C.H. Spurgeons's The Treasury of David
Verse 9. Yes! Jehovah hath given to his Anointed a rod of iron with which he shall break rebellious nations in pieces, and, despite their imperial strength, they shall be but as potters' vessels, easily dashed into shivers, when the rod of iron is in the hand of the omnipotent Son of God. Those who will not bend must break. Potters' vessels are not to be restored if dashed in pieces, and the ruin of sinners will be hopeless if Jesus shall smite them.
"Ye sinners seek his grace, Whose wrath ye cannot bear;
Fly to the shelter of his cross, And find salvation there."
EXPLANATORY NOTES AND QUAINT SAYINGS
Verse 9. The rod has a variety of meanings in Scripture. It might be of different materials, as it was employed for different purposes. At an early period, a wooden rod came into use as one of the insignia of royalty, under the name of sceptre. By degrees the sceptre grew in importance, and was regarded as characteristic of an empire, or of the reign of some particular king. A golden sceptre denoted wealth and pomp. The right, or straight sceptre, of which we read in Psalms 45:6, is expressive of the justice and uprightness, the truth and equity, which shall distinguish Messiah's reign, after his kingdom on earth has been established. But when it is said in Revelation 19:15, that he, "whose name is called the Word of God," will smite the nations, and "rule them with a rod of iron," if the rod signifies "his sceptre," then the "iron" of which it is made must be designed to express the severity of the judgments which the omnipotent "King of kings" will inflict on all who resist his authority. But to me it appears doubtful whether the "rod of iron" symbolises the royal sceptre of the Son of God at his second advent. It is mentioned in connection with "a sharp sword," which leads me to prefer the opinion that it also ought to be regarded as a weapon of war; at all events, the "rod of iron" mentioned in the Psalm we are endeavouring to explain is evidently not the emblem of sovereign power, although represented as in the hands of a king, but an instrument of correction and punishment. In this sense the word "rod" is often used. When the correcting rod, which usually was a wand or cane, is represented as in this second Psalm, to be of "iron," it only indicates how weighty, how severe, how effectual the threatened chastisement will be -- it will not merely bruise, but it will break. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron.
Now it is just such a complete breaking as would not readily be effected excepting by an iron rod, that is more fully expressed in the following clause of the verse, "Thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel." The completeness of the destruction, however, depends on two things. Even an iron rod, if gently used, or used against a hard and firm substance, might cause little injury; but, in the case before us, it is supposed to be applied with great force, "Thou shalt dash them;" and it is applied to what will prove as brittle and frangible as a potter's vessel -- "Thou shalt dash them in pieces." ... Here, as in other respects, we must feel that the predictions and promises of this Psalm were but very partially fulfilled in the history of the literal David. Their real accomplishment, their awful completion, abides the day when the spiritual David shall come in glory and in majesty as Zion's King, with a rod of iron to dash in pieces the great antichristian confederacy of kings and peoples, and to take possession of his long promised and dearly purchased inheritance. And the signs of the times seem to indicate that the coming of the Lord draws nigh. David Pitcairn.
HINTS FOR PASTORS AND LAYPERSONS
Verse 9. The ruin of the wicked. Certain, irresistible, terrible, complete, irretrievable, "like a potter's vessel."
The destruction of systems of error and oppression to be expected. The gospel an iron rod quite able to break mere pots of man's making.