When the Assyrian comes into our land
and treads in our palaces,
then we will raise against him seven shepherds
and eight princes of men;
they shall shepherd the land of Assyria with the sword,
and the land of Nimrod at its entrances;
and he shall deliver us from the Assyrian
when he comes into our land
and treads within our border.
Comment: This is a short oracle about what happens after the Assyrian invasion. The passage either bamboozles us or gives us an increased understand of the differences between languages and the problems that translators have in giving the true meaning of the original document. In lines 3&4 above the ‘we’ obviously means the Jews. Apparently the phrase seven and eight was an idiom meaning a sufficient or adequate number. And princes probably refers to leaders. The word shepherd in line 5 is difficult to tie in with the following phrase ‘with the sword’. No one shepherds animals with a sword. Maybe the concept of ‘shepherding’ means ‘taking care of – with a sword’. In a little reading I find that several translations for the here “shepherding’ are ‘lay waste’ and ‘eat up’, which fits better with the concept of a sword! Then follows promises of the enemy being stopped at their borders (entrances) from entering the Jewish lands again or of the overthrowing of them if they manage to enter their Jewish borders!
Prayer: Please help me by the Spirit’s guiding as I come to difficult to understand parts of Your Word.