Habakkuk 3:13
You went forth for the salvation of your people, even for salvation with your anointed; you wounded the head out of the house of the wicked, by discovering the foundation to the neck. Selah.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(13) Thou wentest.—Here the verbs, though past, are best rendered by the English present.

Even for salvation . . .—Better, even for the salvation of Thine anointedscil., Thy chosen people, as also, perhaps, in Psalm 105:15. The rendering of the Authorised Version has the support of Aquila and the Quinta. It is a possible rendering, but few impartial Hebraists will deny that the other is preferable. In the last half of the verse two figures are blended—those of a house and a human body. Literally, it runs, Thou crushest the head of the house of the wicked (comp. Psalm 110:6), laying bare the foundation even to the neck. The obvious meaning is that the house or race of the Chaldæans is to be destroyed, “root and branch.”

Habakkuk 3:13-15. Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people — For their deliverance and protection; even for salvation with thine anointed — With those appointed and qualified to be leaders and rulers of thy people; such as Moses, Joshua, Samuel, and David. Thou woundedst the head out of the house of the wicked — That is, the heads, or confederate princes, of the Canaanites, Joshua 10:3; Joshua 11:1; by discovering the foundation unto the neck — Or, as Green renders it, Thou rasedst the foundations even to the rock. Thou didst strike through with his staves, &c. —

Waterland reads, Thou didst strike through the head of his warriors among his tribes: and Houbigant, Thou, with thy sceptre, didst strike through the head of his princes. Thou didst discomfit all the petty kings of the several clans carrying on the war against Joshua. They came out as a whirlwind to scatter me — The prophet here assumes the person of the Israelitish people, and therefore says, They came out to scatter me. Armies are sometimes spoken of as whirlwinds: see Zechariah 9:14. Their rejoicing was as to devour the poor secretly — Or, in secret, that is, to devour those who were weak and defenceless, and should keep themselves in secret for fear. So the enemies of the Israelites, who came out as a whirlwind to scatter them, thought that they were not able to oppose them, but would hide themselves through fear; and they therefore exulted, as if they were marching to certain victory. Thou didst walk through the sea with thy horses — This seems to be a highly figurative expression, to signify God’s dividing the waters of the Red sea and the river Jordan, and making them to stand on a heap, while the Israelites went through with as much safety as if they had rode on horses.3:3-15 God's people, when in distress, and ready to despair, seek help by considering the days of old, and the years of ancient times, and by pleading them with God in prayer. The resemblance between the Babylonish and Egyptian captivities, naturally presents itself to the mind, as well as the possibility of a like deliverance through the power of Jehovah. God appeared in his glory. All the powers of nature are shaken, and the course of nature changed, but all is for the salvation of God's own people. Even what seems least likely, shall be made to work for their salvation. Hereby is given a type and figure of the redemption of the world by Jesus Christ. It is for salvation with thine anointed. Joshua who led the armies of Israel, was a figure of Him whose name he bare, even Jesus, our Joshua. In all the salvations wrought for them, God looked upon Christ the Anointed, and brought deliverances to pass by him. All the wonders done for Israel of old, were nothing to that which was done when the Son of God suffered on the cross for the sins of his people. How glorious his resurrection and ascension! And how much more glorious will be his second coming, to put an end to all that opposes him, and all that causes suffering to his people!Thou wentest forth - Even a Jew says of this place, Kimchi: "The past is here used for the future; and this is frequent in the language of prophecy; for prophecy, although it be future, yet since it is, as it were, firmly fixed, they use the past concerning it." The prophet speaks again in the past, perhaps to fix the mind on that signal going-forth, when God destroyed Pharaoh, the first enemy who essayed to destroy the chosen line. This stands at the head of all those dispensations, in which God put or shall put forth His might to save His people or destroy their enemies. All is with Him one everlasting purpose; the last were, as it were, embodied in the first: were it not for the last, the first would not have been. Prophecy, in speaking of the first, has in mind all the rest, and chiefly the chiefest and the end of all, the full salvation of His people through Jesus Christ our Lord. "Thou wentest forth," i. e. Rup.: "Thou, the Unseen God, gavest signs which may be seen of Thy Presence or coming to men." "Thou wentest forth," not by change of place, for Thou art not bounded; Thou art without change; but by showing Thy power, and doing something anew openly.

