|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
21:1-17 Here is an explanation of the parable in the last chapter. It is declared that the Lord was about to cut off Jerusalem and the whole land, that all might know it was his decree against a wicked and rebellious people. It behoves those who denounce the awful wrath of God against sinners, to show that they do not desire the woful day. The example of Christ teaches us to lament over those whose ruin we declare. Whatever instruments God uses in executing his judgments, he will strengthen them according to the service they are employed in. The sword glitters to the terror of those against whom it is drawn. It is a sword to others, a rod to the people of the Lord. God is in earnest in pronouncing this sentence, and the prophet must show himself in earnest in publishing it.
Verse 13. - Because it is a trial, etc. The verse has received as many interpretations, and is just as obscure as ver. 10, with which it is obviously connected. I begin as before with that which seems most probable.
(1) Keil: For the trial is made, and what if the despising sceptre shall riot come? The "despising sceptre" is the kingdom of Judah, and the prophet asks, "What will happen, what extreme of misery is to be looked for, if that kingdom shall not appear, if Judah shall be left without a ruler?
(2) Ewald: For it is tried - and what? Whether it is also a soft rod! That will not be. Sc. men will find on trial that the sword of Jehovah is not a soft rod, but the sharpest of all weapons.
(3) Hengstenberg: And how? Shall the despising rod that outstript all other punishments not be? i.e. shall the sword of Jehovah not do its work effectively?
(4) Cornill, in part following Hitzig, again rewrites the text, and gets the meaning: How should I judge with favour? They have not turned themselves from their pollution. They shall find no place.
(5) The Authorized Version inserts t he word "sword," apparently with the meaning that the "trial" will show that the sword of the Lord contemns the rod, i.e. the sceptre of Judah, and that that rod shall be no more.
(6) The Authorized Version (margin): When the trial hath been, what then? Shall not they also belong to the despising rod? may have had a moaning for those who adopted it, but I fail to find it.
(7) The Revised Version relegates the Authorized Version text into the margin, and substitutes, For there is a trial, and what if even the rod that contemneth (i.e. the sceptre of Judah) shall be no more?
(8) The LXX and Vulgate connect "because there is a trial" with the preceding clause, rendering it respectively, "for it has been justified (δεδικαίωται)," and "because it has been tested (probatus)," and translate what follows - the LXX., "What if even a tribe be repulsed? It shall not be;" and the Vulgate, "And this when it (the sword!) has overturned the kingdom, and it shall not be," etc. This will be a sufficient summary of the difficulties of the exegetical problem. At the best, we must say that it remains unsolved.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Because it is a trial,.... As all afflictions and calamities are, especially to the people of God they try their faith and patience, and every other grace; and also to wicked men, they try them, whether they will repent or not:
and what if the sword contemn even the rod? the sceptre: the king of Judah, and his family; not only come upon and cut off the people and the princes, but the royal family also; and even overturn the tribe of Judah, as the word also signifies; and subvert the government of it, of which the rod or sceptre is an ensign; this would be a sore trial indeed, and yet it is intimated that so it should be:
it shall be no more, saith the Lord God; the rod or sceptre shall be no more in one of David's line, of the tribe Judah, until the Messiah comes, Ezekiel 21:27. I should choose to render the words thus, "for it is a trial, but what?" (w) what an one is it? or for what is it? what will be the fruit, effect, and issue of it?
if also the sceptre despises; the king despises the trial, the affliction, the calamity, and is not brought to repentance by it:
it shall be no more, or "it shall not be" (x),
saith the Lord God; it, the sceptre, shall be taken away, and not restored to the house of David, until the Messiah comes.
(w) "quum fuit probatio quid tandem fuit?" Junius & Tremellius, Polanus. (x) , "non erit", V. L. "scilicet sceptrum", Mariana.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
13. it is a trial—rather, "There is a trial" being made: the sword of the Lord will subject all to the ordeal. "What, then, if it contemn even the rod" (scepter of Judah)? Compare as to a similar scourge of unsparing trial, Job 9:23.
it shall be no more—the scepter, that is, the state, must necessarily then come to an end. Fulfilled in part at the overthrow of Judah by Nebuchadnezzar, but fully at the time of "Shiloh's" (Messiah's) coming (Ge 49:10), when Judea became a Roman province.
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