Gen Ex Lev Num Deut Josh Judg Ruth 1 Sam 2 Sam 1 Ki 2 Ki 1 Chron 2 Chron Ezra Neh Tob Jdt Esth Job Ps Prov Eccles Song Wis Sir Isa Jer Lam Bar Ezek Dan Hos Joel Amos Obad Jon Mic Nah Hab Zeph Hag Zech Mal 1 Mac 2 Mac
STRENGTHEN yourselves, ye sons of Benjamin, in the midst of Jerusalem, and sound the trumpet in Thecua, and set up the standard over Bethacarem: for evil is seen out of the north, and a great destruction.

Ver. 1.  Strengthen.  Heb. also, "Flee, Benjamites, from the midst," &c.  Jerusalem belonged partly to this tribe, which prided itself on its valour.


--- Thecua was in the lot of Juda, 15 miles south of Jerusalem.


--- North.  The Chaldees approach.  C. i. 13.  C.

2 I have likened the daughter of Sion to a beautiful and delicate woman.

3 The shepherds shall come to her with their flocks: they have pitched their tents against her round about: every one shall feed them that are under his hand.

Ver. 3.  Shepherds.  So captains are styled, because they feed and govern soldiers.  W.

4 Prepare ye war against her: arise, and let us go up at midday: woe unto us, for the day is declined, for the shadows of the evening are grown longer.

Ver. 4.  Prepare.  Lit. "sanctify."  Observe the usual formalities of demanding reparation, offering victims, &c.  The Chaldees thus encourage one another, and will allow themselves no rest day or night.  v. 5.

5 Arise, and let us go up in the night, and destroy her houses. 6 For thus saith the Lord of hosts: Hew down her trees, cast up a trench about Jerusalem: this is the city to be visited, all oppression is in the midst of her.

7 As a cistern maketh its water cold, so hath she made her wickedness cold: violence and spoil shall be heard in her, infirmity and stripes are continually before me.

Ver. 7.  Cold.  Heb. "come forth."  All the citizens imitate her vices.

8 Be thou instructed, O Jerusalem, lest my soul depart from thee, lest I make thee desolate, a land uninhabited.

Ver. 8.  Instructed, by afflictions and prosperity, by public and internal admonitions.  Willful ignorance is criminal, and drives God away.  C. li. 9.  Ps. lxxx. 12.

9 Thus saith the Lord of hosts: They shall gather the remains of Israel, as in a vine, even to one cluster: turn back thy hand, as a grape gatherer into the basket.

Ver. 9.  Basket.  Chaldees, destroy all.  Nabuchodonosor took Joakim twice, and afterwards Jechonias and Sedecias.  C. xxix. 2.

10 To whom shall I speak? and to whom shall I testify, that he may hear? behold, their ears are uncircumcised, and they cannot hear: behold the word of the Lord is become unto them a reproach: and and they will not receive it.

Ver. 10.  Uncircumcised.  Impure and deaf.  C.


--- Non vocat impossibilitas supplicio quæ de contemptu et infidelitate descendit.  S. Jer.

11 Therefore am I full of the fury of the Lord, I am weary with holding in: pour it out upon the child abroad, and upon the council of the young men together: for man and woman shall be taken, the ancient and he that is full of days.

Ver. 11.  In.  Jeremias is indignant.  The Lord then orders him to pour, or declare what will ensue.  C.

12 And their houses shall be turned over to others, with their lands and their wives together: for I will stretch for my hand upon the inhabitants of the land, saith the Lord.
13 For from the least of them even to the greatest, all are given to covetousness: and from the prophet even to the priest, all are guilty of deceit.

Ver. 13.  Prophet.  Sept. "false prophet."  C. iv. 31.  H.


14 And they healed the breach of the daughter of my people disgracefully, saying: Peace, peace: and there was no peace.

Ver. 14.  Disgracefully.  They shall be ashamed, when the contrary to what they declared shall come to pass.  C. viii. 11.