For the salvation of thy people even for salvation with Thine anointed - The English Version is doubtless right. So Aquila, although a Jew rendered, and the 5th Version. The 6th, a Christian, translated, "Thou wentest forth to save Thy people through Jesus, Thy Christ." So also the Vulgate and other old Jewish authorities. Rachmon (in Martini Pug. Fid. f. 534.). notes "that the word (את 'êth) means "with," as in Genesis 37:2; Genesis 39:2." For although it might he used to mark the object only after a verbal noun, it is not likely that the construction would have been changed, unless the meaning were different. If (את 'êth) had been only the sign of the object there was no occasion for inserting it at all, and it would probably have been avoided, as only making the sentence ambiguous, in that it may more obviously be taken in the sense adopted by Aquila and the Vulgate and the English version.

The Septuagint and two early heretics who disbelieved the divinity of our Lord (Theodotion and Symmachus) render "to save Thy Christs." Moreover, the Septuagint is wrong in that the "anointed" is never used of the people, but of single persons only, who were shadows of the Christ. "Thine anointed" is understood of one individual - "the king of Judah," by A. E. "Saul and David," by Rashi; "Moses," by Abarb.; "Hezekiah" by Tanchum; but "Messiah Ben David," by Kimchi Sal. b. Mel. God, from the first, helped His people through single persons - Moses, Joshua, each of the Judges - accustoming them to receive deliverance by one, and to gather together all their hopes in One. To Moses He said, Exodus 3:12 : "I will be with thee," and to Joshua, Joshua 1:5 : "As I was with Moses, so I will be with thee," and to Cyrus, Isaiah 45:2 : "I will go before thee," preparing His people to receive that nearer Presence with His Christ, of which our Lord says: "Believest thou not, that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? The Father that Dwelleth in Me, He doeth the works" John 14:10 Rup.: "The Son of God, God Invisible, became Man, visible; and with Him, so going forth, the Holy Spirit went forth 'to the salvation of His people,' so as to give a visible sign of His Coming. For upon His Christ Himself, Him who was anointed with the Holy Spirit Acts 10:38. 'He descended in a bodily Shape, as a Dove.' So He 'went forth to the Salvation of His people,' i. e., to save His people with His Christ, our Saviour;" and again, on the Day of Pentecost, when that other Comforter came, "whom," He said, I" will send unto you from the Father," and in whose Presence His own promise was fulfilled, "Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." His Presence was manifested both in the remission of sins, and the parting of graces among all, and in the Hebrews 2:4. "signs and wonders, and divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost," wherewith "God bare witness to the apostles," when, Mark 16:20, "they went forth, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following." A going forth to judgment, at the end of the world, is foretold in the like image of warfare (Revelation 17:14; Revelation 19:11 ff).

Thou woundedst (crushedst) the head out of the house of the wicked - One wicked stands over against One anointed, as in Isaiah Isa 11:4. "He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked;" and David speaks of one "He shall smite the head over a great land" Psalm 110:6; and Paul speaks of "that wicked, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming" 1 Thessalonians 4:8 Him He shall destroy at once from above and below; overthrowing his kingdom from the foundation. From above, his head was crushed in pieces; from below, the house was razed from its very foundations. So Amos said, Amos 9:1, "The Lord said, Smite the capital, and the lintel (threshold ) strike, and wound them in the head, all of them;" and with a different image Amos 2:9. "I destroyed his fruit from above, and his roots from beneath." First, the head is struck off, crushed; then the house from the foundations to its neck; then as it were the headless walls. The image of the neck may be the rather used to recall, that as the house of God is built of living stones, so the kingdom of the evil one is made of living dead, who shall never cease to exist in an undying death. The bruising of Satan, the head or prince of this evil world, is the deliverance of the world. His head was bruised, when, by the Death of our Lord, "the Prince of this world was cast out;" he is "crushed out of the house of the wicked, whenever he, the strong man," is bound and cast out, and "the soul of the sinner which had been his abode, becomes the house of God, and righteousness dwelleth there and walketh in her."

Rup.: "Thou didst not leave any error or vice in the world unshaken, either what was concealed, like the foundation of a house; or that which was open, as the neck of the body is open;" to the neck, where the destruction from above ceased, so that nothing remained unsmitten. Rup.: "For they being, by the fiery tongues which Thou shewedst without, made fervent and strong, wise and eloquent, ceased not, until they made known to all, what folly was this world's wisdom, what sacrilege its sacred worship." Dion.: "His secret counsels He laid bare, as the apostle says 2 Corinthians 2:11; 1 Corinthians 12:10. We are not ignorant of his devices; and, to another is given the discerning of spirits."

