Psalm 45:5
Your arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies; whereby the people fall under you.
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(5) Thine arrows.—Our version has transposed the clauses of this verse. The original is more vivid.

“Thine arrows are sharpened—

The people under Thee fall—

Against the heart of the king’s enemies.”

The poet actually sees the battle raging before him.

Psalm 45:5. Thine arrows are sharp, &c. — The allusion to an earthly conqueror is still continued. The arrows mean the same with the sword, both denoting the instruments wherewith he conquers his enemies; which are the truths, precepts, threatenings, promises, &c., of his word. These, when accompanied by the influences of the Holy Spirit, are sharp and powerful, and pierce the hearts of men with conviction of sin, shame, and sorrow, producing frequently terror, dismay, and exquisite distress for a time, till sinners are humbled, subdued, and reconciled. In the heart of the king’s enemies — Of thine enemies, the third person being put for the second, as is frequently done in prophetical writings; and the word king being here brought in probably to describe the persons against whom the arrows are shot, and the reason thereof, because they were enemies of his kingdom, and would not be subject to him. Whereby the people fall under thee — Either slain by thine arrows, or prostrate at thy feet, after the manner of conquered persons. Those that were by nature enemies are thus wounded, in order to their being reduced, reconciled, and made subject to this king; and those that persist in their enmity, in order to their being ruined and destroyed. The arrows of God’s terrors are sharp in their hearts, that they may so fall under him as to be made his footstool, Psalm 110:1; that, as they would not submit to his golden sceptre, and have him to reign over them, they may be broken by his iron rod, and slain before him.45:1-5 The psalmist's tongue was guided by the Spirit of God, as the pen is by the hand of a ready writer. This psalm is touching the King Jesus, his kingdom and government. It is a shame that this good matter is not more the subject of our discourse. There is more in Christ to engage our love, than there is or can be in any creature. This world and its charms are ready to draw away our hearts from Christ; therefore we are concerned to understand how much more worthy he is of our love. By his word, his promise, his gospel, the good will of God is made known to us, and the good work of God is begun and carried on in us. The psalmist, ver. 3-5, joyfully foretells the progress and success of the Messiah. The arrows of conviction are very terrible in the hearts of sinners, till they are humbled and reconciled; but the arrows of vengeance will be more so to his enemies who refuse to submit. All who have seen his glory and tasted his grace, rejoice to see him, by his word and Spirit, bring enemies and strangers under his dominion.Thine arrows are sharp in the heart ... - literally, "Thine arrows are sharp - the people under thee shall fall - in the heart of the enemies of the king." The process of "thought" in the verse seems to be this: First. The "arrows" are seen as sharp or penetrating. Second. The "people" are seen falling as those arrows are shot forth. Third. It is seen that those who fall are the "enemies of the king," and that the arrows have pierced the "heart." The word "sharp" is applied to the arrows as denoting that they were adapted to "pierce." Sometimes arrows are blunted, or with a thick head, rather adapted to smite with force than to wound by penetrating. The bow and the arrow were common instruments in ancient wars, and were mainly used by those who went forth to battle in a chariot. Compare 1 Kings 22:34; 2 Kings 9:21-24. As pertaining to the Messiah, the reference here is, of course, to the "truth," and to the power of that truth in penetrating the hearts of people. Compare the notes at Hebrews 4:12.

In the heart of the king's enemies - That is, the "truths" stated by the Messiah, the conquering king, would penetrate deep into the soul, and slay the sinner, the enemy of the king, that is, of the Messiah. The idea is, that truth would produce an effect in regard to the hopes of the sinner - his self-confidence - his life "as" a sinner - like that which the arrow does when it penetrates the heart. Compare Romans 7:9 : "For I was alive without the law once, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died." See also the notes at Romans 7:10-11.

Whereby the people fall under thee - As the effect of the arrows; as the effect of truth. The representation is that of victory. As here represented, it is the victory of truth; a conquest by subjecting people to the authority and reign of God.

5. The result.

people—Whole nations are subdued.

Thine arrows; the same thing for substance with the sword, Psalm 45:3, both noting the instruments by which he conquers his enemies; which is no other than his word, which is sharp and powerful, and pierceth the hearts of men, Hebrews 4:12; which also first wounds sinners, and then heals them; and which is for the fall as well as for the rising of many, Luke 2:34, and for judgment as well as for mercy, John 9:39; to some a savour of death, and to others a savour of life, 2 Corinthians 2:16; and therefore is fitly compared to arrows; which title is sometimes given to words, as Psalm 64:3, and frequently to God’s plagues or judgments, Deu 32:23 Psalm 18:14 64:7, such as the word becomes to ungodly men by their own fault. And these metaphorical weapons are oft ascribed to Christ, who hath a bow, Revelation 6:2, and weapons of warfare, 2 Corinthians 10:4, and whose mouth God is said to make a sword and an arrow, Isaiah 49:2.

