Thus saith the Lord God
Lest it should be thought, by the above prophecies, that the tribe of Judah should be utterly lost, and the family of David extinct, and the promise to him void, that he should have one of his seed to sit upon his, throne for evermore, ( Psalms 132:11 Psalms 132:12 ) ; it is here in a figurative manner signified, that of his seed the Messiah should be raised up, by whom the church and kingdom of God would be brought into a flourishing state and condition: I will also take of the highest branch of the high cedar;
Nebuchadnezzar had took one of the family of David, and set, him upon the throne, signified by taking of the seed of the land, and planting it, ( Ezekiel 17:5 ) ; but without success; wherefore the Lord here promises that he will "also", take one and plant it, which should thrive and prosper: by the "high cedar" is meant the Jewish nation, which the Lord chose and set on high above all nations of the earth distinguishing it with peculiar blessings and favours; for which reason it may be compared to the high and spreading cedar; see ( Numbers 24:5 Numbers 24:6 ) ( Deuteronomy 7:6 Deuteronomy 7:7 ) ( 28:1 ) ; and by "the highest branch" of it the tribe of Judah, who prevailed above his brethren, because from him came the chief ruler, ( 1 Chronicles 5:2 ) ; and from whence the Messiah was to come, and did, ( Genesis 49:10 ) ( Hebrews 7:14 ) ( Revelation 5:5 ) ; and set [it];
namely, the slip taken from the highest branch of the high cedar; or one that should descend from the Jewish nation, and particularly from the tribe of Judah, more fully described in the next clause: I will crop off from the top of his young twigs a tender one;
and by the "top" and "young twigs" of the highest branch of the cedar, or of the chief tribe in Israel, are meant the house and family of David, the royal family, and the descendants of it, the chief of the tribe of Judah; and by the "tender one" is designed the Messiah; and so Jarchi interprets it; and which interpretation is mentioned by Kimchi, though he would have Zerubbabel intended; and owns it to be the sense of the Targum, which is this,
``I will bring one of the kingdom of the house of David, which is like to a high cedar, and I will raise him up an infant from his children's children;''and so Abendana observes, that from Shealtiel, the son of Jeconiah, comes forth the King Messiah, who shall rule over all the world, and under whom every bird of wing shall dwell. The Messiah is often called a "branch" in prophecy, ( Isaiah 4:2 ) ( 11:1 ) ( Jeremiah 23:5 ) ( Zechariah 3:8 ) ( 6:12 ) ; and here a "tender twig" or branch, as in ( Isaiah 53:2 ) ; a "tender plant"; which is expressive of the meanness of his descent, David's family being very low at the time of his birth, and of the contemptible appearance he made in the form of a servant; having also all the sinless infirmities of the human nature on him, as well as was attended with poverty, griefs, and sorrows of various kinds; and so made a very unpromising appearance of being the great Prophet, Priest, and King in Israel: and now by the "cropping off" of this tender twig seems to be designed not the incarnation of the Messiah, but his sufferings and death; whereby he was cut off, not for himself, but for the sins of his people, and in which his divine Father had a considerable hand, ( Isaiah 53:8 Isaiah 53:10 ) ; and to which is owing the great fruitfulness of his kingdom and interest, ( John 12:24 ) ; moreover, this may respect not only the person of the Messiah, and his mean appearance in the world; but also his church and interest, which were at first like a little stone cut out of the mountain, and like a grain of mustard seed, the least of all seeds, ( Daniel 2:34 Daniel 2:35 ) ( Matthew 13:31 Matthew 13:32 ) ; the Gospel, which was the instrument of raising the church of God, was very contemptible, because of its subject, a crucified Christ; and the first preachers of it were mean and illiterate persons; those that received it were the poor of this world, and those but a few, and they the offscouring of all things; and will plant [it] on a high mountain and eminent;
which may be expressive not of the incarnation of Christ, but rather of his ascension to heaven after his death, and resurrection from the dead; and the constitution of him upon that as Lord and Christ, or the setting of him up as King over God's holy hill of Zion, the church of God: and no doubt but there is an allusion to Mount Zion, and to Jerusalem, from whence the Gospel first went forth, and where the first Gospel church was planted; and being said to be on a mountain high and eminent, may note both the visibility and stability of the church of Christ.