Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Again in this place, which is desolate without man and without beast, and in all the cities thereof, shall be an habitation of shepherds causing their flocks to lie down.
Thus saith the Lord of hosts,.... Which phrase, or what is answerable to it, is often repeated, to give authority to what is said, and to command a belief of it:
again, in this place which is desolate; which was said to be so,
Jeremiah 33:10; and indeed was so; and was near utter destruction, as to be
without man and without beast; both falling into the hands of the enemy; and that not in the city of Jerusalem only, but
in all the cities thereof; of the land of Judea; and from thence in other countries, even in Gentile ones:
shall be an habitation of shepherds, causing their flocks to lie down; which is expressive of great peace, no foreign enemy to make afraid or disturb the shepherds and their flocks; and of diligence and industry, plenty and prosperity; though this is to be understood not in a literal, but mystical sense. For by "shepherds" are meant the apostles of Christ, the first ministers of the Gospel, and pastors of churches, that should be first raised up in the land of Judea, and then sent into and spread in all the world; shepherds under Christ, of his raising, qualifying, and calling; to whom he gives a commission to feed his sheep and lambs; assigns them their distinct flocks, and gives them food to feed them with, and to whom they are accountable for those under their care, and the gifts bestowed upon them; and whose business lies in feeding the flock with the solid doctrines of the Gospel, by faithfully administering the ordinances, and in all directing to Christ, where they may find pasture; as also in ruling and governing according to the laws of Christ; in watching over the sheep that they go not astray, and in protecting and defending them from beasts of prey. By the "habitation" of these shepherds is meant the house of God, where the word is preached, and ordinances are administered; here are the shepherds' tents, which, like the tents of Kedar, which were shepherds' tents also, are mean and coarse without, but rich and beautiful within; and are like tents, movable from place to place; and it is the glory and happiness of a country where they are. And by "flocks", or "flock", for it is in the singular number, are meant the church of Christ, which is but one, the general assembly and church of the firstborn written in heaven, and the several particular congregated churches; consisting of such persons as may be compared to sheep, being weak and timorous, meek and humble, harmless and inoffensive; of persons gathered out of the world, distinguished by the grace of God, and folded together in a Gospel church state; though but few, and despised of men, and persecuted, a little flock, and a flock of slaughter: these, by their shepherds, are made "to lie down" in a good fold at night, where they are safe and secure; these shepherds watch over them; angels encamp about them; salvation is walls and bulwarks to them; and God himself a wall of fire around them; and in the day they are made to lie down in the green pastures of the word and ordinances, where they have an abundance, a sufficiency of provisions; and at noon under the shadow of Christ, where they have rest, and where they are screened and sheltered from the heat of a fiery law, of Satan's fiery darts, and of the world's persecution.