Verse 9. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth. His voice quiets the tumult of war, and calls for the silence of peace. However remote and barbarous the tribe, he awes the people into rest. He crushes the great powers till they cannot provoke strife again; he gives his people profound repose. He breaketh the bow, the sender of swift winged death he renders useless. And cutteth the spear in sunder -- the lance of the mighty man he shivers. He burneth the chariot in the fire -- the proud war chariot with its death dealing scythes he commits to the flames. All sorts of weapons he piles heaps on heaps, and utterly destroys them. So was it in Judea in the days of yore, so shall it be in all lands in eras yet to come. Blessed deed of the Prince of Peace! when shall it be literally performed? Already the spiritual foes of his people are despoiled of their power to destroy; but when shall the universal victory of peace be celebrated, and instruments of wholesale murder be consigned to ignominious destruction? How glorious will the ultimate victory of Jesus be in the day of his appearing, when every enemy shall lick the dust!
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 8-10. Come, behold the works of the Lord. See Psalms on "Psalms 46:8" for further information.
Verse 9. He that destroyeth all the instruments of war doth surely make peace; and that he maketh war to cease, doth certainly make peace begin. Peace is made two ways; first, by taking up the differences and reconciling the spirits of men; secondly, by breaking the power and taking away all provisions of war from men. The Lord maketh peace by both these ways, or by either of them. Joseph Caryl.
Verse 9. He breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. When the Romans had, in their way of speaking, given peace to a nation, by extirpating the greatest part of the miserable inhabitants, they collected the arms of the vanquished, and setting them on fire, reduced them to ashes. A medal, struck by Vespasian, the Roman emperor, on finishing his wars in Italy, and other parts of the world, represents the goddess of peace holding an olive branch in on hand, and with a lighted torch in the other, setting fire to a heap of armour. The custom is thus alluded to by Virgil: --
"O mihi praeteritos referat si Jupiter annos!
Qualis eram, cum primam Praeneste sub ipsa
Stravi, scutorumque incendi victor acervos."
An, lib. 3 v.
"O that Jupiter would restore to me the years that are past! Such as I was, when under Praeneste itself, I routed the foremost rank of the enemy, and victorious set fire to heaps of armour."
The same practice, by the command of Jehovah, prevailed among the Jews; the first instance of it occurs in the book of Joshua 11:6 . It is also celebrated in the songs of Zion, as the attendant of peace, and the proof of its continuance "He maketh war to cease," etc. Paxton's Illustrations of Scripture.
Verse 9. He burneth the chariot in the fire. By degrees, the chariot came to be one of the recognised forces in war, and we find it mentioned throughout the books of Scriptures, not only in its literal sense, but as a metaphor which every one could understand. In the Psalms, for example, are several allusions to the war chariot. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. Psalms 46:9 . Again: "At thy rebuke, O God of Jacob, both the chariot and horse are cast into a deep sleep," Psalms 76:6 . And: "Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God." Psalms 20:7 . Now, the force of these passages cannot be properly appreciated unless we realise to ourselves the dread in which the war chariot was held by the foot soldiers. Even calvary were much feared; but the chariots were objects of almost superstitious fear, and the rushing sound of their wheels, the noise of the horses' hoofs, and the shaking of the ground as the "prancing horses and jumping chariots" Nahum 3:2 , thundered along, are repeatedly mentioned. J. G. Wood.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 9. The Great Peacemaker, or the principle of the gospel our only hope, for the total abolition of war.