George Booker
Psalms Studies - Book 5

Psalm 110

1. Structure

A divine Priest-King
A God of judgment

2. Historical setting

In spite of the title, all the moderns are emphatic that this is not a psalm of David. Yet all the facts are against them, as is immediately obvious when the words are read against the background of 2 Samuel 6. There the details emphasize that when the ark was brought to Zion, David took on himself (with God’s approval) the role of priest-king:

He was girded with a linen ephod: v. 14.
He offered sacrifices: vv. 13,17.
He blessed the people in the name of the Lord of hosts: v. 18 (Num. 6:23).
He brought forth bread and wine: v. 19 (Isa. 25:6; Luke 22:17,18; Matt. 26:26-29!).
He sat in the presence of the Lord: 7:18.
And there he offered prayer: 7:18-29.

All the foregoing (except e, an intimacy which not even a high priest was permitted) were normal priestly functions, the bread and wine being specially associated with Melchizedek (Gen. 14:18; Heb. 7:1).

The next outstanding event in the reign of David is described in 2 Samuel 8: concerted attempts by the kings of all the surrounding nations to destroy this kingdom of God in its early stages. Instead, the outcome was a series of God-given victories granted to David and his people, with the result that this new kingdom of God was all at once an empire.

And so Psalm 110 is firmly placed in context:

“Sit thou at my right hand [2 Sam. 7:18!], until I make thine enemies thy footstool. The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion: rule thou in the midst of thine enemies [2 Sam. 8]... The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath. He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies; he shall wound the heads over many countries” (vv. 1,2,5,6).

Yet in all this David was merely fulfilling a type of the greater-than-David who was to come forth from his own loins. And David knew this: “The Lord (Yahweh) said unto my Lord (Adon).” How could the great king David call one of his own descendants “Lord”, according him a higher status than his own, except that he knew that he also would be Son of the Most High (2 Sam. 7:14; cp. Rev. 5:5; 22:16; Isa. 11:10; Rom. 15:12)? The Virgin Birth, and nothing less, adequately explains Psalm 110:1 — this is the force of Christ’s argument in Matthew 22:41-46. (It is worth remembering that the argument loses much of its point and becomes confusing if confined to the Greek — where both “Lord” and “Lord” become kyrios.)

Other passages amplify this rather neglected aspect of Christ’s office and work: that is, that he will be, jointly, King and Priest:

1 Chronicles 17:14: “I will settle him in mine house and in my kingdom forever.” God’s house is always the Temple, thus implying priesthood as well as kingship.
1 Kings 8:54-56: Solomon, who was the continuation and amplification of the King-Priest type, prays for the people and blesses them in the name of the Lord at the dedication of God’s house.
Isaiah 11:5: “And righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins, and faithfulness the girdle of his reins.” But only the priest wore two girdles (Lev. 8:7; cp. Exod. 28:4)!
Likewise, the “royal diadem” of Isaiah 62:3 is a priestly miter (“diadem” is always so intended: Exod. 28:36-38; Lev. 16:4; Zech. 3:5).
Jeremiah 33:17,18 is more obvious: “For thus saith the Lord; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel; neither shall the priests the Levites want a man before me to offer burnt offerings, and to kindle meat offerings, and to do sacrifice continually.”
As is Zechariah 6:12,13: “Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord: Even he shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”

Consider also the priestly implications of Psalm 26:6,8; 27:4; and 72:15, among others.

3. Psalm 110 in the New Testament

With the possible exception of Isaiah 53, there is no Old Testament Scripture quoted or alluded to in the New Testament more frequently than this psalm (more than 20 times!):

(a) Matthew 22:41-46 (Mark 12:35-37; Luke 20:41-44). This was already mentioned in Par. 2: Here is Christ’s own proof-text of his Virgin Birth, in an argument based, interestingly, upon a single word. Whose son in the Messiah? Why, David’s, of course! Are there not numerous Old Testament passages that say so? Then why does David, in Psalm 110:1, call him “Lord” (Adon)? And this was said “in the Spirit” (this is Jesus’ interpretation of n’um, said to the Lord”: it means ‘spoke by inspiration’, as an ‘oracle’, given either directly or through a prophet). The obvious answer: Because he is not only the son of David but also the Son of God. The Virgin Birth is even mentioned explicitly in the LXX of v. 3 here: “From the womb before the morning I begat thee.”

