|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:16-26 The prophet reproves and warns the daughters of Zion of the sufferings coming upon them. Let them know that God notices the folly and vanity of proud women, even of their dress. The punishments threatened answered the sin. Loathsome diseases often are the just punishment of pride. It is not material to ask what sort of ornaments they wore; many of these things, if they had not been in fashion, would have been ridiculed then as now. Their fashions differed much from those of our times, but human nature is the same. Wasting time and money, to the neglect of piety, charity, and even of justice, displease the Lord. Many professors at the present day, seem to think there is no harm in worldly finery; but were it not a great evil, would the Holy Spirit have taught the prophet to expose it so fully? The Jews being overcome, Jerusalem would be levelled with the ground; which is represented under the idea of a desolate female seated upon the earth. And when the Romans had destroyed Jerusalem, they struck a medal, on which was represented a woman sitting on the ground in a posture of grief. If sin be harboured within the walls, lamentation and mourning are near the gates.
Verse 20. - The bonnets; rather, the headgear. It is quite uncertain what this was, since we have no representations of Hebrew women. Egyptian women commonly wore a mere fillet with pendant ends. The Hebrew word here employed is used in Exodus of the head-dress of the priests (Exodus 39:28). The ornaments of the legs. These are explained as chains connecting the two anklets together. The head-bands, and the tablets, and the ear-rings; rather, the girdles, and the scent-bottles, and the amulets. Scent-bottles and jars for holding sweet-smelling unguents are among the most frequent toilette articles recovered from Egyptian tombs and Assyrian palaces. Amulets have been worn in the East from very ancient times, and are still trusted in as much as ever. They frequently take the form of ornaments.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The bonnets,.... This word is used sometimes for the tire of the heads of men, Ezekiel 24:17 and even for the bonnets of the priests, Exodus 39:28. The Targum renders the word "crowns"; the Jewish women wore golden crowns on their heads, in the form of the city of Jerusalem, with which they might not go out on a sabbath day (b):
and the ornaments of the legs; and so the Targum,
"the chains or bracelets of the feet;''
with which Jarchi and Kimchi agree; but the word is used for a bracelet on the arm in 2 Samuel 1:10 and Aben Ezra so interprets it here:
and the headbands: the, word is rendered "attire" in Jeremiah 2:32 according to Jarchi, they were short binders with which the hair was bound up, and some of them were wrought with gold; but with Aben Ezra they were binders about the neck or throat:
and the tablets; in the Hebrew text, "the houses of the soul" (c); and were, as Aben Ezra, Jarchi, and Kimchi think, ornaments which women hung between their breasts on the heart, or over against it; they seem rather to be smelling bottles, as the Vulgate Latin version renders the words, which they carried in their bosoms to refresh the spirits, and fetch back the soul or breath when fainting and almost gone; the Targum renders it "earrings", by which we render the following:
and the earrings; so Jarchi and Kimchi, who suggest they are so called because the ear is the place where whispering and muttering is used, which this word has the signification of; but, according to Aben Ezra, they were writings written in gold, and silver, by way of enchantment or charm; and the Arabic version renders the word, "boxes of amulets" or "charms"; the word signifies enchantments, see Psalm 58:5.
(b) Maimon. & Bartenora in ib. (c) "domos animae", i.e. "olfactoriola", Cocceius; so V. L.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
ornaments of the legs—the short stepping-chains from one foot to another, to give a measured gait; attached to the "tinkling ornaments" (Isa 3:16).
tablets—rather, "houses of the breath," that is, smelling boxes [Vulgate].
earrings—rather, amulets suspended from the neck or ears, with magic formulæ inscribed; the root means to "whisper" or "conjure."
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