|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
11:15-17 God, having showed the misery of this people in their being justly left by the Good Shepherd, shows their further misery in being abused by foolish shepherds. The description suits the character Christ gives of the scribes and Pharisees. They never do any thing to support the weak, or comfort the feeble-minded; but seek their own ease, while they are barbarous to the flock. The idol shepherd has the garb and appearance of a shepherd, receives submission, and is supported at much expense; but he leaves the flock to perish through neglect, or leads them to ruin by his example. This suits many in different churches and nations, but the warning had an awful fulfilment in the Jewish teachers. And while such deceive others to their ruin, they will themselves have the deepest condemnation.
Verse 17. - Woe to the idol shepherd! rather, woe to the worthless shepherd! literally, shepherd of vanity, or nothingness, as Job 13:4, "physicians of no value." The LXX., recognizing that no special shepherd is signified, renders, Ω οἱ ποιμαίνοντες τὰ μάταια, "Alas for those who tend vanities!" St. Jerome, expounding the verse of antichrist, "O pastor, et idolum!" That leaveth the flock. Thus Christ speaks of the hireling (John 10:12). The sword shall be upon his arm, etc. The punishment denounced is in accordance with the neglect of the shepherd's duties. The sword represents the instrument of punishment, whatever it he; the right eye, the severity of the retribution (1 Samuel 11:2). The arm that ought to have defended the flock shall be withered up as by catalepsy; the eye that should have watched for their safety shall be blinded. This is the judgment on the foolish shepherd. Ewald thinks that the passage Zechariah 13:7-9 is out of place there, and belonged originally to the end of the, present chapter.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Woe to the idol shepherd,.... Or, "the shepherd of nothing" (w); that is, no true shepherd, that is good for nothing, for an idol is nothing in the world, 1 Corinthians 8:4 and who is an idol himself, sits in the temple of God, and is worshipped as if he was God. 2 Thessalonians 2:4 and is an encourager and defender of idolatry:
that leaveth the flock; has no regard to its spiritual concerns; does not feed it, but fleece it, and leaves it to the cruelty and avarice of his creatures under him:
the sword shall be upon his arm; with which he should feed the flock:
and upon his right eye; with which he should watch over it:
his arm shall be clean dried up; his power shall be taken away from him; the antichristian states, which supported him, shall withdraw from him; the ten kings shall hate the whore, strip her naked, eat her flesh, and burn her with fire, Revelation 17:16,
and his right eye shall be utterly darkened; not only given up to judicial blindness, which has been always his case; but his kingdom shall be full of darkness, Revelation 16:10 his hidden things of darkness shall be exposed; all his crafty schemes will be confounded; and all his wit, cunning, and subtlety, will cease; and everything desirable to him will be taken away from him. His "arm" may denote his secular power, which shall be taken away from him: and his "right eye" his knowledge of the Scriptures, judgment in controversies, and infallibility pretended to by him, which wilt cease, even in the opinion of men. Ben Melech interprets it the eye of his heart or mind; and so Aben Ezra.
(w) "pastori nihili", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Drusius, So R. So. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 4. 2.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
17. the idol—The Hebrew expresses both vanity and an idol. Compare Isa 14:13; Da 11:36; 2Th 2:4; Re 13:5, 6, as to the idolatrous and blasphemous claims of Antichrist. The "idol shepherd that leaveth the flock" cannot apply to Rome, but to some ruler among the Jews themselves, at first cajoling, then "leaving" them, nay, destroying them (Da 9:27; 11:30-38). God's sword shall descend on his "arm," the instrument of his tyranny towards the sheep (2Th 2:8); and on his "right eye," wherewith he ought to have watched the sheep (Joh 10:12, 13). However, Antichrist shall destroy, rather than "leave the flock." Perhaps, therefore, the reference is to the shepherds who left the flock to Antichrist's rapacity, and who, in just retribution, shall feel his "sword" on their "arm," which ought to have protected the flock but did not, and on their "eye," which had failed duly to watch the sheep from hurt. The blinding of "the right eye" has attached to it the notion of ignominy (1Sa 11:2).
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