(b) Matthew 26:64 (Mark 14:62; Luke 22:69): When on trial before the Sanhedrin, Jesus was challenged: “Tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God”, that is: ‘Are you the Messiah promised to David, the one about whom it is written: I will be his Father, and he shall be my son (2 Sam. 7:14)?’ Jesus replied with a definite affirmative, and added:

“Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man [Dan. 7:13] sitting on the right hand of power [Psa. 110:1], and coming in the clouds of heaven [Dan. 7:13 again].”

Thus he reminded them of the discussion of this passage on the previous day when “neither dared any man to ask him any more questions” (Matt. 22:46). Such an assertion would be especially galling to the high-priest Caiaphas, for what access did he have to the divine presence? His pride would allow him to do nothing but interpret this statement of Jesus as blasphemy. But how quickly (within three days) would he and his associates realize the truth of Jesus’ words, and realize moreover that they were the real blasphemers!

(c) Mark 16:19: After his brief story of the resurrection, Mark adds his even briefer account of the ascension:

“He was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God (cp. Psa. 16:11)”.

From this point onwards, Psalm 110:1 became the standard ascension passage of the early church (cp. 1 Tim. 3:16 and 1 Pet. 3:22 with Mark 16:19).

(d) Luke 24:50,51 does not quote Psalm 110 specifically, but in-stead it implies a priest after the order of Melchizedek (110:4) in the words:

“And he lifted up his hands, and blessed them. And... while he blessed them, he was carried up into heaven”

... and a cloud (Dan. 7:13 again) received him (Acts 1:9).

(e) Luke 1:43: Why should Elizabeth greet Mary with such an unusual phrase as this?:

“And whence is this to me [the unusual birth of her own child], that the mother of my Lord should come to me?”

Was she not alluding to Psalm 110 with its explicit prophecy of a Virgin Birth? And what kind of woman was Elizabeth that she should immediately react to Mary’s wonderful news in this fashion? Did she already know, in quoting the Melchizedek psalm, that this child in Mary’s womb was destined not only to be king but to supplant the priesthood of her husband and her unborn son and all their brethren?

(f) John 20:28: And Thomas also, with his unique exclamation “My Lord and my God”, in the first phrase expresses (by means of Psalm 110) his suddenly-awakened conviction that only a risen Jesus could fulfill such a priestly work in heaven. The two phrases together make a confession of great insight with their allusion to Zechariah 12:10: “They shall look upon me whom they have pierced [the wounds in his hands and side], and mourn for him” — both Father and Son, Lord(Yahweh) and Lord (Adon) are referred to here.

If Thomas was in fact referring to Jesus by the title of “God” (whichever word he might have actually used), he was in reality doing no more than ascribing to Jesus divine authority and majesty, without suggesting whether such was his inherently (which it was not) or his by reward from his Father (which it was — Phil. 2:8-10). (See, generally, Psalm 82, Par. 4 on the Messiah being referred to as God.)

(g) Acts 2:34-36: At Pentecost Peter followed his Lord in using Psalm 110:1,2 to prove the resurrection and ascension of Jesus, thus reinforcing the personal witness which he had made to these great truths. More than this, “until I make thy foes thy footstool” immediately became a clinching proof that Jesus’ own claim to be Messiah (Matt. 26:64) was already written beforehand. And the foes who would bow before him were his own unbelieving nation, who had crucified him. “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus both Lord [Psa. 110] and Christ”, as Psalm 110:2 pointedly requires: “Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies”. Peter would certainly have quoted this to them also.