13. with thine anointed—with Messiah; of whom Moses, Joshua, and David, God's anointed leaders of Israel, were the types (Ps 89:19, 20, 38). God from the beginning delivered His people in person, or by the hand of a Mediator (Isa 63:11). Thus Habakkuk confirms believers in the hope of their deliverance, as well because God is always the same, as also because the same anointed Mediator is ready now to fulfil God's will and interpose for Israel, as of old [Calvin]. Maurer translates to suit the parallelism, "for salvation to Thine anointed," namely, Israel's king in the abstract, answering to the "people" in the former clause (compare Ps 28:8; La 4:20). Or Israel is meant, the anointed, that is, consecrated people of Jehovah (Ps 105:15).

woundedst the head out of the house of the wicked—probably an allusion to Ps 68:21. Each head person sprung from and belonging to the house of Israel's wicked foes; such as Jabin, whose city Hazor was "the head of all the kingdoms" of Canaan (Jos 11:10; compare Jud 4:2, 3, 13).

discovering the foundation—Thou destroyedst high and low. As "the head of the house" means the prince, so the "foundation" means the general host of the enemy.

unto the neck—image from a flood reaching to the neck (Isa 8:8; 30:28). So God, by His wrath overflowing on the foe, caused their princes' necks to be trodden under foot by Israel's leaders (Jos 10:24; 11:8, 12).

Thou wentest forth: pursuant of his metaphor, the prophet speaks of God as marching on before his people; or it may refer to the ark, a token of God’s presence before the people.

For the salvation; to complete the salvation begun in bringing them out of Egypt, and carrying them through the wilderness, and to be finished in settling them in Canaan.

Of the people; thy chosen people, the tribes of thine inheritance.

Even for salvation: it is repeated for confirmation, and to affect us with the greatness of the mercy.

With thine anointed; or, for thine anointed, i.e. all Israel; or under the conduct of thine anointed, Joshua, type of the Messiah, by whose hand all these great things were done.

Thou woundedst the head; gavest a deadly wound to the princes and kings of Canaan, enemies to Israel, who were cut off, and their families utterly destroyed.

Out of the house; royal palaces, or ancient dwellings, and settled habitations; of which slaughter of Canaanitish kings, see Psalm 136:17-20.

Of the wicked; the courts of these kings were houses of greatest wickednesses, for which they were destroyed.

By discovering the foundation unto the neck: razing the foundations of their power, and destroying all from foot to head.

Selah: all which is to be heeded, and well minded. Thou wentest forth for the salvation of that people, even for salvation with thine anointed,.... Or, "thy Messiah"; which Kimchi and Ben Melech interpret of Messiah the son of David; and read and give the sense of the words thus,

"as thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, by bringing them into the land of Canaan, so do thou go forth for salvation with thy Messiah.''

God of old went forth in his power and providence for the salvation of his people, whom he chose above all people to be his special and peculiar people; making use of Moses and Aaron in bringing them out of Egypt, and leading them through the wilderness, and of Joshua to introduce them, and settle them in the land of Canaan; who were all types of Christ in the salvation of the chosen people. Joshua particularly was a type of Jesus; they agree in their name, which signifies a Saviour the salvation of God, or God the salvation; and in their character, office, and usefulness to the people of God, Jesus is the Lord's "anointed"; anointed with the Holy Ghost, the oil of gladness, above his fellows, which he received without measure; anointed to the office of Prophet, Priest, and King; and from whom his people receive the unction, and are denominated Christians, or anointed ones: and the "people" of God, for whose salvation he went forth with him, are not all mankind, who are not all saved; nor the people of the Jews only, or all of them; but a peculiar people, out of Jews and Gentiles, loved with a special love; chosen to salvation, secured in the covenant of grace, and given to Christ as his portion and people, and so saved by him, Matthew 1:21. The "salvation" of them is a spiritual one, a salvation from all their sins; from the power and dominion, pollution and guilt, the damning power of them, and at last from the very being of them; as well as from Satan, the law, death, hell, and wrath to come: it is perfect and complete, and endures for ever. Jehovah the Father "went forth" with Christ his Son for this salvation, in his purposes and decrees concerning it; in his council and covenant relating to it; in the mission of him into this world to effect it; and by helping and assisting him in it, as man and Mediator. The words may be rendered, "thou wentest forth"; or, "thou goest forth"; thou wilt do so; and mayest thou do so, "to save thy people, to save thy anointed" (t); and so respect not the salvation of Israel by Moses or Joshua; nor the spiritual and eternal salvation of God's elect by the Messiah; but the salvation of the Lord's people from mystical Babylon, from the oppression and tyranny of antichrist, and from all his false doctrines, superstition, and idolatry, and ruin by them; and particularly the salvation of the two witnesses, the two olive trees, the two anointed ones that stand before the Lord of the whole earth; the singular being put for the plural, "anointed" for "anointed ones"; and so the Alexandrian copy of the Septuagint version, and the Arabic version, render it, "thy Christs", or "thy anointed ones"; now this will be done when the Lord shall go forth in his power and providence, and quicken and raise their dead bodies, when they have lain three days and a half, and shall cause them to ascend to heaven in the sight of their enemies; see Zechariah 4:14,

