5:1 Now gather thyself in troops, O daughter a of troops: he hath laid siege against us: they shall smite the judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek.
(a) He forewarns them of the dangers that will come before they enjoy these comforts, showing that inasmuch as Jerusalem was accustomed with her garrisons to trouble others, the Lord would now cause other garrisons to vex her, and that her rulers would be hit on the face most contemptuously. 5:2 But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, [though] thou be b little among the thousands of Judah, [yet] out of thee shall he come forth unto me [that is] to be ruler in Israel; whose c goings forth [have been] from of old, from everlasting.
(b) For so the Jews divided their country that for every thousand there was a chief captain: and because Bethlehem was not able to make a thousand, he calls it little. But yet God will raise up his captain and governor in it: and thus it is not the least by reason of this benefit. See Matthew 2:6 5:3 Therefore will he give them up, until the time [that] d she which travaileth hath brought forth: then the remnant of his brethren shall return unto the children of Israel.
(c) He shows that the coming of Christ and all his ways were appointed by God from all eternity.
5:4 And he shall e stand and feed in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God; and they shall abide: for now shall he be great unto the ends of the earth.
(d) He compares the Jews to women with child, who for a time would have great sorrows, but at length they would have a comfortable deliverance; ( John 16:21 ).
(e) That is, Christs kingdom will be stable and everlasting, and his people, the Gentiles as well as the Jews, will dwell in safety. 5:5 And this [man] f shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men.
(f) This Messiah will be a sufficient safeguard for us, and though the enemy invades us for a time, yet will God stir up many who will be able to deliver us. 5:6 And they shall waste the g land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he h deliver [us] from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders.
(g) These whom God will raise up for the deliverance of his Church, will destroy all the enemies of it, who are meant here by the Assyrians and Babylonians, who were the chief enemies at that time. 5:7 And the i remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the LORD, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men.
(h) By these governors will God deliver us when the enemy comes into our land.
(i) This remnant or Church which God will deliver will only depend on Gods power and defence (as does the grass of the field), and not on the hope of man. 5:10 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD, that I will cut off thy k horses out of the midst of thee, and I will destroy thy chariots:
(k) I will destroy all things in which you put your confidence, such as your vain self-reliance and idolatry, and in doing this I will be helping you. 5:15 And I will execute vengeance in anger and fury upon the heathen, l such as they have not heard.
(l) It will be so terrible that nothing like it has been heard of.