Verse 1. - The Lord said unto my Lord. Jehovah said unto him who is my Lord and Master, i.e. to Messiah, who is my liege Lord, although about to be, in some mysterious way, my descendant. Sit thou at my right hand. An exaltation too high for any merely human personage (comp. Acts 2:33; Acts 7:56; Hebrews 1:3). Until I make thine enemies thy footstool. To place the foot upon the neck or body of defeated enemies was a common practice of Oriental conquerors.
The LORD shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies.
Verse 2. - The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion. "The rod of thy strength," or "thy strong scepter," is the same thing as "thy ruling power" (see Jeremiah 48:17; Ezekiel 19:11). The ruling power of Messiah was to go forth from Jerusalem (Acts 1:4-8; Acts 2:1-4). Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. Ac cording to Professor Cheyne, these are the words of Jehovah - a continuation of the address in ver. 1; but they are more gene rally regarded as the words of the writer of the psalm, i.e., according to our exegesis, of David. He calls on the Messiah to take his power and reign.
Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power, in the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth.
Verse 3. - Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power. In the full sense of the word, Messiah can only rule over "willing" hearts. In the day of his power, his people will offer themselves gladly to be his soldiers and servants, and flock to his banner, as the Israelites to that of Deborah and Barak, when "the people willingly offered themselves" (Judges 5:2, 9; comp. Isaiah 49:18-23; Isaiah 60:1-5; Isaiah 66:19-23). In the beauties of holiness. At once warriors and saints, meet for the service of one who was at once Priest (ver. 4) and King. From the womb of the morning thou hast the dew of thy youth. This is the division of the clauses now generally adopted; but the intention of this last clause is very doubtful. Some understand it of Messiah himself, and explain, "As the dew of the morning, abundant, refreshing, spreading far and wide, miraculous, so is the might of thy perpetual youth" ('Speaker's Commentary,' vol. 4. p. 428); others, and the larger number, interpret it of Messiah's army, "As dew out el the early morning dawn, descending by a silent, mysterious birth from the star-lit heaven, so comes to Messiah his mighty host of followers" (comp. Isaiah 26:19).
The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.
Verse 4. - The Lord hath sworn, and he will not repent. "A fresh revelation" (Cheyne). David, admitted into the councils of the Most High, has been made aware that the Messiah is, by God's decree, to be both King and Priest. God has "sworn" this, and will certainly not draw back from his oath. Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. Not, like ordinary priests, a priest for a few years, or for a lifetime, but a priest forever and ever (לעולם) - seeing "he ever liveth to make intercession for us" (Hebrews 7:25). And a priest "after the order of Melchizedek." Not, that is, after the order of Aaron, who was a priest and nothing more, but after that of Melchizedek, the elder priesthood, which combined the offices of priest and king (see Hebrews 5:6-10; Hebrews 7:1-10, 20-28).
The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath.
Verse 5. - The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath. "Adonai" here is certainly Jehovah (Cheyne). He stands at Messiah's right hand (comp. Psalm 16:8; Psalm 121:5) to protect and defend him, and give him victory in the battle. Ver. 5 carries on the description of Messiah's triumph begun in ver. 3. The kings to be "struck through" are those that resist the progress of the gospel - Herod Agrippa, Galerius, Julian, and the like.
He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries.
Verse 6. - He shall judge among the heathen; i.e. execute the royal office not only over Israel, but over the nations of the earth generally (comp. Psalm 7:9; Psalm 9:9; Psalm 96:10, etc.). He shall fill the places with the dead bodies; rather, he shall fill the earth with dead bodies; i.e. with the corpses of those whom he has slain while executing judgment. He shall wound the heads over many countries. Thus translated, the clause merely repeats ver. 5. Perhaps a better rendering is that of Dr. Kay, "He shall smite him that is head over the wide earth" - either Satan or "the central power of the whole confederacy of evil."
He shall drink of the brook in the way: therefore shall he lift up the head.
Verse 7. - He shall drink of the brook in the way. Primarily, the action described is that of pausing in the pursuit of enemies to refresh one's self with a draught of water from a brook by the wayside; but, if we interpret the passage of the Messiah, we must understand the refreshing draughts which he ever draws from the well-spring of truth and righteousness as he advances on his career of victory. Therefore (i.e. because of these draughts) he shall lift up the head. He shall never faint nor be weary (Isaiah 40:28), but shall continue the pursuit of his enemies unremittingly, as Bishop Perowne says, "with renewed ardor, with head erect and kindling eye," never resting until at length all things shall have been put in subjection under his feet (Hebrews 2:8).