Verse 9. They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him. Unconquered by arms, they shall be subdued by love. Wild and lawless as they have been, they shall gladly wear his easy yoke; then shall their deserts be made glad, yea, they shall rejoice and blossom as the rose.
And his enemies shall lick the dust. If they will not be his friends, they shall be utterly broken and humbled. Dust shall be the serpent's meat; the seed of the serpent shall be filled therewith. Homage among Orientals is often rendered in the most abject manner, and truly no sign is too humiliating to denote the utter discomfiture and subjugation of Messiah's foes. Tongues which rail at the Redeemer deserve to lick the dust. Those who will not joyfully bow to such a prince richly merit to be hurled down and laid prostrate; the dust is too good for them, since they trampled on the blood of Christ.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 9. They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him, etc. This is equivalent to saying, the wild Arabs, that the greatest conquerors could never tame, shall bow before him, or become his vassals; nay, his enemies, and, consequently, these Arabs among the rest, shall lick the dust, or court him with the most abject submissions. T. Harmer's Observations.
Verse 9. His enemies shall lick the dust. Bear in mind that it was a custom with many nations that, when individuals approached their kings, they kissed the earth, and prostrated their whole body before them. This was the custom especially throughout Asia. No one was allowed to address the Persian kings, unless he prostrated himself on the ground and kissed the footsteps of the king, as Xenophon records. Thomas Le Blanc.
Verse 9-10. Wilderness, Tarshish, Sheba. The most uncivilized, the most distant, and the most opulent nations shall pay their homage to him. Augustus F. Tholuck.
Verse 9-11. They that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him; and his enemies shall lick the dust. They shall humble themselves under the mighty hand of Christ; they shall acknowledge and receive him as their Lord; they shall fear and reverence him as their King; they shall veil and bow to his sceptre: they shall put themselves, and all that is theirs, under Christ; they shall give themselves to the exaltation and setting up of Christ. The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts. They shall consecrate their abilities to Christ's service; they shall communicate of their substance to the maintenance of Christ's church, and minister to the preservation and increase of Christ's kingdom. All kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him. All shall adore and serve him as their king; all shall exalt and honour him, as loyal subjects, their heavenly sovereign; all persons, from the highest to the lowest, must serve the Lord Jesus, and study to make him glorious; grace works obedience in the hearts of princes, as well as in the hearts of beggars. The sun as well as the stars, did obeisance unto Christ, under his kingdom and gospel. Alexander Grosse (-1654), in "Sweet and Soul Persuading Inducements leading unto Christ." 1632.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 9. (last clause). The ignoble end of Christ's enemies.