thou woundedst the head out of the house of the wicked; not the princes of the families of the land of Canaan, as some; nor the first born of Pharaoh's family in Egypt, or him and his host at the Red sea, as, others; nor Goliath of Gath, smitten by David, as Burkius; nor Satan and his principalities and powers by Christ on the cross; but antichrist the man of sin, that wicked and lawless one, who is at the bead of a wicked house or family, the antichristian party; who received a wound at the Reformation; and ere long the kings of the earth will hate the whore, eat her flesh, and burn her with fire; and Christ, will utterly consume and destroy this wicked one with the breath of his mouth, and the brightness of his coming, Revelation 13:3 see Psalm 110:6. Kimchi and Ben Melech interpret this of the head of the army of wicked Gog, the king of Magog, taking it to belong to future time; and so some render all those phrases, "thou wilt go forth, thou wilt wound" (u), &c.:

by discovering the foundation unto the neck; or "razing the foundation", as in Psalm 137:7. There seems to be a double metaphor in the words, expressing the utter ruin and destruction of antichrist and his party; who, being compared to a building, will be demolished, and razed to the very foundation; that will be dug up, and laid bare, and no trace of an edifice to be seen any more; and, being compared to a human body, will be plunged into such distresses and calamities, as to be as it were up to the neck in them, from whence there is no escape and deliverance. Some understand this of the princes of this head, or of his friends, and those of his family that are nearest to him, as the neck is to the head; or of the whole body of the people under him, of which he will be deprived; and so be as a head without a body, and who cannot long survive them.

Selah is added as a mark of attention, something of moment and importance being observed.

(t) "ad salutem populi tui, ad servandum unctum tuum", De Dieu. (u) "egredieris"; so some in Vatablus. "transfiges"; so some in Drusius.

Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, even for salvation with thy {q} anointed; thou didst wound the head out of the house of the wicked, by laying bare the foundation to the {r} neck. Selah.

(q) Signifying that there is no salvation, except by Christ.

(r) From the top to the bottom you have destroyed the enemies.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
13. Thou wentest forth] Thou art come forth.

for salvation with thine anointed] for the salvation (deliverance) of thine anointed. The term “anointed” was used properly of the king (1 Samuel 24:6), or of the priest (1 Samuel 2:35), but in later times it was employed more generally, e.g. of the Patriarchs (Psalm 105:15), of Cyrus (Isaiah 45:1), and here it appears to designate the people, according to the parallelism with the preceding clause. Comp. Psalm 89:38; Psalm 89:51. In Isaiah 55:3-5 the promises made to David are represented as being inherited by the people.

Thou woundedst the head] thou hast shattered, or as R.V. marg. thou hast smitten off the head from the house.

By discovering the foundation] laying bare the foundation. The “wicked” is the heathen foe of Israel; if the Theophany of the Exodus be described he is either the nation of the Egyptians or Pharaoh. This foe is compared to a house the top of which is smitten away from it, so that it falls to pieces and the foundation is laid bare. Comp. Amos 9:1, “Smite the chapiters that the thresholds may shake, and break them to pieces on the head of all of them.”

