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Jeremiah 47:2

2. Thus saith the LORD; Behold, waters rise up out of the north, and shall be an overflowing flood, and shall overflow the land, and all that is therein; the city, and them that dwell therein: then the men shall cry, and all the inhabitants of the land shall howl.

2. Sic dicit Jehova, ecce aquae ascendunt ab aquilone, et erunt in torrentem exundantem, et exundabunt terram et plenitudinem ejus, urbem et habitatores ejus, et clamabunt homo (hoc est, singuli homines clamabunt,) et ululabit omnis incola terrae.

 

The Prophet, no doubt, wished to remind the Jews that it would only be a prelude when Gaza was plundered, and that a far more grievous punishment was impending over that ungodly nation, which had done so many wrongs to God’s people. For if Gaza had suffered only that loss, the Jews might have complained of their lot, as those ungodly men who had acted so wickedly and in so many ways provoked God’s vengeance, had lightly suffered. They might then have objected and said, “What can this mean? God has indeed lightly smitten Gaza; but we would thus willingly redeem our lives: as those who wish to avoid shipwreck cast forth their goods into the sea, and whatever precious thing they may have; so we, if life only be given us, are prepared to part with all our property.” The Jews then might have thus deplored their lot. Hence the Prophet says, that something more grievous awaited that city.

“When ye see Gaza plundered,” he says, “think not that this is the last judgment of God; for, behold, waters shall rise from the north, that is, the Chaldeans shall complete the work of executing God’s vengeance; the Egyptians shall only plunder the wealth of the city, which will be endurable; but at length the Chaldeans will come to exercise boundless cruelty, and they shall be like a flood, and shall overwhelm Gaza, so as utterly to destroy it.” We now, then, see what the Prophet meant: there is implied a comparison between the plunder effected by the Egyptians and the final ruin brought on it by the Chaldeans.

The rising or ascending of waters is evidently a metaphorical expression. He adds that they would be an overflowing torrent, that is, the waters would be like an inundating river; and they will inundate the land. He speaks of the land of the Philistines, where this city was. They will inundate, he says, the land and its fullness Fullness is taken in Hebrew for opulence or wealth; trees, corn, and animals are called the fullness of the land; for when the land brings forth no corn and no fruits, when it breeds no animals, it is deemed naked and empty. As then God clothes the land with such ornaments, the land is said to be full, when it abounds in those productions with which God enriches it. he afterwards speaks of men, the city, he says; he speaks not now of the city Gaza, but of the whole country; then the singular number is to be taken here for the plural. At length he says, Cry shall men, and howl shall all the inhabitants of the land The number as to the verbs is here changed, but there is no ambiguity in the meaning. And by these words the Prophet intimates, that a most grievous punishment would be inflicted on the Philistines, so that they would not only cry for sorrow, but even howl. It follows, —

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