Micah 2:12-13. I will surely assemble, O Jacob, all of thee, &c. Many commentators, connecting these verses with the preceding, interpret them as a prediction of the captivity of Israel and Judah. By assembling all of Jacob, and gathering the remnant of Israel, as a flock in the midst of their fold, they understand bringing them together into Samaria and Jerusalem, to be besieged in those cities, and thence taken out for slaughter or captivity. By the breaker being come up before them, breaking up and passing through the gate, they understand the enemies assaulting their cities, (namely, the Assyrians and Chaldeans,) breaking down their walls, and entering in and going out the gates of them, just as the citizens used to do; and by their king passing before them, his being carried into captivity along with them. By the Lord on (or, at) the head of them, they understand, God being on the side of, or prospering the Assyrians and Chaldeans in their attempts against the Israelites and Jews. Others, however, interpret these verses of the restoration of the Jewish people from captivity, and therefore understand by the breaker coming up before them, him who was to break the bonds of their captivity, or break through all obstacles that hindered their restoration, and open to them the way home. The following expressions, They have broken up, and have passed through the gate, and are gone out by it, they consider as metaphorical, describing their return, in allusion to a flock of sheep, which, as soon as a passage is opened for one to get out, do all of them follow; and that these expressions are made use of because it is said, in the foregoing verse, that they should be put or gathered together as a flock of sheep in the midst of their folds. The last clause they render, Their king shall pass before them, even the Lord on the head of them That is, the Messiah, who is both the Lord and their King, shall lead and conduct them as their captain-general. Thus the Jewish commentators generally understand the breaker and their king of the same person, namely, the Messiah, as may be seen in Dr. Pocock on the place. Bishop Pearson cites the words of Moses Hadarson to the same purpose, in his exposition of the Sixth Article of the Creed. It may be observed further, that most of those who understand the Messiah as being meant by the breaker and their king, though they consider the promise as receiving its first accomplishment in the restoration of the Jews from Babylon, yet suppose it will receive a much more complete fulfilment in the latter days, when the general conversion of the Jews and Israelites, and their restoration to their own land, shall take place; it being very usual with the prophets, after they have denounced the destruction of the Jewish republic, to foretel their grand and spiritual deliverance; that the people might not think themselves entirely forsaken of God, before the promises made to their fathers were completed. As this passage is so extremely obscure, it has been thought best to lay both these interpretations before the reader, that he may judge which is most consistent with the words of the text.
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