He has also prepared for him the instruments of death; he ordains his arrows against the persecutors.
Mercy and love often lurk in the meanings of these Psalms, which on their surface seem, like Saul on the road to Damascus, to breathe threatenings and slaughter. David thought only of the arrows of God's judgments; the Christian loves to think of these arrows of conviction and of love which God hath often discharged against the persecutors of His Church, such as Saul was. See this in his conversion. The disciples awaited his coming to Damascus in fear and trembling. But God's arrow was ready against him, had been "ordained" long ago. It was of God, of Christ. For of Him it is said: "Thine arrows are very sharp; and the people shall be subdued unto Thee, even in the midst among the King's enemies." Such were the Pharisees, of whom Saul was one. When Jesus appeared to Saul He spoke not of arrows, but of goads — the ox goads, which when the oxen lash out against them only wound themselves the more. Conscience had been such a goad to Saul. The influence of Stephen's death; the calm patience of those whom he had cruelly persecuted — all this must have made him feel as every persecutor, down to the inquisitors of later days, must have felt, that he was doing the devil's work. Yet he hardened himself and kicked out against the goads of conscience and went on madly persecuting Jesus. But this arrow was too much for him; it was altogether too sharp. The great lesson, then, of our text is that no persecutor will be allowed to proceed too far. If the arrows of conviction will not serve, then God "will whet His sword." As with Antiochus Epiphanes. Such an one most strikingly was that Julian the Apostate, who was perhaps more dangerous to the Church than any Nero or Decius, because he knew her weak points, and because he mingled so much craft with his violence. It was in very sooth an arrow — a Parthian arrow, shot at random in some paltry skirmish — which ]aid that persecutor low, for God had ordained it against him of old. He himself would seem to have been aware whence that arrow came, and who it was whom he had been so bitterly persecuting, for it is said that when he perceived his wound to be mortal, he threw some of his blood up into the air (after the manner of dying gladiators) and exclaimed, "Thou hast conquered, O Nazarene!"
Parallel VersesKJV: He hath also prepared for him the instruments of death; he ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors.