If I whet my glittering sword, and my hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to my enemies, and will reward them that hate me.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)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).
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. 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.Psalm 38:17; Psalm 94:18). The thought in this clause is not, "At or towards the time when their misfortune begins, I will plunge them into the greatest calamity," as Kamphausen infers from the fact that the shaking denotes the beginning of the calamity; and yet the vengeance can only be completed by plunging them into calamity, - a though which he justly regards as unsuitable, though he resorts to emendations of the text in consequence. But the supposed unsuitability vanishes, if we simply regard the words, "Vengeance is Mine, and retribution," not as the mere announcement of a quality founded in the nature of God, and residing in God Himself, but as an expression of the divine energy, with this signification, I will manifest Myself as an avenger and recompenser, when their foot shall shake. Then what had hitherto been hidden with God, lay sealed up as it were in His treasures, should come to light, and be made manifest to the sinful nation. God would not delay in this; for the day of their destruction was near. איד signifies misfortune, and sometimes utter destruction. The primary meaning of the word cannot be determined with certainty. That it does not mean utter destruction, we may see from the parallel clause. "The things that shall come upon them," await them, or are prepared for them, are, according to the context, both in Deuteronomy 32:26 and also in Deuteronomy 32:36., not destruction, but simply a calamity or penal judgment that would bring them near to utter destruction. Again, these words do not relate to the punishment of "the wicked deeds of the inhuman horde," or the vengeance of God upon the enemies of Israel (Ewald, Kamphausen), but to the vengeance or retribution which God would inflict upon Israel. This is evident, apart from what has been said above against the application of Deuteronomy 32:33, Deuteronomy 32:34, to the heathen, simply from Deuteronomy 32:36, which unquestionably refers to Israel, and has been so interpreted by every commentator. - The first clause is quoted in Romans 12:19 and Hebrews 10:30, in the former to warn against self-revenge, in the latter to show the energy with which God will punish those who fall away from the faith, in connection with Deuteronomy 32:36, "the Lord will judge His people." - In Deuteronomy 32:36 the reason is given for the thought in Deuteronomy 32:35. דּין is mostly taken here in the sense of "procure right," help to right, which it certainly often has (e.g., Psalm 54:3), and which is not to be excluded here; but this by no means exhausts the idea of the word. The parallel יתנחם does not compel us to drop the idea of punishment, which is involved in the judging; for it is a question whether the two clauses are perfectly synonymous. "Judging His people" did not consist merely in the fact that Jehovah punished the heathen who oppressed Israel, but also in the fact that He punished the wicked in Israel who oppressed the righteous. "His people" is no doubt Israel as a whole (as, for example, in Isaiah 1:3), but this whole was composed of righteous and wicked, and God could only help the righteous to justice by punishing and destroying the wicked. In this way the judging of His people became compassion towards His servants. "His servants" are the righteous, or, speaking more correctly, all who in the time of judgment are found to be the servants of God, and are saved. Because Israel was His nation, the Lord judged it in such a manner as not to destroy it, but simply to punish it for its sins, and to have compassion upon His servants, when He saw that the strength of the nation was gone. יד, the hand, with which one grasps and works, is a figure employed to denote power and might (vid., Isaiah 28:2). אזל, to run out, or come to an end (1 Samuel 9:7; Job 14:11). The meaning is, "when every support is gone," when all the rotten props of its might, upon which it has rested, are broken (Ewald). The noun אפס, cessation, disappearance, takes the place of a verb. The words עזוּב עצוּר are a proverbial phrase used to denote all men, as we may clearly see from 1 Kings 14:10; 1 Kings 21:21; 2 Kings 4:8; 2 Kings 14:6. The literal meaning of this form, however, cannot be decided with certainty. The explanation given by L. de Dieu is the most plausible one, viz., the man who is fettered, restrained, i.e., married, and the single or free. For עזוּב the meaning caelebs is established by the Arabic, though the Arabic can hardly be appealed to as proving that עצוּר means paterfamilias, as this meaning, which Roediger assigns to the Arabic word, is founded upon a mistaken interpretation of a passage in Kamus.
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