Micah 5:6
And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders.
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(6) They shall waste.—Literally, feed upon, consume, depasture. The Land of Nimrod represents the opposing world-power.

Micah 5:6. And they — The seven shepherds and eight principal men; or, the rulers and princes of men, mentioned in the preceding clause; those great and successful instruments of God’s revenge, and his church’s deliverance, shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword — Which the Medes and Babylonians did, under the conduct of Merodach-baladan, king of Babylon, who, taking advantage of the weakness of the Assyrian kingdom, humbled partly by the great destruction of Sennacherib’s army, and the murder of that mighty monarch, and partly by the civil wars which ensued between the regicides and Esar-haddon, took arms, and succeeded in the attempt of subduing the Assyrian kingdom, with much slaughter and bloodshed. This Merodach-baladan was the person who sent the congratulatory letter and embassy to Hezekiah, lately cured by a miracle of his otherwise mortal disease, and delivered from the Assyrian power, Isaiah 39:1-2. And the land of Nimrod — The same with the land of Assyria. In the entrances thereof — The fortified frontiers, the garrisons, which kept all the entrances of the kingdom. Or, by the land of Nimrod, the Babylonish empire may be understood, which afterward by Nebuchadnezzar’s hand destroyed the Jews, Jerusalem, and the temple, and was overthrown by the Medes and Persians, whom God raised up to punish Babylon, and release the Jews. Thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian — Whether considered literally as the present enemies of God’s people, or as types of all their other and future enemies.

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 they shall waste - Literally, feed on, and so eat up. They who were shepherds of their own people, should consume their enemies. Jeremiah uses the same image. "The shepherds with their flocks shall come unto her; they shall pitch tents against her round about; they shall feed, each his space" Jeremiah 6:3. So Joshua and Caleb say, "They, (the inhabitants of Canaan,) are bread for us" Numbers 14:9. So it was said to Peter, "arise, Peter, kill and eat" Acts 10:13; and what once was common, defiled and unclean, shall turn to the nourishment and growth of the Church, and be incorporated into Christ, being made part of His Body.

And the land of Nimrod - Babylon, which should displace Assyria, but should carry on its work of chastising God's people, is joined by Micah, as by Isaiah Isa. 10:5-34; 13-14:27, as an object of His judgment. In Isaiah, they are the actual Assyria Isaiah 10:12-15 and Babylon Isaiah 14:13-15 whose destruction is foretold, yet so as to shadow out rebellion against God in its intensest form, making itself independent of, or measuring itself against, God. Hence, probably, here alone in holy Scripture, Babylon is called "the land of Nimrod," as indeed he founded it Genesis 10:10, but therewith was the author of the tower of Babel also, which was built in rebellion against God, whence his own name was derived . Assyria then, and the world-empire which should succeed it, stand as representing the God-opposed world.

In the entrances thereof - (Literally, in the gates thereof.) The shepherds of Israel shall not act on the defensive only, but shall have victory over the world and Satan, carrying back the battle into his own dominions, and overthrowing him there. Satan's malice, so far from hurting the Church, shall turn to its good. Wherein he hoped to waste it, he shall be wasted; wherein he seemed to triumph, he shall be foiled. So it has been ever seen, how, under every persecution, the Church grew. : "The more it was pressed down, the more it rose up and flourished;" , "Shivering the assault of the Pagans, and strengthened more and more, not by resisting, but by enduring." Yet all, by whomsoever done, shall be the work of Christ alone, enduring in martyrs, teaching in pastors, converting through the Apostles of pagan nations. Wherefore he adds:

Thus (And) He shall deliver us from the Assyrian - Not they, the subordinate shepherds, but He, the Chief Shepherd until the last enemy shall be destroyed and death shall be swallowed up in victory, shall deliver, whether by them or by Himself as He often so doth, - not us only (the saying is the larger because unlimited) but - He shall deliver, absolutely. Whosoever shall be delivered, He shall be their deliverer; all, whom He alone knoweth, who alone "knoweth them that are His" 2 Timothy 2:19. "Neither is there salvation in any other" Acts 4:12. "Whoso glorieth, let him glory in the Lord" 2 Corinthians 10:17. Every member of Christ has part in this, who, through the grace of God, "has power and strength to have victory and to triumph against the devil, the world, and the flesh" - not he, but the grace of God which is with him; and much more, all, whether Apostles or Apostolic men, or Pastors, or Bishops and Overseers, who, by preaching or teaching or prayer, bring those to the knowledge of the truth, who "sat in darkness and the shadow of death" Psalm 107:10, and by whom "God translates us into the kingdom of His dear Son" Colossians 1:13.