Of the king’s enemies, i.e. of thine enemies; the third person being put for the second, as is usual in prophetical writings; which here may seem to have some emphasis, as describing the persons against whom he shot his arrows, and the reason why he did so, because they were the enemies of his kingdom, and would not have him to reign over them, Luke 19:27.

The people fall under thee; either as slain by thine arrows; or as prostrate at thy feet, after the manner of conquered persons, Psalm 18:38 20:8. According to this and many other translations the words are transplaced, which in the Hebrew lie thus, Thine arrows are sharp, whereby the people do fall under thee, in the heart (i. e. in the midst, which is oft called the heart, as Exodus 15:8 Deu 4:11. And so it may be here; for the army, as such, hath no heart, properly so called. And so this is fitly alleged, as a proof of the sharpness and force of his arrows, that they not only wound those who march in the front, but even those who are in the midst of the army, where they may seem secure, and out of-their reach) of the king’s enemies. But the middle words may be, and are by many, included within a parenthesis, and so they may agree with our translation thus, Thine arrows are sharp (for the people fall under thee, which is an evidence of their sharpness) in the heart (or, against the heart; or, piercing into the heart; which is an easy and usual ellipsis) of the king’s enemies. Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies,.... Meaning either the Jews, who were the implacable enemies of Christ, and who would not have him to reign over them; in the midst of whom were sent his arrows, of the sword, famine, and pestilence, and which were very sharp, and made sad havoc among them, and caused such a time of tribulation as was not before, or has been since, Matthew 24:21; or else the doctrines of the Gospel. The Scriptures are the quiver out of which they are taken; the Gospel is the bow into which they are put, and out of which they are shot; and ministers are the archers that draw the bow at a venture, and shoot them; and which are compared to "arrows" for their swift, sudden, and secret motion, and for their piercing and penetrating power and efficacy: and these are Christ's, which he is the author of, and which he makes use of to good purpose, by striking the hearts of his people with them, who in their state of unregeneracy are enemies to him; which appears by their wicked works, and as they were when he died for them, and reconciled them to God; by means of which arrows fixed in them, and with which their hearts are pricked and wounded, they submit unto him, signified by the next clause:

whereby the people fall under thee: acknowledge themselves sinners; fall down at his feet; humbly implore his grace and mercy; submit to his righteousness; depend on him alone for salvation; adore him, and give him the glory of it, as well as become subject to his laws and ordinances. This is to be understood of those who are God's covenant people, whom he has given to Christ, and he has redeemed by his blood; and particularly the Gentiles, who were not a people, but now openly are, in distinction from the Jews, the enemies of the King Messiah.

Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies; whereby the people fall under thee.
5. As the text stands it must be rendered;

Thine arrows are sharp;

Peoples fall under thee:

(They are) in the heart of the king’s enemies.

The poet depicts the battle with rapid vigorous strokes of his pen. The king’s arrows are sharpened (Isaiah 5:28), ready for fatal effect; his enemies fall at their discharge; he rides on over their prostrate corpses; each shaft has found its mark in the heart of a foe. But the construction is abrupt, and possibly there is some error in the text.Verse 5. - Thine arrows are sharp in the heart of the king's enemies; whereby the people fall under thee. The original is more graphic. It runs, "Thy arrows are sharp - the peoples fall under thee - (they are) in the heart of the king's enemies." All the enemies of Messiah shall one day be chastised, and fall before him. (Heb.: 44:23-27) The church is not conscious of any apostasy, for on the contrary it is suffering for the sake of its fidelity. Such is the meaning intended by כּי, Psalm 44:23 (cf. Psalm 37:20). The emphasis lies on עליך, which is used exactly as in Psalm 69:8. Paul, in Romans 8:36, transfers this utterance to the sufferings of the New Testament church borne in witnessing for the truth, or I should rather say he considers it as a divine utterance corresponding as it were prophetically to the sufferings of the New Testament church, and by anticipation, coined concerning it and for its use, inasmuch as he cites it with the words καθὼς γέγραπται. The suppliant cries עוּרה and הקיצה are Davidic, and found in his earlier Ps; Psalm 7:7; Psalm 35:23; Psalm 59:5., cf. Psalm 78:65. God is said to sleep when He does not interpose in whatever is taking place in the outward world here below; for the very nature of sleep is a turning in into one's own self from all relationship to the outer world, and a resting of the powers which act outwardly. The writer of our Psalm is fond of couplets of synonyms like ענינוּ ולחצנוּ in Psalm 44:25; cf. Psalm 44:4, ימינך וּזרועך. Psalm 119:25 is an echo of Psalm 44:26. The suppliant cry קוּמה (in this instance in connection with the עזרתה which follows, it is to be accented on the ultima) is Davidic, Psalm 3:8; Psalm 7:7; but originally it is Mosaic. Concerning the ah of עזרתה, here as also in Psalm 63:8 of like meaning with לעזרתי, Psalm 22:20, and frequently, vid., on Psalm 3:3.
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