4. Thus saith the LORD my God; Feed the flock of the slaughter;
4. Sic dicit Iehova, Deus meus, Pasce gregem occisionis.
5. Whose possessors slay them, and hold themselves not guilty: and they that sell them say, Blessed be the LORD; for I am rich: and their own shepherds pity them not.
5. Qui possident ipsum, occident (hoc est, occidunt) et non peccant; et qui vendit ipsum (gregem, vel, ipsas oves) dicit, Benedictus Iehova, et ditatus sum; et qui pascit eas, non parcit illis.
6. For I will no more pity the inhabitants of the land, saith the LORD: but, lo, I will deliver the men every one into his neighbor's hand, and into the hand of his king: and they shall smite the land, and out of their hand I will not deliver them.
6. Quia (vel, certe) non parcam amplius incolis terrae, dicit Iehova; et ecce ego tradam (vel, trado, vel, venire faciens) hominem quemque in manum proximi sui, et in manum Regis sui; et conterent terram, et non eripiam e manu eorum.
Here is given a reason why God purposed to deal so severely with his people -- even because their obstinacy deserved no pardon. As then in the beginning of the chapter the Prophet threatened ruin to the Jews, so now he reminds them that their punishment was nigh, and that they could not be more gently treated, because their wickedness was wholly incurable. We now perceive the design of the Prophet; but he charges the Jews especially with ingratitude, because they responded so basely and shamefully to the singular benefits of God.
He says first, that he was bidden to
Let it then be borne in mind, that his special object is to show -- that God had ever been ready to rule this people, so that he could not have been accused by them of not having done what could have been possibly looked for or expected from a good shepherd. If any one objects and says, that this could have been said in other words, the plain answer is -- that God's perpetual care in his government had been fully shown; for he had not only himself performed the duties and office of a shepherd, but had also at all times set over them ministers, who performed faithfully their work. Since God then had so constantly and sedulously watched over the safety of the people, we see that their ingratitude was wholly proved. And by calling it
He afterwards adds another circumstance, which shows still further the wonderful and ineffable goodness of God, -- that he had been a shepherd of a flock, which had not only been harassed by wolves and robbers, but also by its own shepherds. In short, the import of the whole is, -- that though wolves and robbers had ranged with great barbarity among the people, yet God had always been their shepherd.
He then enlarges on the subject and says, that they who
The shepherds and masters said,
He then adds,
He concludes by saying,
1 This "slaughter" has reference to the ruin and destruction denounced in the previous verses, or to what was done by "the possessors" who slew them, verse 5.--Ed.
2 More correct is our version, "and held not themselves guilty." The Targum gives the idea, "and say, there is no sin upon us." The Septuagint have departed from the meaning of the verb, though the general import is retained, "and they repented not;" and the same may be said of Jerome, "and they grieved not." The version of Henderson is not right, "And are not held guilty." It is not what others thought of them, but what they thought of themselves, is evidently intended.--Ed.
3 There are in this verse, the fifth, several anomalies. The verbs, except one, are in the singular, and the nouns, "possessors," "sellers," and "shepherds," are in the plural number, and the pronoun affixed to "shepherds" is masculine, while that which is affixed to each of the two preceding words is feminine, referring to the antecedent, "sheep." There are MSS. and early versions in which these anomalies are rectified; and it is but reasonable to adopt such corrections. The meaning of the verse is evident; and it may be that some of these anomalies are idiomatic. A plural noun in Welsh has commonly a verb in the singular number when placed after it, which is often the case.--Ed.
4 There is one phrase omitted, "and unto the hand of his king;" that is "Antiochus," says Grotius,--"Herod," says Drusius,--"Caesar," says Henderson. But no particular king seems intended, but a state of things is set forth, signifying the tyranny and oppression of the ruling power, which was verified in the condition of the Jews during a considerable period, until at last they were destroyed by one of the Caesars, the emperor of Rome. Inward discord, and the tyranny of those who ruled over them, characterised their history from the time of Antiochus Epiphanes until they were demolished as a nation by Titus and Vespasian. This seems to be the import of this prophecy. The singular number is used poetically: and this appears evident from the words which follow, "And they shall smite," or rather pound to pieces, "the land." The "king" is spoken of here as many--"they," so that a succession of tyrants is meant.--Ed.
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