Zion's Foes Prepare War against Her: Her Sins
Are the Cause.
1. Benjamin—Jerusalem was situated in
the tribe of Benjamin, which was here separated from that of Judah by
the valley of Hinnom. Though it was inhabited partly by Benjamites,
partly by men of Judah, he addresses the former as being his own
blow … trumpet …
Tekoa—Tikehu, Tekoa form a play on sounds. The
birthplace of Amos.
Hebrew, "vineyard-house." It and Tekoa were a few miles south of
Jerusalem. As the enemy came from the north, the inhabitants of the
surrounding country would naturally flee southwards. The fire-signal on
the hills gave warning of danger approaching.
2. likened—rather, "I lay waste."
Literally, "O comely and delicate one, I lay waste the daughter of
Zion," that is, "thee." So Zec 3:9,
"before Joshua," that is, "before thee" [Maurer].
3. shepherds—hostile leaders with their
armies (Jer 1:15; 4:17; 49:20; 50:45).
feed—They shall consume each one all
that is near him; literally, "his hand," that is, the
place which he occupies (Nu 2:17; see on Isa
4, 5. The invading soldiers encourage one
another to the attack on Jerusalem.
Prepare—literally, "Sanctify" war,
that is, Proclaim it formally with solemn rites; the invasion was
solemnly ordered by God (compare Isa 13:3).
at noon—the hottest part of the day
when attacks were rarely made (Jer 15:8; 20:16). Even at this time they wished to
attack, such is their eagerness.
Woe unto us—The words of the invaders,
mourning the approach of night which would suspend their hostile
operations; still, even in spite of the darkness, at night they
renew the attack (Jer 6:5).
6. cast—Hebrew, "pour out";
referring to the emptying of the baskets of earth to make the
mound, formed of "trees" and earthwork, to overtop the city
walls. The "trees" were also used to make warlike engines.
this—pointing the invaders to
visited—that is, punished.
wholly oppression—or join "wholly"
with "visited," that is, she is altogether (in her whole extent) to be
7. fountain—rather, a well dug,
from which water springs; distinct from a natural spring or
casteth out—causeth to flow;
literally, "causeth to dig," the cause being put for the effect (2Ki
21:16, 24; Isa 57:20).
8. Tender appeal in the midst of threats.
depart—Hebrew, "be torn away";
Jehovah's affection making Him unwilling to depart; His attachment to
Jerusalem was such that an effort was needed to tear Himself from it
(Eze 23:18; Ho 9:12; 11:8).
9. The Jews are the grapes, their enemies the
turn back … hand—again and again
bring freshly gathered handfuls to the baskets; referring to the
repeated carrying away of captives to Babylon (Jer
52:28-30; 2Ki 24:14; 25:11).
10. ear is uncircumcised—closed against
the precepts of God by the foreskin of carnality (Le
26:41; Eze 44:7; Ac 7:51).
word … reproach—(Jer 20:8).
11. fury of … Lord—His
denunciations against Judah communicated to the prophet.
weary with holding in—(Jer 20:9).
I will pour—or else imperative: the
command of God (see Jer 6:12),
"Pour it out" [Maurer].
aged … full of days—The former
means one becoming old; the latter a decrepit old man
[Maurer] (Job 5:26; Isa 65:20).
12. The very punishments threatened by Moses
in the event of disobedience to God (De 28:30).
13. (Jer 8:10; Isa 56:11;
14. hurt—the spiritual wound.
slightly—as if it were but a
slight wound; or, in a slight manner, pronouncing all
sound where there is no soundness.
saying—namely, the prophets and
priests (Jer 6:13).
Whereas they ought to warn the people of impending judgments and the
need of repentance, they say there is nothing to fear.
peace—including soundness. All is
sound in the nation's moral state, so all will be peace
as to its political state (Jer 4:10; 8:11;
14:13; 23:17; Eze 13:5, 10; 22:28).
translates, "They ought to have been ashamed, because …
but," &c.; the Hebrew verb often expressing, not the action,
but the duty to perform it (Ge 20:9; Mal 2:7). Maurer
translates, "They shall be put to shame, for they commit abomination;
nay (the prophet correcting himself), there is no shame in them" (Jer 3:3; 8:12; Eze 3:7; Zep 3:5).
them that fall—They shall fall with
the rest of their people who are doomed to fall, that is, I will now
cease from words; I will execute vengeance [Calvin].
16. Image from travellers who have lost their
road, stopping and inquiring which is the right way on which they once
had been, but from which they have wandered.
old paths—Idolatry and apostasy are
the modern way; the worship of God the old way. Evil is not
coeval with good, but a modern degeneracy from good. The
forsaking of God is not, in a true sense, a "way cast up" at all (Jer 18:15; Ps 139:24; Mal 4:4).
rest—(Isa 28:12; Mt 11:29).