unto the neck] The phrase to discover or lay bare the foundations means to destroy utterly and throw down the structure raised upon the foundations so that these appear (Micah 1:6). Hence in Psalm 137:7 it is said, “Lay bare even unto the foundation.” This suggests that “lay bare” was used in the general sense of destroy, rase (as A.V.). In the present passage the “head” was said to be shattered away from the house, and in this clause it is added that the house from foundation to “neck,” i.e. up to the shattered head, was rased. Possibly “rase unto the neck” was a proverbial expression, meaning to rase utterly. Baethgen (Psalmen, p. 414) proposes to read rock (a somewhat similar word) for “neck”—the foundation unto the rock. This circumstantiality is rather trivial; and the proposed reading rests on a misconception of the meaning of the phrase “lay bare the foundation.’Verse 13. - Thou wentest forth. The prophet specifies the end which these manifestations were designed to effect. God is said to "go forth" when he intervenes for the aid of his people, as Judges 5:4; 2 Samuel 5:24; Isaiah 42:13. For salvation with thine anointed; In salutem cum Christo tuo (Vulgate); τοῦ σῶσαι τὸν χριστὸν σου (τοὺς χριστούς σου, Alex., Sin.), "to save thine anointed" (Septuagint). If the signification of the word "with" (eth) be pressed, the passage is taken to mean that, as God manifested himself in old time for the salvation of his people with his chosen "Christ," Moses; so he will hereafter reveal his power for the destruction of the Chaldeans with his chosen "Christ," Cyrus. But this is too definite, and cannot be shown to be intended. The "anointed one," again, is not the nation of Israel, for the term is always applied to a single individual and never to the people collectively; so here it is the theocratic king who is meant - first, the representative of David; and secondly, the Messiah. God reveals himself for the salvation of his people in union with the work especially of his anointed Son, Christ. This is how the passage is taken by Eusebius ('Dem. Evang.,' 4:16), Αἰς σωτηρίαν λαον σου σὺν Ξριστῷ σου. It must be confessed, however, that most modern commentaters translate, "for the salvation of thy anointed," taking the last expression (contrary to all usage) to mean the Israelites, as being a kingdom and nation of priests (Exodus 19:6). In this case the present clause is merely a repetition of the preceding one. Thou woundedst the head out of the house of the wicked; thou dashest in pieces the head. As in the following clause the metaphor of a house is plainly employed, "the head" must be taken for the gable or topmost ridge. "The house of the wicked" is an allegorical description of the Chaldaic dominion and its king; and the prophet declares that God will smite with destruction both the ungodly monarch and the kingdom that opposes itself. Some commentators see here an allusion to the primeval sentence (Genesis 3:15): others to the destruction of the Egyptians' firstborn; others to the incident of Jael and Sisera (Judges 5:26). If the prophet's language was influenced by any of these matters, his view and his oracle are concerned with the mighty future. The LXX. has, "Thou wilt east death upon the heads of the evil." By discovering (literally, making naked) the foundations unto the neck. "By" is better omitted. Keil supposes that "the neck" is the central part of the house, looking from the gable downwards; though why this should be so called is not apparent; and the wording of the original, "the foundations even to the neck," compels us to connect the two words together, and will not allow us to interpret "the neck" of some higher part of the building. The general meaning is plain - the metaphorical house is destroyed from summit to base, the destruction beginning at the gable is carried on to the very foundations According to this view, "the neck" should mean the very lowest basis of the walls. Henderson (after Capellus and others) suggests that we should read "rock," a word derived from the same root. Septuagint, Ἐξήγειρας δεσμοὺς ἕως τραχήλου, "Thou didst raise chains unto the neck." It is possible that the mention of "the head," just above, has led the prophet to use the term "neck" in order to express the utter destruction of the whole body. Selah. Another solemn pause ensues. The daughter Zion, when rescued from Babel, overcomes all hostile powers in the strength of her God. Micah 4:11. "And now many nations have assembled together against thee, who say, Let her be profaned, and let our eyes look upon Zion. Micah 4:12. But they know not the thoughts of Jehovah, and understand not His counsel; for He has gathered them together like sheaves for the threshing-floor. Micah 4:13. Rise up and thresh, O daughter Zion: for I make thy horn iron, and I make thy hoofs brass; and thou wilt crush many nations: and I ban their gain to Jehovah, and their substance to the Lord of the whole earth." With ועתּה, corresponding to עתּה in Micah 4:9, there commences a new scene, which opens to the prophet's mental eye. Many nations have assembled together against the daughter Zion (עליך pointing back to בּת ציּון in Micah 4:10), with the intention of profaning her, and feasting their eyes upon the profaned one. It is the holiness of Zion, therefore, which drives the nations to attack her. תּחנף, let her be or become profaned: not by the sins or bloodguiltiness of her inhabitants (Jeremiah 3:2; Isaiah 24:5), for this is not appropriate in the mouths of heathen; but through devastation or destruction let her holiness be taken from her. They want to show that there is nothing in her holiness, and to feast their eyes upon the city thus profaned. חזה with ב, to look upon a thing with interest, here with malicious pleasure. On the singular tachaz, followed by the subject in the plural, see Ewald 317, a. To this design on the part of the heathen, the prophet (Micah 4:12) opposes the counsel of the Lord. Whilst the heathen assemble together against Zion, with the intention of profaning her by devastation, the Lord has resolved to destroy them in front of Zion. The destruction which they would prepare for Zion will fall upon themselves, for the Lord gathers them together like sheaves upon the threshing-floor, to thresh, i.e., destroy, them. כּי does not mean "that," but "for." The sentence explains the assertion that they do not understand the counsel of the Lord. כּעמיר, with the generic article, equivalent to "like sheaves." This judgment Zion is to execute upon the heathen. The figurative expression, "Rise up, and thresh," etc., rests upon the oriental custom of threshing out corn with oxen, i.e., of having it trodden out with their hoofs (see Paulsen, Ackerbau der Morgenlnder, 41). In this, of course, only the strength of the hoofs was considered. But as the horn of the ox is a figure frequently used for destructive power (see Deuteronomy 33:17; 1 Kings 22:11; Amos 6:13, etc.), the prophet combines this figure, to strengthen the idea of crushing power, and express the thought that the Lord will equip Zion perfectly with the strength requisite to destroy the nations. והחרמתּי is the first person, and must not be altered into or regarded as the second, as it has been in the lxx and Syriac, and by Jerome. The prophet does not speak in the name of the theocratic nation, as Jerome supposes, but continues to represent Jehovah as speaking, as in אשׂים, with which, however, instead of לי, the noun ליהוה is used, to give greater clearness to the thought that it is Jehovah, the God and Lord of the whole earth, who will destroy the nations that have rebelled against Him and His kingdom, wresting their possessions from them, and taking them back to Himself. For everything laid under the ban belonged to the Lord, as being most holy (Leviticus 27:28). חיל, property, wealth, the sum and substance of the possessions. Israel is not to enrich itself by plundering the defeated foe, but Jehovah will sanctify the possessions of the heathen to Himself, to whom they belong as Lord of the whole earth, by laying them under the ban: that is to say, He will apply them to the glorification of His kingdom.

