Psalm 89:43
You have also turned the edge of his sword, and have not made him to stand in the battle.
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(43) Edge of his sword.—The Hebrew is tsûr, i.e., rock, and a comparison with Joshua 5:2 (margin) suggests that we have here a reminiscence of the “stone age.” The word “flint” for the edge of a weapon might easily survive the actual use of the implement itself. So we should still speak of “a foeman’s steel” even if the use of chemical explosives entirely abolished the use of sword and bayonet. This is one of the cases where the condition of modern science helps us in exegesis of the Bible. The ancient versions, who knew nothing of the stone or iron ages, paraphrase, by “strength,” or “help.”

89:38-52 Sometimes it is not easy to reconcile God's providences with his promises, yet we are sure that God's works fulfil his word. When the great Anointed One, Christ himself, was upon the cross, God seemed to have cast him off, yet did not make void his covenant, for that was established for ever. The honour of the house of David was lost. Thrones and crowns are often laid in the dust; but there is a crown of glory reserved for Christ's spiritual seed, which fadeth not away. From all this complaint learn what work sin makes with families, noble families, with families in which religion has appeared. They plead with God for mercy. God's unchangeableness and faithfulness assure us that He will not cast off those whom he has chosen and covenanted with. They were reproached for serving him. The scoffers of the latter days, in like manner, reproach the footsteps of the Messiah when they ask, Where is the promise of his coming? 2Pe 3:3,4. The records of the Lord's dealings with the family of David, show us his dealings with his church, and with believers. Their afflictions and distresses may be grievous, but he will not finally cast them off. Self-deceivers abuse this doctrine, and others by a careless walk bring themselves into darkness and distress; yet let the true believer rely on it for encouragement in the path of duty, and in bearing the cross. The psalm ends with praise, even after this sad complaint. Those who give God thanks for what he has done, may give him thanks for what he will do. God will follow those with his mercies, who follow him with praises.Thou hast also turned the edge of his sword - That is, Thou hast turned it away, so that when it is raised to strike, it does not descend on the object aimed at by the blow. The meaning is, that he had not been successful in battle, or had been defeated.

And hast not made him to stand in the battle - To stand firm; to hold his ground. He has been driven back; his forces have fled.

40-45. The ruin is depicted under several figures—a vineyard whose broken "hedges," and "strongholds," whose ruins invite spoilers and invaders; a warrior, whose enemies are aided by God, and whose sword's "edge"—literally, "rock" or "strength" (Jos 5:2) is useless; and a youth prematurely old. Turned the edge of his sword; so that he can neither offend his enemies, nor defend himself.

Not made him to stand, but to flee and fall before his enemies; for more is understood than what is expressed. Thou hast also turned the edge of his sword,.... Or the "sharpness" (a) of it blunted it, so that it could do no execution: the disciples of Christ were not allowed the use of the temporal sword to defend their master; and his house, his kingdom, not being of this world, Matthew 26:51, other weapons were put into their hands; the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; and the edge of this was blunted, with respect to the Jews, being of little or no efficacy among them; it was turned off by them, and put away from them; but then it was turned towards the Gentiles, and was powerful and effectual among them; Christ girt it on his thigh, and rode forth in his glory and majesty, conquering, and to conquer, and by it subdued many, who fell under him, and gave up themselves unto him; see Ephesians 6:17, and ere long, with the twoedged sword, which proceeds out of his mouth, will he smite the antichristian nations; and the remnant of those that escape at the battle of Armageddon shall be slain with it, Revelation 19:15,

and hast not made him to stand in the battle; but to fall in it, being delivered up into the hands of wicked men, of justice, and death; and yet, by dying, he put away sin, finished it, made an end of it, and destroyed it; he conquered Satan, and led him captive; overcame the world, the spite and malice of it, and its prince; and abolished death itself.

(a) "acumen", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.

