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At that time, says the L ord, the bones of the kings of Judah, the bones of its officials, the bones of the priests, the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem shall be brought out of their tombs; 2and they shall be spread before the sun and the moon and all the host of heaven, which they have loved and served, which they have followed, and which they have inquired of and worshiped; and they shall not be gathered or buried; they shall be like dung on the surface of the ground. 3Death shall be preferred to life by all the remnant that remains of this evil family in all the places where I have driven them, says the L ord of hosts.


The Blind Perversity of the Whole Nation


You shall say to them, Thus says the L ord:

When people fall, do they not get up again?

If they go astray, do they not turn back?


Why then has this people turned away

in perpetual backsliding?

They have held fast to deceit,

they have refused to return.


I have given heed and listened,

but they do not speak honestly;

no one repents of wickedness,

saying, “What have I done!”

All of them turn to their own course,

like a horse plunging headlong into battle.


Even the stork in the heavens

knows its times;

and the turtledove, swallow, and crane

observe the time of their coming;

but my people do not know

the ordinance of the L ord.



How can you say, “We are wise,

and the law of the L ord is with us,”

when, in fact, the false pen of the scribes

has made it into a lie?


The wise shall be put to shame,

they shall be dismayed and taken;

since they have rejected the word of the L ord,

what wisdom is in them?


Therefore I will give their wives to others

and their fields to conquerors,

because from the least to the greatest

everyone is greedy for unjust gain;

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 at all ashamed,

they did not know how to blush.

Therefore they shall fall among those who fall;

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

says the L ord.


When I wanted to gather them, says the L ord,

there are no grapes on the vine,

nor figs on the fig tree;

even the leaves are withered,

and what I gave them has passed away from them.



Why do we sit still?

Gather together, let us go into the fortified cities

and perish there;

for the L ord our God has doomed us to perish,

and has given us poisoned water to drink,

because we have sinned against the L ord.


We look for peace, but find no good,

for a time of healing, but there is terror instead.



The snorting of their horses is heard from Dan;

at the sound of the neighing of their stallions

the whole land quakes.

They come and devour the land and all that fills it,

the city and those who live in it.


See, I am letting snakes loose among you,

adders that cannot be charmed,

and they shall bite you,

says the L ord.


The Prophet Mourns for the People


My joy is gone, grief is upon me,

my heart is sick.


Hark, the cry of my poor people

from far and wide in the land:

“Is the L ord not in Zion?

Is her King not in her?”

(“Why have they provoked me to anger with their images,

with their foreign idols?”)


“The harvest is past, the summer is ended,

and we are not saved.”


For the hurt of my poor people I am hurt,

I mourn, and dismay has taken hold of me.



Is there no balm in Gilead?

Is there no physician there?

Why then has the health of my poor people

not been restored?

Interpreters explain differently the word מבלגיתי, mebelgiti. Some take מ, mem, in the sense of ב, beth; but others, with whom I agree, regard it as a servile, deriving the word from בלג, belag; and this letter is prefixed to it to shew that it is a noun. The ת, tau, also at the end, is a servile. 230230     The ancient versions and the Targum all differ as to the meaning of this word; and it is difficult to make the original to agree with any of them. The word, as in the received text, is a verbal noun from Hiphil, with a iod affixed to it, and is either a personal noun in the feminine gender, “my consoler,“ or “strengthener,“ meaning his own soul,-or a common noun, “my consolation,“ or “strength,“ meaning God. But Schultens, regarding the verb as signifying to smile or to laugh, and thinking that it means here the laugh of misery or of contempt, renders it “O thou (i.e., the daughter of Sion) that grinnest at me for pain,“ and sayest, “within me the heart is sick.” The Targum seems to favor this view, as it mentions the division of the people. Blayney, according to several copies, divides the word thus, מבלי גיתי, and considers the one as a negative, and the other a verbal noun from גהה, to heal, and renders the verse thus: —
   Sorrow is upon me past my remedying,
My heart within me is faint.

   Still the simplest way, and the most suitable to the passage, is to take the word as a common noun, signifying consolation, comfort or strength, and to consider the words as addressed to God, —

   My strength! within me is sorrow, Within me is my heart faint.

   “Faint,“ that is, through grief. It is rendered “grieve,“ or “is sorrowful,“ by all the ancient versions and the Targum.Ed.

The Prophet then means, that he sought strength in his sorrow, but that his heart was weak He no doubt, I think, sets forth in this verse the perverse character of the people, — that they sought through their obstinacy to drive away every punishment. This could not indeed be referred to himself, or to those who were like him, as we know how fearful are God’s servants with regard to his wrath; for as the fear of God prevails in their hearts, so they are easily terrified by his judgment; but hypocrites and wicked men ever harden themselves as far as they can. They then strengthened themselves against God, and thought in this way to be conquerors. Since they thus perversely contended with God, the Prophet sets forth here the great hardness of the people: I would, he says, strengthen myself in my sorrow; but my heart is within me weak; that is, “In vain are these remedies tried; in vain have ye hitherto endeavored to strengthen yourselves, and have sought fortresses and strongholds against God; for sorrow will at length prevail, as the Lord will add troubles to troubles, so that ye must at length succumb under them.”

He means the same when he says, his heart was within him weak: “I have, “he says, “been oppressed with sorrow, when I thought I had strength enough to resist.” For thus the ungodly think manfully to act, when they madly resist God; but at length they find by the event that they in vain seek thus to strengthen themselves; for our heart, he says, will become within us weak, and debility itself will at last oppress and overwhelm us.

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