(h) Acts 7:55,56 is rather less obvious as an allusion to Psalm 110: Stephen, condemned by the Sanhedrin, saw “heaven opened, and the Son of man [Dan. 7:13 again] standing at the right hand of God”. It is noteworthy that Stephen quoted at his trial the same two Scriptures as Jesus quoted at his (b above). This suggests that he was aware of the remarkable parallel between himself and his Lord (H.A. Whittaker, Studies in the Acts of the Apostles, pp. 87,88). Why did Stephen describe Jesus as standing, by contrast with the “sitting” of Psalm 110:1? Either (1) because of alarm at the treatment being given his servant, or (2) because Jesus, in fulfillment of Psalm 2:8, was pleading with his Father: “Give me the heathen for my inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for my possession”, in compensation for the bitter rejection now being renewed by the people of Israel. So for this purpose the Father sanctioned the conversion of Stephen’s chief persecutor, Saul of Tarsus — apostle to the Gentiles — forthwith.

Both these possibilities have Biblical sanction, unlike the common (but amazing) suggestion, made by many, that Christ was standing to help the “soul” of Stephen into heaven!

(i) Romans 8:34: Remarkably, the next New Testament quote of Psalm 110 is virtually the same as all the foregoing (“who is even at the right hand of God”), but this time the writer, Paul, adds: “who also maketh intercession for us” — alluding to Christ’s role as a Melchizedek high priest (110:4). (This idea might well be implied also in Acts 7:55,56.)

(j) 1 Corinthians 15:25: There is a difficulty here, for whereas Psalm 110 plainly says that Christ is to sit at his Father’s right hand until his foes become his footstool, Paul now applies the same words (or idea? — Psalm 8:6) to describe the culmination of the personal reign of Christ on earth: “For he must reign until he hath put all enemies under his feet”. Clearly, the words are given a different time-reference here. In Acts 2:35,36 Peter declares “thy foes” to be stiff-necked Israel; so that only when Israel repents will Christ cease to sit at the Father’s right hand. But Paul, writing here about the millennial reign, surely means that Christ is to reign until all other enemies are made absolutely subject to him.

(k) Ephesians 1:19,20,22; 2:6: It is interesting to observe that Psalms 8 and 110, brought so closely together in 1 Corinthians 15 (cp. v. 27 there), are also quoted together in Ephesians (1:20,22) for the same purpose.

“The working of his mighty power... when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places... and hath put all things under his feet... He hath raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (cp. also Col. 3:1).

Not only is Christ a Priest who sits in the heavenly sanctuary, but also (so far as status goes) those in Christ are represented as sitting there in his presence. There is something very dramatic about this concept, for in the Mosaic order no priest ever sat in the sanctuary of the Lord. Here is an essential difference between Moses and Christ. In only one other place is this concept presented — in Revelation 4:4 (cp. 3:12,21), where there is a triple emphasis on twenty-four elders, representing all priestly orders associated with this new heavenly temple, sitting round about (not at the right hand of) Him who sits upon the throne. The coincidence of idea and phrase between Ephesians 1 and 2 and Revelation 4 provides support for the belief that, even before the Apocalypse was seen by John, much of it had already been revealed to Paul (2 Cor. 12:1-4).

(l) Hebrews 1:3,13: In the sustained argument in this epistle about the greatness of Christ, Psalm 110:1 is twice quoted to prove the Lord’s higher status over that of the angels. “Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” If then angels are lower in status than those who belong to Christ, what shall be said about the status of Christ himself who sits on God’s right hand, as is testified by abundant human witness to the ascension (e.g., Acts 2:33; 3:21; 5:31; etc.)? (Contrast even the archangel Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God: Luke 1:19!) The further conclusion also follows that Christ is far greater than the Law of Moses, for was not that Law ministered through angels (Heb. 2:2)? (Note also the contrast between standing and sitting in Hebrews 10:11,12 — Subpar. o below.)

