Jeremiah 6:2-3

2. I have likened the daughter of Zion to a comely and delicate woman.

2. Quietae (alii vertunt, speciosam; sed alter sensus melius quadrat, quietae igitur) et delicatae similem feci filiam Sion.

3. The shepherds with their flocks shall come unto her; they shall pitch their tents against her round about; they shall feed every one in his place.

3. Super eam venient pastores et greges eorum, figent adversus eam tabernecula sua in circuitu; pascent vir ad manum suam (hoc est, quisque ad locum suum).


As the place, where the Prophet was born, was pastoral, he retained many expressions derived from his education; for God did not divest his servants of every natural endowment when he appointed them to teach his people. Hence the Prophet here speaks according to notions imbibed in his early age and childhood. The daughter of Sion, he says, is like a quiet maid, that is, one dwelling at leisure and enjoying herself; and yet she would be exposed to many indignities, for come shall shepherds, and around fix their tents; and the whole country would be subjected to plunder. But it is doubtful whether the Prophet says, that the daughter of Sion might be compared to a maid, tender and delicate, dwelling at ease and cheerful, or whether he means, that rest had been for a time granted to the people. There seems, indeed, to be no great difference, though there is some, between the two explanations.

If we take the verb, ytymd, damiti, in the sense of comparing, as interpreters do, then it is the same as though the Prophet had said, "I seem to see in the state of Jerusalem the image of a tender and delicate maid." Thus Jeremiah speaks in his own name. But the sentence may be more fitly applied to God, -- that he had made the daughter of Sion quiet for a time, and had given her peace with her enemies, so that she lived at ease and cheerfully.

Though these two views differ, yet the subject itself is nearly the same. The Prophet, no doubt, condemns here the Jews for their extreme torpidity, inasmuch as they had wholly misapplied the quietness granted them by God. He then proves that they were very thoughtless and stupid in thinking that their tranquillity would be perpetual, for it was God's favor, and only for a time. Hence he says, that the Jews were until that very day like a tender maid. For though the country of the ten tribes had been laid waste, and all had been driven away into exile, yet the kingdom of Judah continued safe. They had, indeed, been plundered by enemies, but in comparison with their brethren they had been very kindly treated. This, then, is the reason, why he says that they were like a maid delicate and tender.1

But he afterwards adds, Come shall shepherds, etc.; that is, there is no ground for the Jews to deceive themselves, because God has hitherto spared them, and restrained the assaults of enemies; for now shall come shepherds. He keeps to the same metaphor; "come, "he says, "shall shepherds, "together with their flocks; that is, come shall leaders of armies with their forces. But I have already reminded you, that the Prophet here has a regard to the city where he had been born, and adopts a pastoral language. Come then shall shepherds with their flocks; fix shall they their tents, and feed shall each in his place, he means that the whole of Jerusalem would be so much in the power of enemies, that each one would freely choose his own part or his own portion; for when there is any fear, then the shepherds gather their flocks, that they may assist one another; but when everything is in their own power, they move here and there as they please. This free acting then intimates, that the Jews would have no strength, and would be helped by no aid; but that the shepherds would surround the whole city and besiege it: every one, he says, would be in his own place.2 It follows --

1 Calvin, with our version, has followed the Vulgate and the Syriac in this verse. Both the Septuagint and the Targum are widely different. The former have, "And taken away shall be thy height, daughter of Sion;" the latter, "Fair and delicate, how hast thou corrupted thy ways? Therefore confounded is the assembly of Sion." The Arabic is the same with the Septuagint, only it has "pride" instead of "height" (tou[yov) Some have viewed the two first words as substantives, and have rendered the verse thus,-

To a pasture and a delightful habitation Have I likened the daughter of Sion. Disposed to this view were Gataker and Lowth. But what Blayney has said is true, that whenever the verb here used has the sense of likeness, it is followed by a preposition. Besides, the two first words are not substantives but adjectives, as the form, especially of the last, clearly shews. The verb ytymd has in various passages the sense of thinking, counting, esteeming, regarding; as the result of comparing things together. See Judges 20:5; Esther 4:13; Psalm 48:9. There is a passage in Ezekiel 32:2, which is like the present, only the verb there is in Niphal; its literal rendering I consider to be the following: "The young lion of the nations art thou deemed, "or, thought to be. The literal rendering of this verse is as follows,-

Home-resident and delicate,
Have I deemed the daughter of Sion.

She was so regarded by God. Not like other nations, migratory, she had a home allotted to her by God himself; and she was nursed and sustained with all tenderness, like a delicate person. But owing to her sins, foreigners, as stated in the next verse, would come and take possession of her house, and deprive her of her enjoyments.-Ed.

2 There is evidently a w or a y wanted before the second verb in this verse. The Septuagint and the Syriac read with w, and the Targum with y. The same is the case with the third verb, wer; but there are two MSS. which have the w here, with which the Septuagint, the Syriac, and the Targum agree. Then the version would be,-

To her shall come shepherds and their flocks, And pitch by her their tents around, And they shall feed, every one in his border.

"To pitch against her" seems improper: the proposition le means by or near, as well as against. And dy does not mean properly place, but side or border. It is indeed rendered place often in our version. See Numbers 2:17; Deuteronomy 23:12; Isaiah 56:5, 11; and in Isaiah 57:8, "quarter." The ancient versions differ; the word seems not. to have been understood. It is rendered by the Septuagint, "by his hand;" by the Vulgate, "those under his hand; and by the Targum, "his neighbor."-Ed.