|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
9:1-8 Here are judgements foretold on several nations. While the Macedonians and Alexander's successors were in warfare in these countries, the Lord promised to protect his people. God's house lies in the midst of an enemy's country; his church is as a lily among thorns. God's power and goodness are seen in her special preservation. The Lord encamps about his church, and while armies of proud opposers shall pass by and return, his eyes watch over her, so that they cannot prevail, and shortly the time will come when no exactor shall pass by her any more.
Verse 6. - A Bastard. The word (mamzer) occurs in Deuteronomy 23:2 (3, Hebrew), where it may possibly mean "a stranger." It is generally considered to signify one whose birth has a blemish in it - one born of incest or adultery. In Deuteronomy the LXX. renders, ἐκ πόρης, "one of harlot birth;" here, ἀλλογενής, "foreigner." The Vulgate has separator, which is explained as meaning either the Lord, who as Judge divides the just from the unjust, or the Conqueror, who divides the spoil and assigns to captives their fate. Here it doubtless signifies "a bastard race" (as the Revised Version margin translates); a rabble of aliens shall inhabit Ashdod, which shall lose its own native population. The Targum explains it differently, considering that by the expression is meant that Ashdod shall be inhabited by Israelites, who are deemed "strangers" by the Philistines. Ashdod (see note on Amos 1:8). The pride. All in which they prided themselves. This sums up the prophecy against the several Philistine cities. Their very nationality shall be lost.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And a bastard shall dwell in Ashdod,.... Some (p) take "mamzer", the word for "bastard", to be the name of a people that should dwell in Ashdod; this is the same place with Azotus, Acts 8:40 and was also one of the five lordships of the Philistines, Joshua 13:3 some, by the "bastard" here, understand Alexander the great, who gave out that he was not the son of Philip, but of Jupiter Ammon: others think Jonathan the Maccabee is intended, who took this place and burnt it with fire, and the temple of Dagon in it,
"83 The horsemen also, being scattered in the field, fled to Azotus, and went into Bethdagon, their idol's temple, for safety. 84 But Jonathan set fire on Azotus, and the cities round about it, and took their spoils; and the temple of Dagon, with them that were fled into it, he burned with fire.'' (1 Maccabees 10)
and though he was not a bastard, yet was a stranger to the Philistines; in which sense the Jewish commentators, Jarchi and Kimchi, interpret the word, and understand it of the Israelites who should dwell in this place; even those, as Aben Ezra says, who were abject, mean, and despised among the Israelites; which would be a great mortification to the proud Philistines, as is suggested in the next clause: and to this sense the Targum paraphrases the words,
"and the house of Israel shall dwell in Ashdod, who shall be in it as strangers:''
but it is best to understand this of Israelites indeed, of true Christians, who are accounted spurious, not the children of God, but aliens and strangers, the filth of the world, and the offscouring of all things; who should dwell here when the Gospel was preached in it, as doubtless it was by Philip, Acts 8:40 and so the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions render the words, "and strangers shall dwell in Ashdod"; men of another religion, and despised and not owned even by their relations, as if they were bastards.
And I will cut off the pride of the Philistines; by Alexander, and by the Jews in the times of the Maccabees, bringing them into subjection, which their haughty spirits could not well bear; or through the abolition of their old Heathenish religion, in which they prided themselves. It may be observed, that all along the conversion of these various people to Christianity is expressed in terms which seem to signify the destruction of them; and that partly because, in the literal sense, reference is had to the conquest of them by Alexander, by which means the Greek language obtained in Syria and Phoenicia, into which, a little after, the Bible was translated, which paved the way for the bringing of these people to the knowledge of Christ, through the preaching of the Gospel; and partly because Paganism was abolished in these places when Christianity prevailed.
(p) R. Judah ben Bileam apud Aben Ezram in loc.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
6. bastard—not the rightful heir; vile and low men, such as are bastards (De 23:2) [Grotius]. An alien; so the Septuagint; implying the desolation of the region wherein men shall not settle, but sojourn in only as aliens passing through [Calvin].
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