(10) And when He comes He will cut off (LXX: destroy) the chariot from Ephraim and the war horse from Jerusalem, and He would cut off the battle bow. Ephraim represents the ten northern tribes of Israel and Jerusalem the two southern tribes. Mic 5:10 prophesied the same thing concerning Israel. Why would God destroy Israel’s defenses? Because the weapons we fight with are different (2 Cor 10:4-5). God had forbidden Israel to keep horses and chariots (e.g. Josh 11:6) because they would rely on them as the source of their strength rather than relying on God.
God had and still has an entirely different plan for His kingdom. His kingdom will be one of peace. This was what God had intended for Israel from the beginning and they got a glimpse of it under Solomon (1 Chr 22:9). Had Solomon and his sons after him continued to walk in the ways of the Lord this prophecy would have been realized long ago. But with the coming of the Messiah it was realized and will reach its full fulfillment at the Second Coming.
At the cross Satan was finished as ruler of this world and when Jesus comes again the final remnants of the controversy between He and Satan will come to an end and God will rule from sea to sea (the Red Sea to the Mediterranean, Ex 23:31) and from the River to the ends of the earth. The River is a reference to the Euphrates, which the LXX includes in Ex 23:31. These were figurative language for the entire earth.
God’s reign of peace and safety is constant theme in the Bible as is His desire that His people live in peace not just with enemies of other nations but with each other as well. Peace is the fruit of life in the kingdom of God. When we do not live at peace with each other then we make it apparent that we are keeping at least one foot in the kingdom of Satan.
(11) The blood of God’s covenant with His people refers back to most clearly to Ex 24:8, when Moses sprinkled blood on the people after writing down “all the Lord’s words and laws” and the people promised to obey all God commanded. But the context is much bigger than this one scene. From the beginning of sin God made a covenant with Adam (Gen 3:15) when God promised to send the Messiah. The Messiah was the one who would make the new covenant with His people (e.g. 1 Cor 11:25, Heb 12:24), which, in keeping with the peace theme, was His command to love one another (Jn 13:34). This was the essence of the new covenant predicted even in the OT (Jer 31:31). From the beginning God’s covenant was misunderstood by God’s people (Heb 8:8) because their adherance was only external. But the covenant was never designed to work that way. God’s plan from the beginning was that love would pour from the hearts of His people. Their mere obedience was never the important part of the covenant. It was their obedience rooted in love for God and fellow man that was and still is important (Deut 6:5, 10:12, 11:13, etc.)
When we live in that kind of covenant relationship with God then He promises to set the prisoners free from the waterless pit. Two stories, Joseph being thrown into a waterless pit (Gen 37:24) and Jeremiah being put into a waterless well (Jer 38:6) spring immediately to mind in such a context. In both cases they were faithful to God and were honored for that. This was an explicit work the Messiah would do, setting the prisoners free (Is 42:7, 49:9, 61:1, Lk 4:18).
Perhaps the fact that the pit is waterless is a symbol of the unjustice of what is happening to them. Water is often a symbol of God’s judgment or at least of troubles allowed by God. For instance, the flood was God’s judgment on the earth, the Red Sea was God’s judgment on the Egyptians, David often compared waters to trouble (2 Sam 5:20, 22:17, Ps 29:3, 32:6, 69:1, etc), Job speaks of waters of God’s wrath (Job 20:28), and more. So perhaps the picture is of God rescuing His faithful people from persecution that specifically is not a judgment from God but the work of their enemies.
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