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Thy terribleness hath deceived thee, and the pride of 16 thine heart,
0 thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, That holdest the height of the hill:
Though thou shouldest make thy nest as high as the eagle,
1 will bring thee down from thence, saith the Lord.
Also Edom shall be a desolation: . 17
Every one that goeth by it shall be astonished,
16. TTiy terribleness] This is in all probability right, though the word does not occur elsewhere in the Bible, not even in the corresponding passage (ver. 4) of Obadiah. The sense is that Edom had duped herself into believing that the strongholds and mountain fastnesses of the country, which were a source of such alarm to an invader, made her impregnable.
the clefts of the rock] The Heb. rendered rock is Selah, and may therefore well be at least an allusion to the town of that name (2 Kings xiv. 7; Is. xvi. 1) in the territoiy of Edom, whose position was as here described. It was probably the same as Petra, and "lay, though at a high level, in a hollow shut in by mountain-cliffs, and approached only by a narrow ravine" (Sm. Bible Diet., Art. 'Selah'). Similarly, the next clause 'the height of the hill' will contain an allusion to the position of Borrah (ver. 13).
17. a desolation...shall be astonished] The substantive and verb are from the same root in the Heb., a fact which should be marked in the translation, an astonishment...shall be astonished, or, a dismay ...shall be dismayed. For these as well as for the words which follow, see note on xviii. 16.
18. Sodom and Gomorrah] The comparison appears to be taken from Deut. xxix. 23, where the neighbour cities are mentioned by name (Admah and Zeboim). It is repeated by Jeremiah in the next chapter (ver. 40). It may contain an allusion to Is. xiii. 19.
a son of man] an amplification of the preceding 'man' for greater force.
19. he shall come up] viz. the enemy who is to prevail over Edom. like a lion] The same comparison was used in chap. iv. 7.
the swelling of Jordan] See note on chap. xii. 5.
Against the habitation of the strong:
But I will suddenly make him run away from her:
And who is a chosen man, that I may appoint over her?
For who is like me? and who will appoint me the time?
And who is that shepherd that will stand before me?
Therefore hear the counsel of the Lord,
That he hath taken against Edom;
And his purposes, that he hath purposed against the inha-
Against the habitation of the strong] The word here translated strong, rather means permanent, lasting (see note on mighty, chap, v. 15), while habitation may as well be rendered pasturage (see note on chap. ix. 10). Accordingly a preferable sense here is, to the perennial pasturage. As that is the spot in which a lion searching for the flock would most naturally find his prey, so the enemy shall advance to the quarter where the Edomites are most thickly gathered, and vanquish them. In the following clause the masc. pronoun refers to Edom, the fem. to the habitation or pasturage.
-who is a chosen man, that I may appoint] rather, / will appoint him who is (my) chosen.
appoint me the time] rightly explained in the Eng. margin, convent (i.e. convene) me in judgment, in other words, by naming, as the plaintiff in a suit had a right to do, the time of trial, claim the power of protesting against God's decision.
20. that he hath purposed against the inhabitants of Teman] Even the wisdom of the Temanites shall not protect them. That this was a feature of the place we gather both from ver. 7 above and from Obad. 8,9.
Surely the least of the flock shall draw them out] or, Surely they will drag them about, the little ones of the flock, the last words being in this case, in apposition to 'them' not to 'they.' With the latter rendering the sense will be, The enemy will do violence to the feeble Edomites crowding for shelter like sheep; with the former, The feeblest among the Israelites shall suffice for the rooting out of Edom. The verb is used elsewhere in Jeremiah (xv. 3, "the dogs to tear" and xxii. 19, "drawn and cast forth." Compare 2 Sam. xvii. 13) of dragging about. In adopting the Eng. Vers. thus modified, there is a certain amount of difficulty in speaking of the enemies of Edom as a flock, inasmuch as that nation has just been likened itself to one, but in the mouth of Jeremiah such a sudden change of figure is not after all very surprising, while this certainly appears the more natural mode of understanding the Heb., which however is confessedly obscure. For a repetition of the passage, see l. 45.
he shall make their habitations desolate with them] better, their habitation (pasturage) shall be dismayed on account of them. The
The earth is moved at the noise of their fall, 21
Be as the heart of a woman in her pangs.
23—27. The Prophecy regarding Damascus. Concerning Damascus. 23 Hamath is confounded, and Arpad: For they have heard evil tidings: they are fainthearted; There is sorrow on the sea; it cannot be quiet.
very dwelling-place of these dispirited fugitives shall be confounded at their fall.
21. is moved] quakes, trembles.
At the cry...] The Heb. is purposely less smooth. A cry—at the Red Sea is heard its noise. Edom in its prosperity extended thither, as we gather from 1 Kings ix. 26.
22. he] the enemy. As he is strong as a lion, so also he is swift as an eagle. See note on xlviii. 40.
23—27. The Prophecy Regarding Damascus.
