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Je me suis done mis a paitre les brebis exposes tuerie : I am sent then to feed the sheep that are exposed to slaughter. The flock of slaughter; either by the violence of their enemies, or by the monstrous negligence of their shepherds. O poor of the flock: this is explicatory of the former, and by the ingemination of it shows us that God doth in his charge to the prophet typically, and in his charge to Christ antitype, distinguish clearly between people and people among the Jews, between those that were poor and forlorn, and those that were tyrannical, proud, cruel, and made a prey of them; these are left out of the pastoral charge, the other are taken care of.

I took unto me two staves: thus he enters on the actual exercise of his office, and takes two staves to himself, at the meaning whereof we can but guess. Or, say others, to note his singular care and diligence in his office; when other shepherds content themselves with one, Christ takes two. Or what if hereby Christ would be provided with one to guide the flock, with another to repel such as would slaughter them, to protect against violence and to direct such as are meek. Christ hath his golden sceptre for his loyal and obedient subjects, and his iron rod for refractory rebels and violent enemies.

The one I called Beauty; or pleasantness, sweetness, and loveliness; this lay in the holiness of his precepts, the excellency of his comforts, the glory of his reward. This is the first, and answers to the character of the ways of wisdom, Proverbs ; they are pleasantness. The ordinances of God, and the enjoyment of them, are the beauty of the Lord, and our beholding it, as David, Psalm The other I called Bands; either alluding to the lines wherewith the portion of the Holy Land was meted out to every one according to their lot; or referring to the obligations Christ lays on men to hold together in peace and unity.

The beauty of grace and glory, the bands of love and peace. And I fed the flock; with these in hand the shepherd undertakes to feed and rule this flock. According to the call and commission he had from his divine Father, Zechariah he determines to do as it was enjoined him, and as he had undertook: even you, O poor of the flock; besides the people of the Jews in general, to whom Christ was sent, and he came to feed, there were a small remnant, according to the election of grace, he had a special regard for; and whom he fed by the word and ordinances with himself, the bread of life; and with the discoveries of his love, and with the covenant of grace, its blessings and promises, the sure mercies of David.

These are called "the poor of the flock", because they were the poor of this world, as were the disciples and followers of Christ; "the poor have the Gospel preached unto them"; Matthew and because they were spiritually poor, or poor in spirit, Matthew who saw their spiritual poverty, and owned it; who bewailed it, and were humbled under a sense of it; and sought after the true riches; and acknowledged that all they had were owing to the grace of God: and who, as to the frame of their mind, are the meek and humble ones; or, as to their outward state and condition, afflicted ones, as the word y may be rendered; who were persecuted, reviled, reproached, and accursed by others, John and, as to their gifts and graces, the meanest of God's people: And I took unto me two staves; the one I called Beauty, and the other I called Bands; Jarchi, agreeably to the Targum, interprets this of the division of the kingdom of Israel into two parts, in the times of Rehoboam and Jeroboam.

Some think persons are meant. In the Talmud z it is explained of the disciples of the wise men in the land of Israel, who make each other pleasant by their doctrines; and of the disciples of the wise men in Babylon that corrupt one another, or object to one another: according to Aben Ezra, Zerubbabel and Nehemiah are intended: others, the good king Josiah, and the bad king Zedekiah: others the priest, and the king, as Abendana observes; and Kimchi explains it of the different manner in which the Lord led the people, according to their behaviour to him; when they behaved well, they had good kings and governors, which led them in a right way, and they were filled with good things; but when they behaved otherwise they had evil kings, and evil befell them.

It may be observed, that the word for "bands" is rendered "pilots", Ezekiel and masters or governors of ships, Jonah and is so rendered here c ; and as churches may be compared to ships, Revelation so may ministers of the word to those who have the government and direction of them; and whose business lies in the ministration of the word, and the administration of ordinances, and taking care of the discipline of the Gospel: this seems to be the evangelic sense of these words; and they express the manner in which Christ fed his own dear people in Judea, partly by his own ministry, and partly by the ministry of his apostles, while he had an interest there, until the sins of that nation brought utter ruin upon them.

Sanhedrin, fol. Some read Destroyers instead of Bands, but in Zec the second reading is confirmed. Pulpit Commentary Verse 7. It is the account of what the prophet did in accordance with the command in ver. Even you, O poor of the flock. There is difficulty about the word rendered "you" lachen which may be the personal pronoun, or an adverb meaning "therefore," "therewith," "truly," or a preposition, "on account of;" Vulgate, propter hoc. The best rendering is, I fed the flock therefore the poor among the flock. It is also rendered "in sooth. And I took unto me two staves. Executing in vision his commission of feeding the flock, the prophet, as the representative of the Shepherd, took two shepherd's staves.