There has been a diversity of opinion as to the historical allusion, or the fulfilment of these verses. So much, however, is obvious at the very outset, namely, that they cannot be made to refer to the same event as Micah 4:9, that is to say, to the siege of Jerusalem by the Assyrians, without bringing the prophet into the most striking contradiction to himself. For, since Micah 4:10 predicts not a partial deportation, but the complete carrying away of Israel to Babel, and Micah 4:13 the perfect deliverance of Jerusalem, the people wandering out of Jerusalem into captivity (Micah 4:10) cannot possibly be the enemies who lead it away, beating it utterly before Jerusalem, and banning their possessions to the Lord. There is more to favour the allusion to the victorious conflicts of the Maccabees with the Syrians, for which Theodoret, Calvin, Hengstenberg, and others decide, since these conflicts occurred in the period intervening between the return of the Jews from the Babylonian captivity (Micah 4:10) and the coming of the Messiah (Micah 5:12). But even this allusion corresponds far too little to the words of the promise for us to be able to regard it as correct. Although, for example, the war of the Maccabees was a religious war in the strict sense of the word, since the Syrians, and with them the small neighbouring nations of the Jews, set themselves to attack Judah as the nation of God, and to exterminate Judaism, the gōyı̄m rabbı̄m who have assembled against Zion, and whom the Lord gathers together thither (Micah 4:11, Micah 4:12), point to a much greater even than the attacks made by the Syrians and the surrounding tribes upon Jerusalem in the time of the Maccabees. Gōyı̄, rabbı̄m (many nations) points back to gōyı̄m rabbı̄m and ‛ammı̄m rabbı̄m in Micah 4:2 and Micah 4:3, so that, both here and there, all the nations of the world that are hostile to God are included. Again, the defeat which they suffer before Jerusalem is much greater than the victory which the Maccabees achieved over their enemies. On the other hand, the circumstance that the Babylonian captivity is predicted in Micah 4:10, and the birth of the Messiah in Micah 5:1-2, and that the victorious conflicts of the Maccabees with the Syrians and the heathen neighbours of the Jews lie in the interim between these events, furnishes no sufficient proof that these conflicts must be referred to in Micah 4:11-13, simply because the assumption that, in Micah 4:9 -14, the attacks of the Chaldaeans, the Graeco-Syrians, and the Romans upon Zion are foretold in the order in which they followed one another in history, has no firm basis in the threefold recurrence of ‛attâh (now) in Micah 4:9, Micah 4:11, and Micah 5:1. As an event is introduced with ‛attâh in Micah 5:9, which does not follow the one predicted in Micah 5:8 in chronological sequence, but, on the contrary, the prophet comes back in ve‛attâh from the more remote to the more immediate future, it cannot be inferred from the ‛attâh in Micah 5:1 that the oppression mentioned there must follow the victory over many nations predicted in Micah 4:11-13 in chronological order, or that the siege and capture of Jerusalem by the Romans are referred to in Romans 5:1. Moreover, the proclamation in Romans 5:10 already goes beyond the Chaldaean catastrophe, and the liberation of the Jews from the Chaldaean exile, so that if the ve‛attâh in Romans 5:12 announces a conflict with Zion which will follow the events predicted in Romans 5:9 and Romans 5:10, we must not restrict the conflict to the wars of the Maccabees. We must therefore understand these verses as referring to the events already predicted by Joel (ch. 3), and afterwards by Ezekiel (Ezekiel 38, 39) and Zechariah (Zechariah 12:1-14), and in Revelation 20:8.: i.e., to the last great attack which the nations of the world will make upon the church of the Lord, that has been redeemed from Babel and sanctified, with the design of exterminating the holy city of God from the face of the earth, and to which the attacks of the Syrians, and the rest of the nations surrounding Judah, upon the covenant nation in the times of the Maccabees, furnished but a feeble prelude. This view is favoured by the unmistakeable similarity between our verses and both Joel and Ezekiel.

