Psalm 149:7
To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people;
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(7) Heathen . . . people.—Rather, nations . . . peoples.

149:6-9 Some of God's servants of old were appointed to execute vengeance according to his word. They did not do it from personal revenge or earthly politics, but in obedience to God's command. And the honour intended for all the saints of God, consists in their triumphs over the enemies of their salvation. Christ never intended his gospel should be spread by fire and sword, or his righteousness by the wrath of man. But let the high praises of God be in our mouths, while we wield the sword of the word of God, with the shield of faith, in warfare with the world, the flesh, and the devil. The saints shall be more than conquerors over the enemies of their souls, through the blood of the Lamb and the word of his testimony. The completing of this will be in the judgement of the great day. Then shall the judgement be executed. Behold Jesus, and his gospel church, chiefly in her millennial state. He and his people rejoice in each other; by their prayers and efforts they work with him, while he goes forth in the chariots of salvation, conquering sinners by grace, or in chariots of vengeance, to destroy his enemies.To execute vengeance upon the heathen - To inflict punishment upon them as a recompence for their sins. The word pagan here means nations. The allusion is, doubtless, to those who had oppressed and injured the Hebrew people - perhaps referring to those who had destroyed the city and the temple at the time of the Babylonian captivity. They were now to receive the punishment due for the wrongs which they had done to the nation; a just recompence at the hand of God, and by the instrumentality of those whom they had wronged. Compare the notes at Psalm 137:7-9.

And punishments upon the people - The people of those lands. Those who had waged war with the Hebrew nation.

7. The destruction of the incorrigibly wicked attends the propagation of God's truth, so that the military successes of the Jews, after the captivity, typified the triumphs of the Gospel. For all their cruelties and injuries towards God’s people. This was literally accomplished by David upon the Philistines, Ammonites, Syrians, and other neighbouring nations and princes, which were bitter enemies to God’s people. And the same thing was done afterward in the Christian world, when God raised up Christian princes, who did by the help of the Christians, fighting with and under them, severely revenge the blood of the martyred Christians upon their cruel persecutors and tyrants in divers ages. It may also be understood of the spiritual plagues which Christ by the hand or ministry of his apostles and ministers did inflict upon the hearts and consciences of his incorrigible enemies, who by God’s word and ordinances were either tormented or hardened to their destruction. Yea, it may have a respect unto the last day of judgment, in which the saints shall judge the world, 1 Corinthians 6:2, which will be a most dreadful execution of this vengeance, &c.

To execute vengeance upon the Heathen,.... Either upon the Gentile world, in the first times of the Gospel; when the apostles, going there with the twoedged sword of the word, vehemently inveighed against the idolatry of the Heathens, and exhorted them to turn from their idols to serve the living God; and divine power going along with their ministry, multitudes were turned from them; through the success of the Gospel, the oracles of the Heathen were struck dumb, their priests were despised, their idol temples were forsaken, and idols rejected; now were the judgment of the Heathen world, and the prince of it, cast out, and vengeance in this way taken upon it, or their disobedience to God revenged, John 12:31. Or else upon the Papists, as will be in the latter times of the Gospel; who are sometimes called Heathens and Gentiles, Psalm 10:16; on whom vengeance will be taken for all their idolatry, superstition, and bloodshed of the saints; and they will be smitten and slain by the twoedged sword, proceeding out of the mouth of Christ, and as in the hands of his servants, Revelation 19:15;

and punishments upon the people; or "reproofs" (p); sharp and piercing ones; such as the convictions the word of God will strike in the minds of men, and will be very distressing and afflicting to them; as the fire out of the mouths of the witnesses, which is their doctrine, will be to their enemies the Papists; and will torment and kill them, and be the savour of death unto death unto them, Revelation 11:5.

(p) "increpationes", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "redargutiones", Cocceius, Michaelis; so Ainsworth.

{e} To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people;

(e) This is chiefly accomplished in the kingdom of Christ when God's people for just causes execute God's judgments against his enemies and it gives no liberty to any to avenge their private injuries.

7. vengeance upon the nations] Cp. Isaiah 61:2; Isaiah 63:4.

punishments upon the peoples] Lit. corrections.

Verse 7. - To execute vengeance upon the heathen. Not private revenge, but the just vengeance which a threatened nation has, from time to time, to execute on its persecutors in self-defense. And punishments upon the people; rather, upon the peoples. A variant of the phrase in the preceding clause, without any serious modification of the meaning. Psalm 149:7The glance is here directed to the future. The people of the present have again, in their God, attained to a lofty self-consciousness, the consciousness of their destiny, viz., to subjugate the whole world of nations to the God of Israel. In the presence of the re-exaltation which they have experienced their throat is full of words and songs exalting Jahve (רוממות, plural of רומם, or, according to another reading, רומם, Psalm 56:1-13 :17), and as servants of this God, the rightful Lord of all the heathen (Psalm 82:8), they hold in their hand a many-mouthed, i.e., many edged sword (vid., supra, p. 580), in order to take the field on behalf of the true religion, as the Maccabees actually did, not long after: ταῖς μὲν χερσὶν ἀγωνιζόμενοι ταῖς δὲ καρδίαις πρὸς τὸν Θεόν εὐχόμενοι (2 Macc. 15:27). The meaning of Psalm 149:9 becomes a different one, according as we take this line as co-ordinate or subordinate to what goes before. Subordinated, it would imply the execution of a penal jurisdiction over those whom they carried away, and כּתוּב would refer to prescriptive facts such as are recorded in Numbers 31:8; 1 Samuel 15:32. (Hitzig). But it would become the religious lyric poet least of all to entertain such an unconditional prospect of the execution of the conquered worldly rulers. There is just as little ground for thinking of the judgment of extermination pronounced upon the nations of Canaan, which was pronounced upon them for an especial reason. If Psalm 149:9 is taken as co-ordinate, the "written judgment" (Recht) consists in the complete carrying out of the subjugation; and this is commended by the perfectly valid parallel, Isaiah 45:14. The poet, however, in connection with the expression "written," has neither this nor that passage of Scripture in his mind, but the testimony of the Law and of prophecy in general, that all kingdoms shall become God's and His Christ's. Subjugation (and certainly not without bloodshed) is the scriptural משׁפּט for the execution of which Jahve makes use of His own nation. Because the God who thus vindicates Himself is Israel's God, this subjugation of the world is הדר, splendour and glory, to all who are in love devoted to Him. The glorifying of Jahve is also the glorifying of Israel.
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