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Judgment on Israel’s Enemies


An Oracle.

The word of the L ord is against the land of Hadrach

and will rest upon Damascus.

For to the L ord belongs the capital of Aram,

as do all the tribes of Israel;


Hamath also, which borders on it,

Tyre and Sidon, though they are very wise.


Tyre has built itself a rampart,

and heaped up silver like dust,

and gold like the dirt of the streets.


But now, the Lord will strip it of its possessions

and hurl its wealth into the sea,

and it shall be devoured by fire.



Ashkelon shall see it and be afraid;

Gaza too, and shall writhe in anguish;

Ekron also, because its hopes are withered.

The king shall perish from Gaza;

Ashkelon shall be uninhabited;


a mongrel people shall settle in Ashdod,

and I will make an end of the pride of Philistia.


I will take away its blood from its mouth,

and its abominations from between its teeth;

it too shall be a remnant for our God;

it shall be like a clan in Judah,

and Ekron shall be like the Jebusites.


Then I will encamp at my house as a guard,

so that no one shall march to and fro;

no oppressor shall again overrun them,

for now I have seen with my own eyes.


The Coming Ruler of God’s People


Rejoice greatly, O daughter Zion!

Shout aloud, O daughter Jerusalem!

Lo, your king comes to you;

triumphant and victorious is he,

humble and riding on a donkey,

on a colt, the foal of a donkey.


He will cut off the chariot from Ephraim

and the war-horse from Jerusalem;

and the battle bow shall be cut off,

and he shall command peace to the nations;

his dominion shall be from sea to sea,

and from the River to the ends of the earth.



As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you,

I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit.


Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope;

today I declare that I will restore to you double.


For I have bent Judah as my bow;

I have made Ephraim its arrow.

I will arouse your sons, O Zion,

against your sons, O Greece,

and wield you like a warrior’s sword.



Then the L ord will appear over them,

and his arrow go forth like lightning;

the Lord G od will sound the trumpet

and march forth in the whirlwinds of the south.


The L ord of hosts will protect them,

and they shall devour and tread down the slingers;

they shall drink their blood like wine,

and be full like a bowl,

drenched like the corners of the altar.



On that day the L ord their God will save them

for they are the flock of his people;

for like the jewels of a crown

they shall shine on his land.


For what goodness and beauty are his!

Grain shall make the young men flourish,

and new wine the young women.


Interpreters do also pervert the whole of this verse; and as to the following verse, that is, the next, they do nothing else but lead the readers far astray from its real meaning. God says now, that he will take away blood from the mouth of enemies; as though he had said, “I will check their savage disposition, that they may not thus swallow down the blood of my people.” For here is not described any change, as though they were to become a different people, as though the Syrians, the Sidonians, the Philistine, and other nations, who had been given to plunders, and raged cruelly against the miserable Jews, were to assume the gentleness of lambs: this the Prophet does not mean; but he introduces God here as armed with power to repress the barbarity of their enemies, and to prevent them from cruelly assaulting the Church.

I will take away blood, he says, from their mouth; and he says, from their mouth, because they had been inured in cruelty. I will cause, then, that they may not as hitherto satiate their own lust for blood. He adds, and abominations, that is, I will take from the midst of their teeth their abominable plunders; for he calls all those things abominations which had been taken by robbery and violence. 9999     Kimchi, Drusius, Grotius, and others, have given the same view; but Jerome, Marckius, Newcome, Blayney, Henderson, and Hengstenberg, regard idolatry as intended here, the “blood” being that of the victims which the heathens drank, and the “abominations” being the things sacrificed to idols. What seems strongly to favor the view taken by Calvin is the phraseology; the metaphor being that of a wild beast devouring his prey, and of the prey being taken from him: this certainly ill comports with the notion of putting an end to idolatrous practices. — Ed. And he compares them to wild beasts, who not only devour the flesh, but drink also the blood and tear asunder the raw carcass. In short, he shows here, under the similitude of wolves and leopards and wild boars, how great had been the inhumanity of enemies to the Church; for they devoured the miserable Jews, as wild and savage beasts are wont to devour their prey.

It afterwards follows, and he who shall be a remnant. Some translate, “and he shall be left,” and explain it of the Philistine and other nations of whom mention is made. But the Prophet doubtless means the Jews; for though few only had returned to their country as remnants from their exile, he yet says that this small number would be sacred to God, and that all who remained would be, as it were, leaders in Judah, however despised they might have been. For there was no superiority even in the chief men among them; only they spontaneously paid reverence to Zerubbabel, who was of the royal seed, and to Joshua on account of the priesthood; while yet all of them were in a low and mean condition. But the Prophet says, that the most despised of them would be leaders and chiefs in Judah. We now perceive the Prophet’s meaning; for after having predicted the ruin that was nigh all the enemies of the Church, he now sets forth the end and use of his prophecy; for God would provide for the good of the miserable Jews, who had been long exiles, and who, though now restored to their country, were yet exposed to the ill treatment of all, and also despised and made even the objects of scorn to their enemies. He then who shall be a remnant, even he shall be for our God, as though he had said, “Though the Lord had for a time repudiated you as well as your fathers, when he drove you here and there and scattered you, yet now God has gathered you, and for this end — that you may be his people: ye shall then be the peculiar people of God, though ye are small in number and contemptible in your condition.” 100100     The explanation of this clause, though countenanced by some others, cannot yet be admitted. There is nothing in the text to justify the translation from the “stranger” in verse 6, and who is spoken of in this verse, to the Jewish nation. The foreigners or strangers inhabiting Ashdod are no doubt intended. So thought Theodoret, Drusius, Grotius, Blayney, and Newcome; and such is the view of Henderson, only that he applies the passage to the Philistines generally, and not to the strangers in Ashdod. To consider the foreigner or stranger as a “ruler,” seems not right. This prophecy was fulfilled, says Grotius, in the time of the Maccabees, and he refers to Josephus, 12:12, and to 1 Maccabees 5:66; and also in the time of Alexander, when many of the cities of the Philistines, especially Ashdod and Gaza, were conquered by the Jews, when many of them became proselytes to Judaism.
   The explanation of Blayney as to the latter part of the verse is as follows: that the stranger or strangers in Ashdod should be on the same footing as a privileged citizen in Judah, but that the Ekronite, the natural born Philistine should be as a Jebusite in Jerusalem, deprived of the privileges which he had when the country was his own. This would be to “cut off the pride of the Philistines.” — Ed.

Then he adds, these remnants shall be as leaders in Judah, that is, God will raise them to the highest honor; though they are now without any dignity, they shall yet be made by God almost all of them princes. It then follows, And Ekron shall be as a Jebusite. Some explain thus — that the citizens of Ekron would dwell in Jerusalem, which the Jebusites had formerly possessed; and others give another view, but nothing to the purpose. The Prophet speaks not here of God’s favor to the citizens of Ekron, but on the contrary shows the difference between God’s chosen people and heathen nations, who gloried in their own good fortune: hence he says, that they should be like the Jebusites, for they at length would have to endure a similar destruction. We indeed know, that the Jebusites had been driven out of that town, when Jerusalem was afterwards built; but it was done late, even under David. As then they had long held that place and were at length dislodged, this is the reason why the Prophet says, that though the citizens of Ekron seemed now to be in the very middle of the holy land, they would be made like the Jebusites, for the Lord would drive away and destroy them all. He afterwards adds —

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