his scepter stretch far and wide. David did indeed render not a few of the surrounding nations tributaries to him, but still his kingdom, when contrasted with other monarchies, was always confined within narrow limits. There is in the words an implied contrast, as if he had said, that Christ should not reign as King upon mount Zion only, because God would cause his power to extend to the remotest regions of the earth. And for this reason it is denominated the scepter of his power, 323 and how astonishing was it, that though the whole world was leagued in opposition to Christ’s kingdom, it yet continued to spread and prosper. In a word, David here animates the hearts of the godly against being dispirited by the foolhardy attempts on the part of those who presume to introduce discord and disorder into the kingdom of Christ; for he shows them that God will put forth his invincible power for the maintaining of the glory of his sacred throne. What time, then, our minds are agitated by various commotions, let us learn confidently to repose on this support, that however much the world may rage against Christ, it will never be able to hurl him from the right hand of the Father. Moreover, as he does not reign on his own account, but for our salvation, we may rest assured that we will be protected and preserved from all ills under the guardianship of this invincible King. Doubtless our condition in this world is connected with many hardships; but as it is the will of God that Christ’s kingdom should be encompassed with many enemies, and that too with the design of keeping us in a state of constant warfare, it becomes us to exercise patience and meekness; and assured of God’s aid, boldly to set at nought the rage of the whole world. From this passage we are instructed as to the calling of the Gentiles. Because, if God had not told us in this place respecting the extension of Christ’s kingdom, we would not this day have been classed among his people. But as the wall is broken down, (Eph 2:14) and the gospel promulgated, we have been gathered together into the body of the Church, and Christ’s power is put forth to uphold and defend us.
3 Thy people shall come 324 In this verse the Psalmist sets forth the honors of Christ’s kingdom in relation to the number of his subjects, and their prompt and cheerful obedience to his commands. The Hebrew term, which he employs, frequently denotes voluntary oblations; but, in the present case, it refers to the chosen people, those who are truly Christ’s flock; declaring that they shall be a willing people, spontaneously and cheerfully consecrating themselves to his service. At the time of the assembling of thine army, that is to say, as often as there shall be a convening of solemn and lawful assemblies, or the king shall desire an account of his people; which may be expressed in French, au jour des montres, — in the day of the review. Others render it, in the day of thy power; 325 but the former is preferable, for when Christ shall wish to assemble his people, immediately they will yield a prompt obedience, without being forcibly constrained to it. Moreover, for the purpose of assuring us that this, in preference to all other kingdoms, was set apart by God for his peculiar services, it is added, the beauties or honors of holiness, thereby intimating, that all who become Christ’s subjects will not approach him as they would do an earthly king, but as they would come into the presence of God himself, their sole aim being to serve God.
Out of the womb of the morning, 326 etc. It would not be for edification to recount all the interpretations which have been given of this clause, for when I have established its true and natural import, it would be quite superfluous to enter upon a refutation of others. There does not, indeed, appear to me any reason to doubt that, in this place, David extols the Divine favor displayed in increasing the number of Christ’s people; and hence, in consequence of their extraordinary increase, he compares the youth or race which would be born to him to the dew. 327 As men are struck with astonishment at seeing the earth moistened and refreshed with dew, though its descent be imperceptible, even so, David declares that an innumerable offspring shall be born to Christ, who shall be spread over the whole earth. The youth, therefore, which, like the dew-drops, are innumerable, are here designated the dew of childhood or of youth The Hebrew term, ילדות, yalduth, is used as a collective noun, that is, a noun which does not point out a single individual only, but a community or society. 328 Should any wish to attach a more definite and distinct signification to the term, he may do so in the following manner: That an offspring, innumerable as the dew-drops of the morning, shall issue from his womb. The testimony of experience proves that there was good reason for uttering this prediction. The multitude who, in so short a time, have been gathered together and subjected to Christ’s sway, is incredible; the more so, as this has been accomplished by the sound of the Gospel alone, and that, too, in spite of the formidable opposition of the whole world. Besides, it is not surprising that aged persons, who are recently converted to Christ, should be designated children newly born, because the spiritual birth, according to Peter, makes all the godly become as new-born babes, (1Pe 2:2) To the same purpose are the words of Isaiah, (Isa 53:10,) that Christ “shall see a seed whose days shall be prolonged;” and under his reign the Church has the promise of enjoying a season of incalculable fertility. What has been said will serve to account for the appellation given to the Church or children of God. And, assuredly, it is matter of surprise that there should be any, though the number may be few, gathered out of a world lying in ruins, and inhabited by the children of wrath; and it is still more surprising, that such vast multitudes are regenerated by the Spirit of Christ and by the word. At the same time, we would do well to bear in mind, that to execute God’s commands promptly and cheerfully, and to be guided solely by his will, is the peculiar honor and privilege of his chosen; for Christ will recognize none as his people, except those who willingly take his yoke upon them, and come into his presence at the voice of his word. And that no one may imagine that eye-service is a proper discharge of his duty, the Psalmist very properly adds, that Christ will not be satisfied with mere external ceremony, but that he must be worshipped with true reverence, such as he himself instructs us to bring into the presence of God.