(m) Hebrews 5:6: Psalm 110, this time verse 4, also serves to demolish Jewish confidence in the Mosaic priesthood, for once it is established that this psalm belongs to Jesus, then “thou art a priest for ever” rules out any idea of permanence regarding Aaron and his sons. “After the order of Melchizedek” settles it, for there is no king-priest dignity ever associated with the Aaronic line. And this is made the more emphatic by the word “order” — which in Hebrew does not mean a separate clan or group, but which links with the word for “oracle”, in other words, an explicit divine appointment (cp. v. 1: “The Lord said unto me”, where there is no evading the idea of direct divine speech).

The same verse 4 is quoted again in Hebrews 6:20 to underline the difference between (1) an Aaronic priest going into the Holy of Holies (a token divine dwelling place), only once a year, to stand ministering a sacrifice for others, and to stay in that sacred place for as short a time as possible, and (2) Jesus in the very presence of the Almighty, and sitting there to minister on behalf of his New Israel through long ages, so that there is always assurance of full forgiveness through such a mediator (Rom. 8:26,27,34; 1 Tim. 2:5; Heb. 4:14-16; 10:19-25). All of this is guaranteed through the unimpeachable experience and witness of those who knew Jesus risen from the dead and who saw him ascend to heaven in a Cloud of Glory (contrast here the high priest’s cloud of incense: Lev. 16:13).

(n) Hebrews 7:1-24: In the last verse of ch. 6 there is emphasis that Jesus was made (and not born) a high priest, and this for ever (no mortal man can be an eternal priest). Then follows a sustained sequence of arguments centering round Psalm 110:4:

In Genesis 14, Melchizedek was priest of the “most high God”, a divine title with many Gentile associations (see, e.g.,, Psa. 46:4; 47:2; 83:18).
Even the order of the words in Genesis 14 is to be taken as significant. Melchizedek means “my Righteous King”; therefore he must be first a man of proven righteousness (which no Mosaic high priest ever was or could be). Only then is he qualified to be King of Salem, and therefore the Messiah reigning in a Jeru-salem which is at peace (which it never has been, or can be, without Christ).
Without father, without mother... having neither beginning of days nor end of life (v. 3). Here is phraseology which has bewildered many and provoked in the minds of many others a chaos of undisciplined speculation: e.g., that Melchizedek was Shem or Enoch or an angel... “Who was Melchizedek?... We do not know; and while it would be interesting to know, the knowledge would spoil the picture. We should have then to interpret the picture in the light of the identity of Melchizedek; and the apostle’s lessons could not then be deduced. We must be content not to know” (John Carter, Hebrews, p. 71).

All the pointless guesses arise through a failure to realize the force of made like unto the Son of God. In other words, the very narrative in Genesis 14 (both in what it says and in what it does not say) presents a foreshadowing of what God’s Melchizedek priest must be like. Of course, the Melchizedek of Genesis 14 was an ordinary mortal man, but nothing is said about his priesthood depending on descent. There is no mention of the father or mother, the birth or death, of this unique man.

Thus is foreshadowed one whose priesthood is not dependent on descent (in contrast to the Mosaic priests, who must be descended from Aaron. Without beginning of days or end of life indicates a continuing priesthood. The Davidic Messiah must be like this.

