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Eze 34:1-31. REPROOF OF THE FALSE SHEPHERDS; PROMISE OF THE TRUE AND GOOD SHEPHERD.
Having in the thirty-third chapter laid down repentance as the necessary preliminary to happier times for the people, He now promises the removal of the false shepherds as preparatory to the raising up of the Good Shepherd.
2. Jer 23:1 and Zec 11:17 similarly make the removal of the false shepherds the preliminary to the interposition of Messiah the Good Shepherd in behalf of His people Israel. The "shepherds" are not prophets or priests, but rulers who sought in their government their own selfish ends, not the good of the people ruled. The term was appropriate, as David, the first king and the type of the true David (Eze 34:23, 24), was taken from being a shepherd (2Sa 5:2; Ps 78:70, 71); and the office, like that of a shepherd for his flock, is to guard and provide for his people. The choice of a shepherd for the first king was therefore designed to suggest this thought, just as Jesus' selection of fishermen for apostles was designed to remind them of their spiritual office of catching men (compare Isa 44:28; Jer 2:8; 3:15; 10:21; 23:1, 2).
3. fat--or, by differently pointing the Hebrew, "milk"
[Septuagint]. Thus the repetition "fat" and "fed" is avoided: also
the eating of "fat" would not probably be put before the "killing" of
the sheep. The eating of sheep's or goats' milk as food
was unobjectionable, had not these shepherds milked them too often, and
that without duly "feeding" them [BOCHART],
The rulers levied exorbitant tributes.
4. The diseased--rather, those weak from the effects of "disease,"
as "strengthened" (that is, with due nourishment) requires
5. scattered, because . . . no shepherd--that is, none
worthy of the name, though there were some called shepherds
where the sheep were scattered when the true Shepherd was smitten. God
calls them "My sheep"; for they were not, as the shepherds
treated them, their patrimony whereby to "feed themselves."
6. every high hill--the scene of their idolatries sanctioned by the
11. I . . . will . . . search--doing that which the so-called shepherds had failed to do, I being the rightful owner of the flock.
12. in the day that he is among--in the midst of (Hebrew) His
sheep that had been scattered. Referring to Messiah's second advent,
when He shall be "the glory in the midst of Israel"
13. And I will bring them out from the people, &c.-- (Eze 28:25; 36:24; 37:21, 22; Isa 65:9, 10; Jer 23:3).
14. good pasture--
16. In contrast to the unfaithful shepherds
The several duties neglected by them I will faithfully
17. you, . . . my flock--passing from the rulers to the people.
18, 19. Not content with appropriating to their own use the goods of
others, they from mere wantonness spoiled what they did not use, so as
to be of no use to the owners.
19. they eat--scantily.
20. fat . . . lean--the rich oppressors . . . the humble poor.
22. After the restoration from Babylon, the Jews were delivered in some degree from the oppression, not only of foreigners, but also of their own great people (Ne 5:1-19). The full and final fulfilment of this prophecy is future.
23. set up--that is, raise up by divine appointment; alluding to the
declaration of God to David, "I will set up thy seed after thee"
and, "Yet have I set My king on My holy hill of Zion"
Ac 2:30; 13:23).
24. my servant--implying fitness for ruling in the name of God, not pursuing a self-chosen course, as other kings, but acting as the faithful administrator of the will of God; Messiah realized fully this character (Ps 40:7, 8; Isa 42:1; 49:3, 6; 53:11; Php 2:7), which David typically and partially represented (Ac 13:36); so He is the fittest person to wield the world scepter, abused by all the world kings (Da 2:34, 35, 44, 45).
25. covenant of peace . . . evil beasts . . . to cease . . . dwell safely--The original promise of the law (Le 26:6) shall be realized for the first time fully under Messiah (Isa 11:6-9; 35:9; Ho 2:18).
26. them and the places round about my hill--The Jews, and Zion, God's hill (Ps 2:6), are to be sources of blessing, not merely to themselves, but to the surrounding heathen (Isa 19:24; 56:6, 7; 60:3; Mic 5:7; Zec 8:13). The literal fulfilment is, however, the primary one, though the spiritual also is designed. In correspondence with the settled reign of righteousness internally, all is to be prosperity externally, fertilizing showers (according to the promise of the ancient covenant, Le 26:4; Ps 68:9; Mal 3:10), and productive trees and lands (Eze 34:27). Thus shall they realize the image of Eze 34:14; namely, a flock richly pastured by God Himself.
28. dwell safely-- (Jer 23:6).
29. plant of renown--Messiah, the "Rod" and "Branch" (Isa 11:1), the "righteous Branch" (Jer 23:5), who shall obtain for them "renown." FAIRBAIRN less probably translates, "A plantation for a name," that is, a flourishing condition, represented as a garden (alluding to Eden, Ge 2:8-11, with its various trees, good for food and pleasant to the sight), the planting of the Lord (Isa 60:21; 61:3), and an object of "renown" among the heathen.
31. ye my flock . . . are men--not merely an explanation of the image, as JEROME represents. But as God had promised many things which mere "men" could not expect to realize, He shows that it is not from man's might their realization is to be looked for, but from GOD, who would perform them for His covenant-people, "His flock" [ROSENMULLER]. When we realize most our weakness and God's power and faithfulness to His covenant, we are in the fittest state for receiving His blessings.