4. Jehovah hath sworn, and will not repent him, 329 Thou art a priest for ever, according to the manner of Melchizedek
4 Jehovah hath sworn This verse is a satisfactory proof that the person here spoken of is none other than Christ. When the Jews, with the view of mystifying this prediction, render the term כוהן, chohen, a prince, their translation is at once feeble and frivolous. I acknowledge, indeed, that those of noble descent or of royal blood are in Hebrew denominated כהנים, chohanim; but would it have been saying any thing to the honor of Christ for David merely to give to him the title of a chief, which is inferior to that of royal dignity? Besides, what would be the import of saying that he was a prince for ever, and according to the manner of Melchizedek? There can be no question then, that the Holy Ghost here refers to something specific and peculiar, as distinguishing and separating this king from all other kings. This, too, is the well known title with which Melchizedek was honored by Moses, (Ge 14:18) I grant, indeed, that anciently among heathen nations kings were wont to exercise the priestly office; but Melchizedek is called “the priest of the most high God,” in consequence of his devoutly worshipping the only true God. Among his own people, however, God did not permit the blending of these offices. Hence Uzziah, David’s legitimate successor, was struck with leprosy because he attempted to offer incense to God, (2Ch 26:21.) The circumstances connected with the lineage of David were vastly different from those relating to Melchizedek. What these are it is not difficult to ascertain, inasmuch as in this new King the holy office of the priesthood shall be united with the crown and the throne. For assuredly the imperial majesty was not so conspicuous in such an obscure prince as Melchizedek, as on that account to warrant his being held out as an example above all others. Salem, the sole seat of his throne, and where he reigned by sufferance, was at that time a small obscure town, so that with regard to him there was nothing deserving of notice saving the conjunction of the crown and the priesthood. Ambitious of procuring greater reverence for their persons, heathen kings aspired after the honor of the sacerdotal office; but it was by divine authority that Melchizedek was invested with both these functions.
All dubiety as to this being the meaning of David ought to be banished from our minds by the authority of the Apostle. And although the Jews may maintain the contrary as obstinately as they please, yet reason manifestly declares that the beauty of holiness, to which I formerly adverted, is here very clearly described. To this a decisive and peculiar mark is appended, which elevates Christ above all other kings with regard to the dignity of the priesthood, and which at the same time tends to point out the difference between his priesthood and that of Levi. In connection with his sacerdotal office, mention is made of God’s oath, who was not wont to mingle his venerable name with matters of minor importance; but, on the contrary, to teach us by his own example to swear deliberately and reverently, and never unless in weighty and important matters. Admitting, then, that God had sworn that the Messiah would be the prince and governor of his people, according as Melchizedek was, this would have been nothing else than an unbecoming profanation of his name. When, however, it is quite apparent that something unusual and peculiar was denoted in this place, we may therefore conclude that the priesthood of Christ is invested with great importance, seeing that it is ratified by the oath of God. And, in fact, it is the very turning point upon which our salvation depends; because, but for our reliance on Christ our Mediator, we would be all debarred from entering into God’s presence. In prayer, too, nothing is more needful for us than sure confidence in God, and therefore he not only invites us to come to him, but also by an oath hath appointed an advocate for the purpose of obtaining acceptance for us in his sight. As for those who shut the door against themselves, they subject themselves to the guilt of impeaching him with being a God of untruth and of perjury. It is in this way that the Apostle argues the disannulling of the Levitical priesthood; because, while that remained entire, God would not have sworn that there should be a new order of priesthood unless some change had been contemplated. What is more, when he promises a new priest, it is certain that he would be one who would be superior to all others, and would also abolish the then existing order.
