Further Blessings of Jehovah upon His People.

The subject discussed in the last chapter was so great and wonderful that the Lord has not begun to exhaust it, but takes the opportunity of giving a fuller description of its beauties. V. 1. Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain, making their appeal to Him in all confidence, as they were in need of His blessings; so the Lord shall make bright clouds, create lightnings, and give them showers of rain, in a refreshing thunder-shower, to every one grass in the field, all the crops of the field. V. 2. For the idols, to whom the children of Israel had formerly applied for help, have spoken vanity, their household oracles not being dependable, and the diviners have seen a lie, they have announced deceitful oracles, and have told false dreams, proclaiming their own inventions as revelations from above; they comfort in vain, because their words are a hollow mockery; therefore they, the people who relied upon their words, went their way as a flock, wandering astray, they were troubled, because there was no shepherd, no reliable leader and guide. V. 3. Mine anger was kindled against the shepherds, the rulers of Israel to whom He had entrusted the leadership, and I punished the goats, visiting them with a severe punishment; for the Lord of hosts hath visited His flock, the house of Judah, looking after them with tender care, and hath made them as His goodly horse in the battle, like the glorious charger on which the general leads his troops to battle. V. 4. Out of Him, namely, Jehovah, came forth the corner, that is, He furnished the corner-stone on which the entire building of the new Judah rests; out of Him the nail, the pegs of the wall, from which the household utensils were suspended, types of the dependable men in a state; out of Him the battle-bow, the means for carrying on the Lord’s wars; out of Him every oppressor together, every mighty ruler whom Judah would need in its wars against the enemies. V. 5. And they, the Lord’s people, shall be as mighty men, which tread down their enemies in the mire of the streets, cp. chap. 9, 15, in the battle; and they shall fight because the Lord is with them, always in the majority because of His help, and the riders on horses shall be confounded, cavalry being mentioned as the chief part of the enemy’s army. V. 6. And I will strengthen the house of Judah, and I will save the house of Joseph, the southern and the northern kingdom together being typical of the Church of God, and I will bring them again to place them, letting them dwell in safety, for I have mercy upon them, His mercy is the one reason for His kindness toward them; and they shall be as though I had not cast them off, as in the time before the captivity; for I am the Lord, their God, and will hear them, they could be sure of His gracious attention to all their needs. V. 7. And they of Ephraim, the true descendants of Joseph, the spiritual children of him who was given the right of the first-born in the house of Jacob, shall be like a mighty man, like a hero, and their heart shall rejoice as through wine, with a fierce exultation; yea, their children shall see it and be glad, a fact which indicates that the joy would be lasting; their heart shall rejoice in the Lord, giving all honor to Him who granted them such a glorious victory. V. 8. I will hiss for them, as a signal for them to assemble, and gather them, for I have redeemed them, both by entering into a covenant with them and by promising them the Redeemer; and they shall increase as they have increased, that is, the growth of the people of God in the Messianic era would be like that of Israel when it first came to the Promised Land. V. 9. And I will sow them among the people, as a token of their quick increase; and they shall remember Me in far countries, where ever the spiritual children of Israel would be found; and they shall live with their children, enjoying the blessing of the Lord in a permanent flow of mercy, and turn again, returning to the fellowship of the Lord in His Church. V. 10. I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt and gather them out of Assyria, the two world-powers being named as representative of the enemies of the Lord and the oppressors of His people; and I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon, to occupy the land on both sides of Jordan once more; and place shall not be found for them, there will not be sufficient room for them to expand, the number of the spiritual children of Israel being so great. V. 11- And he shall pass through the sea with affliction, rather, “of distress,” in allusion to the affliction felt by the children of Israel when they passed through the Red Sea, and shall smite the waves in the sea, keeping them under control by His powerful word; and all the deeps of the river shall dry up, the river Nile being referred to as the stream of the country of bondage; and the pride of Assyria shall be brought down, and the scepter of Egypt shall depart away, so that none of the former oppressors would remain. V. 12. And I will strengthen them in the Lord, in Jehovah, the covenant God, and they shall walk up and down in His name. saith the Lord, so that they would live under His protection and in accordance with His will. The entire connection brings out the characteristics of the New Testament Church, whose members form a royal priesthood and find their delight in walking in the ways of the Lord.