a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary
Select a resource above

The Imminence and Horror of the Invasion


Flee for safety, O children of Benjamin,

from the midst of Jerusalem!

Blow the trumpet in Tekoa,

and raise a signal on Beth-haccherem;

for evil looms out of the north,

and great destruction.


I have likened daughter Zion

to the loveliest pasture.


Shepherds with their flocks shall come against her.

They shall pitch their tents around her;

they shall pasture, all in their places.


“Prepare war against her;

up, and let us attack at noon!”

“Woe to us, for the day declines,

the shadows of evening lengthen!”


“Up, and let us attack by night,

and destroy her palaces!”


For thus says the L ord of hosts:

Cut down her trees;

cast up a siege ramp against Jerusalem.

This is the city that must be punished;

there is nothing but oppression within her.


As a well keeps its water fresh,

so she keeps fresh her wickedness;

violence and destruction are heard within her;

sickness and wounds are ever before me.


Take warning, O Jerusalem,

or I shall turn from you in disgust,

and make you a desolation,

an uninhabited land.



Thus says the L ord of hosts:

Glean thoroughly as a vine

the remnant of Israel;

like a grape-gatherer, pass your hand again

over its branches.



To whom shall I speak and give warning,

that they may hear?

See, their ears are closed,

they cannot listen.

The word of the L ord is to them an object of scorn;

they take no pleasure in it.


But I am full of the wrath of the L ord;

I am weary of holding it in.


Pour it out on the children in the street,

and on the gatherings of young men as well;

both husband and wife shall be taken,

the old folk and the very aged.


Their houses shall be turned over to others,

their fields and wives together;

for I will stretch out my hand

against the inhabitants of the land,

says the L ord.



For from the least to the greatest of them,

everyone is greedy for unjust gain;

and from prophet to priest,

everyone deals falsely.


They have treated the wound of my people carelessly,

saying, “Peace, peace,”

when there is no peace.


They acted shamefully, they committed abomination;

yet they were not ashamed,

they did not know how to blush.

Therefore they shall fall among those who fall;

at the time that I punish them, they shall be overthrown,

says the L ord.


Thus says the L ord:

Stand at the crossroads, and look,

and ask for the ancient paths,

where the good way lies; and walk in it,

and find rest for your souls.

But they said, “We will not walk in it.”


Also I raised up sentinels for you:

“Give heed to the sound of the trumpet!”

But they said, “We will not give heed.”


Therefore hear, O nations,

and know, O congregation, what will happen to them.


Hear, O earth; I am going to bring disaster on this people,

the fruit of their schemes,

because they have not given heed to my words;

and as for my teaching, they have rejected it.


Of what use to me is frankincense that comes from Sheba,

or sweet cane from a distant land?

Your burnt offerings are not acceptable,

nor are your sacrifices pleasing to me.


Therefore thus says the L ord:

See, I am laying before this people

stumbling blocks against which they shall stumble;

parents and children together,

neighbor and friend shall perish.



Thus says the L ord:

See, a people is coming from the land of the north,

a great nation is stirring from the farthest parts of the earth.


They grasp the bow and the javelin,

they are cruel and have no mercy,

their sound is like the roaring sea;

they ride on horses,

equipped like a warrior for battle,

against you, O daughter Zion!



“We have heard news of them,

our hands fall helpless;

anguish has taken hold of us,

pain as of a woman in labor.


Do not go out into the field,

or walk on the road;

for the enemy has a sword,

terror is on every side.”



O my poor people, put on sackcloth,

and roll in ashes;

make mourning as for an only child,

most bitter lamentation:

for suddenly the destroyer

will come upon us.



I have made you a tester and a refiner among my people

so that you may know and test their ways.


They are all stubbornly rebellious,

going about with slanders;

they are bronze and iron,

all of them act corruptly.


The bellows blow fiercely,

the lead is consumed by the fire;

in vain the refining goes on,

for the wicked are not removed.


They are called “rejected silver,”

for the L ord has rejected them.


The Prophet teaches us here that the fault of the people could not be extenuated as though they had sinned through ignorance; for they had been warned more than necessary by God. The same sentiment is found in Isaiah,

“This is your rest; but they would not hear.” (Isaiah 28:12.)

But our Prophet more at large condemns the Jews; for God had commanded them to stand in the ways, to look and to inquire respecting all the old paths. He uses a similitude: and we ought not to doubt respecting the way, since it has been shewn to us by the mouth of God. But the impiety of the people is exposed and reproved, because they did not so much as open their eyes, when God shewed them the way and allowed them a free choice: for he introduces God here, not strictly as one who commands, but as one who shews so much indulgence, that the people were free to choose the way they approved and thought best. When God deals so kindly with men, and so condescendingly sets before them what is useful and expedient, it is the basest ingratitude to reject such kindness on God’s part.

We now then understand the Prophet’s design in saying, that God had commanded them to stand in the ways and to consider what was best to be done. Consider, he says, and ye shall find rest, that is, that ye may find rest (for the copulative here denotes the end) to your souls 177177     Blayney renders the word for “rest,” מרגוע, “restoration;” but his long note is not satisfactory. It is rendered, strangely enough, by the Septuagint, “purification — ἁγνισμὸν;” but by the Vulgate, “refreshment — refrigerium;” and by the Syriac and Targum, “rest — requiem;” which seems to be its meaning, especially here, as it stands in contrast with the false peace promised by the false prophets.
   The representation is that of travelers, who, when doubtful as to the right road, are to stand, that is, to stop, to look, and also to inquire. There were several old paths before them, but they were to inquire which was the good way, and to walk in it. This was what Jehovah by his prophets had exhorted the people to do, who had false prophets among them; but they refused to do so. It is a relation of what God had done, —

   Thus has Jehovah said, — “Stand ye by the ways and look, And ask, as to the paths of old, Where that is, the good way; And walk ye in it, And ye shall find rest to your souls:” But they said, “We will not walk in it.”

   There were many paths of old, or of antiquity, as there are still; but there was one good way, the way of God’s word. That the way is old is no proof that it is good. Error’s ways are as old as the way of truth. — Ed.
Here the Prophet means, that it remained only with the Jews to secure prosperity and a quiet state; for if they had obeyed the counsel of God, rest would have been provided for them: in short, he means, that they were miserable through their own willfulness; for God had set before them the prospect of a happy condition, but this favor had been despised by them, and wantonly despised, as these words intimate, And they said, We will not walk in it

We see that the people’s perverseness is here discovered; because they might have otherwise objected and said, that they had been deceived, and that if they had been in time warned, they would have obeyed good and wise counsels. In order to cut off this handle, Jeremiah says, that they from deliberate wickedness had rejected the rest offered them by God: they have said, We will not walk in it. This resolution deafly shews that they obstinately remained in their sins; so that the rest, which was within their reach, was not chosen by them.

This passage contains a valuable truth, — that faith ever brings us peace with God, and that not only because it leads us to acquiesce in God’s mercy, and thus, as Paul teaches us, (Romans 5:1,) produces this as its perpetual fruit; but because the will of God alone is sufficient to appease our minds. Whosoever then embraces from the heart the truth as coming from God, is at peace; for God never suffers his own people to fluctuate while they recumb on him, but shews to them how great stability belongs to his truth. If it was so under the Law and the Prophets, as we have seen from Isaiah, how much more shall we obtain rest under Christ, provided we submit, to his word; for he has himself promised it, “Come unto me all ye who labor and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you.” And ye shall find rest, he says here, to your souls. This passage then serves to commend this celestial truth, that it avails to pacify consciences, so that there is no perplexity nor doubt. It follows —

VIEWNAME is study