The two staves intimate the manifold care of God for his flock from the earliest days, and the two blessings which he designed to bestow as the names of the staves show , favour and unity. It probably means the favour and grace of God, as in Psalm The name is meant to express the union of all the members of the flock, especially that between Israel and Judah see ver. These make one flock under one shepherd. I fed the flock.

This repetition emphasizes the beginning of the verse, and expresses God's ears in time past and in time to come also. Zechariah And I said, What are these, my lord? Then the angel that talked with me said to me, I will show thee what these are. And the man who stood among the myrtles answered and said, These are they whom Jehovah hath sent to go through the earth.

Matthew Henry

And they answered the angel of Jehovah who stood among the myrtles, and said, We have gone through the earth, and, behold, the whole earth sits still, and at rest. Then the angel of Jehovah answered and said, Jehovah of hosts, how long wilt Thou not have compassion upon Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, with whom Thou hast been angry these seventy years?

And Jehovah answered the angel that talked with me good words, comforting words. And the angel that talked with me said to me, Preach, and say, Thus saith Jehovah of hosts, I have been jealous for Jerusalem and Zion with great jealousy, Zechariah and with great wrath I am angry against the nations at rest: for I had been angry for a little, but they helped for harm.

Therefore thus saith Jehovah, I turn again to Jerusalem with compassion: my house shall be built in it, is the saying of Jehovah of hosts, and the measuring line shall be drawn over Jerusalem. Preach as yet, and say, Thus saith Jehovah of hosts, My cities shall yet swell over with good, and Jehovah will yet comfort Zion, and will yet choose Jerusalem.

At the same time he also sees, in direct proximity to himself, an angel who interprets the vision, and farther off Zechariah the angel of Jehovah also standing or stopping among the myrtle-bushes, and therefore in front of the man upon a red horse, to whom the riders bring a report, that they have gone through the earth by Jehovah's command and have found the whole earth quiet and at rest; whereupon the angel of Jehovah addresses a prayer to Jehovah for pity upon Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, and receives a good consolatory answer, which the interpreting angel conveys to the prophet, and the latter publicly proclaims in Zechariah The rider upon the red horse is not to be identified with the angel of Jehovah, nor the latter with the angelus interpres.

This very circumstance rather favours the diversity of the two, inasmuch as it is evident from this that the rider upon the red horse was simply the front one, or leader of the whole company, who is brought prominently forward as the spokesman and reporter.

Zephaniah 3 Bible Commentary - Matthew Henry (concise)

If the man upon the red horse had been the angel of Jehovah Himself, and the troop of horsemen had merely come to bring information to the man upon the red horse, the troop of horsemen could not have stood behind him, but would have stood either opposite to him or in front of him. And the different epithets applied to the two furnish a decisive proof that the angel of the Lord and "the angel that talked with me" are not one and the same. His occupation, therefore, was to interpret the visions to the prophet, and convey the divine revelations, so that he was only an angelus interpres or collocutor.

This angel appears in the other visions in company with other angels, and receives instructions from them Zechariah ; and his whole activity is restricted to the duty of conveying higher instructions to the prophet, and giving him an insight into the meaning of the visions, whereas the angel of Jehovah stands on an equality with God, being sometimes identified with Jehovah, and at other times distinguished from Him.

Compare the remarks upon this subject in the comm. In the face of these facts, it is impossible to establish the identity of the two by the arguments that have been adduced in support of it. It by no means follows from Zechariah , where the prophet addresses the mediator as "my lord," that the words are addressed to the angel of the Lord; for neither he nor the angelus interpres has been mentioned before; and in the visions persons are frequently introduced as speaking, according to their dramatic character, without having been mentioned before, so that it is only from what they say or do that it is possible to discover who they are.


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Again, the circumstance that in Zechariah the angel of the Lord presents a petition to the Supreme God on behalf of the covenant nation, and that according to Zechariah Jehovah answers the angelus interpres in good, comforting words, does not prove that he who receives the answer must be the same person as the intercessor: for it might be stated in reply to this, as it has been by Vitringa, that Zechariah has simply omitted to mention that the answer was first of all addressed to the angel of the Lord, and that it was through him that it reached the mediating angel; or we might assume, as Hengstenberg has done, that "Jehovah addressed the answer directly to the mediating angel, because the angel of the Lord had asked the question, not for his own sake, but simply for the purpose of conveying consolation and hope through the mediator to the prophet, and through him to the nation generally.

But they are neither of them easy to interpret. The Vulgate adopts this rendering: in profundo. Here it signifies, in all probability, a deep hollow, possibly with water in it, as myrtles flourish particularly well in damp soils and by the side of rivers see Virgil, Georg. Erfllung, i. The hollow here is not a symbol of the power of the world, or the abyss-like power of the kingdoms of the world Hengstenberg and M. Baumgarten , as the author of the Chaldee paraphrase in Babele evidently thought; for this cannot be proved from such passages as Zechariah Isa Zechariah , and Psalm In the myrtle-bushes, or myrtle grove, we have no doubt a symbol of the theocracy, or of the land of Judah as a land that was dear and lovely in the estimation of the Lord cf.

