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doom threatened on Judah be turned aside. If Israel will repent, the door of return stands open to it, despite iii. 1; the condition is utter abandonment of idolatry and sincere submission to Yahveh; the result will be that the blessing promised to the patriarchs will be realized in the nation, and God will be glorified. This should move even Judah to repent.
The Approaching Judgment, Ch. Iv. 5-vi. 30.
IV. 5. Publish ye in Judah and announce in Jerusalem, and bid the trumpet blow in the country! Cry aloud and warn: Gather ye together, and let us go into the fenced cities! 6. Lift up a standard toward Zion! Flee, and stand not still! For I bring evil from the north, and mighty destruction. 7. A lion has gone forth from its thicket, and a destroyer of nations has arisen, has gone out of its place, to make thy land a desolation, that thy cities may be laid waste, without inhabitant. 8. On this account gird yourselves with sackcloth, complain and howl! For the wrath of Yahveh is not turned away from us. 9. And it shall come to pass on that day, is Yahveh's oracle, the king shall lose his senses and the princes their reason, and the priests are amazed and the prophets confounded. 10. Then I said: Alas! O Lord
Chapter IV. 5-31.
Ver. 5. lVpro, the l to be struck out with Keri. Properly," call ye, make full" = clamate plena voce, call at the top of the voice. Ver. 6. On account of the approaching hostile hosts, they are to flee into the fenced cities, especially to Zion, whither a banner or signal, going before the crowd, will direct the country people. I3C, common word in Jeremiah, fragment both of a member (hence often joined with blow and wound, x. 19, etc.) and of a wall; both are transferred to the ruin of a state and nation (Amos vi. 6). Ver. 7. The foe is here first of all set forth symbolically as a lion rising up from the thicket (?P9), where it lurks, to satisfy its thirst for blood (cf. Num. xxiii. 24). 3CV pKD nrvn, see on ii. 15. There lions in general are referred to, here a particular one. Ver. 8. It is seen that the hope, generally cherished under Josiah, of the Lord's wrath being turned away (ii. 35, iv. 10), was a vain one. Ver. 10 is usually referred, but wrongly, to the assurances of false prophets, for Yahveh! Verily thou hast greatly deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying: "You shall have peace," whereas the sword reaches to the soul.
11. At that time it shall he said to this people and to Jerusalem: A rough mountain-wind in the wilderness is on the way to the daughter of my people, not to winnow and not to cleanse. 12. A wind too strong for such things approaches me; now then will I also pronounce judgments respecting them. 13. Behold, like clouds he comes up, and like the hurricane his chariots; fleeter than eagles are his horses—Alas for us, we are spoiled! 14. Wash thy heart from evil, 0 Jerusalem, that thou mayest he saved. How long yet shall thy vain thoughts dwell within thee? 15. For one proclaims aloud from Dan, and one announces evil from the mountains of Ephraim. 16. Publish ye to the nations! Behold, make known respecting Jerusalem: Besiegers come from a far land, and raise their cry against the cities of Judah. 17. Like field-watchers they shall stand around her, because
which Jeremiah will not make God responsible. We rather go back to 2 Kings xxii. 18-20, the saying of the prophetess Huldah, according to which there was to be peace in Josiah's days. The catastrophe seems so near to the seer, that it would come into inexplicable contradiction with that promise. Ver. 11. The storm of judgment appears first as a sharp wind sweeping over the hills of the wilderness, too strong to be used for winnowing (xiii. 24). nV, usually clear, not = hot, suits a sharp wind blowing through a very transparent atmosphere. "On, Hiph. with pathach, Ges. § 67. a. 6; Eng. § 66. Ver. 12. A wind fuller, stronger than one useful for such field labours. The Lord Himself comes in this storm of nations to judgment, cf. i. 15. Ver. 15. The first messenger comes from Ban in the extreme north, the foe penetrating the country from there; then one comes from the hills of Ephraim lying directly north. Cf. viii. 16. Of all the routes which an invader coming from north or east could take to advance against Egypt, that across Dan and Ephraim was the worst, as it would devastate the land in its entire length and take him safe to Jerusalem. Ver. 16. Give a sign to the nations. The allusion is to an invasion, which will not be limited to Canaan. run drawn by the accent, perhaps rightly, to what follows, belongs to: Besiegers (ivJ, Isa. i. 8) come. Ver. 17. As field - watchers guard an enclosure, they guard the investment-ring, that no one escape she rebelled against me, is Yahveh's oracle. 18. Thy "walk and thy misdeeds have brought this upon thee. Thy wickedness causes this; yea it is bitter, yea it touches thy very heart .