Thou hast also turned the edge of his sword, and hast not made him to stand in the battle.
43. Yea, thou turnest back the edge of his sword (R.V.): i.e. not as A.V. might seem to mean, bluntest it, but as the parallelism shews, makest it give way in battle. Cp. 2 Samuel 1:22.Verse 43. - Thou hast also turned the edge of his sword; literally, the rock of his sword. It is not quite clear whether a "blunting of the sword," or a "turning to flight of those who drew the sword," is intended. In either ease the phrase implies military disaster. And hast not made him to stand in the battle; i.e. '" hast caused him to give way before his enemies." The words imply defeat in the open field. Now follows the paraphrase of 2 Samuel 7:14, that the faithlessness of David's line in relation to the covenant shall not interfere with (annul) the faithfulness of God - a thought with which one might very naturally console one's self in the reign of Rehoboam. Because God has placed the house of David in a filial relationship to Himself, He will chastise the apostate members as a father chastises his son; cf. Proverbs 23:13. In 1 Chronicles 17:13 the chronicler omits the words of 2 Samuel 7:14 which there provide against perverted action (העוות) on the part of the seed of David; our Psalm proves their originality. But even if, as history shows, this means of chastisement should be ineffectual in the case of individuals, the house of David as such will nevertheless remain ever in a state of favour with Him. In Psalm 89:34 חסדּי לא־אפיר מעמּו corresponds to וחסדּי־לא־יסוּר ממּנּוּ in 2 Samuel 7:15 (lxx, Targum): the fut. Hiph. of פרר is otherwise always אפר; the conjecture אסיר is therefore natural, yet even the lxx translators (ου ̓ μὴ διασκεδάσω) had אפיר before them. שׁקּר בּ as in Psalm 44:18. The covenant with David is sacred with God: He will not profane it (חלּל, to loose the bonds of sanctity). He will fulfil what has gone forth from His lips, i.e., His vow, according to Deuteronomy 23:24 [23], cf. Numbers 30:3 [2]. One thing hath He sworn to David; not: once equals once for all (lxx), for what is introduced by Psalm 89:36 (cf. Psalm 27:4) and follows in Psalm 89:37, Psalm 89:38, is in reality one thing (as in Psalm 62:12, two). He hath sworn it per sanctitatem suam. Thus, and not in sanctuario meo, בּקדשׁי in this passage and Amos 4:2 (cf. on Psalm 60:8) is to be rendered, for elsewhere the expression is בּי, Genesis 22:16; Isaiah 45:23, or בּנפשׁו, Amos 6:8; Jeremiah 51:14, or בּשׁמי, Jeremiah 44:26, or בּימינו, Isaiah 62:8. It is true we do not read any set form of oath in 2 Samuel 7, 1 Chronicles 17, but just as Isaiah, Isaiah 54:9, takes the divine promise in Genesis 8:21 as an oath, so the promise so earnestly and most solemnly pledged to David may be accounted by Psalm-poesy (here and in Psalm 132:11), which reproduces the historical matter of fact, as a promise attested with an oath. With אם in Psalm 89:36 God asserts that He will not disappoint David in reference to this one thing, viz., the perpetuity of his throne. This shall stand for ever as the sun and moon; for these, though they may one day undergo a change (Psalm 102:27), shall nevertheless never be destroyed. In the presence of 2 Samuel 7:16 it looks as if Psalm 89:38 ought to be rendered: and as the witness in the clouds shall it (David's throne) be faithful (perpetual). By the witness in the clouds one would then have to understand the rainbow as the celestial memorial and sign of an everlasting covenant. Thus Luther, Geier, Schmid, and others. But neither this rendering, nor the more natural one, "and as the perpetual, faithful witness in the clouds," is admissible in connection with the absence of the כּ of comparison. Accordingly Hengstenberg, following the example of Jewish expositors, renders: "and the witness in the clouds is perpetual," viz., the moon, so that the continuance of the Davidic line would be associated with the moon, just as the continuance of the condemned earth is with the rainbow. But in what sense would the moon have the name, without example elsewhere, of witness? Just as the Book of Job was the key to the conclusion of Psalm 88, so it is the key to this ambiguous verse of the Psalm before us. It has to be explained according to Job 16:19, where Job says: "Behold in heaven is my witness, and my surety in the heights." Jahve, the אל נאמן (Deuteronomy 7:9), seals His sworn promise with the words, "and the witness in the sky (ethereal heights) is faithful" (cf. concerning this Waw in connection with asseverations, Ew. 340, c). Hengstenberg's objection, that Jahve cannot be called His own witness, is disposed of by the fact that עד frequently signifies the person who testifies anything concerning himself; in this sense, in fact, the whole Tra is called עדוּת ה (the testimony of Jahve).
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