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Jeremiah 49:3

3. Howl, O Heshbon, for Ai is spoiled: cry, ye daughters of Rabbah, gird you with sackcloth; lament, and run to and fro by the hedges; for their king shall go into captivity, and his priests and his princes together.

3. Ulula Chesbon, quoniam vastata est Hai; vociferamini filiae Rabbath, accingite vos saccis, plangite, discurrite per sepes, quoniam rex eorum in captivitatem profectus est, et sacerdotes ejus et principes cum ipso.

 

The Prophet now triumphs, as it were, over the land of Ammon, and, according to his accustomed manner, as we have before seen; for had the prophets spoken without metaphors, and simply narrated the things treated of by them, their words would have been frigid and inefficient, and would not have penetrated into the hearts of men. This, then, is the reason why the prophets adopted an elevated style, and adorned with grandeur their prophecies; for they never, like rhetoricians, affected eloquence, but necessity so urged them, that they represented to the eyes those things which they could not otherwise form a conception of in their minds. On this subject we have spoken often already; but I am again constrained briefly to touch on it, because those who are not well acquainted with Scripture, and do not understand the design of the Holy Spirit, may think that words only are here poured forth. But when we duly weigh what I have said, then we shall readily acknowledge that the Prophet did not, without reason, enlarge on what he had previously said.

Howl, thou Heshbon, he says, for Ai is laid waste These were two neighboring cities: hence he exhorts Heshbon to howl on seeing the overthrow of another city. He then adds, Cry, or cry aloud, ye daughters of Rabbah He again repeats what he had before touched upon as to the city Rabbah. Gird yourselves, he says, with sackcloth, or put on sackcloth. He does not here exhort the citizens of Rabbah to repentance, but he speaks according to the customs of the people, as it has been stated elsewhere. Sackcloth was, indeed, a symbol of penitence; when the miserable wished humbly to flee to God’s mercy, and to confess their sins, they put on sackcloth. But the unbelieving imitated the faithful without discretion or judgment. Hence it was, that they scattered ashes on their heads, that without any reason they put on sackcloth. What was then commonly done is now mentioned by Jeremiah; Put on sackcloth, he says, lament and run here and there by the fences

He afterwards adds in the third person, for gone is their king into captivity. He expressed this, that the Israelites might know, that though that kingdom flourished for a time, yet the day of which the Prophet had spoken would come, when the condition of the Ammonites would be nothing better than that of the Israelites; whose king, as it was known, had been driven into exile, together with the priests and princes. The Prophet now denounces the same punishment on the Ammonites, that not only their king would be driven into another land, as a captive, but also their princes and their priests. It follows —

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