The נאספוּ עליך גּויים רבּים in Micah 4:11, compared with קבּצם in Micah 4:12, points clearly back to וקבּצתּי את־הגּוים in Joel 3:2, compared with ונקבּצוּ in Micah 4:11; and the figure in Micah 4:12, of the gathering together of the nations like sheaves for the threshing-floor, to the similar figures of the ripening of the harvest and the treading of the full wine-press in Joel 3:13. And the use of gōyı̄m rabbı̄m in Micah is no reason for supposing that it differs in meaning from the kol-haggōyı̄m of Joel, since Micah uses gōyı̄m rabbı̄m in Micah 4:2 and Micah 4:3 for the totality of the nations of the world. Ezekiel, also, simply speaks of gōyı̄m rabbı̄m as assembling together with Gog to attack the mountains of Israel (Ezekiel 38:6, Ezekiel 38:9, Ezekiel 38:15); and in his case also, this attack of the nations upon Jerusalem is appended to the redemption of Israel effected at Babel. Again, the issue of this attack is the same in Micah as in Joel, Ezekiel, and Zechariah, - namely, the complete overthrow of the hostile nations by the people of Israel, who fight in the strength of the Lord, by which Jehovah manifests Himself to all nations as Lord of the whole earth, and proves Himself to be the Holy One (compare Micah 4:13 with Joel 3:12-13, and Ezekiel 38:16; Ezekiel 39:3.). Lastly, a decisive proof of the correctness of this allusion is to be found in the circumstance, that the attack of the nations is directed against Zion, which has now become holy, that it proceeds from hatred and enmity to His holiness, and has for its object the desecration of the city of God. This feature is by no means applicable to Jerusalem and Judah in the time of the Maccabees, but can only apply to the time when Israel, redeemed from Babel, forms a holy church of God, i.e., to the last period of the development of the kingdom of God, which began with Christ, but has not yet reached its fullest manifestation. "From the fact, however, that Zion, when sanctified, is to be delivered out of much greater danger than that from which it will not be delivered in the immediate future, and also that the refined and sanctified Zion will conquer and destroy an incomparably greater hostile force than that to which it will now soon succumb, it follows, in the clearest and most conclusive way, that in the nearest future it must be given up to the power of the world, because it is now unholy" (Caspari). This thought prepares the way for the transition to Micah 5:1, where the prophecy returns to the oppression foretold in Micah 4:9 and Micah 4:10.

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