9. For, behold, I will shake mine hand upon them, and they shall be a spoil to their servants: and ye shall know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me.
9. Quia ecce ego agitans (vel, agito) manum meam super eos; et erunt praeda servis suis; et scietis quod Iehova exercituum miserit me.
Christ continues to relate the commands of the Father: for he speaks in his person, when he says, Behold, I shake my hand over them, that is, enemies; and they shall be a prey to their own servants. He means, that however numerous and strong the enemies would be who would seek to injure the Jews, they would yet be safe; for they would be protected by the hand of God, and not only so, but that whatever their enemies would attempt to do would be in vain, for the Lord would degrade them, and render them a prey to the Jews themselves: for by servants he doubtless means the Jews, who, for a time, had been oppressed by the tyranny of their enemies.
It is certain that this prophecy was not fulfilled at the time when the Jews thought that they were in a flourishing state, and enjoying prosperity; for their condition was even then very wretched and degrading. For whence had they their kings? Certainly not from the tribe of Judah; and we all know how tyrannically they were governed, and also that the kingdom was filled with many abominable sins and cruelties. They were become parricides almost all; and whosoever will read their history will find, that brethren were oppressed by brethren, and that even parents were cruelly and wickedly treated. In short, not to say of other things, nothing could have been more abominable than the family of Herod. We cannot then apply this prophecy to that time which intervened between the return from the Babylonian exile, and the coming of Christ. It is then only under the kingdom of Christ that God accomplished what is here said, -- that enemies became a prey to his spiritual people, that is, when they were subdued and brought under the yoke of Christ, for as we have said elsewhere, the government of the Church is vested in its Head. Hence where Christ shines, there the Church, which is his body, is said to reign; for Christ's will is, that he should have nothing apart from his members.
We now see the intention of the Prophet: he wished to dispel the fear of the Jews, that they might not hesitate to return to their country; for not only a way was opened for them, but confirmed also and certain was their happiness under God's protection; as he had not in vain begun a glorious work, but fully purposed to carry it on to the end.
He says, Behold, I shake my hand. The shaking of the hand shows that God has no need of many forces to put to flight his enemies, nor of a large expedition; for as soon as he raises up his hand, he lays them all prostrate. In short, the Prophet reminds us, that God has hands which extend far, for he can by mere shaking conquer all enemies, however distant they may be. And then we see that the facility with which God executes his purpose was mentioned, in order that the Jews might feel assured, that as soon as it would please God to put forth his strength, he would have no difficulty; for by the single motion of his finger he could destroy all the enemies who might rise up against them.
He afterwards adds, And ye shall know that Jehovah of hosts has sent me. To consider this as an address to the faithful, may not seem suitable; for faith is connected with knowledge, as we are taught by John,
|We know that we are the children of God,| (1 John 3:2;)
for the certainty which rests on God's word exceeds all knowledge. Why then does the Prophet say, And we shall know that Jehovah has sent me? for the faithful ought to have been previously certain respecting the mission of Christ; otherwise an approach to God was closed up; for an access, we know, to his favor is opened by faith. The Jews must have then been assured from the beginning respecting the mission of Christ. But it is to be observed, that there are two kinds of knowledge, -- the knowledge of faith, and what they call experimental knowledge. The knowledge of faith is that by which the godly feel assured that God is true -- that what he has promised is indubitable; and this knowledge at the same time penetrates beyond the world, and goes far above the heavens, that it may know hidden things; for our salvation is concealed; things seen, says the Apostle, are not hoped for. (Romans 8:24.) It is then no wonder that the Prophet says, that the faithful shall then know that Christ has been sent by the Father, that is, by actual experience, or in reality: Ye shall then know that Jehovah has sent me. He afterwards adds --