But the man that shall touch them must be fenced with iron and the staff of a spear; and they shall be utterly burned with fire in the same place.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Fenced with iron.—The thorns are to be handled with an iron hook on the end of a spear staff. The phrase, “in the same place,” is used only here, and its meaning is quite uncertain. The Vulg. translates, to nothing, meaning to utter destruction; the LXX. substitutes the word shame. The English rendering is as well sustained as any.
The Chaldee Targum upon these verses is very interesting, as giving the ancient Jewish interpretation of the prophecy. It is a much enlarged paraphrase, but gives a Messianic application to the whole. The following is a close translation of 2Samuel 23:1-3 : “(1) These are the words of the prophecy of David, which he prophesied concerning the end of the age, concerning the days of consolation which are to come. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was exalted to the kingdom said, the anointed by the word of the God of Jacob, and appointed that he might preside over the sweetness of the praises of Israel. (2) David said, In the spirit of prophecy of the Lord I speak these things, and the words of His holiness do I order in my mouth. (3) David said, The God of Israel spake concerning me, the Strong One of Israel who ruleth over the sons of men, the true Judge, said that He would appoint for me a king; He is the Messiah, who shall arise and rule in the fear of the Lord.”2 Samuel 7:12-16 and looks forward to Messiah's kingdom. The latter clause, "although he make it not to grow," must then mean that, although at the present time the glory of his house was not made to grow, yet all his salvation and all his desire was made sure in the covenant which would be fulfilled in due time. But most modern commentators understand both clauses as follows: "Is not my house so with God that He has made with me an everlasting covenant," etc.? "For all my salvation and all my desire, will He not cause it to spring up?" namely, in the kingdom of Solomon, and still more fully in the kingdom of Christ. The staff of a spear; so the meaning is, he must fill his hand, or arm himself with some iron weapon, whereby he may cut them down; or, with the staff of a spear, or some such like thing, whereby he may thrust them away from himself, that they do him no hurt. Or thus, he will be filled, or will fill himself, i. e. his hand, wherewith he attempted to touch and take them, with thorns, as
with iron and the staff of a spear; i.e. he will be as surely and sorely wounded, as if one should run the iron head and part of the wood of a spear into his hand.
And they shall be utterly burned, or, therefore; because men cannot safely touch them, therefore they will burn them up. Or, or, i.e. if they do not cut them down with iron, or thrust them away with the staff of a spear, they will burn and consume them.
In the same place, or, in their place, where they grow or stand; and they will not trouble not hazard themselves to remove them. Withal, it may imply that they shall be destroyed when and where they thought themselves most secure, even in their own place. And it may possibly intimate, that those children of Belial, the wicked and unbelieving Jews, who rejected and rebelled against the Messiah, David’s successor, and their lawful King, should be destroyed in their great, and strong, and holy city Jerusalem, where the greatest part of that people were gathered together as fuel for the fire, and were destroyed together by the Romans under Titus, where also their wicked predecessors had been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in former times.
and they shall be utterly burnt with fire in the same place: where the thorns grew, or whither they are removed, or are sitting; where persons are sitting to warm themselves by them: and this may be understood of the destruction of wicked rulers, when their kingdom is taken from them, and they are consumed root and branch; and was true not only of Saul, and his posterity, as some apply it, and of Jeroboam, and those like to him, as the above Jewish writer; but of the wicked Jews, and their rulers, those sons of Belial, who rejected the yoke of Christ, and would not have him to rule over them; to whom the Lord sent the Roman armies fenced with swords and spears, and burnt their city, and destroyed them in the same place; and may take in antichrist, and antichristian states, those sons of Belial, of the wicked and lawless one, the son of perdition, whose city, Rome, shall be burnt with fire; and even all wicked men, at the great day of judgment, to which the Targum refers these words; when they, whose end, like thorns, is to be burnt, will be cast into the lake which burns with fire and brimstone.But the man that shall touch them must be fenced with iron and the staff of a spear; and they shall be utterly burned with fire in the same place.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)7. But the man, &c.] But the man who toucheth them must arm himself with iron and a spear shaft. The thorns cannot be touched by hand, but must be torn up with an iron hook fastened to a long handle. The expression is chosen so as to be applicable to the enemies who are figured, as well as to the thorns which figure them.
burnt with fire] Cp. Matthew 3:10; Matthew 13:30; Luke 19:27; Hebrews 6:8.
in the same place] Or perhaps, until they are consumed. But the word is probably not part of the true text, and should be omitted altogether.
Divine saying of the man, the highly exalted,
Of the anointed of the God of Jacob,
And of the lovely one in the songs of praise of Israel.
2 The Spirit of Jehovah speaks through me,
And His word is upon my tongue.
This introduction to the prophetic announcement rests, both as to form and substance, upon the last sayings of Balaam concerning the future history of Israel (Numbers 24:3, Numbers 24:15). This not only shows to what extent David had occupied himself with the utterances of the earlier men of God concerning Israel's future; but indicates, at the same time, that his own prophetic utterance was intended to be a further expansion of Balaam's prophecy concerning the Star out of Jacob and the Sceptre out of Israel. Like Balaam, he calls his prophecy a נאם, i.e., a divine saying or oracle, as a revelation which he had received directly from God (see at Numbers 24:3). But the recipient of this revelation was not, like Balaam the son of Beor, a man with closed eye, whose eyes had been opened by a vision of the Almighty, but "the man who was raised up on high" (על, adverbially "above," is, strictly speaking, a substantive, "height," used in an adverbial sense, as in Hosea 11:7, and probably also 2 Samuel 7:16), i.e., whom God had lifted up out of humiliation to be the ruler of His people, yea, even to be the head of the nations (2 Samuel 22:44). Luther's rendering, "who is assured of the Messiah of the God of Jacob," is based upon the Vulgate, "cui constitutum est de Christo Dei Jacob," and cannot be grammatically sustained. David was exalted on the one hand as "the anointed of the God of Jacob," i.e., as the one whom the God of Israel had anointed king over His people, and on the other hand as "the lovely one in Israel's songs of praise," i.e., the man whom God had enabled to sing lovely songs of praise in celebration of His grace and glory. זמיר equals זמרה does not mean a song generally, but a song of praise in honour of God (see at Exodus 15:2), like מזמור in the headings to the psalms. As David on the one hand had firmly established the kingdom of God in an earthly and political respect as the anointed of Jehovah, i.e., as king, so had he on the other, as the composer of Israel's songs of praise, promoted the spiritual edification of that kingdom. The idea of נאם is explained in 2 Samuel 23:2. The Spirit of Jehovah speaks through him; his words are the inspiration of God. The preterite דּבּר relates to the divine inspiration which preceded the utterance of the divine saying. בּ דּבּר, literally to speak into a person, as in Hosea 1:2. The saying itself commences with 2 Samuel 23:3.
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