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Jeremiah 49:22

22. Behold, he shall come up and fly as the eagle, and spread his wings over Bozrah: and at that day shall the heart of the mighty men of Edom be as the heart of a woman in her pangs.

22. Ecce tanquam aquila ascendet, et volabit et expander alas suas super Bosra, et erit cor fortium Edom die illo sicuti cor mulieris anxiae.

 

He again speaks of the speedy coming of the Chaldeans, as though he had said, “When the state of that nation shall seem peaceable, when they rest secure in their own nest, then shall the Chaldeans suddenly come, or rather fly.” For he compares them to eagles, in order to show that it would be a very quick and ruinous expedition. At the time this prophecy was declared by the Prophet, no one could have suspected that the Chaldeans would become enemies to the Idumeans, for they were on the best terms with each other; nay, we know that they paid every attention to gain the favor of the Chaldeans. Hence it is said in the Psalms,

“Remember, O Lord, the children of Edom, who said in the day of Jerusalem,
Let it be cut down, let it be cut down.”
(Psalm 137:7)

By these words is intimated the impious conspiracy of that nation with the Chaldeans. Nor is there a doubt but that they tried by all means to conciliate the Chaldeans for their own interest. Hence the Prophet here points out a sudden change, when he says that the Chaldeans would be like eagles, who would expand their wings over Bozrah We have seen elsewhere that this was the chief city of that nation.

The heart, he says, of the valiant men of Edom shall be like the heart of a sorrowful woman We have seen how great was the pride of the Idumeans. As then they thought themselves superior in valor and counsel, and all other things, the Prophet here shews that the heart of their valiant men would become effeminate; for it cannot be but the hearts of men are in God’s hand. God then is alone he who can sustain and animate us and give us firmness; and he also, when he pleases, can debilitate our spirits; and these things he does every moment: and that day then is not expressed without reason; for God does not only impart to every one of us what valor he pleases, but also takes away, when he pleases, the courage which he had given. Hence it is, that the hearts of the brave become cowardly, and also, that the most timid become sometimes bolder than lions, even when it pleases God either to weaken or to strengthen the hearts of men.

But it ought to be noticed, that no hope is given here to the Idumeans as to any remnant. When the Prophet spoke before of other nations, he gave them some consolation; but here he does not mitigate God’s vengeance: he dooms the Idumeans to final ruin, without giving them any hope; and for this reason, because God had for a long time borne with them, and they had most wickedly abused his forbearance. He had spared them from the time the children of Israel came up from Egypt; and when they denied a passage to them, the children of Israel made a long circuit with great inconvenience, that they might not touch their land. It was a singular favor shown to them. And had they had the least drop of humanity in them, they must have acknowledged such a kindness; on the contrary, they had ever cruelly treated their own brethren, and never ceased to do so, though often warned. It is no wonder then that God should now give them up to ruin, and announce predictions full of despair. This ought to be carefully observed, so that we may learn not to make light of God’s patience when he bears long with us, but in due time to repent, lest when he rises for judgment he should utterly destroy us. It now follows —

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