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IF thou wilt return, O Israel, saith the Lord, return to me: if thou wilt take away thy stumblingblocks out of my sight, thou shalt not be moved.

Ver. 1.  Blocks; idols, (C.) and other occasions of sin.  H.


2 And thou shalt swear: As the Lord liveth, in truth, and in judgement, and in justice: and the Gentiles shall bless him, and shall praise him.

Ver. 2.  Swear, when requisite.  C.

 

--- Thus thou wilt learn to confess one God.  Theod.

 

--- If all were upright, oaths would be unnecessary.  Mat. v. 34.  But as they are not so, (C.) this may be a religious act.  W.

 

--- Justice.  These three conditions are essential.  H.

 

--- Him; the people, (C.) or God.  S. Jer.

 

--- An oath must attest God, and be used when a thing is true and of moment.  W.


3 For thus saith the Lord to the men of Juda and Jerusalem: Break up anew your fallow ground, and sow not upon thorns:

Ver. 3.  Thorns.  Your misconduct hinders your advancement.  C.



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4 Be circumcised to the Lord, and take away the foreskins of your hearts, ye men of Juda, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem: lest my indignation come forth like fire, and burn, and there be none that can quench it: because of the wickedness of your thoughts.

Ver. 4.  Hearts.  Understand, and act with purity.  H.




5 Declare ye in Juda, and make it heard in Jerusalem: speak, and sound with the trumpet in the land: cry aloud, and say: Assemble yourselves, and let us go into strong cities.

Ver. 5.  Cities.  Nabuchodonosor is at hand.




6 Set up the standard in Sion. Strengthen yourselves, stay not: for I bring evil from the north, and great destruction.

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7 The lion is come up out of his den, and the robber of nations hath roused himself: he is come forth out of his place, to make thy land desolate: thy cities shall be laid waste, remaining without an inhabitant.

Ver. 7.  Robber.  Nabuchodonosor attacks unjustly, (C.) though he be God's scourge.


8 For this gird yourselves with haircloth, lament and howl: for the fierce anger of the Lord is not turned away from us. 9 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord: That the heart of the king shall perish, and the heart of the princes: and the priests shall be astonished, and the prophets shall be amazed

Ver. 9.  Heart; counsel and vigour.

 

--- Prophets of falsehood.


10 And I said: Alas, alas, alas, O Lord God, hast thou then deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying: You shall have peace: and behold the sword reacheth even to the soul?

Ver. 10.  Alas!  Prot. "Then I said: Ah! Lord God, surely thou hast deceived," &c. (H.) by permitting the people to follow false prophets.  Is. lxi. 17.  Ps. xliii. 19.




11 At that time it shall be said to this people, and to Jerusalem: A burning wind is in the ways that are in the desert of the way of the daughter of my people, not to fan, nor to cleanse.

Ver. 11.  Desert of Arabia.  It may designate Nechao, (2 Par. xxxv. 20.) who slew Josias, after whose death all fell to ruin.




12 A full wind from these places shall come to me: and now I will speak my judgments with them.
13 Behold he shall come up as a cloud, and his chariots as a tempest: his horses are swifter than eagles: woe unto us, for we are laid waste. 14 Wash thy heart from wickedness, O Jerusalem, that thou mayst be saved: how long shall hurtful thoughts abide in thee?


15 For a voice of one declaring from Dan, and giving notice of the idol from mount Ephraim.

Ver. 15.  Ephraim.  At Bethel and Dan the calves were adored.  C.

 

--- But they were now no more.  H.

 

--- The irruption of Nabuchodonosor is announced.  He set himself up for a god.




16 Say ye to the nations: Behold it is heard in Jerusalem, that guards are coming from a far country, and give out their voice against the cities of Juda.

Ver. 16.  Guards.  The Chaldees will besiege the city, and prevent provisions from entering.  4 K. xxv. 1.  C.




17 They are set round about her, as keepers of fields: because she hath provoked me to wrath, saith the Lord. 18 Thy ways, and thy devices have brought these things upon thee: this is thy wickedness, because it is bitter, because it hath touched thy heart.

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19 My bowels, my bowels are in pain, the senses of my heart are troubled within me, I will not hold my peace, for my soul hath heard the sound of the trumpet, the cry of battle.

