They all hold swords
Or a "sword" F18; the word is singular, which designs the word of God, called the sword of the Spirit, and said to be sharper than a twoedged sword, ( Ephesians 6:17 ) ( Hebrews 4:12 ) ; which everyone of the ministers of the Gospel hold in their hands; and which denotes not only their apprehension, but their retention of it, and firm adherence to it; it cleaves to them, and they to that; they and their sword cannot be parted, as Gussetius F19 observes the word signifies; these ministers could not be prevailed upon to drop it, or part with it, but retained it to the last; which shows them to be valiant men;
[being] expert in war;
in military straits, in the spiritual war against sin, Satan, and the world, in common with other Christians; and in fighting the good fight of faith, against all opposers of the doctrines of the Gospel; knowing how to use to the best advantage the spiritual sword, the Scriptures of truth, to defend the Gospel, and refute error;
every man [hath] his sword upon his thigh;
as a preparation for war, and an indication of readiness to engage in it, ( Psalms 45:3 ) ; for, being on the thigh, it is near, easy to come at, at once upon occasion, and so always in a posture of defence; all which expresses the familiar acquaintance ministers have with the word of God, its nearness, so that they can easily come at it, and furnish themselves with a sufficient proof of truth, and with proper arguments for the refutation of error. And this is done
because of fear in the night:
when there is most danger; hence Cyrus considering that men are most easily taken when eating and drinking, and in the bath, and in bed, and in sleep, looked out for the most faithful men to be his bodyguard F20. By "night" or "nights" F21 may be meant the nights of desertion, temptation, affliction, and persecution; when saints are in fear of their spiritual enemies, and of being overcome and destroyed by them: now Christ has provided a guard for his people, to prevent or remove these fears, and defend them from such as would make inroads upon their faith and comfort; namely, his ministers, that by their ministerings they may be a means of securing their peace and comfort, and of freeing them from all terrible apprehensions of things; which, as it shows the safety and security of the saints, so the tender care and concern of Christ for them.
F18 (romfaian) Sept. "gladium", Pagninus, Junius & Tremellius, Cocceius.
F19 Ebr. Comment. p. 23.
F20 Xenophon. Cyropaedia, l. 6. c. 29.
F21 (twlylb) "in noctibus", Pagninus, Montanus, Piscator, Marckius, Michaelis.