“Shaveh, which is the king’s dale” (Gen. 14:17), means “made like”. “The king’s dale” was the valley (also called Kidron) which in later days, according to tradition at least, the kings of Judah were crowned (cp. 2 Sam. 18:18; 1 Kings 1:33,34; Neh. 2:14,15). Presumably, though not certainly, it is so called in Genesis 14 because Melchizedek lived there.
The details cited make it inescapable that God’s Melchizedek abideth a priest continually. This requires that the priesthood of Christ begins with, and exists as long as, the human race. His priesthood as well as his sacrifice is valid to true believers right from the time of Adam (Heb. 9:15; Rom. 3:25,26).
Abraham paid tithes to Melchizedek (v. 4); but it was not possible for him to make such a religious acknowledgment to any Aaronic priest descended from himself. No, rather the reverse, Levi (and therefore Aaron) paid tithes to Melchizedek through his forefather Abraham (v. 9).
The superiority of Melchizedek over Abraham (and therefore over any of Abraham’s fleshly seed) is also demonstrated by the fact that he blessed Abraham after the battle of the kings, for assuredly the less is blessed by the greater (vv. 6,7).
Is it not more important to pay religious duty (tithes) to one of enduring life (Melchizedek) rather than to a mortal man (Aaron) (v. 9)?
The very fact that in Psalm 110 God proclaims the bringing in of a new priesthood in itself declares the insufficiency of the former Levitical service (v. 11). And with the prophesied change of priesthood there must necessarily be a change of the law of Moses (v. 12). New priesthood, new law! It stands to reason. This is made the more emphatic because the new priesthood is specified as belonging to the line of David, or Judah (vv. 13,14) — thus implying an end to the Levitical priesthood. (The word “sprang” — v. 14 — is used elsewhere of vegetation, and perhaps alludes to the “Branch” prophecies of the king-priest in Jer. 23:5; 33:15-18; and Zech. 6:12.) This point is made all the more decisive by the remarkable typical foreshadowing of a Melchizedek priesthood in the experience of David in 2 Samuel 6 (v. 15; see Par. 2).
A final demonstration of the enormous difference between the two priesthoods lies in the words: The Lord hath sworn... Thou art a priest for ever... (vv. 20-22). But what divine oath was there associated with the priesthood appointed at Sinai?
Of all the foregoing, this is the sum (8:1): Here is a priest who sits in the presence of “Majesty in the heavens”. There is the inevitable implied contrast with the Aaronic high priest who went into the earthly symbol of the divine presence, there to stand ministering for a matter of minutes, all the while wrapped in a dense cloud of incense so that he would not perish (Lev. 16:13). The contrast is too drastic to allow any true Hebrew to continue to give loyalty to the old order.

(o) Hebrews 10:12,13: Much of the previous argument is here summed up afresh: “One sacrifice for sins” in place of the constantly repeated offerings under the Law, which can never truly by themselves take away sins. And this one sacrifice is eternally valid — “for ever”. This priest sits at God’s right hand, patiently waiting until his enemies (an obstinate unspiritual Israel) are made his footstool. (The point is repeated one further time in Hebrews 12:2.)

How important, then, is Psalm 110 that it should be cited so often (but never ad nauseam) in such a powerful epistle as this.

4. Solomon?

It seems from 1 Kings 1:43-48 that, in the coronation of Solomon, his father David thought (or at least hoped) that this would prove to be the fulfillment of Psalm 110 and of the great promise in 2 Samuel 7. (Compare also Psalms Studies, Psa. 72, Par. 3.) Note especially:

My Lord: “And moreover the king’s servants came to bless our lord king David, saying, God make the name of Solomon better than thy name, and make his throne greater than thy throne” (1 Kings 1:47).

Sit thou at my right hand. Gihon (1 Kings 1:45) is at God’s right hand, being south of the temple (orientation toward the east being always assumed). So Solomon “sat on the throne of the kingdom” (v. 46).
Until I make thy foes thy footstool... rule thou in the midst of thine enemies. This is literally true regarding Solomon. When he was being crowned at Gihon, the usurper Adonijah was celebrating his own coronation less than a mile away (1 Kings 1:5-10). Compare also Psa. 72:8.
After the order of Melchizedek. In certain respects Solomon appears to have functioned as a Melchizedek priest: he blessed the people in the name of the Lord, and gave them a great feast (bread and wine?) (1 Kings 8:55,66). But it is difficult to see any comparable relevance in vv. 5,6 — unless it be that such rule over the Gentiles had already been secured for Solomon by his warrior father.
He shall drink of the brook in the way. At the coronation was there a symbolic drinking of the spring water of Gihon? (Compare Par. 3 (n)(3) above.)

