Psalm 21:9
Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of thine anger: the LORD shall swallow them up in his wrath, and the fire shall devour them.
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(9) Thou shalt make . . .—As it stands the figure is most obscure. Lamentations 5:10 is not analogous. Here the fire and not the blackness of the smoky oven is the object of comparison. A very slight literal change gives the sense obviously required: Thou shalt put them into a fiery oven. The figure is not drawn from Sodom and Gomorrah, but from a smelter’s furnace. (Comp. Isaiah 31:9; Malachi 3:3. For the custom in its literal horror, see Jeremiah 48:45; Jeremiah 49:2; Amos 2:1, where the reference is to the Transjordanic tribes.) The Philistines subjected their enemies to a similar treatment (Judges 15:6).

In the time of thine anger.—Literally, of thy face, i.e., by thy very appearance. The dread majesty of God’s face is often thus spoken of (Psalm 34:16; Leviticus 20:6). Here the same awful power of withering the wicked with a glance is ascribed to the representative of Jehovah. (Comp. Proverbs 16:14-15; Proverbs 19:12.) But, as if startled by the boldness of his own figure, the poet instantly refers to Jehovah.

In his wrath.—Literally, in his nostril, in direct parallelism with “face” in last clause.

21:7-13 The psalmist teaches to look forward with faith, and hope, and prayer upon what God would further do. The success with which God blessed David, was a type of the total overthrow of all Christ's enemies. Those who might have had Christ to rule and save them, but rejected him and fought against him, shall find the remembrance of it a worm that dies not. God makes sinners willing by his grace, receives them to his favour, and delivers them from the wrath to come. May he exalt himself, by his all-powerful grace, in our hearts, destroying all the strong-holds of sin and Satan. How great should be our joy and praise to behold our Brother and Friend upon the throne, and for all the blessings we may expect from him! yet he delights in his exalted state, as enabling him to confer happiness and glory on poor sinners, who are taught to love and trust in him.Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of thine anger - Thou shalt consume or destroy them, "as if" they "were" burned in a heated oven. Or, they shall burn, as if they were a flaming oven; that is, they would be wholly consumed. The word rendered "oven" - תנור tannûr - means either an "oven" or a "furnace." It is rendered "furnace and furnaces" in Genesis 15:17; Nehemiah 3:11; Nehemiah 12:38; Isaiah 31:9; and, as here, "oven" or "ovens," in Exodus 8:3; Leviticus 2:4; Leviticus 7:9; Leviticus 11:35; Leviticus 26:26; Lamentations 5:10; Hosea 7:4, Hosea 7:6-7; Malachi 4:1. It does not occur elsewhere. The oven among the Hebrews was in the form of a large "pot," and was heated from within by placing the wood inside of it. Of course, while being heated, it had the appearance of a furnace. The meaning here is that the wicked would be consumed or destroyed "as if" they were such a burning oven; as if they were set on fire, and burned up.

The Lord shall swallow them up in his wrath - The same idea of the utter destruction of the wicked is here presented under another form - that they would be destroyed as if the earth should open and swallow them up. Perhaps the allusion in the language is to the case of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram, Numbers 16:32; compare Psalm 106:17.

And the fire shall devour them - The same idea under another form. The wrath of God would utterly destroy them. That wrath is often represented under the image of "fire." See Deuteronomy 4:24; Deuteronomy 32:22; Psalm 18:8; Matthew 13:42; Matthew 18:8; Matthew 25:41; Mark 9:44; 2 Thessalonians 1:8. Fire is the emblem by which the future punishment of the wicked is most frequently denoted.

9. The king is only God's agent.

anger—literally, "face," as appearing against them.

as a fiery oven—as in it.

Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven; or, thou shalt put them, (as the Hebrew word properly signifies,) as it were, into (so there is only an ellipsis of the preposition beth, which is most frequent) a fiery oven, i.e. like wood, which when it is cast in there, is quickly consumed.

Shall swallow them up, i.e. destroy them, as this phrase is oft used, as 2 Samuel 20:19,20 Psa 56:1,2 Pr 1:12.

Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven,.... Some think the allusion is to David's causing the Ammonites to pass through the brick kiln, 2 Samuel 12:31; others to the burning of Sodom and Gomorrah: it represents what a severe punishment shall be inflicted on the enemies of Christ; they shall be cast into a fiery oven, or furnace of fire, as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, were by the order of Nebuchadnezzar; so some render the words, "thou shalt put them into a fiery oven", "as", being put for "into" (c): wicked men are as dry trees, as stubble, as thorns or briers, and are fit fuel for a fiery oven or furnace; by which is meant the wrath and fury of God, which is poured forth as fire; and this has had its fulfilment in part in the Jews at Jerusalem's destruction; when that day of the Lord burned like an oven, and the proud and haughty Jews, and who dealt wickedly by Christ, were burned up in it, Malachi 4:1; and will have an additional accomplishment when the whore of Babylon shall be burnt with fire, and when the beast and false prophet shall be cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone; and still more fully at the general conflagration, when will be the perdition of ungodly men, and the earth and all that is therein shall be burnt up; and especially when all wicked men and devils shall be cast into the lake and furnace of fire, where will be weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth; see Revelation 17:16. This will be