6. waste—literally, "eat up": following up the metaphor of "shepherds" (compare Nu 22:4; Jer 6:3).

land of Nimrod—Babylon (Mic 4:10; Ge 10:10); or, including Assyria also, to which he extended his borders (Ge 10:11).

in the entrances—the passes into Assyria (2Ki 3:21). The Margin and Jerome, misled by a needless attention to the parallelism, "with the sword," translate, "with her own naked swords"; as in Ps 55:21 the Hebrew is translated. But "in the entrances" of Assyria, answers to, "within our borders." As the Assyrians invade our borders, so shall their own borders or "entrances" be invaded.

he … he—Messiah shall deliver us, when the Assyrian shall come.

And they, the seven shepherds and eight principal men, i.e. those great, wise, and successful instruments of God’s revenge, and of his church’s deliverance,

shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword: this passage seems to point to the Babylonians, who did invade, waste, and subdue the Assyrian kingdom under the conduct of Merodach-baladan, king of Babylon, called also Berodach, 2 Kings 20:12. He sent the congratulatory embassy to Hezekiah, newly by miracle cured of his mortal disease and delivered from the Assyrian, Isaiah 39:1,2. This Merodach taking the opportunity of the weakness of the Assyrian kingdom, partly by the great slaughter of Sennacherib’s army, and the murder of that mighty, daring monarch, and partly by the civil wars which ensued between the regicides and Esarhaddon, took arms, and succeeded in the attempt, subduing the Assyrian kingdom with force and bloodshed enough.

The land of Nimrod; the same, say some, with the land of Assyria but others, perhaps with better reason, refer this to Babylon, and the kingdom thereof, which by Nebuchadnezzar’s hand destroyed the Jews, Jerusalem, and temple, and was afterwards destroyed by the Medes and Persians, whom God raised to punish Babylon and release the Jews.

In the entrances: as we read, it denoteth the fortified frontiers, the garrisons which keep all the entrances of the kingdom; it denoteth also their cities, through the gates of which was great entrance, or their courts of judicature, which were kept in the gates: both their military power should be reduced and their civil power also by the prevailing conqueror.

Thus shall he; in this manner shall he, i.e. the Messiah,

deliver us, the Jews his people,

from the Assyrian; both as type of all other enemies, and he an enemy to the people of God.

When he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth in our borders: see this explained Micah 5:1. I add, that what is rendered when might be rendered because, and note the reason why the Lord Messiah doth so deal with Assyria first and Babylon next.

And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword,.... Or "feed (e) upon it" with the sword, destroy the inhabitants of it; either spiritually subdue the nations of the world to the obedience of Christ, the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; the preaching of the Gospel, the ministry of the apostles, and others, in the Gentile world; see 2 Corinthians 10:3; or literally, meaning that the angels of the vials, the Christian princes, shall destroy the Ottoman empire with the sword:

and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof; the same with Babylon, the empire of which was first set up by Nimrod, the beginning of whose kingdom was Babel, Genesis 10:11; the same with Nebrodas, a name of Bacchus, which is no other than Barchus the son of Chus, as Nimrod was the son of Cush, and Bacchus was a mighty hunter, as he was; all which Bochart (f) has observed: now his country was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar, that is, the land of Babylon, as the Targum of Onkelos and Jerusalem in Genesis 10:10, render it; though some think Nimrod extended his dominions into Assyria; and translate (g) Micah 5:11 "out of that land, he" (that is, Nimrod) "went forth into Assyria, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah"; and the Targum of Jonathan is very express for it, which paraphrases the words thus,

"out of that land went forth Nimrod, and he reigned in Assyria, because he would not be in the counsel of the generation of the division, and he left these four cities; and the Lord gave him a place (or Assyria), and he built four other cities, Nineveh, &c.''

hence some (h) have thought that the land of Assyria and the land of Nimrod here design one and the same country; but Ashur, in the text in Genesis, seems rather to be the name of a man than of a place, even of the son of Shem so called, from whom the country of Assyria had its name; whereas, if had been so soon in the hands of Nimrod, and so many cities had been built by him in it, it would rather have been called by his name than Ashur's; and it seems most reasonable to conclude that the cities of Nineveh, &c. were built by the latter, and not the former; and the two countries of Assyria and Nimrod, or Babylon, are very plainly in this text distinguished from one another; though they might at the time of this prophecy be united under Esarhaddon, who was both king of Assyria and Babylon; and at this present time they are both in the hands of the Turks, and in all probability will be until this prophecy is fulfilled in the destruction of them by the Christian princes: the same thing is meant as before; and the word rendered "in the entrances thereof" may as well be translated "with its sword" (i); or, as the margin of our Bibles, "with her own naked swords"; so Kimchi and Aben Ezra interpret it:

thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders; that is, the King Messiah shall work this deliverance, as Kimchi and others (k) explain it; Christ delivered his people from all their spiritual enemies when he made peace for them; and he will deliver them in the latter day from both Pope and Turk, when he will destroy the man of sin by the breath of his mouth, and dry up the river Euphrates, and cast both beast and false prophet into the lake that burns with fire and brimstone; though all that is said in this verse and Micah 5:5 may have had its accomplishment already, at least in part, in the Saracens and their empire, which begun in the year 623, and who prevailed very much in Arabia, Palestine, Syria, Persia, Egypt, and Africa, and even penetrated into Spain and France, in all which places were Christian churches; and so may be called "our land", as the churches therein "our palaces", which these people entered into, trod upon, profaned, or destroyed; and the seven or eight principal men raised against them may be the Christian princes that fought with them, and drove them back, and destroyed their land; such as Hugh the great, brother to Philip king of France; Robert earl of Flanders; Robert earl of Normandy, brother to William the Conqueror, king of England; Stephen earl of Blois; Raymund earl of Tholouse; Godfrey duke of Lorrain, and his brothers Baldwin and Eustachius, and others. These beginning at Nice, where once a famous Christian council was held, and driving the army of Solyman from thence, in the space off our years subdued many provinces of Asia, Lycaonia, Cilicia, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Comagena; and at length having put to flight the Turks, and ejected the Saracens, took Jerusalem, and made Godfrey of Bullein king of it (l). Some (m) have interpreted it of the emperor of Germany, and the seven electors in the empire (for formerly they were no more), happily and with success carrying on a war against the Turks, Tartars, and Saracens, when they broke into Europe; but the former sense seems better; and it is best of all to understand the prophecy of the destruction of the Turk or Ottoman empire in the latter day by the Christian princes.

(e) "et depascent", Montanus, Drusius; "pascent", Piscator, Grotius, Cocceius. (f) Phaleg. l. 1. c. 2. col. 12. (g) Vatablus, Junius and Tremellius, Bochart, Cocceius, and others. (h) Bochart, Phaleg. l. 4. c. 12. c. 229. Bedford's Chronology, p. 773. (i) "gladiis suis", Pagninus, Montanus, Munster, Tigurine version; so R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 31. 2.((k) R. Isaac, ib. p. 283. Abarbinel, &c. (l) Vid. Witsii Exercitat. 8. de Assyriis in Miscel. Sacr. tom. 2. p. 218, 219, 220. (m) Vid. Gurtler. Voc. Typic. Prophetic. Explicat. p. 18.

And they shall waste the {g} land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he {h} deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders.

(g) These whom God will raise up for the deliverance of his Church, will destroy all the enemies of it, who are meant here by the Assyrians and Babylonians, who were the chief enemies at that time.

(h) By these governors will God deliver us when the enemy comes into our land.

6. they shall waste] Lit. ‘feed off.’

the land of Nimrod] Comp. Genesis 10:11, ‘Out of that land he [Nimrod] went forth into Assyria.’ There is a special significance in the phrase, for a Hebrew could hardly help connecting Nimrod with mârad, ‘to rebel.’ Assyria was one of those ‘disobedient’ nations spoken of in Micah 5:15.

in the entrances thereof] Lit., ‘in the gates thereof.’ Comp. Nahum 3:13, ‘The gates of thy land.’

