And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword
Or "feed F5 upon it" with the sword, destroy the inhabitants of it; either spiritually subdue the nations of the world to the obedience of Christ, the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; the preaching of the Gospel, the ministry of the apostles, and others, in the Gentile world; see ( 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 ) ( Ephesians 6:17 ) ; or literally, meaning that the angels of the vials, the Christian princes, shall destroy the Ottoman empire with the sword: and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof;
the same with Babylon, the empire of which was first set up by Nimrod, the beginning of whose kingdom was Babel, ( Genesis 10:11 ) ; the same with Nebrodas, a name of Bacchus, which is no other than Barchus the son of Chus, as Nimrod was the son of Cush, and Bacchus was a mighty hunter, as he was; all which Bochart F6 has observed: now his country was Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar, that is, the land of Babylon, as the Targum of Onkelos and Jerusalem in ( Genesis 10:10 ) , render it; though some think Nimrod extended his dominions into Assyria; and translate F7 ( Micah 5:11 ) "out of that land, he" (that is, Nimrod) "went forth into Assyria, and builded Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah"; and the Targum of Jonathan is very express for it, which paraphrases the words thus,
``out of that land went forth Nimrod, and he reigned in Assyria, because he would not be in the counsel of the generation of the division, and he left these four cities; and the Lord gave him a place (or Assyria), and he built four other cities, Nineveh''hence some F8 have thought that the land of Assyria and the land of Nimrod here design one and the same country; but Ashur, in the text in Genesis, seems rather to be the name of a man than of a place, even of the son of Shem so called, from whom the country of Assyria had its name; whereas, if had been so soon in the hands of Nimrod, and so many cities had been built by him in it, it would rather have been called by his name than Ashur's; and it seems most reasonable to conclude that the cities of Nineveh were built by the latter, and not the former; and the two countries of Assyria and Nimrod, or Babylon, are very plainly in this text distinguished from one another; though they might at the time of this prophecy be united under Esarhaddon, who was both king of Assyria and Babylon; and at this present time they are both in the hands of the Turks, and in all probability will be until this prophecy is fulfilled in the destruction of them by the Christian princes: the same thing is meant as before; and the word rendered "in the entrances thereof" may as well be translated "with its sword" F9; or, as the margin of our Bibles, "with her own naked swords"; so Kimchi and Aben Ezra interpret it: thus shall he deliver [us] from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our
land, and when he treadeth within our borders;
that is, the King Messiah shall work this deliverance, as Kimchi and others F11 explain it; Christ delivered his people from all their spiritual enemies when he made peace for them; and he will deliver them in the latter day from both Pope and Turk, when he will destroy the man of sin by the breath of his mouth, and dry up the river Euphrates, and cast both beast and false prophet into the lake that burns with fire and brimstone; though all that is said in this verse and ( Micah 5:5 ) may have had its accomplishment already, at least in part, in the Saracens and their empire, which begun in the year 623, and who prevailed very much in Arabia, Palestine, Syria, Persia, Egypt, and Africa, and even penetrated into Spain and France, in all which places were Christian churches; and so may be called "our land", as the churches therein "our palaces", which these people entered into, trod upon, profaned, or destroyed; and the seven or eight principal men raised against them may be the Christian princes that fought with them, and drove them back, and destroyed their land; such as Hugh the great, brother to Philip king of France; Robert earl of Flanders; Robert earl of Normandy, brother to William the Conqueror, king of England; Stephen earl of Blois; Raymund earl of Tholouse; Godfrey duke of Lorrain, and his brothers Baldwin and Eustachius, and others. These beginning at Nice, where once a famous Christian council was held, and driving the army of Solyman from thence, in the space off our years subdued many provinces of Asia, Lycaonia, Cilicia, Syria, Mesopotamia, and Comagena; and at length having put to flight the Turks, and ejected the Saracens, took Jerusalem, and made Godfrey of Bullein king of it F12. Some F13 have interpreted it of the emperor of Germany, and the seven electors in the empire (for formerly they were no more), happily and with success carrying on a war against the Turks, Tartars, and Saracens, when they broke into Europe; but the former sense seems better; and it is best of all to understand the prophecy of the destruction of the Turk or Ottoman empire in the latter day by the Christian princes.
F5 (werw) "et depascent", Montanus, Drusius; "pascent", Piscator, Grotius, Cocceius.
F6 Phaleg. l. 1. c. 2. col. 12.
F7 Vatablus, Junius and Tremellius, Bochart, Cocceius, and others.
F8 Bochart, Phaleg. l. 4. c. 12. c. 229. Bedford's Chronology, p. 773.
F9 (hyxtpb) "gladiis suis", Pagninus, Montanus, Munster, Tigurine version; so R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 31. 2.
F11 R. Isaac, ib. p. 283. Abarbinel
F12 Vid. Witsii Exercitat. 8. de Assyriis in Miscel. Sacr. tom. 2. p. 218, 219, 220.
F13 Vid. Gurtler. Voc. Typic. Prophetic. Explicat. p. 18.