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Jeremiah 48:17

17. All ye that are about him, bemoan him; and all ye that know his name, say, How is the strong staff broken, and the beautiful rod!

17. Commovemini illi (id est, super Moab) quicunque estis in circuitu ejus, et quicunque cognoscitis nomen ejus, dicite, Quomodo fractus est baculus fortis? virga pulchritudinis (vel, excellentiae, nam תראפת significat decorum pulchritudine.)


The Prophet seems indeed to exhort all neighbors to sympathy; but we have stated for what purpose he did this; for it was not his object to show that the Moabites deserved pity, so that their neighbors ought to have condoled with them in their calamities: but by this figurative mode of speaking he exaggerated the grievousness of the evils which were soon to happen to the Moabites; as though he had said, “This judgment of God will be so dreadful as to make all their neighbors to tremble; all who had previously known the state of the people of Moab, will be smitten with such terror as will make them to groan and mourn with them.” In short, the Prophet had nothing else in view than to show that God’s vengeance on the Moabites would not be less severe and dreadful than it had been on the ten tribes, and what it would be on the tribe of Judah.

Say ye, he says, how is the staff broken? He introduces here all their neighbors as astonished with wonder; for the same purpose are other things mentioned, even to show that the calamity of Moab would be deemed a prodigy, for the people thought them unassailable, and no one had ever dared to attempt anything against their land. This, then, was the reason why the Prophet here asks as one astonished, even in the person of all nations, How has it happened that the staff is broken? and the beautiful rod? 99     The literal rendering is, —
   How has the rod of strength been broken, The staff of honor?

   “How” is by what means, or how much: the first seems to be the meaning here. The rod and the staff are the same — the sceptre an ensign of power and of honor or glory. — Ed.
These are metaphorical words, which refer to the royal dignity and the condition of the whole people. It follows —

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