in the time of thine anger, or "of thy countenance" (d); not his gracious, but his angry countenance; when he shall put on a fierce look, and appear as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and stir up all his wrath;

the Lord shall swallow them up in his wrath; not that they shall be annihilated; their souls remain after death, and their bodies after the resurrection; and will be tormented with the fire of God's wrath for ever and ever; the phrase is expressive of utter ruin, of the destruction of soul and body in hell; see Psalm 35:25; Jarchi takes it to be a prayer, "may the Lord swallow them up", &c.

and the fire shall devour them; that is, as the Targum paraphrases it, the fire of hell; or, however, it designs the wrath of God, who is a consuming fire; or that fiery indignation of his, which shall devour the adversaries; which comes down upon them either in temporal judgments here, or in their everlasting destruction hereafter.

(c) Vide Aben Ezram in loc. (d) "vultus tui", V. L. so Sept. Aethiop. Gejerus, Muis, Ainsworth; "faciei iratae tuae", Junius & Tremellius; so Michaelis.

Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of thine anger: the LORD shall swallow them up in his {f} wrath, and the fire shall devour them.

(f) This teaches us patiently to endure the cross till God destroys the adversary.

9. Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven] R.V., as a fiery furnace.

The comparison is condensed, and inexact in form; but the sense is clear: thou wilt consume them as fuel in a furnace. The phrase is figurative (Malachi 4:1): yet there may be an allusion to the terrible vengeance inflicted on the Ammonites (2 Samuel 12:31).

in the time of thine anger] Lit. in the time of thy countenance, or presence: when Thou appearest in person. Cp. 2 Samuel 17:11. ‘The face of Jehovah’ is the manifestation of His Presence in wrath as well as in mercy (Psalm 34:16); and the king is His representative.

Verse 9. - Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of his anger. Some suppose a reference to the event mentioned in 2 Samuel 12:31, "He (David) made them (the Ammonites) to pass through the brick-kiln.;" but the expression "fiery oven" is probably not intended to be taken literally, but metaphorically. Severe suffering is continually compared in Scripture to confinement in an oven or furnace (see Deuteronomy 4:20; 1 Kings 8:51; Isaiah 48:10; Jeremiah 11:4; Ezekiel 22:18, 20, 22; Malachi 4:1). And we may best understand the present passage to mean simply that in the time of his anger David would subject such of his enemies as fell into his hands to very terrible sufferings. (See, as showing what extreme severities David did sometimes inflict on captured enemies, 2 Samuel 12:31 which is to the point, as also is 1 Kings 11:15, 16.) The Lord shall swallow them up in his wrath, and the fire shall devour them. The metaphor is followed up, with the addition that what was previously attributed to David alone is here declared to have the sanction of God. Psalm 21:9(Heb.: 21:10-11) Hitherto the Psalm has moved uniformly in synonymous dipodia, now it becomes agitated; and one feels from its excitement that the foes of the king are also the people's foes. True as it is, as Hupfeld takes it, that לעת פּניך sounds like a direct address to Jahve, Psalm 21:10 nevertheless as truly teaches us quite another rendering. The destructive effect, which in other passages is said to proceed from the face of Jahve, Psalm 34:17; Leviticus 20:6; Lamentations 4:16 (cf. ἔχει θεὸς ἔκδικον ὄμμα), is here ascribed to the face, i.e., the personal appearing (2 Samuel 17:11) of the king. David's arrival did actually decide the fall of Rabbath Ammon, of whose inhabitants some died under instruments of torture and others were cast into brick-kilns, 2 Samuel 12:26. The prospect here moulds itself according to this fate of the Ammonites. כּתנּוּר אשׁ is a second accusative to תּשׁיתנו, thou wilt make them like a furnace of fire, i.e., a burning furnace, so that like its contents they shall entirely consume by fire (synecdoche continentis pro contento). The figure is only hinted at, and is differently applied to what it is in Lamentations 5:10, Malachi 4:1. Psalm 21:10 and Psalm 21:10 are intentionally two long rising and falling wave-like lines, to which succeed, in Psalm 21:11, two short lines; the latter describe the peaceful gleaning after the fiery judgment of God that has been executed by the hand of David. פּרימו, as in Lamentations 2:20; Hosea 9:16, is to be understood after the analogy of the expression פּרי הבּטן. It is the fate of the Amalekites (cf. Psalm 9:6.), which is here predicted of the enemies of the king.
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