17. watchmen—prophets, whose duty it was
to announce impending calamities, so as to lead the people to
repentance (Isa 21:11; 58:1; Eze 3:17; Hab 2:1).
18. congregation—parallel to "nations";
it therefore means the gathered peoples who are invited to be
witnesses as to how great is the perversity of the Israelites (Jer 6:16,
17), and that they deserve
the severe punishment about to be inflicted on them (Jer 6:19).
what is among them—what deeds
are committed by the Israelites (Jer 6:16, 17) [Maurer]. Or, "what punishments are about to
be inflicted on them" [Calvin].
19. (Isa 1:2).
fruit of … thoughts—(Pr 1:31).
nor to my law, but rejected
it—literally, "and (as to) My law they have rejected it." The
same construction occurs in Ge 22:24.
20. Literally, "To what purpose is
this to Me, that incense cometh to Me?"
incense … cane—(Isa 43:24;
60:6). No external services
are accepted by God without obedience of the heart and life (Jer 7:21; Ps 50:7-9; Isa 1:11; Mic 6:6, &c.).
sweet … sweet—antithesis. Your
sweet cane is not sweet to Me. The calamus.
21. stumbling-blocks—instruments of the
Jews' ruin (compare Mt 21:44; Isa 8:14; 1Pe 2:8). God Himself ("I") lays
them before the reprobate (Ps 69:22; Ro 1:28; 11:9).
fathers … sons … neighbour …
22. north … sides of the earth—The
ancients were little acquainted with the north; therefore it is
called the remotest regions (as the Hebrew for "sides"
ought to be translated, see on Isa 14:13) of
the earth. The Chaldees are meant (Jer 1:15; 5:15). It is striking that the very same
calamities which the Chaldeans had inflicted on Zion are threatened as
the retribution to be dealt in turn to themselves by Jehovah (Jer
23. like the sea—(Isa 5:30).
as men for war—not that they were
like warriors, for they were warriors; but "arrayed
most perfectly as warriors" [Maurer].
24. fame thereof—the report of them.
25. He addresses "the daughter of Zion" (Jer 6:23); caution to the citizens of
Jerusalem not to expose themselves to the enemy by going outside of the
sword of the enemy—literally, "there
is a sword to the enemy"; the enemy hath a sword.
26. wallow … in ashes—(Jer
25:34; Mic 1:10). As they
usually in mourning only "cast ashes on the head," wallowing in
them means something more, namely, so entirely to cover one's self
with ashes as to be like one who had rolled in them (Eze 27:30).
as for an only son—(Am 8:10; Zec
expressed by beating the breast."
27. tower … fortress—(Jer 1:18), rather, "an assayer (and) explorer."
By a metaphor from metallurgy in Jer 6:27-30, Jehovah, in conclusion, confirms the
prophet in his office, and the latter sums up the description of the
reprobate people on whom he had to work. The Hebrew for
"assayer" (English Version, "tower") is from a root "to try"
metals. "Explorer" (English Version, "fortress") is from an
Arabic root, "keen-sighted"; or a Hebrew root, "cutting,"
that is, separating the metal from the dross [Ewald]. Gesenius
translates as English Version, "fortress," which does not accord
with the previous "assayer."
28. grievous revolters—literally,
"contumacious of the contumacious," that is, most contumacious, the
Hebrew mode of expressing a superlative. So "the strong among
the mighty," that is, the strongest (Eze 32:21). See Jer 5:23; Ho 4:16.
walking with slanders—(Jer 9:4). "Going about for the purpose of
brass, &c.—that is, copper. It and
"iron" being the baser and harder metals express the debased and
obdurate character of the Jews (Isa 48:4; 60:17).
29. bellows … burned—So intense a
heat is made that the very bellows are almost set on fire. Rosenmuller translates not so well from a
Hebrew root, "pant" or "snort," referring to the sound of the
bellows blown hard.
lead—employed to separate the baser
metal from the silver, as quicksilver is now used. In other words, the
utmost pains have been used to purify Israel in the furnace of
affliction, but in vain (Jer 5:3; 1Pe 1:7).
consumed of the fire—In the
Chetib, or Hebrew text, the "consumed" is supplied out of
the previous "burned." Translating as Rosenmuller, "pant," this will be inadmissible; and
the Keri (Hebrew Margin) division of the Hebrew
words will have to be read, to get "is consumed of the fire." This is
an argument for the translation, "are burned."
wicked … not plucked
away—answering to the dross which has no good metal to be
separated, the mass being all dross.
30. Reprobate—silver so full of alloy as
to be utterly worthless (Isa 1:22).
The Jews were fit only for rejection.