1 Ask the LORD for rain in the time of the latter rain. The LORD will make bright clouds and give them showers of rain, and to everyone grass in the field.
2 For the idols have spoken vanity, and the diviners have seen a lie. They have told false dreams. They comfort in vain. Therefore, they went their way as a flock. They were troubled because there was no shepherd.
3 "My anger was kindled against the shepherds, and I punished the goats, for the LORD of hosts has visited his flock the house of Judah and has made them as his majestic horse in the battle.
4 Out of him came forth the corner, out of him the nail, out of him the battle-bow, out of him every oppressor together.
5 And they shall be as mighty men who tread down their enemies in the mire of the streets in the battle. And they shall fight because the LORD is with them. And the riders on horses shall be confounded.
6 I will strengthen the house of Judah. I will save the house of Joseph. I will bring them back to place them, for I have mercy upon them. And they shall be as though I had not cast them off, for I am the LORD their God and will hear them.
7 And those of Ephraim shall be like a mighty man, and their heart shall rejoice as through wine. Even their children shall see it and be glad. Their heart shall rejoice in the LORD.
8 I will hiss for them and gather them, for I have redeemed them. And they shall increase as they have increased.
9 And I will sow them among the people, and they shall remember me in remote countries. And they shall live with their children and turn back.
10 I will bring them back also out of the land of Egypt and gather them out of Assyria. And I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon, and there shall not be enough space for them.
11 And he shall pass through the sea with affliction and shall smite the waves in the sea, and all the deeps of the river shall dry up. And the pride of Assyria shall be brought down, and the scepter of Egypt shall depart.
12 And I will strengthen them in the LORD, and they shall walk up and down in his name," says the LORD.
John Gill's Chapter Summary
This chapter is a prophecy of the conversion of the Jews in the latter day, when the fullness of the Gentiles is brought in, spoken of in the preceding chapter (verses 1-17). It begins with an exhortation to ask rain of the Lord; denounces wrath upon his enemies; and consists of various promises to his people. The exhortation to ask rain (verse 1); to which encouragement is given from its being of the Lord, from his willingness to grant it, and from the fruitfulness occasioned by it. The vanity of idols, and idolaters, who can not give it, is exposed; and the distress and confusion they were thrown into is observed (verse 2). The anger of the Lord against the principal of them is declared; and his gracious visitation of the people of the Jews, whom he will honor and glorify, is taken notice of (verse 3); from whom the Messiah sprung, than which a greater glory can not be enjoyed (verse 4); and then follow various promises, relating to them; as of victory over their enemies, through the presence of the Lord with them (verse 5); of strength and salvation to them, as owing to his free grace and mercy (verse 6); of inward spiritual joy in them and [their children] (verse 7); of their effectual calling and spiritual increase, in consequence of redeeming grace (verse 8); of their having a name and a place in Gospel churches, where they will remember the Lord, and live with their children, being converted (verse 9); which conversion of theirs is represented in terms alluding to their deliverance from Egypt and Babylon (verses 10-11); and the chapter is concluded with a promise of spiritual strength, so that they shall continue in their profession of faith in Christ, and persevere therein to the end (verse 12).
John Calvin's Prayer for Verses 1-5:
Grant, Almighty God, that since constant fightings await us here, and our infirmities are so great that without your power supporting us we cannot but fall every moment,— O grant, that we may learn to recumb on that help which you have promised, and which you have also offered to us, and do daily offer through the Gospel in your only-begotten Son; and may we distrust our own strength, may we even be overwhelmed with despair as to ourselves, not indeed that we may despond, but that we may look upward and seek the aid of your Spirit, so that we may not doubt but that we shall be equal to our enemies, and even be victorious over them, until having at length finished our warfare, we shall reach that blessed rest which has been obtained for us by the blood of your only Son. Amen.
John Calvin's Prayer for Verses 6-12:
Grant, Almighty God, that as we are constrained continually to groan under the burden of our sins, and the captivity in which we are held justly exposes us to continual trembling and sorrow,— O grant, that the deliverance, already begun, may inspire us with the hope, so as to expect more from you than what we can see with our eyes; and may we continually call on you until you complete what you have begun, and put to flight both Satan and our sins, so that being in true and full liberty devoted to you, we may be partakers of that power which has already appeared in our head, until having at length passed through all our contests, we may reach that blessed rest, where we shall enjoy the fruit of our victory in Christ our Lord. Amen.