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Micah 5:6

6. And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders.

6. Et pascent terram Assur (hoc est, vastabunt; nam metaphorice hic pascere accipitur pro perdere quemadmodum dicuntur pecora pascere agrum, hoc est quum denudant herba sua; atque ita pastorum ingluviem notat in vorando populo; et alludit ad nomen illud quo usus fuerat: dixerat enim רועים septem pastores; nunc dicit רעה; Videmus ergo Prophetam alludere ad nomen illud quod posuerat: pascent ergo terram Assur) gladio, et terram Nimrod in gladiis suis: et liberabit ab Assur, ubi venerit in terram nostram, et ubi calcaverit in finibus nostris.

 

In this verse the Prophet says, that the shepherds, chosen by the Church, after it had been miserably oppressed by the tyranny of its enemies, would have a twofold office. They shall first feed; that is, nourish the Church of God; — and, secondly, they shall feed; that is, destroy the land of Asshur, so that nothing may remain there whole and entire. God will then arm these shepherds with warlike courage; for they must fight boldly and courageously against their enemies: he says, They shall feed on the land of Nimrod with their swords Nimrod, we know, reigned in Chaldea; and we know also that the ten tribes were led away by Shalmanezer, and that the kingdom of Israel was thus demolished: when the Chaldeans obtained the empire, the kingdom of Judah was also laid waste by them. Now the import of the words is, that these shepherds would be sufficiently strong to oppose all the enemies of the Church, whether they were the Babylonians or the Assyrians. And he names the Assyrians and Babylonians, because they had then a contest with the people of God; and this continued to the coming of Christ, though it is certain that they suffered more troubles from Antiochus than from others: but as he was one of the successors of Alexander, the Prophet here, taking a part for the whole, means, by the Assyrians and Chaldeans, all the enemies of the Church, whoever they might be. Waste, he says, shall these shepherds the land of Asshur by the sword, and the land of Nimrod, and that by their swords 150150     כפתחיה, in its openings or entrances: so most render the word. Εντος πολων αυτης — within its gates. — Symmachus. Marckius, Newcome, and Henderson, agree with our version. Calvin has, in this instance, followed Kimchi and Aben-Ezra: but the affix ה prevents us from adopting this meaning; besides, the word itself is nowhere found in this sense.
   This verse is connected with the preceding, and ought to be separated from it only be a semicolon, and may be thus rendered: —

   And they shall waste the land of the Assyrian by the sword,
And the land of Nimrod at its entrances:
Thus shall he cause a deliverance from the Assyrian,
When he shall come into our land,
And when he shall tread on our borders.

   — Ed.

But this shall not be until the Chaldeans and the Assyrians shall penetrate into our land, and tread in our borders The Prophet again reminds the faithful, that they stood in need of patience, and that they were to know that God had not made a vain promise. The import of the whole is, that no deliverance was to be expected from God’s hand until the faithful yielded their necks to his yoke, and patiently sustained the evils which were then approaching. The Prophet then mentions the intervening time between that state in which the Jews gloried and their deliverance. Why so? Because they were soon after to be smitten heavily by God’s hand; but this, as we have seen, they did not think would take place. Hence he says, — “Since you cannot yet be made to believe that merited punishment is nigh you, experience shall be your teacher. In the meantime, let the faithful provide themselves with courage and, with a meek heart, patiently to submit to God, the righteous Judge: but, at the same time, let them expect a sure deliverance, when they shall have gone through all their evils; for when the ripened time shall come, the Lord will look on his Church; but she must be first afflicted.”


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