5. Other details

The Lord (Yahweh) said unto my Lord (Adon). Other Old Testament prophecies of the Virgin Birth: Psa. 22:9,10; 69:8 (“my mother’s children”); 89:26,27; 132:11; Gen. 3:15; Prov. 30:19; Isa. 7:14; Jer. 31:22; Mic. 5:2.

Sit thou at my right hand. Contrast Psa. 109:31. A dual occupancy of God’s heavenly throne is asserted in Rev. 3:21; 7:17; and 22:1. The right hand symbolizes strength (Exod. 15:6; Psa. 20:6; 63:8; 118:15,16), righteousness (Psa. 48:10), authority (Isa. 62:8), honor (Gen. 48:13-18; 1 Kings 2:19), salvation (Psa. 17:7; 60:5), and fellowship (Psa. 16:11).

Until I make thy foes thy footstool. Compare Josh. 10:24, where the men of Israel put their feet on the necks of their vanquished enemies. And also cp. 1 Sam. 17:51.

This phrase, then, sounds very much like conquest and abject humiliation, but is there perhaps an alternative? The “footstool” of the Lord is the place where He is worshiped (Psa. 132:7) — that is, His ark (cp. 99:5); when God’s (or Christ’s) enemies become instead His (or his) “footstool”, is it not possibly because those same enemies have been converted into worshipers — thus constituting a part of the antitypical “ark of God”? So there are two very different ways, then, in which the Lord Jesus will “conquer” his enemies (and both are totally effective!): either annihilation or conversion.
The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion. The iron rod to rule God’s enemies (Psa. 2:8,9; Isa. 11:1,4; Rev. 2:26,27; 12:5; 19:15; cp. Dan. 2:35,45). Compare Num. 17:10: Aaron’s rod exalted above all the rods of the other princes. Both Psa. 110:2 and Num. 17:10 have: (1) priesthood, (2) divine presence, and (3) a rod!
Thy people shall be willing, i.e., nedebah = “freewill offerings” (RV mg.). Compare Exod. 25:2 and the frequent repetitions in Exod. 35 (vv. 5,21,22,29). So Deborah and Barak sang of those who volunteered to fight against Jabin and Sisera (Judg. 5:2,18). So also the general idea in Rom. 12:1; Phil. 2:17; and 2 Cor. 8:3,5.

In the day of thy power hints at a preceding “day of weakness” — when Messiah’s people would not be so “willing”! During those days Messiah was lower than the angels, but afterward — because of his overcoming — he was to be crowned with glory and honor (Heb. 2:9).

In the beauties of holiness. “Upon the holy mountains” (RSV; RV mg.). This confusion arises from the similarity between “beauty” (Hebrew hadar) and “mountain” (Hebrew harar) — and because, in the Hebrew alphabet, the letters d and r are very similarly shaped. “Beauty of holiness” occurs, however, in four other passages (1 Chron. 6:29; 2 Chron. 20:21; Psa. 29:10; 96:9), and on that account should probably be accorded the higher probability here.

In the beauties of holiness from the womb of the morning: thou hast the dew of thy youth. “From the womb of the morning like dew your youth will come to you” (RSV). “The dew of thy birth shall be to thee from the womb of the dawn” (J. Thomas). “From the womb of the dawn you will receive the dew of your youth” (NIV).

“The Messiah has associates. ‘Round him is gathered a host, at once priests and warriors, in holy vestments — a nation of warriors in arms, following so gladly that they are called “willingnesses”. Language, vague in its magnificence, speaks of an eternal youth, fresh as the dew and vast and glorious as the illimitable dawn, from which it derives its origin’ ” (John Carter, Hebrews, p. 54).

