|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
4:9-13 Many nations would assemble against Zion to rejoice in her calamities. They would not understand that the Lord had collected them as sheaves are gathered to be threshed; and that Zion would be strengthened to beat them to pieces. Nothing has yet taken place in the history of the Jewish church agreeing with this prediction. When God has conquering work for his people to do, he will furnish them with strength and ability for it. Believers should cry aloud under distresses, with the prayer of faith, not with despondency.
Verses 11-13. - § 7. Rescued from Babylon, Zion overcomes all enemies in the strength of God. Verse 11. - Now also; and now. A new scene is presented in contrast to the view in vers, 1-4. Many nations are gathered against thee. Primarily the Assyrians are meant (Isaiah 33:3), whose armies were composed of various nationalities (Isaiah 22:6; see below, Micah 5:5). Pusey thinks that the reference is rather to the attacks of petty enemies, e.g. in Maccabean times, and in the Samaritans' opposition to the rebuilding of the temple. Cheyne would place vers. 5-10 in a parenthesis, and connect the present with the ideal description in vers. 1-4. Let her be defiled; i.e.. profaned, despoiled of her boasted holiness and inviolability. LXX., ἐπιχαρούμεθα, "we will rejoice." The Vulgate, lapidetur, points to her punishment as an adulteress, which does not suit the context. Let our eye look upon Zion. The heathen anticipate with malicious pleasure the sight of the humiliation of Jerusalem (comp. Obadiah 1:12, 13).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Now also many nations are gathered against thee,.... Which is to be understood, not of Sennacherib's army invading Judea, and besieging Jerusalem, in Hezekiah's time; for that was not threshed, as the phrase is afterwards used, or destroyed by the daughter of Zion, but by an angel from heaven: nor of the Babylonians or Chaldeans, since they succeeded in their attempt, and were the conquerors, and not conquered: rather this respects the times of the Maccabees, as the series of prophecy and history agreeing together shows; in which times many of the neighbouring nations of the Jews gave them a great deal of trouble, and especially Antiochus king of Syria; and many and mighty armies sent by him. The Jews, as Kimchi, Aben Ezra, and Abarbinel (z), interpret this of the armies of Gog and Magog, in the times of their vainly expected Messiah. Some Christian interpreters, with much more probability, understand this passage of the first times of the Gospel, and the opposition made to that and the Christian church, which yet in the issue prevailed; and perhaps it may have reference to the last times, and receive its full accomplishment in the battle at Armageddon, Revelation 16:14;
that say, let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion; either defiled with sin; so the Targum,
"that say, when will she sin, and our eye shall behold the fall of Zion?''
as the effect of her sin: or, as others, "let her play the hypocrite" (a); and be condemned as such: or rather, be defiled with slaughter and bloodshed, that they might be delighted with so pleasing a sight, and their eyes might feed with pleasure on an object so agreeable to their wishes.
(z) Mashmiah Jeshuah, fol. 62. 1.((a) "hypocrita fuit", Tigurine version; velut hypocrita damnatur", Tarnovius; "hypocrisi contaminabitur, Cocceius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
11. many nations—the subject peoples composing Babylon's armies: and also Edom, Ammon, &c., who exulted in Judah's fall (La 2:16; Ob 11-13).
defiled—metaphor from a virgin. Let her be defiled (that is, outraged by violence and bloodshed), and let our eye gaze insultingly on her shame and sorrow (Mic 7:10). Her foes desired to feast their eyes on her calamities.
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