Some translate the term דברתי, diberathi, according to my word, 330 an interpretation which I am not disposed entirely to reject, inasmuch as David would be represented as affirming that the priesthood of Melchizedek is founded upon the call and commandment of God. But as the letter י, yod, is frequently redundant, I, in common with the majority of interpreters, prefer translating it simply manner. Moreover, as not a few of the fathers have misapprehended the comparison between Christ and Melchizedek, we must learn from the Apostle what that resemblance is; from which will be readily seen the error into which they fell respecting it. For can there be any thing more absurd than to overlook all the mysteries about which the Spirit, by the mouth of the Apostle, hath spoken, and attend only to such as he has omitted? Such persons argue solely about the bread and wine, which they maintain were offered both by Melchizedek and Christ. But Melchizedek offered bread and wine, not as a sacrifice to God, but to Abraham as a repast to refresh him on his march. “In the holy Supper there is not an offering of bread and wine as they erroneously imagine, but a mutual participation of it among the faithful. As to the passage under review, the similitude refers principally to the perpetuity of his priesthood, as is obvious from the particle לעולם, leolam, that is to say, for ever. Melchizedek is described by Moses as if he were a celestial individual; and, accordingly, David, in instituting a resemblance between Christ and him, designs to point out the perpetuity of his priestly office. Whence it follows, (a point which is handled by the Apostle,) that as death did not intercept the exercise of his office, he has no successor. And this circumstance demonstrates the accursed sacrilege of the Popish mass; for, if the Popish priests will assume the prerogative of effecting a reconciliation between God and men, they must of necessity denude Christ of the peculiar and distinguishing honor which his Father has conferred upon him.
5. The Lord at thy right hand 331 hath broken in pieces kings in the day of his wrath. 6. He shalt judge among the heathen, he shall fill all with ruins; he shall break the head over a great country. 7. He shall drink of the torrent in the way, and therefore shall he elevate his head on high.
5. The Lord at thy right hand In these words David celebrates the dreadful nature of that power which Christ possesses for the dispersion and destruction of his enemies; and by this means he affirms, that though encompassed by bands of deadly foes, yet their malignant attempts would not prevent God from upholding the King whom he has set up. It is proper to consider the expression, in the day of his wrath, by which we are instructed patiently to endure the cross, if it happen that God, for a time, conceals himself during the prevalence of the cruelty and fury of enemies; for he knows well when the full and fit season arrives for executing vengeance upon them. Next, he invests Christ with power over the nations, and the people of uncircumcised lips; meaning, that he was not chosen King to reign over the inhabitants of Judea only, but also to keep under his sway distant nations, agreeably to what was predicated of him in Ps 2:8. And because, in all parts of the earth, as well as in the confines of Judea, there would be many rebellious and disobedient persons, he adverts also to their destruction; thus intimating, that all who should set themselves in opposition to Christ, must be made to fall before him, and their obstinacy be subdued.
7 He shall drink Not a few interpreters, in my opinion, expound this verse in a very harsh manner: that the carnage would be so great, as to cause the blood of the slain to flow in torrents, out of which Christ, the Conqueror, might drink till he was satiated. 332 Akin to this is the exposition of those who would have it to be a figurative representation of misery and grief, and thus descriptive of the many afflictions to which Christ was liable during this transitory life. The similitude seems rather to be drawn from the conduct of brave and powerful generals, who, when in hot pursuit of the enemy, do not suffer themselves to be diverted from their purpose by attending to luxuries; but, without kneeling down, are content to quench their thirst by drinking of the stream which they are passing. It was in this way that Gideon found out the brave and warlike soldiers; regarding such as kneeled down to drink as destitute of courage, he sent them back to their homes, Jud 7:5. It therefore appears to me that David figuratively attributes military prowess to Christ, declaring that he would not take time to refresh himself, but would hastily drink of the river which might come in his way. 333 This is designed to strike his enemies with terror, intimating to them the rapid approach of impending destruction. Should any one be disposed to ask, Where then is that spirit of meekness and gentleness with which the Scripture elsewhere informs us he shall be endued? Isa. 42:2, Isa. 361:1, 2; I answer, that, as a shepherd is gentle towards his flock, but fierce and formidable towards wolves and thieves; in like manner, Christ is kind and gentle towards those who commit themselves to his care, while they who wilfully and obstinately reject his yoke, shall feel with what awful and terrible power he is armed. In Ps 2:9, we saw that he had in his hand an iron scepter, by which he will beat down all the obduracy of his enemies; and, accordingly, he is here said to assume the aspect of cruelty, with the view of taking vengeance upon them. Wherefore it becomes us carefully to refrain from provoking his wrath against us by a stiff-necked and rebellious spirit, when he is tenderly and sweetly inviting us to come to him.
