Micah 5:4
And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great to the ends of the earth.
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(4) He shall stand and feedi.e., He shall stand with the majesty of an assured sovereignty, uniting the dignity of king with the tenderness of a shepherd’s care—a thought which, underlying the notion of a Jewish monarch (see Psalm 78:70-72), becomes a distinguishing attribute of the King Messiah (Isaiah 40:2; see also Note on Ezekiel 34:2).

His God.—The Messiah was to be subordinate to the Father in heaven—“My Father is greater than I”—and they—i.e., His subjects—shall abide. It is impossible to conceive this prophecy as satisfied by any event short of that which is the foundation of the Christian faith.

Micah 5:4. And he shall stand and feed — Or rule as the word רעה, here rendered feed, often signifies: that is, he shall go on, he shall continue to rule, or feed, his people. Christ shall diligently perform the office of a shepherd, or governor, over his church. In the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord — God, or the indwelling Deity, strengthening and exalting his human nature. The expression, the name of the Lord his God, might be intended to signify the Messiah’s acting by commission from the Father, in whose name he came, preached, wrought miracles, and instituted his gospel church. And they shall abide — His church, made up of converted Jews and Gentiles, shall continue; the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. For now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth — Some interpret this as signifying the making the true God known over all the earth: but it seems rather to be intended of the Messiah; for the angel, who foretold his conception to his virgin mother, as is related Luke 1:32-33, seems plainly to allude to this prophecy, saying, He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest, &c. And he is dignified with such titles as were never given to any creature, as the apostle proves at large, Hebrews 1:4-14.5:1-6 Having showed how low the house of David would be brought, a prediction of the Messiah and his kingdom is added to encourage the faith of God's people. His existence from eternity as God, and his office as Mediator, are noticed. Here is foretold that Bethlehem should be his birthplace. Hence it was universally known among the Jews, Mt 2:5. Christ's government shall be very happy for his subjects; they shall be safe and easy. Under the shadow of protection from the Assyrians, is a promise of protection to the gospel church and all believers, from the designs and attempts of the powers of darkness. Christ is our Peace as a Priest, making atonement for sin, and reconciling us to God; and he is our Peace as a King, conquering our enemies: hence our souls may dwell at ease in him. Christ will find instruments to protect and deliver. Those that threaten ruin to the church of God, soon bring ruin on themselves. This may include the past powerful effects of the preached gospel, its future spread, and the ruin of all antichristian powers. This is, perhaps, the most important single prophecy in the Old Testament: it respects the personal character of the Messiah, and the discoveries of himself to the world. It distinguishes his human birth from his existing from eternity; it foretells the rejection of the Israelites and Jews for a season, their final restoration, and the universal peace to prevail through the whole earth in the latter days. In the mean time let us trust our Shepherd's care and power. If he permits the assault of our enemies, he will supply helpers and assistance for us.And He shall stand - The prophet continues to speak of personal acts of this Ruler who was to be born. He was not to pass away, not to rule only by others, but by Himself. To stand is the attitude of a servant, as Jesus, although God and Lord of all, said of Himself, "He shall come forth and serve them" Luke 12:37; "The Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister" Matthew 20:28. "He shall stand" as a Shepherd Isaiah 61:5, to watch, feed, guard them, day and night; "He shall stand," as Stephen saw Christ "standing on the Right Hand of God" Acts 7:55, "to succor all those who suffer for Him." : "For to sit belongs to one judging; to stand, to one fighting or helping." "He shall stand," as abiding, not to pass from them, as Himself saith, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world" Matthew 28:20 : and He shall feed His flock by His Spirit, His Word, His Wisdom and doctrine, His example and life; yea, by His own Body and Blood John 6. They whom He feedeth "lack nothing" Psalm 23:1.

In the strength of the Lord - He, who feedeth them with divine tenderness, shall also have divine might, His Father's and His own, to protect them; as He saith, "My sheep hear My Voice, and I know them and they follow Me, neither shall any man pluck them out of My Hand. My Father Which gave them Me is greater than all, and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father's Hand. I and My Father are One" John 10:27-30. With authority, it is said, "He commandeth even the unclean spirits and they come out" Luke 4:36. His feeding or teaching also was "with authority, and not as the scribes" Matthew 7:29.

In the majesty of the name of the Lord His God - As John says, "We beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only-Begotten of His Father" John 1:14; and He saith, "All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth" Matthew 28:18; so that the divine glory should shine through the majesty of His teaching, the power of His Grace, upholding His own, and the splendor of the miracles wrought by Him and in His Name. "Of the Name of the Lord;" as He saith again, "Holy Father, keep through Thine own Name those whom Thou hast given Me, that they may be one as We are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Thy Name" John 17:11-12. : "Whoever then is sent to feed His flock must stand, that is, be firm and unshaken; feed, not sell, nor slay; and feed in might, that is, in Christ." His God, as our Lord Himself, as Man, saith, "Unto My Father, and your Father, and to My God and your God" .

