|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
13:18-27 Here is a message sent to king Jehoiakim, and his queen. Their sorrows would be great indeed. Do they ask, Wherefore come these things upon us? Let them know, it is for their obstinacy in sin. We cannot alter the natural colour of the skin; and so is it morally impossible to reclaim and reform these people. Sin is the blackness of the soul; it is the discolouring of it; we were shapen in it, so that we cannot get clear of it by any power of our own. But Almighty grace is able to change the Ethiopian's skin. Neither natural depravity, nor strong habits of sin, form an obstacle to the working of God, the new-creating Spirit. The Lord asks of Jerusalem, whether she is determined not be made clean. If any poor slave of sin feels that he could as soon change his nature as master his headstrong lusts, let him not despair; for things impossible to men are possible with God. Let us then seek help from Him who is mighty to save.
Verses 20, 21. - The captivity being still (in spite of the perfect tense) a thing of the future, the prophet can seek to awaken the conscience of the careless under-shepherd by showing how serf-caused is his (or rather her) punishment. Verse 20. - Lift up your eyes. The verb is fern. sing., the pronoun (in suffix form) masc. plu, - a clear indication that the person addressed is a collective. Probably the "daughter of Zion" is intended, which, in a certain sense, might be called the "shepherd" or leader of the rest of the nation. From the north. Again this horror of the north as the source of calamity (see on Jeremiah 14).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Lift up your eyes, and behold them that come from the north,.... There are a Keri and a Cetib of the words "lift up" and "behold"; they are written in the singular number, and may be considered as directed to the king, as the words following are; and they are read in the plural number, the state and whole body of the people being called upon to observe the Chaldean army, which came from the north; and is represented as on the march, just at hand to invade, besiege, take, and carry them captive. The Septuagint version renders it, "lift up thine eyes, O Jerusalem"; and the Arabic version, "O Israel: where is the flock that was given thee, thy beautiful flock?" that is, the people, as the Targum interprets it, which were committed to the care and charge of the king, as sheep into the hands of a shepherd; and were a fine body of people, chosen of God and precious, distinguished above all others by wholesome and righteous laws and statutes, and special privileges; a people who were a kingdom of priests, a holy nation, and a peculiar people, the glory of the whole earth; but now carried, or about to be carried, captive. It is no unusual thing to represent a king as a shepherd, and his people as a flock, guided, governed, and protected by him, and who is accountable for his trust to the King of kings; see Psalm 78:71.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
20. from … north—Nebuchadnezzar and his hostile army (Jer 1:14; 6:22).
flock … given thee—Jeremiah, amazed at the depopulation caused by Nebuchadnezzar's forces, addresses Jerusalem (a noun of multitude, which accounts for the blending of plural and singular, Your eyes … thee … thy flock), and asks where is the population (Jer 13:17, "flock") which God had given her?
Jeremiah 13:20 Parallel Commentaries
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