The rod of thy strength - The Gospel - the doctrine of Christ crucified; which is the powerful scepter of the Lord that bought us, is quick and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword; and is the power of God to salvation to all them that believe.
The kingdom of our Lord was to be founded in Zion, and thence, by gradual conquests, to be extended over the whole earth. It was in Zion the preaching of the Gospel first began; and it is by the Gospel that Christ rules, even in the midst of his enemies; for the Gospel extends a moralizing influence over multitudes who do not receive it to their salvation.
The Lord shall send the rod of thy strength out of Zion - The scepter of thy power; that with which thou shalt rule. It will be given to thee by Yahweh; and it will be given to thee, as it were, “out of Zion;” that is, as proceeding from the church, and as derived from that. It will be an appointment connected with the church, and will be “as if” the church had conferred it on thee. The idea is, that the Messiah would receive, as it were, his designation, authority, commission, power from the church. He would spring from it Isaiah 11:1; would act for it; would do what was needful for its good; would wield the power which properly belongs to the church on the earth. Compare the notes at Psalm 2:9.
Rule thou in the midst of thine enemies - Set up thy power over them, and reign in them. This is a commission to set up a kingdom “in the very midst” of those who were his enemies; in the hearts of those who had been and were rebellious. His kingdom is set up not by destroying them, but by “subduing” them so that they become his willing servants. They yield to him, and he rules over them. It is not here a commission to cut them off, but one much more difficult of execution - to make them his friends, and to dispose them to submit to his authority. Mere “power” may crush people; it requires more than that to make rebels willingly submissive, and to dispose them voluntarily to obey.