Verse 5. The stouthearted are spoiled. They came to spoil, and lo! they are spoiled themselves. Their stout hearts are cold in death, the angel of the pestilence has dried up their life blood, their very heart is taken from them.
They have slept their sleep. Their last sleep -- the sleep of death.
And none of the men of might have found their hands. Their arms are palsied, they cannot lift a finger, for the rigour of death has stiffened them. What a scene was that when Sennacherib's host was utterly destroyed in one night. The hands which were furious to pull down Jerusalem, could not even be raised from the sod, the most valiant warriors were as weak as the palsied cripples at the temple gate, yea, their eyes they could not open, a deep sleep sealed their vision in everlasting darkness. O God, how terrible art thou! Thus shalt thou fight for us, and in the hour of peril overthrow the enemies of thy gospel. Therefore in thee will we trust and not be afraid.
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Whole Psalm. No Psalm has a greater right to follow Psalm 75 than this, which is inscribed To the Precentor, with accompaniment of stringed instruments (vid. iv. 1), a Psalm by Asaph, a song. Similar expressions (God of Jacob, Psalms 75:10 77:7; saints, wicked of the earth, Psalms 75:9 76:10), and the same impress throughout speak in favour of unity of authorship. In other respects too, they form a pair: Psalm 75 prepares the way for the divine deed of judgments as imminent, which Psalm 76 celebrates as having taken place. Franz Delitzsch.
Verse 5. The stouthearted are spoiled. There is indicated in these words that consternation of mind which deprives of judgment and power. The valiant are spoiled of their heart: that is, they who at other times were wise and courageous have now lost their heart, and have been reduced to foolishness and stupidity. Hermann Venema.
Verse 5. The stouthearted are spoiled. After the breaking of their weapons their spoliation is recorded, for that follows the slaughter of foes. Nor is mention made of that without reason. They had come to spoil, therefore are they deservedly spoiled. Musculus.
Verse 5. The stouthearted are spoiled. Some translate it, They are spoiled of their stout heart. The stouthearted, the strong, are spoiled. The strong man may be spoiled by a stronger; that's a good sense, but it is more elegantly rendered, they are spoiled of their stout heart; that is, the Lord takes their heart out of their bosom. Daring men, who fear nothing, are turned into Magor-missabibs -- fear round about; their stout hearts are taken from them, and they are so far from being a terror to other men, that they run from the shadow of a man; their courage is down; they cannot give a child a confident look, much less look dangers or enemies in the face. Joseph Caryl.
Verse 5. (last clause). The strength and power of a man is in his hands; if they be gone, all his hope is gone. If a man's sword be taken from him, he will do what he can with his hands; but if his hands be gone, he may go to sleep for any disturbance he will work. For men not to find their hands, is not to have that power for the execution of their designs which formerly they had. John Owen.
Verse 5. (last clause). As we say of a man that goes lamely or lazily, "he cannot find his feet;" so of a man that acts lamely or lazily, or of a soldier that fights faintly and cowardly, he cannot find his hands. Joseph Caryl.
For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast,
And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed;
And the eyes of the sleepers waxed deadly and chill,
And their hearts but once heaved, and for ever were still!
And there lay the steed with his nostril all wide,
But through it there rolled not the breath of his pride:
And the foam of his gasping lay white on the turf,
And cold as the spray of the rock breaking surf.
And there lay the rider distorted and pale,
With the dew on his brow and the rust on his mail;
And the tents were all silent, the banners alone,
The lances unlifted, the trumpet unblown.
George Gordon, Lord Byron.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 5. They have slept their sleep. Divers kinds of deaths or sleeps for the various classes of men.