Fear not, thou worm Jacob
Being like a worm, exposed to danger, and liable to be trampled upon and crushed, mean and despicable in their own eyes, and in the esteem of others; and it may be Jacob, or the true Israelites, are so called, because of their impurity in themselves, of which they are sensible; and chiefly because of their weakness and impotence to defend themselves, and resist their enemies. It is an observation of Jarchi, Kimchi, and Ben Melech, that the strength of a worm lies in its mouth, which, though tender, can strike the strongest cedar, and penetrate into it; and the latter observes, that the strength of Israel lies in their prayers, as Jacob's did, when, wrestling with the angel, and making supplication, he had power with God, and prevailed. Now, though the saints are such poor, weak, and contemptible things, yet the Lord bids them not fear any of their enemies, he would take their part, and protect them: and ye men of Israel;
the Vulgate Latin version renders it, "ye dead men of Israel" F19; such as were accounted as dead men, and had no more respect shown them than the dead, that are remembered no more; or were exposed to death daily, for the sake of Christ and his Gospel; or that reckoned themselves dead to sin, and did die daily to it, and lived unto righteousness: or, "ye few men of Israel", as others F20 render it; Christ's flock is a little flock, his church is a little city, and few men in it, in comparison of the men of the world: I will help thee, saith, the Lord, and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of
which is repeated for the confirmation of it, and is the more strongly assured by these characters of a Redeemer of his people out of the hands of all their enemies, and the holy and just God, and sanctifier of them, which he here takes to himself, and makes himself known by.
F19 (larvy ytm) "mortales Israeliae", Castalio.
F20 (oligostov israhl) , Sept. "viri pauci Israel", Munster, Montanus; "Israel, qui pauco es numero", Tigurine version.