|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
11:4-14 Christ came into this world for judgment to the Jewish church and nation, which were wretchedly corrupt and degenerate. Those have their minds wofully blinded, who do ill, and justify themselves in it; but God will not hold those guiltless who hold themselves so. How can we go to God to beg a blessing on unlawful methods of getting wealth, or to return thanks for success in them? There was a general decay of religion among them, and they regarded it not. The Good Shepherd would feed his flock, but his attention would chiefly be directed to the poor. As an emblem, the prophet seems to have taken two staves; Beauty, denoted the privileges of the Jewish nation, in their national covenant; the other he called Bands, denoting the harmony which hitherto united them as the flock of God. But they chose to cleave to false teachers. The carnal mind and the friendship of the world are enmity to God; and God hates all the workers of iniquity: it is easy to foresee what this will end in. The prophet demanded wages, or a reward, and received thirty pieces of silver. By Divine direction he cast it to the potter, as in disdain for the smallness of the sum. This shadowed forth the bargain of Judas to betray Christ, and the final method of applying it. Nothing ruins a people so certainly, as weakening the brotherhood among them. This follows the dissolving of the covenant between God and them: when sin abounds, love waxes cold, and civil contests follow. No wonder if those fall out among themselves, who have provoked God to fall out with them. Wilful contempt of Christ is the great cause of men's ruin. And if professors rightly valued Christ, they would not contend about little matters.
Verse 14. - I eat asunder mine other staff. As the flock, by their contemptuous payment, showed their alienation from the Shepherd, so he now, by his symbolical action, shows his rejection of them, and his surrender of them to anarchy, confusion, and ruin. The breaking of the first staff indicated that God withdrew his defensive care; the breaking of the staff called "Bands" signifies the utter dissolution of all the bends that held the nation together, the civil and social disunion that paved the way for the victory of the Romans, and issued in the final disruption which sent the Jews wandering through the world. This in the vision is represented as the breaking of the brotherhood between Judah and Israel, the component parts of the nation. Thus was hinted the ultimate rejection of the Jews in consequence of their treatment of Christ, the good Shepherd, who came unto his own, and his own received him not (comp. Matthew 23:36-38). This doom is declared more fully in the next section.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then I cut asunder mine other staff, even Bands,.... By which is meant, either the removal of the form of civil government from the Jews; or the abrogation of the Mosaic law, and the carnal ordinances of the Jews, in which judaizing Christians joined them, until the destruction of Jerusalem; or rather the ordinances of the Gospel, which, upon taking that away, ceased:
that l might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel; the Gospel and Gospel ordinances being removed from the Jews, there was no more work of conversion among them; their church state came to nothing, and an entire disagreement between them and the Gentiles ensued: and so it is when God takes away his word and ordinances from a people, they are unchurched and their brotherhood is broken, those being the bands which keep them together; and therefore, when loosed, their unity and society cease. There seems to be an allusion to the case of the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, and of the ten tribes; the former are often signified by Judah only; and the latter by Israel or Ephraim: the division between them was made in the times of Rehoboam, which continued unto their respective captivities; after the Jews' return from the Babylonish captivity, there was some show of an union between them; some of the ten tribes returning with the Jews, and coalescing in one state; and moreover, at their certain stated feasts, they came from different parts of the world, and joined together in religious service; see Acts 2:1 but, upon the dissolution of their civil and church state, this friendly correspondence was broken off, and their communion with each other ceased: and as for the Jews, after the Christians were called out from among them at Jerusalem, and removed to Pella, they fell into internal divisions and quarrels among themselves, which lasted during the siege of that city; and when it was taken and destroyed, their brotherhood and union among themselves were broken to such a degree, that they were scattered one from another; and now know not of what kingdom and tribe they are, whether of Judah or Israel, or of what tribe in either.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
14. The breaking of the bond of union between Judah and Israel's ten tribes under Rehoboam is here the image used to represent the fratricidal discord of factions which raged within Jerusalem on the eve of its fall, while the Romans were thundering at its gates without. See Josephus [Wars of the Jews]. Also the continued severance of the tribes till their coming reunion (Ro 11:15).
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