This is a very difficult verse, first, because of variant readings; and secondly, because of the meaning of some of the phrases. If the LXX (already cited above: Par. 3a) is correct, the Virgin Birth meaning is easy, but then what does before the morning signify?

If AV, then beauties of holiness is usually taken to mean “holy garments”, as in Exod. 28:2 (see quote from John Carter above).

Either way, the allusion to dew has to be taken in a very indirect symbolic sense, meaning the effects of Holy Spirit action, causing the resurrection of the faithful (thy youth; LXX: “saints”) in a glorious morning (cp. Isa. 26:19 — RSV: “a dew of light” — and context there; also 2 Sam. 23:4). In Psa. 133:3 dew is a figure for the accession in loyalty to the Messianic king of those who in repentance turn from their past unfaithfulness (see notes there).

Dew also signifies a multitude — silent and irresistible (2 Sam. 17:12; Mic. 5:7), who enjoy the favor of the king (Prov. 19:2), and the unfailing compassions of God for His true people (Gen. 27:28; Lam. 3:22,23), exemplified in the manna provided, like the dew, fresh every morning in the wilderness (Num. 11:9). John Thomas remarks on “the fitness of the expression as the similitude for the resurrected saints in the starlike splendour of Holy Spirit nature”.
The Lord hath sworn. The three great and quite immutable oaths of God: to Abraham (Gen. 22:16; Luke 1:73; Heb. 6:13-18); to Israel (Num. 14:21: the Land has not yet been filled with the Glory); and to David (Psa. 89:35-37). To this latter oath David himself responded with an oath of his own (132:2-5). There is also the angelic oath on God’s behalf concerning an unchangeable 3 1/2 years at the end of the age (Dan. 12:7). Jer. 22:5 has another divine oath which within a few years found most tragic fulfillment:

“But if ye will not hear these words, I swear by myself, saith the Lord, that this house shall become a desolation.”
The Lord at thy (Messiah’s) right hand. The apparent contradiction with v. 1 is resolved by reading v. 1 here — along with Psa. 16:11— (Christ at God’s right hand) with reference to Christ ascended to heavenly glory, and v. 5 here (God at Christ’s right hand) with reference to Christ upon the earth. Compare v. 5 also with Psa. 16:8 (God at Christ’s right hand) — this time with reference to Jesus on trial (cp. also 109:31).
He shall judge among the heathen, he shall fill the places with the dead bodies. Compare Ezek. 38:21,22; 39:4,11-20.

He shall wound the heads over many countries. “He hath stricken through the heads in many countries” (RV mg.) — or, better, “over the wide earth”. Or, as J. Thomas: “He shall strike through the head of a wide dominion.” This seems to echo David’s experience in 1 Sam. 17:51,54 — the slaying of the Philistine champion (“heads”, plural = “the great head”?). This will be the real fulfillment of Gen. 3:15.

“The High Priest of the universe, when he comes to rule, is not coming with a narcotic and a lullaby. He is coming with power and with purity. He will make no truce with the things which hurt and harm mankind. He will end the paltry tricks of human government which enslave men behind iron or bamboo curtains. He will destroy those who invent diabolical things for the destruction of the earth which was made to reflect the glory of God” (D. Gillett).
He shall drink of the brook in the way. David, when he was pursuing the marauding Amalekites, stopped at the brook Besor and refreshed his company (1 Sam. 30:9), before going on to win a victory. And Gideon with his 300 men, “faint, yet pursuing”, passed over the brook Jordan on his way to a rout of the enemy (Judg. 8:4).

Finally, Jesus, passing through “the valley of the shadow of death” (Psa. 23:4), drinks of the “bitter waters” of tears and sorrows (Psa. 102:9; 80:5) — is this the Kidron, “the king’s vale”? Or is this instead the clear, cool brook of the water of life and truth (Isa. 55:1; John 4:14) — where Jesus oft refreshed himself spiritually?

Therefore shall he lift up the head.

“And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth” (Phil. 2:8-10).
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