And I will cut off the cities of your land, and throw down all your strong holds:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)I will cut off the cities.—Fenced cities and the other paraphernalia of war will be unnecessary in the Messiah’s kingdom: “they shall not learn war any more” (Micah 4:3).Zechariah 2:4-5. The Church shall not need the temptation of human defense; for God shall fence her in on every side. Great cities too, as the abode of luxury and sin, of power and pride, and, mostly, of cruelty, are chiefly denounced as the objects of God's anger. Babylon stands as the emblem of the whole city of the world or of the devil, as opposed to God. Rup.: "The first city was built by Cain; Abel and the other saints heed no continuing city" Hebrews 13:14 here. Cities then will include (Rup.) "all the tumults and evil passions and ambition and strife and bloodshed, which Cain brought in among men. Cities are collectively called and are Babylon, with whom, (as in the Revelations we hear a voice from heaven saying), "the kings of the earth committed fornication and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies" Revelation 18:3; and of which it is written, "And a mighty Angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city, Babylon, be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all." Revelation 18:21. "Great rest then is promised to holy Zion that is, the Church, when the cities or strongholds of the land (strongholds, as they are, of earthliness) shall be destroyed. For together with them are included all objects of desire in them, with the sight whereof the citizens of the kingdom of God, while pilgrims here, are tempted; whereof the wise man saith, Vanity of vanities, all is vanity."
The fulfillment reaches on to the Day of Judgment, when the Church shall finally receive glory from the Lord, and be "without spot and wrinkle" Ephesians 5:27. All looks on to that Day. The very largeness of the promise, which speaks, in its fullest sense, of the destruction of things, without which we can hardly do in this life, (as cities or things very useful to the needs of man, (as horses,) carries us on yet more to that Day when there will be no more need of any outward things; Rup.: "when the heavy body shall be changed, and shall have the swiftness of angels, and shall be transported whither it willeth, without chariots and horses; and all things which tempt the eye shall cease; and no evil shall enter; and there shall be no need of divining, amid the presence and full knowledge of God, and where the ever-present Face of God, who is Truth, shall shine on all, and nothing be uncertain or unknown; nor shall they need to form in their souls images of Him whom His own shall see as He Is; nor shall they esteem anything of self, or the work of their own hands; but God shall be All in all." In like way, the woe on those who obey not the truth, also looks on to the end. It too is final. There is nothing to soften it. Punishments in the course of life are medicinal. Here no mention is made of Mercy, but only of executing vengeance; and that, with wrath and fury; and that, such as they have not heard. For as eye hath not seen, nor heart conceived the good things laid up in store for those who love God, so neither the evil things prepared for those who, in act, shew that they hate Him.And I, the Lord thy God, and thy Saviour, will cut off the cities; cut off the occasion of thy fortifying thy cities as heretofore thou hast done, thou shalt dwell in unwalled towns, and need no other defence than what I am to thee.
And throw down all thy strong holds; demolish all thy forts, and watch-towers, and frontier guards. These here mentioned are means of defence against enemies’ assaults, in which Israel had too much trusted; the others before mentioned, Micah 5:10, are offensive preparations for annoying the enemy; but in the day of that peace here spoken of, there should be no enemy should invade the people of God to put them on their defence; nor should they have any need to attempt upon their enemies; and though these means are lawful to be used, yet shall it be the happiness of God’s people not to need them, for their God, their Lord, is their Saviour in the midst of them, and he will cut off enemies round about them; so that virtually this is a promise to Israel that his adversaries should be destroyed, and so his fears disappear.
And I, the Lord thy God, and thy Saviour, will cut off the cities; cut off the occasion of thy fortifying thy cities as heretofore thou hast done, thou shalt dwell in unwalled towns, and need no other defence than what I am to thee.
And throw down all thy strong holds; demolish all thy forts, and watch-towers, and frontier guards. These here mentioned are means of defence against enemies’ assaults, in which Israel had too much trusted; the others before mentioned, Micah 5:10, are offensive preparations for annoying the enemy; but in the day of that peace here spoken of, there should be no enemy should invade the people of God to put them on their defence; nor should they have any need to attempt upon their enemies; and though these means are lawful to be used, yet shall it be the happiness of God’s people not to need them, for their God, their Lord, is their Saviour in the midst of them, and he will cut off enemies round about them; so that virtually this is a promise to Israel that his adversaries should be destroyed, and so his fears disappear. Zechariah 2:4. The Targum is,
"I will cut off the cities of the people out of thy land, and destroy all their strong fortresses;''And I will cut off the cities of thy land, and throw down all thy strong holds:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)11. the cities of thy land] Large towns being centres of luxury and foreign fashions. The Book of Genesis traces the foundation of cities to the first murderer Cain, Genesis 4:17.
all thy strong holds] Comp. Isaiah 2:15; Isaiah 30:25, Hosea 8:14.Verse 11. - Cities. Abodes of luxury and pride. From Messiah's kingdom all pomp and vain glory shall be shut out. Strongholds. Such defences shall not be needed nor allowed (comp. Isaiah 2:15; Zechariah 2:4, 5). Amos 8:14. They who swear by the guilt of Samaria, and say, By the life of thy God, O Dan! and by the life of the way to Beersheba; and will fall, and not rise again." Those who now stand in all the fullest and freshest vigour of life, will succumb to this hunger and thirst. The virgins and young men are individualized, as comprising that portion of the nation which possessed the vigorous fulness of youth. עלף, to be enveloped in night, to sink into a swoon, hithp. to hide one's self, to faint away. הנּשׁבּעים refers to the young men and virgins; and inasmuch as they represent the most vigorous portion of the nation, to the nation as a whole. If the strongest succumb to the thirst, how much more the weak! 'Ashmath Shōmerōn, the guilt of Samaria, is the golden calf at Bethel, the principal idol of the kingdom of Israel, which is named after the capital Samaria (compare Deuteronomy 9:21, "the sin of Israel"), not the Asherah which was still standing in Samaria in the reign of Jehoahaz (2 Kings 13:6); for apart from the question whether it was there in the time of Jeroboam, this is at variance with the second clause, in which the manner of their swearing is given, - namely, by the life of the god at Dan, that is to say, the golden calf that was there; so that the guilt of Samaria can only have been the golden calf at Bethel, the national sanctuary of the ten tribes (cf. Amos 4:4; Amos 5:5). The way to Beersheba is mentioned, instead of the worship, for the sake of which the pilgrimage to Beersheba was made. This worship, again, was not a purely heathen worship, but an idolatrous worship of Jehovah (see Amos 5:5). The fulfilment of these threats commenced with the destruction of the kingdom of Israel, and the carrying away of the ten tribes into exile in Assyria, and continues to this day in the case of that portion of the Israelitish nation which is still looking for the Messiah, the prophet promised by Moses, and looking in vain, because they will not hearken to the preaching of the gospel concerning the Messiah, who appeared as Jesus.
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