But that Majesty He Himself wields, as no mere man can; He Himself is invested with it. : "To ordinary kings God is strength Psalm 28:7; Psalm 140:7, or gives strength 1 Samuel 2:10; men have strength in God; this Ruler is clad in the strength of the Lord, that same strength, which the Lord hath, whose is strength. Of Him, as Israel's King, the same is said as of the Lord, as King of the whole earth Psalm 93:1; only that the strength of the Messiah is not His own, but the Lord's. He is invested with the strength of the Lord, because He is Man; as Man, He can be invested with the whole strength of the Lord, only because He is also God."

And they shall abide - (Literally, sit, dwell) in rest and security and unbroken peace under Christ their Shepherd and their King; they shall not wander to and fro as heretofore "He, their Shepherd, shall stand; they shall sit." "The word is the more emphatic, because it stands so absolutely. This will be a sitting or dwelling, which will indeed deserve the name. The original promise, so often forfeited by their disobedience should be perfectly fulfilled; "and ye shall dwell in your land safely, and I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie down, and none shall make you afraid" . So Amos and Micah had before promised . And this is the result of the greatness of the promised Ruler, as the like promise of the Psalm is rested on the immutability of God; "Thou art the Same, and Thy years shall have no end. The children of Thy servants shall dwell, and their seed shall be established before Thee." Psalm 102:27-28. For it follows,"

For now - (In the time which Micah saw as did Abraham with the eye of faith,) "now," in contrast to that former time of lowliness. His life shall be divided between a life of obscurity, and a life of never-ending greatness.

Shall He be great unto the (very) ends of the earth - embracing them in His rule, (as David and Solomon had foretold ,) and so none shall harm those whom He, the King of all the earth, shall protect. The universality of protection is derived from an universality of power. To David God says, "I have made thee a great name, like the name of the great that are in the earth" 2 Samuel 7:9. Of Uzziah it is said, "His name went forth far; for he was marvelously helped, until he was strong" (2 Chronicles 26:15, add 2 Chronicles 26:8); but of the Messiah alone it is said, that His power should reach to the ends of the earth; as God prophesies of Himself, that His "Name should be great among the pagan" Malachi 1:11, Malachi 1:14. So Gabriel said to His Mother, "This," whom she should bear, "shall be great" .

4. he shall stand—that is, persevere: implying the endurance of His kingdom [Calvin]. Rather, His sedulous care and pastoral circumspection, as a shepherd stands erect to survey and guard His flock on every side (Isa 61:5) [Maurer].

feed—that is, rule: as the Greek word similarly in Mt 2:6, Margin, means both "feed" and "rule" (Isa 40:11; 49:10; Eze 34:23; compare 2Sa 5:2; 7:8).

in the majesty of the name of the Lord—possessing the majesty of all Jehovah's revealed attributes ("name") (Isa 11:2; Php 2:6, 9; Heb 2:7-9).

his God—God is "His God" in a oneness of relation distinct from the sense in which God is our God (Joh 20:17).

they shall abide—the Israelites ("they," namely, the returning remnant and the "children of Israel previously in Canaan) shall dwell in permanent security and prosperity (Mic 4:4; Isa 14:30).

unto the ends of the earth—(Mic 4:1; Ps 72:8; Zec 9:10).

He, the Ruler born in Bethlehem, the Messiah, shall stand: sometimes this posture denoteth the ministry of a servant, but here it speaks the readiness, cheerfulness, firmness, and stability of both the ruler, his government, and kingdom.

Feed; as a Shepherd that does diligently watch over, guide, preserve, and feed his sheep, or as rulers are called shepherds. Christ is that good Shepherd, John 10:14; and he is the righteous and holy Governor, and his government shall have no end, Isaiah 9:7.

In the strength of the Lord; in the assistance which God shall give him, for Christ-man was carried through this great work, redeeming, setting up, establishing his church by the power of the Father, who was with him, and upheld him, as was promised, Isaiah 61:1-3. All power in heaven and earth was given to Christ our Mediator, who being eternal God, of equal power with his Father, doth in his own strength overcome all enemies, removeth all difficulties, gathereth and governeth his church, and will do so to the end of the world; such visible, convincing tokens of a Divine power and glory working in him, and with those he sendeth to preach the gospel, I mean apostles, and all managed to the glory of God.

In the majesty of the name; by commission from the Lord, in whose name Christ came, preached, wrought miracles, and instituted his gospel church.

Of the Lord his God, i.e. God the Father.

