The last meaningful reference that I could find on this scripture was
from the 1975 WT. At that time, the application was that this
referred to those killed at Armageddon.
In the '75 WT, I believe they primarliy made a spiritual application to those slain. I remembered this article when we covered it in the KH many moons ago! See the following:
*** w74 12/15 757-8 Standing Untouched, as Thousands Fall Victims ***
26 Those spoken of as being at the “very side” of these dedicated worshipers of Jehovah God would be the people of Christendom and Jewry who profess to worship the God of the Holy Bible. They “fall” in spiritual death because they are not in Jehovah’s place of spiritual security. Hence, they are exposed to the spiritually death-dealing things described by the psalmist, the dreadful thing of earth’s night, the flying arrow of the day, the gloom-infesting pestilence, the “destruction that despoils at midday.” They have not really made God their strong “refuge.”
27 As if a thousand to one were not a big enough contrast, the psalmist says that those falling will be “ten thousand at your right hand.” As in the case of the Almighty God, the “right hand” is pictorial of the hand and side that is the stronger. (Ps. 98:1) So those to whom we have had to offer the stronger spiritual resistance because of their greater religious strength fall victim because they are not proof against worldliness, modernism, antireligious propaganda, popular theology and demon-inspired religious doctrines and practices. They are not immunized by the help of God’s spirit.
28 Today, when we contrast the reported number of the anointed remnant of spiritual Israel, around ten thousand, with the thousands of millions of members of religious Babylon the Great, we can see it to be literally true that ten thousand have fallen at the right hand of this remnant of the “seed” of God’s “woman.” (Rev. 12:17) But in place of those tens of thousands that have fallen in spiritual death at the right hand of this remnant, Jehovah God has raised up a “great crowd” of sheeplike believers who have dedicated their lives to Jehovah God through Jesus Christ the Fine Shepherd. (Rev. 7:9-17; John 10:16; Matt. 25:31-46) Jehovah has been raising these up as companions of the remnant notably since the year 1935. Today they number into the hundreds of thousands, so that Jehovah’s Christian witnesses now number close onto two million who proclaim God’s kingdom.
29 To those who have fallen spiritually the destructive, faith-ruining agency from worldly sources has come near. But to those standing in God’s place of spiritual security, “to you it will not come near.” Since the postwar year of 1919 C.E., the remnant have accepted the spiritual healing provided by the Great Physician, Jehovah God. (Ps. 103:1-3) But not so Christendom, as foretold in Isaiah 6:9-12; Matthew 13:14, 15. Consequently, Christendom’s more than a thousand million members succumb to the spiritually ruinous influences and pressures of this disease-ridden world. But God has immunized his remnant and the “great crowd” of their Christian companions. To their place of spiritual immunity God does not let the worldly contagion draw near. Their obediently staying in God’s “secret place” keeps them safe, well.
30 After many years now of trustfully dwelling “in the secret place of the Most High,” the anointed remnant of spiritual Israel and, latterly, the “great crowd” of their fellow witnesses have observed the truthfulness of what the inspired psalmist next says: “Only with your eyes will you look on and see the retribution itself of the wicked ones.”—Ps. 91:8.
31 It is evident that here the Most High God does not class those in His “secret place” with the “wicked,” who are outside and who are part of this wicked world. Now especially, toward the end of this doomed system of things, those who have been indulging in the ways of this wicked world are eating the fruitage of their course as a retribution. Due requital is coming upon the worldlings as their problems multiply in political, commercial, moral, social and religious affairs. As they sowed, they are reaping. Modern society, which has become very permissive of the so-called “new morality,” the “sex revolution,” cannot immunize the sex perverts from “receiving in themselves the full recompense, which was due for their error.”—Rom. 1:27; Luke 21:25, 26.
32 The worldly-wise are falling victims to their own schemes. Those who have rejected the wisdom of God’s Word and left themselves open to Satan’s machinations have become the dupes of “every unrighteous deception for those who are perishing, as a retribution because they did not accept the love of the truth that they might be saved.” (2 Thess. 2:9, 10) Already, before the approaching “great tribulation,” Jehovah’s safeguarded ones are looking on and seeing with their eyes the difference, as regards consequences, “between a righteous one and a wicked one, between one serving God and one who has not served him.”—Mal. 3:18.