34:2 Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say to them, Thus saith the Lord GOD to the shepherds; Woe [be] to the a shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks?
(a) By the shepherds he means the king, the magistrates, priests and prophets. 34:3 Ye eat the b fat, and ye clothe yourselves with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: [but] ye feed not the flock.
(b) You seek to enrich yourselves by their conveniences and to spoil their riches and substance. 34:4 The c diseased ye have not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up [that which was] broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them.
(c) He describes the office and duty of a good pastor who ought to love and comfort his flock and not be cruel toward them. 34:5 And they were scattered, because [there is] no shepherd: and they d became food to all the beasts of the field, when they were scattered.
(d) For lack of good government and doctrine they perished. 34:10 Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I [am] against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from e their mouth, that they may not be food for them.
(e) By destroying the covetous hirelings and restoring true shepherds of which we have a sign so often as God sends true preachers, who both by doctrine and life labour to feed his sheep in the pleasant pastures of his word. 34:12 As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep [that are] scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in f the cloudy and dark day.
(f) In the day of their affliction and misery: and this promise is to comfort the Church in all dangers. 34:16 I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up [that which was] broken, and will strengthen that which was sick: but I will destroy the fat and the g strong; I will feed them with h judgment.
(g) Meaning such as lift up themselves above their brethren and think they have no need to be governed by me. 34:18 [Seemeth it] a small thing to you to have eaten up the good i pasture, but ye must tread down with your feet the rest of your pastures? and to have drank of the deep waters, but ye must foul the rest with your feet?
(h) That is, by putting difference between the good and the bad, and so give to either as they deserve.
(i) By good pasture and deep waters is meant the pure word of God and the administration of justice which they did not distribute to the poor till they had corrupted it. 34:23 And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, [even] my servant k David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd.
(k) Meaning Christ, of whom David was a figure, See Jeremiah 30:9 34:25 And I will make with them a covenant of peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land: and they shall l dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods.
(l) This declares that under Christ the flock would be truly delivered from sin and hell, and so be safely preserved in the Church where they would never perish. 34:27 And the m tree of the field shall yield her fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase, and they shall be safe in their land, and shall know that I [am] the LORD, when I have broken the bars of their yoke, and delivered them out of the hand of those that subjected them to service.
(m) The fruit of Gods grace will appear in great abundance in his Church. 34:29 And I will raise up for them a n plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the nations any more.
(n) That is, the rod that will come out of the root of Jesse, ( Isaiah 11:1 ).