They shall abide; his sheep, his subjects, his redeemed Israel, his church made up of converted Jews and Gentiles, shall continue, the gates of hell shall not prevail against them.

For; the church is so redeemed and established, that Christ the Messiah might be glorified; God will give him a glorious name, therefore these things are disposed in this manner.

Now, either ere long, or in due time, at the set time,

shall he, Messiah,

be great unto the ends of the earth; whose redeeming grace shall be published to the ends of the earth, said his dominion, his spiritual kingdom, shall be enlarged wide as the world itself. All here spoken in this verse is too great any way to be applied to Zerubbabel, as some Jews themselves confess. And he shall stand and feed in the strength of the Lord,.... The ruler in Israel, before described and prophesied of; the Messiah, as Kimchi himself interprets it, and other Jewish writers. Kimchi's note is,

"after the affliction, the King Messiah shall stand and feed Israel in the strength of the Lord;''

and so R. Isaac (t) paraphrases the words exactly in the same way: wherefore, as another learned Jew (u) observes, these expressions evince that the ruler here spoken of can be no other than the Messiah; not Zerubbabel, who never attained to this height and happiness. He is both King and Shepherd, and to each of these the act of feeding is ascribed. The same word, in the Greek language, signifies both to rule and to feed and is used by Matthew, Matthew 2:6; and kings are often compared to shepherds. Christ feeds his people, his brethren, his flock, his sheep, and lambs all truly converted ones; and this takes in the whole office of a shepherd, and the care he has of his flock; he takes an exact account of them, goes before them, and leads them out into good pastures; sets under shepherds over them; protects them from, all their enemies; looks after what is lost or driven away; heals the sick, strengthens the weak, binds up the broken, and watches over his flock continually: he feeds them with, himself, the bread of life, with his flesh and blood, which are meat and drink indeed; with the doctrines and ordinances of the Gospel; and which are found to be spiritual, savoury, strengthening, satisfying, and soul nourishing food: and he "stands" and does this, being raised from the dead, and possessed of all power in heaven and in earth; which designs not the position of his body, but the ministration of his office, and his alacrity and readiness to perform it, and his constancy in it: and all this "in the strength of the Lord"; in his own strength, as a divine Person, which is the same with the strength of Jehovah; and in the power and strength that is dispensed to him as Mediator; and with his Gospel, the rod of his strength, and in such manner as to defend his flock from all that would devour them:

in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God; Jehovah the Father is the God of Christ, as is Mediator; and his name is in him, even the majesty of it; for, as a divine Person, he has the same nature and perfections with him; and as man, exalted at his right hand, has a name above every name in this world, or that to come; and it is by authority from him, in his office capacity, that he rules and feeds his people, having all judgment committed to him:

and they shall abide; that is, his people, his flock, his sheep fed and ruled by him; these shall continue and persevere under his care and keeping; in him, in whom they are chosen and preserved; in his love, from which they can never be separated; in his hands, out of which none can pluck them; in his church, where they shall ever remain; and so may be considered as a promise of the perseverance of the saints in faith and holiness to the end: or, "they shall sit" (w); quietly and securely, being freed from persecution, with which the Christians were at, ended in the first three centuries: this began to be accomplished in the times of Constantius Chlorus, who helped the Christians in the times of Dioclesian, and with whom the persecutions ended, and peace and prosperity followed:

for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth; as, he was in the times of Constantine, and will be again. Christ is great in himself, in, his person and offices; and will appear to be so unto all men, even unto the ends of the earth, when his Gospel shall be preached and spread, everywhere; when his kingdom shall be enlarged, and be from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the earth; even then shall he appear to be a great King over all the earth, and, the great Shepherd of the sheep, the man, Jehovah's fellow; and to have such a flock, and so large, as never any had; when there will be one fold, and one shepherd; for this prophecy respects the latter day glory. Kimchi's gloss is,

"the name of the Messiah shall be magnified, after the judgment of the wicked.''

(t) Ibid. (Chizzuk Emunah, par. 1. p. 281.) (u) Tanchuma apud Pocock in loc. (w) "sedebunt", Tigurine version, Vatablus, Drusius; "considebunt", Cocceius; so R. Isaac, "they shall sit safely in his time", as is said above, ch. iv. 4. "they shall sit every man", &c. Chizzuk Emunah, ut supra. (par. 1. p. 281.)

And he shall {e} stand and feed in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.

(e) That is, Christ's kingdom will be stable and everlasting, and his people, the Gentiles as well as the Jews, will dwell in safety.

