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Now you are walled around with a wall;

siege is laid against us;

with a rod they strike the ruler of Israel

upon the cheek.


The Ruler from Bethlehem


But you, O Bethlehem of Ephrathah,

who are one of the little clans of Judah,

from you shall come forth for me

one who is to rule in Israel,

whose origin is from of old,

from ancient days.


Therefore he shall give them up until the time

when she who is in labor has brought forth;

then the rest of his kindred shall return

to the people of Israel.


And he shall stand and feed his flock in the strength of the L ord,

in the majesty of the name of the L ord his God.

And they shall live secure, for now he shall be great

to the ends of the earth;


and he shall be the one of peace.


If the Assyrians come into our land

and tread upon our soil,

we will raise against them seven shepherds

and eight installed as rulers.


They shall rule the land of Assyria with the sword,

and the land of Nimrod with the drawn sword;

they shall rescue us from the Assyrians

if they come into our land

or tread within our border.


The Future Role of the Remnant


Then the remnant of Jacob,

surrounded by many peoples,

shall be like dew from the L ord,

like showers on the grass,

which do not depend upon people

or wait for any mortal.


And among the nations the remnant of Jacob,

surrounded by many peoples,

shall be like a lion among the animals of the forest,

like a young lion among the flocks of sheep,

which, when it goes through, treads down

and tears in pieces, with no one to deliver.


Your hand shall be lifted up over your adversaries,

and all your enemies shall be cut off.



In that day, says the L ord,

I will cut off your horses from among you

and will destroy your chariots;


and I will cut off the cities of your land

and throw down all your strongholds;


and I will cut off sorceries from your hand,

and you shall have no more soothsayers;


and I will cut off your images

and your pillars from among you,

and you shall bow down no more

to the work of your hands;


and I will uproot your sacred poles from among you

and destroy your towns.


And in anger and wrath I will execute vengeance

on the nations that did not obey.


There is no doubt but that the Prophet continues here to speak of Christ; and though the Jews shamelessly pervert the whole Scripture, they yet cannot deny that Micah calls here the attention of all the godly to the coming of Christ, yea, of all who hope or desire to obtain salvation. This is certain. Let us now see what the Prophet ascribes to Christ.

He shall stand, he says, and feed in the power of Jehovah The word, stand, designates perseverance, as though he had said, that it would not be for a short time that God would gather by Christ the remnant of the people; that it would not be, as it often happens, when some rays of joy shine, and then immediately vanish. The Prophet shows here that the kingdom of Christ would be durable and permanent. It will then proceed; for Christ will not only rule his Church for a few days, but his kingdom will continue to stand through unbroken series of years and of ages. We nor then understand the Prophet’s object.

He adds in the second place, He shall feed in the strength of Jehovah, in the greatness of the name of Jehovah his God; by which words he means, that there would be sufficient power in Christ to defend his Church. The Church, we know, is in this world subject to various troubles, for it is never without enemies; for Satan always finds those whom he induces, and whose fury he employs to harass the children of God. As then the Church of God is tossed by many tempests, it has need of a strong and invincible defender. Hence this distinction is now ascribed by our Prophet to Christ, — that he shall feed in the strength of Jehovah, and in the majesty of his God. As to the word feed, it no doubt expresses what Christ is to his people, to the flock committed to him and to his care. Christ then rules not in his Church as a dreaded tyrant, who distresses his subjects with fear; but he is a Shepherd who gently deals with his flock. Nothing therefore can exceed the kindness and gentleness of Christ towards the faithful, as he performs the office of a Shepherd: and he prefers to be adorned with this, title, rather than to be called and deemed a kings, or to assume authority to himself. But the Prophet, on the other hand, shows, that the power of Christ would be dreadful to the ungodly and wicked. He shall feed, he says, — with regard to his flock, Christ will put on a character full of gentleness; for nothing, as I have said can imply more kindness than the word shepherd: but as we are on every side surrounded by enemies, the Prophet adds, —

He shall feed in the power of Jehovah and in the majesty of the name of Jehovah; that is as much power as there is in God, so much protection will there be in Christ, whenever it will be necessary to defend and protect the Church against her enemies. Let us hence learn that no less safety is to be expected from Christ, than there is of power in God. Now, since the power of God, as we confess, is immeasurable, and since his omnipotence far surpasses and swallows up all our conceptions, let us hence learn to extend both high and low all our hopes. — Why so? Because we have a King sufficiently powerful, who has undertaken to defend us, and to whose protection the Father has committed us. Since then we have been delivered up to Christ’s care and defense, there is no cause why we should doubt respecting our safety. He is indeed a Shepherd, and for our sake he thus condescended and refused not so mean a name; for in a shepherd there is no pomp nor grandeur. But though Christ, for our sake, put on the character of a Shepherd, and disowns not the office, he is yet endued with infinite power. — How so? Because he governs not the Church after a human manner, but in the majesty of the name of his God 147147     “The Prophets prefaced their messages with, Thus saith the Lord; but Christ spoke not as a servant, but as a Son, Verily, verily, I say unto you: this was feeding in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God; all power was given him in heaven and earth, a power over all flesh, by the virtue of which he still rules in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.” — Henry.

Now, that he subjects Christ to God, he refers to his human nature. Though Christ is God manifested in the flesh, he is yet made subject to God the Father, as our Mediator and the Head of the Church in human nature: he is indeed the middle Person between God and us. This then is the reason why the Prophet now says, that Christ has power, as it were, at the will of another; not that Christ is only man, but as he appears to us in the person of man, he is said to receive power from his Father; and this, as it has been said, with respect to his human nature. There is yet another reason why the Prophet has expressly added this, — that we may know that Christ, as the protector of the Church, cannot be separated from his Father: as then God is God, so Christ is his minister to preserve the Church. In a word, the Prophet means that God is not to be viewed by the faithful, except through the intervening Mediator; and he means also that the Mediator is not to be viewed, except as one who receives supreme power from God himself and who is armed with omnipotence to preserve his people.

He afterwards adds, They shall dwell; for he shall now be magnified to the extremities of the earth He promises a secure habitation to the faithful; for Christ shall be extolled to the utmost regions of the world. We here see that he is promised to foreign nations: for it would have been enough for Christ to exercise his supreme power within the borders of Judea, had only one nation been committed to his safe keeping. But as God the Father intended that he should be the author of salvation to all nations, we hence learn that it was necessary that he should be extolled to the utmost borders of the earth. But with regard to the word dwell, it is explained more fully in the next verse, when the Prophet says—

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