In Mt 22:42-45, Christ applies this portion of Scripture to himself; and this application the Pharisees, before whom it was made, so far from disputing, at once admitted, as appears from their inability to answer our Lord’s question, which was founded upon it; for had the psalm been differently interpreted by any party among the Jews, the Pharisees would unquestionably have taken advantage of such diversity of opinion, to escape from the difficulty in which they were placed by the question addressed to them. The Messianic interpretation of this psalm is also supported by the testimony of the apostles. The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews (Heb 1:13) quotes the first verse, to prove Christ’s superiority in dignity to angels, to whom Jehovah had never said, “Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” In Acts 2:34, 35, Peter quotes the same passage, as prophetical of Christ’s ascension into heaven. See also 1Co 15:25; Heb 7:17; Eph 1:20, etc. The psalm is thus beyond all controversy, a very clear prediction of the divinity, priesthood, victories, and triumph of the Messiah. We have so many Scriptural helps to its exposition, that we can be at no loss as to its meaning. Such also is the strength of the internal evidence, in support of its application to Christ, that although the Jews have taken a great deal of pains to wrest it to another sense, yet several of the Rabbins have been forced to acknowledge that it belongs to him.
“Au temps d’assembler ton exercice.” — Fr.
Calvin, in pointing this verse, has very properly placed the colon after holiness, and not after morning, as in our English Bible.
“The Lord said unto my Lord. Heb., ‘Jehovah assuredly said unto my Adon,’ which last word is used for lord in every variety of rank, from the master of a family to the sovereign of an empire. In its origin, this title seems similar to the Italian cardinal, which means primarily a hinge, as Adon does a socket; hence figuratively applied to executive magistrates, on whom the government rests, and public affairs turn.” — Williams.
The expression is borrowed from the Eastern custom of conquerors putting their feet upon the necks of their enemies. See Jos 10:24.
“Until I make, etc. It is remarked by Genebrard, that the particle עד is to be taken emphatically, as if it were equivalent to etiam donec, and signifies continuity; not the exception or exclusion of future times. Jehovah is, therefore, speaking in substance as follows: — ‘Reign with me even until I make thy enemies thy footstool; even at the time which seems opposed to thy kingdom, and when thy enemies appear to reign, that is, before I have prostrated thy enemies, and have caused them to make submission to thee. After this subjection of thy adversaries, it is unnecessary to say, Thou wilt continue to reign.’ If this be not the force of the passage, then we must suppose that the reign of Christ will cease when he has completely subjugated the world; which is contrary to what we are taught elsewhere in Scripture. The particle is used in a similar manner in Ps 123:3; De 7:24.” — Phillips.
“The rod of thy strength, or the scepter of thy strength, i.e., thy powerful scepter, the scepter with which thou rulest thy powerful kingdom.” — Phillips.
“‘Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power.’ Voluntaries, a people of voluntarinesses or of liberalities, (as Ps 68:10;) that is, shall most freely, willingly, and liberally present themselves and their oblations to thee, as Jud 5:9; Acts 11:41 [sic]; Ex 25:2; Ro 12:1; Ps 48:10; Ps 119:108; So 6:11.” — Ainsworth. “נדבות is literally promptitudines, readinesses; so that the term being plural and abstract, may be regarded as highly emphatic, as if the Psalmist said, Thy people shall be very willing. This noun also signifies voluntary oblations. Thus Luther has rendered it by williglich opfern In this sense it is found in many passages, as Exod. 35:29, Exod. 36:3; De 23:24, and several other places. It will be necessary, if this meaning be assigned to it here, to supply some such verb as יביא. The Psalmist, however, is evidently speaking of a battle, and, therefore, the admission of this meaning would be incongruous ” — Phillips. “Since an army,” says Rosenmüller, “is represented in this passage as called out to a warlike expedition, we cannot understand נדבות otherwise than as signifying a prompt and willing mind, in which sense we find it, Ho 14:5, ultro, voluntarily, of his own accord, Ps 51:14; Judg. 5:2, 9.” — Messianic Psalms, Biblical Cabinet, volume 32, page 271.
“I have rendered the words, ביום חילד, in the day of thy power; and I understand that day as referring to the time when, in consequence of Peter’s exhortation, three thousand persons made profession of the Christian faith.” — Dante on the Messianic Psalms, Biblical Cabinet, volume 32, page 318. With this corresponds the interpretation of Hammond: “The Messiah, in the former verses, is set upon his throne, for the exercise of his regal power, with a sword or scepter in his hand; and, as such, he is supposed to rule in the world, to go out to conquer and subdue all before him. The army which he makes use of to this end is the college of apostles, sent out to preach to all nations; and the time of their thus preaching is here called יום חילך ‘the day of his power’ or ‘forces,’ or ‘army.’” But Queen Elizabeth’s translators understood the phrase in the same sense as Calvin, rendering it, “The people shall come willingly at the time of assembling thine army.” In like manner, Rosemüller reads, “In the day of thy army; that is,” says he, “in the day when thou assemblest and leadest forth thine army. The word חיל, militia, is here used as in De 11:4; 2Ki 6:15, signifying military forces.” — Ibid. volume 32, page 273.
