Feed thy people with thy rod
These are either the words of God the Father to Christ, the great Shepherd of the sheep, calling upon him to do his office as such; to feed the people he had given him, the sheep of his hand, the flock of his pasture, by his Spirit, and with his word and ordinances; see ( Zechariah 11:5 ) ; or of Christ to his ministers, his undershepherds, to feed his sheep and his lambs, the people committed to their care and charge, with wholesome words, with sound and good doctrine, by faithfully preaching the Gospel, and administering the ordinances to them: or rather the words of the prophet, a prayer of his to God or Christ, to take care of the people of God in their desolate state, in captivity; to guide and lead them, protect and defend them, by his power and providence, as a shepherd directs, leads, governs, and preserves his flock with his pastoral crook or rod; or, as before, to feed the church of God as a shepherd does his flock, lead them into good pastures, and secure them from all their enemies: and this, being a prayer of faith, may be considered as a prophecy or prediction of what would be; and so some render the words, "thou shalt feed thy people" F8. The Targum is,
``feed thy people with thy word, the people of thine inheritance, in the age which is to be renewed;''in the new world, the world to come; plainly referring to the times of the Messiah; the flock of thine heritage;
who are like to sheep for their harmlessness and innocence, and to a flock of them, being associated together, and folded in the church; and though but a little flock, yet the lot, the portion, the inheritance of Christ; all which is a strong reason for his feeding, keeping, and preserving them, being committed to his care and charge for that purpose: which dwell solitary [in] the wood;
dwell alone in the world, which is like a wood and a wilderness; separated from the men of the world; distinguished by the grace of God, chosen and called out from among them, and different from them both in principle and practice: this may have respect to the Jews, in their dispersion, living separate from and unmixed with the nations of the world; or rather to their dwelling in safety and security under the protection of the great Shepherd, the Messiah, David their Prince, when they shall be returned to their own land in the latter day: in the midst of Carmel;
or of a fruitful field, as Carmel was; enjoying all happiness and prosperity, temporal and spiritual: let them feed [in] Bashan and Gilead, as in the days of old;
places in the land of Israel famous for rich and fat pastures; and so express the great plenty of good things wished for, and which will be enjoyed by the Jews when converted to Christ, and replaced in their own land; and are an emblem of those spiritual good things, and of those rich and green pastures of the word and ordinances, which the great Shepherd is desired to lead, and does lead, his people into; see ( Psalms 23:1 Psalms 23:2 ) ( Ezekiel 34:14 ) ; these places are now in the hand of the Turks, and so the words may be a petition for their conversion, as well as for the Jews, that this country may no more be inhabited by Heathens, but by the Israel of God, as Gulichius F9 very well observes.
F8 (her) "pasces", so some in Vatablus.
F9 Apud Burkium in loc.