Daniel ; Daniel , for the myrtle is a lovely ornamental plant. Hence the hollow in which the myrtle grove was situated, can only be a figurative representation of the deep degradation into which the land and people of God had fallen at that time. There is a great diversity of opinion as to the significance of the colour of the horses, although all the commentators agree that the colour is significant, as in Zechariah About two of the colours there is no dispute.

On the other hand, Gesenius Thes. If we compare this with ch.

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By comparing these passages with one another, we obtain so much as certain with regard to the meaning of the different colours, - namely, that the colours neither denote the lands and nations to which the riders had been sent, as Hvernick, Maurer, Hitzig, Ewald, and others suppose; nor the three imperial kingdoms, as Jerome, Cyril, and others have attempted to prove.

For, apart from the fact that there is no foundation whatever for the combination proposed, of the red colour with the south as the place of light, or of the white with the west, the fourth quarter of the heavens would be altogether wanting. Moreover, the riders mentioned here have unquestionably gone through the earth in company, according to Zechariah and Zechariah , or at any rate there is no intimation whatever of their having gone through the different countries separately, according to the colour of their respective horses; and, according to Zechariah , not only the chariot with the black horses, but that with the white horses also, goes into the land of the south.

Consequently the colour of the horses can only be connected with the mission which the riders had to perform.


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  5. This is confirmed by Revelation 6 , inasmuch as a great sword is there given to the rider upon the red horse, to take away peace from the earth, that they may kill one another, and a crown to the rider upon the white horse, who goes forth conquering and to conquer Revelation , whilst the one upon the pale horse receives the name of Death, and has power given to him to slay the fourth part of the earth with sword, famine, and pestilence Revelation It is true that no such effects as these are attributed to the riders in the vision before us, but this constitutes no essential difference.

    Zechariah ; 1 Chronicles , and Judges , points back to Haggai , Haggai God had there announced that for a little He would shake heaven and earth, the whole world and all nations, that the nations would come and fill His temple with glory. The riders sent out by God now return and report that the earth is by no means shaken and in motion, but the whole world sits quiet and at rest.

    We must not, indeed, infer from this account that the riders were all sent for the simple and exclusive purpose of obtaining information concerning the state of the earth, and communicating it to the Lord. For it would have been quite superfluous and unmeaning to send out an entire troop, on horses of different colours, for this purpose alone.

    Their mission was rather to take an active part in the agitation of the nations, if any such existed, and guide it to the divinely appointed end, and that in the manner indicated by the colour of their horses; viz. In the second year of Darius there prevailed universal peace; all the nations of the earlier Chaldaean empire were at rest, and lived in undisturbed prosperity. Only Judaea, the home of the nation of God, was still for the most part lying waste, and Jerusalem was still without walls, and exposed in the most defenceless manner to all the insults of the opponents of the Jews.

    Such a state of things as this necessarily tended to produce great conflicts in the minds of the more godly men, and to confirm the frivolous in their indifference towards the Lord. As long as the nations of the world enjoyed undisturbed peace, Judah could not expect any essential improvement in its condition.


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    Even though Darius had granted permission for the building of the temple to be continued, the people were still under the bondage of the power of the world, without any prospect of the realization of the glory predicted by the earlier prophets Jeremiah 31 ; Isaiah 40 , which was to dawn upon the nation of God when redeemed from Babylon. Hence the angel of the Lord addresses the intercessory prayer to Jehovah in Zechariah : How long wilt Thou not have compassion upon Jerusalem, etc.?

    For the very fact that the angel of the Lord, through whom Jehovah had formerly led His people and brought them into the promised land and smitten all the enemies before Israel, now appears again, contains in itself one source of consolation. His coming was a sign that Jehovah had not forsaken His people, and His intercession could not fail to remove every doubt as to the fulfilment of the divine promises.

    The circumstance that the angel of Jehovah addresses an intercessory prayer to Jehovah on behalf of Judah, is no more a disproof of his essential unity with Jehovah, than the intercessory prayer of Christ in John 17 is a disproof of His divinity. After the declaration of liberty of conscience by James II in , he was privately ordained in London, and on June 2, , he began his regular ministry as non-conformist pastor of a Presbyterian congregation at Chester.

    He remained in this position for 25 years. After declining several times offers from London congregations, he finally accepted a call to Hackney, London, and began his ministry there May 18, , shortly before his death. He lived to complete it only as far as to the end of the Acts, but after his death other like-minded authors prepared the remainder from Henry's manuscripts. This work was long celebrated as the best English commentary for devotional purposes and the expanded edition was initially published in Instead of critical exposition, Henry focuses on practical suggestion, and his commentaries contain rich stores of truths.

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