Verse 5. The Lord at thy right hand shall strike through kings in the day of his wrath. Now that he has come into the field of action, the infinite Jehovah comes with him as the strength of his right hand. Eternal power attends the coming of the Lord, and earthly power dies before it as though smitten through with a sword. In the last days all the kingdoms of the earth shall be overcome by the kingdom of heaven, and those who dare oppose shall meet with swift and overwhelming ruin. What are kings when they dare oppose the Son of God? A single stroke shall suffice for their destruction. When the angel of the Lord smote Herod there was no need of a second blow; he was eaten of worms and gave up the ghost. Concerning the last days, we read of the Faithful and True, who shall ride upon a white horse, and in righteousness judge and make war: "Out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God."
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 5. -- The Lord...shall strike through kings, etc. He really threatens such great heads in an awful manner, that if they will not hear, and cannot obey, they shall be terrified to death. And assuredly he would willingly, by these means, allure them to repentance, and persuade them to turn, and to cease from raging against the Lord. But if they will not, they shall know against whom it is that they go on... This is our consolation which upholds us, and makes our heart joyful and glad against the persecution and rage of the world, that we have such a Lord, who not only delivers us from sin and eternal death, but also protects us, and delivers us in sufferings and temptations, so that we do not sink under them. And though men rage in a most savage manner against Christians, yet neither the gospel nor Christianity shall perish; but their heads shall be destroyed against it. If their persecutions were to go on unceasingly Christianity could not remain, wherefore he gives them a time, and says he will connive at them for a while, but not longer than till the hour comes which he here calls the "day of his wrath" And if they will not now cease in the name of God, they must then cease in the name of the devil. --Martin Luther.
Verse 5. -- Shall strike through kings. To strike through notes a complete victory and full confusion of the enemy, all incurable wound, that they may stagger, and fall, and rise up no more, and that affliction may not arise a second time, Nahum 1:9 ; 1 Samuel 26:8 . The only difficulty is what is meant by "kings". For which we must note that the kingdom of Christ is spiritual, and his war spiritual, and therefore his enemies for the most part spiritual. -- Edward Reynolds.
Verse 5. -- ln the day of his wrath. Note that it is not simply said, he will strike through kings in his wrath, but in the day of his wrath. Therefore as there is a time of grace and patience, so there is also an appointed time of wrath and vengeance of God. Frequent mention is made of this in the sacred Scriptures, that we may be admonished that the wicked will not be left always unpunished, because they contemn the patience of God, aye, provoke his anger; but that there will be a time when they will experience the wrath of God. Thus, armed with patience, we should persevere in the practice of piety, nor be turned aside from it, either by the example of the wicked, or from fear of them. -- Wolfgang Museulus.
The sentenced heathen he shall slay,
And fill with carcasses his way,
Till he hath struck earth's tyrants dead;
But in the highway brooks shall first,
Like a poor pilgrim, slake his thirst,
And then in triumph raise his head. --N. Brady and N. Tate.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 5. -- The certain overthrow of every power which opposes the gospel.