Sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of juniper.
Thy arrows are not pointless, and thou aimest them with some precision; but on my side is the Almighty Warrior. Thou art able to scorch me for a season; but the vengeance of my Deliverer upon thee is a burning fire that never shall be quenched. He shall more than pay thee in thy own coin. Seeking my ruin, thou destroyest thyself. Thou fallest on thy own sword, and into thy own flame. Nay, thou drawest down upon thee the two-edged sword of the mouth of the Almighty (Revelation 1:16; Revelation 2:16; Revelation 19:15, 21). Thou provokest to thy eternal perdition the "Consuming Fire" (Deuteronomy 4:24; Deuteronomy 9:3; Hebrews 12:29). They who use the tongue as an arrow shot forth with inflamed combustibles wrapped about it to set fire to the habitations of others, bring upon their own dwellings and themselves "sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of juniper" (Ephesians 6:16). By "coals of juniper" or "broom" is meant the most vehemently and longest burning fuel, and by "sharp arrows of the mighty" the vengeful weapons of the conqueror. Both figures denote ways and instruments of punishment, and are here employed to picture the defeat and ruin that will come from Jehovah upon His people's enemies (Psalm 7:13; Psalm 45:5; Psalm 140:9-11). "The Lord is a man of war: the Lord is His Name" (Exodus 15:3; Isaiah 42:13). "He shall redeem their soul from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in His sight" (Psalm 72:14). They who stir their tongues against His children shall have Him move His tongue against themselves. Do men live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God? It is equally true that by His voice they die. He has but to speak, and they perish. Tremble at the terror of the Lord, "sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of juniper." The language of the wasted and weary, the psalm is also that of the confiding and persevering. Why should the Lord's people allow lying lips to divert them from the work which He has given them to do, and for which He will find them means and opportunities according to His pleasure? Let the false tongue call them presumptuous, ambitious, incapable, insane: the city and temple of God will yet be completed. They will think less of the adversaries around them, and more of the Master and Friend among them and over all. Their foes may be Strong and fierce as Mesech, and wild and false as Kedar; but the Mighty One who delivered them before is their present Saviour. In the renewal of their distress, they cry to the Lord as formerly; and He repeats His mercies, giving them peace even when there is no peace.
(E. J. Robinson.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of juniper.