Jeremiah 4:13

13. Behold, he shall come up as clouds, and his chariots shall be as a whirlwind: his horses are swifter than eagles. Woe unto us! for we are spoiled.

13. Ecce tanquam nubes ascendet, et tanquam turbo currus ejus; celeriores aquilis equi ejus: vae nobis, quia perditi sumus.


The Prophet here concludes the prediction which referred to the dreadful vengeance that was coming; and he mentions here several similitudes, such as might rouse the Jews and constrain them to fear. He says, that the chariots of God would come as clouds and as a whirlwind; and then that his horses would be swifter than eagles.

As to the clouds, the whirlwind, and the eagles, (for the import of the three similitudes is the same,) the Prophet no doubt intended thus to set forth the quickness of God's vengeance; but yet there is some difference. We see how clouds suddenly arise and spread over the whole heaven; and thus it happens when a whirlwind is in the air. Hence when he compares God's chariots to clouds and the whirlwind, it is the same as if he had said, that the beginning of the calamity would be sudden, because God would unexpectedly arise, after having been apparently asleep for a long time. But when he says, that God's horses would be swifter than eagles, he means, that it would be easy for God, when once he had begun, to destroy the whole of Judea, as it were in a moment, or at least in a very short time; for we know how swift is the flying of the eagle; but he says, that the horses of God would be swifter than the eagles.

We now understand the Prophet's meaning: for when the Jews derided the threatenings of the Prophets, they tauntingly used such a language as this, -- " O! we shall, at least in the meantime, feast cheerfully and joyfully; these Prophets will not allow us a truce for one hour; but yet many years will pass away before the evil overtakes us." We find profane men in our day, who in like manner trifle with God: and when they cannot wholly despise what God threatens, they yet delay the time, and think that they gain something by putting off the day of vengeance. This, then, was the reason why the Prophet said, that God's chariots would ascend, as clouds arise suddenly, and then as a whirlwind in clear sky, and lastly, in a manner swifter than the eagles, even in their swiftest course.

The Prophet, in the last place, exclaims, in the name of the whole people, Woe to us! for we are lost.1 He speaks here concisely, that he might shew that the false prophets, as well as the people, were going astray to their own ruin, while they were asleep in their vices, and thought their insensibility would escape punishment. He hence exclaims, that though all were then seized with stupor, the people themselves were yet lost. It at length follows --

1 Rather, "We have been wholly wasted, "or desolated. The verb is in a reduplicate form, and signifies an entire waste or desolation,-

13. Behold, like clouds will he ascend, And like a whirlwind will be his chariots, Swifter than eagles his horses: " Woe to us! for we have been wholly wasted."

The mixture of the tenses is intended to shew the certainty of the event. Or we may consider the last line as containing what would be said after the coming of the enemy. What they would have to say was to acknowledge their entire desolation.-Ed.