And they shall be as mighty men, which tread down their enemies in the mire of the streets in the battle: and they shall fight…
I. VICTORY. This victory was —
1. Complete. The enemies were trodden down as "mire in the streets."
2. Divine. "Because the Lord is with them."
3. Reinvigorating. "I will strengthen the house of Judah." They would be strengthened by their victory, not only in wealth and security, but in courage.
4. Extensive. "And they of Ephraim shall be like a mighty man, and their heart shall rejoice as through wine: yea, their children shall see it, and be glad; their heart shall rejoice in the Lord." "The prophet had," says Hengstenberg, "occupied himself first of an with Judah, the centre of the people of God." In verse 6 he proceeds to speak of Judah and Ephraim together. In this verse, and those which follow, he fixes his attention peculiarly upon Ephraim, which looked in the prophet's day like a withered branch that had been severed from the vine. He first promises that descendants of the citizens of the former kingdom of the ten tribes will also take part in the glorious conflict, and then announces the return of the ten tribes from their exile, which was to be the condition of their participating in the battle. Now, all these facts connected with this victory apply to that victory the grandest of all, — the victory of all true souls over error and wrong.
II. UNIFICATION. "I will hiss for them, and gather them," etc. Observe —
1. The ease with which the regathering win be effected. "I will hiss [or whistle] for them." The word is understood as referring to a particular whistle used by the shepherd for calling his scattered flock together, or by those who have the care of bees, to bring them into the hive. "As sheep flock together at the well-known call of the shepherd, as bees follow in swarms the shrill note of the beemaster, so should the Lord, by His own means, gather His scattered people from their dispersions, how widely soever distant, and bring them to Himself and to their heritage." With what ease God does His work; a mere look, a breath, a word!
2. The regions to which the regathering will extend. "And I will sow them among the people," — or, as it should be rendered, "though I have scattered them among the nations," — "and they shall remember Me in far countries [distant regions]; they shall live with their children, and turn again." They had been scattered, not only through Egypt and Assyria. It does not say that all Jews shall return, but a great multitude is implied.
3. The scene at which the regathering will take place. "I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt," etc.
4. The national catastrophes which the regathering will involve. "And he shall pass through the sea with affliction, and shall smite the waves in the sea, and all the deeps of the river shall dry up." There is evidently an allusion here to their first deliverance from Egypt; and it means that something similar to that event will occur in the course of their regathering (see Exodus 24:4-14). "And the pride of Assyria shall be brought down, and the sceptre of Egypt shall depart away." The idea probably is, that as "the haughty boastings of Sennacherib, and the sceptred power of Pharaoh proved alike feeble and unavailing against the might of Jehovah in former days, so should all the combined opposition of the most inveterate enemies prove in days to come. Before Him, — when He had a purpose to fulfil, or promise to His people to accomplish, — all pride should be abased, all power baffled, all counsel turned to foolishness." Now there is a unification, of which this is but a faint emblem — the unification of the good of all ages. "They shall come from the east and from the west, from the north and from the south, and shall sit down with Isaac and with Jacob." What a blessed union is this!
III. BLESSEDNESS. Here is the highest strength. "And I will strengthen them in the Lord,"
1. Whether this refers to their national strength, their security in their own country, or moral strength, — strength of faith in Him, — or all, one thing is clear, that to be strengthened in the Lord is the highest strength we can get. The greatest blessing of life is strength: physical strength, to do with ease and to endure with patience. Intellectual strength, strength to master with ease all the great problems of life, and to reach a theory of being in which the understanding can repose free from all disturbing doubt. These strengths are blessings; but moral strength, — strength to resist the wrong, to pursue the right, to serve Almighty God with acceptance, and to bless the race with beneficent influences, — this indeed is the perfection of our blessedness. "Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might," says Paul. "He giveth power to the faint, and to them that have no might He increaseth strength."
2. Here is the highest exercise. "They shall walk up and down in His name, saith the Lord."(1) All living men must walk the road that is "up and down." Human life is made up of "ups" and "downs"; the road is not smooth and level, but rugged and hilly, sometimes up and sometimes down: up today and down tomorrow.
(2) This road can only be walked happily by walking it in the "name" of the Lord. A practical recognition of His presence and of His claims to our supreme reverence and worship.
Parallel VersesKJV: And they shall be as mighty men, which tread down their enemies in the mire of the streets in the battle: and they shall fight, because the LORD is with them, and the riders on horses shall be confounded.