4. And he shall stand and feed] viz. his flock, as a shepherd. Over this restored and regenerate people the Messiah shall preside in the plenitude of Divine power. ‘Stand,’ as a shepherd amidst his flock, Isaiah 61:5.

in the majesty of the name, &c.] This is not at all an otiose feature of the description. The ‘Name’ of Jehovah is an appellation of the self-revealing aspect (one might almost say, Person) of the Godhead. Comp. Isaiah 30:27, ‘Behold, the Name of Jehovah cometh from far … his lips are full of indignation,’ &c. In fact, the Messiah, who is ‘God the Mighty One,’ may be said to be an incarnation of the Name of Jehovah.

abide] i.e. remain undisturbed in their land.

now shall he be great] ‘Now,’ from the point of view of the fulfilment of the prophecy (instead of ‘then’).

unto the ends of the earth] The Messiah’s kingdom will more than supplant Assyria’s; comp. Psalm 2:8; Psalm 72:8. Obs. how the Messianic hope developes and gathers strength in the atmosphere of Assyrian conquest.Verse 4. - He shall stand. The Ruler, Messiah, shall stand as a good shepherd, guiding and ordering his flock, watchful and ready to aid and defend (comp. Ezekiel 34:23; John 10:11). Septuagint, στήσεται καὶ ὄψεται, "shall stand and see." Feed; i.e. his flock. Septuagint, ποιμανεῖ τὸ ποίμνιον αὐτοῦ. In the strength of the Lord, with which he is invested and which he displays in the care of his people. In the majesty of the Name of the Lord his God. Messiah shall rule in all the power and glory with which God hath revealed himself on earth (comp. Isaiah 9:6; Matthew 28:18; John 1:14). They shall abide; Septuagint, ὑπάρξουσι "they shall be." The children of Israel shall sit, dwell, in rest and peace in their own land (Micah 4:4; Leviticus 26:5, 6; Joel 3:20; Amos 9:14, 15). The Vulgate, from a different pointing of the Hebrew, renders, convertentur. With this the Chaldee and Syriac agree. But this idea is already expressed in ver. 3. Now shall he be great. When the prophecy is fulfilled and Messiah is feeding his flock, his dominion shall extend unto the ends of the earth (comp, Malachi 1:11, 14; Psalm 2:8; Psalm 72:8; Luke 1:32). Such wickedness as this would be severely punished by the Lord. Amos 8:7. "Jehovah hath sworn by the pride of Jacob, Verily I will not forget all their deeds for ever. Amos 8:8. Shall the earth not tremble for this, and every inhabitants upon it mourn? and all of it rises like the Nile, and heaves and sinks like the Nile of Egypt." The pride of Jacob is Jehovah, as in Hosea 5:5 and Hosea 7:10. Jehovah swears by the pride of Jacob, as He does by His holiness in Amos 4:2, or by His soul in Amos 6:8, i.e., as He who is the pride and glory of Israel: i.e., as truly as He is so, will He and must He punish such acts as these. By overlooking such sins, or leaving them unpunished, He would deny His glory in Israel. שׁכח, to forget a sin, i.e., to leave it unpunished. In Amos 8:8 the negative question is an expression denoting strong assurance. "For this" is generally supposed to refer to the sins; but this is a mistake, as the previous verse alludes not to the sins themselves, but to the punishment of them; and the solemn oath of Jehovah does not contain so subordinate and casual a thought, that we can pass over Amos 8:7, and take על זאת as referring back to Amos 8:4-6. It rather refers to the substance of the oath, i.e., to the punishment of the sins which the Lord announces with a solemn oath. This will be so terrible that the earth will quake, and be resolved, as it were, into its primeval condition of chaos. Râgaz, to tremble, or, when applied to the earth, to quake, does not mean to shudder, or to be shocked, as Rosenmller explains it after Jeremiah 2:12. Still less can the idea of the earth rearing and rising up in a stormy manner to cast them off, which Hitzig supports, be proved to be a biblical idea from Isaiah 24:20. The thought is rather that, under the weight of the judgment, the earth will quake, and all its inhabitants will be thrown into mourning, as we may clearly see from the parallel passage in Amos 9:5. In Amos 8:8 this figure is carried out still further, and the whole earth is represented as being turned into a sea, heaving and falling in a tempestuous manner, just as in the case of the flood. כּלּהּ, the totality of the earth, the entire globe, will rise, and swell and fall like waters lashed into a storm. This rising and falling of the earth is compared to the rising and sinking of the Nile. According to the Parallel passage in Amos 9:5, כּאר is a defective form for כּיאר, just as בּוּל is for יבוּל in Job 40:20, and it is still further defined by the expression כּיאור מצרים, which follows. All the ancient versions have taken it as יאור, and many of the Hebrew codd. (in Kennicott and De Rossi) have this reading. Nigrash, to be excited, a term applied to the stormy sea (Isaiah 57:20). נשׁקה is a softened form for נשׁקעה, as is shown by שׁקעה in Amos 9:5.
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