Ver. 19.  My.  God, (S. Jer.) the people, (Grot.) or rather Jeremias speaks.


20 Destruction upon destruction is called for, and all the earth is laid waste: my tents are destroyed on a sudden, and my pavilions in a moment.

Ver. 20.  Moment.  The cities are destroyed as easily as a tent.


21 How long shall I see men fleeing away, how long shall I hear the sound of the trumpet? 22 For my foolish people have not known me: they are foolish and senseless children: they are wise to do evil, but to do good they have no knowledge.

Ver. 22.  Me, practically.  They have not honoured me as they ought.  C.

 

--- If they were indeed devoid of sense, they would be excused.  W.


23 I beheld the earth, and lo it was void, and nothing: and the heavens, and there was no light in them.

Ver. 23.  Void.  Heb. "Thohu and bohu," like chaos.  Gen. i. 2.  H.


24 I looked upon the mountains, and behold they trembled: and all the hills were troubled.
25 I beheld, and lo there was no man: and all the birds of the air were gone.

Ver. 25.  Gone.  Beasts feel the wrath of God, and in a land uninhabited; not even birds will remain.  Osee iv. 3.  S. Jer.


26 I looked, and behold Carmel was a wilderness: and all its cities were destroyed at the presence of the Lord, and at the presence of the wrath of his indignation.

Ver. 26.  Carmel: the beautiful country of Palestine, (H.) Jerusalem, (Theod.) or the mountain so called.



Carmel

Carmel. Not where Elias dwelt, but a city and mountain 10 miles east of Eleutheropolis. Nabal rendered it famous by his imprudence, (1 K. xxv.) and Saul by a triumphal arch, 1 K. xv. 12. --- Carmel, so famous for the miracles of Elias, 3 K. xviii. 20. Josephus (Bel. ii. 17,) places it 120 stadia south of Ptolemais. This range of mountains extended northward through the tribes of Issachar and of Zabulon. Pliny (v. 17,) speaks of a promontory and of a town of this name. Here also the god Carmel was adored, having an altar, but no temple or image, as the ancients had decreed. Nec simulacrum Deo aut templum, (sic tradidere majores) ara tantum et reverentia. Tacit. Hist. ii. 78. --- Vespasian consulted the priest Basilides. Carmel means "the vineyard of the Lord," or the excellent vineyard, &c. It was so rich and beautiful as to become proverbial. The spouse compares the head of his beloved to Carmel. C. vii. 5. Isaias (xxxii. 15,) foretels that the deserts shall be equal to Carmel. It was covered with wood and fruit. S. Jerom in Isai. x. 18. Jer. iv. 26. The city, which was built upon this mountain, and which Pliny calls by the same name, was formerly styled Ecbatana. The oracle had denounced to Cambyses that he should die at Ecbatana, and he concluded that the city of Media was meant; but it was "that of Syria," says Herodotus, (iii. 64,) where he died.

27 For thus saith the Lord: All the land shall be desolate, but yet I will not utterly destroy.

Ver. 27.  Destroy, when Jechonias was led captive.  God allowed the people still eleven years to repent; and he afterwards restored the Jews.  C.

 

--- He will never suffer his church to perish.  W.


28 The earth shall mourn, and the heavens shall lament from above: because I have spoken, I have purposed, and I have not repented, neither am I turned away from it.

Ver. 28.  Repented.  Only a finite being can do this.  God's resolution is here unconditional and fixed.


29 At the voice of the horsemen, and the archers, all the city is fled away; they have entered into thickets and have climbed up the rocks: all the cities are forsaken, and there dwelleth not a man in them. 30 But when thou art spoiled what wilt thou do? though thou deckest thee with ornaments of gold, and paintest thy eyes with stibic stone, thou shalt dress thyself out in vain: thy lovers have despised thee, they will seek thy life.

Ver. 30.  Stone, or antimony, like Jazabel, (4 K. ix. 30.) to darken and enlarge the eye-lids.

 

--- Lovers.  Infidel nations of Egypt, &c.


31 For I have heard the voice as of a woman in travail, anguishes as of a woman in labor of a child. The voice of the daughter of Sion, dying away, spreading her hands: Woe is me, for my soul hath fainted because of them that are slain.

Ver. 31.  Child.  Heb. and Sept. "a first-born," when the pains are most acute.  C.




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