15 They were confounded, because they commmitted abomination: yea, rather they were not confounded with confusion, and they knew not how to blush: wherefore they shall fall among them that fall: in the time of their visitation they shall fall down, saith the Lord. 16 Thus saith the Lord: Stand ye on the ways, and see and ask for the old paths which is the good way, and walk ye in it: and you shall find refreshment for your souls. And they said: we will not walk.

Ver. 16.  Paths, of patriarchs, and of Moses.  Avoid novelty in religion.  C.


--- This advice is very applicable to the present generation.  H.


17 And I appointed watchmen over you, saying: Hearken ye to the sound of the trumpet. And they said: We will not hearken.

Ver. 17.  Watchmen.  Prophets.  Ezec. iii. 17. and xxxiii. 2.

18 Therefore hear, ye nations, and know, O congregation, what great things I will do to them.

Ver. 18.  Congregation.  Sept. "shepherds feeding their flocks have heard."  The Chaldees are apprised of my resolution against Juda.  C.


--- After the Jews had been called repeatedly in vain, the Gentiles obey.  Mat. x. 5.  W.

19 Hear, O earth: Behold I will bring evils upon this people, the fruits of their own thoughts: because they have not heard my words, and they have cast away my law. 20 To what purpose do you bring me frankincense from Saba, and the sweet smelling cane from a far country? your holocausts are not acceptable, nor are your sacrifices pleasing to me.

Ver. 20.  To me.  For want of proper dispositions; otherwise the offerings of the best things were enjoined, and commendable.  The Jews are taught not to depend on external observances, while they neglect the heart.  C.



Saba is written with sh, to denote a part of Arabia, and with s, when Ethiopia is meant. Ps. lxxi. 10. The former is here designated, (M.) being "the ends of the earth, east" of Judea, (Tacit. Hist. v.) and lying also to the south of that country. Matt. xii. 42. This region was famous for gold, &c. and acknowledged the dominion of women: "Medis levibusque Sabæis Imperat hic sexus." Claud. Eutrop. i. Grotius follows the opinion of Josephus (viii. 6.) and Origen, (hom. 2. in Cant.) who place the seat of this queen's empire at Meroe. The Abyssinians also pretend that their kings are descendants of Solomon, by the queen of Saba; and that Azarias, the son of Sadoc, stole the tables of the law, when he brought back his pupil from Jerusalem. Sanctius.

21 Therefore thus saith the Lord: Behold, I will bring destruction upon this people, by which fathers and sons together shall fall, neighbor and kinsman shall perish. 22 Thus saith the Lord: Behold a people cometh from the land of the north, and a great nation shall rise up from the ends of the earth.

Ver. 22.  North.  As Babylon lay with respect to Jerusalem, (W.) or rather to the east.  H.

23 They shall lay hold on arrow and shield: they are cruel, and will have no mercy. Their voice shall roar like the sea: and they shall mount upon horses, prepared as men for war, against thee, O daughter of Sion.

24 We have heard the fame thereof, our hands grow feeble: anguish hath taken hold of us, as a woman in labor.
25 Go not out into the fields, nor walk in the highway: for the sword of the enemy, and fear is on every side. 26 Gird thee with sackcloth, O daughter of my people, and sprinkle thee with ashes: make thee mourning as for an only son, a bitter lamentation, because the destroyer shall suddenly come upon us.

Ver. 26.  Only son.  Let thy grief be extraordinary.  Amos viii. 10.  Zac. xii. 10.

27 I have set thee for a strong trier among my people: and thou shalt know and prove their way.

Ver. 27.  Trier of my people, as of gold in the furnace.  Job xxii. 25.


28 All of these princes go out of the way, they walk deceitfully, they are brass and iron: they are all corrupted. 29 The bellows have failed, the lead is consumed in the fire, the founder hath melted in vain: for their wicked deeds are not consumed.

Ver. 29.  Bellows, or crucible.


--- Lead, which was intermixed to purify the dross (S. Jer.) of gold and silver.  But brass and iron could not be thus purified.  All would be lost labour.  Afflictions do not correct the obstinate.  C.

30 Call them reprobate silver, for the Lord hath rejected them.
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