He maketh wars to cease - By the death of Cambyses, and setting Darius, son of Hystaspes, upon the Persian throne, he has tranquillized the whole empire. That same God who for our unfaithfulness has delivered us into the hands of our enemies, and subjected us to a long and grievous captivity and affliction, has now turned our captivity, and raised us up the most powerful friends and protectors in the very place in which we have been enduring so great a fight of afflictions.
He breaketh the bow - He has rendered useless all the implements of war; and so profound and secure is the general tranquillity, that the bow may be safely broken, the spear snapped asunder, and the chariot burnt in the fire.
He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth - Either in all the land, or in all the world. The overthrow of the Assyrian army would probably put an end to all the wars then raging in the world. The Assyrian empire was then the most mighty on the globe; it was engaged in wide schemes of conquest; it had already overrun many of the smaller kingdoms of the world Isaiah 37:18-20; and it hoped to complete its conquests, and to secure the ascendancy over the entire earth, by the subjugation of India and Egypt. When the vast army of that empire, engaged in such a purpose, was overthrown, the consequence would be that the nations would be at rest, or that there would be universal peace. Compare the notes at Isaiah 14:6-7.
He breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder - That is, he makes them useless, as a bow that is broken is of no value, or a spear that is cut into parts.
He burneth the chariot in the fire - The war-chariot, that which was employed in battle. See the notes at Isaiah 2:7; notes at Psalm 20:7. The expression here may refer to a custom of collecting the spoils of war into a heap, and setting them on fire. This was particularly done when the victors were unable to remove them, or so to secure them as to preclude all danger of their being taken again and used against themselves. Tiffs custom is alluded to by Virgil, AEn. viii. 561,562,
“Qualis cram, cum primam aciem Prseneste sub ipsa
Stravi, scutorumque iucendi victor acervos.”
The idea here is, that God had wholly overthrown the foe, and had prevented all danger of his returning again for purposes of conquest.
Laden with spoil, the armies of Judah returned “with joy; for the Lord had made them to rejoice over their enemies. And they came to Jerusalem with psalteries and harps and trumpets unto the house of the Lord.” 2 Chronicles 20:27, 28. Great was their cause for rejoicing. In obedience to the command, “Stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord: ... fear not, nor be dismayed,” they had put their trust wholly in God, and He had proved to be their fortress and their deliverer. Verse 17. Now they could sing with understanding the inspired hymns of David: PK 203.1
“God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble....
He breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder;
He burneth the chariot in the fire.
Be still, and know that I am God:
I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted
in the earth.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge.” PK 203.2
Psalm 46. PK 203Read in context »