19. My bowels, my bowels! I writhe with pain. The walls of my heart! My heart throbs within me. Keep silence I cannot: for thou hast heard the sound of trumpets, my soul, blasts of war! 20. Euin meets ruin; for the whole land is spoiled; suddenly my cots are overwhelmed, in a moment my tents. 21. How long yet shall I behold the standard, must I hear the sound of trumpet?—22. Because my people is foolish, they have not known me; they are simple children, and are without understanding; they are wise indeed to do evil; but to do good they understand not . 23. I looked on the earth, and lo, it was bare and void, and up to the heavens—and they had no light. 24. I looked
from the city. r\"by applies to the capital. Ver. 18a, cf. ii. 17. 186. This is thy wickedness, i.e. its effect and fruit. Ver. 19. The bowels as the seat of birth (Gen. xv. 4), hence n^inK, the bowels (also the seat of deepest maternal sympathy), give the prophet pain, as the mother before a birth. Without figure: his inmost sympathy is painfully excited by what he bears within of evil to come. Instead of the incorrect nbiniK, Kethib, read rfonK or n^nK, not n^niK (Keri), "I will wait," which is unsuitable.—niTp, the walls of my heart! exclamation parallel to as "h nDn is parallel to rfonK. His heart throbs as though its beating would burst its walls. 'nyDB>, 2 fem. sing., see on ii. 20. Ver. 20. Overthrow upon overthrow (see on ver. 6) is announced, published, but better tap = mp as in xxxii. 23. The land presents an unbroken series of ruins- 'nijpv, properly curtains, hence poetically tents, synonym of 'bnK as in Hab. iii. 7. Ver. 22. God's voice is heard, giving the reason of the visitation. LXX read less suitably or ^'K (2 Kings xxiv. 15) instead of b?0 fool, foolish, as in v. 21. Vv.
23-26. The seer speaks again, and describes how the land, yea, the earth, will look a posteriori, so far as it offers itself to his gaze, after God's fiery wrath has gone through it. The world has, so to speak, fallen back into the chaotic state in which it was before creation, without life and order, Gen. i. 2. Ver. 24 Pilp. of 9?p (to be light, movable), to move, shake; Hithpalp. to move on the mountains—and lo, they trembled, and the hills began to shake. 25. I looked—and lo, there was no man, and all the birds of heaven had fluttered away. 26. I looked—and lo, the fruitful plain was now a wilderness, and all its cities were overthrown before Yahveh, before the flame of his wrath.
27. For thus has Yahveh spoken: The whole land shall be made desolate, but I will not make a full end. 28. Therefore the earth mourns, and the heavens are veiled in black, because I have spoken, have decided, and I repent not, and I depart not from it.—29. The whole city is in flight before the uproar of the horsemen and bowmen: they enter into the crevices and mount up to the rock; the whole city is forsaken, and none remains therein. 30. And thou, spoiled one, what wilt thou do? Though thou clothe thyself in purple, though thou put on jewels of gold, though thou tear open thy eyes with paint, in vain wilt thou adorn thyself; thy lovers scorn thee, they seek thy life. 31. For I have heard a voice like a travailing woman's, a cry of anguish as of one bearing her
lightly. The mountains have lost their firmness. Ver. 26. ^Di3n, appellatively as in ii. 7, in opposition to desert. The most fruitful land had become desert (complete desert); converse change in Isa. xxxii. 15; cf. xxix. 17. Ver. 27. The whole land is to be laid waste by divine decree, without being utterly destroyed. r63 nCv, to make completion = full end, as in v. 10. Ver. 28. The LXX transpose in order to make easier. Ver. 29 turns back to describe the human side of God's judgment . The whole city (not: every city, LXX more simple, pKn fe) is in flight before the horsemen, bowmen, which reminds us of the Scythians. The inhabitants give up their city, which they do not think strong enough, and flee into the thickets and ravines. Cf. Judg. vi. 2; 1 Sam. xiii. 6; Isa. ii. 10,19,21. In pictorial description that is affirmed of a particular city which, as jn3 intimates, holds good of the cities generally. The strong capital, which, of course, they do not abandon, is first mentioned in ver. 30 f. Ver. 30. "m, Kethib, original form, Ges. § 32. a. 4. The coquetry, which once served thee so well with the great powers, will get thee no favour with these deadly foes. The phrase jnp, to rend the eyes with paint, intimates the unnatural character of this custom, which appears also in 2 Kings ix. 30, and still flourishes in the East. 33y only in Jer. and Ezek. of sensual love. Ver. 31. nSn, not from r6n, to be sick, but