17. There will I make the horn of David to bud; I have prepared a lamp for my Christ.18. His enemies will I clothe with shame, and upon, him shall his crown flourish.
17. There will I make, etc. He reverts to the state of the kingdom, which God had promised to take under his care and protection. It is necessary that we should attend to the peculiar force of the words employed I will make the horn of David to bud Now there can be no doubt as to the meaning of the term horn, which in Hebrew is very commonly used to signify force or power; but we are to mark that by the horn budding there is an allusion to the humble original of the kingdom, and the singular restorations which it underwent. David was taken from the menial drudgery of the sheepfold, and from the lowly cottage where he dwelt, the youngest son of his father, who was no more than an ordinary shepherd, and was advanced to the throne, and rose by a series of unlooked for successes. Under Jeroboam the kingdom was at an early period so effectually cut down again, that it was only by budding forth from time to time that it maintained itself in a moderate degree of advancement. Afterwards it underwent various shocks, which must have issued in its destruction, had it not still budded anew. And when the people were dispersed in the captivity, what must have become of them, had not God made the broken and trampled horn of David, again to bud? Isaiah accordingly seems to have had this in his eye when he compared Christ to a rod which should spring not from tree in full growth, but from a trunk or stem. (Isaiah 11:1.) To the prophecy now before us Zechariah perhaps refers when he says, |Behold the man whose name is the Branch,| (Zechariah 6:12,) intimating that in this way only could the power and dignity of the kingdom be restored after the dismemberment and ravages to which it had been exposed. In 2 Samuel 23:5, David makes use of the word employed in the verse before us, but in somewhat a different sense, referring to the continual advancement of the kingdom unto further measures of prosperity. Here the inspired penman rather refers to the singular manner in which God would cause the horn of David to revive again, when at any time it might seem broken and withered. The figure of the lamp is much to the same effect, and occurs in many other places of Scripture, being a prophecy very generally in the mouths of the people. The meaning is, that the kingdom, though it underwent occasional obscurations, would never be wholly extinguished under the calamities which overtook it, being as the lamp of God constantly burning, and pointing out safety to the Lord's people, though not shining to a great distance. At that time all the illumination enjoyed was but the feeble lamp which shone in Jerusalem; now Christ, the sun of righteousness, sheds a full radiance all over the world.
18. His enemies will I clothe with shame. The priests were said above |to be clothed with righteousness and salvation,| now the enemies of David are represented as |clothed with shame.| It is not enough that all go well within. God must keep us from the various harms and evils which come upon us from without, and hence we have this second promise added, which is one wherein we recognize often the goodness of God even more than in the blessings which he may shower upon us in the day of prosperity. The greater that fear which seizes upon us when exposed to aggression from enemies, the more are we sensibly awakened to take hold of divine help. The passage teaches us that the Church and people of God will never enjoy such peace on earth as altogether to escape being assaulted by the variety of enemies which Satan stirs up for their destruction. It is enough to have it declared, upon divine authority, that their attempts shall be unsuccessful, and that they will retire eventually with ignominy and disgrace. The, clause which follows has been variously interpreted. The verb which we have translated to flourish, in the Hiphil conjugation means sometimes to see, so that some have explained the words In that place shall the crown of David be seen, when the horn shall have been made to bud. Some derive the word from tsyph, tsits, a plate, as if it had been said that the crown of the king would be resplendent with plates of gold. But I consider that the crown is here said to flourish, just as formerly the allusion was to budding or germinating. Isaiah, on the other hand, speaks (Isaiah 28:5) of the crown of drunkenness of Ephraim as being a fading flower. Thus we have it here declared that however frail to appearance the crown of David might be in his posterity, it would be invigorated by some secret virtue, and flourish for ever.