December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- 1 But you, Bethlehem-Ephrathah too small to be among the clans of Judah, From you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel; Whose origin is from of old, from ancient times.
- 2 (Therefore the Lord will give them up, until the time when she who is to give birth has borne, And the rest of his brethren shall return to the children of Israel.)
- He shall stand firm and shepherd his flock by the strength of the LORD, in the majestic name of the LORD, his God; And they shall remain, for now his greatness shall reach to the ends of the earth;
- 3 he shall be peace. If Assyria invades our country and treads upon our land, We shall raise against it seven shepherds, eight men of royal rank;
- 4 And they shall tend the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod with the drawn sword; And we shall be delivered from Assyria, if it invades our land and treads upon our borders.
- The remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many peoples, Like dew coming from the LORD, like raindrops on the grass, Which wait for no man, nor tarry for the sons of men.
- And the remnant of Jacob shall be among the nations, in the midst of many peoples, Like a lion among beasts of the forest, like a young lion among flocks of sheep; When it passes through, it tramples and tears, and there is none to deliver.
- Your hand shall be lifted above your foes, and all your enemies shall be destroyed.
- 5 On that day, says the LORD, I will destroy the horses from your midst and ruin your chariots;
- I will demolish the cities of your land and tear down all your fortresses.
- I will abolish the means of divination from your use, and there shall no longer be soothsayers among you.
- 6 I will abolish your carved images and the sacred pillars from your midst; And you shall no longer adore the works of your hands.
- I will tear out the sacred poles from your midst, and destroy your cities.
- I will wreak vengeance in anger and wrath upon the nations that have not hearkened.
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1  In contrast to Bat-gader (Micah 4:13(14)), where the ruler of Israel, the reigning king, is in peril of his life from the Assyrians, is the tiny city and clan of Bethlehem-Ephrathah, from which comes the ancient Davidic dynasty (whose origin is from of old, from ancient times) with its messianic King, one who is to be ruler in Israel.
2  She who is to give birth: the mother of the Messiah; cf Isaiah 7:14.
3 [4-5] This passage, expressing confidence in Judah's ability to deliver itself from Assyria, is in contrast with the preceding messianic oracle, which ascribes deliverance to the Lord and his agent. Some believe that here the prophet is quoting the words of the defiant men of Judah. The shepherds and men of royal rank are one and the same: warriors capable of routing Assyria. The same kind of numerical progression is used by Amos (Amos 1:3), and elsewhere in the Bible.
4  Nimrod: the legendary ancestor of the Mesopotamians; cf Genesis 10:10-12.
5 [9-13] Part of the messianic restoration will consist in the removal of everything that has drawn Israel away from the Lord; this includes not only the objects of false worship, but also the armaments in which the idolaters had trusted.
6 [12-14] Sacred pillars . . . sacred poles: see note on Exodus 34; 13.
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