"all the kings of the people that shall be gathered to oppress thee, O Jerusalem, shall be cast in the midst of thee; they shall be for food to the beast of the field, the beast of the forest shall be satisfied with them.''
Though it seems most correct to interpret these beasts of the kings of the people themselves; by whom some understand the Chaldeans, Babylonians, and other nations along with them, and under them, who spoiled the people of the Jews, and carried them captive; but rather the Romans are intended. And so the prophet, after he had foretold the gathering in of the remnant, according to the election of grace, among the Jews, and the addition to them from among the Gentiles, proceeds to give an account what should become of the rest of the Jewish nation that rejected the Messiah and his Gospel; that the Romans should be brought in upon them, who should devour them; which destruction would be owing to the following sins abounding among their principal men. But I am inclined to the opinion of Cocceius and Vitringa, that the barbarous nations of the Goths and Vandals, and others, coming into the Roman empire, become Christian, though greatly corrupted, are here meant (t); since this seems to be a prophecy of what should happen between the first gathering of the Jews and Gentiles to Christ in the first times of the Gospel, and the later gathering of them in the latter day; and the following words aptly describe the ignorance, stupidity, avarice, and intemperance of the priests of the apostate church of Rome; and the following chapter, which is a continuance of this prophecy, better agrees with the idolatry of the church of Rome than with the Jews, who, especially at the time of their destruction by the Romans, were not given to idolatry. Yea,
all the beasts in the forest: a herd of them, which, like an inundation, ran over the Roman empire, and tore it to pieces, and spread ignorance and corruption every where, next described; for now the beast of Rome arose with his ten heads. Some think that a new chapter should begin here.
(t) Agreeably to which, the words, according to the accents, are thus rendered by Reinbeck, De Accent. Heb. p. 427. "all ye beasts of the field; come ye, to devour all the beasts in the forest"; so Munster; one sort of beasts are called upon to devour another sort.