Verse 6. - They shall waste. The word rendered "waste" (raah) is capable of two interpretations according as it is derived. It may mean "to break" or "to feed;" and in the latter sense may signify either "to eat up" or "to be shepherd over," as the Septuagint, ποιμανοῦσι, The addition, with the sword, however, limits the explanation, whichever verb we refer it to. These leaders shall not only defend their own land against the enemy, but shall carry the war into the hostile territory, conquer it, and rule with rigour (for the phrase, comp. Psalm 2:9; Revelation 2:27; Revelation 12:5). True religion has always a war to wage with error and worldliness, but shall conquer in the power of Christ. The land of Nimrod. This is taken by some commentators to mean Babylon, the other great enemy of the Church of God. But Babylon is nowhere in Scripture called "the land of Nimrod," though Nimrod is connected with Babel in Genesis 10:10; and the term is better explained here as a synonym of Assyria, used to recall the "rebel" (so Nimrod is interpreted) who founded the first empire (Genesis 10:8-12), and gives the character to the kingdom of this world. In the entrances thereof; literally, in the gates thereof; i.e. in the cities and fortresses, corresponding to the "palaces" of ver. 5 (comp. Isaiah 3:26; Isaiah 13:2; Nahum 3:13). Septuagint, ἐν τῇ τάφρῳ αὐτῆς, with her trench;" Vulgate, in lanceis ejus, which, if the Hebrew he taken as Jerome reads it, will he in close parallelism with the words in the preceding clause, "with the sword." Thus (and) he shall deliver us. Israel has to undergo much tribulation and many struggles, but Messiah shall save her. Micah 5:6Under His rule Israel will attain to perfect peace. Micah 5:5. "And He will be peace. When Asshur shall come into our land, and when he shall tread in our palaces, we set up against him seven shepherds and eight princes of men. Micah 5:6. And they feed the land of Asshur with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in his gates; and He rescues from Asshur when he comes into our land and enters into our border." זה (this man), viz., He who feeds His people in the majesty of God, will be peace, i.e., not merely pacis auctor, but He who carries peace within Himself, and gives it to His people. Compare Ephesians 2:14, "He is our peace," which points back to this passage. In this relation the Messiah is called the Prince of peace in Isaiah 9:5, as securing peace for Israel in a higher and more perfect sense than Solomon. But in what manner? This is explained more fully in what follows: viz., (1) by defending Israel against the attacks of the imperial power (Isaiah 9:5, Isaiah 9:6); (2) by exalting it into a power able to overcome the nations (Isaiah 9:7-9); and (3) by exterminating all the materials of war, and everything of an idolatrous nature, and so preventing the possibility of war (Isaiah 9:10-15). Asshur is a type of the nations of the world by which the people of the Lord are attacked, because in the time of the prophet this power was the imperial power by which Israel was endangered. Against this enemy Israel will set up seven, yea eight princes, who, under the chief command of the Messiah, i.e., as His subordinates, will drive it back, and press victoriously into its land. (On the combination of the numbers seven and eight, see the discussions at Amos 1:3.) Seven is mentioned as the number of the works proceeding from God, so that seven shepherds, i.e., princes, would be quite sufficient; and this number is surpassed by the eight, to express the thought that there might be even more than were required. נסיכי אדם, not anointed of men, but installed and invested, from nâsakh, to pour out, to form, to appoint; hence Joshua 13:21, vassals, here the under-shepherds appointed by the Messiah as the upper-shepherd. The meaning "anointed," which is derived from sūkh, neither suits Joshua 13:21 nor Proverbs 8:23 (see Delitzsch on Psalm 2:6). On the figurative expression "feed with the sword," for rule, see Psalm 2:9 and Revelation 2:27; רעוּ from רעה, not from רעע. The land of Asshur is called the land of Nimrod, after the founder of the first empire (Genesis 10:9.), to indicate the character of the imperial power with its hostility to the kingdom of God. בּפתחיה, in his gates, i.e., cities and fortresses; gates for cities, as in Isaiah 3:26; Isaiah 13:2, etc.: not at his gates equals on his borders, where the Assyrians stream together for defence (Hitzig, Caspari, etc.). The borders of a land are never called gates; nor could a land be devastated or governed from the border, to say nothing of the fact that ב[תחיה corresponds to "in thy palaces" in Micah 5:4, and leads to the thought that Asshur is to be fully repaid for what it has done to the kingdom of God. The thought is rounded off with והצּיל מאשּׁוּר וגו, and so He saves from Asshur, etc., not merely by the fact that Asshur is driven back to his own border, and watched there, but by the fact that he is fed in his own territory with the sword. This victorious conflict with the imperial power must not be restricted to the spiritual victory of the kingdom of God over the kingdoms of the world, as Hengstenberg supposes, appealing to Micah 5:10., according to which the Lord will make His people outwardly defenceless before it becomes fully victorious in Christ (Hengstenberg). For the extermination of the instruments of war announced in Micah 5:10 refers not to the period of the exaltation of the people of God into the world-conquering power, but to the time of consummation, when the hostile powers shall be overcome. Before the people of God reach this goal, they have not only to carry on spiritual conflicts, but to fight for existence and recognition even with the force of arms. The prediction of this conflict and victory is not at variance with the announcement in Micah 4:2-3, that in the Messianic times all nations will go on pilgrimage to Zion, and seek for adoption into the kingdom of God. Both of these will proceed side by side. Many nations, i.e., great crowds out of all nations, will seek the Lord and His gospel, and enter into His kingdom; but a great multitude out of all nations will also persist in their enmity to the Lord and His kingdom and people, and summon all their power to attack and crush it. The more the gospel spreads among the nations, the more will the enmity of unbelief and ungodliness grow, and a conflict be kindled, which will increase till the Lord shall come to the last judgment, and scatter all His foes.
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