And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares…
There was a time, not very long ago, when private war was even more universal than public or international war is today. City against city! Baron against baron! Even private persons were entitled to settle their differences by judicial combat if they preferred. Right of trial by combat still survives in some European countries in the form of duelling. But with that solitary exception, private war has now been entirely abolished throughout the civilised world. How has this immense improvement been achieved? The fact to be specially remembered is that the barons of the Middle Ages submitted very reluctantly and slowly to the substitution of judicial arbitration for private war. Kings had not the power to compel, and the barons continually defied the kings. Gradually a more enlightened and moral public opinion grew up in favour of the rational and Christian method of settling disputes. At last the supremacy of law and of courts of justice became established. Private war is now impossible, so absolute is the triumph of Christianity in the internal affairs of the nation. Now, a precisely similar slow and intermittent change is evolving better order in international life. Barbarous and heathen governments still defy the dictates of reason and of conscience as the cities and barons of the Middle Ages did. But slowly and intermittently their ferocity is being overcome. Arbitration has already been substituted for war in a large number of important cases which, in any previous period of human history, would inevitably have deluged the world with blood.
(H. P. Hughes, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.
WEB: He will judge between the nations, and will decide concerning many peoples; and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.