You shall break them with a rod of iron; you shall dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.
This cannot mean that Messiah's sway is a kingdom of force, but only that His enemies can no more withstand His power than an earthen vessel can withstand the blows of an iron rod. His only weapons of assault are truth and love; and if human power and institutions crumble at their touch and pass away, it is because there is something radically evil and defective in them. The northern oceans are often filled with mountains of ice, reaching not only far down into the deep, but towering also to the very clouds, and threatening to crush to atoms everything with which they come into collision. Nevertheless, how soon do a few days of the light and heat of the sun rob them of their strength, leaving the frailest barque to speed on its way over unobstructed waters! It is in this way that the Sun of Righteousness operates. By light and heat and truth and love He clears the way over the frozen oceans of human life, for the onward progress of the ark of His salvation to the haven where it would be. The only way in which Messiah can be said to break His enemies with a rod of iron, and dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel, is His leaving them to the natural and fearful destruction that flows from resisting truth and love, the two great laws of His kingdom, and indeed the two great laws of all well-being.
(David Caldwell, A. M.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel.