- The troubles of Israel, verse 1.
- The birth and advancement of the Messiah, verse 2-4.
- His protection of his people, and victory over their enemies, verse 5,6.
- The increase of the church and destruction of her enemies, verse 7-15.
Now gather thyself - Since this must be done, do it quickly. O daughter of troops - Nineveh or Babylon. He - Sennacherib, or Nebuchadnezzar. They - The proud, oppressive enemy. The judge - The king. Of Israel - Not the ten tribes, though they are actually called by this name, but the two tribes that adhered to David's family. A rod - This is a proverbial speech, expressing the most contemptuous usage.
Bethlehem - Bethlehem of Judah was called Ephratah, from the fruitfulness of the land where it stood: the word whence it is derived importing fruitfulness. Art thou little - If thou art the least in other respects in this thou art honoured above them all. Ruler - King and sovereign. In Israel - Amidst the Israel of God. Going forth - Whose generation, as he is the Son of God, equal with his father, is eternal.
He - God. Give them up - To the Chaldeans. She - The daughter of Zion, compared here to a woman in travail, shall be delivered out of captivity. His brethren - The brethren of the Messiah. Those of Judah and Benjamin who were carried captive.
He - The ruler, the Messiah shall stand. This posture speaks the readiness, chearfulness, and stability of Christ, his government, and kingdom. Feed - As a shepherd that diligently guides, preserves, and feeds his sheep. By the strength - By his own almighty strength. Of the name - By commission from the Father in whose name Christ came, preached, wrought miracles, and instituted his gospel church. They - His church made up of converted Jews and Gentiles, shall continue; the gates of hell shall not prevail against them. For - The church is so redeemed, and established, that Christ the Messiah might be glorified, throughout the world.
This man - The Messiah. The peace - Which is promised to the people of God; all their deliverances are not only for his sake, but effected by his power. Shall tread in our palaces - Which Sennacherib did in all the cities of Judah, except Jerusalem. We - Hezekiah, and with him the prophets and people, shall prevail with God to send deliverance. Seven shepherds - A certain number put for an uncertain.
They - The seven shepherds, and eight principal men, those great instruments of God's revenge, and his church's deliverance. Waste the land - So did Merodach Baladan, king of Babylon. The land of Nimrod - The same with the land of Assyria. The entrance - The fortified frontiers. In this manner shall he, the Messiah, deliver the Jews, his people. The Assyrian - The type of all other enemies, to the people of God.
As a dew - This remnant wherever they are, shall multiply as the dew that refreshes the grass, so where this remnant is, it shall be a blessing to those about them, that use them friendly. As the showers - God shall bless them by his immediate hand, as he alone, without the help of man, gives dew and showers. As this was fulfilled in the type, before the gospel was preached to all nations, so it hath been, now is, and ever shall be fulfilled in ages to come. God's remnant shall be a blessing to the places they live in.
As a lion - For strength and courage, which the beasts of the forest dare not oppose, and cannot resist.
Thine hand - Thou people of God.
I will cut off - Not in judgment, but in mercy, for there shall be no need of them, nor shall the church of God any more rely on them. Thy chariots - Chariots prepared for war.
The cities - Cut off the occasion of fortifying their cities, thou shalt need no other defence than what I am to thee.
I will cut off - God will in mercy to his people take away these occasions of sin.
Graven images - This was verified among the Jews, who to this day hate images for divine uses, and learnt this in their captivity.
Thy groves - The groves which they abused by idolatrous worship.
Have not heard - In an unprecedented manner. Christ will give his Son either the hearts or necks of his enemies, and make them either his friends or his footstool.