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9. Judgment on Israel's Enemies

The burden of the word of the Lord in the land of Hadrach, and Damascus shall be the rest thereof: when the eyes of man, as of all the tribes of Israel, shall be toward the Lord. 2And Hamath also shall border thereby; Tyrus, and Zidon, though it be very wise. 3And Tyrus did build herself a strong hold, and heaped up silver as the dust, and fine gold as the mire of the streets. 4Behold, the Lord will cast her out, and he will smite her power in the sea; and she shall be devoured with fire. 5Ashkelon shall see it, and fear; Gaza also shall see it, and be very sorrowful, and Ekron; for her expectation shall be ashamed; and the king shall perish from Gaza, and Ashkelon shall not be inhabited. 6And a bastard shall dwell in Ashdod, and I will cut off the pride of the Philistines. 7And I will take away his blood out of his mouth, and his abominations from between his teeth: but he that remaineth, even he, shall be for our God, and he shall be as a governor in Judah, and Ekron as a Jebusite. 8And I will encamp about mine house because of the army, because of him that passeth by, and because of him that returneth: and no oppressor shall pass through them any more: for now have I seen with mine eyes.

9Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass. 10And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horse from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from river even to the ends of the earth. 11As for thee also, by the blood of thy covenant I have sent forth thy prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water.

12Turn you to the strong hold, ye prisoners of hope: even to day do I declare that I will render double unto thee; 13When I have bent Judah for me, filled the bow with Ephraim, and raised up thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons, O Greece, and made thee as the sword of a mighty man. 14And the Lord shall be seen over them, and his arrow shall go forth as the lightning: and the Lord GOD shall blow the trumpet, and shall go with whirlwinds of the south. 15The Lord of hosts shall defend them; and they shall devour, and subdue with sling stones; and they shall drink, and make a noise as through wine; and they shall be filled like bowls, and as the corners of the altar. 16And the Lord their God shall save them in that day as the flock of his people: for they shall be as the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon his land. 17For how great is his goodness, and how great is his beauty! corn shall make the young men cheerful, and new wine the maids.

The Prophet here expresses more clearly what he had briefly referred to by the word poor, and by the metaphor which we have explained. Hence he says, that there would be no horses, no chariots, no bows, no warlike instruments in Christ’s kingdom; for tranquillity would prevail in it. The sum of the whole is, that Christ and his people would not be kept safe and secure by human defences, by means of many soldiers and of similar helps being at hand; but that God would restrain, and even compose and allay all warlike commotions, so that there would be no need of such aids. We now understand the Prophet’s design.

But we must notice the language here used. God declares here that he would be the giver of peace, so that the Messiah would continue safe in his kingdom; I will cut off, he says; for it might have been objected — “If he is to be poor, what hope can there be of safety?” The answer is, because it will be God’s work to restrain all the assaults of enemies. He means, in short, that the Messiah’s kingdom would be safe, because God from heaven would check all the rage of enemies, so that however disposed they might be to do harm, they would yet find themselves held captive by the hidden bridle of God, so as not to be able to move a finger.

But after having said that the Jews and Israelites would be safe, though stripped naked of all defences, he adds, He will speak peace to the nations; that is, though he will not use threats or terrors, nor bring forth great armies, yet the nations will obey him; for there will be no need of employing any force. To speak peace then to the nations means, that they will calmly hear, though not terrified nor threatened. Some with more ingenuity make the meaning to be that Christ, who reconciles the Father to us, will proclaim this favor of reconciliation; but the Prophet, as I think, with more simplicity, says, that Christ would be content with his own word, inasmuch as the Gentiles would become obedient, and quietly submit to his authority. 106106     To “speak peace” is to anounce or proclaim peace, and not to produce peace. It is not to render people peaceable, but to declare the message of peace to them. It it the promulgation of the gospel. — Ed. The import of the whole is, that Christ would so rule far and wide, that the farthest would live contentedly under his protection, and not cast off the yoke laid on them.

He states in the last place, that his dominion would be from sea to sea, that is, from the Red sea to the Syrian sea, towards Cilicia, and from the river, that is, Euphrates, to the extreme borders of the earth. By the earth we are not to understand the whole world, as some interpreters have unwisely said; for the Prophet no doubt mentioned those places already known to the Jews. For we know that remarkable oracle —

“He shall reign from sea to sea.” (Psalm 72:8.)

But God speaks of David only, and the words are the same as here; and there was no oracle more commonly known among the Jews. 107107     The reference as to the “sea” may be also made to Exodus 23:31; and as to the “river” to Deuteronomy 11:24. The land promised to the Israelites is no doubt what is here described,” and Newcome renders the last clause “to the uttermost part of the land.” Though Henderson admits that the words are originally “descriptive of the utmost bound of the Hebrew kingdom,” yet he thinks that they are to be taken here in their widest meaning, as including the whole earth. — Ed. The Prophet, then, who adduces here nothing new, only reminds the Jews of what they had long ago heard, and repeats, as it were, word for word, what was familiar to them all. For we must bear in mind what I said at the beginning — that the Prophet here strengthens the minds of the godly, and on this account, because the Messiah, on whose coming was founded the gratuitous adoption of the people, as well as their hope of salvation, had not yet appeared. We now then understand the real meaning of this passage. He then adds —


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