And she had strong rods for the sceptres of them that bear
That is, many sprung from her, and rose up in that nation who were fit to hold sceptres to be kings, rulers and governors, and were such. So the Targum.
``and there were in her strong rulers, kings that were, highly to subdue kingdoms;''such as David, Solomon, and at hers after them: or this may refer to the times of Josiah, and at his death, who left behind him several sons, who became kings, besides other princes of the blood; as his brother Mattaniah, who also was king: and some even carry this to Zedekiah himself, who had many children, who seemed to be strong rods, fit for sceptres, or sceptre bearers; that is, to be kings. The allusion seems to be to the sceptres of the ancients, which were no other than walking sticks, cut off of the stems or branches of trees, and decorated with gold, or studded with golden nails. Thus Achilles is introduced by Homer F3 as swearing by a sceptre; which, being cut off of a trunk of a tree left on the mountains, and stripped of its bark and leaves, should never more produce leaves and branches, or sprout again: and such an one, he observes, the Grecian judges, (en palamhv) (foreousi) , carry in their hands. Sometimes they were made of the "oleaster" F4, or wild olive, the same as a shepherd's staff; for what shepherds were to their flocks, that were kings to men; and her stature was exalted among the thick branches;
as the body and trunk of a tree rises up higher than the branches, which are thickest about the middle of it, and so more eminent and conspicuous; thus it was with the nation of the Jews, and the royal family in it, that appeared more glorious and excellent among the nobles and princes of it; or, as the Targum expresses it,
``it was lifted up in its strength above its own kingdom;''or rather the sense is, that in the days of David and Solomon, and some others, it greatly exceeded all the kingdoms of the nations round about it: and she appeared in her height with the multitude of her branches;
was seen and taken notice of for the multitude of her people, and the grandeur of her state.
F3 Iliad. 1. l. 234
F4 Paschal. de Coronis, l. 6. c. 19. p. 406, 407.