|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 9. - I will not feed you. In consequence of their contumacy, the shepherd abandons the flock to their fate, as God threatened (Deuteronomy 31:17; comp. the very similar passage in Jeremiah 15:1-3). Three scourges are intimated in the succeeding words - plague, war, famine, combined with civil strife. Eat every one the flesh of another (comp. Isaiah 9:20). Many see here a reference to the awful scenes enacted when Jerusalem was besieged by the Romans, and intestine feuds filled the city with bloodshed and added to the horrors of famine.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Then said I, I will not feed you,.... That is, any longer; either personally, or by his apostles; he fed them himself, during his public ministry; and afterwards by his apostles, whom he ordered to preach the Gospel to the Jews first; but that being contradicted, blasphemed, and despised by them, they were ordered to turn away from them, and go to the Gentiles: this shows that not the shepherds only, but the body of the people, abhorred Christ and his Gospel: and therefore it was taken away from them:
that that dieth, let it die; literally, by the pestilence, that going by the name of death in Scripture; and spiritually, they that are dead in sin, let them continue so; let them die through famine of the word they have despised; let them die in their sins, and die the second death, they justly deserve:
and that that is to be cut off, let it be cut off; literally, by the sword; spiritually, the meaning is, that whereas some were in righteous judgment appointed to ruin, vessels of wrath fitted to destruction; let them be left to themselves, to a judicial blindness, and hardness of heart, and be cut off as unfruitful branches, and be no more in a church state here, and hereafter cast into everlasting burnings:
and let the rest eat everyone the flesh of another; through famine; or destroy each other in their internal divisions, which was the case of the Jews, when Jerusalem was besieged; see Galatians 5:15.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
9. Then said I—at last when all means of saving the nation had been used in vain (Joh 8:24).
I will not—that is, no more feed you. The last rejection of the Jews is foretold, of which the former under Nebuchadnezzar, similarly described, was the type (Jer 15:1-3; 34:17; 43:11; Eze 6:12). Perish those who are doomed to perish, since they reject Him who would have saved them! Let them rush on to their own ruin, since they will have it so.
eat … flesh of another—Let them madly perish by mutual discords. Josephus attests the fulfilment of this prophecy of threefold calamity: pestilence and famine ("dieth … die"), war ("cut off … cut off"), intestine discord ("eat … one … another").
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