Mine anger was kindled against the shepherds, and I punished the goats: for the LORD of hosts hath visited his flock the house of Judah, and hath made them as his goodly horse in the battle.
Mine anger was kindled against the shepherds,.... The Targum interprets it of "kings"; as the "goats" of "princes", in the next clause; by whom, according to Jarchi, Aben Ezra, Kimchi, and Abarbinel, are meant the kings of Greece; but rather the antichristian kings are designed, the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication with the whore of Rome, which is the cause of the anger of the Lord being kindled: or else ecclesiastical rulers are meant, the Romish clergy, the chief of them, as cardinals, archbishops, bishops, &c. who may fitly be represented by the shepherds of Israel in the times of the prophets for their name, professing to be of Israel, or to be Christians; and by them for their ignorance, covetousness, luxury, disregard to the flock, tyranny and cruelty over it, and murder of it; see Isaiah 56:10, against these the fire of God's wrath will be kindled, and with it will they be destroyed:
and I punished the goats; not the Seleucidae, as the above Jewish writers; though they may with propriety be so called, since they were the successors of Alexander, signified by the he goat in Daniel 8:5 rather the monks and friars, comparable to these for their filthiness and uncleanness; and because they pretend to be guides of the people, and to go before them, and yet use them ill, and push them with their horns of power; wherefore God will punish them, and kill those children of Jezebel with death, Revelation 2:22:
for the LORD of hosts hath visited his flock, the house of Judah; by sending the Gospel to them, and his Spirit with it, to make it effectual to their conversion; which will be at the time that the antichristian hierarchy will be destroyed; then the Lord's flock, who have gone astray, shall be returned to the true Shepherd and Bishop of souls, and shall seek the Lord their God, and David their King, and shall be saved by him: a gracious visitation this will be!
and hath made them as his goodly horse in the battle; this denotes that the Jews, when converted, will be bold in their God; valiant for the truth on earth; courageously fight the good fight of faith, and be victorious over their enemies; and that they will be in great honour and esteem among the saints, though so mean and justly despicable now: the sense is, that as the horse shows its strength and courage in battle, so should they; see Job 39:19.