“Des la matrice, comme de, l’estoille du matin ” — Fr. “Out of the womb, as if from or out of the star of the morning.”
“Among the earliest Greek writers, dew seems to have been a figurative expression for the young of any animal. Thus, δροσος is used by æschylus for an unfledged bird, (Agamemn. 145;) and ἑρση, by Homer, for a young lamb or kid, (Od. 1, 222.)” — Horsley.
“Qui ne se dit pas d’une personne seule, mais de quelque multitude et compagnie.” — Fr.
The addition, “and will not repent,” is intended to indicate the absolute character of the oath, that it cannot be annulled or suspended in consequence of any altered circumstances; that no change of counsel or of conduct in the parties concerned shall cause any change in the divine purpose, so that it may be said, Jehovah repented, as he is said to have repented of creating man on observing the wickedness of the human race, (Ge 6:6.) A similar form of expression is elsewhere employed to express the immutability of what God declares or swears, (Nu 23:19; 1Sa 15:29.)
“על דברתי Secundum meam constitutionem, (q. d.,) Not according to the Levitical order, but according to my appointment, the true Melchizedek. See Hebrews 7.” — Goode’s New Version of the Book of Psalms, with Notes.
“The Lord at thy right hand. In this psalm it is evident, verse 1, that יהוה is the title of God the Father, and so again, verse 4, and אדני of the Messiah God the Son, in respect of that dignity, and dominion, and regal power, to which he was to be exalted at his ascension, that ‘at the name of Jesus every knee should bow.’ This is expressed, verse 1, by his ‘sitting at God’s right hand,’ for which the Apostle, 1Co 15:25, reads, ‘it must be that he reign.’ By this it is evident that, in this verse, ‘The Lord at thy right hand,’ must be understood of the Messiah instated in his regal power at the right hand of his father, and not of the Father as his παραστάτης, to back and help him, as Ps 16:8, and elsewhere, the phrase is used. For of the Son thus exalted we know it is that we read Joh 5:22, that ‘the Father has committed all judgment to the Son.’ Agreeable to which it is that this ‘Adonai,’ or ‘Lord at Jehovah’s right hand here, shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath;’ i.e., shall act revenges most severely on the opposers of his kingdom; which revenges, in the New Testament, are peculiarly attributed to Christ, and called ‘the coming of the Son of Man, coming in the clouds, coming with his angels, and the approaching or coming of his kingdom.’” — Hammond. In this 5th verse the Psalmist makes a sudden apostrophe to Jehovah. Horsley is much inclined to indulge in a conjecture, which Dr Kennicott, too, seems to have entertained, that the word יהוה, Jehovah, has been lost out of the text after the original word for at thy right hand; and that the passage should run thus: “The Lord at thy right hand, O Jehovah!”
This opinion is held by Michaelis and Doederlein. But although a fearful carnage of God’s and his people’s enemies is sometimes poetically described by His arrows being made drunk with blood, De 32:42; and as producing a stream of blood, in which his people, victorious over them, might dip or wash their feet, as in Ps 68:24; yet neither He nor they are said to drink such blood. There is a great difference between this latter and the two preceding metaphors; and we cannot think that the idea of drinking human blood, much less of making God drink it, would have entered the mind of any Israelite. The idea is abhorrent to human nature, and must have appeared particularly shocking to the Jews, who were strictly prohibited by the laws of Moses from eating even the blood of beasts.
Similar is the opinion of Grotius. He regards the words as containing a description of a strenuous and active warrior, whom no obstacle can prevent from prosecuting victory with the utmost ardor; “Who,” to use his own language, “when pursuing the enemy, does not seek for places of entertainment, that he may refresh himself with wine, but is contented with water, which he takes hastily in passing; and whenever he can find it, not only from a river, but from a torrent.” “Schnurrer,” says Rosemüller, “seems to have perceived the true meaning of the verse, which he gives in the following words: — ‘Though fatigued with the slaughter of his enemies, yet will he not desist; but, having refreshed himself with water taken from the nearest stream, will exert his renovated strength in the pursuit of the routed foe.’” — Messianic Psalms, page 284.