Lecture Fifteenth

Jeremiah 4:7

7. The lion is come up from his thicket, and the destroyer of the Gentiles is on his way; he is gone forth from his place to make thy land desolate; and thy cities shall be laid waste, without an inhabitant.

7. Ascendit leo ex densitate sua (hoc est, ex oculto loco,) et vastator gentium profectus est; egressus est e loco sue ad ponendum (ut ponat) terram tuam in vastitatem, urbes tuae perdentur, ut non sit habitator.


The Prophet more fully declares the import of the threatening which we briefly considered yesterday; for God said in the former verse, that he would bring an evil from the north; and the kind of evil it was to be he now describes, and compares the king of Babylon to a lion; and afterwards, without a figure, he calls him the destroyer of nations.

By the similitude of lion he means that the Israelites would not be able to resist; and when he adds that he would be the desolator of nations, he intimates that they would perish with the rest: for if Nebuchadnezzar was sufficiently able to destroy many nations, how could the Jews escape a similar calamity? He shall come, he says, the desolator of nations. But he uses the past tense throughout, in order to shew the certainty of the prediction, and thus to shake secure men with fear, who had become torpid in their hypocrisy; for they would have otherwise deemed all threatenings as nothing: for as long as God spared them, they despised his judgment, and promised themselves impunity in their sins. Hence the Prophet, in order to awake them, set the matter before them, as though Nebuchadnezzar had already come with a strong and powerful army to lay waste Judea; for he says, that a lion had ascended from his hiding -- places: but the term for the last word means an entangled density, as when trees are entwined together, or when a place is filled with thorns.1

But the similitude is most suitable, because the Jews never thought that the king of Babylon would come forth from places so remote; for the passing through was difficult, and the expedition attended with great toil: yet the Prophet says, that the lion would come from his recesses, and that nothing would hinder him from breaking forth and coming to the open country. He at last concludes by saying, that the cities would be laid waste,2 so as to be without an inhabitant. It now follows --

1 The word "thicket, "in our version, correctly expresses it; a tangled wood, where trees cross and entwine with each other.-Ed.

2 "Laid waste" is the Chaldee sense; but the verb means in Hebrew to germinate, to produce grass, to grow over with grass as ruined cities do. The words which follow, "without an inhabitant, "shew that this meaning suits here,-

Thy cities shall grow over with grass, without an inhabitant.

The Targum is,

Thy cities shall be desolate without an inhabitant.-Ed.