23. Concerning Damascus] In Syria, as it existed in the time of David, there were at least three cities of importance, Hamath, Zobah, and Damascus. The kingdom, of which the second of these was the capital, soon disappeared, and Damascus came to be held by a powerful dynasty of kings, who reduced the other cities under their own sway. It is not known however what was the political condition of Syria at the time that Jeremiah wrote, but it is clear that it was to be no more exempt than other countries from the tread of the conqueror. The tidings of his approach reach one city after another, and fill them with dismay.
Hamath] in the northern part of Syria, now Hamah. It was more than once subjected to Israel (2 Chron. viii. 4; 2 Kings xiv. 25).
Arpad] Its position is not known with certainty. However, as being invariably mentioned along with Hamath (2 Kings xviii. 34, xix. 13; Is. x. 9, xxxvi. 19, xxxvii. 13), it must have been situated near it.
they are fainthearted] literally, they waste [melt) away. The same word is used of the Canaanites, Exod. xv. 15.
There is sorrow on the sea] If we keep this reading, which is much the better supported of the two, the sense will be, the trouble extends to the very shore, i.e. throughout the country. It is objected that a certain number of Heb. MSS. read as the sea, thus agreeing with the accepted reading in Is. lvii. 20, from which the next clause seems taken. It is unlikely that the change from as to on, although involving
a4 Damascus is waxed feeble, and tumeth herself to flee, And fear hath seized on her:
Anguish and sorrows have taken her as a woman in travail.
25 How is the city of praise not left, The city of my joy!
26 Therefore her young men shall fall in her streets, And all the men of war shall be cut off in that day, Saith the Lord of hosts.
27 And I will kindle a fire in the wall of Damascus, And it shall consume the palaces of Ben-hadad.
28—33. The Prophecy regarding Kedar and Hazor.
28 Concerning Kedar, and concerning the kingdoms of
but a slight alteration in the shape of one Heb. letter, would have been made in this place. If, in consideration of the borrowing of the last clause from Is., we seek the same sense for the word 'sea' here as holds in that passage, we must explain it of the trouble-tossed, anxious hearts, saddened by the ill news.
24. is waxedfeeble] literally, has become slack, discouraged,
25. These, which are clearly still the words of the prophet lamenting over the fortunes of so fair a city as Damascus, have been understood as meaning, either, How sad that the city has not been left untouched, or (and much better), How sad that she has not been forsaken by her inhabitants before her fall. This agrees both with the preceding verse, describing the paralysis that has taken possession of the people, and prevented them from saving themselves by flight, and also with the following words, which tell of the destruction to be wrought in the streets of the town.
26. shall be cut off] Some would render shall be silent (the Heb. being somewhat ambiguous in sense). See, however, note on viii. 14, in which verse the same word is rendered twice in the latter sense (silent, silence).
27. / will kindle a fire] This verse is made up of Amos i. 4, 14. The expression, kindle a fire, denotes elsewhere also the ravages of war, e.g. Numb. xxi. 28; Deut. xxxii. 22. Benhadad (son of Hadad) was the name, possibly rather the title, of several kings of Syria.
28—33. The Prophecy Regarding Kedar And Hazor.
28. Concerning Kedar, and concerning the kingdoms of Hazor] This section may be divided into two sub-sections, which closely correspond in length, sense and structure. Each consists of three verses, and the three consecutive thoughts in each are (i) a summons of the enemy Hazor, which Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon shall
smite, thus saith the Lord;
For Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon hath taken counsel
to the attack, (ii) a promise of booty, (iii) an intimation that safety would be sought only in flight.
For Kedar, see note on chap. ii. 10. As regards Hazor, in all its other occurrences it denotes some town in Palestine, a sense which cannot belong to it here. It is generally agreed, that as Kedar means the nomad Arabs, so Hazor, from the Heb. hazir, an unwalled town, refers to that part of the nation which used fixed dwellings, and this fits in with the fact that "the stationary Arabs...are still called Hadariye. ...hadar is a fixed abode." Clark's DelitzscKs Isaiah, Vol. II. p. 182.
shall smite] literally, hath smitten. It is therefore probable, that this clause was subsequently inserted, as perhaps that of chap. xlvii. 1 ("before that Pharaoh smote Gaza"), where see note.
29. curtains] See note on chap. iv. 20.
30. dwell deep] See ver. 8, with note.
against you (2°)] against them, which is the other reading in the Heb., is much the more probable one. The pronouns you and them will both indeed refer to the people of Hazor, but as in the clause following (ver. 31) that people are spoken of in the third person, while the Chaldaeans have begun to be addressed as 'you,' this reading in ver. 30 will supply a transition. The people of Hazor are no longer addressed with eagerness, but are spoken of as at a greater distance from the speaker's point of view.
31. Arise] Addressed to the Chaldaeans.
wealthy] rather, tranquil, dwelling at ease. Three grounds of encouragement are given to the invading army, (a) the people have felt hitherto secure against attack, (b) they have no walled towns, (c) they have no powerful neighbours, from whom to seek aid.