Deuteronomy 32:41
If I whet my glittering sword, and mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
32:39-43 This conclusion of the song speaks, 1. Glory to God. No escape can be made from his power. 2. It speaks terror to his enemies. Terror indeed to those who hate him. The wrath of God is here revealed from heaven against them. 3. It speaks comfort to his own people. The song concludes with words of joy. Whatever judgments are brought upon sinners, it shall go well with the people of God.Render: For I lift up my hand to heaven and say, As I live forever, if I whet, etc. On Deuteronomy 32:40, in which God is described as swearing by Himself, compare Isaiah 45:23; Jeremiah 22:5; Hebrews 6:17. The lifting up of the hand was a gesture used in making oath (compare Genesis 14:22; Revelation 10:5).32. vine of Sodom … grapes of gall—This fruit, which the Arabs call "Lot's Sea Orange," is of a bright yellow color and grows in clusters of three or four. When mellow, it is tempting in appearance, but on being struck, explodes like a puffball, consisting of skin and fiber only. If once I begin to prepare for war, and for the execution of my sentence.

Take hold on judgment, i.e. of the instruments of judgment, of the weapons of war. A metaphor from warriors that take their weapons into their hand when they intend to fight.

If I whet my glittering sword,.... That is, I will do it as sure as I live, if I do not, be it so and so; what that is is not said, but left to be concluded. A glittering sword is a sword drawn, the blade of it drawn out of the scabbard, cleaned and polished, whetted and made sharp, that it may more easily penetrate and pierce; and this, being brandished, glitters like lightning, as the word used signifies. Whetting the sword is a preparation for doing execution with it; and is a warning, a giving notice of it, as girding: the sword on the thigh also is ascribed to Christ, Psalm 45:3. This sword intends a sword of justice, the sharp sword said to proceed out of the mouth of Christ, the judiciary sentence which he will pronounce and execute on antichrist, and all his followers, Revelation 19:15,

and my hand take hold on judgment: in order to execute it; the allusion is to the laying hold on the instruments of justice and death, as the glittering sword before mentioned, and arrows afterwards; and may have respect to the four sore judgments, or at least to some of them, which the Lord will execute on mystical Babylon, Ezekiel 14:21; and particularly to the seven vials of God's wrath, which will be poured out on the antichristian states, Revelation 16:1,

I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and I will reward them that hate me; his enemies that hate him, and will not have him to rule over them, are the followers of antichrist, who has his name from his opposition to Christ, his hatred of him, and enmity against him; opposing him in his kingly office, taking upon him to exercise dominion and tyranny over the consciences of men, making new laws, and imposing them on them, and dispensing with the laws of Christ; and setting aside his priestly office by the sacrifice of the Mass, granting pardons and indulgences, and advancing the works and merits of men, in opposition to the righteousness of Christ, and pretending even to works of supererogation; making of none effect, as much as in him lies, his prophetic office, by setting up unwritten traditions before the word of God, and making them the rule of faith and practice, and assuming to himself an infallible interpretation of the sense of Scripture. The vengeance Christ will render, as a righteous reward to those his enemies, is expressed by destroying antichrist with the breath of his mouth; by the beast going into perdition; by leading them captive who have led others; by killing them with the sword who have killed others with it; by pouring out the vials of his wrath on them; by giving them the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath; by smiting them with the sword that comes out of his mouth, and by bringing upon them death, mourning, and famine, and burning them with fire; all which he will most surely render unto them, 2 Thessalonians 2:8 Revelation 19:15.

If I whet my glittering sword, and mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
41. whet] See on Deuteronomy 6:7. Jehovah as warrior, as often in later prophecy, e.g. Isaiah 63.

Deuteronomy 32:41The Lord will show Himself as the only true God, who slays and makes alive, etc. He will take vengeance upon His enemies, avenge the blood of His servants, and expiate His land, His people. With this promise, which is full of comfort for all the servants of the Lord, the ode concludes. "For I lift up My hand to heaven, and say, As truly as I live for ever, if I have sharpened My flashing sword, and My hand grasps for judgment, I will repay vengeance to My adversaries, and requite My haters. I will make My arrows drunk with blood, and My sword will eat flesh; with the blood of the slain and prisoners, with the hairy head of the foe." Lifting up the hand to heaven was a gesture by which a person taking an oath invoked God, who is enthroned in heaven, as a witness of the truth and an avenger of falsehood (Genesis 14:22). Here, as in Exodus 6:8 and Numbers 14:30, it is used anthropomorphically of God, who is in heaven, and can swear by no greater than Himself (vid., Isaiah 45:23; Jeremiah 22:5; Hebrews 6:17). The oath follows in Deuteronomy 32:41 and Deuteronomy 32:42. אם, however, is not the particle employed in swearing, which has a negative meaning (vid., Genesis 14:23), but is conditional, and introduces the protasis. As the avenger of His people upon their foes, the Lord is represented as a warlike hero, who whets His sword, and has a quiver filled with arrows (as in Psalm 7:13). "As long as the Church has to make war upon the world, the flesh, and the devil, it needs a warlike head" (Schultz). חרב בּרק, the flash of the sword, i.e., the flashing sword (vid., Genesis 3:24; Nahum 3:3; Habakkuk 3:11). In the next clause, "and My hand grasps judgment," mishpat (judgment) does not mean punishment or destruction hurled by God upon His foes, nor the weapons employed in the execution of judgment, but judgment is introduced poetically as the thing which God takes in hand for the purpose of carrying it out. נקם השׁיב, to lead back vengeance, i.e., to repay it. Punishment is retribution for evil done. By the enemies and haters of Jehovah, we need not understand simply the heathen enemies of the Israelites, for the ungodly in Israel were enemies of God quite as much as the ungodly heathen. If it is evident from Deuteronomy 32:25-27, where God is spoken of as punishing Israel to the utmost when it had fallen into idolatry, but not utterly destroying it, that the punishment which God would inflict would also fall upon the heathen, who would have made an end of Israel; it is no less apparent from Deuteronomy 32:37 and Deuteronomy 32:38, especially from the appeal in Deuteronomy 32:38, Let your idols arise and help you (Deuteronomy 32:38), which is addressed, as all admit, to the idolatrous Israelites, and not to the heathen, that those Israelites who had made worthless idols their rock would be exposed to the vengeance and retribution of the Lord. In Deuteronomy 32:42 the figure of the warrior is revived, and the judgment of God is carried out still further under this figure. Of the four different clauses in this verse, the third is related to the first, and the fourth to the second. God would make His arrows drunk with the blood not only of the slain, but also of the captives, whose lives are generally spared, but were not to be spared in this judgment. This sword would eat flesh of the hairy head of the foe. The edge of the sword is represented poetically as the mouth with which it eats (2 Samuel 2:26; 2 Samuel 18:8, etc.); "the sword is said to devour bodies when it slays them by piercing" (Ges. thes. p. 1088). פּרעות, from פּרע, a luxuriant, uncut growth of hair (Numbers 6:5; see at Leviticus 10:6). The hairy head is not a figure used to denote the "wild and cruel foe" (Knobel), but a luxuriant abundance of strength, and the indomitable pride of the foe, who had grown fat and forgotten his Creator (Deuteronomy 32:15). This explanation is confirmed by Psalm 68:22; whereas the rendering ἄρχοντες, princes, leaders, which is given in the Septuagint, has no foundation in the language itself, and no tenable support in Judges 5:2.
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